John Florens | Mar 3, 2023

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Yanameyaiá or Janamejaya was a Kuru king. He was the son of King Pariksit and his wife Madravati.

He was the grandson of Abhimaniu and great-grandson of Áryuna, the warrior hero of the Mahābhārata (epic-religious text of the 3rd century BC). He was ascended to the kaurava throne after the death of his father.

He appears as a listener to the first narration of the Mahābhārata, narrated by Vaisampayana, a pupil of the sage Vyasa.

According to the Vayu Puran and the Matsya Puran, there was a quarrel between him and Vaisampayana. Possibly, as a sequel, he had to abdicate to his son Shatanika.

Yanam Eyaiá was the son of King Pariksit with Queen Madravati, and had several brothers: Bhimasena, Ugrasena and Śrutasena. Janmejaya was succeeded by his son Ashvamedha Datta. Ashuamedhadatta was succeeded by Adhisima Krisná.

Yanam Eyaiá-along with his father Pariksit-is one of the few characters in the Mahābhārata (3rd century B.C.) to be mentioned in any earlier text.

The Shatapatha Brahmana mentions that Yanam Eyaiá performed an ashvamedha (horse sacrifice) at a place called Asandivat and the Brahmin priest who performed it for him was called Indrota Daivapa Shaunaka.

In the Mahābhārata it says that Yanam Eyaiá had six brothers: Kaksasena, Ugrasena, Chitrasena, Indrasena, Sushena and Nakhaiasena. The opening chapters of the epic narrate various aspects of Yanam Eyaiá's life, including his conquest of the city of Taksasila and his encounter with the naga Taksaka. Yanam Eyaiá wanted to exterminate the Naga race, because Taksaka had been responsible for the death of his father King Parikshit.

Yanam Eyaiá was responsible for the narration of the famous epic Majábharata, a history of his ancestors from Bharata to the great war of Kuruksetra between his great-grandfathers the Pandavas and his paternal cousins the Kauravas. The Majábharata says that the sage Vaisampaiana recited this text by heart in the sarpa-satra (snake sacrifice). Vaisampaiana had learned it from his guru Vedavyasa. Then the king asked Vaisampaiana about his ancestors.

King Yanam Eyaiá ascended the throne of Jastinapura after the death of his father Parikshit. According to legend, Parikshit - the only living descendant of the Kuru Dynasty - had died from a snake bite. A Brahmin boy - upon learning that Parikshit had disrespected his father - had cursed him to death by poison.

According to the Majábharata, Yanam Eyaiá made a great sarpa satra (a sacrifice of snakes) that was to last twelve years. As another name for snakes (sarpa) is naga, the superstitious Yanam Eyaya decided to make the Naga ethnic group (possibly inhabitants of the Himalayas or moved to Karu Nadu) disappear completely.

While he was carrying out the genocide of the Nagas, a Brahmin boy named Astika - whose father was a Brahmin but whose mother Manasa was a Naga - approached Yanam Eyaya to dissuade him. The king finally released Taksaka (the chieftain of the Nagas) and stopped the massacre of the Nagas. Thereafter the Nagas and the Kurus lived in peace.

Today there is a site on the banks of the Arind River at Bardan (in the Mainpuri district, about 300 km southeast of New Delhi), now known as Parham (which may be a corrupt form of Pariksit garh). There a masonry tank - a few decades old - is said to have been built by the emperor Yanameyaiá 5000 years ago to mark the site of the sacrificial well, known as Parikshit Kund (Pariksit's pond). Near this village are ruins of a fort and some stone carvings have been found. They are said to date back to the time of Emperor Parikshit.

Another popular local legend says that, as a consequence of Yanameyaiá's snake sacrifice, snakes are harmless in this place.

However, the Majabharata indicates that the sarpasatra sacrifice was performed on the plain where the battle of Kuruksetra had been fought (about 170 km north of New Delhi).


  1. Janamejaya
  2. Yanameyaiá
  3. ^ Also, Witzel (1995) only refers to one Parikshit and one Janamejaya.
  4. Raychaudhuri, pág. 15 y 35n:Su madre era Madravati según el Majábharata 1, 95, 85 (del siglo III a. C.), pero de acuerdo con el Bhagavata-purana 1, 16, 2 (del siglo XI d. C.), su madre fue cambiada por Iravati, la hija de Uttara.
  5. According to the Mahabharata (I.95.85), but according to the Bhagavata Purana (I.xvi.2), his mother was Iravati, daughter of Uttara — Raychaudhuri, H.C. (1972). Political History of Ancient India: From the Accession of Parikshit to the Extinction of the Gupta Dynasty, Calcutta:University of Calcutta, pp.15,35n

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