Samprati
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Samprati
Samprati
5th Mauryan emperor
Reign c. 224 - c. 215 BCE
Predecessor Dasharatha Maurya
Successor Shalishuka
Dynasty Maurya
Father Kunala
Religion Jainism[1]

Samprati (r. 224 - 215 BCE) was an emperor of the Maurya dynasty. He was the son of Ashoka's blind son, Kunala,[] and succeeded his cousin, Dasharatha, as emperor of the Maurya Empire.

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, Kunala was replaced by Dasharatha as the heir to the throne. Kunala lived in Ujjain with his "Dhai Maa". Samprati was brought up there. Years after being denied the throne, Kunala and Samprati approached Ashoka's court in an attempt to claim the throne. Ashoka could not deliver the throne to his blind son, but promised Samprati would be heir apparent after Dasharatha. After Dasharatha's death, Samprati inherited the throne of the Maurya Empire.[]

Reign

According to the Jain tradition he ruled for 53 years.[] The Jaina text Pari?iaparvan mentions that he ruled both from Pataliputra and Ujjain.[2]

Samprati and Jainism

Samprati is regarded as the "Jain Ashoka" for his patronage and efforts to spread Jainism in east India. While in one source, he is described as nominally a Jain from birth (Sthaviravali 9.53), most accounts emphasize his conversion at the hands of the Jain monk Suhastin,[3] the eighth leader of the congregation established by Mahavira.[1] After his conversion he was credited with actively spreading Jainism to many parts of India and beyond, both by making it possible for monks to travel to barbarian lands, and by building and renovating thousands of temples and establishing millions of icons.[4] He was a disciple of Suhasti.[5]

In literature

Around 1100 CE Devachandrasuri of the Purnatalla Gaccha told the story of Samprati in his commentary on the Textbook on Fundamental Purity (Mulashuddhi Prakarana), in a chapter on the virtues of building temples.[6] A century later, Amradevasuri of the Brihad Gaccha included the story of Samprati in his commentary to the Treasury of Stories (Akhyana Manikosha).[6] In 1204, Malayaprabhasuri, a disciple of Manatungasuri of the Purnima Gaccha, wrote an extensive Prakrit commentary on his teacher's Deeds of Jayanti (Jayanti Carita), in which he included the story of Samprati as an example of the virtue of compassion (Caudhari 1973: 201-2).[6] There are also some anonymous and undated medieval texts devoted solely to the story of Samprati, such as the 461-verse Sanskrit Deeds of King Samprati (Samprati Nripa Charitra).[6]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Cort 2010, p. 199.
  2. ^ Thapar, Romila (2001). A?oka and the Decline of the Maurya, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-564445-X, p.187
  3. ^ Tukol, T. K., Jainism in South India 
  4. ^ Cort 2010, p. 199-200.
  5. ^ Natubhai Shah 2004, p. 46.
  6. ^ a b c d Cort 2010, p. 202.

References

Samprati
Preceded by
Dasharatha Maurya
Maurya Emperor
224-215 BCE
Succeeded by
Shalishuka

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