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Sandeep Sunstar


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PostSubject: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:04 pm


Hinduism, Buddhism and ]ainism were the popular religions at the time and there existed some rivalry between them. However, on the whole, religious toleration was the order of the day. Hinduism underwent changes. Krishna, Balaram, Siva, Indra and rivers like Ganga, Yamuna were worshipped as gods and goddesses. Yajnas were 'performed but animal sacrifices had lost much of their importance. Image worship was still not in vogue.

Asoka's Dhamma Asoka's personal religion was Buddhism, as he has admitted in the Bhabru edict, but he did not thrust it on the population. In fact, he evolved an ethical code which was the essence of all religions and propagated it as 'Dhamma'. The Dhamma consisted of such principles as respecting and obeying one's elders and teachers, treating the young with affection, maintaining good relations with neighbours, treating animals kindly, tolerating others' religions, adhering to truth, practising charity, simplicity and piety, and leading a virtuous life.

Why did Asoka fonnulate Dhamma? Chandragupta's well organised administrative machinery and Asoka's dhamma policy were the two remarkable features of the Mauryan rule in ancient India. In fact, Asoka's dhamma is even more remarkable than Chandragupta's administrative set-up. It is dhamma that has made Asoka one of the greatest rulers in Indian history.
There were several factors that prompted Asoka to
formulate the policy.
(i) The Mauryan imperial set-up encompassed various cultures, beliefs and social and political trends. So Asoka was left with only two options to control so complex an empire: maintaining the structure by force or defining a set of social order which would be acceptable to all. Asoka wisely opted for the latter. Hence the policy of dhamma.
(ii) The rise of Buddhism, Jainism and Ajivikism-all opposed to the domination of the Brahmans-generated tensions in society. These heterodox sects had a growing number of followers. But Brahmans still commanded a strong hold on society. Given the situation, hostility among different sects seemed inevitable. Hence Asoka developed dhamma to bring about a climate of harmony and mutual trust in society.
(iii) Within the empire, there were some areas where neither the Brahmanical system nor the heterodox sects had an access. The example of the Yavanas country, as referred by Asoka himself, may be mentioned in this context. Hence, the need of a mechanism envisaging some common pattern of social behaviour and common approach to the problems of society was felt.
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Sandeep Sunstar


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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:10 pm


Megasthenese writes that people were very honest and that their moral standard was very high. They were happy and led a simple life. The standard of living was also very high as the state had become prosperous due to good administration and increase in trade. They enjoyed meals of different kinds and used gold and silver ornaments as well.

The caste system had become very rigid. To change one's caste was almost impossible. According to. Megasthenese, Indian society comprised of seven castes or classes. This idea of Indian society is not wholly correct as the division was based on occupation and not on caste. In the reign of Asoka, the caste system had become somewhat loose and lost its strictness. The position of women had also undergone a change. Though they were respected they had to face discrimination. Purdah system was not known but the practice of sati had commenced, though only in rare cases. Polygamy was prevalent among the royal family members. Further, Megasthenese writes that the slave sys­tem was not known. But some historians do not agree with Megasthenese on this point: they say that slavery was present in India but it differed in form and nature from that in Greece, Rome, etc. The Arthashastra mentions that slaves were employed in agriculture.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:33 pm

The Pillar Edicts

The pillar edicts of Asoka may be divided into two groups: major and minor.
There are seven major pillar edicts:
Pillar Edict I It mentions Asoka's principle to protect people through dhamma, to administer affairs according to dhamma, to please the people with dhamma, and to guard the empire with dhamma.

Pillar Edict II It defines dhamma as a minimum of sins, many virtues, compassion, liberality, truthfulness and purity.

Pillar Edict III It exhorts people to consider that cruelty, harshness, anger, pride and envy are sins, the indulgence in which is ruinous.
Pillar Edict IV Engraved in the 26th year of Asoka's rule, this edict deals with the duties of rajukas.
Pillar Edict V It provides a list of animals and birds which should not be killed on some days and others which are not to be killed at all. It also mentions the release of 25 prisoners by Asoka.

Pillar Edict VI It mentions Asoka's engraving of dhamma policy after 12 years of his rule. Pillar Edict VII Inscribed in the twenty-eighth year of Asoka's rule, it describes at length the works done by Asoka for spreading dhamma policy.

