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H. V. Trivedi

[Śiśunāga]

Two dynasties that ruled Magadha in northern India from the 6th to the 4th century bc. Of all the principalities that flourished in the region at the time, Magadha was the most important. Its first ruler, Bimbisara, was succeeded by Ajatashatru (reg c. 491–c. 459 bc), whose successor, Udayi, moved the capital of Magadha from Rajagriha (now Rajgir) to Pataliputra (now Patna). Udayi was followed by three kings in succession, all parricides. Taking matters into their own hands, the subjects called upon the minister Saisunaga to occupy the throne, which he did c. 430 bc. Saisunaga made his state the most important in the north, destroying the Pradyotas of Avanti, who were hostile to Magadha. Saisunaga was succeeded by his son Kalashoka, also called Kakavarni, during whose reign the second Great Buddhist Council was held (see Buddhism §III 1., (i)). Kalashoka met a tragic death according to Bana’s ...