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Chandragupta disciple of Chanakya: Rich Son of Poor Dad

Updated on July 31, 2016

Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya statue in Birla Mandir, Delhi
Chandragupta Maurya statue in Birla Mandir, Delhi | Source

Chandragupta Mourya: Rich son of a Poor dad

There are few people in the world who are born to a poor or ordinary parents but climbed to the summit. In my opinion, Chandragupta, the Maurya, is foremost among them. Peeping into the ancient history of India we find his name possessing rarest qualities. He is the Hero of my story "Poor dad, Rich son".

He was born in the fourth century B.C. to unknown parents and became the Emperor of Magadh (Bihar), the mightiest empire in the world. Now we take a tour of the history of the then India and through that to his life.

The Nanda dynasty

Nanda dynasty ruled Magadha (Presently in Bihar), a very powerful empire, for centuries in ancient India. Dhanananda, the ninth emperor, was luxurious and unpopular among the people of Magadha. He, though mighty, had not been looking after for welfare of his citizens. However, he was involved in satisfying his own lust and living a luxurious life. He was truly a dictator and the people of Magadha were afraid of his tyrant administration.

Once he badly insulted Chanakya, a Brahman scholar. Chanakya could not digest the great insult he faced in the court of Dhanananda. He took an oath to eradicate the dynasty from its root. He went to Takshasheela (Now in Afghanistan), far away from Pataliputra, the capital of Magadh. Pataliputra is now renamed as Patna and is the capital of Bihar province in India.

Chandragupta Maurya and Chanakya: Theme song

Map of Chandragupta Maurya empire

Chandragupta Maurya's empire in 305 BC after his conflict with Seleucus Nicator
Chandragupta Maurya's empire in 305 BC after his conflict with Seleucus Nicator | Source

Chandragupta became emperor of Magadha

Chanakya founded an institute their and started training the youths. He discovered the inbuilt talent (of a rich son) in a youth, Chandragupta. Chandragupta started learning every possible skill from his mentor Chanakya. It was a combination similar to that of Aristotle and Alexander the great in ancient Greece.

Chandragupta was an obedient and disciplined intellect with a great physique. He mastered arms and weapons very soon and became an expert in military strategy. He also learned political principles and diplomacy. Chandragupta was appointed the leader of the newly organized army in the institute of Takshasheela.

Chandragupta, with his mentor, attacked Magadha but defeated badly by the mighty forces of Dhanananda. Escaping from the battlefield both Chanakya and Chandragupta roared about in disguise of ordinary Brahmans.

Once they came into a village and started living with an old woman who had her only kid to be with her. The kid put his hands in the middle of a hot food stuff and burnt his hands during lunch. The old woman called her son to be as foolish as Chanakya.

Chanakya was not only a scholar but a diplomat. He asked the old woman, " Who is Chanakya? Why is he fool ?" The woman replied, "That foolish man attacked the center of the powerful dynasty and badly defeated. He should start conquering from the distant and remote places and gradually increase power. He should only attack the capital while becoming powerful enough to fight with the mighty". Chanakya learned the greatest lesson of his life. He left the place thanking the old lady.

Both Chanakya and Chandragupta followed the strategy and finally defeated Dhanananda. Chandragupta became the Emperor of Magadha and declared his mentor Chanakya, the Prime Minister.

It is said that Chandragupta Maurya married a Babylonian girl. She was the daughter of Seleucus, a general of Alexander the great. Chanakya advised him to do so to bring long-term enmity to an end.

Chandragupta was an enlightened Emperor. He founded the Maurya dynasty. He kept his citizens safe, wealthy and happy. Megasthenis, a Greek traveler, who came to visit his court, has written a description of his wealth, might, and enlightenment. It was the golden age of India. Chanakya was all along with him guiding and saving him from all dangers and evils.

Chandragupta and his bride

Chandra Gupta Maurya entertains his bride from Babylon
Chandra Gupta Maurya entertains his bride from Babylon | Source

Chandragupta became a Jain ascetic

Being old, Chandragupta, felt detachment from all earthly possessions and comforts. He, then Enthroned his son Bindusara and chosen to be a Jain ascetic. (It is worth mention that Ashoka, the great was son of Bindusara).

He went to Bhadrabahu Swami, the great Jain Acharya, and devoted himself to his Noble feet. He enchanted the tough vows of Jain ascetics and initiated. He left his kingdom, his palace, his wealth, his family and started practicing the Noble path of Lord Mahavira, taught by his preacher.

Chandragupta, the Maurya, was truly a rich son of a poor dad. Historians even do not know his father's name. Born to unknown parents, he became the Emperor of the mightiest Empire in the world. Moreover, he had shown the courage of a truly rich person to leave all these in search of eternal peace and devoted himself to the noble path taught by Lord Mahavira.


Ascetic Chandragupta Maurya

Footprints of Chandragupta Maurya atop Chandragiri hill at Shravanabelagola in Karnataka, India.
Footprints of Chandragupta Maurya atop Chandragiri hill at Shravanabelagola in Karnataka, India. | Source
Bhadrabahu Cave, where Chandragupta Maurya is said to have died, at Shravanabelagola, Karnataka, India.
Bhadrabahu Cave, where Chandragupta Maurya is said to have died, at Shravanabelagola, Karnataka, India. | Source

Chandragupta on freedom and unity

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TV serials on Chanakya and Chandragupta

Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi produced a TV serial about Chanakya in the nineties (India). The serial hit the audience. However, it was an early age of TV in India and the country had only government Chanel Doordarshan. Large numbers of Indian people didn't have access to television at that time.

Dr. Dwivedi is a learned man and conducted research on the life story of Chanakya. He made the serial truly historical. The TV serial was like a historical documentary. I personally met him and he described how he created the serial. The serial was named "Chanakya".

A new TV serial has started last year namely Chandragupta Maurya. Fortunately, most of the Indian households have access to TV and they can now enjoy the serial.

Chandragupta and Chitralekha


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    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 6 years ago from Jaipur

      There are many stories about Chanakya and Chandragupta. We find Sthulibhadra, famous Jain Acharya, as a childhood friend of Chanakya.

      Thanks for your contribution.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 6 years ago from Pune, India

      There is a lot of information on the entire life of Chanakya in Jain literature. According to it, Chanakya was born to a Jain-Brahmin couple. Chanakya also became a Jain monk in his later life. Please have a look at:

    • profile image

      avishkar 6 years ago

      the great chanakya n chandragupt was the unifier of india....

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 9 years ago from Jaipur

      OK . It is good to befooled some time. Anyway you can come to know about Chanakya and Chandragupta.

      jyoti kothari

    • profile image

      john schmit 9 years ago

      hey jyoti, This time I am befooled. I expected something like Rich dad poor dad but this is all about history. Indian history. I heared about Chanakya but do not know much about him or Chandragupta.