Who defeated Alexander the Great in India?

Porus Defeating Alexander

Who does not know about Alexander (the great), a Macedonian King? He wanted to conquer the whole world. Moreover, his big dream was to conquer India. Therefore he would do anything to accomplish this. With the same ambition, he landed on India via the border from the Punjab side.

King Porus (possibly, Paurava or Purushottama) in the banks of Jhelum (called Hydaspes) defeated Alexander. There is a mention that Alexander suffered a greater setback in India than Napoleon in Russia.

This video below talks more about the episode.

Besides, let us begin writing about who Alexander was. Subsequently, let us find out how his Guru (read more about Guru Poornima Stories here) brought him up.

Before that, let’s start with a story. A new story that most of us would not have heard about.

Alexander in conversation with a hermit

One day Alexander was roaming around in India. This happened when he was here in his initial days. He met a monk who was sitting naked in a forest (this is called Digambar and very common in Indian culture. We renounce everything, which includes clothes). He was surprised to see him. As he had never seen a person sitting doing nothing. This made him strike a conversation with the hermit.

Alexander asked him as to what he was doing. To which, the hermit replied, that, he was happily experiencing nothingness. This reply made Alexander spellbound. He thought to himself that he had conquered more than half of the world and still not happy. But this hermit says he is observing nothingness, and that he is happy and blissful. This very thought lingered over and over in the mind of Alexander.

Note: This and many other such events prove big time that India was way ahead in Culture than any of the countries in the world.

Childhood days and Education

Alexander was inspired to conquer, at a very young age by his father, Philip II. For instance, his father transformed Macedonia into a great military power. He won battle after battle throughout the Balkans. In addition to this, at the age of 12, Alexander showed his equestrian skill to his father. Subsequently, he tamed an unruly stallion horse. This happened amidst many people who were all convinced about his skills. With all this and some extra learning, he became the center of admiration.

He rode the unruly stallion horse that he tamed, to every serious battle he fought. This includes his last battle with Porus that we will shortly be trying to understand. After proving his mettle, his father hired a talented teacher, Aristotle, to train Alexander. Alexander quickly learned literature, science, medicine, and Greek Philosophy. Getting a teacher like Aristotle was a turning point in the life of Alexander.

Alexander, youth to King

After about four years, Philip invaded Thrace. Alexander was very confident during that time. Therefore Philip made Alexander rule Macedonia, while he was away. Meanwhile, angry at Philips, tribes of Thrace invaded Macedonia, in his absence. This was a deliberate act, to conquer in the absence of Philips. But, Alexander defeated the tribes, conquered the place. Besides, he gave the place “Alexandropolis“, his very own name.

After a few years, Philips made him Commander. Alexander was on par with seniors, not because he was the son of Philips. But because he was capable to handle.  The king, with the young commander, attacked Greece. Subsequently, Alexander’s bravery made them win.

Fathers’s Marriage – Alexander’s Throne

Following the victory, Philip married Cleopatra. However, in the ceremony, Alexander was insulted. After that, he took his mother and went to a different place. He isolated himself from Macedonia. Only after Pausanias assassinated Philip. Alexander resumed the throne.

To sum up, these events made Alexander. Therefore, his philosophy was a combination of his:

  1. Inspirations of his father
  2. Learning from his teacher
  3. Admiration from his contemporaries
  4. The will to conquer and
  5. Insults from fatherly figures

This was a brief history of Alexander. However, Porus comes from a land of seekers.

The Brave king of India – Porus

Porus has been mentioned only in Alexander’s episode. As a result, he is famous for defeating Alexander. He is marked as one of the bravest kings India has ever produced.

The Pauravas or Puruvanshis had made their kingdom in the northwest region of India. So, their kingdom was called by the name Paurav Rashtra. They ruled between the Jhelum (the Hydaspes) and Chenab (Acesines) rivers. To clarify, this is where the present-day Punjab region is in.

Vedic Tribe Puru mentioned in Rig-Veda

Some historians claim that king Porus is none other than a direct descendant of the Vedic Puru tribe mentioned in Rig Veda. Yes, you guessed it right. King Bharata was also a descendant of the same clan. Our country is called Bharatvarsh due to him. In history, the Puru tribe had also fought against the Persian Invaders under the leadership of King Sudas.

