Devavarman Maurya 202 BC – 195 BC was one of the few last rulers of the Mauryan Dynasty. Devavarman Maurya ascended the throne from Shalishuka Maurya 215 BC – 202 BC and ruled for a period of seven years. He was the grandson of Samprati Maurya and was a patron of Jainism. He ruled from 202 BC to 195 BC. The Mauryan kingdom was approaching its end during this period and there are only vague references to those times in some of the Buddhist texts, the Puranas and some Western classical texts. The information that is available seems to be of contradicting nature as well. The rulers that came after Asoka, except Dashratha 232 BC – 224 BC, were not interested in rock edicts.
Devavarman Maurya – Rule- Bad Administration of a Declining Kingdom
Devavarman ascended the throne when Shalishuka Maurya had almost dismantled the Mauryan dynasty. The empire was in troubled waters as Shalishuka was known to be a very unjust and ruler. He was known to be an oppressing and unrighteous king and the major downfall of the Mauryan Empire had flared up during his rule. Devavarman Maurya’s style of ruling is not cited in any of the major reference books, but we may assume that he was not very good at it. He ruled for merely seven to eight years, five years less than Shalishuka.
Devavarman Maurya – Major reasons for disintegration of Mauryan Empire
The policies taken by Asoka (268 – 232 BCE) regarding non-violence were good on paper, but when it came to actual implementation, it failed. The rulers that came after Asoka were weak and the non-violence policies made it worse. The empire started losing its authority and military strength and was becoming a target for other invaders.
Other historians believe that after Asoka’s death, the empire was degrading financially. This lead to heavy taxation on all the possible commodities leading to further distrust among the people. The economy was under immense pressure and on the verge of collapse.
Another major reason was the style of Mauryan administration. The Mauryan rule was highly centralized and gave most of the importance to the king. During the reign of Chandragupta, Bindusara and Asoka, this system was highly efficient due to their authority and power. But rulers like Devavarman were not authoritative and the weakness at the top led to the decline of the whole administrative system.
Some sources also say that the Pro-Buddhist policies taken by Asoka and the Pro-Jaina policies taken by the successors of Asoka alienated the Brahmins. This is believed to have been the reason for the rise of Pushyamitra Sunga.
Devavarman Maurya – Successor – Shatadhanvan Maurya
Devavarman Maurya was succeeded by Shatadhanvan Maurya (195 – 187 BCE) who ruled for the next eight years. However, the damage had already been done and Shatadhanvan is considered as the penultimate ruler of the largest empire in Indian history.