Chandragupta Maurya was one of the important and prominent kings of India. He was once a small street boy playing with his friends and one day Chanakya was impressed by the character of the boy and due to some circumstances he trained the boy and made him the king by dethroning Dhana Nanda of Nanda dynasty. This journey of Chandragupta and Chanakya ,was already published in our previous article CHANAKYA. He ruled from 322 to 298 B.C (1534 to 1500 BCE as per new translations). He was the founder and first ruler of Mauryan Dynasty. He was the father of second ruler of Mauryan dynasty Bindusara and grandfather of well known and great king Ashoka, who was the third Mauryan ruler.
A very little is known about the Childhood of Chandragupta Maurya. He was born around 340 BC (1516 as per new translations) in Pataliputra, present day Bihar. His mother's name was Mura Maurya. There were several stories regarding the father of Chandragupta Maurya. As per Vishnu Purana's medieval commentator, Chandragupta was born to Nanda prince and his maid Mura. Whereas Buddhist text, Mahavamsa, says that Chandragupta Maurya was from Moriya, a branch of Khattiya (Kshatriya) clan. More than half a millenium later, the Sanskrit drama Mudrarakshasa refers him as "Nandanvaya" which means descendant of Nanda. According to Bharatendu Harishchandra's , translation of play, his father was the Nanda king Maha Nanda and his mother was a barber's wife named Mura. In Greek and Latin accounts, Chandragupta Maurya was also called Sandrokottos and Androcottus.
Meeting of Chadragupta and Chanakya:
Chanakya was once badly insulted by the then cruel ruler of Nanda dynasty, Dhana Nanda, in his royal court and infront of all the Courtiers. Chanakya vowed at that time that he would dethrone Dhana Nanda at any cost and left the royal court. He was passing through the Vinjha forest in search of a person who can replace Dhana Nanda. He saw a group of children playing a king game and the child playing the role of king was Chandragupta Maurya. Chanakya was very much impresssed by the boy for the role he played in the game and the Leadership qualities he showed in the game. He decided to make the child the king who replaces Dhana Nanda. He took Chandragupta with him and trained the boy. Being a brave and determined since childhood, he was very well guided by Chanakya in branches of Economics and Political Science and other branches required for becoming a qualified king.
Establishment of Mauryan Empire:
He raised a small army with assistance from Chanakya, who went on to become his chief advisor and prime minister after establishing Mauryan empire. The military strength lacked by Chandragupta's force was balanced out by cunning strategies of Chanakya or Kautilya. Chandragupta Maurya married the daughter of his eldest maternal uncle at a very small age. The name of his wife was Durdhara. Some say that Durdhara was none other than Nandini, the daughter of Dhana Nanda which was not true. Durdhara was his wife way before he fought against Dhana Nanda. Chandragupta along with his wife and Chanakya entered Magadha kingdom, Pataliputra where he triggered a civil war using Chanakya's intelligence. After many attempts, he finally managed to seize the throne putting an end to Nanda dynasty and he established the Mauryan dynasty.He did all this at an early age of 20.
He is credited for unifying small independent states of India to form a single largest kingdom for the first time under one administration, leaving aside Kalinga and the Tamil regions of Chera, Chola, Satyaputra and Pandya.
Death of Durdhara:
After Chandragupta Maurya became the king of Maurya empire and Chanakya as his Prime minister, Chanakya used to mix small amounts of poison in his food, so that he get used to it. The aim of this was to prevent the emperor from being poisoned by the enemies. This was not known to Chandragupta Maurya. One day queen Durdhara shared the food with the king and she was pregnant at that time. Due to poison she died and Chanakya, with his Intelligence saved the child, and named him Bindusara. After the death of Durdhara, Chandragupta refused to get married again because his love for his wife didn't let him do so.
Helena-The Second Wife of Chandragupta Maurya:(Clarification Needed)
After the death of Alexander the great in 323 B.C.E, the eastern territories controlled by Macedonians fell into the hands of general Seleucus Nicator, including the region of Punjab, today a part of northern India and eastern Pakisthan. Seleucus was busy at western borders and Chandragupta found an opportunity to attack from eastern side and captured a large portion of his kingdom, including regions of todays Pakisthan and Afghanisthan after Seleucid-Mauryan War. In 305 B.C.E, Chandragupta signed a treaty with the Seleucus in which both rulers established borders, and Chandragupta was given Punjab in return to 500 war elephants. Helena was the daughter of Seleucus and the true story behind how Chandragupta met her was unknown. But some accounts explain that Chandragupta in his 40s, saw Helena and fell in love with her. It happpened to be love at first sight some accounts explain. But whatsoever the story may be, Chandragupta married Helena in his 40s. Bindusara was the son of Durdhara.
In 298 B.C.E (1500 BCE as per new translations), Chandragupta Maurya voluntarily abdicated the throne in favour of his son Bindusara, who became the new Mauryan emperor. What we know after this point seems to be a legend rather than a truth. It was said that Chandragupta turned into an ascetic and follower of Jainism under the great Jain saint Shruthakevali Bhadrabahu. Jain scripts claim that Chandragupta migrated to south along with Bhadrabahu to Caves in Sharavanabelagola (a city 150 k.m. away from present day Bangalore) and he meditated there and fasted himself to death in 298 B.C.E (1500 BCE as per new translations).