Debunking Lies On Origin Of Chandragupta Maurya


Chandragupta Maurya was a person who turned the tide of History by uprooting tyrant Nanda kings with the help of his friend, philosopher and guide Kautilya, who later became his trusted advisor and minister. Chandragupta Maurya is also credited as the first “Historical Emperor of India”.

Historian RK Mookherjee in his book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (Madras University Sir William Meyer Lectures, 1940 -41) quotes-“Chandragupta Maurya ranks as one of India’s greatest rulers. There are many titles to his greatness which, in several respects, is found to be even unique. He figures as the first historical emperor of India in the sense that he is the earliest emperor in Indian History whose historicity can be established on the solid ground of ascertained chronology.”


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Now the problem arises at the point when ignorant people start claiming that Chandra Gupta Maurya was a Shudra. These people say that Chandragupta Maurya was a Shudra based on the following-

  1. Foreign sources do not say that Chandragupta was a Kshatriya.

  2. Puranas confirm that Chandragupta Maurya was a Shudra.

3.Mudrarakshasa says that Chandragupta Maurya was a low-born shudra.

Let us debunk this falsehood going around for quite a lot of time…

The first argument, foreign sources-

  1. From Curtius ( First century AD) : Porus reported to Alexander that the present king of Magadha ( Dhana Nanda) was not merely a man originally of no distinction. His father was in fact a barber, who stealthily became the queen’s paramour, and encompassed the assassination of King and his sons by treachery.


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

  1. Diodorus: Porus informed Alexander “that the king of Gangaridai ( the Nanda King) was a man of quite a worthless character, and held in no respect, as he was thought to be the son of a barber.”


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

  1. From Plutarch: “Androkottos ( Chandragupta) himself was then but a youth, saw Alexander himself and afterwards used to declare that Alexander could have taken all of Magadha since the king was hated and despised by his subjects for the wickedness of his disposition and the meanness of his origin”.


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

4 ) Justin writes ” India, after Alexander’s death, as if the yoke of servitude had been shaken off its neck, had put his perfects to death. Sandrocottus ( Chandragupta) was the leader who achieved his freedom. He was born in humble life but was prompted to aspire to royalty by an omen. By his insolent behaviour he had offended Alexander, and was ordered to be put to death when he sought safety by a speedy flight.”


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Deduction: Here we have some proof of the base origin of Nandas. Justin’s statement only points out that Chandragupta was aspiring for royalty. According to RK Mookherjee-


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Now, if somebody comes here trying to give proof that Shudras were poor and hence humble origin theory proves Shudra Origin of Chandragupta Maurya, please go and read ancient texts that say that King Harishchandra was bought as a slave by a Shudra giving a huge amount of money. So, being humble is not at all equal to being a Shudra.

Here we would take only two Indian sources into account- A. Hindu sources B. Buddhist Sources

The main Hindu sources are as follows –

1.Puranas (mainly Vishnu Puran)

2.Mudrarakshasa by Vishakhadatta

3.Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva

  1. Arthashastra of Kautilya

Arthashastra was written by Kautilya who was the minister of Chandragupta Maurya.

The bone of contention arises as some people claim that Puranas claim that Chandragupta Maurya was a Shudra by wrong analysis.

Let us see what does Vishnu Purana say.

