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GHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA 

BY 
PURUSHOTTAM LAL BHARCAVA, M. A, 

With a Foreword 
BY 



OR. RADHA KUMUD MOOKERJI, M.A., 

Vidya-vaibhava, Itihau^jciuMa 
Profetior and Head of the 



mVii 



TIE tftttt UNA PUBU8IC HflUSE LT8, 



PRINTED BY R. P. BHAKGAVA. 

AT THE 

Oudh Printing Works, Charbagh, Lucknow. 



PREFACE. 

As a student of history I have always been fascinated 
by the career of Chandragupta Maurya, one of the 
greatest of kings, conquerors and administrators the 
world has produced. It is indeed strange that such a 
great personage should have passed almost unnoticed 
by historians, for there is so far, to my knowledge, not 
a single book in English describing exclusively his 
Achievements, I was aware of my incompetence to take 
up this task, yet 1 thought 1 might make an attempt. 
This small monograph is the result. In it, I have tried 
to describe, in a brief compass, the life and career of 
Chandragupta making use of all the original source! 
I could lay my hands upon. 1 have deviated from the 
accepted views where 1 found better evidence to the 
contrary. For instance, I have accepted the Jain date 
for the coronation of Chandragupta as it is better 
supported by facts than the date hitherto generally 



iv CHANDRAGUPTA 

accepted. In some matters, of course, it is difficult to 
achieve any kind of finality till further evidence comes 
to notice, for example in the case of the pre-Maurya 
history ot Magadha; in such oases I have simply men- 
tioned the probabilities without emphasising the correct* 
ness of my views. 

Recently, there have been controversies on many 
points, of more or less important bearing on the subject. 
I have referred to them in the text where relevant, 
but 1 would like to mention one of them here as the 
text was already printed when it came to my notice. 
1 refer to the controversy regarding the relation of the 
Brihatkatha to the Mudrarakshasa. Mr. C. D. Chatterji, 
in a very learned article, which appeared in the Indian 
Culture, Vol. I no 2, has expressed doubt on the authen- 
ticity of the statement found in the Dasarupavaloka 
that the Mudrarakshasa was based on the Brihatkatha, 
and has shown at length that the two verses following 
in support of this statement are later interpolations. 
His arguments in support of the view that the plot of 
the Mudrarakshasa can not have been taken from the 
Brihatkatha are, no doubt, convincing. Yeti there is 
nothing to disprove the probability that the idea of 
Chandragupta's Nanda descent was suggested to 
Visakhadatta by the Brihatkatha. 

Unfortunately, the book suffers from the lack of 
proper diacritical marks for Sanskrit words as from a 
lew printing errors here and there. I hope to remedy 



PREFACE v 

them in the second edition if and when that oomes to 
be published. 

These observations will be incomplete if 1 did not 
express my obligation to the different persons from 
whom 1 received inspiration and help. If it be not 
regarded as too personal, 1 shall, among them, place 
first my dear father, who goaded me to write out these 
pages. Among those from whom I received constant 
encouragement, 1 would like to mention the names of 
my kind teacher Mr. K. A. S. Iyer, M.A., Head of the 
Sanskrit Department, Luoknow University, and Pandit 
Brijnath Sharga, M. A*, LL.B. Advocate. Mr. C. D. 
Ch alter ji, M, A., lecturer in Ancient Indian History in 
the Lucknow University, for whom I entertain high 
regard as my teacher, was very kind to suggest to me 
some original sources for the work and to give me his 
ungrudging help whenever I approached him for the 
came. 1 am indebted to Dr. Rama S hanker Tripathi, 
M.A., Ph. D., of the Benares Hindu University, for 
suggesting to me certain papers which proved very 
useful in my work. I have reserved the expression of 
my gratitude to my esteemed teacher, Dr. Radha 
Kumud Mookerji, M.A., Ph.D , an authority on Ancient 
India, not because he deserves the least but because I 
can not find adequate words for It. His foreword is 
perhaps more the outcome of his affection for me as 
his student than the merit of the book and yet 1 feel 
infinite satisfaction when 1 see this humble attempt 



vi CHANDRAGUPTA 

so well reviewed by such a high authority on the 
subject. 



know : 1 

M 
1 t 1935. j 



Luoknow ; 

'-PURUSHOTTAM LAL BHARGAYA 
Marsh 



FOREWORD. 

Mr* Purushottam Lai Bhargava deserves every 
congratulation for writing this nice book on an 
important period ot ancient Indian history. It is a 
small work dealing with the life and achievements 
of one of the greatest of India's rulers who had 
achieved the singular distinction of establishing one 
common political sovereignty over an Indian empire 
that had extended right upto the borders of Persia. 
Unfortunately, the history of such an interesting and 
important personality has been shrouded to some 
extent in mystery for want of definite evidence and 
chronological certainties. What adds to the difficulty 
of his history is that its sources are so diverse. 
Brahmanical, Buddhist, Jain and even Greek works 
have all something to say and record regarding the 
doings of Chandragupta Maurya. Sometimes these 
sources belonging to different places and times are 
equally different in their contents and it is a strain on 
scholarship to reconcile these differences and work out 
the way to truth through a maze of contradictions, I 
am glad to say that the different problems with which 
the subject is bristling have been ably tackled in this 
book by its young and promising author who is welt 
quipped for his task by his special knowledge of 
Sanskrit as a Master of Arts of the Luoknow University 



CHANDRAGUPTA viit 

and of Anoient Indian History and Culture which he 
has studied in its original sources. It is to be hoped 
that the appreciation of the work by the students of 
Indian history, whioh it undoubtedly deserves, will act 
as a stimulus to the young author for continuing these 
arduous researches in further publications enriching 
Indian historical literature. 



RADHA KUMUD MOOKERJt. 



CONTENTS. 

Chapter Page. 

I. DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 1 

11. GROWTH OF MAGADHA ... 12 

III. CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA ... 27 

IV. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 45 
V. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 69 

VI. LITERATURE AND ART ... ... 86 

Vll ACHIEVEMENTS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 99 

VIII. LEGENDS OF CHANDRAGUPTA ... 105 

APPENDICES ... ... 128 

INDEX ... ... 182 

Illustrations. 

EXCAVATIONS AT PATALIPUTRA Frontispieo* 
MAP OF INDIA IN 800 B. C. At end 



Mudrarakshasa VII. 



I 

DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 

Thanks to Sir William Jones' identification of 
Sandrakottos with Chandragupta, the problem of 
ancient Indian chronology has become comparatively 
easy to solve. 1 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, 

1. Asiatic ttesearebea Vol. IV. pp, 10-11. 

2. Dipavansa and Mahavanga. 



2 CHANDRAGUPTA 

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. C a 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 Vayu 
Purana, which is one of the oldest Puranas, seems 
to have the best preserved list, as calculations made 
on its basis most nearly agree with the Buddhist and 
Jain dates. This will be presently manifest. 

Bimbisara reigned for 28 years according to the 
Puranic account, and inasmuch as he died 8 years 
before the Nirvana of Buddha according to the 
Mahavansa, he must have come to the throne 36 years 



1 Qeiper, Mahavansa p. XXVIII. Dr. Fleet also agrees with 
this date. 

2. Cambridge History of India Vol. 1 p. 156. This date was also 
suggested by Jacobi, long ago. 



DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 3 

before Nirvana i. e. in 519 B. C. 1 After a reign of 
28 years he was succeeded by his son Ajatasatru, 
whose date of accession would thus be 491 
B. C. Ajatasatru reigned for 25 years according 
to the Vayu Purana and was succeeded by his son 
Darsaka, who, though ignored by the Buddhists and 
Jains, was a real figure, as will be shown in the 
next chapter. The date of Darsaka's accession 
would be 466 B. C., if we accept the reign^period of 
Ajatasatru as 25 years. Darsaka also reigned for 
25 years according to the Vayu Purana, and 
therefore his successor Udayi must have come to the 
throne in 441 B. C. Udayi ruled for 33 years 
according to the Puranas. 2 He, therefore, must 
have died in 408 B. C. Here, fortunately, the Jain 
writings come to our help. According to the 
Parisishtaparvan, Udayi died 60 years after Mahavira's 
death which occurred in 468 B. C 8 . Thus, 



1. Buddha died in the eighth year of the reign of Ajataaatru, 
whose accession synchronized with Bimbiaara's death, which thus 
took place eight years before Nirvana. Vide Mahavansa V. 

2. Vide Vayu Purana 99 and Matsya Purana 272 for these 
references. 

3. This work, while closing the account of Udayi's reign t tayi 
that 60 years had elapsed since the death of Mahavlra at the time 
when Udayi was succeeded on tbe throne left vacant by hii 



4 CHANDRAGUPTA 

according to the Jains also, Udayi died in 408 B. C. 
This startling result sufficiently establishes the fact 
that each of the authorities at our disposal has 
preserved much truth, which we can easily disentangle 
from falsehood by means of comparison. 

The history of the period intervening between 
the death of Udayi and the rise of the Nandas has 
been ill-preserved. We can, however, determine 
the total length of this period. According to the 
Jain Parisishtaparvan a period of 95 years elapsed 
between the death of Udayi and the accession of 
Chandragupta, and it may well be correct. The 
Jains further regard the Nandas as having ruled 
during the whole of this period of 95 years 1 . The 
Vayu Purana, on the other hand, assigns a total 
period of only 40 years to the Nandas. 3 The 
Mahavansa assigns a still lesser periodt but the 
difference in this case is more apparent than real, 

death. Although tbe name of the successor is wrongly given as Nan da, 
the date of tbe transfer of power from the hands of Udayi appears to 
be correct. Vide Parisishtaparvan VI 243. 

1 Not 155 years, as given by Dr. Smith in Early History of 
India* page 4-. According to the Jains. Udayi died 60 years 
after Mabavira's death and Chandrajrupta ascended the throne 
155 yenra after the same event, thus implying an interval of 95 
years. 

2. Mahapadma Nanda 28 years; bis sons 12 years. Total 40 
years. Vide Vayu Purana 99, 32829. 



DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 5 

as will be presently clear. According to Curtius the 
first Nanda murdered his sovereign and then, under 
the pretence of acting as guardian to the royal 
children, usurped the supreme authority, and 
afterwards put ttie young princes also to death. 1 If, 
as Professor Rai Chaudhury conjectures, the murdered 
sovereign was Kalasoka, 3 it is clear that his sons 
have been allotted a separate period by the 
Mahavansa solely on the ground that the first Nanda 
pretended to rule in their name for some time. We 
may, therefore, consider the whole period between 
the death of Kalasoka and the rise of Chandragupta 
as the Nanda period. Thus the period is 
substantially the same 8 as that allotted by the Vayu 
Purana. We are, therefore, justified in allotting a 
period of 40 years to the Nandas. Deducting this 
figure from the total period of 95 years, that elapsed 
between the death of Udayi and the rise of 
Chandragupta according to the Jains, we get 
55 years as the period between the death of Udayi 
and the rise of the Nandas. Curiously enough if we 
add the reign-periods of the kings from the death of 
Udayi to the death of Kalasoka as given in the 

1. MoCrindle- Invasion of India by Alexander p. 222. 

2. Political History of Ancient India p. 164. 

* u KaUwoka ' B >ii822yean; Nanda* 22 yean. Total 44 years. 
Vide Mahavanaa Paricfacheda V, 



6 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Mahavansa (excluding Nagadasaka, who has been 
misplaced, as will be shown in the next chapter) we 
get almost exactly the same figure. 1 The Vayu 
Purana, like the other Puranas, knows of only two 
kings during this interval, assigning to them a reign of 
forty^two and forty-three years respectively; but if, as 
is probable, forty (chatvarinsat) is only a mistake for 
twenty-four (chaturvinsat) then it is clear that the 
Puranas also recognize almost the same period 
having elapsed during this interval. 2 The fact is 
that while there is contradiction in details, all the 
works appear to agree in regard to the total period. 

Thus 55 years after the death of Udayi, the 
Nanda family came to power. The rise of the 
Nanda family, accordingly, may be dated in 353 B.C. 
After a period of 40 years the Nandas passed the 
sovereignty of Magadha to Chandragupta in 313 
B. C This is the date given by the Jains, according 
to whom Chandragupta acquired throne 155 years 
after the death of Mahavira or 255 years before the 
era of Vikramaditya, This date is given, not only 
in the Parisishtaparvan,* but also in other Jain 

1. The exact total which we thus get is 54 years. 

2. Such corruptions in the Huranas are numerous. The exact 
total according to this interpretation of the Puranio text would be 
53 years. 

3. 



Parisishtaparvan VIII 839 



DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 7 

works such as the Vicharasreni, 1 the Tithoogaliya 
Payanna and the Tirthoddhara Prakirnaka. Besides 
being justified by the conclusions, which we have 
already arrived at, it is also in agreement with 
immediate and suosequent events, which we shall 
now discuss. 

Till now scholars have been accustomed to fix 
the date of Chandragupta by guess. As it has 
been proved beyond doubt that Chandragupta 
was a contemporary of Alexander for some time, 
and came to the throne after the departure of the 
latter from India, it is certain that he acquired the 
throne at a date later than 325 B. C. Dr. V. A. Smith 
fixed 322 B. C., as the date of Chandragupta's 
accession, assuming that his conquest of Magadha 
and revolt against Greek authority in the Punjab 
occurred immediately after the death of Alexander. 2 
But there is nothing to warrant such an assumption. 
The presence of Eudemos in the Punjab till 317 
B. C., shows that Chandragupta could hardly have 
conquered the Punjab till that date. Moreover, we 

1. According to Merutunga, the author of the Vicharasreni, 
Suhaatin, the Jain saint, who converted Samprati, became Yugapradhana 
245 years after Mahavira's death, i. e. in 223 B. C, This date agrees 
very well with the date of Samprati , which we obtain by accepting 
313 B. c. for Chandragupta's accession. Vide Appendix B. 
2. Early History of India 4 * p. 122. 



8 CHANDRAGUPTA 

do not hear a word about such a powerful prince 
as Porus in Chandragupta's military career, in the 
northwest frontier, which shows that Porus 
was not alive at that time. Now, Eudemos quitted 
India after treacherously slaying an Indian prince 
who was, most probably, Porus. Thus, even on this 
ground, Chandragupta could not have conquered 
the Punjab before 317 B. C. Therefore, the earliest 
date of the conquest of the Punjab by Chandragupta 
would be 317 B. C. As for Magadha, the Jains 
and the Buddhists agree that Chandragupta coru 
quered Magadha after subduing the north-west 
frontier. 1 As it must have taken a few years to 
reduce the country east of the Punjab, the date 
313 B. C., for the accession of Chandragupta is quite 
plausible* 

This date, moreover, fits in with the date of 
Asoka. Chandragupta reigned for 24 years 
according to the concurrent testimony of the Puranas 
and the Buddhists. 1 He, therefore, must have been 
succeeded by Bindusara in 289 B. C. There is not the 
same unanimity about the length of this king's reign 

1. The story of Chandra gapta and the old woman, which suggest* 
this fact ! found in the ParieishUparvan as well as in the Mahavansa- 
tika. Vide Chapter VIII. 

2. Vayu Parana 99. 831. Mahavanga Paricheheda. 



DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 9 

but we shall accept the period allotted by the Vayu 
Purana, as we have done in other cases. According 
to it, Bindusara reigned for 25 years. 1 Thus, the 
date of his death would be 264 B. C This means 
that Asoka was inaugurated king in 264 B. C 
According to the Mahavansa, Asoka was inaugurated 
in the 21 9th year after the death of Buddha, 8 which 
would also give 264 B. C , as the date for Asoka's 
inauguration. The assertion of the Mahavansa that 
Asoka had become king four years before his formal 
inauguration cannot be accepted as correct, as it is 
not supported by any other evidence. It seems clear 
to me from all chronological considerarions that 
there could not have been any considerable interval 
between the death of Bindusara and the coronation 
of Asoka; and Asoka's calculation of dates from his 
abhisheka does not necessarily mean, as pointed out 
by Prof. Bhandarkar, that there was an interval 
between that event and his father's death. 8 

1. Vaju Paraaa 9, d32. The name of Bindusara is erroneously 
wiitten as Bhadraaara. 



2. 

MabaYaota Pancbcbeda V. 
3. Bhandarkar Aeoka pp. 9-10. 



10 CHANDRAGUPTA 

There can be only one serious objection against 
this date viz., difficulty in the synchronism of Asoka 
with the Greek kings mentioned in his edict. But 
on a closer examination we find that no such 
difficulty exists. The dates of the Greek kings 
referred to are thus given in Hultzch's "Inscriptions 
of Asoka":* 

Antiochus II Theos of Syria 261.246 B. C. 

Ptolemy 11 Philadelphus of Egypt 285.247 B. C. 

Antigonus Gonatus of Macedonia 276.239 B. C. 

Magas of Cyrene c 300,250 B. C. 

Alexander of Corinth c 252.244 B. C. 

If we assume the correctness of the assertion that 
the edict in which the names of these kings are 
mentioned, was engraved in the 14rh year of Asoka's 
reign, 1 its date would be 251 B. C., and at this date 
all the kings were alive. Thus there is no difficulty 
in accepting this chronology, which reconciles 
Buddhist and Jain dates with Hindu records. 

The chronology may be tabulated as follows: 

Bimbisara ... 519.491 B. C 

A jatasatru ... 49 1 .466 B, C. 

Darsaka .-. 466.441 B. C 

Udayi ... 44L408 B. C 

1. This is the view of Senart; and it has met with general 
acceptance. 



DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 1 1 

Other kings ... 408-353 B.C. 

Nandas ... 353-313 B. C. 

Chandragupta ... 313-289 B. C. 

The Maurya chronology appears at the end 
of the book. 



II 

GROWTH OF MAGADHA 

There were many kingdoms and republics in 
India when the founder of Buddhism lived. The 
most 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 was 
towards 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', 1 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 

1. Havell- Aryan Rule in India p. 76. 

2. This tradittp i recorded in the Puranas. Brihadratha was 
the father of Jarasfiidha, famous In the Mahabbarata* 



GROWTH OF MAGADHA 13 

is the history of this kingdom's growth, which 
culminated in the rise of the Maurya empire. 

Bimbisara began to reign about 519 B. C. and 
established his capital at Rajagriha. He was a 
contemporary of Gautama and Mahavira, as well 
as of Pradyota, Prasenajit and Udayana, the rulers 
of Avanti, Kosala and Vatsa respectively. He 
conquered the neighbouring territory of Anga and 
thereby laid the foundation of Magadhan imperialism. 

Bimbisara was succeeded by his son, Ajatasatru, in 
491 B. C. The latter was an ambitious monarch and, 
according to Buddhist accounts, removed his father 
from the throne 1 . He waged many wars with 
Prasenajit, the aged king of Kosala. At last, the latter 
was constrained to conclude peace according to the 
terms of which he married his daughter to Ajatasatru, 
ceding the district of Kasi, which became an integral 
part of Magadha. Ajatasatru defeated the Vrijis also, 
and annexed Videha to his dominions. 

The son who succeeded Ajatasatru in 466 B. C., 
was Darsaka, according to the Puranas. Some 
scholars doubt his existence because the Jain and 
Buddhist writers do not know him 2 . His name, 

1 This is referred to in the Pali canon as well as in the Ceyloneae 
Chronicles. 

2. Thus Professor Geigcr has remarked: 'Again in the Parana* 
jet another king, called Darsaka, etc., is inserted between Ajatanatra 



14 CHANDRAGUPTA 

however, occurs in Bhasa's Svapnavasavadatta, an 
independent Sanskrit drama, which represents him as 
a contemporary of Pradyota and Udayana, thereby 
indirectly supporting even the position assigned to 
him in the list of Magadhan kings by the Puranas 7 . 
The omission of his name by Jain and Buddhist 
writers is, in no way, a hindrance. These 
writers, 2 for example, make Samprati the direct 
successor of Asoka, but the Puranas insert 
Dasaratha in the middle, and no body doubts the 
existence of Dasaratha, it being proved by his 
inscriptions in the Nagarjuni hill caves. The case 
of Darsaka is also similar, and there is no reason to 
doubt his existence. Moreover, the Jains, although 
not mentioning Darsaka by name, offer a chronology 
which perfectly tallies with the chronology of the 
Puranas, if we admit the existence of Darsaka*. 
Even the Buddhist chronicles of Ceylon mention a 
king, named Nagadasaka, whom Professor Bhandarkar 
has identified with Darsaka. But the learned 

and Udayin, That is certainly an error ' Mahavansa, trans, pp. 
XLIV, XLV. 

1. Mahasena Pradyota and Udayana were already ruling in 
the time of Ajatasatru according to the Buddhists, and therefore 
Darsaka could have been their contemporary only by being the 
immediate successor of Ajatasatru. 

