|Chandragupta Mourya-The Great King, Unified India, Made History|
Chandragupta Mourya-The Great King, Unified India, Made History-According to the Buddhist tradition, Chandragupta Maurya, was a descendant of the Moriya Kshatriya clan of Pipphalivana. As is mentioned in the Buddhist texts, Chandragupta was not blessed with royal parentage and did not have any dynastic connection. Chandragupta`s father was a chief of the Moriya clan and was killed in a battle. His widowed mother took refuge in Pataliputra, the capital city of Magadha during that time she gave birth to a male child, who was named Chandragupta. As a boy Chandragupta was reared in a village among cowherds and hunters. Coincidentally while playing a mock royal court with his village playmates, Acharya Vishnu Gupta Chanakya(Kautilya) happened to pass by that way. Kautilya, highly impressed by the majestic benevolence and dignified potentiality of the boy, purchased him on the spot from his adopted father, who was a cowherd by paying 5000 Karshapanas (coins). Chanakya then brought the young Chandragupta to the city of Taxila and provided him with thorough education of humanities, arts, crafts
and military science with the solemn aim to guide him properly for the future royal office. Thus the Buddhist tradition has some resemblance with the classical accounts of Justin who opined that Chandragupta belonged to a humble origin but was promoted to royal dignity by mere destiny. Since the Buddhist texts and the classical writers provide valid records of the Mauryan dynasty, modern historians generally depend on these facts for recreating the historical accounts of the early
Very little is known about Chandragupta's youth and ancestry. What is known is gathered from later classical Sanskrit literature, as well as classical Greek and Latin sources which refer to Chandragupta by the names "Sandracottos" or "Andracottus.Plutarch reports that he met with Alexander the Great, probably around Takskashila in the northwest, and that he viewed the ruling Nanda Empire in a negative light:Androcottus, when he was a stripling, saw Alexander himself, and we are told that he often said in later times that Alexander narrowly missed making himself master of the country, since its king was hated and despised on account of his baseness and low birth.(Plutarch, Parallel Lives: Life of Alexander ) The Circumstances of the time.As a boy when Chandragupta, came to Taxila, the condition of the entire north India was pretty confused and full of chaotic anarchy. Chandragupta appeared in the political scenario on the eve of Alexander`s invasion in 326 B.C.
When the entire northwest India was under the control of the mighty Macedonian king who posted his garrison in the vassal areas. Chandra Gupta’s mentor Chanakya knew of the threats that Alexander the Great's army posed. So, he infiltrated Alexander's army with Chandragupta himself being recruited as one of the soldiers. They spread word of the ferocious Indian armies, one of which Alexander had barely managed to defeat, creating the famous moment in history when Alexander's army requested him to abandon his quest of India.The rest of north India was under the tyrant and oppressive rule of Nanda king Dhananada. Meanwhile, one of the vassal chief Porus was defeated by the Greek general Eudemus. Taking advantage of this vacuum, created by the defeat of Porus and manipulating the unpopularity of Dhananada, Chandragupta Maurya, the ambitious youth came forward, and using shrewd diplomacy he went on to become the master of the entire north India.
On Chandra Gupta’s attaining manhood, Chanakya decided that he is capable of forming and controlling an army, he formed a powerful army and entrusted it to him. He started invading the inhabited parts of the country, he commenced his campaign by attacking towns and villages. In the course of their (Chanakya and Chandragupta’s) warfare, the population rose en masse, and surrounding them, and hewing their army with their weapons, vanquished them. Dispersing, they re-united in the wilderness; and consulting together, they thus decided: “As yet no advantage has resulted from war; Their attacks on Magadh and Rajgrha or Rajgir(The Miliraty HQ of Magadh) failed repeatedly then relinquishing military operations, thinking let us acquire a knowledge of the sentiments of the people.
Thenceforth, in disguise, they travelled about the country. While thus roaming about, after sunset retiring to some town or other, they were in the habit of attending to the conversation of the inhabitants of those places. On one such occasion they saw a woman having baked some bread for her child and gave it with butter filled in centre. The child left the edges and ate the centre. On this she remarked you are doing like Chandragupta. He also, in his ambition to be a monarch, without subduing the frontiers, before he attacked the towns in his attempt to take possession of the kingdom. Chandragupta, invaded the heart of the country, and ignored the towns as waste. That’s why, both the inhabitants of the town and others, rising, closed in upon him, from the frontiers to the centre, and destroyed his army. That was his folly.”
