Chandragupt Maurya, the founder of the Maurya empire is one of the greatest kings of India. Despite being an ordinary man, he not only became an emperor but also ruled the entire India by uniting several provinces with the help of his guru Chanakya.
While, there are several facts and stories about him, here we share his biography –
Early Life and Background
Chandragupta Maurya is believed to be born in a humble family. Abandoned, he was then raised by another family. From this family he was then picked up by Acharya Chanakya who made him his student and taught him in a way that he could become the next Samrat of Magadh. The association of Chanakya and Changragupta as a teacher and a student is revered in Indian history with great pride and respect.
The End of the Nand Empire
According to Chandraguptakatha, Chandragupta along with his guru Chanakya were constantly rebuffed by the then Magadh power, Dhana Nanda and his forces. However, they consistently warred against them. In the series of battle, Chandragupta could defeat Dhana Nanda, thereby, seiging the capital Patliaputra.
Marking the the end of the Nanda dynasty, Chandragupta destroyed all the principles and strategies followed by him and put to work the statecraft strategies of his guru Chanakya.
Chandragupt Maurya, the Samrat
After the initial conquest of Magadh, Chandragupta and Chanakya built the Mauryan empire by gradually conquesting provinces starting from fighting battles with the Macedonian satrapaties. Post his battle, he won Gandhara, Kandahar and modern day Balochistan. He then started diverting his attention towards the South beyond the Vindhya range and the Deccan Plateau.
Going by the writing of Megasthenes, the army of Chandragupta Maurya comprised of 9,000 war elephants,30,000 cavalry, and 600,000 infantry. Mudrarakshasa narrates that Chandragupta’s army consisted of Yavanas (Greeks), Kambojas, Kiratas, Parasikas, Bahlikas and Sakas.
Now that Chandragupt Maurya ruled his empire based on Arthashastra that had rules for everything – administration, king, nobles, practises, economy and politics, the kingdom had provisions for almost everything. From.infrastructure to arts and culture, everything flourished during his time.
The Personal Life of Chandragupta
Although there isn’t much information on his personal life. It is known that he was married to Durdhara, his first wife who became the mother of his only son Bindusar. However, she died early, in fact, before giving birth to Bindusar due to poisoning.
She ate Chandragupta’s food unaware that his food normally had traces of poison in it to increase his immunity towards all sort of poison. Immediately, her child was removed from her womb by Chanakya in a style that we popularly now know as caesarean operation.
He remained unmarried for most of his life thereafter and married only when he was in his early 40s to Seleucus Nicator’s young daughter Helena.
Death and Legacy
According to Jain texts – Brihakathā kośa (931 CE) of Harishena, Bhadrabāhu charita (1450 CE) of Ratnanandi, Munivaṃsa bhyudaya (1680 CE) and Rajavali kathe, Chandragupta renounced his kingship and went to South India under the followship of Bhadrabahu, the Jain teacher. For several years, he lived as an ascetic at Shravanabelagola and then he fasted till death, following the Jain practice of sallekhana.