Asoka's seven major pillar edicts have been found at the following places: Topra (Delhi), Meerut, Kausambi (Allahabad), Rampurva (Champaran), Lauriya- Nanrlangarh (Champaran), Lauriya Areraj (Champaran) ~d Mehrauli (Delhi).

The Minor Pillar Edicts have been found in Sanchi, Saranath, Rummindei and Nigalisagar. These edicts deal with Buddhist pilgrim centres, pilgrimage and solution of differences in the Buddhist religion.

Rummindei Pillar Inscription It mentions Asoka's visit to Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha. Asoka exempted Lumbini from paying tax, and fixed its contribution of grain at one-eighth.

Nigalisagar Pillar Inscription It mentions Asoka's visit to Konakamana stupa in the fifteenth year of his rule. Schism Edict The pillar edicts at Sarnath and Sanchi are known as Schism edicts. These edicts are addressed to dharmamahamatras.

Language of the Asokan Inscriptions Asoka's inscriptions are written in four languages-Aramaic, Greek, Iranian, and Prakrit. Four scripts have been used in these inscriptions-Aramaic, Greek, Brahmi and Kharoshthi. The Mansehra and Shahbajgarhi inscriptions are in the Kharosthi script, while the Kandahar inscription is in Greek and Aramaic scripts. The remaining inscriptions are in the Brahmi script.
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Sandeep Sunstar


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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:36 pm

The Rock Edicts

The rock edicts of Asoka are of two types: major rock edicts and minor rock edicts.
There are 14 major rock edicts. Miljor Rock Edict I It bans festive gatherings and the killing of animals. At the time of writing this edict only three animals-two peacocks and a deer-were killed in the kitchen of Asoka's palace, though the king wished to discontinue this practice. (It is not, however, clear whether the ban on killing refers to all animals or those that were 'protected'. There is also a possibility that the ban is on sacrifice of animals.)

Major Rock Edict II It mentions Chola, Pandya, Satyaputra and Keralpautra kingdoms in South India. It provides for the medical care of man and the care of animals.
Major Rock Edict III It was issued after 12 years of Asoka's consecration. The yuktas (subordinate officers) with the rajukas (rural officers) and the pradesikas (heads of districts) shall go on tour every five years to spread the dhamma policy. The edict is generous to brahmans and sramanas.

Miljor Rock Edict IV It declares dhammaghosh and not the bherighosh to be the ideal of human beings.

Major Rock Edict V It mentions for the first time of dharma-mahamatras and expresses concern over public welfare policy regarding slaves and masters.

Major Rock Edict VI It speaks of well being of the people, and the king's desire to be informed constantly about the condition of the people.

Miljor Rock Edict VII It requests for tolerance for all religions.

Major Rock Edict VIII It speaks of the beginning of Dhammayatra and reports that the first Dhammayatra was for Bodh Gaya in the tenth year of Asoka's ruling.

Major Rock Edict IX It condemns various popular ceremonies.
Miljor Rock Edict X It condemns the desires for fame and glory, and calls for implementation of the policy of dhamma.

Major Rock Edict XI It elaborates dhamma and mentions its spread.
Miljor Rock Edict XII It makes a direct and determined
request for tolerance among different religious sects.
Miljor Rock Edict XIII It speaks of Asoka's annexation of Kalinga. It mentions Asoka's victory by dhamma over Greek kings, Antiochus, Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas, Alexander and, in south India, over the Chola, Pandya, and Andhra kingdoms. It also mentions the atrocious Atwik tribe.

Miljor Rock Edict XIV It mentions the engraving of inscriptions by Asoka in different parts of the country.

Asoka engraved two separate rock edicts in place of XI, XII and XIII rock edicts. These separate rock edicts have been found at sites in Kalinga.

Separate Edict I (Dhauli and Jaugada) It is addressed to the mahamatras of Tosali and Samapa. Asoka declared' All people are my sons'.

Separate Edict II It is also addressed to the mahamatras of Tosali and Samapa. It provides for proclamation of the edict even to a single person.

