Chandragupta Maurya


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Chandragupta Maurya

  1. 1. GHANDRAGUPTA MAURYABYPURUSHOTTAM LAL BHARCAVA, M. A,With a ForewordBYOR. RADHA KUMUD MOOKERJI, M.A.,Vidya-vaibhava, Itihau^jciuMaProfetior and Head of themViiTIE tftttt UNA PUBU8IC HflUSE LT8,
  2. 2. PRINTED BY R. P. BHAKGAVA.AT THEOudh Printing Works, Charbagh, Lucknow.
  3. 3. PREFACE.As a student of history I have always been fascinatedby the career of Chandragupta Maurya, one of thegreatest of kings, conquerors and administrators theworld has produced. It is indeed strange that such agreat personage should have passed almost unnoticedby historians, for there is so far, to my knowledge, nota single book in English describing exclusively hisAchievements, I was aware of my incompetence to takeup this task, yet 1 thought 1 might make an attempt.This small monograph is the result. In it, I have triedto describe, in a brief compass, the life and career ofChandragupta making use of all the original source!I could lay my hands upon. 1 have deviated from theaccepted views where 1 found better evidence to thecontrary. For instance, I have accepted the Jain datefor the coronation of Chandragupta as it is bettersupported by facts than the date hitherto generally
  4. 4. iv CHANDRAGUPTAaccepted. In some matters, of course, it is difficult toachieve any kind of finality till further evidence comesto notice, for example in the case of the pre-Mauryahistory 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 manypoints, 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 thetext was already printed when it came to my notice.1 refer to the controversy regarding the relation of theBrihatkatha to the Mudrarakshasa. Mr. C. D. Chatterji,in a very learned article, which appeared in the IndianCulture, Vol. I no 2, has expressed doubt on the authen-ticity of the statement found in the Dasarupavalokathat the Mudrarakshasa was based on the Brihatkatha,and has shown at length that the two verses followingin support of this statement are later interpolations.His arguments in support of the view that the plot ofthe Mudrarakshasa can not have been taken from theBrihatkatha are, no doubt, convincing. Yeti there isnothing to disprove the probability that the idea ofChandraguptas Nanda descent was suggested toVisakhadatta by the Brihatkatha.Unfortunately, the book suffers from the lack ofproper diacritical marks for Sanskrit words as from alew printing errors here and there. I hope to remedy
  5. 5. PREFACE vthem in the second edition if and when that oomes tobe published.These observations will be incomplete if 1 did notexpress my obligation to the different persons fromwhom 1 received inspiration and help. If it be notregarded as too personal, 1 shall, among them, placefirst my dear father, who goaded me to write out thesepages. Among those from whom I received constantencouragement, 1 would like to mention the names ofmy kind teacher Mr. K. A. S. Iyer, M.A., Head of theSanskrit Department, Luoknow University, and PanditBrijnath Sharga, M. A*, LL.B. Advocate. Mr. C. D.Chalterji, M, A., lecturer in Ancient Indian History inthe Lucknow University, for whom I entertain highregard as my teacher, was very kind to suggest to mesome original sources for the work and to give me hisungrudging help whenever I approached him for thecame. 1 am indebted to Dr. Rama Shanker Tripathi,M.A., Ph. D., of the Benares Hindu University, forsuggesting to me certain papers which proved veryuseful in my work. I have reserved the expression ofmy gratitude to my esteemed teacher, Dr. RadhaKumud Mookerji, M.A., Ph.D , an authority on AncientIndia, not because he deserves the least but because Ican not find adequate words for It. His foreword isperhaps more the outcome of his affection for me ashis student than the merit of the book and yet 1 feelinfinite satisfaction when 1 see this humble attempt
  6. 6. vi CHANDRAGUPTAso well reviewed by such a high authority on thesubject.know : 1M1 t 1935.jLuoknow ;-PURUSHOTTAM LAL BHARGAYAMarsh
  7. 7. FOREWORD.Mr* Purushottam Lai Bhargava deserves everycongratulation for writing this nice book on animportant period ot ancient Indian history. It is asmall work dealing with the life and achievementsof one of the greatest of Indias rulers who hadachieved the singular distinction of establishing onecommon political sovereignty over an Indian empirethat had extended right upto the borders of Persia.Unfortunately, the history of such an interesting andimportant personality has been shrouded to someextent in mystery for want of definite evidence andchronological certainties. What adds to the difficultyof his history is that its sources are so diverse.Brahmanical, Buddhist, Jain and even Greek workshave all something to say and record regarding thedoings of Chandragupta Maurya. Sometimes thesesources belonging to different places and times areequally different in their contents and it is a strain onscholarship to reconcile these differences and work outthe way to truth through a maze of contradictions, Iam glad to say that the different problems with whichthe subject is bristling have been ably tackled in thisbook by its young and promising author who is weltquipped for his task by his special knowledge ofSanskrit as a Master of Arts of the Luoknow University
  8. 8. CHANDRAGUPTA viitand of Anoient Indian History and Culture which hehas studied in its original sources. It is to be hopedthat the appreciation of the work by the students ofIndian history, whioh it undoubtedly deserves, will actas a stimulus to the young author for continuing thesearduous researches in further publications enrichingIndian historical literature.RADHA KUMUD MOOKERJt.
  10. 10. Mudrarakshasa VII.
  11. 11. IDETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGYThanks to Sir William Jones identification ofSandrakottos with Chandragupta, the problem ofancient Indian chronology has become comparativelyeasy to solve.1Many other sources have since beendiscovered which are capable of rendering furthervaluable aid in this direction. The Puranas, theBuddhist chronicles of Ceylon3and the Jain records,when read together, go a long way in solving thevexed problems of chronology. In the judgment ofthe present writer it is possible to arrive at nearlyprecise dates by reconciling the diverse chronologiespreserved in these works.Buddhist and Jain authors usually base theircalculations on the dates of the passing awayof Buddha and Mahavira respectively, and despiteoccasional mistakes in other matters, they appearto be generally correct when they date an event interms of these epochs, which were important enoughfor them to well remember. Professor Geiger has,1. Asiatic ttesearebea Vol. IV. pp, 10-11.2. Dipavansa and Mahavanga.
  12. 12. 2 CHANDRAGUPTAafter thorough study of the problem, arrived at theconclusion that the Nirvana of Buddha took placein 483 B. C. 1 The date of the death ofMahavira has similarly been determined by ProfessorCharpentier, on the authority of the Parisishtaparvanand other Jain works, as 468 B. CaWe shallaccept these dates in determining the chronology ofthe kings of Magadha upto Chandragupta.It is, at present, not possible to verify the Puranicaccount of the Kings of Magadha before the timeof Bimbisara. We, therefore, start with that king.The durations of the reigns of Magadhan kings fromBimbisara downwards are diversely given in theCeylonese chronicles and the Puranas. The VayuPurana, which is one of the oldest Puranas, seemsto have the best preserved list, as calculations madeon its basis most nearly agree with the Buddhist andJain dates. This will be presently manifest.Bimbisara reigned for 28 years according to thePuranic account, and inasmuch as he died 8 yearsbefore the Nirvana of Buddha according to theMahavansa, he must have come to the throne 36 years1 Qeiper, Mahavansa p. XXVIII. Dr. Fleet also agrees withthis date.2. Cambridge History of India Vol. 1 p. 156. This date was alsosuggested by Jacobi, long ago.
  13. 13. DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 3before Nirvana i. e. in 519 B. C. 1After a reign of28 years he was succeeded by his son Ajatasatru,whose date of accession would thus be 491B. C. Ajatasatru reigned for 25 years accordingto the Vayu Purana and was succeeded by his sonDarsaka, who, though ignored by the Buddhists andJains, was a real figure, as will be shown in thenext chapter. The date of Darsakas accessionwould be 466 B. C., if we accept the reign^period ofAjatasatru as 25 years. Darsaka also reigned for25 years according to the Vayu Purana, andtherefore his successor Udayi must have come to thethrone in 441 B. C. Udayi ruled for 33 yearsaccording to the Puranas. 2He, therefore, musthave died in 408 B. C. Here, fortunately, the Jainwritings come to our help. According to theParisishtaparvan, Udayi died 60 years after Mahavirasdeath which occurred in 468 B. C8. Thus,1. Buddha died in the eighth year of the reign of Ajataaatru,whose accession synchronized with Bimbiaaras death, which thustook place eight years before Nirvana. Vide Mahavansa V.2. Vide Vayu Purana 99 and Matsya Purana 272 for thesereferences.3. This work, while closing the account of Udayis reign t tayithat 60 years had elapsed since the death of Mahavlra at the timewhen Udayi was succeeded on tbe throne left vacant by hii
  14. 14. 4 CHANDRAGUPTAaccording to the Jains also, Udayi died in 408 B. C.This startling result sufficiently establishes the factthat each of the authorities at our disposal haspreserved much truth, which we can easily disentanglefrom falsehood by means of comparison.The history of the period intervening betweenthe death of Udayi and the rise of the Nandas hasbeen ill-preserved. We can, however, determinethe total length of this period. According to theJain Parisishtaparvan a period of 95 years elapsedbetween the death of Udayi and the accession ofChandragupta, and it may well be correct. TheJains further regard the Nandas as having ruledduring the whole of this period of 95 years1. TheVayu Purana, on the other hand, assigns a totalperiod of only 40 years to the Nandas. 3TheMahavansa assigns a still lesser periodt but thedifference in this case is more apparent than real,death. Although tbe name of the successor is wrongly given as Nanda,the date of tbe transfer of power from the hands of Udayi appears tobe correct. Vide Parisishtaparvan VI 243.1 Not 155 years, as given by Dr. Smith in Early History ofIndia* page 4-. According to the Jains. Udayi died 60 yearsafter Mabaviras death and Chandrajrupta ascended the throne155 yenra after the same event, thus implying an interval of 95years.2. Mahapadma Nanda 28 years; bis sons 12 years. Total 40years. Vide Vayu Purana 99, 32829.
