The land of Magadha of Indo-Gangetic plain witnessed one of the best Kingdoms that ruled most part of the India and surrounding areas. Maurya Empire founded by the great Chandragupta Maurya with humble beginnings.
Mura or Moora Maurya who was married to Suryagupta Maurya and gave birth to the ambitious Chandragupta Maurya in 340 BCE. Many people believe that Mura Maurya was not from a royal background. In fact, Jain and Buddhist accounts of Maurya origin states that Mura Maurya was a commoner who belonged to the working class.
Mura Maurya – Early days
Mura’s history is unknown. Mura is believed to be of ‘Sudra’ class who got married to a Nanda prince. Many historians argue that she belonged to a tribe that tamed peacocks otherwise called as ‘Mayura’ and hence she was named Mura. According to the Buddhist records of Mahavamsha, Mura Maurya served as a maid assistant in the royal court of Nanda. Her name has also been associated with ‘Moriya’ clan of Kshatriyas.
Mura Maurya – Mura in Folklore
Mura’s name as the damsel in distress has been immortalized in the folklore. She has been portrayed as a loving wife and caring mother who runs out of the vicious city of Magadha to save her unborn child Chandragupta Maurya from a lusty Royal court servant Nandh who kills Mura’s husband Suryagupta Maurya.
According to a famous folklore, Mura and Suryagupta Maurya who were ruling the Kingdom of Piplivan receive an invite from the mighty Nanda from Magadha to which the royal couple oblige. However, a servant named Nandh lusts after the beautiful Mura.
The servant Nandh who was already pursuing the queen of Magadha, takes an enormous amount of interest in Mura which results in Suryagupta Maurya’s killing. A distressed Mura who is pregnant with the future heir of the Maurya Empire runs out of Magadh to save herself and her unborn child from Nandh’s conspiracy.
Mura Maurya – Mura to Maurya
The origin of the name Maurya is said to have come from Chandragupta Maurya’s mother. As per popular belief, Mura was from a tribe that tamed peacocks or ‘Mayura’. Mura’s father was said to be the chief of the tribe. Hence, he named her Mura and in turn Mura’s son Chandragupta was famously called as Chandragupta Maurya.
Mura Maurya – Later years
Mura’s name has been mentioned in various Puranas (Vayu Purana, Vishnu Purana) and Buddhist texts such as Mahavamsha. Her influence on the Maurya Empire is not known. Some say she continued to live even after the death of Chandragupta Maurya and assumed the title of Mahamaha Rani (Great Grand Queen). Mura Maurya was a Jain by birth and became a Jain aryika. Mura accepted Santhara which led to her peaceful death. Mura Maurya died around 284 BCE.