Bindusara – Father of Ashoka the Great – Amitraghata – Slayer of all Enemies 320 BC – 273 BC

Bindusara was the son Chandragupta Maurya and was the second ruler of Mauryan Dynasty. He was born in 320 BC. He got his name because of the incidence that happened during the time of his birth. Chanakya, Chandragupta Maurya’s prime minister use to feed him with small doses of poison in order to build king’s immunity against possible poisoning attacks by the enemies. Chandragupta, not knowing about his food being poisoned, shared the food with his pregnant queen, Durdhara, who was seven days from delivery. The queen died on the spot but Chanakya knowing about the poisoning cut opened the queen’s womb and took out the child. By this time the poison had already reached infant’s head and due to its effect the was a blue spot (bindu) on the forehead (sara) of the child. This is how Bindusara got his name.

Bindusara was also known as Amitrochates (in Greek) or Amitraghata (Sanskrit translation) meaning Slayer of all enemies.

Regions of Control

As the name suggest (Slayer of all Enemy), just like his father, Bindusara was a powerful king and must have engaged himself in a lot of wars. There is not much of clarity of what were the important events in his life but there is a bit of documentation in Jain religious text about him. He was able to expand his territories to far South (unlike Chandragupta, whose territories confined to the Deccan Plateau). Only the three friendly kingdoms of Pandya, Cholas and Cheras were spared. To the west, kingdom expanded till Kandhar, to the east, it expanded till Assam. All of central India was a part of Magadha Empire and all 16 Mahajanapada were annexed into the kingdom.

Only a kingdom of Kalinga (present day Orissa) had a democracy and was NOT the part of Magadha Empire. This kingdom was later annexed into Magadha by his son Ashoka in 265 BCE in a gruesome war.

Bindusara had good terms with Egypt and the West Hellenic World, he was also quite friendly with Seleucus Nicator.

Bindusara Head Sculpture - Father of Ashoka the Great- Amitraghata - 320 BC - 273 BC

Bindusara Head Sculpture – Father of Ashoka the Great- Amitraghata – 320 BC – 273 BC

Religious Beliefs

Unlike Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara was not all that influenced by the teachings of Jainism and was more inclined toward the practices of Ajivika, a much older religion which was preached initially by Makkhali Gosala.

Last few years

Bindusara had two well known sons, elder son, Susima, the viceroy of Taxila and Ashoka, the viceroy of Ujjain. Bindusara always wanted to make the elder son the his successor as he was religious and loyal, Ajivika by religion, but, Ashoka tricked him and conquered the throne after Bindusara. Ashoka had a huge support of the minister of Bindusara under the prime leadership of Radhagupt.

Bindusara’s huge empire had to a lot of internal revolts from the province of Taxila. One of the main reasons for these revolts was poor administration under Susima, which also made him an unpopular viceroy in Magadha Empire and the ministers wanted to get rid of him.

Bindusara couldn’t settle these revolts during his lifetime. These revolts were finally subdued under the reign of Ashoka the Great.

In the last few years, Bindusara abandon all worldly things and started meditating. He left food for 12 days before he died, his last wish was to see Susima as the emperor, which couldn’t be fulfilled.

Bindusara died in 273 BC at the age of 47 years.

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