Asokan inscriptions do not mention any campaign in south India support our
view), and that the far south probably recognised the Mauryan suzerainty,
though did not actually form a part of it.
Bindusara had contacts with Antiochus I, the Seleucid king of Syria
whose ambassador, Deimachus, was said to have been at the Mauryan court,
Bindusara wrote to Antiochus I asking for some sweet wine, dried figs and a
sophist to be sent to the Mauryan court. The latter sent all but the sophist,
explaining that Greek law would not permit a sophist to be sent.
In the religious sphere, Bindusara was more interested in the Ajivika sect
than in other heterodox sects. In fact, there was an Ajivika fortuneteller,
Pingalavatsa, at Bindusara’s court, who, when Asoka was born, prophesied
that he would become king.
The Asokavadana informs us that a revolt took place in Taxila during the
reign of Bindusara, when the citizens objected to the oppression of the higher
officials. Bindusara sent Asoka to put an end to the revolt, which he did
successfully. Since most Buddhist accounts speak of Asoka going directly
from Ujjain to Pataliputra to capture the throne after his father’s death, it
would appear that his stay at Taxila was prior to his appointment as viceroy
at Ujjain, and that his appointment to the post of viceroy at Ujjain was in
recognition of his good work at Taxila.
Seleucus Nikator sent an ambassador, named Megasthenes, to the court of
Chandragupta. Travelling along Kabul and the Punjab, Megasthenes reached
Pataliputra, the capital of the Maurya empire.
Evidently he knew that part of the country through which he travelled and
for his knowledge of the rest of India he depended on report. Although there
are obvious limitations in his work as he was ignorant of the language and
customs of the country, yet he is a reliable witness concerning matters which
came under his close scrutiny.
His Indica has been lost,