  15. 15. DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 5as will be presently clear. According to Curtius thefirst Nanda murdered his sovereign and then, underthe pretence of acting as guardian to the royalchildren, usurped the supreme authority, andafterwards put ttie young princes also to death.1If,as Professor Rai Chaudhury conjectures, the murderedsovereign was Kalasoka,3it is clear that his sonshave been allotted a separate period by theMahavansa solely on the ground that the first Nandapretended to rule in their name for some time. Wemay, therefore, consider the whole period betweenthe death of Kalasoka and the rise of Chandraguptaas the Nanda period. Thus the period issubstantially the same8as that allotted by the VayuPurana. We are, therefore, justified in allotting aperiod of 40 years to the Nandas. Deducting thisfigure from the total period of 95 years, that elapsedbetween the death of Udayi and the rise ofChandragupta according to the Jains, we get55 years as the period between the death of Udayiand the rise of the Nandas. Curiously enough if weadd the reign-periods of the kings from the death ofUdayi to the death of Kalasoka as given in the1. MoCrindle-Invasion of India by Alexander p. 222.2. Political History of Ancient India p. 164.* uKaUwokaB >ii822yean; Nanda* 22 yean. Total 44 years.Vide Mahavanaa Paricfacheda V,
  16. 16. 6 CHANDRAGUPTAMahavansa (excluding Nagadasaka, who has beenmisplaced, as will be shown in the next chapter) weget almost exactly the same figure.1 The VayuPurana, like the other Puranas, knows of only twokings during this interval, assigning to them a reign offorty^two and forty-three years respectively; but if, asis probable, forty (chatvarinsat) is only a mistake fortwenty-four (chaturvinsat) then it is clear that thePuranas also recognize almost the same periodhaving elapsed during this interval. 2The fact isthat while there is contradiction in details, all theworks appear to agree in regard to the total period.Thus 55 years after the death of Udayi, theNanda family came to power. The rise of theNanda family, accordingly, may be dated in 353 B.C.After a period of 40 years the Nandas passed thesovereignty of Magadha to Chandragupta in 313B. C This is the date given by the Jains, accordingto whom Chandragupta acquired throne 155 yearsafter the death of Mahavira or 255 years before theera of Vikramaditya, This date is given, not onlyin the Parisishtaparvan,* but also in other Jain1. The exact total which we thus get is 54 years.2. Such corruptions in the Huranas are numerous. The exacttotal according to this interpretation of the Puranio text would be53 years.3.Parisishtaparvan VIII 839
  17. 17. DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 7works such as the Vicharasreni,1the TithoogaliyaPayanna and the Tirthoddhara Prakirnaka. Besidesbeing justified by the conclusions, which we havealready arrived at, it is also in agreement withimmediate and suosequent events, which we shallnow discuss.Till now scholars have been accustomed to fixthe date of Chandragupta by guess. As it hasbeen proved beyond doubt that Chandraguptawas a contemporary of Alexander for some time,and came to the throne after the departure of thelatter from India, it is certain that he acquired thethrone at a date later than 325 B. C. Dr. V. A. Smithfixed 322 B. C., as the date of Chandraguptasaccession, assuming that his conquest of Magadhaand revolt against Greek authority in the Punjaboccurred immediately after the death of Alexander. 2But there is nothing to warrant such an assumption.The presence of Eudemos in the Punjab till 317B. C., shows that Chandragupta could hardly haveconquered the Punjab till that date. Moreover, we1. According to Merutunga, the author of the Vicharasreni,Suhaatin, the Jain saint, who converted Samprati, became Yugapradhana245 years after Mahaviras death, i. e. in 223 B. C, This date agreesvery well with the date of Samprati,which we obtain by accepting313 B. c. for Chandraguptas accession. Vide Appendix B.2. Early History of India4*p. 122.
  18. 18. 8 CHANDRAGUPTAdo not hear a word about such a powerful princeas Porus in Chandraguptas military career, in thenorthwest frontier, which shows that Poruswas not alive at that time. Now, Eudemos quittedIndia after treacherously slaying an Indian princewho was, most probably, Porus. Thus, even on thisground, Chandragupta could not have conqueredthe Punjab before 317 B. C. Therefore, the earliestdate of the conquest of the Punjab by Chandraguptawould be 317 B. C. As for Magadha, the Jainsand the Buddhists agree that Chandragupta coruquered Magadha after subduing the north-westfrontier.1As it must have taken a few years toreduce the country east of the Punjab, the date313 B. C., for the accession of Chandragupta is quiteplausible*This date, moreover, fits in with the date ofAsoka. Chandragupta reigned for 24 yearsaccording to the concurrent testimony of the Puranasand the Buddhists. 1He, therefore, must have beensucceeded by Bindusara in 289 B. C. There is not thesame unanimity about the length of this kings reign1. The story of Chandragapta 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.
  19. 19. DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 9but we shall accept the period allotted by the VayuPurana, as we have done in other cases. Accordingto it, Bindusara reigned for 25 years.1Thus, thedate of his death would be 264 B. C This meansthat Asoka was inaugurated king in 264 B. CAccording to the Mahavansa, Asoka was inauguratedin the 21 9th year after the death of Buddha, 8whichwould also give 264 B. C , as the date for Asokasinauguration. The assertion of the Mahavansa thatAsoka had become king four years before his formalinauguration cannot be accepted as correct, as it isnot supported by any other evidence. It seems clearto me from all chronological considerarions thatthere could not have been any considerable intervalbetween the death of Bindusara and the coronationof Asoka; and Asokas calculation of dates from hisabhisheka does not necessarily mean, as pointed outby Prof. Bhandarkar, that there was an intervalbetween that event and his fathers death.81. Vaju Paraaa 9, d32. The name of Bindusara is erroneouslywiitten as Bhadraaara.2.MabaYaota Pancbcbeda V.3. Bhandarkar Aeoka pp. 9-10.
  20. 20. 10 CHANDRAGUPTAThere can be only one serious objection againstthis date viz., difficulty in the synchronism of Asokawith the Greek kings mentioned in his edict. Buton a closer examination we find that no suchdifficulty exists. The dates of the Greek kingsreferred to are thus given in Hultzchs "Inscriptionsof Asoka":*Antiochus II Theos of Syria 261.246 B. C.Ptolemy 11Philadelphus 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 thatthe edict in which the names of these kings arementioned, was engraved in the 14rh year of Asokasreign,1its date would be 251 B. C., and at this dateall the kings were alive. Thus there is no difficultyin accepting this chronology, which reconcilesBuddhist and Jain dates with Hindu records.The chronology may be tabulated as follows:Bimbisara ... 519.491 B. CAjatasatru ... 49 1 .466 B, C.Darsaka .-. 466.441 B. CUdayi ... 44L408 B. C1. This is the view of Senart; and it has met with generalacceptance.
  21. 21. DETERMINATION OF CHRONOLOGY 1 1Other kings ... 408-353 B.C.Nandas ... 353-313 B. C.Chandragupta ... 313-289 B. C.The Maurya chronology appears at the endof the book.
  22. 22. IIGROWTH OF MAGADHAThere were many kingdoms and republics inIndia when the founder of Buddhism lived. Themost famous kingdoms of that period were Magadha,Avanti, Kosala and Vatsa, while the most importantrepublican clans were the Mallas, the Vrijis, theSakyas and the Moriyas. The ruling dynasties aswell as the republican clans generally belonged tothe Kshatriya class. The tendency of the time wastowards the growth of monarchies and the republicswere generally being merged into the existingkingdoms or otherwise coming under the influenceof monarchism. Chandragupta himself, the hero ofour story and the founder of the greatest Indo^Aryandynasty known in history,1sprang from a republicanclan, as we shall see later*The kingdom of Magadha, which was traditionallyfounded several centuries before by a king namedBrihadratha,* was rapidly rising at this period underthe rule of a new dynasty whose first importantking was Bimbisara, The history of India henceforth1. Havell-Aryan Rule in India p. 76.2. Thistradittpi recorded in the Puranas. Brihadratha wasthe father of Jarasfiidha, famous In the Mahabbarata*
  23. 23. GROWTH OF MAGADHA 13is the history of this kingdoms growth, whichculminated in the rise of the Maurya empire.Bimbisara began to reign about 519 B. C. andestablished his capital at Rajagriha. He was acontemporary of Gautama and Mahavira, as wellas of Pradyota, Prasenajit and Udayana, the rulersof Avanti, Kosala and Vatsa respectively. Heconquered the neighbouring territory of Anga andthereby laid the foundation of Magadhan imperialism.Bimbisara was succeeded by his son, Ajatasatru, in491 B. C. The latter was an ambitious monarch and,according to Buddhist accounts, removed his fatherfrom the throne1. He waged many wars withPrasenajit, the aged king of Kosala. At last, the latterwas constrained to conclude peace according to theterms of which he married his daughter to Ajatasatru,ceding the district of Kasi, which became an integralpart 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. Somescholars doubt his existence because the Jain andBuddhist writers do not know him 2. His name,1 This is referred to in the Pali canon as well as in the CeyloneaeChronicles.2. Thus Professor Geigcr has remarked: Again in the Parana*jet another king, called Darsaka, etc., is inserted between Ajatanatra
  24. 24. 14 CHANDRAGUPTAhowever, occurs in Bhasas Svapnavasavadatta, anindependent Sanskrit drama, which represents him asa contemporary of Pradyota and Udayana, therebyindirectly supporting even the position assigned tohim in the list of Magadhan kings by the Puranas7.The omission of his name by Jain and Buddhistwriters is, in no way, a hindrance. Thesewriters,2for example, make Samprati the directsuccessor of Asoka, but the Puranas insertDasaratha in the middle, and no body doubts theexistence of Dasaratha, it being proved by hisinscriptions in the Nagarjuni hill caves. The caseof Darsaka is also similar, and there is no reason todoubt his existence. Moreover, the Jains, althoughnot mentioning Darsaka by name, offer a chronologywhich perfectly tallies with the chronology of thePuranas, if we admit the existence of Darsaka*.Even the Buddhist chronicles of Ceylon mention aking, named Nagadasaka, whom Professor Bhandarkarhas identified with Darsaka. But the learnedand Udayin, That is certainly an errorMahavansa, trans, pp.XLIV, XLV.1. Mahasena Pradyota and Udayana were already ruling inthe time of Ajatasatru according to the Buddhists, and thereforeDarsaka could have been their contemporary only by being theimmediate successor of Ajatasatru.2. Vide the Parisishtaparayan and the Divyavadana,3. Vide pp. 3-4 supra.
