Chandragupta Maurya - Administration, Policies, Legacy and Jainism

Modern day depiction of Chandragupta Maurya at Laxmi Naryana Temple, Delhi /Source:Ashish Bhatnagar

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Maurya Empire, which was one of the largest and most powerful empires in ancient India. He was born in 340 BCE in the kingdom of Magadha (present-day Bihar, India).
Chandragupta Maurya was a contemporary of Alexander the Great and witnessed his invasion of India. He is believed to have received guidance and mentorship from the great philosopher Chanakya (also known as Kautilya or Vishnugupta). Under the guidance of Chanakya, Chandragupta Maurya established the Maurya Empire in 322 BCE.

Conquests and Expansion

  • Chandragupta Maurya is known for his military campaigns and successful conquests, which helped in expanding the Maurya Empire.
  • He defeated the powerful Nanda Empire, which was ruling over the Magadha region.
  • Chandragupta then went on to conquer various other regions, including Punjab, Sindh, and parts of Afghanistan.
  • He further expanded his empire towards the eastern and southern regions of India.

Administration and Policies

  • Chandragupta Maurya implemented a well-organized administrative system that was efficient and centralized.
  • He divided his empire into provinces (known as "Janapadas") and appointed governors to oversee their administration.
  • The empire was further divided into smaller administrative units called "Mahajanapadas."
  • Chandragupta established a vast spy network to gather intelligence and maintain control over his territories.
  • He introduced an elaborate bureaucracy with different departments to handle various aspects of governance, including revenue, justice, and military affairs.

Legacy and Jainism

  • Towards the later years of his reign, Chandragupta Maurya embraced Jainism and became an ascetic.
  • He abdicated the throne and passed on the empire to his son, Bindusara, in order to pursue a spiritual path.
  • Chandragupta Maurya is known to have spent his final years in Shravanabelagola in present-day Karnataka, where he ultimately attained Nirvana (enlightenment) through the process of Sallekhana (a Jain practice of fasting).


  • Chandragupta Maurya's rule laid the foundation for the Maurya Empire, which became a significant political and cultural force in ancient India.
  • His administrative policies and systems set a benchmark for future empires and rulers in India.
  • Chandragupta Maurya's alliance with Chanakya and his successful conquests demonstrate the importance of strategic alliances and military prowess in the formation and expansion of an empire.

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