Bimbisara is regarded as one of the greatest ruler of Magadha, who was contemporary to Buddha and Mahavira. He is known for establishing strong administration and a vast empire. He conquered various small empires like Anga. In 543 BC at the age of fifteen he was crowned as the king of Magadha. He ruled Magadha for almost forty one years till 502 BC.
Personal Life and marriage with Queen Chelna (Kosala Devi in Buddhist Text)
The most famous tale about Bimbisara is regarding his marriage. It is said that once king of Magadha went for hunting where he met queen Chelna, who was the daughter of Chetaka, the king of Vaisali, who was brother of Queen Trisalá, mother of Mahavira. Queen Chelna was extremely beautiful. King Bimbisara did his best to impress the queen Chelna and finally married her. Bimbisara and Chelna also had a boy called Ajatshatru. Later, Bimbisara married four other princesses in order to expand the empire. As per the Buddhist text, wife of Bimbisara was princess of Kosala, Kosala Devi.
Bimbisara first saw Gautam Buddha from his palace window in Pabbajja Sutta. He invited Buddha to meet him in his palace but Buddha refused to meet him as he was in search of enlightenment. Bimbisara invited Buddha again to meet him at Rajgir after Buddha attains enlightment . Buddha kept his promise and met Bimbisara at Rajgir. It is said that after this meeting with Gautam Buddha, King Bimbisara became follower of Buddha.
Death of Bimbisara
According to Jain Text, Ajasthatru, due to the influence of Devadatta, sent his father Bimbisara to jail in 502 BC. It is said that once Chelna told the story of Bimbisara’s affection to Ajatshatru. After listening this story Ajashatru realized his mistake and went to free his father. He carried an axe to break the prison but bimbisara watching his son carrying an axe thought that Ajasthatru was coming to kill him. Bimbisara thought that it’s better to be suicide rather being murdered. He ate the poison in his finger-ring and committed suicide.
Although, according to Buddhist text, Bimbisara was brutally murdered by Ajatshatru.