King of Magadha and father of
He was the son of Candagutta and reigned for twenty eight
years. He had one hundred sons - the eldest being
Sumana - ninety nine of whom were killed by
Asoka (Mhv.v.18 f., 38f.; Dpv. v.101; vi.15; some accounts, e.g., MT.324, say he
had one hundred and one sons).
Bindusāra patronised the brahmins and provided constant
meals for sixty thousand brahmins of various sects (Sp.i.44).
His mother was Candagutta's maternal cousin and chief
queen. One day, while Bindusāra was yet unborn, she was eating with Candagutta
and he fed her with some food prepared for himself. The food contained poison,
placed there by the orders of Candagutta's minister, Cānakka, that the king
might gradually be made immune from poison. Cānakka entered as she was about to
swallow the food, and, anxious to save the unborn child, he cut off the queen's
head with a sword before the food could travel down into her stomach, opened her
womb, removed the child, and placed it in the womb of a freshly slaughtered
goat. For seven days the child lay in the womb of a
goat, each day a fresh one, until, at the end of these seven days, the child was
ready for birth. Because of this, Bindusāra's body was spotted in various places
from the blood of the goats, and from this he obtained his name (MT.187f).
Bindusāra's chief queen was Dhammā of the Moriya
clan. She bore two sons, Asoka and Tissa (MT.189, 324). Bindusāra had to kill
the Yakkha Devagabbha (q.v.) before he could ascend the throne (MT.188).