2. Vide the Parisishtaparayan and the Divyavadana, 

3. Vide pp. 3-4 supra. 



GROWTH OF MAGADHA 15 

Professor has maintained the position of Nagadasaka 
according to the chronicles, little caring that there 
is no independent proof to support that position. 
Thus, while admitting the identification proposed 
by Professor Bhandarkar, we see no reason to reject 
the testimony of the Puranas, Bhasa and chronology 
in assigning a position to this king. We are, 
therefore, justified in treating Darsaka, as the 
immediate successor of Ajatasatru. According to 
Bhasa, Darsaka continued the foreign policy of his 
ancestors by concluding matrimonial alliances with 
the neighbouring potentates 1 . 

Darsaka was succeeded in 441 B. C, by Udayi, 
who was a famous monarch, being celebrated in 
Jain and Buddhist as well as Hindu works. The 
Jain and Buddhist writers represent him as a son 
of Ajatasatru, and it is possible that he was so, 
the Puranas having made him a son of Darsaka 
due to the tendency, common to all Indian literature, 
of making a king the son of his predecessor. 3 
Udayi is credited by the Puranic 8 and Jain 4 
testimonies with the foundation of Kusumapura 

1. Pradyota, King of Avanti, is represented as seeking the hand 
of Padmavati, sister of Darsaka, for his own son. 

2. The Divyavadana is notorious for it. 

3. Vayu Purana 99, 319. 

4. Parisishtaparvan VI 180. 



16 CHANDRAGUPTA 

or Pataliputra, a city destined to become the capital of 
one of the greatest empires known in history. The 
foundation of this city may be dated in the year 
438 B. C, following the Puranic account, according 
to which this event took place in the fourth year of 
Udayi's reign. Udayi died in 408 B. C., after a reign 
of 33 years. 

Udayi was succeeded by his son and grandson 
in turn. According to the Puranas, Udayi's son 
and grandson, who ruled after him, were named 
Nandivarddhana 1 and Mahanandi respectively. The 
Buddhists, however, call the son and grandson of 
Udayi as Anuruddhaka and Munda respectively. 2 
It seems to me almost certain that both the authorities 

1. Professor Bhandarkar identifies Nandivarddhana, son of Udayi 
according to the Puranas, with Nandivarddhana, one of the ten sons of 
Kalasoka according to the Mahabodhivansa. The identification, 
however, is too far-fetched, there being nothing common between the 
two, except name. This is not a sufficient reason for identification, 
as the name Nandivarddhana was not uncommon in ancient India, 
several persons of that name being recorded in literature* Moreover, 
Nandwarddhana of the Puran&s was thn sole successor of his father, 
while Nandivarddhana of the Mahabodbivansa was one and not even 
the eldest among his ten brothers who are represented as the 
simultaneous successors of their father, a fact which suggests that 
none of them really ever ruled. 

2. The names of Anuruddhaka and Munda occur in the 
Oeylonese Chronicles, the latter being mentioned in the Pali canon and 
the Divyavadana also. 



GROWTH OF MAGADHA 17 

tnean the same individuals* The apparent difference 
may either be due to the fact that the same name* 
have been preserved by our authorities under different 
forms, or that each of the kings bore more names 
than one, as was not uncommon in ancient India. 
Both of these kings are shadowy figures, and nothing 
is known about them. After Munda, the Ceylonese 
chronicles place Nagadasaka who has been already 
identified with Darsaka. 1 Thus the grandson of 
Udayi remains as the last king of this line, in 
agreement with the Puranas. 

The Ceylonese chronicles next place Susunaga 
who was followed by his son, Kalasoka. Some 
scholars have identified these two with Sisunaga and 
Kakavama of the Puranas. 2 The latter works, it 
may be mentioned, place these kings considerably 
before Bimbisara. There are, however, grounds on 
which the Ceylonese version can be supported. The 
Puranas make Sisunaga the destroyer of the dynasty 
of Pradyota, 8 whose connection with Avanti is 
also acknowledged by those works- 4 As Pradyota of 

1. pp. 1415 sapra, 

3. Proteflsorg Jaoobi, Geiger and Bhandarar are tto obiaf 
among theae aeholarB. 

3. Vayu Parana 99.314: ilatsya Pnrarta 27:8. 6, 



|| Malaya Parana 373. 1. 



18 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Avanti was undoubtedly a contemporary of 
Bimbisara, his dynasty could not have been 
destroyed by Sisunaga, unless we admit that the 
latter came considerably after Bimbisara. Thus it is 
certain that either Sisunaga had nothing to do with 
the Pradyota dynasty or he came considerably after 
Bimbisara. If the latter alternative be correct, then 
it is clear that the kingdom of Magadha at this time 
extended its sway upto Avanti. We cannot, 
however, be sure until we get further evidence in 
support of it. 

The next family which ruled over Magadha was 
that of the Nandas. The personal name "of the 
founder of this family seems to have been Nanda, 
which, in its plural form, became applicable to the 
whole family, as in other cases (e. g. the Pradyotas). 
It is obvious from the. fact that several authorities 
give the name of the founder simply as Nanda, and 
even the Puranic appellation Mahapadma is only 
an epithet, hinting at the riches of the king, as is 
apparent from the Bhagavata Purana which dubs 
the founder in more clear terms as Mahapadmapati 
(i, e. lord of a vast amount). 1 Mahapadma Nanda 
had eight sons, whence the family is called as that 



BhagmraU p. XII. I, 



GROWTH OF MAGADHA 19 

of the nine Nandas. It is probable, however, that the 
real ruler throughout was Mahaoadma Nanda as, 
according to many authorities, all the nine Nandas 
were killed by Chandragupta and Chanakya. 1 The 
Divyavadana* actually mentions only Nanda as 
having ruled, while Kautilya also calls the ruler 
dethroned by him simply as Nanda. 3 Even the Greeks 
give the name of the King of Prassiai as Aggramen, 
which agrees very well with Ugrasena, an apithet of 
Mahapadma Nanda according to the Mahabodhivansa. 
It is true that the Vayu and Matsya Puranas 4 allot a 
reign of 12 years to the eight sons of Nanda, but that 
may have been due to the fact that Mahapadma 
during the last years of his reign rested practically 
all power in the hands of his sons, who were thus 
considered virtual rulers during that period a fact 
suggested by Dhundhiraja in the introduction to 
his commentary on the Mudra^Rakshasa. 5 This 



1. Vishnu Purana IV. 24; Bhagavata Purana XII 1. Mudra- 
Act I gloka 13. 



2. Divyavadana pp. 310 ff. 
8. 2frrT ^TOf 



Artbns&Blra XV. I. 

4. Vayu Purana 99.829 Matgya Parana 273, 21. 

5. Mudra-Bakthasa (Nirnaya Sagar*) p. 43, sloka 



30 CHANORACUPTA 

fefcplains why the Greeks alto sometimes speak of 
'the king* of Prussia!' irt plural. 1 

Mahapadma Nancfet usurped the thtone of 
Mfcgadha about 353 B. C. According to the 
Puranas he was the son of the last descendant of 
Bimbisara* by a Sudra woman, but the Jains 8 and 
the classical writers 4 unanimously represent his 
father to have been a barber. AH the authorities, 
however, agree that he was a low*bom and ambitious 
monarch. The Puranas assert that many of the 
dynasties which ruled contemporaneously with the 
prtdecessors of Nanda, fell at his rise. These 
dynasties were the Maithilas, the Kasis, the 
Ikshvakus, the Kurus, the Panchalas, the Surasenas, 
the Vitthotras, the Haihayas, the Asmakas and the 
K&lingas, whose dominions comprised the whole of 
the Gangetic valley as well as western India and 
Orissa. 5 Some of them had already been overthrown 

1. McCrindle- Invasion of India by Alexander p. 310. 
4. That is to say, Mabanandi. 

3. Pariaisbtaparvan VI. 

4. MoCrindle-Invasion of India by Alexander p. 223. 

5. Mont of the territories ruled by these dynasties can b* 
identified M follows. N. Bibar (Maitbilas) Benares (Kasia), Oudh 
(IksbvafcnsX Agra (Kurus), Kanauj (Panebalaa). Mnttra (Sanwenas), 
Avanti (Vitihotras), Oojrat (Haibayas) and Orissa (Kalingaa). Tbe 
territory of tbe Asmakas cannot be definitely identified, but it 
probably bordered on Avanti. 



GROWTH OF MAGADHA 21 

by previous kings and it was left for Mahapadma 
to subdue the rest. The conquest of Kalinga 
was almost certainly accomplished by Mahapadma. 
In the Hathigumpha inscription, king Kharavela 
mentions the conquest of Kalinga about 300 
years before his time by a king named 
Nandaraja, who must have been none other than 
Mahapadma. Some scholars have identified him 
with a predecessor of Mahapadma by reading a 
passage as dating the inscription in the 165th year 
of Muriya Kala, which they interpret as the era of 
Chandragupta. 1 But even if the reference to the 
Maurya era has been correctly read, it is not 
necessary to interpret it as the era of Chandragupta 
and thereby place the Nandaraja of the inscription 
considerably before Mahapadma, whose family of 
nine members is the only Nanda family recognized 
by all forms of tradition. Moreover, Chandragupta 
can hardly be credited with the foundation of an 
era in view of the fact that his grandson Asoka uses 
his own regnal years. It is more probable that the 
era referred to is that of Chandragupta's descendant 
Samprati, who ruled about a century after hi$ 

1. This IB the opinion of Meiers. K. P. Jayaswal and E. D. 
Banerji. The King with whom they identify Nandaraja iv 
Kandtvarddhana, son of Udayi. 



22 CHANDRAGUPTA 

famous ancestor and who is actually known to 
have founded an era. 1 We may, therefore, believe 
that the arms of Mahapadma reached upto Kalinga. 
Late in the period of the Nanda family, Alexander 
the Great invaded India. After subduing the 
countries to the west? he crossed the Indus in 326 
B. C. We possess a pretty vivid account of the 
condition of Northern India at that time, as the 
Greeks, who came with the invader, as well as the 
Indians contribute to our knowledge in this case. 

The Indus valley at this time was parcelled out 
among a number of small kingdoms and republics. 
In the extreme north-west was the kingdom of Taxi la, 
ruled by king Ambhi, who gave a good reception to 
Alexander, regarding it a fair opportunity for revenge 
against his rival, Porus, who was perhaps the most 
powerful king in the Punjab at that time. Porus 
ruled on the other side of the Jhelum and gave a 
strong resistance to the invader, but was defeated. 
Alexander proceeded upto the Beas river and then 
made a retreat. The retreating army was confronted, 
among others, by the powerful republican tribes of 
the Malavas and the Kshudrakas, who gave a severe 
fight to the invader. Mutual jealousies, however, 

1. Early History of India p. 20 2n, 



GROWTH OF MAGADHA 23 

proved to be ruinous as usual. Alexander thus 
became master of the country upto the Beas river. 

The whole of the Ganges valley upto Magadha 
was under the rule of the Nanda family. The 
Nandas were at the height of their power at the 
time of the invasion of Alexander the Great. 
Plutarch informs us that 'the kings of the Gangaridai 
(Ganges delta) and the Prassiai (Prachi) were reported 
to be waiting for him with an army of 80,000 horses, 
200,000 foot, 8000 war chariots and 6000 fighting 
elephants' 1 . They were extremly rich and, according 
to a passage of the Kathasaritsagara, possessed 
990 millions of gold pieces 3 . They were, however, 
very unpopular. The chief reason of their 
unpopularity was the lowness of their origin. They 
were also hated on account of their heterodox 
disposition. The possession of such a huge amount 
of wealth also probably implies a great deal of 
extortion on the part of the Nandas. 

There are reasons to believe that the great empire 
built by Mahapadma Nanda showed signs of revolt 
during the closing period of his reign when he 
rested all power in the hands of his incapable sons, 
specially Dhana. The kingdom of Kalinga certainly 

1. McCrindJe-Invssion of India by Alexander p. 810. 

2, Kathasaritaagara 1, IV. 



24 CHANDRAOUPTA 

revolted and regained its independence, for if it had 
remained a part of the Nanda empire, it is unlikely 
that it could have escaped the iron grip of 
Chandragupta, whose absence of control over it is 
implied in a passage in one of the inscriptions of 
Asoka, its conqueror 1 . Several other kingdoms might 
have similarly reasserted their independence. 

Such was the condition of India when 
Chandragupta came on the scene. Magadha had 
already built up a considerable empire, but the 
worthlessness of its ruler and the invasion of a foreign 
king had made the conditions extremely unsettled, and 
a deliverer was needed. Thus, there were three factors 
which contributed to the rise of the Maurya empire. 
The first factor consisted of the conquests effected 
by the previous rulers of Magadha. The second 
factor was the unpopularity of the Nandas, coupled 
with foreign invasion. The third factor was the 
genius of Chandragupta. If the first factor provided 
Chandragupta with the resources needed for building 
a great empire, the second gave him the opportunity 
to rise. But, above all other things, the main cause 
of the rise of the glorious J^aijrya empire was the 

1. In Book Edict XIII Asoka speaks of Kalinga as a country, 
previously unconqnered/ which seems to mean unconquered by 
Asoka's ancestors. 



GROWTH OF MAGADHA 25 

genius of Chandragupta, without which he would 
not have been able to utilise the resources and the 
opportunity provided by the first two factors. 



Hi 
CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA. 

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 bom. 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 Nanda 
is the MudraJRakshasa, which is also said by the 



CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 27 

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 



c DaRHrupavaloka. 

2. Tli com uifciitH tors of tbe Mudra-Kakuhuaa and the Viibnu 
Parana give the name of Cbandragupta's grandmother or mother IB 
Mura. This nam*, so far from being tbe origin of Maorya, neemg 
to have been suggested by the Utter word, as ia clear from ih fact 
that Dhnndhinija, tbe commentator of the Mudra-l<aksha*a, given tbe 
name of the mother of the Nanda* as Sunaudn which baa been obvious- 
Ij coined to rewmble the word Nanda. 

3. 'These 4 Kanva Brahman* will enjoy the earth etc.* (PargiUr 
P. 71) 



28 CHANPRAGUPTA 

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 Moriyas, 8 who are represented 
by the Mahavansa^tika as a Himalayan off-shoot of 
the Sakyas. 4 The description of the Moriyas as a 
Kshatriya clan is confirmed by the Mahaparinibbana 
Sutta, a portion of the Pali canon and an early 
authentic work- It mentions the Moriyas as one of 
the Kshatriya tribes who claimed a portion of the 
relics of Buddha after {he latter's death. 5 This 
tradjtjon was also recorded in mediaeval inscriptions, 

1. 8. B. E Vol 86. p. 28C. 

2. In the Divyavadana (p. 370) Bindusara said to a woman, 



n 

In the game work (p. 409) Aeoka says to bis queen 
Tishyaraknhita *TR ** W&T : ** ^^T^f ^ft^T^ITf^' I TJi^ 
pas sage s arc significant. 



4. gee chapter VIII *ec. A. 

5. B. B. E. Vol. XI p. 134. 



CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 29 

which call the Maurya family as a branch of the 
solar race 1 and Chahdragupta an abode of the 
usages of eminent Kshatriys. a Even in modem 
times, we are aware of a Rajput clan of Moris, 
whom Tod considered to be the descendants of the 
Mauryas.* Finally, Kautilya himself indirectly 
suggests the noble origin of his sovereign's family, 
when he lays down that a high bom king, though 
weak, is better than a lowborn one, though strong. 4 
Therefore, it should be regarded as settled that 
Chandragupta belonged to the Kshatriya clan of the 
Moriyas. 

In the fifth century B. C, the Moriyas were the 
ruling clan of the republic of Pipphalivana.* 
According to the Mahavansautika, which seems to be 
based on truth and is supported by Jain writings at 
a further stage, the Moriyas were a branch of the 
Sakyas and were so called because, when driven by 
the attack of the Kosalan prince Virudhaka, they left 
their original home and settled in a place which 

1. Ep. Ind. II 2tf>. 

2. Bice-Mynore and Coorg from Inscription* p. 10. 

ft. The Moris were the ruling dn of Cbitor till about 728 A. D, 
When tbeir territory wa wrested by Bappa, the founder of the BUodia 
hoaae of Mewar. 

4, Arthashartra Book VII I chapter II. 

5. 



30 CHANDRAGUPTA 

abounded in mayura* or peacocks. When king 
Nanda extended his conquests, the Moriyas too must 
fiave shared the fate of other clans and monarchies. 
In fact, we are told by the Mahavansa^tika that 
Chandragupta's father, whose name unfortunately is 
not mentioned, was the chief of the Moriya clan and 
was killed by a powerful Raja, presumably Nanda. 
There-after Chandragupta's mother, who was then 
pregnant, ran away with her father's relations and 
lived at Pataliputra in disguise. 

At this stage the story is wonderfully corroborated 
by the Jain Parisishtaparvan and the Uttradhyayana- 
tika, which speak of certain peacock tamers, 
living near Pataliputra, whose chiefs daughter bore 
Chandragupta. 1 As the Mahavansautika expressly 
says that the Moriya queen and her relations lived 
in disguise, it is easy to see that the best way of 
disguising themselves was to act as tamers of peacocks, 
which were the most familiar objects for the 
Moriyas. Moreover, as no mention is made of 
Chandragupta's father in the Jain version it means 
that it presupposes certain events which, as we have 
seen, are briefly set forth in the Mahavansauika. 
Thus it is clear from both the Buddhist and Jain 
accounts that the Moriya family had lost all its 

1. Vide Chapter VII I Sec. B. 



CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 31 

previous rank at the time when Chandragupta was 
born and Justin, the Roman author, rightly observes 
that Chandragupta was born in humble life. 1 The 
date of his birth must have been about 345 B. C as, 
at the time of Alexander's Indian campaigns in 
325 B. C., he was only a boy, probably not more 
than 20 years of age*. 

Most of the traditions agree that Chandragupta 
spent his boyhood in the country of Magadha. 
According to some of the stories he also lived for 
some time at the court of King Nanda and being ill* 
treated plotted against him and was obliged to flee. 
This occount seems to be correct, as it is supported 
by Justin. 8 There are several stories relating to the 
uncommon intelligence of Chandragupta even in his 
boyhood. One of them may be related here with 
advantage : 

"The Raja of Simhala sent to the Court of the 
Nandas a cage containing a lion of wax, so well 

1. Vide chapter VIII. 

2. "Androkottoft himnelf who was then lmt a youth B*W 
Alexander etc " M^Crindle Invasion of India by Alexander 
p 311. 

3. The story of DhundhtrajA, for example, emphasises the f&et 
that Chandragupta lived at the court of Nandti, and the same 
tnmg i* suggested by Justin when he says that Chandragupta 
offeuded Naudas by his insolent behaviour. Vide Chapter 

Sec. D. 



32 CHANDRAGUPTA 

made that it seemed to be real. He added a 
message to the effect that any one who could make 
that fierce animal run without opening the cage 
should be acknowledged to be an exceptionally 
talented mart. The dullness of the Nandas prevented 
their understanding the double meaning contained in 
the message, but Chandragupta, in whom some little 
breath yet remained, offered to undertake the task. 
This being allowed, he made an iron rod red hot and 
thrusted it into the figure as a result of which the 
wax soon ran and the lion disappeared 1 ." 

We may take it as correct that Chandragupta 
did live for sometime at the court of Nanda, and 
being dissatisfied with him, became determined to end 
his tyrannous rule. He soon got an opportunity- 
A learned and fiery-tempered Brahman, named 
Vishnugupta Chanakya, being invited to a religious 
ceremony at the court of Nanda, was ill-treated 
by the latter which induced him to take an open 
vow to revenge against Nanda. Chandragupta 
then drew Chanakya to his side and instigated 
a revolt. They were, however, suppressed and 
obliged to quit the kingdom of Magadha* 

Chandragupta then wandered in the northern 

I. Dhnndhlraja's introduction to his commentary on the Mudrt 
ttaksbasa. 



CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 33 

provinces for some time. According to Plutarch, 
he paid a visit to Alexander also, although there is 
nothing to indicate that his purpose was to persuade 
the invader to attack the kingdom of Magadha, as is 
held by some scholars. A curious story found both 
in the Parisishtaparvan and the Mahavansautika 
relates that, while wandering, Chandragupta heard 
an old woman saying that the cause of his failure 
was that he revolted against Magadha before 
conquering the outer provinces, and that* realising 
his mistake, he made up his mind to conquer the 
northern provinces, A bom leader of men as he 
was, he soon gathered sufficient men round him to 
help him in his designs and presently secured the 
subordinate alliance of a chief named Parvataka, 
who ruled in some Himalayan district, and whose 
name finds mention in several independent works. 1 
Chandragupta appears to have begun his career 
of conquest from the Punjab, perhaps because he 
could not brooke the presence of foreign garrisons 
in a part of his country, which he had determined 
to unite under his own sway. Alexander had made 
his own administrative arrangements in the Punjab 

1. The name of Parvataka occurs in the ParUishUparvao, the 
Mahavansa-tika and the Mudra-IUksba**. Jacob) *n#?et the 
identification of this chief with a king of Nepal. 