Asoka's major rock edicts have been found at the following sites: Mansehra (Hazara), Shahbajgarhi (peshawar), Kalsi (Dehradun), Girnar Ounagarh), Sopara (Thana), Dhauli (Purl), Jougarh (Ganjam), Iragudo (Kuroool), Roopnath Oabalpur), Bairat Oaipur), Sasaram (Shahabad), Gavimatha, Palaki and Gundu- (Hyderabad), and Yerragudi (Chittal Durga).
The minor rock inscriptions, related to Asoka's faith in Buddhism, include the minor rock edicts, the Queen's edict, the Barabar cave inscriptions and Kandahar inscriptions.
Minor Rock Edict Carved by the engraver Capada, this edict speaks of Asoka becoming a more ardent follower of Buddhism.

The Queen's Edict It mentions Asoka's second queen, the mother of TIvala, Karuvaki.
Barabar Cave Inscription It mentions Asoka's giving away the Barabar cave to the Ajivika sect in the twelfth year of the King's consecration.
Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription Issued ten years after the adoption of dhamma policy by Asoka, it expresses satisfaction over the implementation of Asoka's policy.
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Sandeep Sunstar


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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:37 pm


Asokan inscriptions have been found from many areas of the Indian subcontinent. The inscriptions are incised either on pillars of stone or on rocks and consist of major and minor edicts. Asoka used the medium of his edicts to expound the policy of Dhamma.
The search for Asokan inscriptions began in 1750. The same year Padrefenthailar discovered an Asokan pillar in Delhi. In 1837, James Prinsep deciphered the earliest known Indian script, Brahmi, and read the name of Asoka as Devanampiya Piyadassi. It is not, however, clear whether the ban on killing refers to all animals or those that were 'protected'. There is also a possibility that the ban is on sacrifice of animals. The Asokan inscriptions may be divided into three groups-rock edicts, pillar edicts and cave edicts. .
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:48 pm


On seeing the royal palace, a Chinese traveller remarked, "These palaces are so beautiful and excellent that they appear to be the creation of God rather than of men". Chandragupta Maurya built his capital and palace, apparently of wood, at Pataliputra. Asoka further improved the walls and buildings of the capital and built attractive edifices. The palace is said to have been destroyed in a fire.
The Mauryas introduced stone masonry on a large scale. A palace, remains of which have been found at Kumrahar near Patna, probably had an SO-pillared hall, and the stumps of pillars testify to the skill of polishing attained by the artisans of the time.

It was during Asoka's reign that the art of sculpture and rock-cutting attained great heights. The four rock-cut sanctuaries on the Barabar hills and three on Nagarjuni hills near Gaya, Bihar, bear testimony to this. The seven sanctuaries are among the earliest examples of rock-cut architecture and sculpture in India. Asoka's pillars represent the best of Mauryan art. These are built out of single rocks and bear capitals decorated with animal, bird or human figures.

The Asokan pillar at Sarnath from which independent India has adopted its state emblem is a major work of art. Asoka also constructed stupas or solid dome-like structures of rock or brick for preserving the relics of Buddha. Some of the stupas survive to this day. Mauryan art is also represented in caves built during the period. Caves were constructed out of hard, refractory rock and were used as assembly halls on religions occasions. It was in the Mauryan times that burnt bricks were first used in north-eastern India.


Chandragupta and Bindusara favoured Sanskrit and brahmanical learning, but Asokan inscriptions were composed mainly in Prakrit language and in Brahmi script though he also used Kharoshthi and Greek scripts in the North-West. Works such as Arthashastra of Kautilya, the Knlpasutra of Bhadrabahu, and the Buddhist scripture Kntha Vathu belong to this period.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:50 pm

Espionage, Military Administration, Aaoka's Reforms

Espionage Espionage had an important role in making Mauryan administration effiqent. The espionage department worked under Mahamatyapasurpa. There were two
types of spies: sanstha and sanchara. Spies belonging to the sanstha category worked in a fixed area. These spies were known as grihapatika, vaidehika, tapasha, udasthiti and karyatika. The sanchara spies worked in disguise. Male spies were known as santi, tishna and sarad, while female spies were called vrishali, bhikshuki and parivarjaki.

According to both Megasthenese and Kautilya, next to the army the spies were the chief support of the king.