Vishnu Purana ( translated by H H Wilson) – “The last of the Brihadratha dynasty, Ripunjaya will have a minister named Sunika (Sunaka), who having killed his sovereign, will place his son Pradyota upon the throne (Vayu/Matsya: 23 years).His son will be Palaka (Vayu: 14 yrs/ Matsya: Tilaka or Balaka 28 yrs). His son will be Vishakhayupa (Vyua: 50 yrs/Matsya: 53 yrs). His son will be Janaka (Vayu: Ajaka 21 yrs/Matsya: Suryaka 21 yrs/Bhvaishya: Rajaka).His son will be Nandivardhana (Vayu/Matsya: 20 yrs). These five kings of the house of Pradyota will reign over the earth for 138 years (same number in Vayu and Bhavishya).The next prince will be Sisunaga, his son will be Kakavarna (Vayu/Matsya: 36 yrs), his son will be Kshemadharman (Vayu: Kshemakarman 20 yrs/Matsya: 36 yrs), his son will be Kshatraujas (Vayu: 40 yrs/Matsya:Kshemajit or Kshemachis 36 yrs/Bhavishya: Kshetrajna), his son will be Vidmisara (Vayu: Vimbisara 28 yrs/Matsya: Vindhusena or Vindhyasena 28 yrs/Bhavishya: Vidhisara), his son will be Ajatashatru,his son will be Dharbaka (Vayu: Harshaka 25 yrs/Matsya: Vansaka 24 yrs), his son will be Udayasva (Vayu: 33 yrs/Matsya: Udhibi or Udasin 33 yrs), his son will be Nandivardhana and his son willbe Mahananda (Vayu: 42 or 43 yrs/Matsya: 40 or 43 yrs). These ten Sisunagas will be kings of the earth for 362 years.The son of Mahananda will be born of a woman of the Sudra-class, his name will be Nanda, called Mahapadmafor he will be exceedingly avaricious. Like another Parasu-rama, he will be the annihilator of the Kshatriya race, for after him the kings of the earth will be Sudras. He will bring whole earth under one umbrella.He will have eight sons, Sumalya, and others, who will reign after Mahapadma. He and his sons will govern for a hundred years. The Brahman Kautilya will root out the nine Nandas.Upon the cessation of the race of Nanda, the Mauryas will possess the earth. Kautilya will place Chandragupta on the throne, his son will be Vindusara, his son will be Ashokavardhana, his son will be Susyasas, Sangata, his son will be Salisuka, his son will be Somasarman, his son will be Sasadharman, and his successor will be Vrihadratha. These are ten Mauryas who will reign over the earth for 137 years.”

Now some people quote a specific part of Vishnu Purana which they claim as concluding evidence proving the Shudra origin of Mauryas-


Vishnu Puran

And they quote more-“तत: प्रभृति शूद्रा भूपाला भविष्यंति” (21st verse line of Adhyay 24 of the fourth part of Vishnu Purana).

Now, answering the first part, historians say that a certain commentator invented his own story of Mura and , who commented that Maurya term evolved from Mura. But it is entirely wrong. Some people will ask why? It is because if we follow the rules of Sanskrit grammar prescribed in Vyakaran by perhaps the greatest Sanskrit grammarian Panini, we can clearly conclude that the word Maurya cannot be derived from Mura if taken in female sense, the right word would be Maureya not Maurya.

Prof. Radha Kumud Mukerji, the author of Chandragupta Maurya and his times, comments: “Heavens save us from commentators who supplement texts by facts of their own creation! The commentator here makes the astounding statement that Chandragupta was a son of the Nand king against the silence of all the Purans on the subject. Such a fact completely militates against the context of the references which the Purans make to Chandragupta….”It may be noted that if there is any sort of connection between a preceding and succeeding dynasty, the Purans as a rule do not omit to mention it.”

He goes on to add that it“ is nothing but a pure and simple invention of the commentator to explain grammatically the formation Maurya from Mura. But he is as innocent of grammar as of any concern for truth. It is impossible to derive by any grammar Maurya as a direct formation from Mura. The derivative from Mura is Maurya. The term Maurya can be derived only from the masculine Mura which is mentioned as the name of a gotra in a Ganapatha to Panini’s Sutra[IV.1,151]. It is strange that the derivation of the term has not been traced by this track.”


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Coming to the second question, along with the mention of the destruction of Shishunaga dynasty and establishment of Nanda dynasty, the Puranas do mention that after this Shudras will rule the country. However, this sentence is applicable to Nandas and after the destruction of Shishunaga dynasty there were several dynasties that were definitely Brahmanas. Hence the view does not seem to be correct.


Snippet from HC Raychaudhuri’s book “India in the Age of the Nandas”

The Puranas are more concerned with the base origin of Nandas, not Mauryas, according to RK Mookherjee.(Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966) )


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Supporters of the myth of Shudra origin of Mauryas, often give reference of a play called ‘Mudrarakshasa’ of ‘Vishakhadatta’, which uses the term “Vrishala” for Chandragupta.The gfeneral meaning of the term is “One of Low Birth, (shudra)”. But,The point that is generally ignored is that this word has two meanings, One of which is “Bull”.The confusion was created because a 17th century commentator of the Same Play “Mudrarakshas” named Dhundhiraja, invented history on his own, that, “There were 2 wives of Nanda King: Sunanda and Mura and by Mura Chandragupta was born. Dhudhiraja, son of Lakshmana of the Vyasa family, composed a commentary on this drama, on the suggestion of Tryambaka Adhvarin, the minister of the Bhosle, king Sarfoji of Thanjavur, in Saka 1635 (1713 CE). Few other commentaries on this drama are also available however all are later than that of Dhundhiraja.

