Bimbisara

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Bimbisara
King Bimbisara and the Buddha.jpg
King Bimbisara, depicted in Burmese art, offering his kingdom to the Buddha.
Founder of Haryanka dynasty
Reignc. 544 – c. 492 BCE (52 years)
PredecessorBhattiya
SuccessorAjatashatru
Clan and noble familyHaryanka
Born558 BCE
Died491 BCE
SpouseKosala Devī
Chellanā
Dharini
Kṣemā / Khemā
Nandā[1]
Padmāvatī / Padumavatī
Ambapālī
IssueAjatashatru
DynastyHaryanka
FatherBhattiya
ReligionBuddhism

Jainism

Hinduism

Bimbisāra (in Buddhist tradition) or Shrenika (Śreṇika) and Seniya (Seṇiya) in the Jain histories[2][3] (c. 558 – c. 491 BCE[4][5] or during the late 5th century BCE[6]) was a King of Magadha (r. 543 – 492 BCE[7] or c. 400 BCE[8]) and belonged to the Haryanka dynasty.[9] He was the son of Bhattiya.[10] His expansion of the kingdom, especially his annexation of the kingdom of Anga to the east, is considered to have laid the foundations for the later expansion of the Mauryan Empire.[11]

According to Jain Tradition, he is said to be the first Tirthankara (will be named as Padmanabha / Mahapadma) out of 24th Tirthankara of the future cosmic age.[12] He frequently visited Samavasarana of Lord Mahavira seeking answers to his queries.[13]

According to Buddhist Tradition, he is also known for his cultural achievements and was a great friend and protector of the Buddha. Bimbisara—according to Hiuen Tsang—built the city of Rajgir (Rajagriha).[7] He was succeeded on the throne by his son Ajatashatru.[11]

Life[edit]

Map of the eastern Gangetic plain before Bimbisāra's conquests
(Licchavi's dependencies, in green, and Malla shown separately)
Map of the eastern Gangetic plain after Bimbisāra's conquests
(Malla shown within the Vajjika League)
King Bimbisara visits the Bamboo Garden (Venuvana) in Rajagriha; artwork from Sanchi

Bimbisara was the son of Bhattiya, a chieftain. He ascended to throne at the age of 15 in 543 BCE.[14] He established the Haryanka dynasty and laid the foundations of Magadha with the fortification of a village, which later became the city of Pataliputra.[15] Bimbisara's first capital was at Girivraja (identified with Rajagriha). He led a military campaign against Anga, perhaps to avenge his father's earlier defeat at the hands of its king, Brahmadatta. The campaign was successful, Anga was annexed, and prince Kunika (Ajatashatru) was appointed governor at Champa.[16] His conquest of Anga gave Magadha control over the routes to the Ganges Delta, which had important ports that gave access to the eastern coast of India.[17][18] Pukkusati, the king of Gandhara, sent Bimbisara an embassy.[14]

His court is said to have included Sona Kolivisa, Sumana (flower gatherer), Koliya (minister), Kumbhaghosaka (treasurer) and Jivaka (physician).[19]

Marriage alliances[edit]

Bimbisara used marriage alliances to strengthen his position. His first wife was Kosala Devi, the daughter of Mahā Kosala, the king of Kosala, and a sister of Prasenajit.[20] His bride brought him Kashi as dowry.[21] This marriage also ended the hostility between Magadha and Kosala and gave him a free hand in dealing with the other states. His second wife, Chellana, was a Licchavi princess from Vaishali and daughter of the Jain[22] king Chetaka.[23] His third wife, Kshema, was a daughter of the chief of the Madra clan of Punjab.[24] Mahavagga depicts him having 500 wives.[14]

Death[edit]

Bimbisara's jail, where King Bimbisara was imprisoned, in Rajgir

As per Buddhism, due to influence by Dustabandu Divadatt (a Buddhist monk), Bimbisara was assassinated by his son Ajatashatru in c. 493 BCE, who then succeeded him to the throne. However, as per Jainism, Bimbisara committed suicide.[17]

Traditional accounts[edit]

Jainism[edit]

Bimbisara is referred to as Shrenika[25][3] of Rajgir in Jain literature who became a devotee of Jainism impressed by the calmness of Jain Mun Yamadhar.[26][27] He frequently visited Samavasarana of Lord Mahavira seeking answers to his queries. He asked about the jain Ramayana[13] and an illuminating sage (King Prasana).[28] He is said to be a Balabhadra in one of his previous lives.[29]

