Picture: Tiger Flag of Chola Kings of Tamil Nadu
My research into Vahanas and Flags show that the Vahanas or Mounts of Gods and Goddesses came from their flags. For instance Lord Skanda had peacock and Sanaiswara had Kaka( crow) in their flags first. When the sculptors wanted to make the sculptures or idols it became easier for them to show as Vahanas instead of flags. If we accept this theory, it becomes logical that Lord Ganesh had mouse as flag first and then it was made in to Vahana. Another proof for my theory is the oldest Ganesh statues are found in South East Asian countries like Indonesia and Laos. They did not have mouse (Mushika) as vahana.
But we see the oldest Vahanas in Babylonia where most of the gods had lion as their vahanas. Deer and bull also figure as Vahanas in the Middle East.
*Oldest Flag: Egyptians carried a standard (3000 BC)
*Phonician Ships carried double cone flag like the Hindu Bhagavat Dwaja in 700BC
*Garuda dwaja-Vishnu: The concept of Garuda seems to have evolved in the Vedic age. Suparna Garudman is in RV I-164-46
Garuda bringing Soma plant (RV III-43-7; VII-26-6)
*Indus valley dwaja: The type of flag/dwaja popular with the people of Mohanjo-Daro comprised a staff, a bowl like receptacle and a cage. John Marshal says it carried a bird in the cage.
*Indus Valley: The most frequently represented ox-like beast with a single horn usually described as unicorn (Eksringa) may be identified with Sringa-Vrisha (Rig Veda VII-17-3;AV 20-5-7) according to VS Agrawal. It might have become Rishaba Vahana (Bull).
*On a seal discovered from Chanbu-daro, two nude women are represented carrying a standard each. Chanbu-Daro excavations Pl 11-36 ,pp149/50
Picture: Hindu Flag
*Kapi dwaja- Arjuna (monkey flag) or Vanara dwaja
In the Vanaparva there is a story that Hanuman assured Bhima that he will make terrible sounds staying in the dwaja of Arjuna (MB, Vana.150)
*Yudhistra- pair of Mrdanga
*Bhima- a simha
*Sahadeva- Hamsa (swan)
*Bhisma- Tala (Palmyra)
*Dronaa- an altar covered with a deer skin & kamandalu
*Karna- elephant chain
*Asvattama- Lion Tail
*Alayudha- band of jackals
*Kalingaraja- a flame
KETU (flag) suffix in Mahabharata (nine kings)
Viraketu and more.
SOUTH INDIAN FLAGS
*Malayadwajan- Pandya King , Father of Meenakshi, husband of Kanchanamala ( Surasenan’s daughter)
*Chakradwaja Pandya (Drona Parva sloka)=kodi ther cheziyan
*Babruvahanan= Hamsa flag
*Chera Kings- Bow and Arrow
*Choza kings- Tiger flag
*Pandya Kings- Fish flag
*Pallava- Bull flag
*Parameswara Varman- Katwanga Ketu
*Nandhivarma Pallavan- Katwanga Ketu (Skull inserted in a hand bone)
*Chalukya Vikramadityan boasts of capturing Pallava Katvanga ketu
*During coronation ceremonies Flag Hoisting was an important event
*Flags were fluttering in every part of the country till the boundary
*One of the ten symbols of Kings is a flag (Kural etc.)
*Kalingatu Parani describes how the flag was taken in the forefront when the army marched into another kingdom
*Parankusa Maravarman- Thunder flag (pandi Kovai mentions it in 3 places)
*Pallavas and Pandyas had extra flags in addition to their Fish and Bull flags.
*Nandhivarman’s commander Uthayachandran defeated a hunter king Udhayanan and captured his Kannadi flag ( it is made up of peacock feathers, probably decorated with glass)
*Chalukya king- boar flag (Rajendra chola II boasts of capturing varaha flag of chalukyas
Kushana king Kumara- Cock flag, Kukkuta Dwaja.
*Velalar- kalappaik koti (plough)
Above facts about SOUTH INDIAN FLAGS were taken from Dr R Nagasamy’s book Yavarum Kelir)
Jaffna Royal Family (Sri Lanka) –Bull,Conch,Sun,Moon and Parasol
Samudragupta- Garuda (eagle)
Huna king Mihirakula- Recumbent bull
Rashtrakuta king Govinda II captured as many as 13 standards from his enemies.
Nandhivarma captured Mirror flag
Vinayaditya’s father- Pali dwaja
Sanskrit words for Flag : Ketu, Dwaja, Pathaka, Vaijayanthi
TAMIL WORDS FOR FLAGS (koti)
*Vijaya Ven Koti =Victorious white flag (puram 462)
*Visaiyam Vel Koti ( Mullai 91),
*Venrezu Koti ( Malaipadu. 582),
*Vaanthoy vel koti ( Pathtru. 67-1)
Brahma- Swan/ Hamsa
Indra- Vaijayanta dwaja or Airavata
Manmatha_ Makara Dwaja
Moon/Chandra- Padma/ Lotus
Mars/Angaraka- Vira /Spear?
Mercury/ Budha- Gaja/Elephant
Venus/Sukra- Asva/ Horse
Gahtotkacha and other Rakshasas- Vulture dwaja
Ravana- human head or Veena
Yakshas- Owl ,Alayudha- jackal,Yama-buffalo, Yamuna-Fish, ,Jyesta- Kaka Dwaja, Sura and Vatsarasa_ Pigeon,Bhisma- Palmyra flag,Tala Dwaja, Rama’s brother Bharata,Drstadyumna- Kovidara tree flag, Several sages_-Kusa Dwaja (kusa grass), Brahmanas- Lotus flag, Kinnaras- Lotus stalk/nala dwaja, Yaksha in Kalidasa’s Meghaduta- Cloud flag, Gupta king Chandra Gupta- Crescent moon,Ramagupta- Chakra Dwaja. Kumara Gupta, Yaudeyas,, Vrsa sena- Peacock Dwaja, Siki Dwaja
Picture: Flag of Cheras of Tamil Nadu
Pradyumna- Makaradwaja (Besnagar temple had this flag from 2nd Century BC)
(Also read my earlier post Country Names and Flags: India showed the way)