It has been proved that all such claims were baseless and wrong as there is no proof of any wife of Nanda king by this name. Further, the play deviates from the views of Puranas and invents a history of its own by adding new character.


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

The excavated portion of the Ashoka’s pillar at Nandan garh contains an emblem of peacock. The Stupa at Sanchi also has several statues of peacocks. Besides this, Ashoka’s inscriptions also mentions peacock. Thus it is also said that people living in lands full of peacocks, were called ‘Maurya’. So it can be inferred that the origin of the ‘Maurya’ is not from the word ‘Mura’.

Now, we will analyze another source, Kathasarita sagara by Somadeva.

Kathasaritsagara is 11th century CE Sanskrit work composed by Somadeva. Nothing is known about the author.But it is said that it was was composed for the queen Suryamati of the Kashmir king Anantadeva. This sets the location of the author and environs under which this work was composed.

Some believe that this work is based upon an earlier work, Brhat-katha of Gunadhya, written in Paisachi dialect. The translaton of the work into English was done by by C H Tawney (divided into two volumes in 1880 & 1884). Later N M Penzer expanded this translation with notes which compared similar stories from different cultures.

Excerpts from Kathasaritsagara(Tawney, C H (1880). The Katha Sarit Sagar. The Baptist Mission Press. Kolkata.) –

“King Nanda was the lord of 99 crores of gold pieces. When he died his body was re-animated by a person proficient in Yoga and, since then, he was known as Yogananda. Sakatala, the minister, hated Yogananda thinking him to be an imposter.

Yogananda, having known it, punished Sakatatala on a false plea. Since then Sakatala became definitely against him. One day, while brooding on his plan of revenge, he observed a Brahman digging in a meadow, and asked him the reason for doing that. Chanakya, the Brahman, replied, “I am rooting out this grass which has hurt my foot’ The minister was struck at the reply and regarded that angry firm-minded Brahman as the fit person to accomplish the death of Yogananda.

He then engaged him by the promise of a reward of one hundred thousand suvarnas to come and preside at the sraddha which was to be celebrated in the palace of Nanda. Chanakya accompanied him to his house and on the appointed day went to preside at the Sraddha. Another Brahman, Subandhu, however, was desirous of getting precedence for himself and Nanda was persuaded by Sakatala to believe that Subandhu was a fit person to be given precedence.

There upon Nanda gave orders to remove Chanakya from the place which he occupied. Sakatala communicated the orders to Chanakya, pleading his own innocence in the matter. Burning with rage, Chanakya loosened the knot of his sikha, and took a vow to kill Nanda within seven days, after which alone he would tie his sikha again. On hearing this Nanda was enraged, but Chanakya escaped and was secretly sheltered by Sakatala.

Thereafter, Chanakya being supplied with all materials, practised a magical rite in which he was an adept, and by which on the seventh day Nanda was deprived of life. Sakatala effected the destruction of Yogananda’s son Hiranyagupta also, and raised Chandragupta, the son of the genuine Nanda, on the throne. Chanakya became the prince’s minister, and Sakatala having obtained the only object of his existence retired to spend his last days in the woods.”

According to Historian RK Mookherjee


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Some people say that Chanakya picked Chandragupta who was a Shudra as a Vaikalpik Kshatriya as he saw Kshatriya like qualities in him. I don’t know from where did they get this reference. But it is entirely wrong.Dr. Radha Kumud Mookerii says, “It is thus quite absurd to suppose that Kautliya who was out to rescue this dharma or system from the outrage inflicted upon it by a Shudra sovereignty, could have chosen as his agent in the fulfillment of his sacred mission a person of the same disqualification He could not consecrate to sovereignty one Shudra in place of another.”

A strong supporter of Varnashrama like Kautilya could not do this.


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

Let us see what does the Buddhist sources say. 1.Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta is one of most ancient works and almost predating Mauryas, it knows Moriyas as kshatriya caste residing in Pipphalivana (near Gorakhpur). The Mahaparinibbana Sutta states that the Moriyas (Mauryas) belonged to the Kshatriya community of Pippalivana. These traditions indicate that Chandragupta came from a Kshatriya lineage. Source :- Political History of Ancient India, from the Accession of Parikshit to the Extinction of the Gupta Dynasty by Hem Chandra Raychaudhuri, Page No. 138″ below are attachments of the sutta and the page.