Military Administration The Mauryas kept a large and powerful army. Pliny, who based his statement on Megasthenese, put the strength of Chandragupta's force at 6,00,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry and 9,000 elephants. The administration of the army was also looked after by six departments with five members. each. These departments were admiralty, transport, infantry, cavalry, war-chariots, and war-elephants.

Aaoka's Reforms The basic structure of administration as established by Chandragupta was retained by Asoka. However, he ordered rajukas, yuktas and mahamatras to remain on constant tour within their administrative areas with a view to keeping watch on their subordinate officials so that they did not fail in their duty of providing justice and seeing to the welfare of the people. He also appointed new classes of officers called dharma-yuktas, dharmamahamatras and stri-adhyaksha-mahamatras. Their primary duty was to make efforts for the moral and spiritual uplift of the subjects. Also, the rajukas were given judicial power so that the people could have easy and convenient access to justice. Asoka also decided that people would be treated as equals before law.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:52 pm

Justice and Punishment

Justice and Punishment The Mauryan administration is famous in history for its judicial system. The Mauryan legal system was based on idealism and not reformism. The king was the highest judicial officer. Gram Sabha was the lowest judicial unit. Above it were courts at sangrahan, dronamukha and janapada levels. The Arthashastra mentions two types of courts:
(i) Dharmasthiya: Analogous with modem civil courts, Dharmasthiya decided personal disputes such as those over stridhana (wife's wealth) and marriage.
(ij) Kantakasodhan Analogous with modem criminal courts, Kantakasodhan decided upon matters related to individuals and the state, e.g. wages of workers, murder, etc.
The Mauryan legal system flowed from four sources:
(i) dharma (following accepted principles); (ii) vyavahara (contemporary legal codes); (ill) charitra (customs); and (iv) rajasasana (the royal decree).
Severe penalties were imposed on the law-breakers. For ordinary crimes, monetary fines were imposed. Hence, punishment was largely in the form of fines. A punishment of mutilation could sometimes be changed to that of payment of a fine. Capital punishment was known and practised. However, after Asoka converted to Buddhism, he made a concession iD. capital punishment. Now, those condemned to die were granted a three-day respite. During this period it was possible to make a final appeal to the judges.

According to Arthashastra, penalties in the Mauryan period were based on varna hierarchies. It means that for the same kind of offence a Brahman was punished much
less severely than a Shudra.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:54 pm

Land Revenues from Rural Areas

Land Revenues from Rural Areas Land revenues from the rural areas were appropriated in the form of crown lands (sita), land revenue (bhaga) from cultivators, taxes on orchards, ferry charges, etc. Different types of taxes imposed on rural population are as follows:
(i) Bhaga It was the main item of revenue which was levied at the rate of one-fourth to one-sixth. Sharecroppers, who were given crown lands and other agricultural support by the state, had to pay half of the produce to the state.
(ii) Pindikara It was a tax assessed on groups of villages and paid by husbandsmen. This was customary in nature. Often the villages were supposed to supply provisions to the royal army when the latter passed through their respective territories.
(iii) Hiranya It was probably a tax paid in cash.
(iv) Bali A levy known from the Vedic times, bali continued under the Mauryas.
(v) Pranaya literally meaning a gift of affection, pranaya was a levy imposed by the state during emergency periods. Though first mentioned by Panini, it was elaborated upon for the first time in Arthashastra. Pranaya amounted to onethird or one-fourth of the produce according to the nature of the soil.

Export-Import Tax Import tax was 20 per cent, but there is no definite knowledge about the export tax. Import tax was called prabeshya, while export tax was called nishkramya.

Sales Tax The Sulkadhyaksha collected toll tax on every item before it was sold or purchased. There were three rates of toll tax or sale tax: 9.5 per cent on iteIns sold on the basis of calculation; 5 per cent on the iteIns sold on the basis of measurement; and 6.5 per cent on items sold on the basis of weight.

