Saturday, September 11, 2010

Magadha, History of India

Magadha was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas (in sanskrit 'great countries') or regions in Ancient India.The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar, south of the Ganges river. Its capital was Rajagaha, known as modern day Rajgir. Magadha expanded to include eastern Uttarpradesh, most of Bihar and Bengal with the conquest of Licchavi and Anga.The Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the sacred text Puranas all mention the ancient kingdom of Magadha. Budhist and Jain texts frequently mention it. The earliest reference to the Magadha people occurs in the Atharva-Veda , listed along with the Angas, Gandharis , and Mujavats as despite peoples. The Magadh Kingdom included republican communities such as the community of Rajakumara. Villages had their own assemblies under their local chiefs called Gramakas. Their administrations were divided into executive , judicial and military functions.
The Sisunaga dynasty ruled Magadha for more than two hundred years from circa 684 BCE to 424 BCE. Two of major religions, Jainism and Budhism, trace their beginnings to Magadha. During that time Siddhartha Gautama was born in Kosala aroud 563 BCE. Msagadha served as the backdrop for Budha's life and  the region is revered by Budhists. Jains, as well, hold the region sacred.To jains, Magadha was the scene of Vardhamana Mahavira's life, the 24th Tirthankaras of Jainism
(599-527 BCE).
Two of India's greatest empires, the Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire, originated from Magadha. The two empires saw the advancements in ancient India's science, mathematics , astroomy, and technology.