34 CHANDRAGUPTA 

when he retreated. An officer, named Philip, was 
made satrap of the Indus basin, with the confluence 
of the Punjab rivers with the Indus as the southern 
boundary of the satrapy. The territory of Sindh 
was put in charge of Peithon, son of Agenor. King 
Porus was allowed to rule his own principality as 
the satrap of Alexander. In 324 B. C, Philip was 
murdered by his mercenary troops and Eudemos 
was temporarily apppointed in his place, but the 
death of Alexander in 323 B. C. removed all 
chances of the arrangement being renewed. At the 
time of the second partition of the Empire in 321 
B. C., the arrangement was continued unaltered, 
although Peithon, the satrap of Sindh, was 
transferred to the provinces situated to the west of 
the river Indus. The Indians were, however, growing 
intolerant of the domineering foreigners, and the 
treacherous murder of Porus by Eudemos in 317 
B. C. was the signal for revolt. Chandragupta 
headed the revolt, and Eudemos finding the country 
too hot for him, quitted India. The Greek officers 
and soldiers, who still remained in India, were put 
to the sword and, by 316 B. C., Chandragupta 
became the unquestioned master of the Punjab. 

Having taken possession of the Punjab, 
Chandragupta advanced towards the east. It is 



CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 35 

probable that the provinces of the upper Gangetic 
valley conquered by Mahapadma Nanda had regained 
their independence, following his tyrannous rule. 
These provinces were taken by Chandragupta one 
by one, although there are indications in the account 
given by Hemachandra that all of them did 
not submit with ease. It must have taken a couple 
of years to reduce completely the portion of the 
Gangetic valley outside the compressed Nanda 
dominions. 

Chandragupta finally attacked the kingdom pf 
Nanda about 314 B. C. The story of the war 
between the Nandas and Chandragupta is preserved 
in several works. According to the Milindapanho, 
the Nanda army was commanded by Bhaddasala 1 . 
The war is reported to have been a sufficiently 
serious affair. According to several authorities,* all 
the nine Nandas were killed in this war and the 
family of Mahapadma was exterminated. 

Chandragupta, thus, became mas'er of Northern 
India. His ally Parvataka also died in the mearv 
while, although the legends which relate to the 
manner of his death are contradictory and 

1 3 B K 3C p U7. 

2 See footnote 1. p. 2U 



36 CHANDRAGUPTA 

untrustworthy It is clear that his death removed 
the only rival who could legitimately claim a share 
in the conquests, and Chandragupta became the sole 
master of Northern India. His coronation took 
place at Pataliputra in 313 B C. 

The events which immediately followed the 
assumption of authority by Chandragupta are related 
in the MudrauRakshasa, a play which, although full of 
imaginary details, is probably based on events which 
actually occurred 1 . We learn from it that the son 
of Parvataka named Malayaketu rose against 
Chandragupta, with the help of five other chiefs and 
an ex-minister of king Nanda named Rakshasa* 
The Machiavellian tactics of Chanakya, whom 
Chandragupta had made his prime minister, however, 
succeeded in sowing dissensions in the camp of 
Malayaketu, and the latter got his own allies 
murdered. By this act of his. Malayaketu was 
rendered powerless, but on the intervention of 
his friend, the ex-minister of Nanda, he was 
restored in his father's principality as a vassal of 
Chandragupta. 

The Maurya king at this time naturally became 
secure in his north Indian dominions. But his zeal 
for conquest could hardly remain satisfied with 

1. This is th opinion o! Dr. Smith and Professor Htllebnmdt. 



CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 37 

what he had already acquired. He pushed his 
conquests upto the western sea, for we learn from 
the Junagarh inscription of Rudradaman that 
Chandragupta had control over Surashtra. 1 
Chandragupta also seems to have conquered 
a considerable portion of trans-Vindhyan India. 
According to Plutarch, Chandragupta overran all 
India, which statement, even if we admit of 
exaggeration, means that Chandragupta conquered 
the major portion of India * This tradition is 
recorded in other documents also, for the 
Mahavansa says that Chandragupta ruled over 
all Jambudvipa.* According to Prof. Aiyangar, 
Mulnamer, an ancient Tamil author, refers to the 
advance of Mauryas upto Tinnevelly district in early 
times.* Finally, certain Mysore inscriptions refer to 
Chandragupta's conquest of Mysore. 5 All these 
statements leave little room for doubt that Chandra* 
gupta did conquer a considerable portion of the Deccan. 
Chandragupta thus gained recognizance as the 
paramount sovereign in the whole of India. He had, 
however, yet to measure strength with the greatest of 



1. Vide Appendix A* 

2 MoCrindle-TnvMion of Indin by Alexander p. 310 

*. M*havsit I'arichehbcda V, 

4. Beginnings of South Indian History chapter. 

5. Rice Mysore and Coorg from Inscription*. 



38 CHANDRAGUPTA 

his rivals, Seleukos Nikator, formerly a general of 
Alexander. Seleukos conquered Babylon in 3 1 2 B. C r 
and six years later assumed the title of king. He also 
subjugated the Bactrians r and then advanced to India, 
crossing the Indus, about 305 B. C. Shwanbeck has 
shown at length that Seleukos could not proceed much 
beyond the Indus, 1 which may be taken to mean 
that Chandragupta was present in the Punjab 
at that time. It is, therefore, probable that 
Chandragupta, not content with the conquest of India, 
was thinking of marching towards the western regions 
to emulate the legendary (Hgvijaya of Raghu and other 
ancient kings. Thus, the war between Chandragupta 
and Seluekos was a clash between two ambitious kings. 
No detailed account of the actual conflict has survived. 
But the results, as mentioned by the classical 
authors, clearly show that Seleukos recognized 
the superiority of Chandragupta and was obliged 
to conclude a humiliating treaty. According to this 
treaty, Seleukos gave a large part of Ariana to 
Chandragupta in consequence of a marriage 
alliance. Dr. Smith has very ably shown* 
that the large part of Ariana, referred to by Strabo s , 
was identical with the four satrapies of Aria 

1. Thib is also the ojiuion of La as sen and Milogel. 

2. Early History o{ India 4 p 158 

3 McCrindle-Ancient India in ctaKsical lit*rutur< pp. 15 and .88 



CAREER OF CHANDRACUPTA 39 

(Herat) Arachosia (Kandhar) Paropanisadiae (Kabul) 
and Gedrosia (Baluchistan) all of which Pliny 
considered as forming part of India. * As for the 
marriage contract, there is no reason to doubt its 
correctness because both Strabo and Appian refer to it. 
Thus the real explanation of the whole treaty 
seems to be that Seleukos married his daughter to 
Chandragupta, giving the territories of Afghanistan 
and Baluchistan as a sort of dowry 2 . The two 
royal families were, in this way, drawn on close 
friendly terms. We further learn that Chandragupta 
presented 500 elephants to Seieukos, and the latter 
sent an envoy named Megasthenes to the Indian 
court. It is not recorded whether Chandragupta also 
sent an envoy to the Greek court. 

Thus from a homeless wanderer, twelve years 
before, Chandragupta became the emperor of India 
and a large part of the former Persian empire. The 



1. McCrindle Ancient India: M>ga*tbene8 ad Aman p. 158. 

2. This view is genet ally accepted and Reams to be correct, un the 
marriage of Hindu kings with non-Hmdu princesses was not unknown 
in ancient India, the Mahabharata motioning the marriage of Arjuna 
with a princeBB of the Naga tribe On the other hn&d, a vice-vert* 
case dre not appear ponnble in vu-w of th* evident miccetft of the 
Inriian King, besidea th fnct that in that event the Greeks would 
naturally have been more explicit, a they aie about Alexander 1 * 
Asiatic marriages. 



40 CHANDRAGUPTA 

war with Scleukos was, in all probability, the last 
war of Chandragupta, and he devoted the remaining 
sixteen years of his reign in consolidating his empire 
and establishing a highly efficient system of 
administration. We can glance something of his 
personal life at this stage from the writings of 
Megasthenes preserved in fragments by other 
writers, and, to some extent, from the Arthasastra of 

Kautilya, the name by which Chanakya is famous as 
an author. 

Chandragupta lived in a very stately palace, 
containing gilded pillars adorned with golden vines 
and silver birds, and furnished with richly carved 
tables and chairs of state, as well as basins and 
goblets of gold. "In the Indian royal palace where 
the greatest of all the kings of the country resides, 
besides much else which is calculated to excite 
admiration, and with which neither Susa nor 
Ekbatana can vie, there are other wonders besides. 
In the parks tame peacocks are kept, and pheasants 
which have been domesticated; there are shady 
groves and pasture grounds planted with trees, and 
branches which the art of the woodsman has deftly 
interwoven; while some trees are native to the soil, 
others are brought from other parts, and with their 
beauty enhance the charm of the landscape. Parrots 



CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 41 

are natives of the country, and keep hovering about 
the king and wheeling round him, and vast though 
their numbers be, no Indian ever eats a parrot. The 
Brachmanes honour them highly above all other 
birds because the parrot alone can imitate human 
speech. Within the palace grounds are artificial 
ponds in which they keep fish of enormous size but 
quite tame. No one has permission to fish for these 
except the king's sons while yet in their boyhood. 
These youngsters amuse themselves while fishing in 
the unruffled sheet of water and learning how to 
sail their boats." 1 

Chandragupta spent his leisure hours in the 
palace. The care of his person was entrusted to 
ferrates who were armed 2 . He left his palace either 
for performing administrative duties or for offering 
sacrifices or for the chase 8 . When he condescended 
to show himself in public he was clothed in the 
finest muslin embroidered with purple and gold. 
When making short journeys he rode on horseback, 
but when travelling longer distances he was mounted 

1. MeOri mile- Ancient India in CUnMcai liUtrntui* pp. Ul-142. 

2. McCnndle- Ancient India: Megastbenes and Atria n p. 70 ; 
Aithaaaetra Book I, Chapter 21. 

3. McCrindJe-Ancient India: MegMthene* and Airian j. 70. 



42 CHANDRAGUPTA 

on an elephant. The hairvwashing ceremony of the 
king was performed with great splendour accompanied 
with rich presents from nobles, as was also the 
custom in the Persian Court. The king did not 
sleep in the day time. In the night he used to 
change his bedroom from time to time in order to 
defeat any plots against him j . 

Chandragupta supervised the administration of 
justice himself. He did not allow the business to be 
interrupted even if he had to sit for the whole day, 
and the hour arrived when he had to attend to his 
person. In such cases, he continued hearing cases, 
while four attendants massaged him with cylinders 
of wood. 2 His busy life seems to have been the 
cause of his abstaining from sleep during the day 
time. Kautilya, in fact, lays down the precept that a 
king should so divide his time-table that he may not 
sleep for more than three hours. 8 

It is interesting to leam that the king left his palace 
to offer sacrifices also. The fact probably shows that 
Chandragupta was a Brahmanical Hindu at least for the 
greater part of his life, although he inclined towards 
Jainism during his last days, according to Jain authors. 

1 MoCrindle- Ancient India: MeuaptbenpR and Arrian p. 70 

3. Ibid p. 71 

:t \nha3ftstrix llook I Chap %0 



CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 45 

Chandragupta was also fond of sports. He 
delighted in witnessing the fights of elephants, 
bulls, rams and rhinoceroses. A curious entertainment 
was provided by ox races. The most favourite 
sport was chase. The road along which he went for 
chase was marked with ropes, and it was death to 
pass within the ropes. He shot arrows either from 
the back of an elephant or from a platform 1 . 

Chandragupta led the life of an energetic 
emperor of a vast empire for 24 years We do not 
know much about his family The name of one of 
his queens for he was, in all likelihood, a polygamist 
like most monarchs of those times was Durdhara, 
according to Hemachandra 2 . His only son whose 
name is known to us under various forms was 
Bindusara, who succeeded him on the throne of 
Ratal iputra. 

Chandragupta died in or about 289 B. C 
According to Rajavalikatha, Chandragupta was a 
Jain and abdicated at the time of a great famine and 
repaired to Mysore where he died. In certain Mysore 
inscriptions the summit of the Kalbappu hill, at Sravan 
Belgola, is said to be marked with the footprints of 



1 McOnndle-Ancient Jinlm M^ga^thencn and Arrian p. 71 
'2. Vido the 



44 CHANDRAGUPTA 

the great mums, Bhadrabahu and Chandragupta 1 . 
Bhadrabahu was a Jain leader who lived during the 
reign of Chandragupta. The Jain tradition, however, 
is very confused with regard to details. Hemachandra, 
for example, does not speak of the retirement of 
Chandragupta and Bhadrabahu together to the 
southern direction. On the other hand, he suggests 
that Bhadrabahu died in the sixteenth year of 
Chandragupta's reign 3 . It is probable that 
Bhadrabahu died before Chandragupta, and that the 
latter too, some years after, passed away at the same 
place where Bhadrabahu had died. Whatever be the 
case, there is no alternative account of the last days 
of Chandragupta and, as Dr. Smith has contended, 

we have to trust the Jain version as being based on 
truth 8 . 

I. Hies- -EpiRiaphioa Carnatica Vol I, p 3) 

2. Parnisfataparvan IX. 1112. 

:>. Oxford History of India p. 7G. 



IV 
ADMINISTRATION OF THE 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. 1 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, who 
ruled over Gangaradai (Ganges delta) as well as 
Prassiai (Prachi) 1 . 



1. Kalhana mentions Asoka among the kin^s of Kashmir, but as 
Asoka is known to have conquered only Kalin#\, we may conclude 
that Kashmir formed part of the empire of Hindupara and probably 
also of Chandragupta. The Mudra-Kakshasa play mentions the prince 
of Kashmir among the subordinate all lea of Malay aketti, who 
subsequently became a vassal of Chandragupta. 

2. The inclusion of Bengal in the Maurya empire is alao 
implied in the recently discovered Mahasthan inscription. The curious 
reader is referred to Mr. Jayaiwal'i article ia the Modern Heviev, 
May 1933. 



46 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Chandragupta probably exercised some control 
in the Deccan also, as appears from certain Mysore 
inscriptions as well as other evidences. 3 Taranath, 
however, represents Bindusara as having conquered 
sixteen states, which must have been situated in the 
south, because we know for certain that northern 
Jndia was firmly held by Chandragupta. It, therefore, 
means that either Chandragupta was content to 
receive the submission of the kings of southern India 
and it was left for Bindusara to annex their territories 
or that what Bindusara did was mostly the 
suppression of a general revolt. The latter view 
seems more tenable, and thus there is nothing to 
invalidate the belief that Chandragupta was the 
suzerain of a large portion of southern India. Certain 
portions of this region, however, seem to have 
remained independent. The kingdom of Kalinga is 
described hy Megasthenes as possessing considerable 
military force, and was probably independent before 
its conquest by Asoka a . The kingdom of Andhra, 
which lay to its soufh, is also described by 
Megasthenes as very powerful, and it also might have 

1. Vide p. 37 *upra. 

il. "The royal city of the Calm^a is called Parthalis Over 
their king 6000 > foot soldi eis, 1000 hoi semen , 700 elephants, keep watch 
and ward in 'procinctof war M McCrindl** Ancient India: Megasthenes 
*nd Arriau p. 138. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 47 

been independent 1 in the time of Chandragupta. 
The Pandya, Chola and Kerala kingdoms of the extreme 
south were also left alone by Chandragupta and his 
successors. 2 Thus, Chandragupta was the emperor 
of practically all India proper excluding Kalinga, 
Andhra and the Tamil land and including 
Afghanistan and Baluchistan. 

It should, however, be remembered that all this 
vast empire was not under the direct rule of 
Chandragupta. There were protectorates as has 
always been the case in Indian history. Kautilya 
lays down that "conquered kings preserved in their 
own lands in accordance with the policy of 
conciliation will be loyal to the conquerer and 
follow his sons and grandsons/' 8 Chandragupta 
must have followed this policy to some extent. 
In fact, Kautilya mentions certain sanghas or 
oligarchies which probably still existed in the 
time of Chandragupta. These were the Lichchhavis, 
the Vrijis, the Mai las, the Madras, the Kukuras, 

1. "Next come the Andruae a Htill DJOIO powerful ra<*, which 
possesses numerouH villages, and thirty towna defended by walls and 
towers, and which supplies its king with an wrmy of 100,000 
infantry, 2000 cu\airy and 1000 elepbauU" McCrindlo- Ancient 
India: Megasthenos and Arrian p 141. 

2. Asoka mentions these kingdoms as independent in hit edict*. 

3. Artbasastta Book Vli Chap lf>. 



48 CHANDRAGUPTA 

the Kurus and the Panchalas, whose presidents or 
consuls were called Rajas, and the Kambhojas and 
Surashtras who had no Raja. 1 The Rajas of these 
oligarchies probably also acted as the representatives 
of Chandragupta, while those corporations which 
had no Raja had to be put in charge of a special 
officer who was called Rashtriya, and was probably 
identical with KautilyaY Rashtrapala 2 . The 
Junagarh inscription of Rudradaman mentions 
Pushyagupta, the Vaisya, as the Rashtriya of 
Chandragupta in Surashtra which, at that time, had 
no Raja, but in the time of Asoka we hear of a 
Yavana Raja, acting on behalf of Asoka, from 
which it would appear that at that time Surashtra 
had adopted the institution of Rajaship. 8 . Besides 
the oligarchies, there were also some kingdoms which 
were ruled by their own Rajas. Megasthenes 
mentions several such kingdoms, although it is 
difficult to identify many of them. Moreover, it is 
not easy to understand from his writings alone as to 
which of the kingdoms he mentions were protected 
and which were independent. Yetj as we know 
the approximate extent of Chandragupta's dominions 

1. Artlwaastr* Book Xf Chap. 1. 
S. Ibid Book V Chap. 8. 
3 Vide Appendix A. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 49 

we may be pretty certain that the kingdoms which 
were situated within its boundaries were only 
protected states. "The essence of this imperial 
system," to sum up in the words of Dr. Radha Kumud 
Mookerji, "was thus a recognition of local autonomy 
at the expense of the authority of the central govern- 
ment, which was physically unfit to assert itself 
except by its enforced affiliation to the pre-existing 
system of local government/' 1 

We have ample material for describing the 
administration of the Maurya empire and Dr. Smith 
has rightly observed that "more is known about the 
policy of India as it was in the Maurya age than can 
be affirmed on the subject concerning any period 
intervening between that age and the reign of 
Akbar eighteen centuries later/' 2 The chief source 
is the account left by the Greek ambassador 
Megasthenes. The Arthasastra of Kautilya tells us. 
much about the methods of administration, many of 
which must have been followed by Chandragupta,. 
although the work seems to be largely theoretical. 
The edicts of Asoka and the ancient works dealing 
with Hindu polity are also helpful in adding to our 
information about the administration of that period. 

1. Dr. Kadba Kumud Mookerji Local Government in Ancient 
India P. 10 

2, Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India p. 84. 



50 CHANDRAGUPTA 

The king was the head of the administration and 
wasabsolute in his powers, having to perform military, 
judicial, legislative as well as executive functions 
which we shall deal with as occasion arises. It must, 
however, be remembered that the autocracy of the 
king in ancient India was always limited by popular 
institutions which the state thought it safe to recognise. 
Mr. Jayaswal has shown at length that the 
Pauras and Janapadas mentioned in Sanskrit 
literature were really popular assemblies representing 
citizens and villagers, and had considerable powers. 1 

Kautilya mentions 18 kinds of Amatyas or high 
officials* who supervised all the branches of 
administration, and were probably identical with the 
Mahamatras of Asoka. Megasthenes seems to refer 
lo these very officers as comprising the seventh division 
of Indian population. They were appointed by the 
king, no doubt, from among men who had popular 
backing, as Kautilya expressly says that "whatever 
pleases himself he shall not consider as good, but 
whatever pleases his subjects he shall consider as 
good." 8 The appointment of these Amatyas was 
the chief executive function of the king. 

1. Bindn Polity-Part II pp 70-108. 
g, Artbaaastra Book I chapter 12. 
3. Ibid Book I chapter 19. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 51 

The king was assisted by a Parishad or assembly 
of councillors, which was a sort of parliament. 1 
This body must have consisted of a large number of 
members. The highest officers of the state were the 
chief ministers, who were not more than four; 8 and 
the ablest of whom probably acquired prime 
ministership, which rank seems to have been enjoyed 
by Chanakya. The salary of a chief minister was 
48,000 panas per annum.* The value of a pana, 
according to Dr. Smith, was not far from a shilling. 4 

The military administration was very elaborate 
and efficient. We have said that the king had also 
military functions to perform, and this is clear from the 
fact that according to Megasthenes the king left his 
palace to lead the army in the time of war.* The highest 
officer of the army was the Senapati or commander* 
irvchief, who got a salary equal to that of a chief 
minister.* 

We leam from Megasthenes that there was a 
regular war office for military administration. There 
was a commission of thirty members divided into 

1. Arthasaslra Book 1 chapter 15, 

2. Ibid Book I chapter 15. 

3. Ibid Hook V chapter 3. 

4. Early History of India* p. 149* 

5. McCrindle- Ancient India: Megasthene* and Arrian p. 70. 

6. Arthacastra Book V chapter S. 



52 CHANDRAGUPTA 

six boards, each consisting of five members. 1 
Kautilya also seems to refer to these boards when 
he says that each department shall be officered by 
many chiefs. 2 Each board had probably a 
superintendent, who seems to have been identical 
with the Adhyaksha of Arthasastra. 

