The Maurya Dynasty

Chandragupta Maurya History (322 – 297 BC):

  • With the help of Chanakya, known as Kautilya or Vishnugupta, he overthrew the Nandas & established the rule of the Maurya dynasty.
  • Built a vast empire, which included not only good portions of Bihar & Bengal but also western & northwestern India & the Deccan.
  • This account is given by Megasthenes (A Greek ambassador sent by Seleucus to the court of Chandragupta Maurya) in his book Indica. We also get the details from the Arthashastra of Kautilya
  • Chandragupta adopted Jainism & went to Sravanabelagola (near Mysore) with Bhadrabahu, where he died by slow starvation.

History of Bindusara (297 – 273 BC):

  • Chandragupta Maurya was succeeded by his son Bindusara in 297 BC.
  • He is said to have conquered ‘the land between the 2 seas’,
  • i.e., the Arabian Sea & Bay of Bengal.

History of Ashoka (269 – 232 BC):

  • Ashoka was appointed the Viceroy of Taxila & Ujjain by his father, Bindusara
  • Ashoka became the Buddhist under Upagupta.

The Kalinga War History:

  • (261 BC, mentioned in XIII rock edict): It changed his attitude towards life. Ashoka became a Buddhist after that.

Causes of the fall of the Mauryan Empire:

  • Ashoka’s patronage of Buddhism & his anti-sacrificial attitude is said to have affected the income of the Brahmins. So they developed antipathy against Ashoka.
  • Revenue from agrarian areas was not sufficient to maintain such a vast empire as booty from war was negligible.
  • Successors of Ashoka were too weak to keep together such a large centralized empire.

Note: The last Mauryan king Brihadratha was killed by Pushyamitra Shunga (Commander in Chief) in 185 BC, who started the Shunga dynasty in Magadha.

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