  25. 25. GROWTH OF MAGADHA 15Professor has maintained the position of Nagadasakaaccording to the chronicles, little caring that thereis no independent proof to support that position.Thus, while admitting the identification proposedby Professor Bhandarkar, we see no reason to rejectthe testimony of the Puranas, Bhasa and chronologyin assigning a position to this king. We are,therefore, justified in treating Darsaka, as theimmediate successor of Ajatasatru. According toBhasa, Darsaka continued the foreign policy of hisancestors by concluding matrimonial alliances withthe neighbouring potentates1.Darsaka was succeeded in 441 B. C, by Udayi,who was a famous monarch, being celebrated inJain and Buddhist as well as Hindu works. TheJain and Buddhist writers represent him as a sonof Ajatasatru, and it is possible that he was so,the Puranas having made him a son of Darsakadue to the tendency, common to all Indian literature,of making a king the son of his predecessor.3Udayi is credited by the Puranic8and Jain4testimonies with the foundation of Kusumapura1. Pradyota, King of Avanti, is represented as seeking the handof Padmavati, sister of Darsaka, for his own son.2. The Divyavadana is notorious for it.3. Vayu Purana 99, 319.4. Parisishtaparvan VI 180.
  26. 26. 16 CHANDRAGUPTAor Pataliputra, a city destined to become the capital ofone of the greatest empires known in history. Thefoundation of this city may be dated in the year438 B. C, following the Puranic account, accordingto which this event took place in the fourth year ofUdayis reign. Udayi died in 408 B. C., after a reignof 33 years.Udayi was succeeded by his son and grandsonin turn. According to the Puranas, Udayis sonand grandson, who ruled after him, were namedNandivarddhana1and Mahanandi respectively. TheBuddhists, however, call the son and grandson ofUdayi as Anuruddhaka and Munda respectively.2It seems to me almost certain that both the authorities1. Professor Bhandarkar identifies Nandivarddhana, son of Udayiaccording to the Puranas, with Nandivarddhana, one of the ten sons ofKalasoka according to the Mahabodhivansa. The identification,however, is too far-fetched, there being nothing common between thetwo, 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 eventhe eldest among his ten brothers who are represented as thesimultaneous successors of their father, a fact which suggests thatnone of them really ever ruled.2. The names of Anuruddhaka and Munda occur in theOeylonese Chronicles, the latter being mentioned in the Pali canon andthe Divyavadana also.
  27. 27. GROWTH OF MAGADHA 17tnean the same individuals* The apparent differencemay either be due to the fact that the same name*have been preserved by our authorities under differentforms, or that each of the kings bore more namesthan one, as was not uncommon in ancient India.Both of these kings are shadowy figures, and nothingis known about them. After Munda, the Ceylonesechronicles place Nagadasaka who has been alreadyidentified with Darsaka. 1Thus the grandson ofUdayi remains as the last king of this line, inagreement with the Puranas.The Ceylonese chronicles next place Susunagawho was followed by his son, Kalasoka. Somescholars have identified these two with Sisunaga andKakavama of the Puranas.2The latter works, itmay be mentioned, place these kings considerablybefore Bimbisara. There are, however, grounds onwhich the Ceylonese version can be supported. ThePuranas make Sisunaga the destroyer of the dynastyof Pradyota,8whose connection with Avanti isalso acknowledged by those works-4As Pradyota of1. pp. 1415 sapra,3. Proteflsorg Jaoobi, Geiger and Bhandarar are tto obiafamong theae aeholarB.3. Vayu Parana 99.314: ilatsya Pnrarta 27:8. 6,|| Malaya Parana 373. 1.
  28. 28. 18 CHANDRAGUPTAAvanti was undoubtedly a contemporary ofBimbisara, his dynasty could not have beendestroyed by Sisunaga, unless we admit that thelatter came considerably after Bimbisara. Thus it iscertain that either Sisunaga had nothing to do withthe Pradyota dynasty or he came considerably afterBimbisara. If the latter alternative be correct, thenit is clear that the kingdom of Magadha at this timeextended its sway upto Avanti. We cannot,however, be sure until we get further evidence insupport of it.The next family which ruled over Magadha wasthat of the Nandas. The personal name "of thefounder of this family seems to have been Nanda,which, in its plural form, became applicable to thewhole family, as in other cases (e. g. the Pradyotas).It is obvious from the. fact that several authoritiesgive the name of the founder simply as Nanda, andeven the Puranic appellation Mahapadma is onlyan epithet, hinting at the riches of the king, as isapparent from the Bhagavata Purana which dubsthe founder in more clear terms as Mahapadmapati(i, e. lord of a vast amount).1Mahapadma Nandahad eight sons, whence the family is called as thatBhagmraU p. XII. I,
  29. 29. GROWTH OF MAGADHA 19of the nine Nandas. It is probable, however, that thereal ruler throughout was Mahaoadma Nanda as,according to many authorities, all the nine Nandaswere killed by Chandragupta and Chanakya.1TheDivyavadana* actually mentions only Nanda ashaving ruled, while Kautilya also calls the rulerdethroned by him simply as Nanda.3Even the Greeksgive the name of the King of Prassiai as Aggramen,which agrees very well with Ugrasena, an apithet ofMahapadma Nanda according to the Mahabodhivansa.It is true that the Vayu and Matsya Puranas4allot areign of 12 years to the eight sons of Nanda, but thatmay have been due to the fact that Mahapadmaduring the last years of his reign rested practicallyall power in the hands of his sons, who were thusconsidered virtual rulers during that period a factsuggested by Dhundhiraja in the introduction tohis commentary on the Mudra^Rakshasa.5This1. Vishnu Purana IV. 24; Bhagavata Purana XII 1. Mudra-Act I gloka 13.2. Divyavadana pp. 310 ff.8. 2frrT ^TOfArtbns&Blra XV. I.4. Vayu Purana 99.829 Matgya Parana 273, 21.5. Mudra-Bakthasa (Nirnaya Sagar*) p. 43, sloka
  30. 30. 30 CHANORACUPTAfefcplains why the Greeks alto sometimes speak ofthe king* of Prussia! irt plural.1Mahapadma Nancfet usurped the thtone ofMfcgadha about 353 B. C. According to thePuranas he was the son of the last descendant ofBimbisara* by a Sudra woman, but the Jains 8andthe classical writers4unanimously represent hisfather to have been a barber. AH the authorities,however, agree that he was a low*bom and ambitiousmonarch. The Puranas assert that many of thedynasties which ruled contemporaneously with theprtdecessors of Nanda, fell at his rise. Thesedynasties were the Maithilas, the Kasis, theIkshvakus, the Kurus, the Panchalas, the Surasenas,the Vitthotras, the Haihayas, the Asmakas and theK&lingas, whose dominions comprised the whole ofthe Gangetic valley as well as western India andOrissa.5Some of them had already been overthrown1. 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). Tbeterritory of tbe Asmakas cannot be definitely identified, but itprobably bordered on Avanti.
  31. 31. GROWTH OF MAGADHA 21by previous kings and it was left for Mahapadmato subdue the rest. The conquest of Kalingawas almost certainly accomplished by Mahapadma.In the Hathigumpha inscription, king Kharavelamentions the conquest of Kalinga about 300years before his time by a king namedNandaraja, who must have been none other thanMahapadma. Some scholars have identified himwith a predecessor of Mahapadma by reading apassage as dating the inscription in the 165th yearof Muriya Kala, which they interpret as the era ofChandragupta.1But even if the reference to theMaurya era has been correctly read, it is notnecessary to interpret it as the era of Chandraguptaand thereby place the Nandaraja of the inscriptionconsiderably before Mahapadma, whose family ofnine members is the only Nanda family recognizedby all forms of tradition. Moreover, Chandraguptacan hardly be credited with the foundation of anera in view of the fact that his grandson Asoka useshis own regnal years. It is more probable that theera referred to is that of Chandraguptas descendantSamprati, 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 ivKandtvarddhana, son of Udayi.
  32. 32. 22 CHANDRAGUPTAfamous ancestor and who is actually known tohave founded an era.1 We may, therefore, believethat the arms of Mahapadma reached upto Kalinga.Late in the period of the Nanda family, Alexanderthe Great invaded India. After subduing thecountries to the west? he crossed the Indus in 326B. C. We possess a pretty vivid account of thecondition of Northern India at that time, as theGreeks, who came with the invader, as well as theIndians contribute to our knowledge in this case.The Indus valley at this time was parcelled outamong 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 toAlexander, regarding it a fair opportunity for revengeagainst his rival, Porus, who was perhaps the mostpowerful king in the Punjab at that time. Porusruled on the other side of the Jhelum and gave astrong resistance to the invader, but was defeated.Alexander proceeded upto the Beas river and thenmade a retreat. The retreating army was confronted,among others, by the powerful republican tribes ofthe Malavas and the Kshudrakas, who gave a severefight to the invader. Mutual jealousies, however,1. Early History of India p. 202n,
  33. 33. GROWTH OF MAGADHA 23proved to be ruinous as usual. Alexander thusbecame master of the country upto the Beas river.The whole of the Ganges valley upto Magadhawas under the rule of the Nanda family. TheNandas were at the height of their power at thetime of the invasion of Alexander the Great.Plutarch informs us that the kings of the Gangaridai(Ganges delta) and the Prassiai (Prachi) were reportedto be waiting for him with an army of 80,000 horses,200,000 foot, 8000 war chariots and 6000 fightingelephants1.They were extremly rich and, accordingto a passage of the Kathasaritsagara, possessed990 millions of gold pieces3.They were, however,very unpopular. The chief reason of theirunpopularity was the lowness of their origin. Theywere also hated on account of their heterodoxdisposition. The possession of such a huge amountof wealth also probably implies a great deal ofextortion on the part of the Nandas.There are reasons to believe that the great empirebuilt by Mahapadma Nanda showed signs of revoltduring the closing period of his reign when herested all power in the hands of his incapable sons,specially Dhana. The kingdom of Kalinga certainly1. McCrindJe-Invssion of India by Alexander p. 810.2, Kathasaritaagara 1, IV.
