Prepare Prelims-2017-Day-12-Ancient India History

Pre-Mauryan Age (600 BC to 400 BC)

  Iron led to agriculture led to prosperity led to large territories.
  Many janpadas sprung up. Larger were called Mahajanapadas.


Magadha rose from janapada to mahajanapada & later emerged as empire of Mauryans.   There are variety of reasons for the same.

Rise & Growth of Magadha Empire

  Magadha was most prosperous kingdom in N India from 600 to 400 BC.   Founder was Jarasandha & Brihadrata.

  But rise of Magadha started under Haryanka, exapnsion took under Sisunagas & Nandas
      & reached zenith under Mauryans.

  1. HARYANKA Dynasty



  His Foreign Policy is Matrimonial Alliance

  He married Koshala Devi, Sister of Kosala Ruler PARSENAJIT and got Kasi as dowry  AJATASHATRU:

  Father: Bimbisara

  Mother: Chellana, Lichchhavi Princes

  First Buddhist Council @ Rajgir (483 BC-Prez: Makasappa)
  Conquered Vajjis Confederation after a prolonged struggle


  Found a city called PATALIPUTRA and made it as capital

  Killed by his minister SHISUNAGA

  1. SHISUNAGA Dynasty:

SHISUNAGA: Annexed Avanthi


  Second Buddhist Council @ Vaishali (383 BC-Prez: Sabhagami)

  Killed by his minister MAHAPADMANANDA

  1. NANDHA Dynasty:


  Famously called Ugrasena (Terrible Army)

  Annexed Kalinga before Asoka (source: Hathigumba Inscription, Hathigumba, Orissa during
      period of Kalingan King KARAVELA)


  Last Ruler

  Alexander’s Invasion (326BC) during his period, but he did not fight with Alexander   Defeated by Chandragupta Maurya with the help of a Brahmin named Vishnu
  Gupta / Chankya / Kautilya

Causes of Magadha’s success:

  Ambitious kings like in above 4 dynasties

  Topographical advantage: rivers used for trade, defense, communications.   Resource base was broad: minerals, agri, fertile land, forests 

  Efficient administration (Nandhas).   Massive military


  Republicans present during this period

  Republics were common during this period & were ruled by tribal oligarchies.   Raja had freedom to do appointments, simple administration.
  Licchavis of Vaishali was oldest.

  Buddha admired administration of Licchavis.   Ajatsatru defeated Licchavis later.
  Examples of republics are:

  1. The sakyas of Kapilavastu (Lord Buddha belonged)
  2. The Lichchhavis of Vaisali (Oldest republic)
  3. The Mallas of Pava (Mahavira breathed his last at Pava)
  4. The Mallas of Kusinagar (Buddha breathed his last at Kusinagar)
  5. The Kolliyas of Ramagrama
  6. The Bhaggas of Sumsumasa
  7. The Moriyas of Pippalivahana
  8. The Kalams of Kesaputta
  9. the Videhas of Mithila
  10. the Nayas(Jnatrikas) of Vaisali

Iranian & Greek Invasions

  1. Iranian invasion

  NW India fragmented plus wealth present. So attacked by Iranians.

  Impact: Contact for 200y, Trade with them via coins, Ashokan inscriptions in NW India in
      300 BC wrote in Kharosti (Iranian script), In preamble of Ashoka’s edicts, In sculpture too
      impact is visible, bell shaped capitals are from Iran, via Iran only Greeks came to know about
      Indian wealth

  1. Greek invasion

  Alexander’s dream of capturing world led him to India where political conditions were
      suitable i.e. Fragmented due to independent monarchies & tribal republics.
  He marched via Khyber pass in 326 BC & defeated Taxila ruler Ambi first, later

Porus was defated.

  Later he came across Nanda dynasty.

  Dhanananda is mentioned as Xandrames or Aggrammes or Ganderites in the Greek
            historical texts. 

