Chandragupta Maurya

Founder of the Maurya dynasty in ancient India, Chandragupta Maurya reigned from 321 BCE–298 BCE. He was born to a very meek and humble family; he was orphaned and deserted. Though raised as their son by another rural family, he was later chosen, trained, and counseled by Chanakya, the creator of the world-famous novel ‘Arthashastra.’ After defeating the ‘Nanda Dynasty, Chandragupta built ‘The Maurya Dynasty,’ one of the biggest and most prominent dynasties ever in Indian History.

Later life of Chandragupta Maurya:

As per the Jain sources, Chandragupta Maurya later renounced everything; his power, wealth, and position, and became a Jain monk. As claimed by the ancient Jain texts, Chandragupta Maurya followed Jainism in his life after renouncing everything and went away to Karnataka (known as the Deccan region during that time) with the Jain monks. He ultimately performed Sallekhana – the sacred custom followed by Jains where they welcome death peacefully by fasting. He is certainly one of the greatest emperors in Indian History and is also known to have triumphed over the easternmost satrapies of Alexander the Great.

Many other sources have since been discovered which are capable of rendering further valuable aid in this direction. The Puranas, the Buddhist chronicles of Ceylon 3 and the Jain records, when read together, go a long way in solving the vexed problems of chronology.In the judgment of the present writer it is possible to arrive at nearly precise dates by reconciling the diverse chronologies preserved in these works. Buddhist and Jain authors usually base their calculations on the dates of the passing away of Buddha and Mahavira respectively, and despite occasional mistakes in other matters, they appear to be generally correct when they date an event in terms of these epochs, which were important enough for them to well remember.

Professor Geiger has, after thorough study of the problem, arrived at the conclusion that the Nirvana of Buddha took place in 483 B. C. 1 The date of the death of Mahavira has similarly been determined by Professor Charpentier, on the authority of the Parisishtaparvan and other Jain works, as 468 B. Ca We shall accept these dates in determining the chronology of the kings of Magadha upto Chandragupta. It is, at present, not possible to verify the Puranic account of the Kings of Magadha before the time of Bimbisara. We, therefore, start with that king. The durations of the reigns of Magadhan kings from Bimbisara downwards are diversely given in the Ceylonese chronicles and the Puranas. The VayuPurana, which is one of the oldest Puranas, seems to have the best preserved list, as calculations madeon its basis most nearly agree with the Buddhist and Jain dates.

Growth of magadha:

There were many kingdoms and republics in India when the founder of Buddhism lived. Themost famous kingdoms of that period were Magadha,Avanti, Kosala and Vatsa, while the most important republican clans were the Mallas, the Vrijis, the Sakyas and the Moriyas. The ruling dynasties as well as the republican clans generally belonged to the Kshatriya class. The tendency of the time wastowards the growth of monarchies and the republics were generally being merged into the existing kingdoms or otherwise coming under the influence of monarchism. Chandragupta himself, the hero of our story and the ‘founder of the greatest Indo Aryan dynasty known in history’, sprang from a republican clan, as we shall see later The kingdom of Magadha, which was traditionally founded several centuries before by a king named Brihadratha, was rapidly rising at this period under the rule of a new dynasty whose first important king was Bimbisara, The history of India henceforth is the history of this kingdom’s growth, which culminated in the rise of the Maurya empire.

Carrer of magadha:

We have seen that Northern India was far from being a united country at the time of the invasion of Alexander the Great. But the man who was destined to do more than achieve this .unity was already born. This heroic figure was Chandragupta.
The ancestry and early life of Chandragupta is recorded in several works of ancient and metftaeval times although, unfortunately, sufficient details are every-where lacking. It has hitherto been believed by several scholars, on the authority of some mediaeval
works, that Chandragupta was a low-caste man and a scion of the Nanda family. The most important of these works is a collection of stories, without any pretensions to history, known as the Brihatkatha which is preserved through many Sanskrit recensions*
Its story of the death of Nanda and the re-animation of his body is obviously not deserving of criticism, and its account of the origin of Chandragupta should also be likewise treated, being not supported by other old works. The other work which calls Chandragupta a low-caste man and connects him with Nandais the MudraJRakshasa, which is also said by the

Carrer of chandragupta:

Dasarupavaloka to be based on the Brihatkatha. This work contains many inaccuracies such as the assignation of high birth to Nanda. a statement which led the commentators to postulate that the mother of Chandragupta was a Sudra woman, for otherwise
how could the son of a high bom man be low born. 2 On the other hand, all the older works recognise Chandragupta as a Kshatriya. The Puranas, no doubt, state that Sudra kingship began with Nanda, but it simply means that kings of Sudra
caste were not rare from that time, and not that all the subsequent kings were Sudras, for the Puranas themselves designate the Kanva kings, who belonged to one of the subsequent dynasties, as Brahmans.* Therefore, when the Puranas describe the Mauryas
as a new dynasty, neither connecting them with the Nandas, nor calling them Sudras, it is clear that they recognised them as Kshatriyas, the caste to which the king normally belonged. The Kalpasutra of the Jains mentions a Mauryaputra of the Kasyapa gotra, which shows that the Mauryas were regarded as high class folk,* The Buddhist Divyavadana calls Bindusara
and Asoka, a the son and grandson respectively of Chandragupta,asKshatriyas. The Buddhist Mahavansa calls Chandragupta himself as a member of (he Kshatriya clan of the Mauryas, 8 who are represented by the Mahavansatika as a Himalayan off-shoot of the Sakyas.

Administration of empire:

The limits of the empire governed by Chandragupta are not known with absolute precision. But we can approximate to the truth by combining, the accounts of foreign writers with the Indian literary and epigraphic evidence. The empire extended upto the borders of Persia in the north-west as gathered from the terms of the treaty with Suleukos Nikator. It included the whole of the IndoXjangetic valley extending, in the west upto Kathiawar as is evident from the inscription of Rudradaman, and in the east, upto Bengal which must have passed to Chandragupta from Nanda, whoruled over Gangaradai (Ganges delta) as well as
Prassiai (Prachi).