  34. 34. 24 CHANDRAOUPTArevolted and regained its independence, for if it hadremained a part of the Nanda empire, it is unlikelythat it could have escaped the iron grip ofChandragupta, whose absence of control over it isimplied in a passage in one of the inscriptions ofAsoka, its conqueror1. Several other kingdoms mighthave similarly reasserted their independence.Such was the condition of India whenChandragupta came on the scene. Magadha hadalready built up a considerable empire, but theworthlessness of its ruler and the invasion of a foreignking had made the conditions extremely unsettled, anda deliverer was needed. Thus, there were three factorswhich contributed to the rise of the Maurya empire.The first factor consisted of the conquests effectedby the previous rulers of Magadha. The secondfactor was the unpopularity of the Nandas, coupledwith foreign invasion. The third factor was thegenius of Chandragupta. If the first factor providedChandragupta with the resources needed for buildinga great empire, the second gave him the opportunityto rise. But, above all other things, the main causeof the rise of the glorious J^aijrya empire was the1. In Book Edict XIII Asoka speaks of Kalinga as a country,previously unconqnered/ which seems to mean unconquered byAsokas ancestors.
  35. 35. GROWTH OF MAGADHA 25genius of Chandragupta, without which he wouldnot have been able to utilise the resources and theopportunity provided by the first two factors.
  36. 36. HiCAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA.We have seen that Northern India was far frombeing a united country at the time of the invasionof Alexander the Great. But the man who wasdestined to do more than achieve this .unity wasalready bom. This heroic figure was Chandragupta.The ancestry and early life of Chandragupta isrecorded in several works of ancient and metftaevaltimes although, unfortunately, sufficient details areevery-where lacking. It has hitherto been believedby several scholars, on the authority of some mediaevalworks, that Chandragupta was a low-caste man anda scion of the Nanda family. The most importantof these works is a collection of stories, without anypretensions to history, known as the Brihatkathawhich is preserved through many Sanskrit recensions*Its story of the death of Nanda and the re-animationof his body is obviously not deserving of criticism,and its account of the origin of Chandragupta shouldalso be likewise treated, being not supported by otherold works. The other work which calls Chandraguptaa low-caste man and connects him with Nandais the MudraJRakshasa, which is also said by the
  37. 37. CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 27Dasarupavaloka to be based on the Brihatkatha.!Thiswork contains many inaccuracies such as theassignation of high birth to Nanda. a statement whichled the commentators to postulate that the mother ofChandragupta was a Sudra woman, for otherwisehow could the son of a high bom man be lowborn.2On the other hand, all the older worksrecognise Chandragupta as a Kshatriya. ThePuranas, no doubt, state that Sudra kingship beganwith Nanda, but it simply means that kings of Sudracaste were not rare from that time, and not that allthe subsequent kings were Sudras, for the Puranasthemselves designate the Kanva kings, who belongedto one of the subsequent dynasties, as Brahmans.*Therefore, when the Puranas describe the Mauryasas a new dynasty, neither connecting them with theNandas, nor calling them Sudras, it is clear that theyrecognised them as Kshatriyas, the caste to which theking normally belonged. The Kalpasutra of the Jainsc DaRHrupavaloka.2. Tli comuifciitH tors of tbe Mudra-Kakuhuaa and the ViibnuParana give the name of Cbandraguptas grandmother or mother IBMura. This nam*, so far from being tbe origin of Maorya, neemgto have been suggested by the Utter word, as ia clear from ih factthat Dhnndhinija, tbe commentator of the Mudra-l<aksha*a, given tbename 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.* (PargiUrP. 71)
  38. 38. 28 CHANPRAGUPTAmentions a Mauryaputra of the Kasyapa gotra, whichshows that the Mauryas were regarded as high classfolk,* The Buddhist Divyavadana calls Bindusaraand Asoka,athe son and grandson respectively ofChandragupta,asKshatriyas. The Buddhist Mahavansacalls Chandragupta himself as a member of (heKshatriya clan of the Moriyas,8who are representedby the Mahavansa^tika as a Himalayan off-shoot ofthe Sakyas.4 The description of the Moriyas as aKshatriya clan is confirmed by the MahaparinibbanaSutta, a portion of the Pali canon and an earlyauthentic work- It mentions the Moriyas as one ofthe Kshatriya tribes who claimed a portion of therelics of Buddha after {he latters death.5Thistradjtjon 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,nIn the game work (p. 409) Aeoka says to bis queenTishyaraknhita *TR ** W&T: ** ^^T^f ^ft^T^ITf^ I TJi^passages arc significant.4. gee chapter VIII *ec. A.5. B. B. E. Vol. XI p. 134.
  39. 39. CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 29which call the Maurya family as a branch of thesolar race 1 and Chahdragupta an abode of theusages of eminent Kshatriys.aEven in modemtimes, we are aware of a Rajput clan of Moris,whom Tod considered to be the descendants of theMauryas.* Finally, Kautilya himself indirectlysuggests the noble origin of his sovereigns family,when he lays down that a high bom king, thoughweak, is better than a lowborn one, though strong.4Therefore, it should be regarded as settled thatChandragupta belonged to the Kshatriya clan of theMoriyas.In the fifth century B. C, the Moriyas were theruling clan of the republic of Pipphalivana.*According to the Mahavansautika, which seems to bebased on truth and is supported by Jain writings ata further stage, the Moriyas were a branch of theSakyas and were so called because, when driven bythe attack of the Kosalan prince Virudhaka, they lefttheir original home and settled in a place which1. 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 BUodiahoaae of Mewar.4, Arthashartra Book VIII chapter II.5.
  40. 40. 30 CHANDRAGUPTAabounded in mayura* or peacocks. When kingNanda extended his conquests, the Moriyas too mustfiave shared the fate of other clans and monarchies.In fact, we are told by the Mahavansa^tika thatChandraguptas father, whose name unfortunately isnot mentioned, was the chief of the Moriya clan andwas killed by a powerful Raja, presumably Nanda.There-after Chandraguptas mother, who was thenpregnant, ran away with her fathers relations andlived at Pataliputra in disguise.At this stage the story is wonderfully corroboratedby the Jain Parisishtaparvan and the Uttradhyayana-tika, which speak of certain peacock tamers,living near Pataliputra, whose chiefs daughter boreChandragupta.1 As the Mahavansautika expresslysays that the Moriya queen and her relations livedin disguise, it is easy to see that the best way ofdisguising themselves was to act as tamers of peacocks,which were the most familiar objects for theMoriyas. Moreover, as no mention is made ofChandraguptas father in the Jain version it meansthat it presupposes certain events which, as we haveseen, are briefly set forth in the Mahavansauika.Thus it is clear from both the Buddhist and Jainaccounts that the Moriya family had lost all its1. Vide Chapter VII I Sec. B.
  41. 41. CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 31previous rank at the time when Chandragupta wasborn and Justin, the Roman author, rightly observesthat Chandragupta was born in humble life.1Thedate of his birth must have been about 345 B. C as,at the time of Alexanders Indian campaigns in325 B. C., he was only a boy, probably not morethan 20 years of age*.Most of the traditions agree that Chandraguptaspent his boyhood in the country of Magadha.According to some of the stories he also lived forsome 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 supportedby Justin.8There are several stories relating to theuncommon intelligence of Chandragupta even in hisboyhood. One of them may be related here withadvantage :"The Raja of Simhala sent to the Court of theNandas a cage containing a lion of wax, so well1. Vide chapter VIII.2. "Androkottoft himnelf who was then lmt a youth B*WAlexander etc" M^Crindle Invasion of India by Alexanderp 311.3. The story of DhundhtrajA, for example, emphasises the f&etthat Chandragupta lived at the court of Nandti, and the sametnmg i* suggested by Justin when he says that Chandraguptaoffeuded Naudas by his insolent behaviour. Vide ChapterSec. D.
  42. 42. 32 CHANDRAGUPTAmade that it seemed to be real. He added amessage to the effect that any one who could makethat fierce animal run without opening the cageshould be acknowledged to be an exceptionallytalented mart. The dullness of the Nandas preventedtheir understanding the double meaning contained inthe message, but Chandragupta, in whom some littlebreath yet remained, offered to undertake the task.This being allowed, he made an iron rod red hot andthrusted it into the figure as a result of which thewax soon ran and the lion disappeared1."We may take it as correct that Chandraguptadid live for sometime at the court of Nanda, andbeing dissatisfied with him, became determined to endhis tyrannous rule. He soon got an opportunity-A learned and fiery-tempered Brahman, namedVishnugupta Chanakya, being invited to a religiousceremony at the court of Nanda, was ill-treatedby the latter which induced him to take an openvow to revenge against Nanda. Chandraguptathen drew Chanakya to his side and instigateda revolt. They were, however, suppressed andobliged to quit the kingdom of Magadha*Chandragupta then wandered in the northernI. Dhnndhlrajas introduction to his commentary on the Mudrtttaksbasa.
  43. 43. CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 33provinces for some time. According to Plutarch,he paid a visit to Alexander also, although there isnothing to indicate that his purpose was to persuadethe invader to attack the kingdom of Magadha, as isheld by some scholars. A curious story found bothin the Parisishtaparvan and the Mahavansautikarelates that, while wandering, Chandragupta heardan old woman saying that the cause of his failurewas that he revolted against Magadha beforeconquering the outer provinces, and that* realisinghis mistake, he made up his mind to conquer thenorthern provinces, A bom leader of men as hewas, he soon gathered sufficient men round him tohelp him in his designs and presently secured thesubordinate alliance of a chief named Parvataka,who ruled in some Himalayan district, and whosename finds mention in several independent works. 1Chandragupta appears to have begun his careerof conquest from the Punjab, perhaps because hecould not brooke the presence of foreign garrisonsin a part of his country, which he had determinedto unite under his own sway. Alexander had madehis own administrative arrangements in the Punjab1. The name of Parvataka occurs in the ParUishUparvao, theMahavansa-tika and the Mudra-IUksba**. Jacob) *n#?et theidentification of this chief with a king of Nepal.
