Shoor(saini)s in Mahabharata

References to Sainis in Mahabharata
 Mahabharata, Book 13, Chapter 147

Lord Krishna mentioned as a Shoorsaini by Veda Vyasa

"Foremost among all the Shoorsainis, the puissant one, Krishna, residing at Dwaraka, will rule and protect the whole earth after vanquishing all her lords, conversant as he will be with the science of polity. "

Mahabharata, Book 2, Chapter 14

Shoorsainis flee toward West  (Modern Punjab and Afghanistan) from Mathura due to attack of Jarasandha

“The eighteen tribes of the Bhojas, from fear of Jarasandha, have all fled towards the west; so also have the Shoorsainis, the Bhadrakas, the Vodhas, the Salwas, the Patachchavas, the Susthalas, the Mukuttas, and the Kulindas, along with the Kuntis. And the king of the Salwayana tribe with their brethren and followers; and the southern Panchalas and the eastern Kosalas have all fled to the country of the Kuntis. So also the Matsyas and the Sannyastapadas, overcome with fear, leaving their dominions in the north, have fled into the southern country. And so all the Panchalas, alarmed at the power of Jarasandha, have left their own kingdom and fled in all directions."

Mahabharata, Book 2, Chapter 30

“Sahadeva, vanquishing completely at the outset the Shoorsainis, brought the king of Matsya under his sway. And the hero then, defeating Dantavakra, the mighty king of the Adhirajas and making him pay tribute, re-established him on his throne.”

Mahabharata, Book 5, Chapter 54

Shoorsainis change allegiance to Pandavas

“The Matsyas, the Panchalas, the Salways and the Shoorsainis, all decline to pay thee homage now and all disregard Dhritarashtra. All of them have joined the Pandavas.”

Mahabharata, Book 1, Chapter 110

Kunti (Pandavas' Mother), mentioned as the daughter of Maharaja Shoorsen, the found of Saini clan

“There are three maidens worthy of being allied to Kuru race. One is the daughter (Kunti) of Shoorsen, of the Yaduvanshi race; the other is the daughter (Gandhari) of Suvala; and the third is the princess (Madri) of Madra.”

Mahabharata, Book 5, Chapter 90

“The daughter of king Shoorsen, thou (Kunti) art, by marriage, admitted into Ajamida’s race (The race of Kurus).”

Mahabharata Book 6, Chapter 9


Surasena Kingdom, named after Maharaja Shoorsen, mentioned as one of the kingdoms of ancient India

“They are the Kuru-Panchalas, the Salwas, the Madreyas, the Jangalas, the Surasena, the Kalingas, the Vodhas, the Malas, the Matsyas, the Sauvalyas, the Kuntalas, the Kasi-kosalas, the Chedis, the Karushas, the Bhojas, the Sindhus....”
An Eighteenth Century Manuscript Illustration of the Battle of Kurukshetra in the Epic Mahabharta

Sainis in  Kurukshetra Battle

Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 18


Shoorsainis defend Bhishma on day 1

“The Abhishahas, the Shoorsainis, the Sivis, and the Vasatis, the Swalyas, the Matsyas, the Amvashtas, the Trigartas, and the Kekayas, the Sauviras, the Kitavas, the dwellers of the Eastern, Western, and the Northern countries, these twelve brave races were resolved to fight reckless of the lives. And these protected the grandsire, Bhishma, with a multitudinous array of cars.”

Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 51


Shoorsainis protect Bhishma on Day 2

“Let the Samsthanas, the Shoorsainis, the Venikas, the Kukkuras, the Rechakas, the Trigartas, the Madrakas, the Yavanas, with Satrunjayas, and Dussasana, and that excellent hero Vikarna, and Nanda and Upanandaka, and Chitrasena, along with the Manibhadrakas, protect Bhishma with their respective troops.”

Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 52


 Encounter of Arjuna and Bhishma on Day 2

“Slaughtering the Kaurava divisions and the Shoorsainis also, Arjuna speedily came to the encounter with Bhishma.”

Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 56


Kauravas make the Garuda Military-Formation on Day 3

“Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti, and the Kamvojas with the Sakas, and the Shoorsainis formed its tail.”

Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 75


Kauravas make the Crane Military-Formation on Day 6

“And in its neck were Shoorsainis, and Duryodhana surrounded by many kings.”

Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 107


Shoorsainis defend Bhishma with their lives

“The Sauviras, the Kitavas, the Easterners, the Westerners, the Northerners, the Malavas, the Abhishahas, the Shoorsainis, the Sivis, and the Vasatis, did not avoid Bhishma in battle although they were incessantly slaughtered.”

Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 118


Shoorsainis  resist  Arjuna for aiding Bhishma

“Many combatants also, belonging to the Nishadas, the Sauviras, the Valhikas, the Daradas, the Westerners, the Northerners, the Malavas, the Abhighatas, the Shoorsainis, the Sivis, the Vasatis, the Salwas, the Sakas, the Trigartas, the Amvashthas, and the Kekayas, similarly fell upon Arjuna, like flights of insects upon a fire.”


Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 120


Shoorsainis finally abandon  Bhishma
“The Sauviras, the Kitavas, the Easterners, the Westerners, the Northerners, the Malavas, the Abhishahas, the Shoorsainis, the Sivis, the Vasatis, the Salwas, the Sayas, the Trigartas, the Amvashthas, and the Kaikeyas, these and many other illustrious warriors, afflicted with arrows and pained by their wounds, abandoned Bhishma in that battle while he was fighting with the diadem-decked Arjuna.”


