HISTORY - MAHARAJA AGRASEN

MAHARAJA AGRASEN

Maharaj Agrasen was a legendary Indian king (Maharaja) of Agroha, a city of traders. The Agrawal and Agrahari communities are descent from him. He is credited with the establishment of a kingdom of traders in North India named Agroha, and is known for his compassion in refusing to slaughter animals in yajnas.

Maharaj Agrasen was a vysya king of the Solar Dynasty who adopted Vanika dharma for the benefit of his people. Literally, Agrawal means the "children of Agrasen" or the "people of Ag", a city in ancient Kuru Panchala, near Hisar in Haryana region said to be founded by Agrasen.

Maharaja Agrasen was a Suryavanshi Kshatriya king, born during the last stages of Dwapar Yuga in the Mahabharat epic era, he was contemporaneous to Lord Krishna. He was a descendant of Suryavanshi King Mandhata. King Mandhata had two sons, Gunadhi and Mohan. Agrasen was the eldest son of the King Vallabh, descendant of Mohan, of Pratapnagar. Agrasen fathered 18 children, from whom the Agrawal gotras came into being.

Agrasen attended the swayamvara of Madhavi, the daughter of the King Nagaraj Kumud. However, Indra, the God of Heaven and also the Lord of storms and rainfall, wanted to marry Madhavi, but she choose Agrasen as her husband. A furious Indra decided to take revenge by making sure that Pratapnagar did not receive any rain. As a result, a famine struck Agrasen's kingdom, who then decided to wage a war against Indra. Sage Narada was approached by Indra, who mediated peace between Agrasen and Indra. As per the advice of Rishi Mahrishi Garg, he also married Sundaravati to increase his wealth and health. He is said to have married 17 naga-kanyas.

Another belief states King Agrasen to be the elder brother of Shoorsen Vrishni and elder grand father of Balarama and Krishna Vrishni of Mahabharata, descendant of King Yayati of Khandavprastha. It was built after several attacks faced from Jarasandha of Magadha Kingdom in Mahabharata period. Agroha was called as Agreya in its original period. King Agrasen made it capital of his state, a city in ancient Kuru Panchala, while his younger bother Shoorsen including Balarama and Shri Krishna decided to stay at Dvārakā.

Agrasen traveled all over India with his queen to select a place for a new kingdom. At one point during his travels, he found a few tiger cubs and wolf cubs playing together. To King Agrasen and Queen Madhavi, this was an auspicious indication that the area was veerabhoomi (land of the brave) and they decided to found their new kingdom at that location. The place was named Agroha. Agroha is situated near present day Hisar in Haryana. Presently Agroha is developing as agrawal's holy station, having a Big Temple of Agrasen & Vaishnav Devi.

Under the leadership of Agrasen, Agroha became very prosperous. Legend has it that a hundred thousand traders lived in the city at its heyday. An immigrant wishing to settle in the city would be given a rupee and a brick by each of the inhabitants of the city. Thus, he would have a hundred thousand bricks to build a house for himself, and a hundred thousand rupees to start a new business.

Maharaja Agrasen nominated his eldest son Vibhu to the throne and took up the Vanaprastha ashram. Gradually, the city of Agroha declined and was finally destroyed in a huge fire. The residents of Agroha i.e. the Agrawals moved out of Agroha and spread in other parts of India.

The Government of India issued a postage stamp in honour of Maharaja Agresen in 1976.