Page images

By K. P. Jayaswal, M.A. (Oxon.), Barrister-at-Law.

THE only matters which are generally known up to this time about Emperor Bindusăra are-(1) that at his court Megasthenes was succeeded by Deimachos and that he made a friendly requisition on Antiochos Soter, king of Syria, to send him a professor, some figs and some raisin wine; (2) that his epithet was something like Amitraghāta ; † (3) and that he was succeeded by Asoka who added only Kalinga to the empire left by the former.

But there are some data unnoticed hitherto, which, I think, Fresh data. render the figure of the emperor less shadowy'. The data prove (1) that Bindusara continued the process of the unification of India after his great father Chandragupta; (2) that in this undertaking he, like his father, had the help of the counsel of the Chancellor Kautilya § (Chanakya); (3) that this Mauryan Bismarck, before his death, saw the imperial system much extended: all the land between the 'Western and the Eastern oceans', comprising about 16 capitals, was brought under the imperial control;

Probably in the days of Pindusara the raisin wine, the favourite Madhu of the Hindus, was imported generally from the North-Western Provinces of

Kapisa and Arachosia. मृदुौकारसो मधु । तस्य वदेशो व्याख्यानम् कापिशायनम् gıṣenfafa | Artha-Sastra, page 120, "Raisin-juice is the Madhu. Its place of origin is (denoted by) its name the Kapisagana (' one which has its home in Kapisa") the Harahúraka [the Arachosian]." Bindusara seems to have preferred the Persian manufacture. Cf. also Kalidasa, Raghu, IV, 6.

+ According to Dr. Fleet Amitra-khada (J. R. A. S., 1909, p. 24); contra Keith, ibid., 423 et seq.

Early History of India (1908), p. 140.

§ A note on Chanakya: He was son of Chanaka (Telang's Mudra-Rakshasa, Upodghata, 48, 49), who was a follower of the Ausanasa School of Politics and was himself author of a treatise on politics, and who had also thoroughly studied Jyotisha. Chanakya, whose personal name was Vishnugupta, knew all the law

(4) that the administration of Bindusara and Chanakya was vigorous, marked with a stern policy in new annexations; (5) that the success was mainly attributed to the policy of the Chancellor whose capacity greatly impressed the popular mind; and (6) that the Chancellor died of some painful disease in the reign of Bindusāra.

All these data which are quite in consonance with the preceding and the succeeding chapters of Mauryan history are to be found in Taranatha's History of Buddhism in India. In the beginning of Chapter XVIII, Taranatha says that Chandragupta's son Bindusāra, born in the land of Gauda, ruled for 35 (a mistake for the Puranic 25) years. "The minister and Brahman Chanakya had his mantra (policy) made very powerful " by having pleased and controlled the God of Death (Yamantaka) himself!" He destroyed kings and ministers of about 16 capitals and made the king undertake a war and brought all the land between the Eastern and Western oceans under his control." Then follows a passage marked with

and was a Srotriya (ibid). The Kautilyas descended from the Yaskas who belonged to the family of the Bhrigus (Gotra pravara-nibandha, Mysore 1900, p. 32). Kaut ili was another Gotra connected with the same stock (ibid., p. 42).

According to the colophon to the Artha-sastra, Chanakya had fought against

the Nanda. [येन शङ्खच] शास्त्र'च नन्दराजगता च भूः । श्रमर्षे यो तानि,

p. 429].

According to Buddhist writers he was a Brahmin from Taxila.

«Darauf herschte der im Lande Gaura geborene Sohn Tschandragupta's Namens Bindusara 35 Yahre. Der Minister und Brahmane Tschanakya bannte herbei den gros zornigen Jamantaka, nachdem er Sein Antlitz erblickt, wurde die Macht der Mantra Sehr gross. Durch Werke der Bezanberung toedtete or in etwa 16 staedten die Koenige und Minister, und als in Folge dessen der Koenig einen Kriegszug unternahm, brachte er das zewischen dem oestlichen und Westlichen ocean belegene Land in Seine gewalt." Schiefner, p. 89.

Da toedtete dieser Brahmane durch "Verschiedene Hinrichtungs-Vorkeh rungen 3000 Menschen, durch Betubungsmittel bethoerte er 10,000 Menschen; ferner vertrich, entzweite er, machte starr und stumm u. s. w. In Folge der Suende vielen Menschen geschadet zu haben, starb er an einer Krankheit, durch welche der Koerper in Theile Zerfiel und Wurde in def hoello Wieder-geboren." Ibid.

theological acrimony and exaggeration : 3,000 men were executed
in political precaution, and 10,000 were drugged and intoxicated,
who consequently fought between themselves. For these sins he
suffered from an illness, 'his body reaching the hell in bits '.*
Now let us consider the direction into which the conquests of
Bindusara lay. I cannot agree with Mr. Vincent Smith (Early
History, p. 38) that the limits of the Nanda dominions cannot
be defined. An analysis of the available data † shows that the
valleys of the Jamuna and the Ganges and the country up to
the Narmada in the west, i.e., nearly the whole of Northern
India, except the Punjab, Sind, and Northern Rajputana, had
passed under the one-umbrella' of Padma the Great, before the
rise of Chandragupta.‡ Chandragupta undoubtedly added to that
vast empire the Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, and
presumably also (as it appears from the Arthasastra) Nepal and

There is an indication of the fact that Chandragupta could not have diverted his attention to the South, that his work in the North fully occupied his attention. Apart from his war and a constant vigilance against his Hellenic neighbours§ he had still to obliterate a number of republics in Sind, the Punjab, and on the slopes of the Himalayas. The Arthasastra (pages 376-379) lays down minute directions for their reduction.

