Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | History
12-Indian History-BC2 (326 BC - 800 AD)
India has a continuous civilization since 2500 BC. During the 2nd millennium, Aryan speaking tribes migrated from northwest into the Indian subcontinent. Most of the material given her is taken from "A New History of India", by Stanley Wolpert. 2004.
- 543-345 BC (198 years)
(543 BC - 491 BC) - 52 years
Bimbisaar ruled Magadh from 543 BC till his death - 491 BC. His many life accounts can be found in Jain literature and Budhists' Jaatak. He acquired Ang Desh after defeating Brahmdatt and gave it to his son Ajaatshatru - its capital being Champaa. Bimbisaar was a Bauddh or a Jain, it is a controversy. In Jain text he has been referred to as Shrenik of Raaj Griha or Raajgeer.
He had three wives. He was married to Kosalaa Devee, the daughter of Mahaa Kosal - the king of Kosal Desh; and the sister of Prasenjit. She brought Kaashee (merely a village at that time) with her in dowry. His second wife Chellana was from Lichchhivi Vansh from Vaishaalee (daughter of King Chetak). His third wife, named Kshem, was the daughter of Chief of the Madra clan of Panjaab. He is said to been imprisoned, and starved to death by his son Ajaatshatru around 491 BC, just 7 years before Buddha died,
Thus the early Magadh kings had their capital Raajgeer, 100 km SE of modern Patanaa. Later they moved their capital to Paataliputra. Although by the 6th century BC, Magadh (Bihaar) had emerged as first among many competing kingdoms, it took two centuries after the reign of Bimbisaar to assert control over the subcontinent. Punch-marked coins found in Takshshilaa proved that the trade continued steadily from the reign of Ajaatshatru (died in 459 BC) through the successive dynasties of Shishunaag and Nand. These kings were of Shoodra origin and wealthier than their predecessors.
- (491 BC - 459 BC) - 32 years
He married Vajeeraa, daughter of his maternal uncle Prasenjit. Legend goes that Devdatt was the man behind his getting the throne in return of the sum to be given to Devadatt's Sangh. He was a great warrior who conquered 36 states surrounding his kingdom. He fought 16-year war against Vaishaalee also where Lichchhivi people ruled. he invented the Scythed Chariot around 475 BC. The Scythed Chariot as a modified war chariot which he used to fight with Lichchhivi. It had blades on its axle on both sides. Later he got very sad with wars and he adopted Bauddh religion and built many Stoop after Buddha's death. Ajaatshatru also died like his father Bimbisaar - means his son Udayabhadra imprisoned him and starved him to death in 459 BC.
(459 BC - 443 BC) - 16 years
Mund - (443 BC - 437
BC) - 6 years
Naagdashak - (437 BC
- 413 BC) - 24 years
Shishunaag Dynasty - 413-345 BC (68 years)
Shishunaag - (413 BC - 395 BC) - 18 years
Kaakvarn or Kaalashok - (395 BC - 367 BC) - 28 years
Nandivardhan - (367 BC -345 BC) - 22 years
Chandragupt Serial shows that Mahaapadm killed his father on his 60th birthday when the birthday celebrations were going to start. Mahaapadm had 9 sons and he with the help of his 9 sons killed all - Mahaa Nand and his several sons. The Army General of Mahaa Nand fought with Mahaapadm for some time but then Mahaapadm killed him by cheating. He called him for the last fight, and then invited him to embrace him the last time as he taught him fighting, and as he embraced him, Mahaapadm killed him with his dagger hitting in his back.
Nand Dynasty - 424-321 BC (103 years)
Thus Mahaapadm Nand,
the illegitimate son of Mahaa Nand (the last Kshatriya ruler), was coronated
in 424 BC, 1500 (or 1504) years to be exact after Yudhishthir. 1500 was changed to 1050 by change of a Maatraa only ---
Here पञ्चशतोत्तरम् (+500) was changed to पञ्चाशतोत्तरम् (+50).