  These texts mention that crossing the Beas was the last outpost of Alexander’s army
      which was insisted by Alexander to cross Ganga as well.

  But by hearing that Dhanananda was waiting for them with 200, 000 army they were
      frightened and revoltedand thus Alexander’s army turned back.

  Alexander began his homeward journey in Babylon.

  Impact: Ancient Europe came in contact with Ancient India for 1st time.

  He destroyed petty states of NW India which paved way for Mauryan empire.
  Greek influence in Gandhara scultpture form, His historians tell us about India.

  Society
  Economy

King NameSituationEffects
1.           Cyprus of

Persia (Iran)

Ist to penetrate into India &

destroyed N. of Kabul

-Intro of Aramiac writing

-Promotion of Indo-Iran trade

-Geographic exploration of Indus &

Arabian sea leading to new water route

-Fusion of arts, religion.

2.           Alexander


Defeated Darius III &

dismantled Persian empire.

After conquest of Persian

empire marched towards India

via Khyber pass in 326 BC &

defeated Porus.

Alexander’s advance was

arrested on banks of Beas for

his soldiers mutinied & refused

to proceed further after Battle

of Jhelum & Vitasava. His

dream of Eastern empire

remained unfulfilled. The king

who had never known defeat

at the hands of enemies had

accepted defeat due to his

own men.

-Trade route b/w N.W.India & W.Asia


-Indians learned from Greek in

Astronomy, coinage, archi & sculpture

(Gandhara school)


  -Established Orthodoxy & changing aspirations of groups gave rise to as many as 62 religious
      sects (heterodox sects) during the period. (Jainism & Buddhism were more prominent)

Reasons for heterodox sects:

  Division into 4 varnas led aspirations of vaishyas, kshatriyas v/s Brahmins to lead

improved social position (as trade had enhanced their economic position);

  Rise of new agri economy required use of bullocks but vedic ractice of killing cattle led to
      decimation of cattle wealth. B & J spoke against these vedic practices.

  Desire of commoners to give up material life & lead a simple life.

  Vedic religion lost its purity & vedic philosophy was getting complex & infected by
      dogmas, sacrifices , superstition etc.


Reasons for popularity of Buddhism & Jainism

  Both Budhha & Mahavira were magnetic personalities

  Buddhism used Pali & Jainism used Prakrit, both languages of common man (BP-JP)

  They didn’t attch much importance to existing varna system & hence lower classes were

  Were patronized by various kingdoms. (Nandas patronized Jainism, Mauryans:Buddhism )   Didn’t engage in metaphysiacl discussion & suggested simple way of living –
  Followed liberal policy towards women. (Later in Buddhism)


  Both were founded by kshatriyas in E. India

  Both were against ritualistic interpretation of vedas & opposed Brahmanical
      domination. They uphold essence of Vedas.

  Both preached Truth, NV, celibacy, detachment from material comforts.
  Both were non-theistic religions. (Buddha agnostic??)
  Both believed in karma & re-birth (transmigration of soul)
  Both allowed women & shudras to follow religion, become monks & attain

  Both were opposed to caste system but couldn’t eliminate it.


  Method of attaining salvation for Jains was extreme one, for Buddhas-moderate.   Jainism is more liberal towards women.

  Jainism believed in soul, Buddhism didn’t.

  Jainism was confined to India, but survived here. Buddhism spread rapidly to foreign lands
      but died in India.

  Jainism laid overemphasis on Ahimsa, Buddhism was practical.