  44. 44. 34 CHANDRAGUPTAwhen he retreated. An officer, named Philip, wasmade satrap of the Indus basin, with the confluenceof the Punjab rivers with the Indus as the southernboundary of the satrapy. The territory of Sindhwas put in charge of Peithon, son of Agenor. KingPorus was allowed to rule his own principality asthe satrap of Alexander. In 324 B. C, Philip wasmurdered by his mercenary troops and Eudemoswas temporarily apppointed in his place, but thedeath of Alexander in 323 B. C. removed allchances of the arrangement being renewed. At thetime of the second partition of the Empire in 321B. C., the arrangement was continued unaltered,although Peithon, the satrap of Sindh, wastransferred to the provinces situated to the west ofthe river Indus. The Indians were, however, growingintolerant of the domineering foreigners, and thetreacherous murder of Porus by Eudemos in 317B. C. was the signal for revolt. Chandraguptaheaded the revolt, and Eudemos finding the countrytoo hot for him, quitted India. The Greek officersand soldiers, who still remained in India, were putto the sword and, by 316 B. C., Chandraguptabecame the unquestioned master of the Punjab.Having taken possession of the Punjab,Chandragupta advanced towards the east. It is
  45. 45. CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 35probable that the provinces of the upper Gangeticvalley conquered by Mahapadma Nanda had regainedtheir independence, following his tyrannous rule.These provinces were taken by Chandragupta oneby one, although there are indications in the accountgiven by Hemachandra that all of them didnot submit with ease. It must have taken a coupleof years to reduce completely the portion of theGangetic valley outside the compressed Nandadominions.Chandragupta finally attacked the kingdom pfNanda about 314 B. C. The story of the warbetween the Nandas and Chandragupta is preservedin several works. According to the Milindapanho,the Nanda army was commanded by Bhaddasala 1.The war is reported to have been a sufficientlyserious affair. According to several authorities,* allthe nine Nandas were killed in this war and thefamily of Mahapadma was exterminated.Chandragupta, thus, became maser of NorthernIndia. His ally Parvataka also died in the mearvwhile, although the legends which relate to themanner of his death are contradictory and1 3 B K 3C p U7.2 See footnote 1. p. 2U
  46. 46. 36 CHANDRAGUPTAuntrustworthy It is clear that his death removedthe only rival who could legitimately claim a sharein the conquests, and Chandragupta became the solemaster of Northern India. His coronation tookplace at Pataliputra in 313 B C.The events which immediately followed theassumption of authority by Chandragupta are relatedin the MudrauRakshasa, a play which, although full ofimaginary details, is probably based on events whichactually occurred1 . We learn from it that the sonof Parvataka named Malayaketu rose againstChandragupta, with the help of five other chiefs andan ex-minister of king Nanda named Rakshasa*The Machiavellian tactics of Chanakya, whomChandragupta had made his prime minister, however,succeeded in sowing dissensions in the camp ofMalayaketu, and the latter got his own alliesmurdered. By this act of his. Malayaketu wasrendered powerless, but on the intervention ofhis friend, the ex-minister of Nanda, he wasrestored in his fathers principality as a vassal ofChandragupta.The Maurya king at this time naturally becamesecure in his north Indian dominions. But his zealfor conquest could hardly remain satisfied with1. This is th opinion o! Dr. Smith and Professor Htllebnmdt.
  47. 47. CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 37what he had already acquired. He pushed hisconquests upto the western sea, for we learn fromthe Junagarh inscription of Rudradaman thatChandragupta had control over Surashtra.1Chandragupta also seems to have conquereda considerable portion of trans-Vindhyan India.According to Plutarch, Chandragupta overran allIndia, which statement, even if we admit ofexaggeration, means that Chandragupta conqueredthe major portion of India *This tradition isrecorded in other documents also, for theMahavansa says that Chandragupta ruled overall Jambudvipa.* According to Prof. Aiyangar,Mulnamer, an ancient Tamil author, refers to theadvance of Mauryas upto Tinnevelly district in earlytimes.* Finally, certain Mysore inscriptions refer toChandraguptas conquest of Mysore.5All thesestatements leave little room for doubt that Chandra*gupta did conquer a considerable portion of the Deccan.Chandragupta thus gained recognizance as theparamount sovereign in the whole of India. He had,however, yet to measure strength with the greatest of1. Vide Appendix A*2 MoCrindle-TnvMion of Indin by Alexander p. 310*. M*havsit Iarichehbcda V,4. Beginnings of South Indian History chapter.5. Rice Mysore and Coorg from Inscription*.
  48. 48. 38 CHANDRAGUPTAhis rivals, Seleukos Nikator, formerly a general ofAlexander. Seleukos conquered Babylon in 3 1 2 B. Crand six years later assumed the title of king. He alsosubjugated the Bactriansr and then advanced to India,crossing the Indus, about 305 B. C. Shwanbeck hasshown at length that Seleukos could not proceed muchbeyond the Indus,1which may be taken to meanthat Chandragupta was present in the Punjabat that time. It is, therefore, probable thatChandragupta, not content with the conquest of India,was thinking of marching towards the western regionsto emulate the legendary (Hgvijaya of Raghu and otherancient kings. Thus, the war between Chandraguptaand Seluekos was a clash between two ambitious kings.No detailed account of the actual conflict has survived.But the results, as mentioned by the classicalauthors, clearly show that Seleukos recognizedthe superiority of Chandragupta and was obligedto conclude a humiliating treaty. According to thistreaty, Seleukos gave a large part of Ariana toChandragupta in consequence of a marriagealliance. Dr. Smith has very ably shown*that the large part of Ariana, referred to by Strabos,was identical with the four satrapies of Aria1. Thib is also the ojiuion of Laassen and Milogel.2. Early History o{ India4p 1583 McCrindle-Ancient India in ctaKsical lit*rutur< pp. 15 and .88
  49. 49. CAREER OF CHANDRACUPTA 39(Herat) Arachosia (Kandhar) Paropanisadiae (Kabul)and Gedrosia (Baluchistan) all of which Plinyconsidered as forming part of India.*As for themarriage contract, there is no reason to doubt itscorrectness because both Strabo and Appian refer to it.Thus the real explanation of the whole treatyseems to be that Seleukos married his daughter toChandragupta, giving the territories of Afghanistanand Baluchistan as a sort of dowry2. The tworoyal families were, in this way, drawn on closefriendly terms. We further learn that Chandraguptapresented 500 elephants to Seieukos, and the lattersent an envoy named Megasthenes to the Indiancourt. It is not recorded whether Chandragupta alsosent an envoy to the Greek court.Thus from a homeless wanderer, twelve yearsbefore, Chandragupta became the emperor of Indiaand a large part of the former Persian empire. The1. McCrindle Ancient India: M>ga*tbene8 ad Aman p. 158.2. This view is genet ally accepted and Reams to be correct, un themarriage of Hindu kings with non-Hmdu princesses was not unknownin ancient India, the Mahabharata motioning the marriage of Arjunawith 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 theInriian King, besidea th fnct that in that event the Greeks wouldnaturally have been more explicit, a they aie about Alexander1*Asiatic marriages.
  50. 50. 40 CHANDRAGUPTAwar with Scleukos was, in all probability, the lastwar of Chandragupta, and he devoted the remainingsixteen years of his reign in consolidating his empireand establishing a highly efficient system ofadministration. We can glance something of hispersonal life at this stage from the writings ofMegasthenes preserved in fragments by otherwriters, and, to some extent, from the Arthasastra ofKautilya, the name by which Chanakya is famous asan author.Chandragupta lived in a very stately palace,containing gilded pillars adorned with golden vinesand silver birds, and furnished with richly carvedtables and chairs of state, as well as basins andgoblets of gold. "In the Indian royal palace wherethe greatest of all the kings of the country resides,besides much else which is calculated to exciteadmiration, and with which neither Susa norEkbatana can vie, there are other wonders besides.In the parks tame peacocks are kept, and pheasantswhich have been domesticated; there are shadygroves and pasture grounds planted with trees, andbranches which the art of the woodsman has deftlyinterwoven; while some trees are native to the soil,others are brought from other parts, and with theirbeauty enhance the charm of the landscape. Parrots
  51. 51. CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 41are natives of the country, and keep hovering aboutthe king and wheeling round him, and vast thoughtheir numbers be, no Indian ever eats a parrot. TheBrachmanes honour them highly above all otherbirds because the parrot alone can imitate humanspeech. Within the palace grounds are artificialponds in which they keep fish of enormous size butquite tame. No one has permission to fish for theseexcept the kings sons while yet in their boyhood.These youngsters amuse themselves while fishing inthe unruffled sheet of water and learning how tosail their boats."1Chandragupta spent his leisure hours in thepalace. The care of his person was entrusted toferrates who were armed 2. He left his palace eitherfor performing administrative duties or for offeringsacrifices or for the chase 8. When he condescendedto show himself in public he was clothed in thefinest muslin embroidered with purple and gold.When making short journeys he rode on horseback,but when travelling longer distances he was mounted1. MeOrimile- 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.
