Who was Sandrokottus: Samudragupta or Chandragupta Maurya?
Alexander, during his invasion on Persian Empire and some parts of western India, has carried some Greek scholars like Baeto, Diognetos, Nearchos, Onesikritos, Aristoboulos, and Kallisthenes with him to chronicle his achievements. Megasthanes and Deimachos, the ambassadors of Seleucus Nikator the successor of Alexander, also wrote about India. Though the works of these scholars are all lost but their substance is found in the works of Plutarch, Strabo, Pliny and Arrian. Plutarch wrote Alexander’s biography over 200 years after the death of Alexander based on the oral legends. These Greek scholars repeatedly mentioned about a powerful king of India named “Sandrokottus” who was undoubtedly “Samudragupta” with reference to the epoch of Gupta era in 335 BCE and Puranic account of the history of Magadha.Sir William Jones (1746-1794) deliberately identified “Sandrokottus” mentioned by the Greeks as Chandragupta Maurya and declared that he was the contemporary of Alexander in 327-326 BCE. This mistaken identity or concocted theory of William Jones has been propagated by western historians as an eternal and irrefutable historical fact for constructing the chronology of Ancient India. Eminent Indian historians under the influence of western historians toed the same line. Unfortunately, they completely ignored the history of ancient India given in Puranas since Mahabharata War.
Considering the epoch of SakaEra in 583 BCE and the epoch of Gupta era in 335 BCE, the epigraphic evidence supports that Maurya dynasty ruled Magadha much earlier than 4th century BCE. Puranas tell us that Chandragupta Maurya ascended the throne by defeating the last Nanda king around 1500 BCE.
According to Kaliyuga Raja Vrittanta, the Great Bear or Saptarshi Mandal was in Sravana nakshtra during the reign of Mahapadma Nanda.
“Saptarshayo Maghayuktah kale Yaudhishthire satam |
Sravane te bhavishyanti kale Nandasya bhupateh ||”
(During the time of Yudhishthira, the GreatBear was in Magha constellation for 100 years. By the time of Nanda, it will be in Sravana constellation.)
The Great Bear was in Sravana nakshatra around 1676 BCE to 1576 BCE. NandaDynasty ruled Magadha for 100 years between 1616 BCE to 1516 BCE. Chandragupta Maurya founded the rule of MauryaDynasty around 1516 BCE. Therefore, Samudragupta was the contemporary of Alexander in 327-326 BCE not Chandragupta Maurya. There are many more evidences to support that Samudragupta was the “Sandrokottus” not Chandragupta Maurya.
❶ The Greek scholars recorded the names of kings of India as Xandrames, and Sandrokottus. Western historians deliberately identified these names with those of Mahapadmananda or Dhanananda and Chandragupta Maurya. Xandrames was said to be the father of Sandrokottus. According to John W. McCrindle, Diodorus distorted the name “Sandrokottus” into Xandrames and this again is distorted by Curtius into Agrammes21. It is totally absurd to link Xandrames with MahÀpadmananda and Sandrokottus with Chandragupta Maurya. Most probably, Greeks called Chandra (Chandragupta) as Xandrames and Samudragupta as Sandrokottus. Moreover, the description given by the Greek scholars about Sandrokottus and his father Xandrames are quite inapplicable to Chandragupta Maurya and could only apply to Samudragupta too. According to Greeks, Xandrames was the king of Gangaridai and Prasii whereas Dhanananda was the ruler of entire North, west, central and eastern India. It is also said that Sandrokottus (Samudragupta) killed his father Xandrames (Chandragupta). This fact has been wilfully ignored by the biased western historians and their followers.
❷ All Greek writers mentioned that Sandrokottus, the king of Prasii, whose capital was Palibothra i.e. Pataliputra. Megasthanes, Deimachos and other Greek ambassadors of Seleucus Nikator were sent in the court of Samudragupta and Chandragupta II at Palibothra. Pataliputra became the capital of Magadha Empire only during the reign of Chandragupta I around 335 BCE. According to Puranas, Girivraja or Rajagriha (Rajgir) was the capital city of Magadha during the reign of Nandas and Mauryas. Thus, Pataliputra was not the capital city of Chandragupta Maurya. From 3rd century BCE onwards, the city of Pataliputra became famous as the capital of Magadha. This is the reason why Vishakhadatta referred Pataliputra as the capital city of Magadha Empire in his work “Mudraraksasa” but this cannot be taken as evidence to reject the Puranic reference. Moreover, Mudraraksasa is a drama based on historical fiction. All the Puranas unanimously tell us that the capital of Magadha Empire was Girivraja or Rajagriha till the fall of Satavahana dynasty.
❸ According to Megasthanes, Sakas or Skythians were living in the northern side of India.