Chandravanshi Lineage of Porus

Puru and Yadu were two songs of the Chandrvanshi king Yayati. Pauravas were the descendants of Puru and Yadavas were the descendants of Yadu. In other words, Porus was a Chandravanshi.

As per the Puranic tradition, this is the Chandravanshi lineage –

Brahma – Atri – Chandra – Budha – Pururava – Ayu – Nahusha – Yayati – Puru and Yadu.

Famous kings of Chandravansh
  • Korayvya
  • Dhananjaya
  • Raktapala
  • Porushottama
  • Malayketu

Early Life of Porus

The life history of Porus is documented only by Greeks. Consequently, we don’t know anything about his early life. However, we can only assume based on the battle of Hydaspes. The battle reigned between 340 BC and 321 BC. At this time, Mahapadmananda, Dhanananda, Chandragupta Maurya were his contemporaries. Unfortunately, this is all that we know about him.

Some people claim that the princess of Takshashila, Anushya as his mother and Puru King Bamni as his father. However, there are no historical records/evidence that goes with this claim. Moreover, it was the Takshashila king Ambhi that shared great enmity with Porus. Ambhi was the one to have invited Alexander to fight with Porus. So, all in all, Takshashila has never been friends with Porus.

How did Porus fight Alexander?

Porus was a majestic 7 feet 4 inches tall, whereas Alexander was a mere 5 feet 5 inches. Then why in world history that Alexander the great is given credit in this war and had King Porus on his knees?

Most of the history is written by Greek. Alexander was a good marketer in those times. He did self-marketing and had several painters, historians, poets in his own army to portray himself however he wanted to. Porus was a small-time king whose mention is not anywhere in Indian history, but for the battle of Hydaspes. Even these records were from the western accounts, unfortunately.

Beginning of the battle

Alexander knew very well that Takshashila was not in good terms with Porus. He gave the king of Takshashila 25 tonnes of gold, which he had plundered from Persia as a bribe. To fight 85 elephants (which Greeks were very new to) he needed support from within the country. So, he approached Ambhi. On the other hand, the below actions went against Alexander.

  • the soldiers saw holy men hanging upside down on the tree doing their penance and were disturbed
  • he had to hire guides from Takshashila (also read about Nalanda University and its ruins here) who were all pupils of Chanakya
  • he knew from his wife Roxane that the Magadha Kingdom had 6000 war elephants, and Mauryan Empire had 9000 war elephants
  • Indian kings even had Mastiff dogs that could even kill leopards
  • his cavalry horses were no match for the powerful Indian elephants
  • Bucephalus, the horse that he had tamed, was now a nervous animal and could not fight the wars like how it used to back then
  • elephants had protective forts. They were acting like stable platforms for warriors
  • they had already formed the Mouryan Empire as opposed to the lie that the white historians laid before us

The above points scared Alexander to the core. He thought about escape plans day and night.

The Battle between Porus and Alexander

In the battle, short Alexander was sitting on his horse. This sight was no match for the tall and handsome Porus sitting on an elephant. Porus had to lose his young son in the battle. After that, Alexander, his favorite horse. The horse had accompanied him to many important battles that he had won. It was such a ferocious fight that both of them were wounded. The fight was between an attacker (Alexander) and a defender (Porus). Alexander was standing on the battlefield without a horse. So his own army men were surprised to see this change.

Alexander started to realize that there is no way to defeat Porus. Therefore, he took two important steps, to play safe.

  • He sent Ambhi of Takshashila for the truce

Porus threw a spear on him driving him away

  • He played sentiments, which the western lot cannot understand. He sent his wife Roxana to tie Rakhi (a sacred thread to show family hood, especially of that of brother and sister) and consider Porus as his brother. If she does this, then Porus has to protect his sister and her husband who is Alexander himself

Alexander saved himself. As a result, Porus allowed him to go back home

Finally, Alexander was in one piece. He was gifted a few elephants, with instructions as to how to use them. Porus also gave him KATTARVAZHA an Ayurveda magic herb from Kerala. The herb fastens the process of healing. Alexander badly needed this as he was so wounded that he needed this herb to cure his wounds.

In conclusion, it is clear from the history that Alexander did not let go of Porus. However, it was the other way round.

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