  52. 52. 42 CHANDRAGUPTAon an elephant. The hairvwashing ceremony of theking was performed with great splendour accompaniedwith rich presents from nobles, as was also thecustom in the Persian Court. The king did notsleep in the day time. In the night he used tochange his bedroom from time to time in order todefeat any plots against him j.Chandragupta supervised the administration ofjustice himself. He did not allow the business to beinterrupted even if he had to sit for the whole day,and the hour arrived when he had to attend to hisperson. In such cases, he continued hearing cases,while four attendants massaged him with cylindersof wood. 2His busy life seems to have been thecause of his abstaining from sleep during the daytime. Kautilya, in fact, lays down the precept that aking should so divide his time-table that he may notsleep for more than three hours.8It is interesting to leam that the king left his palaceto offer sacrifices also. The fact probably shows thatChandragupta was a Brahmanical Hindu at least for thegreater part of his life, although he inclined towardsJainism during his last days, according to Jain authors.1 MoCrindle-Ancient India: MeuaptbenpR and Arrian p. 703. Ibid p. 71:t nha3ftstrix llook I Chap %0
  53. 53. CAREER OF CHANDRAGUPTA 45Chandragupta was also fond of sports. Hedelighted in witnessing the fights of elephants,bulls, rams and rhinoceroses. A curious entertainmentwas provided by ox races. The most favouritesport was chase. The road along which he went forchase was marked with ropes, and it was death topass within the ropes. He shot arrows either fromthe back of an elephant or from a platform1.Chandragupta led the life of an energeticemperor of a vast empire for 24 years We do notknow much about his family The name of one ofhis queens for he was, in all likelihood, a polygamistlike most monarchs of those times was Durdhara,according to Hemachandra2. His only son whosename is known to us under various forms wasBindusara, who succeeded him on the throne ofRatal iputra.Chandragupta died in or about 289 B. CAccording to Rajavalikatha, Chandragupta was aJain and abdicated at the time of a great famine andrepaired to Mysore where he died. In certain Mysoreinscriptions the summit of the Kalbappu hill, at SravanBelgola, is said to be marked with the footprints of1 McOnndle-Ancient Jinlm M^ga^thencn and Arrian p. 712. Vido the
  54. 54. 44 CHANDRAGUPTAthe great mums, Bhadrabahu and Chandragupta1.Bhadrabahu was a Jain leader who lived during thereign of Chandragupta. The Jain tradition, however,is very confused with regard to details. Hemachandra,for example, does not speak of the retirement ofChandragupta and Bhadrabahu together to thesouthern direction. On the other hand, he suggeststhat Bhadrabahu died in the sixteenth year ofChandraguptas reign3. It is probable thatBhadrabahu died before Chandragupta, and that thelatter too, some years after, passed away at the sameplace where Bhadrabahu had died. Whatever be thecase, there is no alternative account of the last daysof Chandragupta and, as Dr. Smith has contended,we have to trust the Jain version as being based ontruth8 .I. Hies- -EpiRiaphioa Carnatica Vol I, p 3)2. Parnisfataparvan IX. 1112.:>. Oxford History of India p. 7G.
  55. 55. IVADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIREThe limits of the empire governed byChandragupta are not known with absolute precision.But we can approximate to the truth by combining,the accounts of foreign writers with the Indian literaryand epigraphic evidence.The empire extended upto the borders of Persiain the north-west as gathered from the terms of thetreaty with Suleukos Nikator.1It included the wholeof the IndoXjangetic valley extending, in the westupto Kathiawar as is evident from the inscription ofRudradaman, and in the east, upto Bengal which musthave passed to Chandragupta from Nanda, whoruled over Gangaradai (Ganges delta) as well asPrassiai (Prachi)1.1. Kalhana mentions Asoka among the kin^s of Kashmir, but asAsoka is known to have conquered only Kalin#, we may concludethat Kashmir formed part of the empire of Hindupara and probablyalso of Chandragupta. The Mudra-Kakshasa play mentions the princeof Kashmir among the subordinate all lea of Malayaketti, whosubsequently became a vassal of Chandragupta.2. The inclusion of Bengal in the Maurya empire is alaoimplied in the recently discovered Mahasthan inscription. The curiousreader is referred to Mr. Jayaiwali article ia the Modern Heviev,May 1933.
  56. 56. 46 CHANDRAGUPTAChandragupta probably exercised some controlin the Deccan also, as appears from certain Mysoreinscriptions as well as other evidences.3Taranath,however, represents Bindusara as having conqueredsixteen states, which must have been situated in thesouth, because we know for certain that northernJndia was firmly held by Chandragupta. It, therefore,means that either Chandragupta was content toreceive the submission of the kings of southern Indiaand it was left for Bindusara to annex their territoriesor that what Bindusara did was mostly thesuppression of a general revolt. The latter viewseems more tenable, and thus there is nothing toinvalidate the belief that Chandragupta was thesuzerain of a large portion of southern India. Certainportions of this region, however, seem to haveremained independent. The kingdom of Kalinga isdescribed hy Megasthenes as possessing considerablemilitary force, and was probably independent beforeits conquest by Asoka a. The kingdom of Andhra,which lay to its soufh, is also described byMegasthenes as very powerful, and it also might have1. Vide p. 37 * "The royal city of the Calm^a is called Parthalis Overtheir king 6000 > footsoldieis, 1000 hoi semen , 700 elephants, keep watchand ward in procinctof war M McCrindl** Ancient India: Megasthenes*nd Arriau p. 138.
  57. 57. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 47been independent1in the time of Chandragupta.The Pandya, Chola and Kerala kingdoms of the extremesouth were also left alone by Chandragupta and hissuccessors.2Thus, Chandragupta was the emperorof practically all India proper excluding Kalinga,Andhra and the Tamil land and includingAfghanistan and Baluchistan.It should, however, be remembered that all thisvast empire was not under the direct rule ofChandragupta. There were protectorates as hasalways been the case in Indian history. Kautilyalays down that "conquered kings preserved in theirown lands in accordance with the policy ofconciliation will be loyal to the conquerer andfollow his sons and grandsons/8Chandraguptamust have followed this policy to some extent.In fact, Kautilya mentions certain sanghas oroligarchies which probably still existed in thetime 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<*, whichpossesses numerouH villages, and thirty towna defended by walls andtowers, and which supplies its king with an wrmy of 100,000infantry, 2000 cuairy and 1000 elepbauU" McCrindlo- AncientIndia: Megasthenos and Arrian p 141.2. Asoka mentions these kingdoms as independent in hit edict*.3. Artbasastta Book Vli Chap lf>.
  58. 58. 48 CHANDRAGUPTAthe Kurus and the Panchalas, whose presidents orconsuls were called Rajas, and the Kambhojas andSurashtras who had no Raja.1The Rajas of theseoligarchies probably also acted as the representativesof Chandragupta, while those corporations whichhad no Raja had to be put in charge of a specialofficer who was called Rashtriya, and was probablyidentical with KautilyaY Rashtrapala2. TheJunagarh inscription of Rudradaman mentionsPushyagupta, the Vaisya, as the Rashtriya ofChandragupta in Surashtra which, at that time, hadno Raja, but in the time of Asoka we hear of aYavana Raja, acting on behalf of Asoka, fromwhich it would appear that at that time Surashtrahad adopted the institution of Rajaship.8 . Besidesthe oligarchies, there were also some kingdoms whichwere ruled by their own Rajas. Megasthenesmentions several such kingdoms, although it isdifficult to identify many of them. Moreover, it isnot easy to understand from his writings alone as towhich of the kingdoms he mentions were protectedand which were independent. Yetj as we knowthe approximate extent of Chandraguptas dominions1. Artlwaastr* Book Xf Chap. 1.S. Ibid Book V Chap. 8.3 Vide Appendix A.
  59. 59. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 49we may be pretty certain that the kingdoms whichwere situated within its boundaries were onlyprotected states. "The essence of this imperialsystem," to sum up in the words of Dr. Radha KumudMookerji, "was thus a recognition of local autonomyat the expense of the authority of the central govern-ment, which was physically unfit to assert itselfexcept by its enforced affiliation to the pre-existingsystem of local government/1We have ample material for describing theadministration of the Maurya empire and Dr. Smithhas rightly observed that "more is known about thepolicy of India as it was in the Maurya age than canbe affirmed on the subject concerning any periodintervening between that age and the reign ofAkbar eighteen centuries later/2The chief sourceis the account left by the Greek ambassadorMegasthenes. The Arthasastra of Kautilya tells us.much about the methods of administration, many ofwhich must have been followed by Chandragupta,.although the work seems to be largely theoretical.The edicts of Asoka and the ancient works dealingwith Hindu polity are also helpful in adding to ourinformation about the administration of that period.1. Dr. Kadba Kumud Mookerji Local Government in AncientIndia P. 102, Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India p. 84.
  60. 60. 50 CHANDRAGUPTAThe king was the head of the administration andwasabsolute in his powers, having to perform military,judicial, legislative as well as executive functionswhich we shall deal with as occasion arises. It must,however, be remembered that the autocracy of theking in ancient India was always limited by popularinstitutions which the state thought it safe to recognise.Mr. Jayaswal has shown at length that thePauras and Janapadas mentioned in Sanskritliterature were really popular assemblies representingcitizens and villagers, and had considerable powers.1Kautilya mentions 18 kinds of Amatyas or highofficials* who supervised all the branches ofadministration, and were probably identical with theMahamatras of Asoka. Megasthenes seems to referlo these very officers as comprising the seventh divisionof Indian population. They were appointed by theking, no doubt, from among men who had popularbacking, as Kautilya expressly says that "whateverpleases himself he shall not consider as good, butwhatever pleases his subjects he shall consider asgood."8The appointment of these Amatyas wasthe 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.
  61. 61. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 51The king was assisted by a Parishad or assemblyof councillors, which was a sort of parliament.1This body must have consisted of a large number ofmembers. The highest officers of the state were thechief ministers, who were not more than four;8andthe ablest of whom probably acquired primeministership, which rank seems to have been enjoyedby Chanakya. The salary of a chief minister was48,000 panas per annum.* The value of a pana,according to Dr. Smith, was not far from a shilling.4The military administration was very elaborateand efficient. We have said that the king had alsomilitary functions to perform, and this is clear from thefact that according to Megasthenes the king left hispalace to lead the army in the time of war.* The highestofficer of the army was the Senapati or commander*irvchief, who got a salary equal to that of a chiefminister.*We leam from Megasthenes that there was aregular war office for military administration. Therewas a commission of thirty members divided into1. Arthasaslra Book 1chapter 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.
  62. 62. 52 CHANDRAGUPTAsix boards, each consisting of five members. 1Kautilya also seems to refer to these boards whenhe says that each department shall be officered bymany chiefs. 2Each board had probably asuperintendent, who seems to have been identicalwith the Adhyaksha of Arthasastra.The first board was in charge of navy, andworked in cooperation with the admiral who wasprobably identical with the Navadhyaksha ofArthasastra. This officer performed all theduties relating to ships such as hiring of shipsto passengers, collecting toll from merchants! arrestof suspicious persons and destruction of hinsrikas orpirates.8The ships were maintained by the state,and were not restricted to rivers but ventured to sea.These regulations clearly show that there was aconsiderable ocean traffic in Maurya times.The second board was in charge of transportcommissariat and army service, and worked incooperation with the superintendent of bullock trainswho was probably identical with the Godhyaksha ofArthasastra.4The bullock trains were used forX. 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.
