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Maurya Empire

The Maurya Empire was physically extensive and most dominant kingdom of Indian ancient history in the reign of 322 BC to 185 BC. Maurya Dynasty was ruled into the state of Magadha (today included with Bihar, eastern UP and WB) from the capital city at Pataliputra (today in Patna). Chandragupta Maurya had established the Kingdom in 322 BC by conquered the Nanda Dynasty. After the ruler Chandragupta Maurya seven more successors rose in power and lined the kingdom with a great Excellency, but the dynasty had disintegrated in 185 BC by Pushyamitra Sunga. There is a list of Maurya Ruler with time in power.

Mauryan RulerReign of Power
Chandragupta Maurya 322 BC 298 BC
Bindusara 297 BC 272 BC
Asoka the Great 273 BC 232 BC
Dasaratha 232 BC 224 BC
Samprati 224 BC 215 BC
Salisuka 215 BC 202 BC
Devavarman 202 BC 195 BC
Satadhanvan 195 BC 187 BC
Brihadratha 187 BC 185 BC

Chandragupta Maurya and Chanakya

A great Brahmin character of Indian history, Chanakya or Kautilya (real name Vishnugupta) was insulted in the Court of the Nanda King, Dhanananda. After that he was determined to destroy the Nanda Dynasty and he met Chandragupta Maurya, a young man who was the son of a maid-servant called Mura or came from the Moriya Tribe. Chanakya convinced Chandragupta Maurya to capture the throne of Magadha. The master mind Chanakya planed with the help of Chandragupta to hire young men from across Magadha who were disturb over the dishonest rule of the king Dhanananda and created a well trained army team. After that, they attacked the Magadha kingdom and successfully captured the kingdom in 322 BC.

The Mauryan Empire was the first federal power of indian ancient history. The great ruler Chandragupta had controlled the state of Magadha from the capital city of Pataliputra. Chanakya was an adviser of administration system. He composed his philosophy in a book named Arthashastra which increased the financial condition of the kingdom. Chandragupta maintained a talented team of army and followed a fair judicial policy. He was open-minded in case of religious system and preferred every type of religious follower in his country. He had deal political relations with foreign powers like Egypt, Syria, Rome, Greece and China, and supported the famous Universities of Taxila and Pataliputra.

In 305 BC the Greeks power Seleucus I tried to capture the northwestern parts of Magadha but he failed and he was beaten by Chandragupta. After that they concluded a peace agreement with a marital alliance where the Greeks offered their Princess to Chandragupta for marriage. It made a Political and family relations between Greeks and Chandragupta. As a result many Greeks historian; namely, Megasthenes, Deimakos and Dionysius resided at the court of Mauryan. We are awarded about many unknown evidence by descriptions of Megasthenes. Megasthenes described that Chandragupta lived simply, honestly and he was illiterate and the people of the country lived carefully and maintained the administrative discipline. Theft and Robbery were a rare incidence. They never drink wine except at festivals and their food principle was rice. The next Mauryan king Bindusara extended his region towards southern India. He also had a Greek representative at his court, named Deimachus.

Ashoka the Great

Bindusara was succeeded by his great son Ashoka. Ashoka was the best ruler forever in Indian history. He was in power of control from 273 BC to 232 BC. He became Samrat (king) in a little age and had taken some aggressive decision to capture Ujjain, Taxila and Kalinga. But the battle of Kalinga was so bloody and crucial that killed more than 100,000 armies including over 10,000 of his own armies. This incident had made a positive change on the mind of Ashoka and he determined to be polite and away from cruelty or battle. He established principles of ahimsa Param Darma (honesty is the best religious). He continued a commanding army to maintain peace and well administration system, Ashoka extended a friendly relationship with many countries across Asia and Europe. He preferred great communal jobs throughout his kingdom. In had continued peace, harmony and prosperity in his long-term power (over 40 years) and he remain an idealized character of inspiration in modern India.

Administration System

Pataliputra was the main capital city of Maurya Empire. But in the reign of was Ashoka, the range of the kingdom increased so large that the administration system became weaker. So, Ashoka decided to divide the kingdom into four provinces with four provincial capitals; Tosali in eastern area, Ujjain in western area, Suvarnagiri in southern area and Taxila in northern area. The growth and protection of the kingdom was made possible by the largest standing army of its time. According to Megasthenes, the kingdom was handled with 600000 militaries, 30000 cavalry and 9,000 war elephants.

Economy of Mauryan

Economic system had increased with agricultural productivity in Mauryan Period. Farmers were freed of tax and crop collection burdens from local chieftains. They directly paid revenue to royal treasury abide by a simple but strict taxation system as directed by the principles in the book of Arthashastra. Chandragupta Maurya created a single currency system and established a network of local committee to provide fairness and security for merchants, farmers and traders. The great ruler Ashoka made a friendly relation with the outer country; namely, Indo-Greek friendship agreement and expanded a global network of trade. The Khyber Pass area now in placed in Pakistan and Afghanistan became a vital port of trade and communication with the outside world.

Religions of Maurya Period

Hinduism was the main religion in the period of Chandragupta. Chanakya, a great Hindu Brahmin had taken a vital role of the kingdom. He composed in his text Chanakya Niti -"Respectfully bowing down before the all-powerful Lord Sri Vishnu (a Hindu god)." after that, Buddhism and Ashoka maintained the membership of Hindu Brahman priests and ministers in their court. There was caste system in Hinduism and people continued the tradition of Vedic Hindu culture.

Buddhism was the main religion in the period of Ashoka. At first he followed Hinduism but after bloody battle of the Kalinga, he begun to follow Buddhism he finalized a settlement to leave aggression, critical order of Arthashastra and complex tax collection. Ashoka sent a number of Buddhist missions to West Asia, Greece, Sri Lanka (this mission was led by his son Mahinda and daughter) and South East Asia, and he constructed many monasteries, schools and throughout the nation. He built more than 84,000 small or big stupas across India among them Sanchi and Mahabodhi Temple were the great discover of his reign.

Chandragupta Maurya accepted Jainism in his old age and joined into a visiting group of Jain monks. He rejected his throne and established his son Bindusara as the next king. Bindusara was a Hindu religion follower but his successor Samprati embraced Jainism. Samprati took lesson from the Jain monk Arya Suhasti Suri and he built more than 125,000 small and big Jain Temples throughout India. Some of them are still found in towns of Ahmedabad, Viramgam, Ujjain and Palitana. Samprati sent messengers and preachers to Greece, Persia and middle-east for the spread of Jainism.