Bindusara Maurya was the second emperor of the Mauryan Empire and was an often overlooked ruler. He ruled for 25 years from 297 to 272 BCE. In this blog, we delve into the life and times of the ruler, uncovering his significant contributions to the empire and understanding his impact on India’s history.
Life, Ascension, and Death
Bindusara was born around 320 BCE, and his father was Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan Empire. His birth name was Simhasena. His journey to the throne was marked by intrigue and ambition. Upon his ascension, he adopted the title ‘Bindusara,’ which translates to ‘Slayer of Enemies,’ a name befitting his warrior spirit.
He ascended to the throne in 297 BCE after his father’s death. He was a skilled military strategist and a capable administrator. He expanded the Mauryan Empire to include the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. He also defeated the Seleucid Empire in a war, gaining control of some territories in northwestern India.
The emperor died in 272 BCE after a reign of 25 years. He was succeeded by his son, Ashoka. Ashoka went on to become one of the greatest rulers in Indian history. However, he would not have been able to achieve his accomplishments without the foundation that was laid by his father.
How Bindusara’s Legacy Contributed to Ashoka’s Success?
His legacy played a key role in Ashoka’s success. Here are some specific ways in which his legacy contributed to Ashoka’s success:
Administration of the Empire
One of Bindusara’s enduring legacies is his administrative acumen.
- He continued the expansionist policies of his father.
- His reign witnessed the annexation of various territories, further extending the Mauryan Empire’s boundaries. This gave Ashoka a larger and more powerful empire to rule.
- He maintained a vast bureaucracy to govern the empire efficiently. His diplomatic prowess ensured peace with neighboring kingdoms, contributing to the empire’s stability. This made it easier for Ashoka to implement his reforms and maintain control over the empire.
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Economic and Cultural Prosperity
Bindusara’s reign was a period of economic and cultural prosperity for the Mauryan Empire.
- He was a patron of the arts and sciences. He maintained a court of scholars and artists, and he supported the construction of temples and other public works.
- He is also credited with establishing a system of roads and canals that helped to improve communication and trade throughout the empire. This gave Ashoka a strong financial foundation on which to build his empire.
- He fostered ties with Hellenistic kingdoms, encouraging the exchange of ideas and knowledge. This cultural exchange enriched India’s heritage and played a pivotal role in the development of art and literature during the Mauryan era.
The Mystery of Bindusara’s Religion
Bindusara’s religious inclinations have remained enigmatic. He also had a deep interest in religion and philosophy. While he followed Jainism, he was a tolerant ruler and thus maintained a respectful attitude towards other faiths. This created an atmosphere of peace and harmony in the empire, which was essential for Ashoka to implement his Buddhist reform and set a precedent for his later conversion to Buddhism and the propagation of Buddhist ideals.
Different Names of Bindusara
He was also known by a variety of names, each with its own unique meaning and significance.
- Amitraghata – One of his most common names is Amitraghata, which means “slayer of foes” in Sanskrit. This name was likely given to him to reflect his military prowess and his success in expanding the Mauryan Empire.
- Amitrochates – Greek writers such as Strabo and Athenaeus referred to the emperor as Amitrochates. This name is a Greek transliteration of the Sanskrit Amitraghata.
- Varisara – The Bhagavata Purana mentions him by the name Varisara or Varikara. The meaning of this name is unclear, but it is thought to be a derivation of his birth name, Simhasena.
- Bhadrasara – The Vayu Purana calls the ruler by the name Bhadrasara, which means “auspicious” or “blessed” in Sanskrit.
- Nandasara – Another name mentioned in the Vayu Purana for him is Nandasara. This name could be a reference to his relationship with his father, Chandragupta Maurya, who was a Nanda prince.
- Simhasena – The Jain work Rajavali-Katha states his birth name was Simhasena. This name means “lion army” in Sanskrit.
- Devanampriya – Like his father, he was also given the title Devanampriya, which means “Beloved of the Gods” in Sanskrit.
Also Read – Kalinga War
Bindusara, the unsung hero of the Mauryan Empire, left an indelible mark on the sands of time. His reign, marked by expansion, administrative finesse, and cultural exchange, played a crucial role in shaping India’s history.
Bindusara was the second emperor of the Maurya Empire, ruling from 297 to 272 BCE. He was the son of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the empire.
Bindusara consolidated the Maurya Empire and expanded its territory. He also established diplomatic relations with several Greek kingdoms.
Bindusara was an important figure in Indian history because he laid the foundation for the reign of his son, Ashoka the Great.
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