  63. 63. ADMINISTRATION OF THF EMPIRE 53transporting 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 thePattyadhyksha.lThe size of the infantry is givenby both Pliny2and Solinus,8but unfortunatelythey greatly disagree. In view of the fact, however,that Asoka had to offer a very severe fight beforehe could conquer Kalinga, it does not seem likelythat the Mauryas really maintained such a hugeinfantry as Pliny would lead us to believe. It,therefore, appears that the additional zero of Pliny isonly a copyists mistake, as observed by Prof. RhysDavids,4and Solinus is correct when he says thatthe Prassian infantry consisted of 60000 soldiers.Arrian has preserved an account of the wny inwhich the Indians in those times equipped themselvesfor war :"The foot soldiers",we are told, "carry a bowmade of equal length with the man who bears itThis they rest upon the ground, and pressing againstit with their left foot thus discharge the arrow,having drawn the string far backwards: for the shaftthey use is little short of being three yards long, and1 A rthasAStra Book ifchapter 332. McCrindie- Ancient India: MegMthene* and Arrian p. 141.3. Ibid p. 161.4. Buddhist India p. 266.
  64. 64. 54 CHANDRAGUPTAthere is nothing which can resist an Indian archersshot, neither shield nor breastplate, nor any strongerdefence, if such there be. In their left hand theycarry bucklers made of undressed oxJiide, which arenot so broad as those who carry them, but are aboutas long. Some are equipped with javelins instead ofbows, but all wear a sword, which is broad in theblade, but not longer than three cubits, and thisrwhen they engage in close fight, they wield withboth hands, to fetch down a lustier blow/ 1The fourth board was in charge of cavalary,whose superintendent appears to have been theAsvadhyaksha.* The Greek authors unanimouslystate that the cavalry force of Chandragupta numbered30000. Each horseman was equipped with twolances and with a shorter buckler than that carriedby the foot soldiers.8The horses of KambojaandSindhu were regarded as the best.4The fifth board was in charge of the warelephants whose superintendent was probably theHastyadhyaksha.* The elephants in possession ofChandragupta numbered 9000, according to the1. 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.
  65. 65. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 55highest estimate.*Each elephant carried four menincluding the driver.8Thus the highest figure ofmen with elephants was 36000.The sixth board was in charge of the watchariots, whose superintendent was probably theRathadhyaksha.8The number of chariots in possessionof Chandragupta is not given, but Mahapadma,the predecessor of Chandragupta, possessed 8000chariots according to the highest estimate,4and thenumber in possession of Chandragupta might beassumed 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 havenumbered 24000.The total number of men in the army ofChandragupra would thus have been 1, 50, 000 inall, being more than those kept by any other state inIndia at that time. The force thus kept was not amilitia but a standing army drawing regular payand supplied by the government with arms and1. This is the number given by Pliny: Solinus gives the numberAS 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.
  66. 66. 56 CHANDRAGUPTAequipment. There were royal stables for horses andelephants and also a royal magazine for thearms .1The civil administration of Chandragupta wasequally efficient. The method of city administrationprevailing at the time may first be described. Thehead of the city affairs, according to Kautilya, wasthe Paura Vyavaharika who was one of the highofficers of state.3For actual details, however, wemust turn to Magasihenes, who has left an accountof the way in which Patliputra, the capital, wasgoverned. Other great cities of the empire, such asTaxila and Ujjain probably were also governed onthe same lines.There was a regular municipal commission, whichalso consisted of six boards, each composed of fivemembers. 8Kautilya, also, mentions some adhyakshasor superintendents whose duties exactly correspondto the functions of the boards referred to above.Thus the Pautavadhyaksha4or the superintendent ofweights and measures, the Panyadhyaksha5or the1. 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.
  67. 67. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 57superintendent of trade and the Sulkadhyaksha* or thesuperintendent of tolls had duties similar to thoseassigned to the last three boards by Megasthenes.It is, therefore, probable that every board worked inco-operation with a superintendent as in the case ofmilitary administration. Much of the administrativeelaboration noticed by the Greeks, however, musthave been due to the genius of Chandragupta,The first board looked after everything relating toindustrial arts. Its members appear to have beenresponsible for fixing the rates of wages as well assupervising the work which the artisans did. Artisanswere regarded as servants of state, and any body whorendered an artisan incapable of work by causing theloss of his eyes or hands was sentenced to capitalpunishment.2The second board was responsible for watchingthe foreigners and attending to their requirements.This board provided the foreigners lodging andescorts and, in case of need, medical attendance.If any foreigner died he was decently buried, andhis property was handed over to the rightful claimantThese regulations clearly prove that Chandraguptacreated wide-spread political and commercial relations1. Arthasastra Book II chapter 21.2. McCrindle-Ancient India: Megasthenes and Arrian p. 70.
  68. 68. 58 CHANDRAGUPTAwith 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 alsofor the information of the government. The highvalue attached to statistics by the Maurya governmenthas* justly evoked the wonder and admiration ofmodem scholars.The fourth board supervised commerce, and wasauthorized to enforce the use of duly stampedweights and measures. A merchant could dealonly in one commodity, for which license was givenrunless he had paid a double license tax.The fifth board was required to supervise thetrade of manufactured articles. New and old poodswere required to be sold separately, and there wasa fine for mixing the two. It appears from theArthasastra that old things could be sold only byspecial permission.1The sixth board collected tithes on sales, theate being one^tenth of the profit. If any onepractised fraud in the payment of thistax, hisrpunishment was death, probably when the amount1. Arthawwtrm Book IV Chapter 2.
  69. 69. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 59involved was large.1It, however, appears thatevasion of this tax for honest reasons was not sotreated. Even then the penalty was very severeaccording to modern standards.*In their collective capacity the members of themunicipal commission were responsible for thegeneral administration of the city and for keepingthe markets temples, harbours and other public worksof the city in order.It was recognised that all undertakings dependupon finance" 8. There was, therefore, a specialofficer for the collection of revenue called theSamaharta or Collector-general, who got a salaryof 24000 panas per annum4. He supervised thecollection of dues from mines, forests, catties androads of traffic, as well as land revenue . Like othergreat officers he probably also had many adhyakshasor superintendents under him. Thus he must have1. This regulation appears to be identical with that given byKautilya in connection with the payment of tolls, viz., "Those whoTitter a lie shall be punished as thieves" (Arthasastra II. 21). If thft isso, then fraud involving a large amount only most have been punishedby death, as in the case of theft. The words of Kautilya clearly provethat evasion of taxes by dishonest means only was punishable.2. It may be mentioned here that as late a0 the eighteenth centuryforgery 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.
  70. 70. 60 CHADRAGUPTAbeen assisted by the Akaradhyaksha1in therealisation of dues from mines, by the Kupadhyaksha3in the realisation of forest dues and by theSitadhayaksha8in the realisation of land revenue.The mainstay of finance must have been landrevenue as it is even now. The normal share of thecrown recognized by Hindu lawgivers was th ofthe gross produce4, which is also referred to byKautilya in one place5. Diodorus, however,mentions the share of the government having been |thof the gross produce. The fact seems to be that inpractice the proportion varied largely and allprovinces were not treated alike. The farmerswere benevolently treated, agriculture being regardedas a great prop for the people. Megasthenesremarks that "there are usages observed by theIndians which contribute to prevent the occurrenceof famine among them; for whereas among othernations it is usual, in the contests of war, to ravagethe soil and thus to reduce it to an uncultivatedwaste, among the Indians, on the contrary, by whom1. 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.
  71. 71. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 61husbandmen are regarded as a class that is sacred andunviolable, the tillers of the soil, even when battleis raging in their neighbourhood, are undisturbedby any sense of danger, for the combatantson either side in waging the conflict make carnage ofeach other, but allow those engaged in husbandryto remain quite unmolested." 1When famine didoccur, 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, whichseems to have been one of the functions of theagricultural department. The duty of the irrigationofficers was to "superintend the rivers, measure theland and inspect the sluices by which water is letout from the main canals into their branches, so thatevery one may have an equal supply of it/2Weknow from the Arthashastra that water rates werealso levied.8There is ample evidence of the fact that muchpains and expenses were lavished on irrigation evenin remote dependencies. The inscription of theSatrap Rudradaman engraved about the year 150A. D. tells us something about the history of the1. McCrindle- Ancient India: Megastheoes and Arrian pp 31-32 Ibid p. 66.3, Arthasastra Book II chapter 24.
  72. 72. 62 CHANDRAGUPTALake Beautiful (Sudarsana) of Kathiawar.1We aretold that Pushyagupta, the Vaisya, who representedChandra gupta in Surashtra, noticing the needs oflocal farmers, dammed up a small stream, and thusprovided a reservoir of great value. It was adornedwith conduits in the time of Chandraguptas grandsonAsoka. This work endured for four hundred years,until in A.D. 150, a storm of a "most tremendousfury, befitting the end of a mundane period/destroyed the embankment.The empire was divided into several parts forpurposes of administration. Besides the homeprovinces of eastern India, which appear to havebeen under the direct control of the emperor, therewere at least three vice-royalties, as can be inferredfrom the edicts of Asoka. The viceroy of theNorth-western provinces had his headquarters atTaxila, from where he seems to have controlledAfganistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab, Kashmir andSindh. The viceroy of western India was stationedat Ujjain and controlled Malwa and Gujrat. Theviceroy of south had his capital at Suvarnagiri, whichwas probably situated in the Raichur district ofNizams dominions2 . The viceroys of these territories1, Vide Appendix A.3. Smith-Asoka p. 94n.
  73. 73. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 63were styled Kumaras or Aryaputras and were princesof royal blood. The salary of a Kumara accordingto the Arthsastra was 12,000 panas per annum. 1Below the viceroys there were other officers.The inscriptions of Asoka refer to Rajukas, but it isdifficult to identify them with any of the officersmentioned in Arthasatra. Kautilya mentions anofficer called Pradeshta, or commissioner, whoappears to have been identical with the Pradesika ofAsoka. He was probably a district officer chargedwith the administration of criminal justice and other<Juties, and got a salary of 8000 panas per annum. 1The bureaucracy was assisted by an organisedsystem of espionage. The system of espionage hasalways been hated by people and so it must have beenin the days of Chandragupta. But it had its goodpoints also. It was recognised by Indian statesmenthat a king could not rule against the wishes of hissubjects. So the spies were employed, not only todetect criminals, but also to get information aboutthe views of the people. The spies were the sixthclass of Indian population according to Megasthenes.An unpleasing feature of the espionage system was1. Arthaaastra Book V chapter 3.2. Ibid.