Mahaapadm Nand - (424 BC - 345 BC) - 22 years
However, the Nand never had the opportunity to see their army up against Alexander, who invaded India at the time of Dhan Nand, since Alexander had to confine his campaign to the plains of Panjaab, because Poras had already discouraged their advances into India. When he wanted to cross Gangaa River, which they heard that was 32 furlongs (4 miles) wide and its depth was 100 fathoms, and its other bank was covered with armed forces including horsemen and war elephants. They were told that the King was waiting for them with his 80,000 horsemen, 200,000 footmen, and 6,000 fighting elephants. Nand regulated their tax system, built their irrigation systems through canals as agricultural society.
In all 10 Kings ruled in Nand Dynasty - Mahaapadm (the first King) and Dhanaa Nand (the last King) were the most famous Kings of this Dynasty.
Later Chandragupt Maurya founded his Mauryan Empire overthrowing Nand Dynasty with Paataliputra as its capital. Even Ashok took the throne of his father Bindusaar from Paataliputra only. The last Magadh king, Naalandaa was overthrown by Chandragupt Maurya in 324 BC.
[Aangiras, p 363 says that Shishunaag ascended the throne of Magadh kingdom in 422 BC and ruled for 39 years. He moved his capital from Paataliputra (present Patanaa) to Girivraj. He assimilated Avantee (Ujjain), Vats and Kosal in his empire in addition to Kaashee which he had won at the time of taking over Magadh Kingdom.]
Then came Chandragupt Maurya (reign, 324-301 BC) whose unification came in the wake of Alexander the Great's catalytic invasion of the Sindhu in 326 BC. Bimbisaar dreamed of unifying the kingdom of Magadh like Alexander's dream of unification of the world.
Alexander's Invasion and Poras (320 BC)
When Alexander saw so much wealth coming from India, he came to India across Sindhu river in the spring of 326 BC. The King of Takshshilaa, King Aambhee welcomed Alexander's irresistible force without firing an arrow and opened the gates to invade. Alexander came forward and came to another big river Jhelam (Hydaspes) where the King Puru (Poras) was reigning. Puru had only 200 elephants and some infantry (elephants and infantry were the two first line martial defense). Alexander defeated him so badly that no other king could think of contesting him. When he advanced beyond Panjaab, rebellions threatened in Kaandaahaar (Kandhaar). By the time Alexander reached his 5th great river, the River Vyaas (Hyphasis), he heard about Magadh's wealth and power that he got anxious to venture it. At this time, he met a young fellow named Sandrocottas who was equated with Chandragupt and may have been the future founder of Maurya dynasty. He went back to his kingdom that he never lived to see again, from River Vyaas, in late July of 326.
Magadh again revitalized its powers and extended toward West under Mauryan rule.
Maurya Dynasty - 322-185 BC (137 years)
Chandragupt Maurya (reign 320-298 BC) - 22 years
Chandragupt was born in 340 BC and ruled for the period 320-298 BC. It is said that he was an illegitimate son of a Nand Prince (Nand Dynasty in Magadh, Bihaar) and a maid named Muraa, that is why he got the name Maurya; while some say that he was raised by peacock tamers (Mor) that is how he got the name Maurya. Chaanakya, the teacher n Takshshilaa University, found him in Magadh Kingdom acting as a king and doing justice with a child playing as a criminal. Chaanakya got very impressed with his way of doing justice and brought him from his mother. It is said that he met Alexander and viewed Nand's rule in a negative light. Chaanakya educated him at Takshshilaa, and made him the king.
How Chaanakya Met Chandragupt -
Seleukas, one of Alexander's man re-conquered Alexander's former Empire and took over Bactria up to Sindhu River. In fact his Kingdom was bigger than Alexander. In 305 BC he came to confront Chandragupt but was defeated. Chandragupt received vast territories west of Sindhu River up to Baloochistaan of Persia. Archaeological findings indicate that Mauryan rule was up to Kandhaar. In exchange of this territory, Seleukas received 500 war elephants from Chandragupt for withdrawal of his forces and exchanged ambassadors with Paataliputra. Seleukas sent Magasthnese there as his ambassador.