Income Tax The following taxes were imposed on the sources of income in cities: (i) wine manufacturing tax; (ii) salt manufacturing tax; (iii) taxes on ghee, oil and edible oil; (iv) taxes on animal slaughterers; (v) taxes on artisans and artists; (vi) taxes on gamblers and gambling houses; (vii) taxes on prostitution, (viii) taxes on the income of temples; and (ix) taxes on additional incomes of the wage earners.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:58 pm

Tirthas and Adhyakshas in the Mauryan Administration

(III) Senapatr - omman er-m-c e .
(ix) Kunyadhyaksha - Officer of the forest matters
(iv) Yuvaraj - Officials belonging to the royal family
(x) Ayudhadhyaksha - Officer of weapon manufacturing and
(v) Pratihara or Dauwarika - Gatekeeper of the royal palace,
eceep en king s co~rt and frontie~ .checkpost.
(xi) Pautavadhyaksha - Officer for weights and measurement
(vi) Antaravedlka or Antaryamrsika - Head of the harem-guards
(xii) Milnadhyaksha - Officer of time and place determining
(vii) Samaharta - Collector of revenue department
(viii) Sannidhata - Head of treasury
(xiii) Shulkadhyaksha - Officer of the department relating to
(ix) Prashasti - Head of prisons royal income, punishment, etc.
(x) Pradestri - Equivalent to modern day comnussiOner
(xiv) Sutradhyaksha - Officer of the textile department
(xi) Nayaka - Head of the city security
(xv) Sitadhyaksha - Manager of the royal fanning
(xii) Paur - Kotwal of city
(xvi) Suradhyaksha - Officer of the custom department
(xiii) Vyabaharika - Chief judge
(xvii) Sunadhyaksha - Officer of the slaughter-house
(xiv) Knrmantika - Head of industries and factories
(xviii)Mudradhyaksha - Officer of the royal symbol, coin and
(xv) Milntriparishad adhyaksha - Head of the council of min- passport department
(xix) Vivitadhyaksha - Officer of the pastureland
(xvi) Dandapala - Head of police and disciplinary department -
(xx) Dyutadhyaksha - Officer of the gambling department
(xvii) Durgapala - Head of the royal fort
(xxi) Bandhanagaradhyaksha - Officer of the prison department
(xviiiJAnnapala - Head of the department of protection and
(xxii) Navadhyaksha - Inspector of animal husbandry production of grains. (xxiii)Naukadhyaksha - Officer of the shipping department Of these tirthas, the posts of mantrin, purohita, senapati and
(xxiv)Pattanadyaksha - Officer of the ports
yuvaraja were very important.
(xxv) Ganikadhyaksha - Officer of the brothels 29 Adhyakshas (xxvi)Sansthadhyaksha - Manager of the trad~
(i) Koshadhyaksha - Treasury officer
(xxvii) Sainya Vibhagadhyaksha - Officers of infantry, cavalry,
(ii) Akaradhyaksha - Mining officer elephants, and chariot departments..
(iii) Lauhadhyaksha - Metallurgy officer
(~ii) Devatadhyaksha - Officer ~f the religtous mstitutions
(iv) Lakshanadhyaksha - Officer of the coin-minting
(xxlx)Gaudhyaksha - Officer of arumal husbandry
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 12:59 pm

Mauryan Administration

Though Chandragupta was a great warrior, he was also an accomplished administrator. Kautilya's Arthashastra and Megasthenes' Indika give us a fair idea of administration during his region.,

Centralised Administration

A council of ministers ~ss~ted the. king. According, to Kautjtya,cUSg'l!e~eign.ty i~ Possible~only .withassisttll1ce. U The ministers were consulted, regarding the state-affairs ,from time to time. All of them were !lppointed by the king on, merit and could also be disrwssed,J,y him., Each"ministerj had free ..access' t{),theckingbut in policy matters they, advised the king as, a body.

The Mauryan administration was carried on by an, organised/efficient.:and 'highlycentra1ised bure"aucracy.: Important functionaries Were called 'til'thas. According 'tO'the Arthashasfra, 27 adhyakshas (superintendei'its)were apPo.inted by the state to regulate economic actiVities.

ProVincial' Administration The Matlryan empir~ wa.s, divided into a number of provind!s. In each proVince' there was a governor or viceroy,whb was\sometimes a prince of royal blood. The princes,when app6intedasviceroys were called kurnar-maharnatrasrwhile the-Test oHheviceroys'were known as rnaharnatras: The;;, number of, ptovinceSduring' Chandragup'ta'$periddfis'nord~ar but A:soka definitely had
arleasf' fOili-provmces-'i:litectly ruled by 'the king.