“India, which is in shape quadrilateral, has its eastern as well as its western side bounded by the great sea but on the northern side it is divided by Mount Hemodos from that part of Skythia which is inhabited by those Skythians who are called the Œakai, while the fourth or western side is bounded by the river called the Indus, which is perhaps the largest of all rivers in the world after the Nile.”
Many other Greek scholars also wrote about Skythians. Thus, it seems that Northern Saka Ksatrapas were ruling in the North-western frontier region during the time of Megasthanes.
It is well known that Saka Ksatrapas were contemporaries of Guptas not Mauryas. Asoka inscriptions mention about only Yavana kings named Antikina, Alikasundara, Maga, Turamaya and Gongakena (not Greeks but indigenous Yavana kings of Afganistan and Northern Pakistan) ruling in the western frontier regions. Western historians speculated about these kings to be Antiochus Theos II of Syria, Alexander of Epirus, Magas of Cyrene, Ptolemy II Philadelphos of Egypt and Antigonus Gonatus of Macedonia. These baseless speculations are simply based on the resemblance of names without any direct or indirect evidence. The references of Yavana kings in Asoka inscriptions indicate that Yavanas were the rulers in the western frontier regions not Sakas. There is no reference of Saka Ksatrapas in the entire account of Mauryan history. Therefore, Sandrokottus can only be Samudragupta who was the contemporary of Saka Ksatrapas not Chandragupta Maurya.
❹ Seleucus Nikator also sent Deimachos on an embassy to Allitrocades or Amitrocades, the son of Sandrokottus. Western historians identified Allitrocades or Amitrocades to be Bindusara, the son of Chandragupta and concocted that Bindusara was also known as “Amitraghata”. None of the Indian sources ever referred Bindussra as Amitraghata. Western historians deliberately created the word “Amitraghata” with some sort of resemblance. According to Puranas, Samudragupta was also known as “Asokaditya” and Chandragupta II was also known as “Vikramaditya”. Probably, Allitrocades or Amitrocades referred to “Vikramaditya”, the son of Sandrokottus (Samudragupta).
❺ Megasthanes described the system of city administration of Pataliputra but there is no similarity between the system described by Megasthanes and the system of city administration given in Kautilya Arthasastra. Megasthanes also stated that there was no slavery in India but Kautilya Arthasastra’s Chapter 65 named “Dasakalpa” is solely devoted to the status of slaves among the Aryans and the Mlecchas. Probably, the slavery system that existed during Mauryan era has gradually declined by Gupta era. Thus, Megasthanes cannot be contemporary to Chandragupta Maurya.
❻ Megasthanes not only often visited Palibothra but also stayed in the court of Sandrokottus for a few years. But he did not even mention about Kautilya or Chanakya who was the real kingmaker and also the patron of Chandragupta. No Greek scholar ever mentioned about Kautilya. Therefore, Megasthanes cannot be the contemporary to Chandragupta Maurya.
❼ Greek scholars often mentioned that Sandrokottus was the king of the country called as Prasii (Prachi or Prachya). Pracha or Prachi means eastern country. During the Nanda and Mauryan era, Magadha kings were ruling almost entire India. Mauryan Empire was never referred in Indian sources as only Prachya desa or eastern country. Prachya desa was generally referred to Gupta Empire because Northern Saka Ksatrapas and Western Saka Ksatrapas were well established in North and West India. Megasthanes mentioned that Sandrokottus is the greatest king of the Indians and Poros is still greater than Sandrokottus26 which means a kingdom in the North-western region is still independent and enjoying at least equal status with the kingdom of Sandrokottus.
Chandragupta Maurya and his successors were the most powerful kings of India. It was impossible for any other Indian king to enjoy equal status with Mauryan kings because Mauryans inherited a strongest and vast empire from Nandas. Therefore, Sandrokottus, the king of Prasii can only be Samudragupta not Chandragupta Maurya.
❽ The Greek historian Plutarch mentioned that Androkottus (Sandrokottus) marched over the whole of India with an army of 600 thousand men. Chandragupta Maurya defeated Nandas under the leadership of Chanakya. There was no need for him to go on such expedition to conquer the whole of India because he has already inherited the Magadha kingdom of Nandas covering entire India. Actually, it was Samudragupta who overran the whole of India as details given in Allahabad pillar inscription.
❾ According to Greek historians like Justinus, Appianus etc., Seleukos made friendship with Sandrokottus and entered into relations of marriage with him. Allahabad pillar inscription tells us that Samudragupta was offered their daughters in marriage (Kanyopayanadana...) by the kings in the North-west region. There is nothing in Indian sources to prove this fact with reference to Chandragupta Maurya.