  74. 74. 64 CHANDRAGUPTAthat even courtezans were utilized for this purpose,1Arrian says that the reports which these spies gavewere always true, for no Indian could be accused oflying.2This statement is not in contradiction withother records of the character of ancient Indians,although its strict accuracy may be doubted.The administration of justice was carried on bythe courts recognized by the state. According tothe Dharmasastras, cases could be decided by a clan,a guild, a corporation and finally a state court.8Kautilya even recognizes different kinds of statecourts established at Janapada-sandhi, Sangrahana,Dronamukha and Sthaniya, with jurisdiction overtwo, ten, four hundred and eight hundred villagesrespectively and composed of three dharmasthas andthree amatyas in each case4. The case decided bya lower court could proceed to a higher court if theparties, were dissatisfied. The final authority wasthe king, and we know from Megasthenes thatlarge number of people sought the intervention of1. 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 havehad jurisdiction over two villages and not two districts, because theorder of enumeration suggests that it was the lowest court.
  75. 75. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 65the King in deciding their cases1. The decision ofsuch cases as had not been satisfactorily decided bythe lower courts constituted the judicial function ofthe king.The procedure of the Uw courts was equallyinteresting. The plaintiff had to file his suit alongwith the name and date, and the defendant hadsimilarly to give his reply in writing. Witnesses as wellas documentary evidence were recognized. Certainagreements, such as those entered into in seclusion,in the dead of night or with fraud, were held void 2.Megasthenes erroneously asserts that there wasno written law in India. As a matter of fact sacredwritings were one of t e four kinds of law, the otherthree being custom, agreement and the edicts of theking, the issuing of which from time to timeconstituted the legislative function of the king.The last three were, however, required to be inaccordance with the spirit of the sacred law. Theauthor of the Arthasastra mentions several ancientlawgivers such as Manu, Brihaspati and Usanas,whose writings must have been consulted in decidingcases 8.1. MeGrindie Ancient India: Megastbeneg and Arrian p. 71,2. Artbasaatra Book 111 chapter 1.8. Ibid Book 111 chapter ->.
  76. 76. 66 CHANDRACUPTAThe penal code was simple. Offences weregenerally punished with fines, there being threekinds of the latter, viz., the first amercement rangingupto 96 panas, the middlemost amercement rangingupto 500 panas and the highest amercement rangingupto 1000 panas1. Crimes which surpassed thosefor which the highest amercement was prescribed,were punishable with vadha, which term, accordingto ancient authorities, meant corporal chastisementincluding beating, shaving off of the hair, mutilationand death 3. These crimes were generally thosewhich involved violence or moral turpitude, such asmurder, hurt, theft, fraud and the submission of falseevidence. Even in these crimes there were grades.Thus a thief who stole a property upto the value of50 panas was punishable with the highest amercementbut if he stole goods worth more than 50 panashe was punished with vadha or corporal chastisement,1. ArttmnHstra Book III charter 172. Vadha is unanimously inkerorotfd by ancient commentatorsas corporal punishment, not necessarily death. Maim and otherAncient lawgivers recognize four kinds of punishment, viz. vagdandaor warning, dhigdanda or scolding, dhftnadnnda or fine and finallyvadhadanda whioh is explained hy Kullnka, Vijnanesvara and othersas corporal punishment from heating and imprisonment to death(Mauu 8, 149, Yajn 1, 13 367) Kantilya several times jumps fromtrifling fines to vadha and it would he absurd to maintain that he hatreserved the meaning of that term for death,
  77. 77. ADMINISTRATION OF THE EMPIRE 67which extended upto death, if the offence was veryserious 1. Those persons who spoke a lie, that is tosay, committed fraud in the payment of tolls werealso punished like thieves 2 .Injury to the limb ofany person was punished with the mutilation of thecorresponding limb as well as a hand, and if the personinjured happended to be an artisan the punishmentwas death 3 . Judicial torture was also recognizedas a method of eliciting confession but it was usedwith the greatest caution 4. The efficiency of criminaladministration is attested to by Megasthenes whosays that in a population of 4,00,000 men inPataliputra the thefts recorded on any one day didnot exceed the value of two hundred drachmaeor about eight pounds sterling5.Kautilya laysdown, in agreement with the Dharmasastras, that"whatever of the property of citizens robbed bythieves the king can not recover shall be made goodfrom 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 aythat 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.
  78. 78. 68 CHANDRAGUPTAOn certain occasions prisoners were set free.One such occasion was the birthday of the King.Other occasions are enumerated by Kautilya in thefollowing passage: "Whenever a new country isconquered, when an heir apparent is installed onthe throne, or when a prince is born to the kingprisoners are usually set free."11. Arthasaetra Book II chapter 36.
  79. 79. V.SOCIAL 6- ECONOMIC CONDITIONS.The social, religious and economic condition ofthe people of India in the Maurya age deservesseparate treatment, being a highly interesting subject.Fortunately for us, we possess sufficient materialsin the shape of ancient writings of foreigners as wellas Indians to permit us to have a fairly satisfactoryidea of the manner in which people in those timeslived and thought.The caste system, as we know it, was certainlynot fully developed till then. Kautilya still speaksof the traditional four Hindu castes1 viz. theBrahmanas, the Kshatriyas, the Vaisyas and theSudras, who probably corresponded to Megasthenesphilosophers, soldiers, husbandmen and artisans*.The herdsmen mentioned by Megasthenes may havebeen outcaste people or panchamas, who had notcome within the pale of settled population.Megasthenes mentions two more castes, but he hascertainly erred. The overseers and councillors inthe service of government certainly were recruited1 . Arthaaaatra Book 1chapter 3.2 McCrindle-Ancient India Megastbenes and Arrian p 88
  80. 80. 70 CHANDRAGUPTAfrom all castes 1, and cannot have formed distinctsocial divisions. Thus it appears that the settledpopulation of India still consisted mainly of fourcastes, although the process of the formation of newcastes as a result of intermarriages had alreadybegun. We, however, learn from Kautilya thatamong the first three castes a man of higher castecould marry a woman of the lower caste, withoutthe risk of losing caste. The Hindu lawgivers, nodoubt, also recognize such marriages, but theyregard the offsprings of such marriages as belongingto new castes, thereby discouraging such marriages.Kautilya, on the other hand, expressly says thatthe son of a Brahman from a Kshatriya woman isno other than a Brahman and the son of a Kshatriyafrom a Vaisya woman, is no other than aKshatriya.2This bold statement seems to suggestthat intermarriage between the three upper casteswas still in vogue to some extent. Thus the mostrigid division was still between Aryas and Sudras,although subdivisions must have existed in both ofthese groups.1. Thus Chanakya, the prime minister of Chandragupta, was aBrahman, while Pushyagupta, the Haehtriya of Surashtra, was a Vaisya.2-*IWq^ftqr3KM<iyil *T*Rtf : Arthasastra ITT. 7. Videthe Commentary of T. Ganapati gastri. Dr. Shamasastristranslation is inaccurate here.
  81. 81. SOCIAL & ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 7!Kautilya refers to the eight theoretical kinds ofmarriages recognized by Hindu lawgivers, but it isdifficult to believe that all of them were widelyprevalent at any time 1. The first of these viz. theBrahma marriage, in which the parents of the girlmarry her to a suitable man after adorning her withornaments is now the only form of marriage observedby the people, and it must have been the mostcommon one even in those times. Another kind,the Arsha marriage, probably was also prevalentbecause Megasthenes seems to refer to it when hesays that Indians marry wives "giving in exchangea yoke of oxen/ 2The other two kinds, whichKautilya approves, were the Prajapatya, in whichthe bride and bridegroom were united with thepromise of joint-performance of secred duties, and theDaiva in which the parents of the girl marriedher to an officiating priest at the time of asacrifice.Polygamy was also prevalent according to bothMegasthenes8 and Kautilya, but we learn fromthe latter that a man could marry more than onewife 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 608. Ibid.
  82. 82. 72 CHANDRAGUPTAKautilya even prescribes the period for which a manshould wait before marrying another wife.1The remarriage of widows is also franklyrecognised by Kautilya. The only condition for sucha kind of marriage was that the widow forfeitedwhatever had been given to her by her father-in-lawand her deceased husband; and if she happened tohave sons also, she lost even her own property(Stridhana) which was given to her sons.*What is most curious is that Kautilya alsorecognizes a kind of divorce. The following passagefrom the Arthasastra makes it clear. "A woman,hating her husband, can not dissolve her marriagewith him against his will. Nor can a man dissolvehis marriage with his wife against her will. Butfrom mutual enmity, divorce may be obtained." 8We are, however, told that divorce even on theseconditions could be obtained only in certain kindsof marriages. It is clear from these regulations thatthe cases of divorce must have been rare and henceMegasthenes is silent on the subject.The horrible custom of Suttee was absolutelyunknown to Kautilya and even Manu. Moreover,1. Arthasastra Book HI Gbap 2.2. Ibid.3 Ibid Book III chapter, 3.
  83. 83. SOCIAL & ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 73the marriage customs described above clearly showthat there was no room for that custom, which wasprobably of Scythian origin and later spread intoIndia. The Greeks? of course, refer to it, but theirreferences apply to the semUoreign north-westfrontier. In India proper the custom was as yet notprevalent.It is generally believed that the purdah system wasnonexistent in ancient Indh. This statement, however,can not stand unqualified Some kind of purdahwas certainly observed by women of aristocraticclasses, as Kautilya refers to women who wereAnishkasini i.e. "notxStirringxDut."1References of thiskind are not wanting in other Sanskrit works also.2At the present time women in many parts of Indiaobserve purdah even before certain of their relatives,but no such practice seems to have been prevalentin ancient India.According to Megasthenes all the Indians werefree and not one of them was a slave.8But in thelight of the Arthasastra we have to modify thisstatement. 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