These provmcesiWere:rMagadhai'withcits capitaLat.Pataliputra, the North-westerni Erbvince;'1witqji~j, capital at Ta'xila, the Western' ~.rQvin.ce[withdtS cagital aMJjjail1j and the Southern Brovince ,with its capitaL 'at,Swarnagiri,"There >was.also. the Kalinga with its capitat. aboTosalL ,The rnahamqtras. were assistediby fu~yuta'(taxlcollector). rajukn~(.revenue collector) andc'sfhaniksr(disb:iot-.officers)hllie provinces were further div\ded Into' JiiStr!€tSf The, village waS' the smallest unit10f administration>andwas placedrunderan ,o.fficer known as grlJ(nika-. 1.0 ":Imp' n.-' ;;;"Ci,tj 1\' "W t
9,;11Municipab,Administmtion: G'ity',radministrati°I1; was Iookeclalftetqin iits, iIlrinutest.detail. Ihere", was , ,a- committee ofJ'thirt}}lmeinbers fo~ carryingronthe~daykto.-dayvadmin~ istration of the city.

The committee was(divided/lnto;six boards,of five;m~mbers each:; One beard looked, after the art\> andccrafts;Nmothel'laftelGforeigners, arthird. after the registration of births and deaths;(i\ifourths-afterftade .and commerce;>ia fifthafteg Il'\¥lUfactured'artide()in the town, and, the sixth aftert,hehcollection of sales. tax an' the sold goqds at therateofrlylO'of.t1'i.e selling"price. Each ,part of theocity was. placed,under'the., supervision, ofa sthanika, c' ,Rev~nue ,Administrationn1pere were different sources of state revenues during the Mauryan rule: cities (durga), rural"areas {ra,shtra), mines (khan), xeadand traffic. (vanikpatha), pastures. (vraja),"plantatioris (setu),.and forests (vana).
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 2:38 pm


It seems'that Ashoka died about 232BC. There was a disputed succession after him.
The empire began to fall apart on his death when the governors of the great provinces, usually nembers of the. royal family, established, their virtual independence. Ashoka had three sons-Kunala; Tirana and Jaluka , According to VA,.Smith, none of them succeeded Asoka as Kuna1a was blind and,the other two became Buddhist monks-, it Was Asoka's grandson Dasarath, Who became the king of the eastern 'part'of the empire,
while another grandson, Samprati, ruled 'the' western part.

The last king, according to most historians, was Brihadratha who was assassinated by his senapati., Pushyamitra, in 185-180 BC, and a new dynasty was founded by him known as the 'Sunga dynsty'.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 2:49 pm


Chandragupta was succeeded by his son,l3indw>ara. Bindusara maintained friendly ties with the Hellenic West. A Greek envoy, Deimachos, was at his court. Accorcimg to
AtllenacJ1S, Bindusara requested Antiochus I, the ,Se1euda ~king of Syria, to send a present of figs, wine and a sophist. Antiochus sent the figs and wine, but replied that Greek phjlosophe.rs were not for export. Bindusara not only held the great empire intact but probably. added to it ip .the Deccan. He was succeeded in about 269 BC, probably'after four years of his death, by his son Asoka.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 2:59 pm


Classical Greek sources speak of -a young Indian named Sandrocottus-identified with Chandragupta Maurya-who sided with the Greeks. Plutarch states that Sandrocottus advised Alexander to advance beyond the Beas and attack the Nanda emperor of Magadha, who was so unpopular that his people would rise in support of an invader. The Latin historian, Justin, adds that Sandrocottus later offended Alexander by his boldness of speech, and the conqueror ordered that he should be put to death. The youngman, however, escaped, and after many adventures succeeded in expelling the Greek garrisons, and gaining the throne of India.

Both Indian and Greek sources agree that Chandragupta overthrew the last of the Nandas (Dhanananda) and occupied his capital, Pataliputra; the latter add that, after Alexander's retreat, Chandragupta subdued the north-west, driving out the Greek garrisons. According to all Indian traditions he was much aided in his conquests by his Brahman adviser, called variously Kautilya, Chanakya and Vishnugupta. Indeed in Visakhadatta's play, Mudrarakshasa (6th century AD), Chandragupta Maurya is depicted as a weak and insignificant young man, the real ruler of the empire being Chanakya. The Arthashastra, a treatise which contains genuine Mauryan reminiscences, was written by ChaUakya. Chandragupta probably ascended the throne around 322 BC.

