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as told by the latter, nor can we conceive that a mere adventurer, as he makes Sandracoptus to have been, should have rendered himself master of a mighty kingdom, in so brief an interval as that between Seleucus and Alexander, or by the aid of vagabonds and banditti alone.
Although, therefore, the classical writers had gleaned some knowledge of CHANDRAGUPTA's early history, it is very evident that their information was but partially correct, and that they have confounded names, whilst they have exaggerated some circumstances and misrepresented others. These defects, however, are very venial, considering the imperfect communication that must have subsisted between the Greeks and Hindus, even at the period of Alexander's invasion, and the interval that elapsed before the accounts we now possess were written. These considerations rather enhance the value of both sets of our materials. It is more wonderful that so much of what appears to be the truth should have been preserved, than that the stories should not conform in every particular.
However questionable may be the contemporary existence of Alexander and Sandracoptus, there is no reason to doubt that the latter reigned in the time of Seleucus Nicator, as Strabo aud Arrian cite the repeated declarations of Megasthenes, that he had often visited the Indian prince. Seleucus is said to have relinquished to him some territories beyond the Indus, and to have formed a matrimonial alliance with him. We have no trace of this in the Hindu writers, but it is not at all improbable. Before the Christian era, the Hindus were probably not scrupulous about whom they married; and even in modern days, their princesses have become the wives of Mohammedan sovereigns. CHANDRAGUPTA, however, had no right to be nice with respect to the condition of his wife, and in whichever way the alliance was effected, it was feasible enough, whilst it was a very obvious piece of policy in CHANDRAGUPTA, as calculated to give greater security to his empire and stability to his reign. The failure of Seleucus in his attempt to extend his power in India, and his relinquishment of territory, may possibly be connected with the discomfiture and retreat of MALAYAKETU, as narrated in the drama, although it may be reasonably doubted whether the Syrian monarch and the king of Magadhá ever came into actual collision. It is very unlikely that the former ever included any part of the Punjab within his dominions, and at any rate it may be questioned whether CHANDRAGUPTA or his posterity long retained, if they ever held possession of, the north-western provinces, as there is no conjecturing any resemblance between the names of the Maurya princes (As. Res. vol. ix. table) and the Amitrochates and Sophagasenas, who reinforced the armies of Antigonus the son of Seleucus, and of Antigonus the Great, with those elephants that were so highly prized by the successors of Alexander (Wilford, As. Res. vol. v. p. 286, and Schegel, Indische Bibliothek), although, as shewn by Schlegel, the names are undoubtedly Sanscrit and Hindu.
All the classical writers agree in representing Sandracoptus as king of the nations which were situated along the Ganges, which were the Gangaride and Prasii-called, however, indifferently, but no doubt inaccurately, Gargaridæ, Gandaride, and Gandarii, and Prasii, Parrhasii, and Tabresii. The first name was probably of Greek origin, expressing, as Raderus and Cellarius justly observe, the situation of the nations in the neighbourhood of the Ganges; but in truth there was a nation called the Gandhari or Gandaride west of the Indus, whom the classical authors often confound with the Gangetic nations, as has been shewn in another place. (As. Res. vol. xv.) The other appellation, which is most correctly Prasii, is referable to a Hindu original, and is a close approximation to Práchí, the eastern country, or Práchy, the people of the east, in which division of Bharata Khanda, or India, Mithila, the country opposite to Behar, and Magadha or South Behar, are included by Hindu geographers. Both Greek and Hindu account therefore, agreed as to the general position of the people over whom CHANDRAGUPTA reigned.
