Nov 13, 2009

Emperor Samprati | Jainism in Mouryan Reign

-Mahavir Sanglikar

Emperor Samprati was Great Grand Son of Chandragupt Mourya, Grandson of Emperor Ashok 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 Patliputra on eastern parts of India.

Samprati was a brave and peace lover 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 Arabsthan, Iran and Greece for spread of Jainism. 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 Patliputra, 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 eldest son 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

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