  Origin shrouded in mystery as ‘jaina’s believe religion is by-product of teachings of 24
      tirthankars (gurus) (Mahavira was 24th Tirthankar)

Mahavira (Real name Vardhaman)

  Born in 540 BC near Kundagrama;

  Siddharta was his father, Trisala was mother, Yashada wife & Jameli was daughter. –

Attained kaivalya (meaning enlightenment in Jainism) at Jrimbhikagram in East India (Age

  Also called Jina(conqueror), Jitendriya (one who conquered his senses); Nirgrantha (free
      from all bonds)

Way to Kaivalya (enlightenment or Nirvana):

-Right Belief

-Right Knowledge

-Right Conduct

Tri-Ratna of  Jainism

Five main teachings (vows) (LK-SAB) called Mahavratas




-Non-possession (Aparigraha)

-Observe continence (Brahmacharya)…Added by Mahavira

Sacred literature:

  The sacred literature of Shvetambaras is written in the form of Prakrit called Ashvamagadhi

Philosophy of Jainism:

  Mahavira thought all objects, whether animate/inanimate had soul & felt pain.   He rejected the authority of vedas & rejected Brahmin supremacy.

(i) Nyayavada: Object of knowledge is highly complex & cannot be fully conceived by man. So man’s conception is valid from a single stand point only.

(ii) Saptavanginyaya: There are 7 views & none is comprehensive. So man’s statement is partially true (conditional)

(iii) Syadvada: Theory of maybe/perhaps

(iv) Anekantvada: Doctrine of manyness of reality.

Concept of Sale-khana:

  Best form of death is by giving up food.

Sects in Jainism:

  After Mahavira’s death during Chandragupta Maurya’s reign, famine led to exodus of Jains
      from Ganga valley to Deccan.

Digambaras (SKY-clad)

  Followers of Bhadrababu who accompanied him in South & retained nudity. Shvetambaras: (WHITE-clad)

  Sthulabhadra stayed in North only & allowed his followers to wear white garments.

Digamber (South India) Bhadrabahu

(Bhadre in South…Kozi)

Shvetamber (North) Sthulbhadra
Women cant achieve salvation due to


Women can
Didn’t recognize Sabastra guruRecognized Sabastra guru

Spread of Jainism:

  In the period between Mauryas & Guptas, it can be traced from Mathura in west to Orissa
      in the East but later was concentrated in two regions i.e. Gujarat, Rajasthan(Digambar) &
      Mysore (Shvetambara)

Decline of Jainism:

  Took concept of Ahimsa too far, said medicines shouldn’t be consumed as it kills

  unpopular with commoners.

  Observance of extreme penance & austerity was tough.

  Jains didn’t take any special efforts to spread the religion.

Jain architecture


   Udaygiri & Khandagiri (Orissa); Hathigumpha; Baghagumpa

   Dilvara temples in Mt. Abu, Tejapala & Vimalavasai temples.
   Girnar & Palitan temples (Gujarat) Pavapuri & Rajgriha (Bihar)
   Statue of Gomateshwar/Bahubali at Shravanbelagola (Mysore)


  Gautama, the Buddha also known as Siddhartha, Sakyamuni and Tathagata.   Born in 563 BC (widely accepted) at Lumbini.

  Left home at the age of 29 and attained Nirvana at the age of 35 at Bodh Gaya.   Delivered his first sermon at Sarnath.

Lord Mahavira enunciated four noble truths:

(a) There is suffering

(b) This suffering must have cause of ‘desire’

(c) Suffering must be rid off

(d) In order to get rid of suffering, one must know the right way i.e. 8 fold path Desire could be extinguished if we followed eightfold paths: (VRAS-LEMM)

  1. Right vision; Right resolution (wisdom)
  2. Right action; Right speech; Right livelihood (morality)

3. Right efforts, right memory, Right meditation (concentration)

Tri-Ratnas of Buddhism (3 jewels) BDS
        Buddha (enlightened)

  Dhamma (doctrine)
  Sangha (order)

Sacred shrines:

  Lumbini, BodhGaya, Sarnath & Kusinagar, Shravasti, Raj Griha, Vaishali & Sankasya:   Eight holy places, Ashtamahastanas.