The first board was in charge of navy, and 
worked in cooperation with the admiral who was 
probably identical with the Navadhyaksha of 
Arthasastra. This officer performed all the 
duties relating to ships such as hiring of ships 
to passengers, collecting toll from merchants! arrest 
of suspicious persons and destruction of hinsrikas or 
pirates. 8 The ships were maintained by the state, 
and were not restricted to rivers but ventured to sea. 
These regulations clearly show that there was a 
considerable ocean traffic in Maurya times. 

The second board was in charge of transport 
commissariat and army service, and worked in 
cooperation with the superintendent of bullock trains 
who was probably identical with the Go'dhyaksha of 
Arthasastra. 4 The bullock trains were used for 



X. MoCrindle Ancient India : Megasthenes and Arrian p. 88. 

2. Arthasastra Book II chapter 4, 

8. Ibid Book II chapter 28. 

4. Ibid Book II chapter 29. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THF EMPIRE 53 

transporting engines of war, food for the soldiers, 
provender for cattle and other military requisites. 

The third board was in charge of infantry, 
whose superintendent appears to have been the 
Pattyadhyksha. l The size of the infantry is given 
by both Pliny 2 and Solinus, 8 but unfortunately 
they greatly disagree. In view of the fact, however, 
that Asoka had to offer a very severe fight before 
he could conquer Kalinga, it does not seem likely 
that the Mauryas really maintained such a huge 
infantry as Pliny would lead us to believe. It, 
therefore, appears that the additional zero of Pliny is 
only a copyist's mistake, as observed by Prof. Rhys 
Davids, 4 and Solinus is correct when he says that 
the Prassian infantry consisted of 60000 soldiers. 
Arrian has preserved an account of the wny in 
which the Indians in those times equipped themselves 
for war : 

"The foot soldiers",we are told, "carry a bow 
made of equal length with the man who bears it 
This they rest upon the ground, and pressing against 
it with their left foot thus discharge the arrow, 
having drawn the string far backwards: for the shaft 
they use is little short of being three yards long, and 

1 A rthasAStra Book if chapter 33 

2. McCrin die- Ancient India: MegMthene* and Arrian p. 141. 

3. Ibid p. 161. 

4. Buddhist India p. 266. 



54 CHANDRAGUPTA 

there is nothing which can resist an Indian archer's 
shot, neither shield nor breastplate, nor any stronger 
defence, if such there be. In their left hand they 
carry bucklers made of undressed oxJiide, which are 
not so broad as those who carry them, but are about 
as long. Some are equipped with javelins instead of 
bows, but all wear a sword, which is broad in the 
blade, but not longer than three cubits, and this r 
when they engage in close fight, they wield with 
both hands, to fetch down a lustier blow/' 1 

The fourth board was in charge of cavalary, 
whose superintendent appears to have been the 
Asvadhyaksha.* The Greek authors unanimously 
state that the cavalry force of Chandragupta numbered 
30000. Each horseman was equipped with two 
lances and with a shorter buckler than that carried 
by the foot soldiers. 8 The horses of Kambojaand 
Sindhu were regarded as the best. 4 

The fifth board was in charge of the war 
elephants whose superintendent was probably the 
Hastyadhyaksha.* The elephants in possession of 
Chandragupta numbered 9000, according to the 

1. MoCrtndle- Ancient India: Hegasthenes and Arrian p, 225. 

2. Atthaaaetra Book II chapter SO. 

8. MoCrindle-Ancient India: Megasthenes and Arrian p. 226. 

4. Arthasaatra Book I! chapter 80. 

5. Ibid Book II chapter 81. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 55 

highest estimate. * Each elephant carried four men 
including the driver. 8 Thus the highest figure of 
men with elephants was 36000. 

The sixth board was in charge of the wat 
chariots, whose superintendent was probably the 
Rathadhyaksha. 8 The number of chariots in possession 
of Chandragupta is not given, but Mahapadma, 
the predecessor of Chandragupta, possessed 8000 
chariots according to the highest estimate, 4 and the 
number in possession of Chandragupta might be 
assumed to be the same, as Dr. Smith has suggested,* 
Each chariot carried three men including the driver.* 
Thus the men with chariots may be assumed to have 
numbered 24000. 

The total number of men in the army of 
Chandragupra would thus have been 1, 50, 000 in 
all, being more than those kept by any other state in 
India at that time. The force thus kept was not a 
militia but a standing army drawing regular pay 
and supplied by the government with arms and 

1. This is the number given by Pliny: Solinus gives the number 
AS 8000. 

2. MoOrindte-Anoient India: Megasthenes and Arrfan p, 89. 
8, Arthasartra Book II chapter 33. 

4. McCrindle-InTasion of India by Alexander p, 310. 

5. Early History of India 47 p. 132. 

6. MoCrindle-Ancient India: Megaatbenes and Arrian p. 88. 



56 CHANDRAGUPTA 

equipment. There were royal stables for horses and 
elephants and also a royal magazine for the 
arms . 1 

The civil administration of Chandragupta was 
equally efficient. The method of city administration 
prevailing at the time may first be described. The 
head of the city affairs, according to Kautilya, was 
the Paura Vyavaharika who was one of the high 
officers of state. 3 For actual details, however, we 
must turn to Magasihenes, who has left an account 
of the way in which Patliputra, the capital, was 
governed. Other great cities of the empire, such as 
Taxila and Ujjain probably were also governed on 
the same lines. 

There was a regular municipal commission, which 
also consisted of six boards, each composed of five 
members. 8 Kautilya, also, mentions some adhyakshas 
or superintendents whose duties exactly correspond 
to the functions of the boards referred to above. 
Thus the Pautavadhyaksha 4 or the superintendent of 
weights and measures, the Panyadhyaksha 5 or the 

1. McCrindle-Ancient India: Megasthenes and Arrian p. 88. 

2, Arthaaastra Book I chapter 12. 

8. McCrindle-Ancient India: Megasthenes and Arrian p. 87. 
4 Artbasastra Book II chapter 19. 
5. Ihdid Book II chapter 16. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 57 

superintendent of trade and the Sulkadhyaksha* or the 
superintendent of tolls had duties similar to those 
assigned to the last three boards by Megasthenes. 
It is, therefore, probable that every board worked in 
co-operation with a superintendent as in the case of 
military administration. Much of the administrative 
elaboration noticed by the Greeks, however, must 
have been due to the genius of Chandragupta, 

The first board looked after everything relating to 
industrial arts. Its members appear to have been 
responsible for fixing the rates of wages as well as 
supervising the work which the artisans did. Artisans 
were regarded as servants of state, and any body who 
rendered an artisan incapable of work by causing the 
loss of his eyes or hands was sentenced to capital 
punishment. 2 

The second board was responsible for watching 
the foreigners and attending to their requirements. 
This board provided the foreigners lodging and 
escorts and, in case of need, medical attendance. 
If any foreigner died he was decently buried, and 
his property was handed over to the rightful claimant 
These regulations clearly prove that Chandragupta 
created wide-spread political and commercial relations 



1. Arthasastra Book II chapter 21. 

2. McCrindle- Ancient India: Megasthenes and Arrian p. 70. 



58 CHANDRAGUPTA 

with foreign powers to necessitate such administration* 

The third board was in charge of vital statistics- 
All births and deaths were systematically registered, 
not only to facilitate the collection of taxes, but also 
for the information of the government. The high 
value attached to statistics by the Maurya government 
has* justly evoked the wonder and admiration of 
modem scholars. 

The fourth board supervised commerce, and was 
authorized to enforce the use of duly stamped 
weights and measures. A merchant could deal 
only in one commodity, for which license was given r 
unless he had paid a double license tax. 

The fifth board was required to supervise the 
trade of manufactured articles. New and old poods 
were required to be sold separately, and there was 
a fine for mixing the two. It appears from the 
Arthasastra that old things could be sold only by 
special permission. 1 

The sixth board collected tithes on sales, the 
ate being one^tenth of the profit. If any one 
practised fraud in the payment of thistax, hisr 
punishment was death, probably when the amount 

1. Arthawwtrm Book IV Chapter 2. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 59 

involved was large. 1 It, however, appears that 
evasion of this tax for honest reasons was not so 
treated. Even then the penalty was very severe 
according to modern standards.* 

In their collective capacity the members of the 
municipal commission were responsible for the 
general administration of the city and for keeping 
the markets temples, harbours and other public works 
of the city in order. 

It was recognised that ''all undertakings depend 
upon finance" 8 . There was, therefore, a special 
officer for the collection of revenue called the 
Samaharta or Collector-general, who got a salary 
of 24000 panas per annum 4 . He supervised the 
collection of dues from mines, forests, catties and 
roads of traffic, as well as land revenue . Like other 
great officers he probably also had many adhyakshas 
or superintendents under him. Thus he must have 

1. This regulation appears to be identical with that given by 
Kautilya in connection with the payment of tolls, viz., "Those who 
Titter a lie shall be punished as thieves" (Arthasastra II. 21). If thft is 
so, then fraud involving a large amount only most have been punished 
by death, as in the case of theft. The words of Kautilya clearly prove 
that evasion of taxes by dishonest means only was punishable. 

2. It may be mentioned here that as late a0 the eighteenth century 
forgery was a capital offence in English law. 

3. Arthasastra Book II chapter 8. 

4. Ibid Book V chapter 8. 

5. Ibid Book II chapter 6. 



60 CHADRAGUPTA 

been assisted by the Akaradhyaksha 1 in the 
realisation of dues from mines, by the Kupadhyaksha 3 
in the realisation of forest dues and by the 
Sitadhayaksha 8 in the realisation of land revenue. 

The mainstay of finance must have been land 
revenue as it is even now. The normal share of the 
crown recognized by Hindu lawgivers was th of 
the gross produce 4 , which is also referred to by 
Kautilya in one place 5 . Diodorus, however, 
mentions the share of the government having been |th 
of the gross produce. The fact seems to be that in 
practice the proportion varied largely and all 
provinces were not treated alike. The farmers 
were benevolently treated, agriculture being regarded 
as a great prop for the people. Megasthenes 
remarks that "there are usages observed by the 
Indians which contribute to prevent the occurrence 
of famine among them; for whereas among other 
nations it is usual, in the contests of war, to ravage 
the soil and thus to reduce it to an uncultivated 
waste, among the Indians, on the contrary, by whom 



1. Arthasastra Book II chapter 12. 

2. Ibid Book II chapter 17. 
8. I hid Book II chapter 24. 

4. Manu 7.130. Yajn. 1.13. 335. 

5. Arthaaastra Book I chapter IS. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 61 

husbandmen are regarded as a class that is sacred and 
unviolable, the tillers of the soil, even when battle 
is raging in their neighbourhood, are undisturbed 
by any sense of danger, for the combatants 
on either side in waging the conflict make carnage of 
each other, but allow those engaged in husbandry 
to remain quite unmolested." 1 When famine did 
occur, the state promulgated various relief measures, 
which shall be described in the next chapter. 

We learn from Megasthenes that the govern* 
ment also paid great attention to irrigation, which 
seems to have been one of the functions of the 
agricultural department. The duty of the irrigation 
officers was to "superintend the rivers, measure the 
land and inspect the sluices by which water is let 
out from the main canals into their branches, so that 
every one may have an equal supply of it/' 2 We 
know from the Arthashastra that water rates were 
also levied. 8 

There is ample evidence of the fact that much 
pains and expenses were lavished on irrigation even 
in remote dependencies. The inscription of the 
Satrap Rudradaman engraved about the year 150 
A. D. tells us something about the history of the 



1. McCrindle- Ancient India: Megastheoes and Arrian pp 31-3 
2 Ibid p. 66. 
3, Arthasastra Book II chapter 24. 



62 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Lake Beautiful (Sudarsana) of Kathiawar. 1 We are 
told that Pushyagupta, the Vaisya, who represented 
Chandra gupta in Surashtra, noticing the needs of 
local farmers, dammed up a small stream, and thus 
provided a reservoir of great value. It was adorned 
with conduits in the time of Chandragupta's grandson 
Asoka. This work endured for four hundred years, 
until in A.D. 150, a storm of a "most tremendous 
fury, befitting the end of a mundane period/' 
destroyed the embankment. 

The empire was divided into several parts for 
purposes of administration. Besides the home 
provinces of eastern India, which appear to have 
been under the direct control of the emperor, there 
were at least three vice-royalties, as can be inferred 
from the edicts of Asoka. The viceroy of the 
North-western provinces had his headquarters at 
Taxila, from where he seems to have controlled 
Afganistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab, Kashmir and 
Sindh. The viceroy of western India was stationed 
at Ujjain and controlled Malwa and Gujrat. The 
viceroy of south had his capital at Suvarnagiri, which 
was probably situated in the Raichur district of 
Nizam's dominions 2 . The viceroys of these territories 

1, Vide Appendix A. 
3. Smith-Asoka p. 94 n. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 63 

were styled Kumaras or Aryaputras and were princes 
of royal blood. The salary of a Kumara according 
to the Arthsastra was 12,000 panas per annum. 1 

Below the viceroys there were other officers. 
The inscriptions of Asoka refer to Rajukas, but it is 
difficult to identify them with any of the officers 
mentioned in Arthasatra. Kautilya mentions an 
officer called Pradeshta, or commissioner, who 
appears to have been identical with the Pradesika of 
Asoka. He was probably a district officer charged 
with the administration of criminal justice and other 
<Juties, and got a salary of 8000 panas per annum. 1 

The bureaucracy was assisted by an organised 
system of espionage. The system of espionage has 
always been hated by people and so it must have been 
in the days of Chandragupta. But it had its good 
points also. It was recognised by Indian statesmen 
that a king could not rule against the wishes of his 
subjects. So the spies were employed, not only to 
detect criminals, but also to get information about 
the views of the people. The spies were the sixth 
class of Indian population according to Megasthenes. 
An unpleasing feature of the espionage system was 

1. Arthaaastra Book V chapter 3. 

2. Ibid. 



64 CHANDRAGUPTA 

that even courtezans were utilized for this purpose, 1 
Arrian says that the reports which these spies gave 
were always true, for no Indian could be accused of 
lying. 2 This statement is not in contradiction with 
other records of the character of ancient Indians, 
although its strict accuracy may be doubted. 

The administration of justice was carried on by 
the courts recognized by the state. According to 
the Dharmasastras, cases could be decided by a clan, 
a guild, a corporation and finally a state court. 8 
Kautilya even recognizes different kinds of state 
courts established at Janapada-sandhi, Sangrahana, 
Dronamukha and Sthaniya, with jurisdiction over 
two, ten, four hundred and eight hundred villages 
respectively and composed of three dharmasthas and 
three amatyas in each case 4 . The case decided by 
a lower court could proceed to a higher court if the 
parties, were dissatisfied. The final authority was 
the king, and we know from Megasthenes that 
large number of people sought the intervention of 



1. McCrindle- Ancient India: Megastheues and Arrian p. 86; 
Arthasastra II 27. 

2. Ibid p. 217. 

3. Yajn2. 2 30. 

4. Arthasastra HI 1. The Janapadasandhi Court seems to have 
had jurisdiction over two villages and not two districts, because the 
order of enumeration suggests that it was the lowest court. 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 65 

the King in deciding their cases 1 . The decision of 
such cases as had not been satisfactorily decided by 
the lower courts constituted the judicial function of 
the king. 

The procedure of the Uw courts was equally 
interesting. The plaintiff had to file his suit along 
with the name and date, and the defendant had 
similarly to give his reply in writing. Witnesses as well 
as documentary evidence were recognized. Certain 
agreements, such as those entered into in seclusion, 
in the dead of night or with fraud, were held void 2 . 

Megasthenes erroneously asserts that there was 
no written law in India. As a matter of fact sacred 
writings were one of t\ e four kinds of law, the other 
three being custom, agreement and the edicts of the 
king, the issuing of which from time to time 
constituted the legislative function of the king. 
The last three were, however, required to be in 
accordance with the spirit of the sacred law. The 
author of the Arthasastra mentions several ancient 
lawgivers such as Manu, Brihaspati and Usanas, 
whose writings must have been consulted in deciding 
cases 8 . 



1. Me Grin die Ancient India: Megastbeneg and Arrian p. 71, 

2. Artbasaatra Book 111 chapter 1. 
8. Ibid Book 111 chapter ->. 



66 CHANDRACUPTA 

The penal code was simple. Offences were 
generally punished with fines, there being three 
kinds of the latter, viz., the first amercement ranging 
upto 96 panas, the middlemost amercement ranging 
upto 500 panas and the highest amercement ranging 
upto 1000 panas 1 . Crimes which surpassed those 
for which the highest amercement was prescribed, 
were punishable with vadha, which term, according 
to ancient authorities, meant corporal chastisement 
including beating, shaving off of the hair, mutilation 
and death 3 . These crimes were generally those 
which involved violence or moral turpitude, such as 
murder, hurt, theft, fraud and the submission of false 
evidence. Even in these crimes there were grades. 
Thus a thief who stole a property upto the value of 
50 panas was punishable with the highest amercement 
but if he stole goods worth more than 50 panas 
he was punished with vadha or corporal chastisement, 

1. ArttmnHstra Book III charter 17 

2. Vadha is unanimously inkerorotfd by ancient commentators 
as corporal punishment, not necessarily death. Maim and other 
Ancient lawgivers recognize four kinds of punishment, viz. vagdanda 
or warning, dhigdanda or scolding, dhftnadnnda or fine and finally 
vadhadanda whioh is explained hy Kullnka, Vijnanesvara and others 
as corporal punishment from heating and imprisonment to death 
(Mauu 8, 149, Yajn 1, 13 367) Kantilya several times jumps from 
trifling fines to vadha and it would he absurd to maintain that he hat 
reserved the meaning of that term for death, 



ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 67 

which extended upto death, if the offence was very 
serious 1 . Those persons who spoke a lie, that is to 
say, committed fraud in the payment of tolls were 
also punished like thieves 2 . Injury to the limb of 
any person was punished with the mutilation of the 
corresponding limb as well as a hand, and if the person 
injured happended to be an artisan the punishment 
was death 3 . Judicial torture was also recognized 
as a method of eliciting confession but it was used 
with the greatest caution 4 . The efficiency of criminal 
administration is attested to by Megasthenes who 
says that in a population of 4,00,000 men in 
Pataliputra the thefts recorded on any one day did 
not exceed the value of two hundred drachmae 
or about eight pounds sterling 5 . Kautilya lays 
down, in agreement with the Dharmasastras, that 
"whatever of the property of citizens robbed by 
thieves the king can not recover shall be made good 
from his own pocket" 6 . 



I \rtWaatra Book IV chapter 9, 

2. Arthasastra, If. 21; McHrindlo Ancient India p 87. 

3 McCrindlo-Ancient fmlia: Megftflthonps and Arrian p 70, 

4. Arthaatra B^ok IV chapter 8. Kautilya cxprewly ay 
that 'the production of conclusive evidence shall be insisted upon', 
and to defend his opinion be gtvea the example of a certain Mandavya, 
who, though innocent, conf^swwl when tortured. 

5 McCrindle-AncieDt India: Megmfitber ea and Arrian p. 68. 

6. Arthastttra Book III chapter 16. 



68 CHANDRAGUPTA 

On certain occasions prisoners were set free. 
One such occasion was the birthday of the King. 
Other occasions are enumerated by Kautilya in the 
following passage: "Whenever a new country is 
conquered, when an heir apparent is installed on 
the throne, or when a prince is born to the king 
prisoners are usually set free." 1 



1. Arthasaetra Book II chapter 36. 



V. 
SOCIAL 6- ECONOMIC CONDITIONS. 

The social, religious and economic condition of 
the people of India in the Maurya age deserves 
separate treatment, being a highly interesting subject. 
Fortunately for us, we possess sufficient materials 
in the shape of ancient writings of foreigners as well 
as Indians to permit us to have a fairly satisfactory 
idea of the manner in which people in those times 
lived and thought. 

The caste system, as we know it, was certainly 
not fully developed till then. Kautilya still speaks 
of the traditional four Hindu castes 1 viz. the 
Brahmanas, the Kshatriyas, the Vaisyas and the 
Sudras, who probably corresponded to Megasthenes' 
philosophers, soldiers, husbandmen and artisans*. 
The herdsmen mentioned by Megasthenes may have 
been outcaste people or panchamas, who had not 
come within the pale of settled population. 
Megasthenes mentions two more castes, but he has 
certainly erred. The overseers and councillors in 
the service of government certainly were recruited 



1 . Arthaaaatra Book 1 chapter 3. 