They, taking lesson thereof, again raised an army and resumed their attacks on the provinces and towns, commencing from the frontiers, reducing towns, and stationing troops in the intervals, they preceded in their invasion. After a respite, adopting the same system, and marshalling a great army, and in regular course reducing each kingdom and province, then assailing Pataliputra and seized that sovereignty. During this King Porus, King of Kashmir, Nepal etc. actively helped him.Chanakya had trained and guided Chandragupta and together they planned the destruction of Dhana Nanda. The Mudrarakshasas of Visakhadutta as well as the Jain work Parisishtaparvan talk of Chandragupta's alliance with the Himalayan king Parvatka(Porus), sometimes identified with Porus. It is noted in the Chandraguptakatha that Chandragupta and Chanakya were initially rebuffed by the Nanda forces. Regardless, in the ensuing war, Chandragupta faced off against Bhadrasala, the commander of Dhana Nanda's armies. He was eventually able to defeat Bhadrasala and Dhana Nanda in a series of battles, culminating in the siege of the capital city Patliputra and the conquest of the Nanda Empire around 321 BCE, thus founding the powerful Maurya Empire in Northern India by the time he was about 20 years old.
After unifying India, Chandragupta and his Maha Mantri(Prime Minister) Chanakya passed a series of major economic and political reforms. He established a strong central administration patterned after Chanakya’s text on politics, the Arthashastra (English: Economics and Political Science). Mauryan India was characterised by an efficient and highly organised bureaucratic structure with a large civil service. Due to its unified structure, the empire developed a strong economy, with internal and external trade thriving and agriculture flourishing. In both art and architecture, the Mauryan empire constituted a landmark. There was a growth in culture which derived its inspiration from the Achaemenids and the Hellenistic world. handragupta's reign was a time of great social and religious reform in India. Budhism and jainism became increasingly prominent. It is said that he married Durdhara(The daughter of defeated king Dhana Nand). The great King Ashoka is said to be the son of queen Durdhara. In foreign Greek and Latin accounts, Chandragupta is known as Sandrokottos and Androcottus. He became well known in the Hellenistic world for conquering Alexander the Great's easternmost satrapies, and for defeating the most powerful of Alexander's successors, Seleucus I Nicator, in battle. Chandragupta subsequently married Seleucus's daughter to formalize an alliance and established a policy of friendship with the Hellenistic kingdoms, which stimulated India's trade and contact with the western world. The Greek diplomat Megasthanese is an important source of Mauryan history.
After Alexander's death in 323 BCE, Chandragupta, turned his attention to Northwestern India (modern Pakistan), where he defeated the satrapies (described as prefects in classical Western sources) left in place by Alexander (according to Justin), and may have assassinated two of his governors, Nicanor and Philip. The satrapies he fought may have included Eudemus, ruler in western Punjab until his departure in 317 BCE; and Peithon, son of Agenor, ruler of the Greek colonies along the Indus until his departure for Babylon in 316 BCE. The Roman historian Justin described how Sandrocottus (Greek version of Chandragupta's name) conquered the northwest:Seleucus I Nicator, a Macedonian satrap of Alexander, reconquered most of Alexander's former empire and put under his own authority the eastern territories as far as Bactria and the Indus (Appian, History of Rome,
The Syrian Wars 55), until in 305 BCE he entered into conflict with Chandragupta: Always lying in wait for the neighboring nations, strong in arms and persuasive in council, he acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia, 'Seleucid' Cappadocia, Persis, Parthia, Bactria, Arabia, Tapouria, Sogdia, Arachosia, Hyrcania, and other adjacent peoples that had been subdued by Alexander, as far as the river Indus, so that the boundaries of his empire were the most extensive in Asia after that of Alexander. The whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus. He crossed the Indus and waged war with Sandrocottus [Maurya], king of the Indians, who dwelt on the banks of that stream, until they came to an understanding with each other and contracted a marriage relationship.
Some of these exploits were performed before the death of Antigonus and some afterward. (—Appian, History of Rome, The Syrian Wars) The exact details of engagement are not known. As noted by scholars such as R. C. Majumdar and D. D. Kosambi, Seleucus appears to have fared poorly, having ceded large territories west of the Indus to Chandragupta. Due to his defeat, Seleucus surrendered Arachosia, Gedrosia Paropamisadae, and Aria.
Mainstream scholarship asserts that Chandragupta received vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern day Afghanistan, and the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka, are known as far as Gandhar in southern Afghanistan.
Chandragupta Maurya is a pivotal figure in the history of India. Prior to his consolidation of power, most of South Asia was ruled by small states, while the Nanda Dynasty dominated the Gangetic Plains. handragupta succeeded in conquering and subjugating almost all of the Indian subcontinent by the end of his reign His empire extended from Bengal and Assam in the east, to Afghanistan and Balochistan, eastern and south-east Iran in the west, to Kashmir in the north, and to the Deccan Plateau in the south. It was the largest empire yet seen in Indian history
Chandragupta was influenced to accept Jainism by the sage Bhadrabahu; he abdicated his throne to spend his last days at the Shravana Belgola, a famous religious site in southwest India, where he fasted to death. Along with his grandson, Ashoka, Chandragupta Maurya is one of the most celebrated rulers in the history of India. He has played a crucial role in shaping the national identity of modern India, and has been lionised as a model ruler and as a national hero.