Mahabharata, Book 7, Chapter 7


After Bhishma's fall, Shoorsainis fighting under Drona


“The Madras, the Trigartas the Amvashthas, the Westerners, the Northerners, the Malavas, the Shoorsainis, the Sudras the Maladas, the Sauviras, the Kaitavas, the Easterners, and the Southerners placing Duryodhana and Karna at their head, forming the rear guard, gladdened warriors of their own army.”


Mahabharata, Book 7, Chapter 20


Drona's Garuda Military-Formation


“Bhutasarman, and Kshemasarman, and the valiant Karakaksha, and the Kalingas, the Singhalas, the Easterners, the Sudras, the Abhiras, the Daserakas, the Sakas, the Yavanas, the Kamvojas, the Hangsapadas, the Shoorsainis, the Daradas, the Madras, and the Kalikeyas, with hundreds and thousands of elephants, steeds, cars, and foot-soldiers were stationed at its neck.”


Mahabharata, Book 7, Chapter 88


“The Abhishahas, the Shoorsainis, the Sivis, the Vasatis, the Mavellakas, the Lilithyas, the Kaikeyas, the Madrakas, the Narayana Gopalas, and the various tribes of the Kamvojas who had before been vanquished by Karna, all of whom were regarded as very brave, placing Drona at their head, and becoming regardless of their lives, rushed towards Arjuna.”


Mahabharata, Book 7, Chapter 90


Resisting Arjuna for aiding Drona


“The Abhishahas, the Shoorsainis, the Sivis, the Vasatis began to scatter their arrow showers on Arjuna.”

Mahabharata, Book 7, Chapter 90


Shoorsainis fight Satyaki, another Shoorsaini


“Then the brave warriors of the Shoorsainis endeavoured to check Satyaki, striking him with showers of shafts, like a driver striking an infuriated elephant with the hook.”

Mahabharata, Book 7, Chapter 147


Destruction of some Shoorsainis along with Jayadratha

King Jayadratha hath been slain, and Somadatta’s son also of great energy, and the Abhishahas, the Shoorsainis, the Sivis, and the Vasatis.


Mahabharata, Book 7, Chapter 154


Shoorsainis resisting Yudhisthira for aiding Drona

“Yudhisthira cutting off the Abhishahas, the Shoorsainis, the Valhikas, and the Vasatis, he caused the earth to be miry with flesh and blood. And he also despatched within a trice, by means of many shafts the Yaudheyas, the Malavas, and large numbers of the Madrakas. ”

Mahabharata, Book 7, Chapter 158


Shoorsainis resisting  Bhima for aiding Drona

“Bhima, mangling the Abhishahas, the Shoorsainis, and other Kshatriyas difficult to defeat in battle, made the earth miry with blood. ”

Mahabharata, Book 8, Chapter 5


Destruction of Shoorsainis aiding Karna

“The Vasatis, numbering 2,000, effectual smiters of all, as also the Shoorsainis endued with prowess, have all been slain in battle. The Abhishahas, clad in mail, capable of smiting effectually, and fierce in battle, also the Sivis, those foremost of car-warriors, with the Kalingas, have all been slain. Those other heroes also, the Narayana Gopas, who live and grew in Gokula, have been slain by Savyasaci (Arjuna). Many thousands of Srenis, as also the samsaptakas, approaching Arjuna, have all dead. ”

Mahabharata, Book 8, Chapter 47


Shoorsainis on the side of the Pandavas


“Kripa and Kritavarma, and Sakuni accompanied by troops fought with the Kosalas, the Kasis, the Matsyas, the Karusas, the Kaikayas, and the Shoorsainis. ”

Mahabharata, Book 8, Chapter 45


Karana extolling the piety of Shoorsainis

“The Pancalas observe the duties enjoined in the Vedas; the Kauravas observe truth; the Matsyas and the Shoorsainis perform sacrifices, the Easterners follow the practices of the Sudras; the Southerners are fallen; the Vahikas are thieves; the Saurashtras are bastards.”



शांति दूत शूर सैनी श्री कृष्ण



Krishna identified as Saini or Shoorsaini in Mahabharata

" Foremost among all the Shoorsainis  , the powerful one, Krishna, residing at Dwaraka, will rule and protect the whole earth after vanquishing all her lords, conversant as he will be with the science of polity. "

- Mahabharata, Book 13, Chapter 147


Shoorsainis in the Battle of Mahbharata
"It is to be noted that bulk of Shoorsainis had fought on the side of Kaurvas, except for Lord Krishna, Satyaki and some other cousins of Krishna. The reason for this was prior to the battle both Duryodhana and Arjuna had gone to Krishna to seek his help. Krishna said that they could either have his army or him but not both. Duryodhana chose to have the Shoorsaini army while Arjuna wisely chose Krishna, the chief of Shoorsainis, as his counsel and charioteer. Balrama, the eldest of the Shoorsainis, stayed neutral. It should also be borne in mind that Mahabharata battle was a not war in conventional sense. It was in fact a duel, with notions of fair play, chivalry and strict adherence to warrior code holding paramount importance until of course the last few days of the battle when all these finer distinctions were abandoned by both sides ."