2 McCrindle-Ancient India Megastbenes and Arrian p 88 



70 CHANDRAGUPTA 

from all castes 1 , and cannot have formed distinct 
social divisions. Thus it appears that the settled 
population of India still consisted mainly of four 
castes, although the process of the formation of new 
castes as a result of intermarriages had already 
begun. We, however, learn from Kautilya that 
among the first three castes a man of higher caste 
could marry a woman of the lower caste, without 
the risk of losing caste. The Hindu lawgivers, no 
doubt, also recognize such marriages, but they 
regard the offsprings of such marriages as belonging 
to new castes, thereby discouraging such marriages. 
Kautilya, on the other hand, expressly says that 
the son of a Brahman from a Kshatriya woman is 
no other than a Brahman and the son of a Kshatriya 
from a Vaisya woman, is no other than a 
Kshatriya. 2 This bold statement seems to suggest 
that intermarriage between the three upper castes 
was still in vogue to some extent. Thus the most 
rigid division was still between Aryas and Sudras, 
although subdivisions must have existed in both of 
these groups. 

1. Thus Chanakya, the prime minister of Chandragupta, was a 

Brahman, while Pushyagupta, the Haehtriya of Surashtra, was a Vaisya. 

2- *IWq^ftqr3KM<iyil *T*Rtf : Arthasastra ITT. 7. Vide 

the Commentary of T. Ganapati gastri. Dr. Shamasastri's 

translation is inaccurate here. 



SOCIAL & ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 7! 

Kautilya refers to the eight theoretical kinds of 
marriages recognized by Hindu lawgivers, but it is 
difficult to believe that all of them were widely 
prevalent at any time 1 . The first of these viz. the 
Brahma marriage, in which the parents of the girl 
marry her to a suitable man after adorning her with 
ornaments is now the only form of marriage observed 
by the people, and it must have been the most 
common one even in those times. Another kind, 
the Arsha marriage, probably was also prevalent 
because Megasthenes seems to refer to it when he 
says that Indians marry wives "giving in exchange 
a yoke of oxen/' 2 The other two kinds, which 
Kautilya approves, were the Prajapatya, in which 
the bride and bridegroom were united with the 
promise of joint-performance of secred duties, and the 
Daiva in which the parents of the girl married 
her to an officiating priest at the time of a 
sacrifice. 

Polygamy was also prevalent according to both 
Megasthenes 8 and Kautilya, but we learn from 
the latter that a man could marry more than one 
wife only in case he had no son from his former wife. 



1. Arthaiastra Book 111 Chap 2; Manu 3 21. 

2 McCrindle- Ancient India: Mag<u$tbfn>8 and Arrian p 60 

8. Ibid. 



72 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Kautilya even prescribes the period for which a man 
should wait before marrying another wife. 1 

The remarriage of widows is also frankly 
recognised by Kautilya. The only condition for such 
a kind of marriage was that the widow forfeited 
whatever had been given to her by her father-in-law 
and her deceased husband; and if she happened to 
have sons also, she lost even her own property 
(Stridhana) which was given to her sons.* 

What is most curious is that Kautilya also 
recognizes a kind of divorce. The following passage 
from the Arthasastra makes it clear. "A woman, 
hating her husband, can not dissolve her marriage 
with him against his will. Nor can a man dissolve 
his marriage with his wife against her will. But 
from mutual enmity, divorce may be obtained." 8 
We are, however, told that divorce even on these 
conditions could be obtained only in certain kinds 
of marriages. It is clear from these regulations that 
the cases of divorce must have been rare and hence 
Megasthenes is silent on the subject. 

The horrible custom of Suttee was absolutely 
unknown to Kautilya and even Manu. Moreover, 



1. Arthasastra Book HI Gbap 2. 

2. Ibid. 

3 Ibid Book III chapter, 3. 



SOCIAL & ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 73 

the marriage customs described above clearly show 
that there was no room for that custom, which was 
probably of Scythian origin and later spread into 
India. The Greeks? of course, refer to it, but their 
references apply to the semUoreign north-west 
frontier. In India proper the custom was as yet not 
prevalent. 

It is generally believed that the purdah system was 
nonexistent in ancient Indh. This statement, however, 
can not stand unqualified Some kind of purdah 
was certainly observed by women of aristocratic 
classes, as Kautilya refers to women who were 
Anishkasini i.e. "notxStirringxDut." 1 References of this 
kind are not wanting in other Sanskrit works also. 2 
At the present time women in many parts of India 
observe purdah even before certain of their relatives, 
but no such practice seems to have been prevalent 
in ancient India. 

According to Megasthenes all the Indians were 
free and not one of them was a slave. 8 But in the 
light of the Arthasastra we have to modify this 
statement. As a matter of fact slavery did exist. 



1. ArthasHHtia Book HI chapter !. 

2. Panini me-itiorifi Aau T -yampa < *Yafl ft e women m>t wemtr Us* 

sun). 
:j. McCnndle Ancient India : MeRwthenes and Arrinn o. &8 



74 CHANDRAGUPTA 

but a perusal of Arthasastra makes it clear that it was 
so different from the slavery which prevailed in the 
west, that a Greek could hardly notice it. It was 
forbidden to sell an Arya or freeman (here including 
Sudra) into slavery except at his own option and 
dire necessity. "It is no crime/' says Kautilya, "for 
Mlechchhas to sell or mortgage the life of their own 
offspring, but never shall an Arya be subjected to 
slavery/' He then proceeds to say that if a man is 

enslaved for inevitable reasons, he should be soon 
redeemed. "But in order to tide over family troubles, 
to find money for fines or court decrees, or to recover 
the (confiscated) household implements, the life of 
an Arya is mortgaged, they (his kinsmen) shall as 
soon as possible redeem him (from bondage); and 
more so if he is a youth or an adult capable of 
giving help/' Moreover a slave in the west had no 
personal rights; his person was dead. In India, a 
dasa was little worse than a servant as long as he was 
not redeemed; his offsprings being free even during 
his period of bondage. A dasa could even earn 
independently if he got time from his master's work, 
and could regain his Aryahood if his independent 
income become equal to the value for which 
he was purchased. If a man abused or caused hurt 
to his slave, or employed the latter to do an ignoble 



SOCIAL & ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 75 

work, the slave became free. Thus it is clear that 
although there were dasas in India, the kind of 
slavery prevalent in the west was non-existent in 
India. 1 

Of the religions followed in India the Vedic 
sacrificial religion was still the predominant one, 
although it was greatly modified in the course of 
several centuries. The most popular form of this 
religion was the Bhagavata faith. The founder of 
this reform was Krishna, whom Prof. Ray Chaudhury 
has identified with Devakiputra Krishna, mentioned 
in the Chhandogya Upanishad. 2 According 
to the Puranic tradition Krishna flourished 
in the Hth century B. C 8 The followers of this 
faith, although continuing to honour the thirty-three 
Vedic devas, believed in devotion to one Supreme 
God, whom they called Bhagavan or the Lord. They 
further regarded Krishna as their saviour. The Greeks 
also mention Krishna as Herakles. 'This Herakles" 
we are told, "is held in special honour by the 



1. Arthtvsastra Book III Chapter 13 

2. Bay chaudhurv The F,arly Histry of the VaisWva Sct 

3. Ail th<* historical Puranas contain a nloka according to which 
King Parikahit, who was for sometime a contemporary of Krishna, 
was born about. 100" jears before tb* accession of Nanda. TbU 
gives 14th century B.C as Krishna's tim*, which may b* 
approximately correct. 



76 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Sourasenoi, an Indian tribe who possess two large 
cities, Methora and Cleisobora, and through whose 
country flows a navigable river called the Jobanes." 1 

The other important religion was Buddhism, 
founded by Gautama Buddha, in the 6th century 
B. C. Buddhism put moral obligation in the front, 
and taught that man was the maker of himself. In 
this respect it was opposed to Bhagavatism which 
preached that man could do nothing without the 
will of God. 

Jainism was the third important religion of that 
time. This religion, though claiming a high 
antiquity, was, for all practical purposes, founded by 
Mahavira, a contemporary of Gautama Buddha. Its 
basic teaching was ahiiisa or non^injury to every form 
of life, however insignificant. According to the Jain 
tradition Chandragupta himself became inclined 
towards this faith during his last days. 

The worship of images perhaps was first begun 
by the Jains and the Buddhists, who made beautiful 
images of their prophets. It was borrowed soon by 
the Hindus The worship of images and the 
institution of temples seems to have gained a strong 
foothold in the Maurya period. Patanjali has 
humorously remarked that the Mauryas who wanted 

1. McCrincUe- Ancient India Megahtbenes and Arrian p. 206 



SOCIAL r ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 77 

gold raised it by instituting images ot Gods for 
worship. 1 

Asceticism was also greatly in vogue in the 
Maurya period. The Greeks refer to the Brachmanes, 
who were evidently Brahman ascetics, and the 
Sarmanes who may or may not have been Buddhist 
Sramanas. There were also Jain munis in sufficient 
numbers, as well as Ajivikas, an ancient order of 
ascetics, now long forgotten. 

The Greeks have largely quoted from 
Magasthenes regarding the lives of the Brachmams. 
They are said to have lived in simple style and 
abstained from animal food. Theysoent their lives 
in listening to serious discourse, and in imparting 
their knowledge to others. They already believed 
in the five elements, from which the world was 
created. 1 They were of a very independent spirit, for 
one of them named Dandamis when asked to present 
himself before Alexander, who^dteHjtgg^lf the 
son of Zeus, replied that he ^^^^^^^^^ 
as much as Alexander y^^5w as > *^W^^JB at 
Alexander should hims^^m^ tehg^fe^s 
anxious to have a disfrfifr^> ^% f?pinttt||f 



2. McCrindle-AncifTit India AI 
8. Ibid p. 116. 




78 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Megasthenes about the Brachmanes is perhaps 
summed up in the following passage. "All that has 
been said regarding nature by the ancients is asserted 
also by philosophers out of Greece, on the one part 
in India by the Brachmanes and on the other in 
Syria by the people called the Jews". 1 

We are fortunate to possess sufficient details, 
preserved from the writings of Megasthenes, to 
understand what the Indian people of that period 
were like. "The inhabitants," we are told, "having 
abundant means of subsistence, exceed in 
consequence the ordinary stature and are distinguished 
by their proud bearing." 2 They were noted for 
their high standard of morality, being generally 
truthful and honest. I hey seldom went to law and 
generally left their houses and property unguarded. 8 
They had their superstitions too, as is clear from the 
Arthasastra, which has several references about 
witchcraft. 4 Kautilya also gives regulationsa bout 
gambling, which seems to have been a common vice 
among the aristocratic classes. 1 The same author 

1. McCrmdlo Ancient India: Mepasthenes and Arrian p. 108. 

2. Ibid p 30. 
3 Ibid p. 69. 

4. Arthasastra Book XIV. 
j. Ibid Book HI chapter 40. 



SOCIAL & ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 79 

gives elaborate regulations regarding liquor houses, 1 
but we are assured by Magasthenes that the people 
of India did not drink wine except at sacrifices. 1 

Kautilya has preserved interesting details about 
the economic condition of the country. The 
system of traffic by barter had passed away, and 
coins were used for transactions. In rhe pre^Maurya 
period punch-marked coins used to be issued 
by private persons. But if 1 Kautilya mentions what 
was a fact, it is clear that the government of 
Chandragupta issued and regulated coins, Kautilya 
speaks of a regular government mint. 8 The standard 
coin seems to have been the silver pana, which was 
probably of about 146 grains. There were also half, 
quarter and one^eighth of panas. The copper coin was 
called the mashaka. A gold coin called the suvarna 
is also mentioned, but perhaps its use was rare. 

Of the industries of India agriculture has been 
the chief one since ancient times, and the Maurya 
period was no exception. Kautilya has given an 
account of the crops grown which included rice, 
barley, wheat, sesamum, linseed, mustard, pulses, 
sugar cane and jcotton/J Megasthenes^ corroborates 

1. Arthaaastra B x>k II chap. 2o 

2. McOrindle Ancient India . >feKa*thonos and ArrUn p. f8, 
8. Arthaaaatra Hook Jl, chip 12. 

4 Ibid Hook II chap. 



80 CHANDRAGUPTA 

the account and gives further particulars, which are 
worth quoting. "In addition to cereals, there grow 
throughout India much millet, which is kept well 
watered by the profusion of river streams, and much 
pulse of different sorts, and rice also, and what is 
called bofiporumi as well as many other plants useful 
for food, of which most grow spontaneously. The 
soil yields, moreover, not a few other edible products 
fit for the subsistence of animals, about which it 
would be tedious to write. It is accordingly affirmed 
that famine has never visited India, and that there 
has never been a general scarcity in the supply of 
nourishing food. For, since there is a double rainfall 
in the course of each year,-one in the winter season, 
when the sowing of wheat takes place as in other 
countries* and the second at the time of the summer 
solstice, which is the proper season for sowing rice 
and bosporurn, as well as sesamum and millet- the 
inhabitants of India almost always gather in two 
harvests annually; and even should one of the 
sowings prove more or less abortive they are always 
sure of the other crop. The fruits, moreover, of 
spontaneous growth, and the esculant roots which 
grow in marshy places and are of varied sweetness, 
afford abundant sustenance for man. The fact is, 
almost all the plains in the country have a moisture 



SOCIAL 6- ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 81 

which is alike genial, whether it is derived from 
the rivers, or from the rains of the summer season 
which are wont to fall every year at a stated period 
with surprising regularity; while the great heat which 
prevails ripens the roots which grow in the marshes, 
and specially those of the tall reeds." 1 

It is clear from the above that there was no 
scarcity of crop in India at that time and thct 
various factors tended to the prevention of famine. 
But, in spite of all this, famine did sometimes occur. 
The traditions of the Jains record a great famine 
which occurred in the reign of Chandragupta 
Maurya. The government, no doubt, adopted 
various relief measures when famine did occur. 
Kautilya has recorded several of them. The chief 
of them were, the distribution of provision by 
government among the people, the employment of 
men to repair ruined buildings, request of help from 
the allies, exhorting the rich persons to contribute 
to the cause of famine relief 
population to regions havingy 

The manufacture of 
the most widespread ir 
Megasthenes has highly j 
by Indians, for their 

1. McCrindle-Ancient TndU- Mcj 

2. ArtbMfwfcra Book IV ehp. > 




82 CHANDRAGUPTA 

are worked in gold, and ornamented witfi 
precious stones, and they wear also flowered* 
garments made of the finest muslin/' 1 Kautilya 
gives elaborate regulations, about weaving, which 
prove the importance of this industry. It is noteworthy 
that it was a home industry, and women did much' 
of the spinning. 1 Cotton fabrics of Benares, Bengal, 
Kalinga and Madura were considered to be the best, 
according to the Arthasastra. The same work also 
mentions the manufacture of silk, hemp and woollen 1 
materials. It is surprising to note that the blankets 
of Nepal were famous even at that period. 8 

The mining industry was also sufficiently 
advanced. According to Kautilya, mines were the 
source of treasury. 4 Precious stones as well as 
metals formed the objects of mining. The metals 
known were gold (suvarna), silver (rupya), irofi 
(kalayasa), copper (tamra), bronze (kansya), lead (sisa), 
tin (trapu and brass (arakuta).* Megasthenes has 
also record** his observations on the subject. "And 
whjte *He soil bears on its surface all kinds of 
fruits which are known to cultivation, it has also 

1. MoCrindle- Ancient India: MegaBthenes and Arrian p. 69. 

2. Arthasaeha Book I ( chap. 23. 

3. Ibid Hook II obap. 11. 

4. Ibid Book II chap. 12. 

5. Ibid Hook II obap. 17. 



SOCIAL 6- ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 83 

underground numerous veins of all sorts of metals; 
for it contains much gold and silver, and copper 
and iron in no small quantity, and even tin and 
other metals, which are employed in making 
articles of use and ornament, as well as implements 
and accoutrements of war." l Indeed India was so 
rich in gold that fables became current that there 
were gokLdigging ants in India. 2 

Trade was in a flourishing condition in the Maurya 
period. Different places in the country had already 
gained special reputation for certain things. We have 
already seen that cotton fabrics of some places 
were looked upon as specially fine. Southern 
India was similarly famous for conchshells, diamonds, 
pearls and gold according to Kautilya.* Indian 
trade, however, was not limited within the country. 
Even before the Maurya time, India had maintained 
trade relations with Babylon and other countries, 4 
and these relations became all the more brisk in the 
Maurya period, as is proved by the creation of a 
special board for foreigners. Indian peacocks and 
ivory were specially famous outside. Kautilya 
praises the China silk, which probably proves that 

1. McCnndle- Ancient India: Megastbenea and Arrian p 80, 

2. Ibid p 94 

8. Arthasastra Book VI I chapter 12 

4 For a detailed Btudy of this subject the reader it referred to 

Dr.Radba Kumnd Mukerji's excellent book Hittory of Indiaa 

Shipping. 



84 CHANDRAGUPTA 

there was some traffic even with China. 1 This 
trade was carried on through ships. Even an early 
Buddhist work, the Baveru Jataka, refers to a trading 
journey to Babylon by sea. Kautilya also mentions 
sea voyage and recommends that the route along 
and close to the shore is better, as it touches at 
many trading port towns. 2 

A special feature of the economic life of that 
period was corporate activity. People following the 
same profession even though not belonging to the 
same caste, formed their own sreni, which was 
much like the mediaeval guild of Eurcpe. The 
srenis were recognized by the government and had 
many rights, such as deciding cases of dispute among 
members of the same sreni. The head of the sreni 
was called the Sreshthin. 8 Another institution 
representing corporate life was the system of 
sambhuya samutthana, which was much like the 
ioint stock companies of the present day. This 
kind of business corporation was established by 
several persons contributing some share, and when 
the profits were earned they were divided among 
the members in proportion to the share of each 
member. 4 

1. ArthiiBasatr* Hook II chap. 11. 

9. Ibid Book VII chap 12. 

3. For this vid Maxumdar-Corporate Life in Ancient India. 

4. Arthatattra Book H chap. 14. 



SOCIAL & ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 85 

Much of the prosperity of trade depends upon 
roads. The Maurya government paid due attention 
to this necessity. Roads were maintained in order 
by officers of the proper department and at every 
ten stadia or half a kos a pillar was set up to show 
the by-roads and distances. 1 A royal road ran from 
Pataliputra to Taxila and was the forerunner of the 
modern Grand Trunk Road. The vehicles used for 
journeying on the roads are mentioned by Arrian. 
"The animals used by the common sort for riding on 
are camels and horses and asses, while the wealthy 
use elephants for it is the elephant which in India 
carries royalty. The conveyance which ranks next 
in honour is the chariot and four; the camel ranks 
third; while to be drawn by a single horse is 
considered no distinction at all." a 



1. McCrindla-Ancient India: Megantberu)* nd ArHan p 86 
ft. Ibid p. 227. 



VI. 

LITERATURE & ART. 

A prosperous reign always has a stimulating 
effect on the activities of the human mind. 
Unfortunately very little is known about the 
intellectual achievements of the people in the reign 
of Chandragupta, but the little that has sruvived is 
sufficient to give an idea of the titeraty and artistic 
development of the age. 

Indian literature was already considerable, and 
the diffusion of the art of writing had made it greatly 
accessible. The Vedic literature, including the 
Samhitas, the Brahmanas and the Upanishads, was 
already ancient. Even the six vedangas, viz, Siksha, 
Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chhandas and 
Jyotisha are mentioned by Kautilya. 1 The oldest 
Dharmasutras probably had also come into existence. 
The Ramayana of Valmiki and the kernal of 
the Mahabharata must have already existed, for 
Kautilya refers to the events mentioned therein.* 
Even the Puranas in some shape were already 
recognised, being mentioned in the Arthasastra. 1 

1. ArthftiMtra Book 1 chap. 3. 

2. Ibid Book I chap. 6. 
8. Ibid Book I chap. 5. 



LITERATURE & ART. 87 

Of the philosophic systems, Kautilya mentions 
Sankhya, Yoga and Lokayata, 1 besides Jain and 
Bauddha, which were connected with the religions of 
the same name. The science of medicine had also 
sufficiently advanced. Arrian assures us that Indian 
doctors could cure even snake . bite, although the 
Greek physicians were unable to do so. a All this 
learning was diffused at the centres of education. 
The most famous of such centres was Taxila. Princes 
and sons of Brahmans, as well as common people, 
flocked to it as to a university town. Another 
famous seat of learning was Benares, which has 
retained its ancient glory undiminished to the 
present day. These educational centres must have 
cjxercised a great influence on the growth of 
literature. 