There was a cryptic marriage clause in that treaty as well, and though it is not clear whether Seleukas married one of his daughters to Chandragupt's court, later reference to "Yaavanee" (Greek) woman serving as an elite guard over Chandragupt's bed-chambers, indicates that possibility. Mauryan army had the strength of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, 8,000 chariots and 9,000 elephants. Even if these figures were exaggerated, or valid only through peak periods, to support such a huge force was needed considerable size and centralized administration. According to these figures, it seems fair to assume that there were close to 50 million people in south Asia by the 3rd century BC.
Weights and measures and currency were all state controlled. The silver coin of Maurya kingdom was the silver "Pana", minted at 3.5 grams. a king's councilor received 48,000 Pana as his annual salary, 1,000 coins for engineers, mining superintendents and military officers, 500 for soldiers of the line and spies, 120 for carpenters and other skilled craftsmen, and 60 for the unskilled laborers. It may be assumed that the lowest amount was barely sufficient to feed and clothe a family and his immediate dependents.
According to Jain tradition, Chandragupt left his throne in 301 BC to become a Jain monk in South India, Shravanbelaagole (in present day Karnaatak), where he fasted until death, while his son Bindusaar took control of Paataliputra.
Chaanakya's Arth Shaastra -
To sustain his army of spies, soldiers and civil bureaucrats (totaled more than 1 million in Mauryan dynasty) the king claimed the share, usually one-fourth, otherwise one-half of the value of crops. Other types of wealth were also taxed. Paataliputra (modern Patanaa in Bihaar) seems to have been the largest and greatest city in the world during Mauryan rule. It was 8 miles long and 1 and 1/2 miles wide, surrounded by timber wall with 570 towers and a moat 600 cubits (900 feet) wide and 30 feet deep. Megasthnese, a Greek ambassador, came to India and wrote his diary about contemporary India.
Further from Arth Shaastra - government servants should be constantly kept under vigilance, for men are "by nature fickle and temperamental". Bureaucrats should work only "as directed" and do "nothing" without the knowledge and approvable of superiors. Thus bureaucracy was thus obviously no recent Western import to Indian soil, and may have had its indigenous roots in Harappan society. Megasthnese observed seven classes in Mauryan India - the highest being royal councilors, then Braahman, then agriculturists, herdsmen, soldiers, artisans and spies.
Bindusaar (reign, 301-272 BC) - 32 years
Ashok (reign, 272-232 BC) - 37 years
He was again sent to Ujjayinee to subside the riots. He got seriously wounded and treated by Buddhist monks. He married there to Devee - daughter of a merchant from Vidishaa and his private nurse. Bindusaar did not accept this marriage so he sent him back to Ujjayinee as its Governor. In a couple of years when Ashok was expecting his first child, Suseem tried to kill his unborn child but his people killed his mother by mistake. Now he got thirsty of power and victories over other kingdoms, so got famous as Chand Ashok (terrible Ashok). After this he started expanding his kingdom.
Kaling War (265 Or 263 BC)
For the first eight years he ruled like most traditional monarch, consolidating expanding his power; then following the principle of "Arthshaastra" - "any power superior in might to another should launch into war", Ashok invaded Kaling to his south (modern Udeesaa) - the bloodiest war of his era. Repulsed with this war, he rejected violence, and got eventually converted to Buddhism in the 10th year of his reign.
fierce Kaling war, in 260 BC, in which a 100,000 people died. He got very sad
seeing this great killing, he converted to Buddhism and became its greatest
proponent. He sent missionaries to Macedonia and Egypt in the west, to Shree
Lankaa in the south, and the far eastern borders of Asia in the east. He is said
to have erected 84,000 columns with inscriptions of moral laws on them. According
to Al-Baroonee at one time, people of Khoraashaan, Eeraan, Eeraaq, Mosal, and Syria
Ashok pillars have been found in Saarnaath, Ilaahaabaad, Kaushaambee, Meerut, Sankisaa, Kalasee, Siddhaarth Nagar and Mirzaapur - all of which are located in UP. There are some Stoops and Vihaars also - (1) Dharmrajikaa Stoop (3rd century BC) in Saarnaath;
Before the end of Ashok's rule, Maurya kings claimed revenue from Kashmeer to Maisoor, from Banglaa Desh to the heart of Afagaanistaan. Only three Draavidian kingdoms - Keral, Chol, and Paandya, remained independent, as did Ceylon. Maurya kings maintained their diplomatic relations with Antiochus II of Syria; Ptolemy II of Egypt; Antogonus Gonatas of Macedonia; and Alexander of Epirus. Ashok was the first Chakravartee king of India.
