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(also Candragupta Maurya), ruler of the ancient Indian state of Magadha (317–293 B.C.); founder of the Maurya dynasty.
There is little authentic information about Chandragupta’s life. Both aristocratic and humble (sudra caste) origins have been ascribed to him. In his youth he served under the Nandas, the rulers of Magadha; he fought them for the throne, but he failed and fled to the northwestern part of the country. There he joined with the invading Greco-Macedonians and convinced Alexander the Great to wage war against the Nandas. After Alexander had left India, Chandragupta led a struggle to expel all the Greco-Macedonians from the country. He succeeded in doing so and resumed the fight for Magadha. After deposing Dhana Nanda, he ascended the throne himself.
In subsequent wars, Chandragupta subjugated all of northern India and founded the Indian Mauryan empire. In 305 B.C. he repulsed the invasion of Seleucus I Nicator. In accordance with the peace treaty they signed, Chandragupta gave Seleucus 500 elephants, in exchange for which he acquired a large area west of the Indus River and received the daughter of Seleucus as his bride. According to some sources, Chandragupta adopted Jainism in 293 B.C. and became a monk.