Finally; the classical authors concur in making Palibothra, a city on the Ganges, the capital of Sandracoptus. Strabo, on the authority of Megasthenes, states that Palibothra is situated at the confluence of the Ganges and another river, the name of which he does not mention. Arrian, possibly on the same authority, calls that river the Erranoboas, which is a synonime of the Sone. In the drama, one of the characters describes the trampling down of the banks of the Sone, as the army approaches to Pátaliputra; and Pátaliputra, also called Kusumapura, is the capital of CHANDRAGUPTA. There is little question that Pátaliputra and Palibothra are the same, and in the uniform estimation of the Hindus, the former is the same with Patna. The alterations in the course of the rivers of India, and the small comparative extent to which the city has shrunk in modern times, will sufficiently explain why Patna is not at the confluence of the Ganges and the Sone, and the only argument, then, against the identity of the position, is the enumeration of the Erranoboas and the Sone as distinct rivers by Arrian and Pliny: but their nomenclature is unaccompanied by any description, and it was very easy to mistake synonimes for distinct appellations. Rajamahal, as proposed by Wilford, and Bhagalpur, as maintained by Franklin, are both utterly untenable, and the further inquiries of the former had satisfied him of the
error of his hypothesis. His death prevented the publication of an interesting paper by him on the site of Palibothra, in which he had come over to the prevailing opinion, and shewn it to have been situated in the vicinity of Patna.*
It thus appears, that the Greek and Hindu writers concur in the name, in the private history, in the political elevation, and in the nation and capital of an Indian king, nearly, if not exactly cotemporary with Alexander, to a degree of approximation that cannot possibly be the work of accident; and it may be reasonably concluded, therefore, that the era of the events described in the following drama is determined with as much precision as that of any other remote historical fact.
Pauranic accounts of Chandragupta.
The son of Mahánandi, born of a Súdra woman, a powerful prince named Mahipadma, shall put an end to the Kshetriya rule, and from his time the kings will be mostly Súdras, void of piety. He will bring the earth under one umbrella, his rule being irresistible, and he will reign like another Bhargava. He will have eight sons, Sumálya and others, who will be kings of the earth for one hundred years. A Brahman will destroy these nine Nandas, and after their disappearance the Mauryas will reign in the Kali age. That Brahman will inaugurate CHANDRAGUPTA as king.—(Bhágavat, 12th Skandha.) Mahánandi will be the last of the ten Saisunaga princes, whose joint reigns will be three hundred and sixty-two years. The son of Mahánandi or Nanda, named Mahá padma, will be born from a Súdra mother. He will be avaricious, and like another Parasuráma will end the Kshetriya race, as from him forwards the kings will be all Súdras. He, Mahápadma, will bring the whole earth under one umbrella, his rule being irresistible. He will have eight sons, Sumálya and others who after him will govern the world. He, and these sons will reign for a period of one hundred years, until Kautilya, a Brahman, shall destroy the nine Nandas.
After their destruction the Maurya will possess the earth, Kautilya inaugurating CHANDRAGUPTA in the kingdom.— (Vishnu Purána.)
The comment explains Maurya thus-so named from CHANDRAGUPTA, the first, who derived this name from his mother Murá, one of the wives of NANDA.
Story of Nanda, as related by Vararuchi in the Vrihat Katha.
I now returned from my sojourn in the snowy mountains, where by the favour of Stra I had acquired the Pániniya grammar. This I communicated to my preceptor Versha, as the fruit of my penance; and as he wished to learn a new system, I instructed him in that revealed by Swámí Kumára. Vyari, and Indradatta then applied to Versha for like instructions, but he desired them first to bring him a very considerable present. As they were wholly unable to raise the sum, they proposed applying for it to the king, and requested me to accompany them to his camp, which was at that time at Ayodhya ; I consented, and we set off.
When we arrived at the encampment we found every body in distress, NANDA being just dead. Indradatta, who was skilled in magic, said; "This event need not disconcert us: I will transfuse my vitality into the lifeless body of the king. Do you, Vararuchi, then solicit the money: I will grant it, and then resume my own person, of which do you, Vyari, take charge till the spirit returns." This was assented to, and our companion accordingly entered the carcase of the king.
The revival of NANDA caused universal rejoicing. The minister Sakatala alone suspected something extraordinary in the resuscitation. As the heir to the throne, however, was yet a child, he was well content that no change should take place, and determined to keep his new master in the royal station. He immediately, therefore, issued orders that search should be made for all the dead bodies in the vicinage, and that they should forthwith be committed to the flames. In pursuance of this edict the guards came upon the deserted carcase of Indradatta, and burning it as directed, our old associate was * Asiatic Researches, vol. xiv. p. 38,
compelled to take up his abode permanently in the tenement which he had purposed to occupy but for a season. He was by no means pleased with the change, and in private lamented it with us, being in fact degraded by his elevation, having relinquished the exalted rank of a Brahman for the inferior condition of a Súdra.