The literature of the Maurya period was conv 
posed either in Sanskrit or Prakrit or Pali, and may 
therefore, be classified under these three heads. 
Owing to the well known deficiency of dates in 
ancient Indian history, we can definitely assign to 
this period only a few works, which probably 
constitute only a fragment of the total literary output 
of that period. But the works which arc known to 

1. ArtbaMstra Book 1 obap. 2. 

2. MflCrindle-Anctoot India : MegMiheMs and Atria* p 



88 CHANDRAGUPTA 

belong to this period are important enough to 
constitute a literature in themselves. 

The most important author of the age was 
Chanakya, the minister of Chandragupta. He is 
famous by his patronymic in Buddhist and Jain as 
well as Hindu works. His personal name was 
Vishnugupta, and he is also known by his surname, 
Kautilya, which refers to his crooked policy, although 
one scholar considers it a corrupted form of the gotra 
name Kautalya 1 . He is described as a Dramila or 
southerner in a Sanskrit couplet, which also erroneous- 
ly identifies him with Vatsyayana 2 . Born of poor 
Brahman parents, he received his education at 
Taxila, according to tradition 8 . He then, by his 
shrewdness and ability, became the chief counsellor 
of Chandragupta, and according to some authorities, 
continued to guide the affairs of the successor of 
his master after the latter's death 4 . He is famous 
both as an author and a statesman. No doubt he 
was, inspite of his defects, a great man of his age. 

The most famous work of Chanakya is the 

1. T. Ganapati Shaatri Arthasastra. 

2. 



Abhidhana Chintaraani. 

3, Vide Maharansa tika and l>ariaihtaparvn. 

4. Taranath and Htmaehandra ha** both preferred thl* 
tradition, 



LITERATURE ART. 89 

Arthasastra. Some scholars have expressed doubt 
on the traditional age of the work on the ground 
that the author does not mention the name of his 
sovereign Chandragupta or his capital Pataliputra 1 . 
But most of the scholars are now agreed that these 
are not sufficient grounds to disprove its traditional 
date, and that the work is a genuine composition 
of the Maurya age a . This view is strengthened by 
the fact that the main features of the government 
set forth in this book, wonderfully agree with the 
description of Megasthenes, and the difference in 
details is due only to the theoretical character of 
the book. Moreover, several early writers refer to 
Chanakya as a writer on statecraft, and Dandin, 
while referring to the work of Chanakya, mentions 
even its size which agrees exactly with the size, 
mentioned in the Arthasastra itself 8 . Some of the 
Sanskrit works, notably the Yajnavalkya Smriti in 
its present form, are indebted to the Arthasastra in a 
considerable measure. 

The Arthasastra, as its name indicates, is a book 
on political economy and the art of government. 

1. Keith and Jolly are the chief among those scholars. 

2. Mr. Jayaswa) and Dr. *hania*aatry have very ably proved 
the genuineness of this work. Several German scholar* 
also hold the name view. 

S. Dasftkmnara charita 11 8. 



90 CHANDRAGUPTA 

jit is mainly a prose work, divided into fifteen 

adhikaranas or books, each subdivided into numerous 

chapters. It deals with the duties of kings, 

.administration of public affairs, law and judiciary, 

relation with foreign powers, methods of warfare, 

.and secret means to injure an enemy. The book 

has been condemned by many critics, including 

such early authors as Bana l , on the score of many 

undesirable things advocated in it, such as the 

practice of witchcraft and the institution of 

espionage. No doubt there is much to be said 

.against these and similar other things occurring in 

the Arthasastra. But in judging a book we have to 

look to both the good and bad sides as well as the 

circumstances in which it was composed. The 

condition of India was very unsettled at the time of 

the rise of the Maurya empire, and all kinds of 

means might have been considered necessary to 

restore peace with honour. But the same author 

has advocated things which deserve nothing but 

praise. The observation of an Indian scholar may 



1. ft 



LITERATURE & ART 9i 

be quoted to show the attitude of Kautilya towards 
slavery, and the position of the Sudra. "In regard 
to slavery, Kautilya's attitude stands apart as a 
glowing light of liberalism and humanity in a 
barbaric age. While his contemporary Aristotle 
was justifying slavery as a divine and a beneficient 
human institution not only sanctioned by nature, 
but justified by the circumstances of social existence, 
he denounced it and strove to abolish it 
characterising it as a custom which could exist only 
among the savage Mlechchhas.He boldly enunciated 
that among Aryas (freeborn) none should be unfree 
or enslaved. His definition of the Arya was not 
narrow. According to him, the Sudra was equally 
an Arya with members of the higher castes/' 1 
Chanakya was one of the pioneers to include the 
Sudra within the Aryan fold, and his motive must 
have been to strengthen Aryavarta. His view on 
other social matters are also generally liberal 
$nd commendable. He was, moreover, not 
without his admirers, for Kamandaka, the author of 
Nitisara, has praised him highly.* We may 
therefore conclude, in the words which Sir Frederic 

1. N. C. Bandopfcdbjmya Kutily p. *n. 

2. ^ ?rT^ ^^jninni^ 

%W% Nitisara of Kamandaka. 



92 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Pollock wrote about another statesman, x that of all 
the opinions about Chanakya's object in this book r 
ranging from the vulgar prejudice that he was a 
cynical counsellor of iniquity to the panegyric of 
those who regard him as one of the great preparers 
and champions of Indian unity, the latter at all 
events contains more truth than the former. 

Chanakya is also the reputed author of a 
collection of witfy aphorisms, and a book entitled 
the Chanakya^sataka on ethical poetry. He is even 
credited with writing on medicine, and in this 
capacity is known to Arabic writers as Sanaq.* No 
book of his on the subject, however, is known. 

The greatest Prakrit author of the age was 
Bhadrabahu, the Jain pontiff. According to 
Sthaviravalis Bhadrabahu was the sixth Sthavira 
after Mahavira. He was the disciple of Yasobhadra. 
He lived and wrote during the regin of 
Chandragupta. During the great famine that 
occurred in the time of Chandragupta, Bhadrabahu 
repaired to the south and there died by Samadhi. 
According to some accounts he was accompanied 
by Chandragupta. But this does not seem to be 
correct, as according to Hemachandra Bhadrabahu 

1. Machae velli, with whom Chanakya IK often, through rather 
inappoaitely, compared. 

9. K*ith History of Sanskrit Literature p. 505 



LITERATURE & ART. 93 

died 1 70 years after the Niravana of Mahavira, i.e. 
in the sixteenth year of Chandragupta's reign. 1 
Bhadrabahu is the reputed author of many Jain 
Prakrit works. The most famous of these is the 
Kalpasutra. This book is divided into three parts, 
viz., Jina charitra (lives of Jinas) Sthaviravali (list 
of Sthaviras) and Samachari (rules for Yatis). It is 
doubtful if the whole of this book is the work of 
Bhadrabahu. Jacobi thinks that the list of Sthaviras 
contained in this book was probably added by 
Devardhi, the editor of the Siddhanta. Professor 
Weber ascertained that the whole Kalpasutra is 
incorporated as the eighth lecture in the Dasasutra 
Skandha, which is included in the ten Niryuktis 
attributed to Bhadrabahu. 

The only important Pali work of the Maurya 
period was the Buddhist Kathavatthu, ascribed to 
Maudgaliputra Tishya. it was, however, composed 
in the reign of Asoka and does not strictly belong to 
the period we are dealing with. 

It is obvious from the above that the reign of 
Chandragupta was not devoid of literary 
achievements, in the field of arts also the success 
attained in that remote period by Indians was by no 
means insignificant as is clear from the following 

1. P*riishtprvRn X 2* 



94 CHANDRAGUPTA 

observation of Megasthenes. "They are also found 1 
to be welUkilled in the arts as might be expected of 
men who inhale a pure air and drink the very finest 
water/' 1 We shall briefly note the development 
of the chief arts in the Maurya period. 

Painting has always held a high place among 
fine arts. We learn from Buddhist writings that 
fresco pain ing was already well known. The 
following passage of Prof. Rhys Davids about 
painters in Buddhist India may be quoted in this 
connection. "They were mostly house painters. 
The wood work of the houses was often covered 
with fine chunam plaster and decorated with 
painting. But they also painted frescoes. These 
passages tell us of pleasure houses, adorned with 
painted figures and patterns, belonging to the kings 
of Magadha and Kosala, and such frescoes were 
no doubt similar in character to, but of course in 
an earlier style than, the well known ancient 
frescoes of the seventh and eighth centuries A. D. on 
the Ajanta caves, and of the fi'-th century on the 
Sigri Rock in Ceylon." No doubt this art must have 
continued in the Maurya period under the patronage 
of an enlightened Government. 

1. McCrindle-Ancient india : Megastbenes and Arrian p. 30. 

2. Rhys Darids-Buddhisi India p 96. 



LITERATURE & ART 95 

The art of iconography also had considerably 
developed in the Maurya period. Some statues, 
recently discovered, have been assigned by 
specialists near about the Maurya period. One of 
them is the Parkham statue, now in the Muttra' 
museum. According to Mr. Jayaswal this is a 
nearly contemporary portrait of king Ajatasatru. Two 
of the statues discovered near Patna, and now in 
the Indian Museum, are also believed to belong to 
the early Maurya period. According to Mr. 
Jayaswal they represent Udayi and Nandivarddhana, 
though this view is not generally accepted. But even 
Dr. Smith was of the opinion that the statues belong 
to the early Maurya period. A colossal female 
statue found at Besnagar is also supposed to belong 
to the Maurya period. 

Architecture has been considered the queen of arts, 
and a survey of it is indispensable in a review of the 
progress of art in the Maurya period. Numerous 
monuments of the period of Asoka have survived to 
prove the high skill which the people had attained 
in his reign. Unfortunately very little has survived 
of the reign of Chandragupta himself. The reason 
appears to be that most of the cities in India were 
still built of the perishable wood, as noted by 
Megasthenes. We are however, fortunate in 



96 CHANDRAGUPTA 

possessing an account of the way in which 
Pataliputra, the capital, and the royal palace in it 
were built, and modern excavations have proved its 
correctness. We may first give the description of 
Pataliputra as quoted by Arrian "The greatest 
cify in India is that which is called Palimbothra, 
in the dominions of the Prassians, where the streams 

of the Erannaboas and the Ganges unite 

Megasthenes informs us that the city stretched in 
the inhabited quarters to an extreme length on each 
side of eight stadia, and that its breadth was fifteen 
stadia, and that a ditch encompassed it all round, 
which was six hundred feet in breadth and thirty 
cubits in depth, and that the wall was crowned with 
570 towers and had four and sixty gates." 1 We 
further learn that the wall which girded the city 
was also built of wood. 

The palace of Chandragupta was highly 
praised by the Greeks, who regarded it as surpassing 
in beauty the palaces of Susa and Ekbatana. The 
excavations at the site of the village Kumrahar 
carried on by Dr. Spooner have disclosed the 
remains of a mighty pillared hall of Mauryan date- 
This i all probably formed part of the palace of 
Chandragupta himself. 



1. McCrindle- Ancient India.: Megxstbeneg and Armn p. 67. 



LITERATURE & ART, 97 

The stone fragments of the pillars of this hall 
were found among ashes buried beneath old 
brickwalls probably belonging to the Gupta period. 
Beneath the ashes was a layer of 9 feet of silt 
which covered the original floor of the hall. 
According to Dr. Spooner the silt was deposited on 
the floor of the hall by a flood which occurred 
somewhere about the time of Christ, and then, 
after some centuries, the portion above the silt was 
burnt down by a fire, which accounts for the ashes 
lying mixed with stone fragments above the silt, in 
connection with the woodwork of the superstructure 
Dr. Spooner has made the following remarks. 
"Judging from the timbers that have been preserved to 
us, it is clear that the wood work of the superstructure 
and the room must have been extremely solid 
and massive, and that the heat of the final 
conflagration must have been enormous. It is 
evident that it sufficed to crack off innumerable 
fragments from that portion of the columns which 
rose above the silt, and also to expand the metal 
bolts which fitted into the socket, holes observable 
in the top fragments of pillars which we have 
recovered/' 1 

According to Dr. Spooner this Maurya hall was 

1, Archaeological Surrey of India 1912-1918 p. 63. 



98 CHANDRAGUPTA 

built on the model of the pillared hall at Persepolis. 
Dr. Smith, however, observed that the resemblance 
of the Maurya buildings with the Persian palace at 
Persepolis was not definitely established. 



VII 
ACrilEVEMENTSOFCHANDRAGUPTA 

A review of the life and career of Chandragupta 
can hardly be complete without a survey of the 
importance of his achievements. It is strange that 
a personage who, in ancient times, captured the 
imagination of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Greek and 
Roman authors alike, has been camparatively ignored 
in modern times. We shall here discuss his place 
in history on the ground of his achievements. 

Chandragupta began his career as a mere rebel 
against the existing order of things in India. His 
first achievement was, perhaps, the expulsion of 
Greek garrisons from the Punjab in about 317 B. C. 
Starting from that point, he became, in a brief space 
of twelve years, the emperor of the greater part of 
India, entering into possession of that scientific 
frontier "sighed for in vain by his English successors 
and never held in its entirety even by the Moghul 
monarchs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries" 1 
In judging the extent of his conquests, we must 
remember that India is geographically a continent 
and the conquest of nearly the whole of this area 
is no mean achievement. Moreover, as Arrian HAS 
noted, a sense of justice prevented the ancient 

1. Early History of India p 126 



100 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Indian kings from bringing foreign countries under 
their subjection. 1 They were satisfied by getting 
their superior power acknowledged by foreign kings, 
and they performed their digvijaya only to this end. 
Judged by this standard, Chandragupta was a 
successful digvijayi in as much as he defeated the 
most powerful foreign king, Seluekos Nikator, who 
held all western Asia under his sway. Thus there 
can be no doubt that Chandragupta was a great 
conqueror. 

Chandragupta, moreover, was, in a real sense, one 
of those few men who have changed the destinies 
of nations. But for him, India, with her numerous 
warring rulers, would have surely fallen a prey to 
the ambition of the successors of Alexander. He 
was solely responsible for the redemption of India. 

Chandragupta, however, was no mere military 
adventurer and his greatness does not depend only 
upon his military feats. The change he brought 
about in Indian politics was not flickering or 
temporary. He knew to organise as well as to 
conquer a vast empire. His organization was so 
thorough that his empire passed intact at least to his 
son and grandson. It is, therefore, obvious that he 

1. MoOrindlt-Aoiat India: Megatthenes and Arrian p. 809. 



ACHIEVEMENTS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 101 

had the will as well as the capacity to organize an 
empire rarely surpassed in magnitude. 

Chandragupta has been praised by Indian and 
foreign authors alike for bestowing prosperity upon 
his country. Thus, Visakhadatta, the author of the 
Mudrarakshasa, has treated him as Deity descended 
upon earth to restore peace in the country of India 
troubled by barbarians. Among foreign writers the 
only one who has accused Chandragupta of tyranny 
is the Roman historian Justin, but his opinion is in 
contradiction with the earlier account of Megasthenes 
who everywhere refers to the prosperity of the 
Indian people. 

Chandragupta thus distinguished himself in many 
directions. He was the conqueror of a vast territory, 
the emancipator of his country, the capable adminis- 
trator of a great empire, and the harbinger of peace 
to his people. He is usually considered as the first 
historical emperor of India. He was undoubtedly 
the mightiest ruler of his time and one of the most 
lustrous stars in the firmament of monarchy. It is not 
easy to embark upon a comparison, but as it is one 
of the best ways of understanding a person, it would 
be worthwhile to compare Chandragupta with three 
of the world's greatest Kings Alexander, Akbar 
and Napoleon. 



102 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Alexander the Great was undoubtedly a great 

conqueror. We are bound to be dazzled when we 

recall to mind his wide conquests in a brief space 

of time for he died quite young. Yet the truth 

is that much of what Alexander accomplished 

had already been planned by his father, Philip, a 

man of uncommon ability. Alexander had found 

his field prepared by his father, and thus had no 

difficulties to face at the outset of his career. In 

the words of Mr. H. G. Wells " the true hero of 

the history of Alexander is not so much Alexander 

as his father Philip/' 1 Moreover, the countries 

conquered by Alexander gained nothing by the change 

of masters* It may be argued that he had schemes 

of organisation which were frustrated by his early 

death. But this is hardly borne out by his career. 

His vanity was insuperable, and his purpose seems 

to have been to dazzle the world by his valour. His 

purpose accomplished, he literally drank himself to 

death. Chandragupta, on the other hand, was a 

man of a different metal. As brave and couragous 

as Alexander himself, his sole purpose seems to have 

been to bring peace and honour to his country. He 

had no advantages of birth and was actually an 

exile at the outset of his career. He too was a 

1. Wells-Outline of History page ">4* 



ACHIEVEMENTS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 103 

young man when he came on the scene, but in a 
brief space of time he had not only conquered but 
thoroughly organized a vast empire, giving all the 
advantages of a good government to his people. 
Thus Chandragupta, on the whole, has better claims 
for greatness than Alexander. 

Akbar, the Moghul monarch, was indeed much 
like Chandragupta. He has often been compared 
with Asoka, but in many respects his genius was 
more allied to that of Chandragupta than to that of 
Asoka. Like Chandragupta he was a man of 'blood 
and iron'. Like him again, he was a great conqueror 
and a great administrator, But it must be remembered 
that Akbar had inherited the resources needed 
for forming a great empire as against Chandragupta 
who struggled from poverty and exile to power. 
Moreover, the success of Akbar's administration 
was more due to the personal qualities of his 
ministers than to his thorough organisation and even 
Dr. Vincent Smith has admitted that" Akbar's machine 
of government never attained the standard of 
efficiency reached by the Mauryas eighteen or nineteen 
centuries before his time." 1 

Napoleon certainly was one of the most brilliant 
figures in history. He resembles Chandragupta in 



1. Bmith-Akbar the Great Mogul page 896. 



104 CHANDRAGUPTA 

as much as he also rose by dint of merit, and not by 
virtue of his birth. In his early youth he dreamt 
of an independent Corsica, much as Chandragupta 
seems to have dreamt of the independence of his 
country. But later, Napoleon drifted towards a 
mere ambition for conquest, and failed to maintain 
his empire. In fact, his country gained nothing by 
his splendid exploits. In this respect, he too falls 
behind the great Maurya. 

Chandragupta was thus, on the whole, an 
uncommon genius. He was the founder of the greatest 
Hindu dynasty, to which also belonged the most 
famous Buddhist and Jain monarchs. 1 His career 
supplied materials to many poets for writing upon 
and he is still a popular hero in modern vernacular 
literature. 



1 . Asokft ftnd 8*mpr*ti. 



VIII. 

LEGENDS OF CHANDRAGUPTA, 
A. BUDDHIST. 

While Buddha yet lived, driven by the misfortunes 
produced by the wars of (prince) Vidudabha, certain 
members of the Sakya line retreating to Himavant 
discovered a delightful and beautiful location, well 
watered and situated in the midst of a forest of lofty 
bo and other trees. Influenced by the desire of 
settling there, they founded a town at a place where 
several great roads met, surrounded by durable 
ramparts, having gates of defence therein, and 
embellished with delightful edifices and pleasure 
gardens. Moreover that (city) having a row of 
buildings covered with tiles, which were arranged in 
the pattern of the plumage of peacock's neck, and as 
it resounded with notes of flocks of kraunchas and 
mayuras it was so called. From this circumstance 
these Sakya lords of this town, and their children 
and descendants, were renowned throughout 
Jambudipa by the title of "Moriya", From this time 
that dynasty has been called the Moriyan dynasty. 

(Chandragupta was bom in this dynasty.) His 
mother, the queen consort of the monarch of 
Moriyanagara, the city before mentioned, was pregnant 
at the time that a certain powerful provincial raja 



106 CHANDRAGUPTA 

conquered that kingdom, and put the Moriyan king 
to death. In her anxiety to preserve the child in her 
womb, departing for the capital of Pupphapura 
under the protection of her elder brothers and under 
disguise she dwelt there. At the completion of the 
ordinary term of pregnancy giving birth to a son, and 
relinquishing him to the protection of the Devas, she 
placed him in a vase and deposited him at the door 
of a cattle pen. A bull named Chando stationed 
himself by him, to protect him, in the same manner 
that Prince Ghosha, by the interposition of the Devas, 
was watched over by a bull. In the same manner, 
also, that the herdsman in the instance of that 
prince Ghosha repaired to the spot where the bull 
planted himself, a herdsman, on observing this 
prince, moved by affection, like that borne to his 
own child, took charge of and tenderly reared him, 
and in giving him a name, in reference to his having 
been watched by the bull Chando, he called him 
Chandagutta ; and brought him up. When he had 
attained an age to be able to tend cattle, a certain 
wild huntsman, becoming acquainted with, and 
attached to him, taking him from (the herdsman) to 
his own dwelling, established him here. He 
<x>ntinued to dwell in that village. 