Soon the Greeks were again at tl\e, doors of ' India. Alexander's general, Seleucus Nicator, had succeeded in gaining control of most.ofthe Asiatic provinces of th~'shortlived Macedonian empire,and turnedhis-:'att~ntioh to the east. About 305 BC, he met Chandraguptain battle, and seems to have suffered a defeat, and was compelled to yield parts of Afghanistan to Chandragupta, receivirlg in exchange only 500 elephants. Beace was conGluded-by ,'a mj1trimonial alliance, the exact nature of whicb is uncertairl; but possibly sOme Greek princess came to the. M~uryan family.
Seleucus sent an ambassador, Megasthenes, t9 'the Mauryan court, and the envoy wrq!e.a detailed ~ccoW1t of India entitled Indika. Uhfortunately;no manuscript of 1ndika has survived, but many Greek and tatin authors have referreq to and quoted- from it abundantly, anq froI1l fh~ir works it may be partially reconstructed. The Indika is important as the first authentic and connected description
of India by a foreigner.

According to lndika and. Artha~hastra, the MilUryan empire had developed a higWy cQiganisea bureailcratic administration, which controllea the whole economic life .of
the state. It had a very thorough espion;ge;~ystem; wwcit was active among all classestrom theI1fghesf' ministers. to
the lowest classes in the towns.

Megasthenes admired Emperor Chandragup~ for his energetic administration of justice, which. he presided oyer personally in open darbar. His enormous palace at Pataliputra, tt\Ough built wholly of wood, was of great beauty and splendour. Chandragupta is said to have changed his bedroom every day because of constant fear of assassination. The capital was a large and fine city, surrounded ,by a wooden wall.

Chandragupta is also believed to have conquered Gujarati Kathiawar and some-parts ofthe Deccan;rAccord~ ing to 'Jain tradition, Chandragupta abdicated his throne in about 300 BC and starved himself to death in around 298 BC, at Sravanabelagola near Mysore.
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Sandeep Sunstar


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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 3:00 pm


There was all-round progress in ab' i.:.]1ture, trade and industry, Basically, the economy was "t;:,n'::-- .nd the majority of the population were agriculturists. were also engaged in animal-husbandry and cattle-breeding which meant additional income to peasants and the state. In the sphere of trade and industry, the state had monopoly over mining and the production of many trade articles such as liquor and arms. Indian silk and cotton were in much demand in western countries. The existence of srenis (guilds), which managed both internal and external trade, many industries and the banking system also proves that trade and industry were not only well organised but were also conducted on a large scale. There were coins of different metals for the purpose of exchange. The most popular amongst them were nishka, a gold coin; purana, a silver coin; and karshapana, a copper coin.

The economic organisation was characterised by heavy taxation by the state Roads helped in trade and transportation. The royal highway between Taxila and Pataliputra was the ancestor of the Grand Trunk Road of today. Pataliputra was also connected to the eastern port of Tamralipti.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 3:01 pm


The determination of the caste of the ruling dynasties has attracted the attention of historians while writing ancient Indian history. Most historians agree on assigning either a 'low caste' or a tribal origin to the Maurya family. According to the brahmanical tradition, Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya dynasty, was born of Mura, it shudra woman in the court of the last Nanda king. From her came the family name Maurya. But an earlier Buddhist tradition says that Chandragupta was a member of the Moriya Kshatriya clan. of Pipphalivana (located in the region of Gorakhpur adjoining the Nepalese teraL The tradition thus suggests that the Moriya clan was linked to the Sakya tribe to which Gautam Buddha belonged. This implies that the Mauryas in some sense, were Kshatriyas. The Maurya title of the Chandragupta family is said to have been derived from the Moriya tribe. It is also suggested that the 'Gupta' in Chandragupta's name and the later episode of Asoka's marriage to the daughter of a merchant of Vidisa lend credence to the view that the Mauryas might have been of Vaishya origin.
In the end, it can be concluded that whatever caste the Mauryas might have belonged to the deftness with which they ruled shows the likelihood of their being of the kshatriya varna.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 3:02 pm

The Mauryan Empire

The accession of Chandragupta Maurya to the throne of Magadha in 321 Be marks the beginning of the Mauryan dynasty under whose rule the Magadhan empire reached the apex of glory. The three prominent Maurya kings were Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara and Asoka.