  Other Centres: Amravati, Nagarjunikonda (AP), Nalanda (Bihar), Junagarh & Vallabhi
      (Gujarat), Sachi, Bharut (MP), Ajanta-Ellora (Maharashtra), Dhaulagiri (Orissa), Kanaju,
      Kasambi, Mathura (UP)

Architecture: Chaitya (Church…Prayer hall),Vihara (Residence), Stupa (Relics of

Sects of Buddhism


Lesser vehicle


Greater vehicle


Vehicle of thunder bolt


believed in

Original teachings of


Heavenliness of Buddha

& Salvation though

Buddha’s help.

Salvation though magical power

called Vajra( sex)

Believes in



No Yes (So, 3 sculpture


Lang. usedPaliSanskrit

Nirvana is


Extinction of all

Not a negative cessation

but a positive state of bliss


Diety Tara

Facts about Buddhism

  Buddhism has roots in Sankhya Philosophy, Vedanta, Upanishads (Ideas like Karma,
      rebirth, moksha, ahimsa)

  According To Buddhism, there is no God, no self, no soul, no spirit.

Contribution of Buddhism

  Buddhism contributed by giving idea of Ahimsa (Non-violence)…inculcated later in

  Buddhism overcame India’s isolation by establishing contacts b/w India &
      neighbouring countries.

  Buddhism proved to be one of the greatest civilizing forces.

Spread of Buddhism

  Pali, language of people spread Buddhist doctrine amongst the masses.

  200 hundred years after Buddha’s death, Mauryan King, Ashoka embraced Buddhism.   This was an epoch making event.

  Ashoka made it a world religion by spreading it in Sri-Lanka,C.Asia, W.Asia   Lord Kansihka became its patron in 1st Century AD.

  Though Buddhism disappeared from the land of its birth, it is still practiced in South 

Asia, South East Asia & East Asia.

  Spread of 2 sects: Mahayanism in C. Asia, China & Japan; Hinayanism in Burma, Sri Lanka,
      Thailand & other South East Asia.


  -By 12th Century AD, Buddhism became practically extinct. It had became victim of

‘Brahmanism’ against which it fought in beginning. Buddhists monks were cut off from lives of people. They gave up Pali, took Sanskrit, language of intellectuals.

  -Entry of women in Buddist Sangha & attack by Turkish invaders led its decline. -Buddha, by
      early medieval times, was considered as one of incarnations of Vishnu & thus became part of

Mahajanpadas and Nandas

 Anga (including the modern districts of Monghyr and Bhagalpur in Bihar) with its capital of

 Magadha (covering the districts of Patna, Gaya and parts of Shahabad) with its earlier capital
      at Rajgriha or Girivraj

 Vajji (a confederacy of eight republican clans, situated to the north of the river Ganga in
      Bihar) with its capital, Vaisali

 Malla (also a republican confederacy covering the modern districts of Deoria, Basti,

Gorakhpur and Siddharthnagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh) with two capitals at Kusinara and

 Kasi with its capital at Varanasi

 Kosala (covering the present districts of Faizabad, Gonda, Bahraich etc.), with its capital at
      Sravasti ○Vatsa(covering the modern districts Allahabad, Mirzapur etc.), with its capital at

 Chedi, (covering the modern Bundelkhand area with its capital at Shuktimati)

 Kuru (covering the modern Haryana and Delhi area to the west of river Yamuna) with its
      capital at Indraprastha (modern Delhi)

 Panchala (covering the area of western Uttar Pradesh up to the east of river Yamuna up to the
      Kosala Janapada) with its capital at Ahichhatra

 Surasena, (covering Brij Mandal with its capital at Mathura)

 Matsya (covering the area of Alwar, Bharatpur and Jaipur in Rajasthan)

 Avanti (modern Malawa) with its capital at Ujjayini and Mahishmati

 Ashmaka (between the rivers Narmada and Godavari) with its capital at Potana

 Gandhara (area covering the western part of Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan) with its
      capitals at Taxila and Pushkalavati

 Kamboja (identified with modern district of Hazara disricts of Pakistan)

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