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The Mahajanapadas

Lesson 8 of 13 • 9 upvotes • 6:25mins


Abhyudaya Kelkar

Henceforth, a new chapter begins – a tale of historical legends. The characters that are too popular and evident to be denied and yet lacking substantial vital evidences to pull them out of legends. There are at least four major lists of Mahajanpadas. Out of these, only Buddhist source Digha Nikaya of Sutta Pitaka of Tripitaka is the most reliable one. Accordingly, there were 16 Mahajanapadas. Jain sources also mention16 Majahanapadas, but a different list with different pronunciations is available. We will examine both and locate each Mahajanapada along with its capital individually. Many tutors and students skip this part considering it as unnecessary. But to retain further information and understand the events properly, particularly Magadh’s expansion in the next lesson, and the lessons on Buddhism and Jainism, this description will be very beneficial. So the students are advised to watch the map and read the table very carefully to really understand the forthcoming lessons, where maps will be extensively used. If necessary, please pause the lecture for a while and try to memorize the location of each Mahajanapada individually. The retention of capitals’ names is equally important.

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