Subsequently, on a certain occasion, white 



LEGENDS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 107 

tending cattle with other children in the village, he 
joined them in a game called the "game of royalty". 
He himself was named Raja ; to others he gave the 
offices of subbing, etc. Some being appointed 
judges, were placed in a judgement hall ; some he 
made officers- Having thus constituted a court of 
justice, he sat in judgement. On culprits being 
brought up, regularly inspecting and trying them, on 
their guilt being clearly proved to his satisfaction, 
according to the sentence awarded by his judicial 
ministers, he ordered the officers of the court to chop 
off their hands and feet. On their replying. "Deva, 
we have no axes"; he answered" 'It is the order of 
Chandagutta that ye should chop off their hands and 
feet, making axes with the horns of goats for blades 
and sticks for handles. They acting accordingly, on 
striking with the axe the hands and feet were lopt off. 
On the same person commanding, "Let them be 
reunited," the hands and feet were restored to their 
former condition. 

Chanakka, (a Brahman), happening to come to 
that spot, was amazad at the proceedings he beheld. 
(He had been insulted by King Nanda, for taking 
revenge against whom he had already taken into 
confidence a Prince named Pabbato, and was to 
search for a second individual entitled to be raised 



108 CHANDRAGUPTA 

to sovereign power). Accompanying (the boy) to 
the village, and presenting the herdsman with a 
thousand Kahapanas, he applied for him ; saying, 
"1 will teach your son every accomplishment, consign 
him to me." Accordingly conducting him to his 
own dwelling, he encircled his neck with a single 
fold of woollen cord, twisted with golden thread, 
worth a lac. 

He invested Prince Pabbato, also, with a 
similar woollen cord. While these youths were 
living with him, each had dream which they 
separately imparted to him. As soon as he heard 
each (dream) he knew that of these prince Pabbato 
would not attain royalty; and that Chandagutta 
would, without loss of time, become paramount 
monarch in Jambudipa. Although he made this 
discovery, he disclosed nothing to them. 

On a certain occasion having partaken of some 
milkrice prepared in butter, which had been received 
as an offering at a Brahmanical disputation; retiring 
from the main road, and lying down in a shady 
place protected by the deep foliage of trees, they 
fell asleep. Among them the Achariyo awaking 
first rose; and, for the purpose of putting prince 
Pabbato's qualifications to the test, giving him a 
sword, and telling him "Bring me the woollen thread 



LEGENDS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 109 

on Chandagutta's neck, without either cutting or 
untying it/' sent him off. Starting on the mission, 
and failing to accomplish it, he returned. On a 
subsequent day, he sent Chandagutta on a similar 
mission. He repairing to the spot where Pabbato 
was sleeping, and considering how it was to be 
effected, decided "there is no other way of doing it; it 
can only be got possession of , by cutting his head off." 
Accordingly chopping his head off, and bringing 
away the woollen thread, presented himself to the 
Brahman, who received him in profound silence. 
Pleased with him, however, on account of this 
(exploit), he rendered him in the course of six or 
seven years highly accomplished, and profoundly 
learned. Thereafter, on his attaining manhood, 
deciding "From henceforth this individual is capable 
of forming and controlling an army," and repairing 
to the spot where his treasure was buried, and 
taking possession of, and employing it; and enlisting 
forces from all quarters, and distributing money 
among them, and having thus formed a powerful 
army, he entrusted it to him. From that time 
throwing off all disguise, and invading the inhabited 
parts of the country, he commenced his campaign 
by attacking towns and villages. In the course of 
their (Chanakka and Chandagutta's) warfare, the 



110 CHANDRAGUPTA 

population rose en masse, and surrounding them, 
and hewing their army with their weapons, 
vanquished them. Dispersing, they reunited in the 
wilderness and consulting together, they thus 
decided; "As yet no advantage has resulted from 
war; relinquishing military operations, 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 converstation of the 
inhabitants of those places. 

In one of these villages, a woman having baked 
some appalpuwa (pancakes) was giving them to her 
child, who leaving the edges would only eat the 
centre. On his asking for another cake, she 
remarked "This boy's conduct is like Chandagutta's 
in his attempt to take possession of the kingdom/' 
On his enquiring, "Mother, why, what am I doing, 
and what has Chandagutta done?" "Thou, my 
boy, tsaid she), throwing away the outside of the 
cake, eat the middle only. Chandagutta also in his 
ambition to be a monarch, without subduing the 
frontiers, before he attacked the towns, invaded the 
heart of the country, and laid towns waste. On 
that account, both the inhabitants of the town and 



LEGENDS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 1 1 1 

others, rising closed in upon him, from the frontiers 
to the centre, and destroyed his army. That was 
his folly." 

They on hearing this story of hers, taking due 
notice thereof, from that time, again raised an army. 
On resuming their attack on the provinces and 
towns, commencing from the frontiers, reducing 
towns, and stationing troops in the intervals, they 
proceeded in their invasion. After an interval, 
adopting the same system, and martial ling a great 
army, and in regular course reducing each kingdom 
and province, then assailing Fatal iputra and putting 
Dhanananda to death, they seized that sovereignty. 

Although this had been brought about, Chanakka 
did not at once raise Chandagutta to the throne; but 
for the purpose of discovering Dhanananda's hidden 
treasure, sent for a certain fisherman (of the river); 
and deluding him with the promise of raising the 
chhatta for him, and having secured the hidden 
treasure; within a month from that date, putting 
him also to death, inaugurated Chandagutta 
monarch. * 

B. JAIN. 

In a village there lived certain persons as 

1. MahavuDBa Tika translated by Tumour in bis introduction 
to Mabav&usa pp. LXXVI-LXXXL 



112 CHANDRAGUPTA 

tamers of peacocks. Their headman had a daughter. 
She gave birth to a son who was named 
Chandragupta. The latter soon grew up into a 
fine lad. 

Chandragupta used to play with the boys of the 
neighbourhood, and give villages and other things 
to them, as if he were a king. Sometimes, he 
made the boys act as horses or elephants to ride on 
them, for the future of a man is often predicted 
by his previous conduct. Subsequently, on a 
certain occasion, a Brahman named Chanakya (who 
had been insulted by King Nanda of Pataliputra, 
and who was in search of a person who could help 
him in his vow of revenge) came there, 
while wandering. He was surprised at the manners 
of Chandragupta, and to test the latter he addressed 
him thus: "O King let me also have a share in 
your gifts. " Chandragupta also replied, " O 
Brahman you arQ at liberty to choose some for 
yourself from these village kine. No body can 
dare to withhold what 1 promise/' Chanakya, 
smiling, said. "How shall 1 take these kine ? 1 
fear the cowhards lest they should best me sevefely" 
Chandragupta replied, "Do not fear. I allot these 
cows to thee, The whole earth can be enioyed by 
those who are brave/' Chanakya was struck by 



LEGENDS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 113 

his intelligence and asked his playmates as to 
who he was. The boys told him the way in 
which, while still in his mother's womb, the boy 
was promised to be given to an ascetic, Chanakya 
(remembering that it was he himself who had 
formerly come to the village in the guise of an 
ascetic) recognised the boy and induced the latter 
by means of the promise of securing a kingdom, 
to accompany him. Chandragupta too, pleased at 
the idea of acquiring kingship, agreed to accompany 
him, and Chanakya quickly fled away with the 
boy like a highwayman. Then, taking hold of his 
treasures, Chanakya arrayed infantry and other 
forces, for the sake of destroying Nanda, He then 
beseiged the city of Pataliputra on all sides with 
his forces thus gathered. King Nanda, however, 
easily defeated the inadequate forces of Chanakya. 
Chanakya and Chandragupta, thereafter, fled for 
their lives, for it is said that one should protect 
oneself at any cost, prosperity being attainable 
only by preserving one's life. Nanda, on his part, 
sent some cavaliers to catch Chandragupta, for 
kings can not tolerate such persons as covet 
their.y kingdom. When Nanda returned to his 
capital triumphant, the citizens celebrated a festival, 
each contributing his share according to capacity. 



114 CHANDRAGUPTA 

One of the cavaliers despatched by King Nanda 
reached, due to the swiftness of his horse, very near 
where Chandragupta had gone. Chanakya, seeing 
the cavalier from afar and using his quick wit, 
asked Chandragupta to hide himself in the water 
of the lake that was situated nearby adorned with 
lotuses. He himself stayed there silent like a 
Yogi. The horseman of Nanda quickly came there 
on his horse, which had the swiftness of wind. 
He asked Chanakya if he had seen some young 
man recently passing that way. Chanakya, 
pretending to take care lest he should break his 
silent meditation, pointed his finger towards the 
water with a hum. The cavalier in order to 
draw out Chandragupta from water, began to wear 
his swimming gown, as the dancing girl wears 
her special petticoat (when she has to perform 
* dance.) Chanakya, in the meanwhile, got 
hold of the cavalier's sword, and cut off the 
latter's head, as if to offer to the Water.goddess. 
Then, as he shouted to Chandragupta, the latter 
came out of the water, as the moon rises from 
the ocean* Then having made Chandragupta 
mount on the horse of the cavalier, Chanakya 
*sked him as to what he thought to himself 
when was pointed out to the cavalier. 



LEGENDS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 1 15 

Chandragupta said that, although he might not 
understand, he saw nothing but good in what 
his teacher did. Chanakya, on hearing this, thought 
to himself that such an obedient pupil would never 
betray him. While they were thus going on, 
they were again followed by a swift cavalier of 
Nanda coming like a messenger of Yama. Seeing 
him, Chanakya again asked Chandragupta to act 
as before which he did. Chanakya then persuaded 
a washerman standing there to believe that King 
Nanda was angry on his guild, and it was best for 
him to run away, lest he should be killed by the 
cavalier that was drawing near. The washerman 
too, seeing the cavalier coming from afar with 
drawn sword, believed the truth of Chanakya's 
statement, and fled for his life. Chankaya then 
began to wash the clothes which the washerman 
had left behind. The cavalier coming near asked 
Chanakya (mistaking him to be a washerman) 
about the fugitives. The quick-witted Chanakya, 
acting as before, killed that cavalier also* Then 
Chanakya and Chandragupta resumed their 

wanderings 

While thus wandering, Chanakya, accompanied 
by Chandragupta, reached a village in the evening, 
as a bird retires to its nest. In that village, roaming 



116 CHANDRAGUPTA 

for the sake of alms, he approached the house of a 
certain old woman, who was serving fresh cooked hot 
food to her children. There a child, feeling very 
hungry, got his fingers burnt due to his carelessness. 
On the child's screaming the old woman remarked: 
"You are as foolish as Chanakya himself/" 
Chanakya, overhearing, entered her house and asked 
the matron the reason for her comparison of the child 
to Chanakya. The old woman replied, "Chanakya 
in his folly, attacked Nanda's capital, before 
getting control of the frontiers as a result of which 
he perished. This child, too, put his hand in the 
centre before slowly eating from the sides and thus 
got his fingers burnt. Chanakya thinking that 
even a woman was more intelligent than him 
(and realising his mistake) went to the Himalayan 
regions, and there formed alliance with a chief named 
Parvataka, with a view to secure his help. 

One day, Chanakya suggested to Parvataka the 
idea of conquering king Nanda and dividing his 
kingdom between themselves. Parvataka agreed to 
this, and then Chandragupta, Chanakya and 
Parvataka started to conquer the kingdom of Nanda. 
On their way, they beseiged a town, but could not 
-capture it. Thereupon Chanakya entered the town 
in the disguise of a mendicant. There Chanakya 



LEGENDS OF CH ANDRAGUPTA 1 1 7 

saw seven goddesses and thought that it must have 
been due to them that the town was safe. While 
he was thinking of the way of removing the images, 
certain citizens came to him and requested him to 
predict as to when the town would be free from the 
invaders. The preceptor of Chandragupta replied 
that so long as the goddesses were there the town 
would not be secure from enemies. The citizens 
then quickly removed the images, for there is nothing 
which a troubled person will not do specially under 
the influence of a crafty fellow. Chandargupta and 
Parvataka then retreated at the hint of Chanakya, and 
the citizens became very glad. But the two warriors 
again came back like a seaside and entered the town. 
Having thus captured this town both the warriors 
conquered the country of Nanda also, with 
Chanakya as charioteer. Being guided by Chanakya, 
the two heroes at last besieged Pataliputra also with 
a large army. King Nanda at that time had become 
destitute of sufficient treasuries and 
and valour, due to his unvirtuoi 
retires with virtue. He (beij 
Chanakya to grant him a safe 
does not value his life, Cha 
to leave the city with only 
him that none would stop him 1 




118 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Then king Nanda having taken with him his two 
wives and a daughter and a sufficient amount of 
wealth left the city. The daughter of Nanda, at 
that time was attracted by the appearance of 
Chandragupta and gazed at him unwinked like a 
goddess. By thus gazing by her side glances the 
daughter of Nanda proved that she had fallen in 
love with Chandragupta, Nanda too, having 
understood, asked his daughter to choose her husband 
according to her will, as was the custom among 
kings. Accordingly he asked her to get down from 
his chariot, wishing her well. Being thus asked she 
got down from that chariot, and began to mount the 
chariot of Chandragupta, as a result of which the 
spokes were broken, as a sugar cane breaks when 
pressed by a yantra. Chandragupta thinking it 
inauspicious tried to remove her from the chariot. 
Chanakya, however, forbade Chandragupta from 
doing so, telling him that it wasa good omen, not only 
for Chandragupta but also for his descendants. Then 
Chandragupta and Parvataka having entered Nanda's 
palace began to divide the huge wealth of that king. 
There was also the daughter of Nanda whom the 
latter had slowly fed on poison, and Parvataka 
became so enamoured of her that he treated her like 
an angel. The preceptor of Chandragupta agreed 



LEGENDS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 1 19 

to confer her upon Parvataka and preparations for 
marriage were started. But the sweat produced by 
the nuptial tire caused the transmission of poison in 
the body of Parvataka, (who took the hand of the 
girl). Being thus afflicted by the agonies of poison 
his body began to loose energy and he cried to 
Chandragupta to procure a doctor lest he should die. 
But Chanakya whispered to Chandragupta to let him 
alone to die or be cured, for after all the death of 
Parvataka would clear away a rival of his. without 
his incurring any sin. Thereafter the Himalayan 
chief died and the whole empire passed intact to 
Chandragupta. Thus Chandragupta became king 
155 years after the Mukti of Sri Mahavira. 1 

C. HINDU. 

King Nanda was the lord of 99 crores of gold 
pieces. When he died his body was re-animated 
by a person proficient in Yoga and, since then, he 
was known as Yogananda. Sakatala, the minister, 
hated Yogananda thinking him to be an imposter. 
Yogananda, having known it, punished Sakatatala 
on a false plea. Since then Sakatala became 
definitely against him. 



1. Parisishtaparvan of Hemachandra VIII 3889, trtntbtfed 
by the author. 



120 CHANDRAGUPTA 

One day, while brooding on his plan of revenge, 
he observed a Brahman digging in a meadow, and 
asked him the reason for doing that. Chanakya, the 
Brahman, replied, "1 am rooting out this grass which 
has hurt my foot/' The minister was struck at the 
reply and regarded that angry firnruminded Brahman 
as the fit person to accomplish the death of 
Yogananda. He then engaged him by the promise 
of a reward of one hundred thousand suvarnas to 
come and preside at the sraddha which was to be 
celebrated in the palace of Nanda. Chanakya 
accompanied him to his house and on the appointed 
day went to preside at the Sraddha. Another 
Brahman, Subandhu, however, was desirous of 
getting precedence for himself and Nanda was 
persuaded by Sakatala to believe that Subandhu was 
a fit person to be given precedence. Thereupon 
Nanda gave orders to remove Chanakya from the 
place which he occupied. Sakatala communicated 
the orders to Chanakya, pleading his own innocence 
in the matter. Burning with rage, Chanakya 
loosened the knot of his sikha, and took a vow to 
kill Nanda within seven days, after which alone he 
would tie his sikha again. On hearing this Nanda 
was enraged, but Chanakya escaped and was 
secretly sheltered by Sakatala. Thereafter, Chanakya 



LEGENDS OF CHANDRAGUPTA 121 

being supplied with all materials, practised a magical 
rite in which he was an adept, and by which on 
the seventh day Nanda was deprived of life. Sakatala 
effected the destruction of Yogananda's son Hiranya* 
gupta also, and raised Chandragupta, the son of the 
genuine Nanda, on the throne. Chanakya became 
the prince's minister, and Sakatala having obtained 
the only object of his existence retired to spend his 
last days in the woods x . 

D. EUROPEAN. 

Saleucus Nicator waged many wars in the east 
after the partition of Alexander's empire among his 
generals. He first took Babylon and then with his 
forces augmented by victory subjugated the Bactrians. 
He then passed over into India, which after 
Alexander's death, as if the yoke of servitude had 
been shaken off from its neck, had put his prefects 
to death. Sandracottus was the leader who 
achieved their freedom, but after his victories he 
forfeited by his tyranny all title to the name of 
liberator, for he oppressed with servitude the very 
people whom he had emancipated from foreign 
thraldom. He was bom in humble life, but was 
prompted to aspire to royalty by an omen significant 

1. Kathasaritsagara L 5 translated bj the author. 



122 CHANDRAGUPTA 

of an august destiny. For when by his insolent 
behaviour he had offended Nandrus 1 and was 
ordered by that king to be put to death, he sought 
safety by a speedy flight. When he lay overcome 
with fatigue and had fallen into a deep sleep, a lion 
of enormous size approaching the slumberer licked 
with its tongue the sweat which oozed profusely 
from his body and when he awoke quickly took its 
departure. It was this prodigy which first inspired 
him with the hope of winning the throne, and so 
having collected a band of robbers he instigated the 
Indians to overthrow the existing Government. 
When he was thereafter preparing to attack 
Alexander's prefects, a wild elephant of monstrous 
size approached him, and kneeling submissively like 
a tame elephant received him on to its back and 
fought vigorously in front of the army. Sandrocottu 
having thus won the throne was reigning over I ndia 
when Seleucus was laying the foundation of his 
future greatness. Seleucus having made a treaty 
with him and otherwise settled his affairs in the 
east, returned home to prosecute the war with 
Antigonus 1 . 

1. 'Nandrum' has b*n substituted for the corrupt reading 

'Ataxandrum'. 
*2 Justin (McCrindle-InvHKion of India by Alexander pp. 827-8). 



APPENDIX A. 
History of the Sudat santi I ,ake. 

(Portion of the Junagarh Inscription from 

Epigraphia Indica Vol. Vlll, Edited and 

Translated by Prof. F. Kielhorn.) 

1. Siddham idam tarfakam Sudar^anam Cir (i) nagau 

radapi (d) (u) ram a (n) t (a) (tt) ik.opala.vis. 

tarayam.occhray a* niAsandhi.baddha . drirfha.sar. 

a.pa 1 i katvat.parvata.pa 

2. da^ppratispardhususlish ( t )a(ba) ( ndha ) m 

( va ) jaten^akritrimena setubandhenopapannam 
supprativihita.ppranalt.pari ( v )cha 

3. mirfhavidhanam cha triskan (dha) n.adibhir. 

anuagrahairxmahaty.upachaye vartate- Tadidam 
rajno mahakshatrapasya sugrihi 

4. tanamnaA Swami.Chashtanasya pautra h 

putrasya rajno mahakshatrapasya gurubhir. 
abhyastanamno Rudradamno varshe divisap^ 
tatitam(e) 70 2. 

5. MargasiYsha.bahuIa.prat(i) h srish/a.vr isk 

Jina parjanyena ekarnava.bhwtayam.iva prithu 
vyam kritayam girerx/7rjayataA Suvarnasikata. 

6. Palasini.Prabhriunam nadinam atimatrodvrittair^ 

vegaiA setum(a) (ya) moaanurupa^pratt^ 

karamapi .giri*ikharflutaru.ta< .0#a!ak. opatalpau 



124 CHANDRAGUPTA 

dvara-^aranocchraya ^vidhvamsino^yuga , nidhana 
sadri 

7. sa^paramaghorawegena vayuna pramathita-salila* 

vikshipta . jarjarckritava (dt) (k) sh (i) 

ptasma* vrikshagulmaJatapratanam a nadf (ta) 
la (d) ity-udghatitam-^sit. Chatvari-hastau ata* 
nuvinsad^uttaranyxiyatena etavantyeva visttrnena 

8. pancha^saptati hastan^avagorfhena bhedena 
nissrita-'Sarva^toyam marudhannva kalpam^ 

atibhrisam durda (s)y(a)rthe Mauryasya 

rajnah Chandrag (u)(pta)(s) (ya) (r) ashfriyena 
(V) aisyena Pushyaguptena karitam Asokasya 
Mauryasya ;kri?) te YavanarajenaTush (a)spheiv 
adhish^haya 

9. pranaltbhir^ala(m)krita(m) 

TRANSLATION 

1. This lake Sudarsana, from Girinagara (even a 

long distance?) of a structure so well 

joined as to rival the spur of a mountain, because 
all its embankments are strong, in breadth, length 

* The following letters have been printed in italics. 

