The Mauryan Dynasty

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The Mauryan Dynasty

The Mauryan Dynasty


  1. Mudraraksha Vrishal/Kulhina (of low clan).
  2. Buddhist tradition as Kshatriya
  3. Puranas Moriya clan (low caste)
  4. Junagarh rock inscription of Rudradaman (AD 150) Vaishya origin.

Chandragupta Maurya (321-298 BC)

  • Also called as Sandrocottus/ Androcottus by Greek Scholars.
  • He entered into alliance with Parvartaka and with the help of Chanakya he dethroned last Nanda ruler Dhanananda and founded the Mauryan Dynasty with capital at Pataliputra.
  • Chandragupta defeated Selucus Nikator, the general of Alexander in North-West India in 305 BC. There was matrimonial alliance between them.
  • Selucus also sent Greek Ambassador, Megasthenese, to the court of Chandragupta Maurya.
  • Chandragupta embraced Jainism and went to Chandragiri Hill, at Sravanbelagola with Bhadrabahu where he died of slow starvation (Salekhna).

Bindusara (298-273 BC)

  • Greeks called him ‘Amitro Chates’ meaning slayer of foes.
  • He extended the kingdom further to the peninsular region of India as far South as Mysore.
  • Antiochus I, the Selucid king of Syria, sent his ambassador, Deimachus to his court.
  • Pliny mentions that Ptoleny Philladelphus of Egypt sent Dionysius as his ambassador to the court of Bindusara.
  • Taranath the Buddhist monk, credits him for conquering the land between two seas.
  • He patronised Ajivika sect, founded by Makkhali Gosala.

Ashoka (273-232 BC)

  • He was the greatest Mauryan ruler; Governor of Taxila and Ujjain previously. His rule extended to the whole of subcontinent except extreme South. It also included Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Kashmir and valleys of Nepal. A Buddhist text Deepvamsha says that he usurped the throne after killing his 99 brothers except the youngest one Tishya in the war of succession that lasted for 4 years.
  • He fought Kalinga War (261 BC) in the 9th year of his rule. The miseries of war caused deep remorse to Ashoka and therefore he abandoned the policy of physical conquest (Bherighosa) in favour of cultural conquest (Dhamma ghosha).
  • He embraced Buddhism under Upagupta.
  • He sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Ceylon as Buddhist missionaries with a sapling of original pipal tree.
  • He inaugurated Dhammayatras from the 11th year of his reign by visiting Bodh Gaya; also appointed Dhamma Mahamatyas (officer of righthouse to spread message of Dhamma).

Ashoka’s Dhamma : – It was a code of conduct and set of principles to be adopted and practiced by people to build up an attitude of social responsibility and preserve the social order. It ordained to pay respect to elders, mercy to slaves and emphasised truth. non-violence and tolerance,

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