Vyari having the sum destined for our master, took leave of his companion Indradatta, whom we shall henceforth call Yogananda. Before his departure, however, he recommended to the latter to get rid of Sakatala, the minister, who had penetrated his secret, and who would, no doubt, raise the prince CHANDRAGUPTA to the throne, as soon as he had attained to years of discretion. It would be better, therefore, to anticipate him, and, as preparatory to that measure, to make me, Vararuchi, his minister. Vyari then left us, and in compliance with his counsel I became the confidential minister of Yogananda
A charge was now made against Sakatala, of having, under pretence of getting rid of dead carcases, burnt a Brahman alive; and on this plea he was cast into a dry well with all his sons. A plate of parched pulse and a pitcher of water were let down daily for their sustenance, just sufficient for one person. The father, therefore, recommended to the brothers to agree amongst themselves which should survive to revenge them all, and relinquishing the food to him, resign themselves to die. They instantly acknowledged their avenger in him, and with stern fortitude refusing to share in the daily pittance, one by one expired.
After some time Yogananda, intoxicated like other mortals with prosperity, became despotic and unjust. I found my situation therefore most irksome, as it exposed me to a tyrant's caprice, and rendered me responsible for acts which I condemned. I therefore sought to secure myself a participator in the burthen, and prevailed upon Yogananda to release Sakatala from his captivity, and reinstate him in his authority. He, therefore, once again became the minister of the king. It was not long before I incurred the displeasure of Yogananda, so that he resolved to put me to death. Sakatala, who was rejoiced to have this opportunity of winning me over to his cause, apprised me of my danger, and helped me to evade it by keeping me concealed in his palace. Whilst thus retired, the son of the king, Hiranyagupta, lost his senses, and Yogananda now lamented my absence. His regret moved Sakatala to acknowledge that I was living, and I was once more received into favour. I effected the cure of the prince, but received news that disgusted me with the world, and induced me to resign my station and retire into the forests. My disappearance had led to a general belief that I had been privately put to death. This report reached my family. Upakosa, my wife, burnt herself, and my mother died broken hearted. Inspired with the profoundest grief, and more than ever sensible of the transitory duration of human happiness, I repaired to the shades of solitude, and the silence of meditation. After living for a considerable period in my hermitage, the death of Yogananda was thus related to me by a Brahman, who was travelling from Ayodhya, and had rested at my cell. Sakatala brooding on his plan of revenge, observed one day a Brahman of mean appearance digging in a meadow, and asked him what he was doing there. CHANAKYA, the Brahman, replied: "I am rooting out this grass which has hurt my foot." The reply struck the minister as indicative of a character which would contribute to his designs, and he engaged him by the promise of a large reward and high honours to come and preside at the Sraddha, which was to be celebrated next new moon at the palace. CHANAKYA arrived, anticipating the most respectful treatment; but Yogananda had been previously persuaded by Sakatala to assign precedence to another Brahman, Subandhu, so that when CHANAKYA came to take his place he was thrust from it with contumely. Burning with rage, he threatened the king before all the court, and denounced his death within seven days. NANDA ordered him to be turned out of the palace. Sakatala received him into his house, and persuading CHANAKYA that he was wholly innocent of being instrumental to his ignominious treatment, contributed to encourage and inflame his indignation. CHANAKYA thus protected, practised a magical rite, in which he was a proficient, and by which on the seventh day NANDA was deprived of life. Sakatala on the father's death effected the destruction of Hiranyagupta, his son, and raised CHADRAGUPTA, the son of the genuine NANDA, to the throne. CHANAKYA became the prince's minister; and Sakatala having attained the only object of his existence, retired to end his days in the woods.
Story of Nanda and Chandragupta, by a Pundit of the Dekhin.
(From a Manuscript in the collection of the late Col. Mackenzie, Sanscrit, Telinga character.)
