Birth of Bindusara and Chanakya’s Death

Bindusara was the son of Chandragupta Maurya (founder of the Maurya Empire) and Queen Durdhara. According to a Jain work Rajavalikatha his original name was Simhasena. During his reign the Maurya Empire saw significant expansion southwards. But we are not here to discuss what history books have already told us.

Statue of Bindusara

There is a mystery over the birth of Bindusara. As the tale goes after Chandragupta Maurya became king of Magadha after defeating Nandas, his chief advisor was Chanakya. Now Chanakya feared that there would be assassination plots hatched against Chandragupta by other power hungry kings. To protect Chandragupta, Chanakya wanted to make him immune from poisoning. He added small amounts of poison in Chandragupta’s food everyday so that he would get used to it. But Chandragupta was unaware of the poison he consumed every day. One day while dining the Emperor shared his food with Queen Durdhara. She was just seven days away from delivery. The pregnant Queen who did not have poison as her staple diet started collapsing with some shrieks. Chanakya was passing by and he heard the screams. When he came inside the dining hall he found the Queen collapsing. He understood the importance of saving the child within her womb. So first of all he slit the Queen’s head so that the poison could not penetrate into her body and harm the child. Then he cut open her belly and took out the baby prince. But it seemed that one drop of poison had penetrated through and it touched the forehead of baby Bindusara. This caused a blue mark on his forehead. Thus the prince was saved.

Queen Durdhara was the mother of Bindusara

Though many scholars denounce this as a tale but references of such an event are found in many Jain works. It was a remarkable feat when we consider its timeline i.e. 320 BC.

Chanakya who knew a lot about Ayurveda helped in performing first birth by surgery

As Bindusara reached a fitting age to ascend the throne, Chandragupta in lieu of a famine took up a begging bowl and walked away to Deccan. But Chanakya remained minister and advisor to Bindusara. This was not liked by Bindusara’s minister Subandhu. Subandhu revealed to Bindusara that Chanakya had murdered the king’s mother. Hearing this Bindusara was enraged. Chanakya on the other hand gave all his possessions and wealth to poor, orphans and widows. He sat on a dung and prepared to die from fasting without any water or food. When the nurses revealed the real story to Bindusara he apologised to Chanakya.

Bindusara was angry with Subhandhu who mislead him. The king asked him to seek forgiveness from Chanakya. Though Subandhu still hated Chanakya but he agreed. When he visited Chanakya’s fastinbg spot he slipped a burning charcoal ember inside the heap of dung. With wind as its aid the fire caught and killed the man who masterminded the Mauryan Empire.

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15 thoughts on “Birth of Bindusara and Chanakya’s Death

  1. if i was in the place of subandhu then i would never think like that. i would try to convince the king (Bindusara) to help his father and also become a Jain. if i was in the place of chandragupt maurya the i would never leave the kingdom in the hand of such minister like Subandhu’ if i know about him. but in the other way i would always give respect to King Chandragupt Maurya, Acharya Chanakya, Queen Durdhara, King Bindusara as well as all the freedom fighter who helped our country to have its freedom.
    JAY HO

  2. yeah…..
    i do agree with the same story.but there is still lot of confusion in the story,i heard and read that as chanakya decided that it was the end of his worthy life he used to starve on the heap of dung though bindusara begged him and passed the stage of “nirvana”.

    • Actually,what happened at that time according to Buddhist religion was ,that Chanakya was practising a part of buddhist dharma without taking permission from buddhist guru so he had to get punishment for his arrogant deeds.

  3. i have read a article claiming that the treatment used by chanakya at the time of bindusara’s birth to save the small prince was similar to the modern day treatment to give birth to test tube babies , but i am not still sure because i didn’t find any other supporting information in the net to this fact.

  4. Does anyone here know anything about the death of Bindusara?
    What had happened to Rani Shubhdrangi that she was living in a Jungle with her new born son?

    • Thank you Mr. Kumar for raising the question. Bindusara died at the age of 48 from natural causes.

      It is learned that Dharma was once Bindusara’s favorite Queen. But as was his character, Bindusara was incapable of loving someone wholeheartedly. This mixed with politics of royal court created a distance between the King and Dharma. Yes, one account states that Dharma gave birth to Ashoka in a jungle. May be someone conspired against her, which forced her to flee the royal palace.

      To understand the situation you have to grasp the political scenario then. Bindusara had many Queens, everyone craved for the attention of their King. So, intrigues were a common place.

  5. Dude, you took information from religious mythology to prove a historical fact. Do you even honestly believe this stuff? I don’t.

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