He abandoned royal hunt in favor of pilgrimage and went to distant places. To facilitate communication throughout the empire, he planted shade trees, dug wells, erected resting houses on major highways built in his reign.
Grand Trunk Road -
He gave the paving stones, watchtowers, and some of his pillars beside this road -
Grand Trunk Road (1,200 mile long, from Peshaavar on the Paakistaan-Afgaanistaan
border to Calcuttaa on the Bay of Bangaal. Shershaah Sooree carried out major
maintenance work and built Saraaya (motels) along the road. The Mugals added wells;
the British added asphalt and the present name GT Road Grand Truk Road). Now it is
India's "National Highway 1"
Because of adopting A-Hinsaa, according to Bauddh Dharm, most people became vegetarians. He sent his emissaries to Ceylon, Burma etc regions to spread Buddhism and Indian civilization through Buddhism.
Between 250 and 240 BC, Ashok hosted the 3rd Great Council of Buddhism at Paataliputra. Ashok's pillars were decorated with animal sculpture, the most famous of which are the four lions of Saarnaath, three of whom have become the symbol of modern India. The lions supported an enormous stone "wheel of the law (Dharm Chakra) commemorating Buddha's first sermon at Saarnaath. they rose above an abacus, around which were carved four smaller wheels and four animals - an elephant, a horse, a lion and a bull. The horse and bull are extraordinarily vital and beautifully realistic works of art. so perfectly do they mirror the ingeniously executed figures incised 2000 years before on the seals of Mohanjo-daro.
Tradition credits Ashok with having built no fewer than 84,000 Stoop among which the ashes of the Buddha were supposedly divided from the eight original stoop erected earlier. These hemispherical mounds of solid stone, the largest and most famous of which was erected at Saanchee in central India. Stoop were carved out of solid rocks where Buddhist monks lived. They were called Vihaar and so many thousands of them were dug in this era that Magadh came to be known as the "land of Vihaar" or what is called now Bihaar.
He died in 232 BC. Following his death, Maurya rule lost much of its vitality, the coins were soon debased, many sons contested the throne, and it is not sure to whom it went. His son Kunaal's son Samprati, and Dasharath are highest on the list. This great dynasty continued to rule over Magadh until 184 BC, when Brihadrath, the last Maurya king, was killed by his Braahman General Pushyamitra Shung, who started a new line of kings, that ruled until 72 BC. India's first great unification lasted 140 years.
Dasharath Maurya (232-224 BC) - 9 years
Samprati Maurya (224-215 BC) - 9 years
Shaalishuk Maurya (215-202 BC) - 13 years
Devavarmaa Maurya (202-195 BC) - 8 years
Shatadhanvaa Maurya (195-187 BC) - 8 years
Brahadrath Maurya (187-185 BC) - 12 years
Shung Dynasty - 185-73 BC (112 years)
The Shung Dynasty was established in 185 BC, after 50 years of Ashok's death, by a Mauryan Army General Pushyamitra Shung and had its capital in Paataliputra.
Pushyamitra Shung (185-151 BC) 36 years
Pushyamitra (185-151 BC) 36 years
Agnimitra (151-141 BC) 10 years
Vasujyeshth (141--- BC)
Bhagabhadra (c 110 BC)
Devabhooti (83-73 BC)
Kanishk (c 10-30 BC)
2,800 years of Kali Yug had passed by the end of BC
Maybe Bhavishya Puraan 3/30 events took place at this time. Because it shows that Buddhism had settled very well by then. The second important thing it mentions that by then almost 2,700 years of Kali Yug had passed. The third important thing it mentions that Buddha was not an Avataar of Vishnu as Bhaagvat Puraan, or Vishnu Puraan says, but was Maya named Asur who was sent by king Bali.