After invoking the benediction of Ganesa the writer proceeds: In the race of Bharadwaja, and the family of the hereditary counsellors of the Bhosala princes, was born the illustrious and able minister Bhavaji. He was succeeded by his son Gangadhara surnamed Adhwari (a priest of the Yajur Véda), who continued to enjoy the confidence of the king, and was equal to Vrihaspati in understanding.
By his wife Krishnambika, Gangadhara had two sons, who were both employed by the Raja, Sahuji, the son of the preceding prince. The favour of the Raja enabled these ministers to grant liberal endowments to pious and learned Brahmans.
The elder of the two, Nrisinha, after a life passed in prayer and sacred rites, proceeded to the world of Brahma, leaving three sons.
Of these, the elder was Ananda Raja Adhwari. He was noted for his steadiness and sagacity from his childhood, and in adult years deserved the confidence of his prince, Sahuji. He was profoundly versed in the Vedas, a liberal benefactor of the Brahmans, and a skilful director of religious rites.
Upon his death and that of the youngest brother, the survivor, Tryambaka Adhwari, succeeded to the reputation of his ancestors, and cherished his nephews as his own children.
Accompanied by his mother he proceeded to the shores of the Ganges, and by his ablutions in the holy stream liberated his ancestors from the ocean of future existence.
He was solicited by Sahu, the king, to assume the burthen of the state, but regarding it incompatible with his religious duties he was unwilling to assent. In consideration of his wisdom and knowledge he was highly venerated by the Raja and presented with valuable gifts, which he dedicated to pious rites or distributed to the Brahmans. Having on a particular occasion been lavish of expenditure in order to gratify his sovereign, he contracted heavy debts, and as the prince delayed their liquidation, he was obliged to withdraw to seek the means of discharging them. On his return he was received by Sáhu and his nobles with high honours, and the prince by the homage paid to him obtained identification (after death) with Tyágésa, a glory of difficult attainment to Yáyati, Nata, Mandhátá, and other kings.
The brother of the prince, Sarabhaji, then governed the kingdom and promoted the happiness of all entrusted to his care by Sáhu, for the protection of piety, and rendering the people happy by his excellent qualities: the chief of the Brahmans was treated by him with increased veneration.
The land of Chola is supplied at will by the waters of the Kaverí, maintained by the abundant showers poured down constantly by Indra, and in this land did the illustrious Sarabhaji long exercise undisturbed dominion and promote the happiness of his people.
Having performed with the aid of his reverend minister the late rite to his brother, he liberally delivered Tryambaka from the ocean of debt, and presented him with lands on the bank of the Kaveri (the Sahyagirija), for the preservation of the observances enjoined by religion and law.
And he diffused a knowledge of virtue by means of the Tantra of the son of the foe of Káma (Kártikeya), as communicated by Brahma or Náreda to relieve his distress, and whatever learned man takes up his residence on the hill of Swami and worships Skanda with faith, will undoubtedly obtain divine wisdom.
Thus, on the mountain of Suámi, enjoying the favour of Girisa, does Tryambaka reside with uninterrupted prosperity, surrounded by his kinsmen, and sons, and grandsons, and Brahmans learned in the Vedas, engaged in the performance of the holy rites and the worship of Iswara. May he live a thousand years!
An object of his unbounded benevolence, and one to be included in those cherished by his bounties, having worshipped the lord of Srí (Vishnu), and acquitted himself of his debt to the Gods and Manes, is rewarded by having it in his power to be respectfully obedient to his (Tryambaka's) commands. This individual, named Dhúndí, the son of the excellent Pundit Lakshmana, of the family of Vyasa, had in his possession, and expounded, the new and wonderful drama entitled the Mudrá Rákshasa, and in order to convey a clear notion of his drama, the composition of Visakha Datta, he relates as an introduction the following particulars of the story.
Story of Nanda and Chandragupta.
According to the Puranas the Kshetriya sovereignty was to cease with NANDA. In the beginning of the Kali age the Nandas were kings so named.
Amongst them SARVARTHASIDDHI was celebrated for his valour; he was monarch of the earth, and his troops were nine crore and one hundred. Vaktranasa and others were his hereditary ministers, but amongst them the most famous
was the Brahman, RAKSHASA.