Per Jain scripture, Bimbisara killed himself in a fit of passion, after his son had imprisoned him. Consequently, he was reborn in hell, where he is currently residing, until the karma which led to his birth there comes to an end.[30][31] It is further written, that he will be reborn as Mahapadma (sometimes called Padmanabha), the first in the chain of future tirthankaras who are to rise at the beginning of the upward motion (Utsarpini) of the next era of time.[32]

Buddhism[edit]

Bimbisara with his royal cortege issuing from the city of Rajagriha to visit the Buddha
Bimbisara welcomes the Buddha

According to Buddhist scriptures, King Bimbisara met the Buddha for the first time prior to the Buddha's enlightenment, and later became an important disciple that featured prominently in certain Buddhist suttas. He is recorded to have attained sotapannahood, a degree of enlightenment in Buddhist teachings.[33] Although Bimbisara let the women in his palace visit Buddha in his monastery in the evenings; the women wanted a hair-and-nail stupa they could use to venerate the Buddha any time. Bimbisara spoke with Buddha who complied with their request.[34]

Others[edit]

According to Puranas, Bimbisara ruled Magadha for a period of 28 or 38 years. Sinhalese chronicles date his reign to be of 52 years.[35]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Chandra, Jnan (1958). "SOME UNKNOWN FACTS ABOUT BIMBISĀRA". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Indian History Congress. 21: 215–217.
  2. ^ von Glasenapp 1999, p. 40-41.
  3. ^ a b Jain & Upadhye 2000, p. 59.
  4. ^ Hugh George Rawlinson (1950), A Concise History of the Indian People. Oxford University Press, p. 46.
  5. ^ F. Max Muller (2001): The Dhammapada And Sutta-nipata. Routledge (UK), p. xlvii. ISBN 0-7007-1548-7.
  6. ^ Keay, John: India: A History. Revised and Updated: "The date [of Buddha's meeting with Bimbisara] (given the Buddhist 'short chronology') must have been around 400 BC."
  7. ^ a b V. K. Agnihotri (ed.), Indian History. Allied Publishers, New Delhi 262010, p. 166 f.
  8. ^ Keay, India: A History
  9. ^ Peter N. Stearns (2001), The Encyclopedia of World History. Houghton Mifflin, p. 76 ff. ISBN 0-395-65237-5.
  10. ^ Raychaudhuri 1923, p. 97.
  11. ^ a b "Bimbisara". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  12. ^ Dundas, Paul (2 September 2003). The Jains. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-50165-6.
  13. ^ a b Dalal, Roshen (2010), Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide, India: Penguin Books, p. 338, ISBN 9780143414216
  14. ^ a b c Sen 1999, p. 112.
  15. ^ Sastri 1988, p. 11.
  16. ^ Upinder Singh 2016, p. 269.
  17. ^ a b Thapar, Romila (2002). Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300. University of California Press. pp. 152–154. ISBN 0-520-24225-4.
  18. ^ Kailash Chand Jain 1972, p. 99.
  19. ^ Upinder Singh 2016, p. 270.
  20. ^ Upinder Singh 2016, p. 271.
  21. ^ Eck, Diana. (1998) Banaras, Columbia University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-231-11447-8.
  22. ^ Datta, Amaresh (1988). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Devraj to Jyoti. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0.
  23. ^ Luniya, Bhanwarlal Nathuram. (1967) Evolution of Indian Culture, Lakshmi Narain Agarwal. p. 114.
  24. ^ Krishna, Narendra. (1944) History of India, A. Mukherjee & bros. p. 90.
  25. ^ Dundas 2002, p. 36.
  26. ^ Queen Chelna and King Shrenik, archived from the original on 13 April 2019, retrieved 21 September 2015
  27. ^ Datta, Amaresh (1988). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Devraj to Jyoti. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0.
  28. ^ Leshyas
  29. ^ Choksi, Mansi; Chhapia, Hemali (10 February 2011), "Now, meet Ravan the saint", The Times of India
  30. ^ Jaini 1998, p. 228.
  31. ^ Dundas 2002, p. 41.
  32. ^ Dundas 2002, p. 40-41.
  33. ^ KTS Sarai, Jeffrey D Long, ed. (2017), Buddhism and Jainism, doi:10.1007/978-94-024-0852-2_94
  34. ^ John S. Strong (2007), Relics of the Buddha, p. 72, ISBN 978-0691117645
  35. ^ Kailash Chand Jain 1991, p. 88.

Sources[edit]

See also[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Bhattiya
King of Magadha
543–491 BC
Succeeded by