There is a lot of confusion related to the word Rajput and Rajput community, majority of people say that Rajput is a 12th century word and Rajputs as a community didn’t exist before that. Some say that Muslims gave some allied nobles the title of Rajput. But that’s not true. Let us analyse the word deeply to debunk this myth.
The term Rajput comes from Sanskrit word Rajaputra. Earliest usage of the term occurs in Aitareya Taittiriya and Satapatha Bramhana of Rigveda.Bramharshi Vishwamitra has been called a Rajaputra.(Aitareya Brahmana 7.17) Bramharshi Vishwamitra got revelation of Gayatri Mantra in his meditative trance.
Gayatri Mantra (Rig Veda Mandala 3.62.10) regarded as the highest and most powerful Hindu prayer , Gayatri is the name of the Vedic meter in which the verse is composed.
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात॥
Aum Bhur Bhuvah Svah Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Bhagwan Ram and Lakshmana are referred to as Rajaputra in Mahabharata.
Mahabharata, Ramopakhayana, 3.266.61
“The two brothers, rajaputra Rama and Lakshmana, fare well protected by Sugriva, the lord of all Vanaras.”
-(Mahabharata, Ramopakhayana, 3.266.61)
In Balakanda of Ramayana, Bramharshi Vishvamitra calls King Trishanku a Rajaputra. Trishanku is called a Rajana barely two verses before that address.
Ramayana, Balakanda ,Sarga 58, verses 13 and 15.
The term Rajaputra also appears in other Vedic literatures and Kathaka Samhita. If we look at the Shanti parva of the Mahabharata, In chapters 62,63 and 64 , verses 9 and 14 the term Rajaputra is used as a substitute for Kshatriya on multiple occasions.(when it is speaking of three Varna’s legitimacy to take to asking alms for food)
King Dushyanta refers to Shakuntala the daughter of Rishi Vishwamitra as Rajaputri(Adi Parva) at a time when Vishwamitra was no longer a Kshatriya. Still , the word Rajaputra used here shows the importance of bloodline over anything.
In Rigveda’s famous Purusha Sukta the term Rajanya is used as connotative of Kshatriyas.
Bhagwan Buddha was also referred to as Rajaputra in Buddhist texts. Dr. Rhys Davids in his “Buddhism, Its History and Literature: Page 27″ says about Lord Buddha:”The family name was certainly Gautama…….It is a curious fact that Gautama is still the family name of the Rajput chiefs of Nagara, the village which has been identified with Kapilavastu.”
Now for those people who will come saying that Rajaputra means Kings Son: See the early 7th century Sanga inscription of Nepal.In this inscription, the chief minister Vikramasena was designated as “Rajaputra”. He was not king’s son and not even related to the king. Source: Regmi, D. R. Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal. Vol. 2.
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Abhimanyu’s son Parikshit is called Rajaputra in Bhagvat Purana. “As the moon, in its waxing fortnight, develops day after day, so the rajaputra [Parikshit] very soon developed luxuriantly under the care and full facilities of his guardian grandfathers.”
-(Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.12.311)
Rajaputras have also been referred to in Kautilya’s (350-283 B.C) Arthashashtra, Kalidasa’s (1st century B.C) Malvikagnimitra,Asvaghosha’s (80-150 A.D.) Saundarananda, Banbhatta’s (7th century A.D.) Harshacharita and Kadambari and Kalhana’s (12th century A.D.) Rajatarangini records that the Governor of Bhukti of Pundravardhana, Rajaputra-Dev-Bhattaraka, was a son of the emperor, bearing the title Uparika Maharaja and rendering his homage to the king’. Rajputra are also mentioned in Sumandala Copper Plate inscription of Prithvigraha, Gupta era (570 A.D).
There are Rajputra references in many Licchavi inscriptions (Recorded in D.R. Regimi’s, Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal, Abhinav Publications, ISBN 0391025597). Rajputra Vajraratha, Babharuvarma, and Deshavarma are mentioned in the inscriptions of Sikubahi (Shankhamul) which describe the reigns of Licchavi kings Gangadeva (567-573 A.D) Damodarpur copper-plate inscription of Kumaragupta III (533 d Amshuvarma (605-621 A.D) respectively. The inscriptions of Sanga mentions the name of Rajputra Vikramasena, Gnoli inscription mentions Rajaputra Jayadeva, inscription of Deopatan mentions Rajputra Shurasena, and the inscriptions of Adeshwar mentions the Rajaputras Nandavarma, Jishnuvarma and Bhimavarma.