He was skilled in government and policy, and the six attributes of princes; was eminent for piety and prowess, and was highly respected by NANDA. The king had two wives, of whom Sunanda was the elder-the other was of Súdra"
extraction; she was the favourite of the king, of great beauty and amiable character-her name was Mura. On one occasion the king in the company of his wives administered the rights of hospitality to a venerable ascetic, and after washing his feet sprinkled the queens with the water: nine drops fell upon the forehead of the elder, and one on Mura. This she received with reverence, and the Brahman was much pleased with her deportment.
Mura accordingly was delivered of one son, of most excellent qualities, who was named Maurya. Sunanda was delivered of a lump of flesh.
This RAKSHASA divided into nine portions, which he put into a vessel of oil, and carefully watched.
By his cares nine infants were in time evolved, who were brought up by RAKSHASA and called the nine Nandas after their progenitor.
The king when he grew old retired from the affairs of state, consigning his kingdom to these nine sons, and appointing Maurya to the command of the army.
Maurya had a hundred sons, of whom CHANDRAGUPTA was the best, and they surpassed the Nandas in merit.
The Nandas being therefore filled with envy, conspired against his life, and inviting him and his sons into a private chamber put them to death.
At this time the Raja of Sinhala sent to the court of the Nandas a lion of wax in a cage, so well made that it seemed to be alive. And he added this message, "If any one of your courtiers can make this fierce animal run without opening the cage, I shall acknowledge him to be a man of talent."
The dullness of the Nandas prevented their understanding the purport of the message; but CHANDRAGUPTA, in whom some little breath yet remained, offered, if they would spare his life, to undertake the task, and this being allowed, he made an iron rod red-hot, and thrusting it into the figure, the wax soon ran, and the lion disappeared.
Although they desired his death, CHANDRAGUPTA was taken by the Nandas from the pit into which he had been cast, and continued to live in affluence. He was gifted with all the marks of royalty: his arms reached to his knees; he was affable, liberal, and brave; but these deserts only increased the animosity of the Nandas, and they waited for an opportunity of compassing his death.
Upon one occasion CHANDRAGUPTA observed a Brahman of such irascible temperament, that he tore up violently a tuft of kusa grass, because a blade of it had pierced his foot: on which he approached him, and placed himself under his protection through fear of incurring the Brahman's resentment.
This Brahman was named Vishnugupta, and was deeply read in the science of government taught by Usanas (Saturn), and in astronomy: his father, a teacher of niti or polity, was named Chanaka, and hence the son is called CHANAKYA. He became the great friend of CHANDRAGUPTA who related to him all he had suffered from the Nandas.
On which CHANAKYA promised him the throne of the Nandas; and being hungry, entered the dinner-chamber, where he seated himself on the seat of honour.
The Nandas, their understanding being bewildered by fate, regarded him as some wild scholar of no value, and ordered him to be thrust from his seat. The ministers in vain protested against the act; the princes forcibly dragged CHANAKYA, furious with rage, from his seat.
Then, standing in the centre of the hall, CHANAKYA, blind with indignation, loosened the lock of hair on the top of his head, and thus vowed the destruction of the royal race: "Until I have exterminated these haughty and ignorant Nandas, who have not known my worth, I will not again tie up these hairs."
Having thus spoken, he withdrew, and indignantly quitted the city, and the Nandas, whom fortune had deserted, made no attempt to pacify him.
CHANDRAGUPTA being no longer afraid of his own danger, quitted the city and repaired to CHANAKYA, and the Brahman Kautilya, possessed of the prince, resorted to crooked expedients for the destruction of the Nandas.
With this view he sent a friend, Indraserma, disguised as a Kshapanaka, as his emissary, to deceive RAKSHASA and the rest, whilst on the other hand he excited the powerful Parvatendra to march with a Mlechchha force against Kusumapura, promising him half the kingdom.
The Nandas prepared to encounter the enemy, relying on the valours of RAKSHASA. He exerted all his prowess, but in vain, and finding it impossible to overcome the hostile force by open arms, attempted to get rid of Maurya by stratagem; but in the mean time all the Nandas perished like moths in the flame of CHANAKYA's revenge, supported by the troops of Parvatendra.