Mahaparinibbana Sutta (in Digha Nikaya, Sutta Pitika), dated earlier than 1st century BCE, explicitly states that Mauryas/Moriyas were Kshatriyas.


Extinction of the Gupta Dynasty by Hem Chandra Raychaudhuri, Page No. 138″

According to Mahavamsa, and Mahavamsa Tika, Mauryas were Kshatriyas. The text Mahavamsa describes Chandra Gupta asa Kshtriya coming of clan of Maurya in the following words:

“Mauryanam Khattyanam vamsha jata”. (Geiger Trans p 27)

मोरियान खत्तियान वसजात सिरीधर|

चन्दगुत्तो ति पञ्ञात चणक्को ब्रह्मणा ततो||१६||महावंश


नवामं घनान्दं तं घातेत्वा चणडकोधसा|

सकल जम्बुद्वीपस्मि रज्जे समिभिसिच्ञ सो||१७||महावंश

हिन्दी अर्थ- मौर्यवंश नाम के क्षत्रियों में उत्पन्न श्री चंद्रगुप्त को चाणक्य नामक ब्राह्मण ने नवे घनानंद को चन्द्रगुप्त के हाथों मरवाकर संपूर्ण जम्मू दीप का राजा अभिषिक्त किया|

Mahavamsa Tika

According to Bodhivamsa, a Buddhist source, Chandragupta Maurya descended in line of the Suryavamsi Kshatriyas. He was the son of one of the village chiefs of the Mauryas who died fighting the forces of King Dhanananda of Magadha.Later, with the help of the legendary brahmin Vishnugupta or Chanakya, he (Chandragupta) became the sovereign of Magadha, having duly vanquished the forces of Dhanananda.

A short mention of the lineage of Buddha is required here-

Siddhartha Gautama, popularly known as Lord Buddha, was born in the Sakya clan of the Gautama Gotra. In the Bhagwata Puran it is mentioned that Sakyas were Kshatriyas and they were of the same bloodline as Lord Rama who was a from Suryavamsham. Bhagavata Puran, canto 9, chapter 12 provides the given information.

Bhagavata Puran, canto 9, chapter 12 .

Bhagavata Purana gives information regarding the kings of Suryavamsham .The descendants of Kusha, son of Lord Rama have been mentioned in Bhagavata Puran, canto 9, chapter 12 .

In Vishnu Puran it is mentioned that Shakya people belonged to the same bloodline as Lord Rama belonged to Suryavasham. This is stated in Vishhu Purana (Book 4, Chapter 22).

(Book 4, Chapter 22).

Here it starts from King Vrihadbala and ends with King Sumitra. Sumitra is shown as the last King of Suryavamsha dynasty of Ayodhya.

Some people wrongly assume that Buddha was a Brahmin, but Agni Puran clearly denies it. Inside, it is mentioned that he was son of Shuddhodhan(Kshatriya). This citation is being given from Agni Puran published by Geeta Press, Gorakhpur.


Agni Puran

Further, Buddha himself was very proud of his Kshatriya lineage and he never abandoned it. In the Pabbajjä sutta of the Suttanipäta III.1, Ananda describes the ordination of Gautama the Buddha. Bimbisära tells Gautama in sutta 97: Vannarohena sampanno, jätima viya khattiyo: from the complexion and physiognomy you (Gautama) appear to be a Ksatriya by jäti (descent). The Buddha replies that by gotra, he is Suryavansi (Adicca) and comes from the Säkya jäti (clan or tribe).


Pabbajjä sutta of the Suttanipäta III

Cunningham observed- “It is a curious fact that Gautama is still the family name of the Rajput chiefs of Nagara, the village which has been identified with Kapilavastu.”(Ancient Geography of India vol i page Pg 417,Cunningham)
Snippet from *Buddhism: Being a Sketch of the Life and Teachings of Gautama, the Buddha by Thomas William Rhys Davis

Puranas include the Buddha in the Ikshvaku dynasty, which is in alignment with
Buddhist texts.

“Although both the Puranas and Buddhist texts include Shuddodana, Gautama Buddha and Rahula in their accounts of the Ikshvakudynasty, according to the Buddhist texts, Mahasammata, an ancestor of Ikshvaku was the founder of this dynasty” – from “Dictionary of Pali Proper Names: A-DH,” G.P. Malalasekara, pp. 461–462, Motilal Banarsidass (2007) [1937].”