Sources available for understanding the history of the Mauryan period may be divided into two groups: literary and archaeological.

Literary Sources By the time Mauryan rule was established in Magadh, Sanskrit had emerged as a rich Indian language. Sanskrit texts throw important light on contemporary social and political conditions. The following texts give us invaluable information regarding Mauryan rule.

Puranas Vishnu Purana, Bhagawat Purana and Markandeya Purana help determine the origin and chronology of Mauryan rule.

Arthashastra Written by Vishnugupta also called Kautilya or Chanakya, Arthashastra is the most important source for understanding Mauryan rule and contemporary political, social and economic conditions.

Mudrarakshasa A VlShakhadatta creation, Mudrarakshasa provides important information regarding the Mauryan period. It deals with Chanakya's role in the downfall of the Nanda dynasty, Chandragupta's accession to the throne of Pataliputra, how the Nanda King'samatya, Rakshasa was won over by Chandragupta, etc.

Mahabhasya Patanjali's Mahabhasya depicts the declining political and social conditions during the late Mauryan ri.tlers.

Malvikagnimitra Written by Kalidasa, it describes the declining phase of Mauryan rule. It mentions the murder of Brihadratha, the last Mauryan king, by Pushyamitra Sunga.

Harshacharita Written by Banabhatta, Harshavardhana's court poet, it mentions the conspiracy hatched by Pushyamitra Sunga to eliminate the last Maw-yan king, Brihadratha.

Rajatarangini Kalhan's Rnjatarangini provides information about Asoka as an administrator of Kashmir as well as his successors.

Buddhist texts Dipavansa, Mahavansa, Asokavadan, Milinda-Panho and the Jatakas" are some of the Buddhist literary sources that throw light on the Mauryan period. The Jatakas, dated between the third century BC and}he first century AD, describe the general conditions prevalent during the Mauryan period. The Dipavansa-compiled between the third century Be and the fourth century AD-provides considerable help in determining the period of Asoka. Mahavansa provides information about Chandragupta and Chanakya. Milinda-Panho is important in understanding the decline of the Mauryas.

Jaina texts Brihatakathakosha of Harisena, Aradhana of Prabhachandra, Kathakosha of Shrichand, Parashishtaparvana of Hemachandra, Bhadrabahucharita of Ratnanandi, etc., are some of the Jaina texts which help us in understanding the Mauryan kings and their administration.

Foreign Accounts Megasthanese's lndika provides important information about Mauryan administration. The accounts of Plutarch, Strabo, Ptolemy, Arian and Justin deal with the pre- and post-Mauryan periods. Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, such as Fa-hsein, Hsuan Tsang and I-tsing, visited India to study Buddhism. Their accounts provide considerable information about Indian polity, society and culture, especially in relation to Mauryan period. Hsuan-Tsang refers in his writings to pillars at Rajagriha, Sravasti, etc.

Archaeological Sources Archaeological excavations have provided invaluable information regarding Mauryan period. The entire life history of Asoka has been constructed on the basis of his inscriptions. Rock and pillar edicts of the Mauryas provide considerable information regarding Mauryan rule. There are also other archaeological inscriptions which, though not related directly to the Mauryas, give ample information regarding the Mauryan kingdom. For example, Kalinga's King, Kharvela's Hathigumpha inscription throws light on the declining phase of the Mauryas. The Girnar inscription of Rudradaman mentions Chandragupta and Asoka and their governors, Pushyagupta and Tushashpa. They had constructed the Sudarashan Lake
there. The cave edict of Nagarjuni mentions a Maurya king called Dasarath.
Besides inscriptions, contemporary stupas, viharas and chaityas throw light on religious and social conditions and development of art d'uring the Mauryan period. Of alI the archaeological evidences, inscriptions belonging to the Asokan period are the most important. These inscriptions provide certain, undisputed and authentic information regarding Mauryan empire.
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PostSubject: Re: mauryan empire    Wed May 29, 2013 3:03 pm

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