Samrat Samprati was an emperor of Maurya dynasty who reigned from c. 224–215 BCE. He was the son of Ashoka's blind son, Kunala. He succeeded his cousin, Dasharatha as Emperor of the Maurya Empire and ruled almost the entire present-day Indian subcontinent. Samprati Maharaja had a population of 400 Million Jains & also had a vast army of more than 150 Million including all the type of soldier units.
Claim to throne
Kunala was the son of one of Ashoka's queens, Padmavati (who was Jain), but was blinded in a conspiracy to remove his claim to the throne. Thus Kunal was replaced by Dasharatha as the heir to the throne.
Kunala lived in Ujjain with his "Dhai Maa". Samprati was brought up there.
Meeting with Ashoka
Years after being denied the throne, Kunala and Samprati approached Ashok's court in an attempt to claim the throne. Ashoka could not deliver the throne to his blind son, but was impressed by Samprati's skills as a warrior and administrator and declared Samprati the successor to Dasharatha. After Dasharatha's death, Samprati inherited the throne of the Maurya Empire.
According to the Jain tradition he ruled for 53 years. Samprati was influenced by the teachings of a Jain monk, Suhastin. He also sent Jain scholars abroad to spread Jainist teachings. But research is needed to learn where those scholars went and their influence. Until now, this has not been accomplished. The Jaina text, Pariśiṣṭaparvan mentions that he ruled both from Pataliputra and Ujjain.
Samprati and Jainism
Emperor Samprati is poorly highlighted in history. He is regarded as the "Jain Ashoka" for his patronage and efforts to spreading Jainism in east India. Samprati, according to Jain historians, is considered more powerful and famous than Ashoka himself. The historical authenticity of Samprati is proved because Samprati Vihär, after the name of Samprati, existed at Vadamänu in the Krishna Valley during the second century CE. Under the influence of Suhastin (the disciple of Acharya Sthulibhadra, the leading saint of the Jain community under Mahagiri）, Samprati was again converted to Jainism. It is said that Samprati built thousands of Jain Temples in India, many of which are still in use, such as the Jain temples at Viramgam and Palitana (Gujarat), Agar Malwa (Ujjain). Within three and a half years, he got one hundred and twenty-five thousand new temples built, thirty-six thousand repaired, twelve and a half million murtis, holy statues, consecrated and ninety-five thousand metal murtis prepared. Samprati is said to have erected Jain temples throughout his empire. He founded Jain monasteries even in non-Aryan territory, and almost all ancient Jain temples or monuments of unknown origin are popularly attributed to him. It may be noted that all the Jain monuments of Rajasthan and Gujarat, with unknown builders are also attributed to Emperor Samprati.
- - Emperor Samprati was Great Grand Son of Chandragupta Maurya, Grandson of Emperor Ashoka and son of Kunal. According to an agreement, the great empire of Ashok, was divided into two parts between Samprati and his paternal cousin Dashrath. Samprati became the empire of entire western and southern part of India and ruled from Ujjain, while Dashrath ruled from Pataliputra on eastern parts of India. Samprati was a brave and peace-loving emperor, who cared of his subjects a lot. Like his great grandfather, he too was staunch follower and patron of Jainism. He was disciple of the great Jain Acharya Suhasti. According to Vincent Smith, Samprati sent Jain monks and scholars to Arabistan, Iran, and Greece to introduce Jainism to local populations. He also sent Jain missionaries to Southern parts of India for this purpose. Before departure of the missionaries, Samprati used to send some spies in form of monks in the territories to clear out the routes from any threats. Because of Samprati, Jainism took an aggressive role and was spread in Central India, Deccan and Coorg in South India. He opened food centers for the poor. He asked his feudatories to prohibit killing of animals. His cousin Dashrath, who ruled from Pataliputra, was patron of Ajivik sect. According to many scholars, all the rock inscriptions said to be carved by Emperor Ashok doesn’t belong to Ashok, but many of them actually belong to other Mouryan emperors, including Samprati. The inscriptions having the words ‘Devanam Piyass’ are said to be inscriptions of Emperor Samprati. Unfortunately, there are not many references to political activities of emperor Samprati. He ruled for about half a century. He won many territories in Southern India. He died in 190 B.C.E. We do not find references to any invasion on India in Samprati’s reign. After the death of Samprati, his brother Shalishuk Mourya become his successor. More research on the life of Samprati is needed. References: History of Jaina Monachism by S.B. Deo Bharatiya Itihas: Ek Drishti by Dr. Jyoti Prasad Jain Jain Dharm Ka Moulik Itihas Part II by Acharya Hastimal Maharaj
- Thapar, Romila (2001). Aśoka and the Decline of the Maurya, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-564445-X, p.187
- Sharma, Suresh K.; Sharma, Usha (2004), Cultural and Religious Heritage of India: Jainism, Mittal Publications, ISBN 978-81-7099-957-7