Fig-1 List of kings after primary creation by Lord Brahma as stated in the Vishnu Purana


Fig-2 List of kings in the Vaivasvata(descendants of Vivasvat) Manvantara as stated in the Vishnu Purana

Fig-3 List of kings in the Vaivasvata Manvantara until the Great War as stated inthe Vishnu Purana

Fig-4 List of kings in the Kaliyuga (after the Great War) as stated in the Vishnu Purana


Source of the figures-

Another Buddhist account Digha Nikaya mentions about a clan of Kshatriyas by name of Moris living at Pipphalivana. It also mentions that Mori Kshatriyas of Pippalavana came asking for remains of Buddha after his Mahaparinirvana by asserting their and Buddha’s Kshatriya lineage.

Historians say that Jahajpur and Kumbhalgarh areas in Mewar region in Rajasthan were ruled by Mauryas . Samprati Maurya, grandson of Ashok, ruled Rajasthan. He constructed many forts in Rajasthan. Famous fort among them is that of Kumbhalgarh ,

On ruins which Maharana Kumbha constructed present historical fort. He constructed a fort in Jahajpur also. He was a follower of Jainism. There are ruins of ancient Jain temples in Jahajpur.

Many branches of Mauryas ruled in Rajasthan. Mauryas defeated Yaudheyas in Shekhawati region who moved to northern parts of Bikaner such as Sindharani , Maroth etc. where they lived for a long period.

The Maurya samantas of Prithviraj were Bhim Maurya, Saran Maurya, Madalrai Maurya and Mukundrai Maurya. (Devi Singh Mandawa, p.137)A mountain named Maura near Jhunjhunu town in Rajasthan is in their memory.

A fragmentary inscription from Mathura c.7th / 8th century related with Yasovarman of Kanaujintroduces three Maurya rulers viz Candergupt, Aryaraj and Kark Dindiraj. Kark Dindiraj Maurya is also said to have lead a successful expedition against Kanauj.

The Bairat edict of Asoka, clearly establish the fact of lordship of the Moris over parts of modern day Rajasthan. More so, the temples built by King Samprati, the son of King Kunal who was the son of Emperor Asoka corroborate this fact as well.

The Jaina texts such as Kumarapala Prabandha and others note that the fort of Chittor with its waterworks such as Chitranga Mori pond were constructed by King Chitranga Singh Mori. The inscriptions found at and Kansua (Kota) mention the name of king Dhawal Mori. All these facts establish without any reasonable doubt that parts of Rajasthan were under the control of the Moris till a very late period of Indian antiquity.

Prithviraj Raso enlists Bhima Singh Mori, Saran Singh Mori, and Mukund Singh Mori as the vassal kings of Prithviraj Chauhan. Even at an earlier date, we find the fort of Chittor under the Mori occupation.For we know that Bappa Rawal of the Guhilot dynasty won the fort of Chittor from his maternal uncle Man Singh Mori.

Most importantly, the Mori Rajputs are still found in Agra, Mathura, Ujjain, and Malwa and are very well connected with other Rajputs clans by bonds of marriage. This is the clinching evidence and leaves no room for any further doubt as regards their Kshatriya status.

Also, another Buddhist account Divyavadana describes Bindusara, the son of Chandragupta, to have been anointed as a king in the ways of the Kshatriyas. The same text styles Asoka, the grandson of Chandragupta as Kshatriya.

Divyavadana - Sanskrit Anthology of Buddhist Avadana - History Flame



An interesting account mentioned in Ashokvadana is as follows- “When emperor Ashoka fell sick, his queen offered him an onion as a medicine. Ashoka refused, saying “देवि अहं क्षत्रियः कथं पलाण्डुं परिभक्षयामि?” ” I am a Kshatriya. How can I eat an onion?” [Ashokavadana] “Buddhist” Mauryas called themselves Kshatriyas and followed Smritis . Courtesy to Trueindology on Twitter”



मोरिय पुं [मौर्य] १ एक क्षत्रिय-वंश। २ मौर्यं वंश में उत्पन्न।

According to RK Mookherjee-


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)


Snippet from RK Mookherjee’s book Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (1966)

The word मोरिय in Prākṛt language also means मौर्य of Saṃskṛita. This information is from “Paia-sadda-mahannavo: A comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary, with Sanskrit equivalents, quotations & complete references”


“Paia-sadda-mahannavo: A comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary, with Sanskrit equivalents, quotations & complete references” (credit goes to @Lost_History1 )

Based on the above observations, we can definitely conclude that Chandragupta Maurya was a Kshatriya.

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