Bindusara was the second ruler of Maurya dynasty and son of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the dynasty. Bindusara consolidated the empire created by his Chandragupta. The Buddhist author Taranatha credits his administration with extensive territorial conquests in southern India.
Bindusara maintained intact the vast empire which he had inherited from his father with capital Patliputra and also the friendly relations with the Greek rulers of the west. Deimachos succeeded Megasthenes as the ambassador sent by the Syrian king to the court of Bindusara. Pliny tells us that Ptolemy II Philadelphus, king of Egypt (285-247 B.C.), also sent an ambassador named Dionysus to the Indian court.[ref]
According to the literary evidence of a later date, Chanakya continued for some time as minister under Bindusara. According to the Tibetan writer Taranatha, Chanakya was instrumental in achieving the destruction of nobles and kings of sixteen towns and helped the king to make himself master of all the territory between the eastern and western seas.[ref]
As of the tradition in India, the great emperor Bindusara had many names. -
- Buddhist texts Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa mentions name "Bindusaro"
- Jain texts such as Parishishta-Parvan; as well as the Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana mentions "Vindusara"[ref]
- Bhagavata Purana mention him as Varisara or Varikara.
- The different versions of Vayu Purana call him Bhadrasara or Nandasara.
- The Mahabhashya names Chandragupta's successor as Amitra-ghata[ref] ("slayer of enemies")
- The Greek writers Strabo and Athenaeus call him Allitrochades and Amitrochates respectively
- In addition, Bindusara was given the title Devanampriya ("The Beloved of the Gods"), which was also applied to his successor Ashoka.[ref]
- The Jain work Rajavali-Katha states that his birth name was Simhasena.
Origin of the name
There is a classical legend about how Bindusara got his name. Jain and Buddhist text mention that -
Chanakya used to mix small doses of poison in the emperor Chandragupta's food to build his immunity against possible poisoning attempts by enemy. One day, Chandragupta, not knowing about the poison, shared his food with his pregnant wife. The queen was seven days away from delivery of baby at this time. Chanakya arrived just as the queen ate the poisoned food. Realising that she was going to die, he decided to save the unborn child. He cut off the queen's head and cut open her belly with a sword to take out the fetus. Over the next seven days, he placed the fetus in the belly of a goat freshly killed each day. After seven days, Chandragupta's son was "born". He was named Bindusara, because his body was spotted with drops ("bindu") of goat's blood.[ref]
According to the Divydvadana, a revolt broke out in Takshashila, and in order to quell it Bindusara sent his son Ashoka as his Viceroy there. When Ashoka approached Takshashila with his troops, he was met in advance by the people who explained: We are not opposed to the prince nor even to king Bindusara, but only to the wicked ministers who insult us. Thus Asoka entered a peaceful city from where he extended -his conquest to the kingdom of the Khasas.[ref]