Kanv Dynasty - 72-30 BC (42 years)
Vaasudev (c 72 - c 66 BC) 9 years
Aandhra or Saatvaahan Dynasty - 230 BC-220 AD (450 years)
The first mention of this dynasty in Aitareya Braahman, dating back to 8th century BC, mentioning them to be Vishwaamitra's lineage. In the Puraan and on their coins they are referred to as "Saatvaahan", "Saatkarnee", "Aandhra", and "Aandhra Bhritya". Greek traveler Megasthnese has also mentioned about their kingdom as one of the very powerful kingdoms. They seem to have been under the kingship of Ashok. They declared independence after Ashok, when Maurya Empire started getting weaker.
In 27 BC, Magadh was conquered by Aandhra Dynasty (or Saatavaahan Dynasty) of south India. Apparently originated between Godaavaree and Krishnaa Rivers, Telagoo speaking Dravid, Aandhra Dynasty spread across much of south and central India from the 2nd century BC till the 2nd century AD. Conquering the Northwest region of Mahaaraashtra, the Aandhra made their capital at Paithan on the Godaavaree, about a 100 miles northeast of modern Poonaa (ancient Pune), the center of Maraathaa power. Saatavaahan means seven mounts which probably referred to 7-horse chariot of Vishnu, whose each of the 7 mounts represents one day of the week - it thus signifies Aaryanization of the Dravid Aandhra people.
They were controlling numerous villages, at least 30 walled towns plus an army of 100,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and 1,000 elephants. This race ruled India's midland, north of Vindhya mountains to take Maalavaa forcefully from Kanv, in the 1st century BC, and south to Tungbhadraa and Krishnaa Rivers which divided them from Tamilnaadu, for four and half centuries (450 years) after 230 BC [up to 220 AD]
Simuk or Shishuk
(230-207 BC) 23 years - 1st ruler or the founder
Saatvaahan (see also Vaatsyayan) fought with Shak, both in Maalavaa and in Gujaraat but couldn't get through them. To the east they came to fight with Khaarvelaa. Khaarvelaa are known for Elephantaa Caves (Haathee Gumphaa). Inscription near Bhuvaneshwar in Udeesaa (Orissa) prior to the dawn of Christian era, although its dates are unknown, it was carved sometime between 200 and 25 BC. It refers to three successful invasions of North India by the great Kaling monarch. One of which brought back the wealth back to Bhuvaneshwar and was used to build the first temple.
There were three Tamil kingdoms in south of the Aandhra and Kaling - the Cheraa (Keral) in the West, Pandyaa in the center and Chole on the East coast. Evidence show that Pandyaa who started in the times of Megasthnese and Arthshaastra, reached up to Paataliputra by the 4th century BC. Their capital was Maduraa. The early Tamil kingdoms appear to have been matriarchal system and this system was in some other kingdoms also till the 19th century. The Dravidian kinship system was based on cross-cousin marriage, strikingly different from the Indo-Aaryan system of the north, where exogamy led to the marriage of "strangers" rather than relatives.
Their court life was enhanced by troops of actors who sang, danced and played musical instruments, much the way bands of "Bhajan" musician still continue to entertain throughout South India. Women also participated in these dramatic road companies, which later developed as the system of classical Bharat Naatyam dance form and evolution of temple dancer prostitutes (Devadaasee). The epics of Tasmilnaad tell the adventure of two courtesan dancers - Madaavee, the "femme fatal" of the first epic "Silappaadhikaaram" (The Jeweled Anklet); and her daughter Manimegalaee whose name is also the title of the second poem. After a series of passionate loves, both women adopt Buddhism.
Gautameeputra Saatkarnee or Shaalivaahan (78-106 AD) 28 years
Vashishthputra Saatkarnee (106-130 AD) 24 years
Gautameeputra's brother Vashishthputra Saatkarnee married the daughter of Rudradaman I. But around 150 AD Rudradaman I waged the war against Saatvaahans who were defeated two times in this process. The last king of this Dynasty was Yagya Saatkarnee (170-199 AD). Around the middle of the century this Dynasty came to an end.