According to the Divyavadana, Radha-gupta was the Chancellor in the last days of Bindusara. It seems that Radha-gupta succeeded Chanakya. + Saisunaka Chronology, § 22, J. B. O. R. S., 1.

Chandragupta not only succeeded to the vast territories of the Magadha empire, but also to the systems of that empire. The most noticeable features of that system are two: a large standing army strong in infantry and war-elephants, and a resourceful financial policy. The Jainas accuse the Nandas of having introduced the practice of taxing hide : skins and furs are carefully taxed in the Arthasastra. The system of raising revenue by leasing out state lands watered by well-kept canals, came down from the earlier empire of Maga dha. The earlier Magadha sovereigns were long remembered in Orissa for their irrigation schemes. The fabulous wealth attributed to the Nandas by romance had its basis in the successful financial policy of Maha Padma.

§ The Arthasastra is full of jealousy towards the Mlechchha. He, as a spy, is to be detected amidst the Hindus ('the Aryas') by most artful means. An active system of contre-espionage seems to have been at work.


Conquests of the Bindusara,

predecessors of

Conquests of Bindusara.


We are told by Taranatha, who no doubt draws on former authorities, that Bindusara undertook a war which removed kings and ministers of about 16 capitals. These kings could not have possibly existed in the North. They must have been, therefore, petty sovereigns of the peninsula 'between the Eastern and the Western oceans'. The number 16 of capitals shows that the annexation must have extended over a considerable area. We get a confirmation of this from the site of the Siddapura (Mysore) inscription. In the light of the data in Tārānāthā, we can now assert with some confidence that the parts south of the Narmada which Asoka inherited from his father, that is, up to about Madras, had been conquered by Bindusăra.*

In the vast empire of Bindusăra from Madras up to the Persian frontier there were two large enclaves of independent states. They were the powerful kingdom of the Andhrast between the Gōdāvary and the Krishna, and that of its neighbours the Kalingas. How had they been avoided in the march towards Madras from the North? Why had they not been first subjugated, for the route from Magadha lay through the Kalinga and Andhra territories? The Maharashtra and Western ghat route had the barrier of the smaller independent organisations of the Bhojas, the Rashtrikas, the Satyaputra and the Keralaputra.

Cf. also Mr. Vincent Smith, E. H. I., pages 130-140.

The Andhras have been called a 'protected state' of Asoka. There does not seem to be any warrant for this. I am afraid, a modern idea has been unconsciously imported into Mauryan history. A 'protected' large kingdom, as the Andhras had would be against all the theories and facts of the early Mauryan system. Rockedict XIII which says that the Dharmanusasti of the King was followed amongst the Andbras, suggested to scholars a political subordination of the Andhras. But it places the Greeks (probably of Bactria) in the same category The Greeks were certainly not protected'. If the Greeks, the Nabhakas (Nabaetcans?) and the Andhras by following the Dharmanusasti of the King are to be considered as political inferiors, Antiochos and others also would be no better. They were in the dominions conquered' by Asoka through his Dharma! To my mind it means nothing more than this, that even peoples outside the pale of Hindu civilization and his dominions followed the ethics accepted by Asoka.

[ocr errors]

The Andhras, on the evidence of Megasthenes, were very powerful, second only to the Imperial power. They could not be reduced easily. Their neighbours (and probably also their friends), the Kalingas, seem to have been gifted with rare resources and recuperative energy.* It was not a wise step to engage with such dangerous foes. A number of small and weak states, to the south of the Krishna, therefore, were first subjugated by Bindusara. To gain a foothold in the rear of the two formidable foes and thus to place them between two fires, seems to have been the policy followed.

The explanation of the other question-how the enclaves were Navy, avoided in the Imperial march to the South-appears to be this: the history of the time of Vijaya was repeated. The department of the administration of navy (described by Megasthenes) must have solved the problem. The Imperial ships which carried embassies between India and Ceylon, and presumably also between India and Alexandria, must have carried and landed Imperial forces on the coast of Madras.

As oka.

It is not difficult to guess what would have been the fate of Failure of the Andhras and the remaining states if Asoka had not turned a political quaker. Had he continued his predecessors' policy, he might have brought actually the whole of Jambudvipa, from the confines of Persia up to Cape Comorin, 'under the umbrella of one sovereignty', an ideal which has remained ever since unrealized. The accident of the presence on the throne, at a particular juncture in history, of a man who was designed by nature to fill the chair of an abbot, put back events not by centuries but by milleniums.

They re-asserted their independence once after the Nandan conquest and again during the rule of the later Mauryas, both times for comparatively short periods. The Kalingas along with other advantages were very strong in war-elephants. The Mahabharata (Bhishma Parva) assigns the largest number of clephants to the king of Kalinga,

« PreviousContinue »