1. a, t, u, representing long vowels 

2. t, d, n, representing the letters of %: if 

3. r, in ri, representing g$ 

4. Jt, representing 

5 s, representing y\ 



HISTORY OF THE SUDARSANA LAKE 125 

and height constructed without gaps as they are 

of stone, (clay) furnished with a natural 

dam (formed by?) ,and with well provided 

conduits, drains and means to guard against foul 

matter, three sections by and other 

favours is (now) in an excellent condition. 
3. This same (lake) on the first of the dark half 
of Margasirsha in the seventy second 72nd 
year of the king, the Mahakshatrapa Rudradaman 
whose name is repeated by the venerable, the 

son of and son's son of the king, the 

Mahakshatrapa Lord Chashtana the taking of 

whose name is auspicious when by the 

clouds pouring with rain the earth had been 
converted as it were into one ocean by the 
excessively swollen floods of the Suvarnasikata, 
Palasini and other streams of mount Urjayat the 

dam though proper precautions (were taken), 

the water churned by a storm which, of a most 
tremendous fury befitting the end of a mundane 
period, tore down hilUops, trees, banks, turrets, 
upper stories, gates and raised places of shelter 

scattered, broke to pieces, (tore apart) 

with stones, trees, bushes and creeping plants 
scattered about, was thus laid open down to the 
bottom of the river : 



126 CHANDRAGUPTA 

7. By a breach four hundred and twenty cubits 
long, just as many broad, (and) seventy five 
cubits deep, all the water escaped, so that (the 
lake), almost like a sandy desert, (became) 
extremely ugly (to look at) 

8 for the sake of -..ordered to be made 

by the Vaisya Pushyagupta, the provincial 
governor of the Maurya king Chandragupta, 
adorned with conduits for Asoka the Maurya by 
the Yavana king Tushaspha while governing etc. 



APPENDIX B. 
Maurya Chronology. 

/. Important events* 



Year - 

B. C. Event 



488 



Foundation of Pataliputra. 



345 Birth of Chandragupta. 

325 ( Chandragupta met Alexander the Great- 

End of Greek domination in the Punjab by 
Chandragupta. 

Chandragupta invaded Nanda dominions. 
Coronation of Chandragupta. 
Seleukos Nikator defeated by Chandragupta. 
Death of Chandragupta. 



314 



313 



305 



289 



* Most of the dates Are nearly exact; some are approximate. 



128 



CHANDRAGUPTA 
11. Dynastia Table* 



6 

"3 
' 

X 


King. 


Length of 
Reign 
(years.) 


Date 
(B.C.) 


I 


Chandragupta 


24 


31 3- 289 


2 


Bindusara 


25 


289264 


3 


Asoka 


36 


264-228 


4 


Dasaratha 


8 


228220 


5 


Sam prat i 


9 


220211 


6 


Salisuka 


13 


21 I 198 


7 


Devavarman 


' 7 


198191 


8 


Satadhanvan 


8 


191183 


9 


Brihadratha 


7 


183176 




Total 


137 


313176 



* The lengths of reigns are given Recording to the Puranas. 
According to the concurrent testimony of the Buddhists and Jains, 
Knnla, the son of Asoka, was blind and therefore could not hay* 
ruled. Hence the period of eight years allotted to him by bcni 
Puranas seems to he identical with Dasaratha's reign-period which 
is also exactly the same. If we accept this, the detailed figures for the 
reigns of Maurya Kings entirely agree with the total period assigned 
by the Puranas to the Mavrya dynasty as a whole. 



APPENDIX C. 
Bibliography. 

7. Aneient Hindu Works. 

Kautilya's Arthasastra with the commentary of 
T. Ganapati Sastn. 

X^autilya's Arthasastra translated by Or. Shama- 
sastry. 

\ Visakhadatta's Mudrarakshasa with the com men* 
tary of Dhundhiraja, 

Somadeva's Kathasaritsagara. 
X^Manusmriti. 
x Yajnavalkyasmriti. 

Vayu Parana. 

Matsya Purana. 

Vishnu Purana with the commentary of Sridhara, 

Bhagavata Purana. 
yBana's Kadambari- 

Kamandaka's Nitisara. 
vDandin's Dasakumaracharita. 
xBhasa's Svapnavasavadatta. 
^Ka!hana's Rajatarangmi. 

2. An? lent Buddhist Works. 
YMahavansa Edited and translated by Geiger. 

Mahavansa Edited and translated by Tumour, 
^Dipavan&a Edited and translated by Olden berg. 

Mahabodh i vansa. 

Mahaparinibbana Sutta. 



130 CHANDRAGUPTA 

Milindapanho. 
Divyavadana. 

5. Anoient Jain Work*. 

Parisishtaparvan of Hemachandra 
xkalpasutra of Bhadrabahu. 
yicharasreni of Merutunga. 
Uttaradhyayana Tika. 
Hajavali Katha. 
Tithoogaliya Payanna. 
Tirthoddhara Prakirnaks. 

4. Classical Works (in Translation). 

McCrindle Invasion of India by Alexander. 
McCrindle Ancient India in Classical Literature. 
xMoCrindle Aneient India: Megasthenesand Arriao. 
5. Modern Works. 

xCambridge History of India Vol. 1. 

ySmith -Oxford Early History of India 4th Edl* 

tion. 

Xfiavell - Aryan Rule in India. 
vRhys Davids Buddhist India. 
ifR. K. Mookerji Local Government in Ancient 

India. 

*R. K. Mookerji History of Indian Shipping. 
\R, K. Mookerji Asoka. 
,* Smith Asoka, 
^Bhandarkar Asoka. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 131 

Hultzsoh Inscriptions of Asoka. 
>tRay Chaudhuri Political History of Ancient India. 

Ray Chaudhuri Early History of the Vaishnava 

sect. 

yPargiter Dynasties of the Kali Age. 
vPargiter Ancient Indian Historical Tradition. 
Vlyengar Beginnings of South Indian History. 
,s,Jayaswal Hindu Polity. 
XMazumdar Corporate Life in Ancient India. 

Bandopadhyaya Kautilya. 
.xSmith Akbar the Great Mogul. 
\Smith Fine Art in India and Ceylon. 
xTod Annals and Antiquities of Rejasthan. 
x Wells Outline of History. 

History of Sanskrit Literature. 
- Sanskrit Drama. 
<MacdoneIl Sanskrit Literature. 
XT-aw H istorical Gleanings. 
VSamaddar Glories of Magadha, 

Satyaketu Maurya Samrajya ka Itthasa. 

Rice Mysore and Coorg from Inscriptions. 

Asiatic Researches Vot. IV. 

Epigraphia Indies Vol. VIII. 

Spooner Excavations at Pa tali putr a (Arch. Sur. of 
India 1912.13.) 

Waddel Excavations at Ratal iputra. 



INDEX. 



Adhyakshas= Superinten- 
dents, 52, 56, 59. 
Administration, military, 

61 ff; municipal, 56 ff; 

of Justice 64 ff. 
Afghanistan, 39, 47, 62. 
Aggramen=Ugrasena, q . 

v., 19. 

Agriculture, 79-80. 
Ahinsa, doctrine of, 76. 
Aiatasatru, king, 3, 10, 

18. 14 n, 15, 95. 
Ajivikas, 77. 
Akbar, 49, 108. 
Alexander (I) the great, 

7, 22, ?8, 31, 88. 34, 88, 

89n, 77, 102, 103, 121, 

122, 127; (2) king of 

Corinth, 10. 
Amatyas, 50. 

Ambhi, king of Taxila, 22. 
Andhra, kingdom, 46. 
Androkottos=C h a n d r a- 

gupta, 8 1 n. 
Anga, IS. 
Antigonus (I) Gonatus, 

king of Macedonia, 10; 

(2) rival of Seleukos, 

122. 
Antioohus Theos, king of 

Syria, 10. 
Anuruddhaka, identified 

with Nandivarddhana, 



Arachosia, 39. 
Architecture, 96-8. 
Aria, 38. 
Ariana, 38*. 

Aristotle, on slavery, 91. 
Arms, Indian, 58-4. 
Army, size of, 55. 
Arthasastra, 89-92. 
Artisans, as servants of 

state, 57; as a class of 

Indian society, 69. 
Arts, in the age of 

Chandragupta, 98 ff. 
Aryas, definition of, 91. 
Asmakas, 20. 
Asoka, 8, 9, 10, ? 1,24, 28, 

45 n, 46. 48, 50, 58, 62, 

63, 93, 95, 108, 104 n, 

128. 
Avanti, 17, 18, 20 n. 

Babylon, 83, 83, 84, 121. 
Baluchistan, 39, 47, 62. 
Beas, river, 21, 23. 
Benares, 20 n, 82, 87. 
Bengal; 45, 82. 
Besnagar, 95. 
Bhaddasala, 35. 
Bhadrabahu, 44, 92-8. 
Bhagavata, faith, 75-6. 
Bimbisara. king, 2, 10, 

12, 13, 17, 18,20. 
Bindusara, 8, 9, 28, 45, 

46, 128. 



INDEX 



133 



Births and deaths, register 
of, 68. 

Boards, for military ad- 
ministration, 52 ff; for 
municipal administra- 
tion, 56 ff. 

Bow, Indian, 58- 4. 

Brachmanes = B rah mans, 
41. 77.8. 

Brahmans, 69-70. 

Brihadratha (1) founder 
of Magadha, 12; f2) last 
of the Mauryas, 128. 

Brihaspati, 65. 

Buddha, 1, 9, 18, 28, 76, 
105; date of the mirvana 
of, 2. 

Buddhism, 76. 

Bulls, fight of, 43. 

Caste, in the Maurya age, 

69-70. 
Cavalry, board in charge 

of, 54. 
Ceylon, 94. 

Chanakka=Chanakya, q. v. 
Chanakya, 19, 82, 36, 40, 

51, 68.92, 107 ff. 
Chanakya Sataka, 92. 
Chandagutta = Chandra* 

gupta, q. v. 
Chando, bull, 106. 
Chandrmgupta, identified 

with Sandrakottos. 1 ; 

data of, 7*8; ancestry of. 

26-80; early life of, 81- 



32; conquered the Pun- 
jab, 88-4; defeated the 
Nandas and became 
master of northern 
India, 35; coronation of. 
86; defeated the plot of 
Malayaketu, 86; con* 
quered Deo can, 87; de- 
feated Seleukos Nikator, 
88-39; his life as king, 
41-2; his personal super- 
vision of justice, 42, 
64-5; family of, 43, death 
of, 48-44; extent of the 
empire of, 45-7; palace 
of 40-41; 96-8; achieve- 
ments of, 99-101; first 
historical emperor of 
India, 101; his compart* 
son with other great 
monarchs of the world, 
102-4; Buddhist legends 
of, 105-11 1, Jain legends 
of, 1 11- 11 9; Hindu legends 
of, 119-21; classical 
legend of, 121-2, chro- 
nology of, 127. 

Chariots, Board in charge 
of, 55. 

Chase, royal, 41, 43. 

C hash tana Mahftksha- 
trapa, 128, 125. 

China, trade with, 88-4. 

Chola, kingdoms, 47. 

Chronology, I f f ; tables of 
127-8, 



134 



INDEX 



Cliessobora, 76. 

Cloth, manufacture of, 

81-2. 

Col lector general, 59. 
Commander-in-chief, 61. 
Commerce, Board in 

charge of, 58. 
Commissariat, Board in 

charge of, 52. 
Councillors, as a class of 

Indian population, 69. 
Courtezans, as spies, 64. 

Dandamis, 77. 
Darsaka, king, 3, 18-5, 17. 
Dasaratha, king, 14, 128. 
Death, penalty of, 67. 
Deccan, 87, 46. 
Devavarman, king, 128. 
Dhanananda, 23, 111. 
Dharmasutras, 86. 
Digvijaya, 88, 100. 
Dramila, epithet of Chana- 

kya, 88. 
Durdhara, queen of Chan* 

dragupta, 86. 

Ekbatana, 40, 96. 
Elephants, board in 
charge of, 64-5. 
Erannaboas, river, 98* 
Eudemos, 7, 8, 84. 

Famine, measures for 
relief of, 81. 
Female, guards* 4i. 



Fines, three kinds of ft 68. 
Forigners, board in 
charge of, 57. 

Gangaridae, 23. 
Ganges, 96; valley, 2fc 85. 
Gautama=Buddha, q. v. 
Gedrosia, 39. 
Ghosha, prince, 106. 
Guilds, 84. 

Haihayas, 20. 
Hairwashing, ceremony r 

42. 

Herakles, 75. 
Herat, 89. 
Hiranyagupta, 121. 
Husbandmen, as a class 

of Indian population, 69. 

Iconography, 95. 
Images, worship of, 78. 
Indian museum, 95. 
Indians, morals of, 78. 
Indus, river, 22, 34, 88. 
I ndustries, Board in charge 

of, 57. 
Infantry, Board in charge 

of, 63. 
Irrigation, 61. 

Jainism, 78. 

Jambudvipa, 87, 105, 108 
Janapadas, 50. 
Jarasandha, king, 12 tu 
Jheium, river, 22. 



INDEX 



133 



Jobane6= Yamuna, 78, 
Junagarh, inscription, 97, 

48, 123-6. 
Justice, administration of, 

64* 

Kabul, 39. 
Kakavarna, 17. 
Kalasoka, 5, 17. 
Kalbappu, hill, 43. 
Kalinga, 21,22,29.2411, 

46, 82. 
Kalingas, 20. 
Kalpasutra, 27, 93. 
Kambhpias, 48. 
Kamboia, 54. 
Kandhara, 39. 
Kashmir, 45 n, 62. 
Kasi, 13. 
Kasis, 20. 
Kasyapa, gotpa, 28. 
Kathavattha, 99. 
Kathiawar, 62. 
Kautilya^chanaky*. q. v. 
Kerala, kingdom, 47. 
Kharavela, king, 1. 
King, functions of, 50. 
KQS, defined, 89. 
Kosala, kingdom, 12, IS, 

94. 

Krishna, 76. 

Kshatriyas, 12, 7, 69, 70. 
Kshudrakas, 22- 
Kukuras, 47. 
Kumrahar, $$. 
Kunala, 128 n. 



Kurus, 20, 48, 
Kusu mapura=Patali pu tra, 
15. 

Land revenue, 60* 

taw courts, procedure oft 

66. 

Law, four kinds of, 85. 
Lichchhavis, 47. 
Literature, in the Maurya 

age, 86-98. 
Lokayata, philosophy, 87* 

Machaevelli, Chanakya 

compared with, 92. 
Madras, 47. 
Madura, 82, 

Magadha, history of 12, 25. 
Magas, king of Gyrene, 10* 
Mahabharata, 66. 
Mahamatras 60. 
Mahanandi, king, 10, 20 n. 
Mahapadma, Nanda. 18, 

22,23, 26, 27, 80. 8), 

32, 85, 86, 46, 65. 
MfthAvit**, 1, 8, 8, 13, 78, 

119; date of the death 

of, 2. 

Maithiles, 20* 
MaJavas, 22. 
Malavaketu, >6. 
Mallas, 12, 47. 
Manu 4 69 f 72. 
Manufactures, Board in 

charge of, 68, 
Marriage, kindsctf, 7J, 



136 



INDEX 



Maurya, dynasty, 27 ff; 
chronology of, 128. 

Mauryaputra, 28. 

Medicine, science of, 87. 

Megasthenes, sent as 
Greek ambassador to the 
Maurya Court, 89; as a 
soured of information, 
40 ff. 

Metals, known in the 
Maurya age, 82, 

Me thora= Math ura, 76. 

Ministers, 61. 

Mlechchhas, slavery per- 
mitted among, 74, 91. 

Moris, 29. 

Moriyas, 12,28,29,80,105. 

Munda, identified with 
Mahanandi, 16-17. 

Mura, 27 n 

Muriyakala, 21. 

Mysore, 87, 48, 46. 

Hagadasaka, 6, 14, 15, 17. 
Nagarjuni, hillcaves, 14, 
Nanda (I) Mahapadma q. 

v. (2) family, 6, 18, 28. 
Nandas, nine. 19, 85. 
Nandivarddhana, 16. 
Napoleon, 101, 108, 104. 
Navy, Board in charge 

of, 52. 
Nepal, blankets of, 82. 

Orissa, 20 n. 
Oxen, races of, 43. 



Pabbato=Parvataka q. v. 
Painting, 94. 

Palace, Maurya, 40* I, 96*8 
Palasini, river, 128, 125., 
Pal i rn bothra = Patli putra 

96. 

Pali literature, 98. 
Panchalas, 20, 48. 
Pandya, kingdom, 47. 
Parishad, 51. 
Parkham state, 95. 
. Paropanisadae, 89. 
Parvataka, 38, 85,86, 107, 

108, 109, 116, 117, 118, 

119. 
Pataliputra, 80, 86, 85, 96, 

III, 112, 118; population 

of 67; date of the founda- 
tion of, 18, 127. 
Pauras, 50. 

Pauravyavaharika, 56. 
Peithon, son of Agenor, 

84. 

Penal code, 66 ff. 
Persepolis, 98. 
Persia, 45. 
Philip (1) Satrap of Alex* 

ander, 84; (2) father of 

Alexander 102. 
Pipphalivana, 29. 
Polygamy, 71. 
Porus, king, 8, 22, 84. 
Pradesh ta, 68. 
Pradesika, 68. 
Pradyota, king, 13, 14, 

15 n. f 17, 18. 



INDEX 



137 



Prakrit literature, 92*3. 
Prasenajit, king. 18. 
PrassiaiPrachi, 19, 20, 

28, 45. 
Prisoners, set free on 

certain occasions, 68. 
Ptolemy Philadelphia, 

king of Egypt, 10. 
Punjab, 7, 8, 22, 83. 84, 

38, 62. 
Puranas, 86. 
Purdah, system, 78. 
Pushyagupta, 48, 82, 124, 

126. 

Queens, of Chandragupta, 
43. 

Raghu, King, 36. 
Rajagriha, 13. 
Rajukas, 68. 
Rakshasa, 36. 
Ramayana, 86. 
Rams, fight of, 43. 
Rashtrapala, 48. 
Rahtriya, 48. 
Revenue, collect ion of, 59; 

land, 60. 

Rhinoceroses, fight of 48. 
Roads, 85. 
Rudradaman, Great 

Satrap, 87, 45, 48 f 61, 
> 128, 125. 

laerifioes, 41. 42, 79. 
Stkfttala, 1 19-2 1. 



Sakyas, 12,28,29 105. 
Saiisuka, king, 128. 
Sambhuyasamutthana, joint 

stock companies, 84. 
Samprati, king, 21, 104, n. 

128. 

Sanaq=Chanakya, 92. 
SandrakottosC h a n d r a 

gupta, 1, 121, 122. 
Sanghas, 47. 

Sankhya, philosophy, 87* 
Sanskrit literature, 86-92. 
Satadhanvan, king, 128. 
Seleukos, Nikator, 88, 89, 

100 121, 122. 
Senapati=oommander in 

chief, 51. 

Simhala, Ceylon, 31. 
Sindh, 34, 54, 62. 
Sisunaga, 17, 18. 
Soldiers, as a class of 

Indian population, 69. 
Soursenot Surasenas, 76. 
Spies, as a class of Indian 

population, 68. 
Sreshthin, head of the 

guild, 84. 
Stadium. d&xfS3^^ 




138 



INDEX 



Surashtra, 37* 
Surashtras, 48. 
Susa, 40, 96. 
Susunaga, 17. 
Suttee, unknown to Kau- 
tilya, 72. 



Valmiki, 86. 
Vatsa, kingdom, 12, 13. 
Vedangas, 86. 
Vedic literature, 86. 
Vehicles, 80. 
Viceroys, 62. 



Suvarnasikata, river, 128, Videha, 19. 



125. 

Taxila, 22, 56, 62, 85, 87, 

88. 

Tinnevelly, 87, 
Tishya, Maudgaliputra. 93. 
Tithes on sales, board in 

charge of, 58. 
Torture, judicial, 67. 
Trade, in the Maurya 

period, 68. 
Tush as ph a, yavana, rain, 

124, 126. 

ttdmyana, king, 18, 14, 
Udmyi, king, 3, 4, 5, 6, 

M, 16, 16 t 17. 
Ulifcin, 56, 62. 
Utanas, 65. 



Vidudabha, 106. 
Vikramaditya, era of, 6. 
Vtrudhaka, 29. 
Vishungupta = Chanakya, 

32, 68. 
Vita] statistics, board in 

charge of, 58. 
Vitihotras, 20. 
Vriiis, 12, 18, 47. 

War Off ice, 51. 
Water rates, 61. 
Widows, remarriage of 72. 
Wriiing, 65. 

Tasobhadra, 92. 
Yogananda, 119*21. 
Yoga Philosophy, 87. 



7*dha, defined, 36. 



Zeus, 77. 



\\BB5