❿ The Jain work “Harivamsa” written by Jinasena gives the names of dynasties and kings and the duration of their rule after the nirvana of Mahavira. Jinasena mentions nothing about Mauryas but he tells us that Gupta kings ruled for 231 years. Western historians fixed the date of Mahavira-nirvana in 527 BCE which means Mauryas ruled after Mahavira-nirvana but Jaina Puranas and Jaina Pattavalis had no knowledge of Mauryas after Mahavira-nirvana. Thus, Mauryas ruled prior to Mahavira-nirvana. Therefore, Sandrokottus can only be identified with Samudragupta.
11. If Sandrokottus was indeed Chandragupta Maurya, why do none of the Greek sources mentioned about Asoka, the most illustrious and greatest of Mauryan kings? It is evident that Greek sources had no knowledge of Asoka. Therefore, the ancient Greeks were contemporaries to Gupta kings not Mauryas.
In view of the above, Samudragupta was the contemporary of Alexander not Chandragupta Maurya. Unfortunately, this distorted history is being taught to Indians since last 231 years. Indian historians also blindly followed on the footsteps of Western historians.
➩ Western historians were born and brought up in a religious Christian society. They were faithful to the Biblical conception of the creation of the world in 4004 BCE. They knew the fact that the antiquity of the history of Greece and other European countries cannot be greater than 1000 BCE. When they encountered with the antiquity of ancient Indian history that is greater than 6776 BCE, Western historians could not believe it. Therefore, they started distorting the chronology of ancient India. First of all, Sir William Jones conspired and deliberately cut down 1200 years of Indian history by identifying Sandrokottus as Chandragupta Maurya. To cover up this distortion, Jones declared that Puranic account of Indian history is mythological and unreliable but selectively accepted the genealogy of various dynasties from Puranas. Actually, many Western historians pursued their research with an objective to curtail the antiquity of the chronology of ancient India so that the supremacy of ancient Greek civilization can be established.
Western historians were fascinated with the history of Alexander from their childhood. They started searching the footprints of Alexander’s invasion in India. Interestingly, there is no reference of Alexander’s invasion in Indian literary sources because it was actually a non-event for Indians. Western scholars concocted the theory that the Yavanas mentioned in Indian sources are Greeks without any evidence. According to various Indian sources, Yavana kingdoms existed in Indian history since Mahabharata war that located in the west and north side across the Indus river. Thus, Indian Yavanas were more ancient than the birth of ancient Greek civilisation.
In fact, it can be confidently stated that the great victory of Alexander and the homesickness of Greek soldiers have been concocted by historians of Alexander who were employed by him to chronicle his achievements. Probably, the army of Alexander was comprehensively defeated by the Indian king Poros and the wounded Alexander and his army have to flee through the channels of Indus River and they landed on the shores of Arabian Sea. They were then forced to march along the dry Makran and Persian Gulf coast and somehow finally, made it back to Babylonia where the wounded young Alexander died there in 323 BCE at the age of 33 years. It may be noted that Alexander employed the historians to chronicle his victories not the defeats. Therefore, the Greek historians concocted the victorious army of Alexander fell homesick and feigned the ignorance of geography for the return journey through the channels of Indus River. It is unbelievable that the victorious army of Alexander fell homesick otherwise they could have amassed unimaginable wealth from India, the most prosperous country of the world of the times. Moreover, Megasthanes, who was sent as ambassador to King Poros by Seleukos, mentioned that Poros was even greater than Sandrokottus. If Poros was defeated and appointed as satrap by Alexander, how could he become greater than Sandrokottus? After the death of Alexander, his generals decided to divide his Empire among themselves but interestingly, no part of India east of Indus River was included as part of Alexander’s Empire. Therefore, it seems that the victory of Alexander over the Indian king Poros, the homesickness of his army and the ignorance of geography were just concocted stories by paid Greek historians of Alexander.
✺ Strabo once stated ✺
“Generally speaking, the men who have hitherto written on the affairs of India were a set of liars. Deimachos holds the first place in the list; Megasthanes comes next; while Onesikritos and Nearchos with others of the same class, manage to stammer out a few words of truth.”
As quoted by Kota Venkatachalam, Troyer also rejected the identification of Chandragupta Maurya with Sandrokottus and pointed out that one of the Chandraguptas of the Gupta dynasty should be taken as Sandrokottus. If Samudragupta is accepted as Sandrokottus the contemporary Indian king of Alaxander and the epoch of Saka coronation era in 583 BCE, there will be no conflict in the traditional Indian records and epigraphic records. Moreover, we need not to declare certain copper plate inscriptions as forgeries. Unfortunately, the Eurocentric and the distortionist approach of Western historians caused extreme damage to the chronology of ancient India. These intellectuals having no integrity pursued their research by distorting and concocting numerous so-called historical facts which can be called nothing less than a “fraud”.
The Chronology of Ancient India, Victim of Concoctions and Distortions by Vedveer Arya