26 Facts About Ajatashatru


Ajatashatru was the son of King Bimbisara and was a contemporary of both Mahavira and Gautama Buddha.


Ajatashatru forcefully took over the kingdom of Magadha from his father and imprisoned him.


Ajatashatru fought a war against the Vajjika League, led by the Licchavis, and conquered the republic of Vaishali.


Ajatashatru defeated his neighbours including the king of Kosala; his brothers, at odds with him, went to Kashi, which had been given to Bimbisara as dowry and led to a war between Magadha and Kosala.


Magadha under Ajatashatru became the most powerful kingdom in North India.


Ajatashatru is the presumed inventor of two weapons used in war: the rathamusala and the mahashilakantaka.


The Samannaphala Sutta states that Ajatashatru visited the six teachers to hear their doctrines and at last visited the Buddha, an event Basham estimated to have taken place in 491 BC.


The account of Ajatashatru's birth is more or less similar in both the traditions.


Once Queen Padmavati, wife of Ajatashatru, was sitting in her balcony in the evening.


Ajatashatru saw Halla and Vihalla kumaras with their wives sitting on Sechanaka elephant and one of the wives wearing the 18 fold divine necklace.


Ajatashatru sent notice thrice to Chetaka to surrender them but was denied by Chetaka.


The war became very severe and by the divine influence of the Indras even the pebbles, straws, leaves hurled by Ajatashatru's men were said to have fell like rocks on the army of Chetaka.


The walls around Vaishali were so strong that Ajatashatru was unable to break through them.


Many days passed, Ajatashatru became furious and again prayed to Indra, but this time Indra refused to help him.


Ajatashatru inquired about the monk Kulvalaka and sent for the prostitute Magadhika disguised as a devout follower.


Later Magadhika on Ajatashatru's orders brainwashed Kulvalaka to enter Vaishali disguised as an astrologer.


Kulvalaka gave a signal and Ajatashatru proceeded as per prior arrangement.


However, because of sheer lethargy, Ajatashatru failed to collect his own share, and most of diamonds were carried away by the Lichhavis.


Over time, finally, Ajatashatru became annoyed and decided to do something about it.


Ajatashatru sent his chief minister Vassakara to the Buddha to ask him why the Vaishali should be so invincible; to which Buddha gave seven reasons, including: That the Vajjis are always punctual to meetings, their disciplined behavior, their respect for elders, respect for women, that they do not marry their daughters forcefully, that they give spiritual protection to the Arhats, and finally, the main reason was the Chaityas, which was inside the town.


Ajatashatru moved his capital from Rajgriha to Champa due to death of his father.


Ajatashatru had 500 wives but the principal consort was Princess Vajira.


Ajatashatru was mentioned more than once in several other Sutta as an example of strong devotee to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha.


Ajatashatru erected a vast Stupa on the bones and ashes of the Buddha after the funeral, and Ajatashatru was present in the first Buddhist council at the Sattapanni caves Rajgriha.


Ajatashatru appears in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra as a being completely overtaken by evil and suffering, and as such the prototype of an ordinary, sinful person who can only be saved by the Buddha's compassion; the Buddha even declares in this sutra that he will "remain in the world for the sake of Ajatashatru".


Whether Ajatashatru was a Jain or Buddhist, both texts accounted for him as a devotee of the respective religions.