Pallav Dynasty and Hindu Dharm - 4th Century AD
Braahmanism starting emerging as a faith whose central form of worship shifted from Fire sacrifices to personal devotion - either Shiv or Vishnu. Hindu legal codes, like the "Maanav Dhramshaastra" (Law Code of Manu) were compiled at this time, as were the many tales "Ancient Tales" (Puraan), myths and fables, about Hindu gods, especially Vishnu, Shiv, and Brahmaa. Vishnu came to be exalted whose Avataar always appear on Earth when demon threaten to destroy cosmic Dharm.
Another major Hindu path to salvation was of Bhakti (devotion) which later became more popular than Karm Yog. Hindoo salvation was made possible for everybody. Although the Dharm of all four Varn remained different from one another, but all of them were Hindu.
The obscure Vaidik rain god Rudra emerged now as Shiv, no less than Vishnu. His home was mythical mountain Kailaash, and River Gangaa came to Prithvi through the matted locks of his hair. Shiv's consort was another mother goddess - Satee, Paarvatee, Kaalee, or Durgaa. All Hindu gods have their female counterparts who are their Power. Vishnu's consort Lakshmee was the goddess of good fortune; while Brahmaa's consort Saraswatee was the goddess of arts.
For a good Hindu,
however, caste laws and duties were more important than deities - Varn and
Aashram Dharm. Besides the four Varn, there were four Aashram in one's life -
The third and fourth Aashram seem to have been inspired by Buddhism and Jainism monastic ideals. Few men ever attain the wisdom or courage to embark upon the fourth Aashram - homeless, bondless, isolated wandering. In this final stage, even the willing wife must also be left behind.
Advent of Christianity in India
Architecture and Buddha's Statues
Architecturally, the most important work done was in rock-hewn caves, mostly in south, under Aandhra rule. Some patrons carved probably a wealthy merchant and his wife outside the entrance. Deep within cool stone of the cave, monks could comfortably worship the Buddha by walking around the Stoop excavated from the far end of the hall. Many Vihaar (multi-cell living quarters) were also carved at this time at many places but the most extensive and impressive centers at Ajantaa and Elloraa.
The 27 caves at Ajantaa which stretch across an entire crescent-shaped mountainside were discovered by British travelers in the late 19th century, after having buried under a landslide for centuries. The most beautiful paintings of Ajantaa appear to have been produced at least 300 years after the fall of Aandhra Dynasty, probably during the 6th and 7th centuries. The 34 caves of Elloraa also date from about the 5th through 8th centuries.
Indian interest in herbal medication and the use of of the magic potions dates much back further, to the Atharv Ved (c 1000 BC), where Aayur Vaidik, prescriptions are first found. It was in the 2nd century AD, that Charak compiled the oldest surviving Indian medical textbook "Charak Sanhitaa", which resembles the work of Galen and Hippocrates.
Indian interest in astrology dates back at least Vaidik times, when proper building of the sacrificial altar required astronomical information. Prior to the contact with Hellenistic world, the Indian used a lunar calendar, dividing each month into bright and dark fortnights, each with 15 Tithi (lunar days). A leap month (see Adhik Maas) was added every after 30 months to catch up to the solar year. Western astronomy seems to have introduced the solar calendar - the 7-day week, and the hour to India, together with our Zodiac. Indian astrology had earlier divided the heavens primarily into 27 Nakshatra (lunar mansions).
In some fields, however, notably mathematics and grammar, Indians were far more ahead than western thinkers. Paanini's brilliant physiological morphological analysis of the Sanskrit language in his "Ashtaadhyaaya" (Eight Chapters) was probably completed before the close of the 4th century BC; and Patanjali's "Mahaabhaashya" (Great Commentary) on that masterwork was written in the 2nd century BC - thus making the Sanskrit the first language to be scientifically analyzed.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 11/10/12