Susima – Sushim (or Susim) – Eldest Son of Bindusara and Step-Brother of Ashoka The Great – 304 BC – 270 BC

Susima – Early Life

Susima was born around 304 BC and was the eldest son of king Bindusara. Being the eldest son of king Bindusara, Susim (or Susima) was given the respect and authority of the royal prince. Susima was the genuine heir to the Mauryan throne. During childhood, Susima was known to be arrogant and egoistic. Susima and his brothers always worried of the king favoring Ashoka for ascending the throne.

Susima the Prince - Elder Brother of King Ashoka - Son of Bindusara

Susima the Prince – Elder Brother of King Ashoka – Son of Bindusara

Susima – Rivalary with Ashoka

The success of Ashoka as a warrior and his increasing command over the army of his kingdom brought him closer to his father Bindusara which was envied by his elder brothers including Susima. Intense leadership and warrior qualities of his younger brother Ashoka raised a sense of insecurity in the royal prince’s mind.

Susima’s insecurity combined with jealously made him to plot a trap against his younger brother Ashoka. He persuaded Bindusara to send his younger brother Ashoka to the Taxila province to suppress the revolt caused by the militias. Ashoka left for Taxila province as per Bindusara ordered. When the arrival of their favorite prince was heard by the militias they welcomed him warmly and ended the revolt without a fight. The success of the brave prince made his brothers Susima and others more jealous.

As a royal prince Susima was the head of all provinces and is Bindusara’s representative and was assisted by council of ministers referred to as ‘Mahamatyas’.  Susima also served as governor to Taxila, a northern province of the kingdom during the reign of the King Bindusara. Susima made allegations on Ashoka for being power hungry and had influenced the king to send Ashoka on Exile to Kalinga. The administration of Susima in the Taxila province has led to revolts which were suppressed by the king and Ashoka.

Marriage of Prince Susima around 285 BC

Marriage of Prince Susima around 285 BC

Death of Bindusara – Time of Succession of Throne and Civil War

There was a civil war for the succession of the throne after the death of Bindusara in 273BC. Although the king wanted his royal prince Susima to succeed the throne; the ministers supported Ashoka to be their king. Susima was not supported for his egoistic and arrogant attitude towards the ministers and people. They are aware of the fact that if the royal prince is enthroned both Mauryan and Magadha kingdom will be put to danger. The clever ministers played their cards against Susima right in the time when the later required support for succession.

Killing of Susima and his Brothers by Ashoka around 270 BC

Killing of Susima and his Brothers by Ashoka around 270 BC

‘Radhagupta’ one of the king’s minister, was believed playing an active role in the succession of Mauryan Throne. According to some sources, Ashoka got rid of the royal prince, Susima by pushing him inside a burning coal pit.

By : Ramani J.


  1. What are the possibilities that righteous Ashoka killed his brother Susima? Is that true?

  2. Ranbir sangwan Advocate says:

    It may be possible Sushim might have been trapped in his own tactics he used to play against Ashoka.

  3. Did sushim have a wife

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