Magadha Empire (Based on NCERT)

Magadha Empire (Based on NCERT)
Posted on 26-04-2022

Magadha Empire

Magadha Empire: According to the Puranas, in the 6th century BC, Brihadratha founded the Magadha EmpireWhose capital was made Girivraj and laid the foundation of the Barhadratha dynasty (Vrihadratha dynasty). Later, Brihadratha had a son named  Jarasandha, who became a majestic king and is mentioned in the MahabharataMagadha is also mentioned in Atharvaveda and Rigveda. According to the Puranas, after the death of Jarasandha, Magadha was ruled by the Shishunaga dynasty.

But according to Buddhist literature, there is no existence of the Shishunaga dynasty and Haryaka dynasty was established in its place because when Lord Buddha had traveled to Magadha for preaching religion, the king there was Bimbisara of Haryaka dynasty.

The dynasty that ruled Magadha according to different sects –

Haryanka dynasty (545 BC to 412 BC) –

  • Bimbasara or Bimbisara
    Bimbasara or Bimbisara laid the foundation of the Harayaka dynasty. Bimbasara was a majestic king of the Haryanka dynasty, who became the emperor of Magadha in 543 BC at the age of 15. Its capital was also Girivraj, but after some time 'Rajgriha' was made the capital.
  • Ajatashatru
    Ajatashatru was the son of Bimbisara who assumed the throne of Magadha in 491 BC after the death of Bimbisara. According to the Puranas, 'Darshak' became the successor of Ajatashatru, but according to Jain and Buddhist texts 'Udayin' is considered to be the successor, who founded the city of 'Pataliputra'. Ajatashatru is also known as 'Kunik'.
    There are many opinions that Ajatashatru was a follower of Jainism, but after some time became a follower of Buddhism. That is why Ajatashatru built a stupa over the relics of the Buddha after his nirvana (death), which was built at 'Rajgriha' (present-day Rajgir, District- Nalanda, Bihar).
  • Nagdasaka 
    was the last ruler of Haryanka dynasty.

Shishunaga Dynasty (412 BC to 344 BC) –

  • Shishunaga
    With time the power of the kings of Haryaka dynasty had become so weak that the servant of the king named Shishunaga captured the throne and became the emperor of Magadha. Since then the Shishunaga dynasty emerged. Shishunag also made Girivraj his capital.
  • After the death of Kalashoka
    Shishunaga, Shishunaga's successor Kalashok took over the empire. Kalashoka made 'Pataliputra' the capital of Magadha. During the tenure of Kalashoka, the second council of Buddhism was organized in Vaishali.
  • Nandivardhana 
    Kalashoka had ten sons, who ruled Magadha until the fall of the Shishunaga dynasty, of whom Nandivardhana was the last ruler of the Shishunaga dynasty.

Nanda Dynasty (344 BC to 322 BC) –

  • Mahapadmananda (Ugrasen)
    Mahapadma Nanda overthrew the Shishunaga dynasty and conquered Magadha and laid the foundation of the Nanda dynasty. According to Pali texts, Mahapadma is known as Ugrasen. Mahapadma was called Ugrasen because of his huge army. According to Jain texts, Mahapadma is considered to be the son of a prostitute, according to many opinions, it is believed that Mahapadma was of a low family.

This is the reason why Mahapadma is also considered as the first Shudra emperor of ancient India.

  • Nandaraja (Dhanananda or Ghanananda)
    was the last successor of the Nanda dynasty, Nandraj, known in Buddhist texts as Dhanananda (Ghanananda). In 322-321 BC,  Chandragupta Maurya, along with his guru Chanakya, killed Dhanananda and overthrew Magadha, and laid the foundation of the Maurya Empire.

This was followed by the emergence of the largest empire of ancient India, which was known as the Maurya Empire or the Maurya DynastyWhich took the history of India from darkness to light.


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