Ajatashatru, the famous Indian king, belonged to the Harayanka dynasty of Magadha. His father was Bimbisara and a contemporary of Lord Buddha and Mahaveer. He forcefully imprisoned his father, Bimbisara and enthroned the kingdom of Magadha.
Kosaladevi was his mother, the queen also called Vaidehi, so he is known as Vaidehiputra. We can find his story in Buddhist Tripitaka and Jain Agamas. According to Jain tradition, Ajatashatru was born to Bimbisara and Queen Chelna, and the records of the Buddhist tradition, Bimbisara and Kosala Devi, were his parents.
How Ajatashatru Knew As Kunika?
Queen Chelna strongly desired to eat her husband’s flesh and drink liquor during the pregnancy. This was known to prince Abhaya kumara, the son of Bimbisara and Queen Nanda, who brought a wild fruit in a heart shape and gave it to Queen Chelna. Later, she felt humiliated and thought the desire came because she awaited the unborn child. So she intended, the grown-up child might move fatally at the family. After a few months, the queen threw the child out of the palace. The child fell into a garbage dump. Meanwhile, a cock bit his little finger and started bleeding. As soon as the news was received, King Bimbisara ran out of place and found the child in the garbage.
He took the child into his hands and sucked the bleeding little finger until it stopped bleeding. His wound tastes sore, so the child is nicknamed Kunika, which means sore finger. Later became the emperor and concentrated on expanding the kingdom. On the way, he conquered the ancient republic Vaishali and Kosala. When Ajatashatru became the emperor, the ancient city of Kashi announced its freedom from Maghada. Once, Kashi had been given as dowry to Bimbisara. The fierce Ajatashatru occupied Kashi and surrounding kingdoms and merged into Maghada. His conquests made him a powerful emperor in North India.
Conquered Lichchhavi Kingdom:
Attacking the Vaishali was a crucial historic incident in the life of Ajatashatru. Conquering the Lichchhavis of Vaishali made him a powerful king in Indian History. Before going to attack the enemies, Ajatashatru chalked out a system to depress the enemy. For instance, before attacking the Lichchhavis, he sent his ministers to Lichchhavis to understand the strength and weaknesses of Lichchhavis. In the second step, he ordered the construction of a new fort near the Lichchhavi territory to attack comfortably. This made the structure of the new capital Pataliputra, which became a famous centre for ancient Indian political affairs. The third one, he infused the soldiers to learn new techniques on the battlefield and gave them powerful and new weapons. Thus he attacked Lichchhavis on all sides. However, the war continued for sixteen years, and finally, Vaisali was annexed to the Magadha Empire.
An Atrocious Mistake
One day Ajatashatru kept the newborn son on his lap and ate meals. Suddenly he urinated some drops into his plate. As soon, the king wiped the bubbles with his cloth and continued eating from the same scale. Then the king proudly looked at his mother, Chelana and asked who could show such affection to their sons. The Chelana narrated the story of sucking his finger by his father, Bimbisara. This narration touched the heart of Ajatashatru and aroused their love for his father.
At once, he took the axe and hurried to prison to break the chains to free Bimbisara. But Bimbisara misunderstood that his son was coming to kill me. So he thought killing himself was better than ending life in the hands of his son. So he swallows the Talaputa poison from his ring and ends his life. The shocked Ajatashatru shifted his kingdom to Champa to forget his atrocious mistake.
Ajatashatru Trust in Buddhism:
Ajatashatru was a profound devotee of Lord Buddha. He followed the Buddha’s preaches, met Buddha personally, and discussed the concept of enlightenment. He was also caused to spread Buddhism in his kingdom. After the death of Buddha, he played the patron role in spreading Buddhism. He also organised the first Buddhist council at Sattapani cave in Rajgriha. Then the Buddhist monk Mahakassapa headed to the board.