Chandragupta Maurya (reign: c. 321 – c. 297 BCE) was the founder of the Maurya Empire in ancient India. He built one of the largest-ever empires on the Indian subcontinent and then, according to Jain sources, he renounced it all and became a Jain monk. Historical Jain texts claim Chandragupta followed Jainism by first renouncing his wealth and power, going away with Jaina monk Acharya Bhadrabahu, and performing a ritual of peacefully welcoming death by fasting. Chandragupta's life and accomplishments are described in ancient Hindu, Buddhist, and Greek texts, but the details vary significantly from those in the Jain texts. Megasthenes served as a Greek ambassador in his court for four years.
According to various legends, Chandragupta, with the counsel of his Chief Minister Chanakya (also known as Kautilya), created a new empire, applied the principles of statecraft, built a large army and continued expanding the boundaries of his empire. Greek rulers such as Seleucus I Nicator avoided war with him, entered into a marriage alliance instead, and retreated into Persia. Chandragupta's empire almost spanned the Indian subcontinent, except the southernmost regions (now Tamil Nadu and Kerala) and Kalinga (now Odisha). After unifying much of India, Chandragupta and Chanakya passed a series of major economic and political reforms. Chandragupta established a strong central administration from Pataliputra (now Patna). Chandragupta's India had an efficient, highly organised structure. The empire built infrastructure such as irrigation, temples, mines and roads, leading to a strong economy. During Chandragupta's reign and that of his dynasty, many religions thrived in India, with Buddhism, Jainism and Ajivika gaining prominence along with the Brahmanism traditions. A memorial to Chandragupta Maurya exists on Chandragiri hill in Shravanabelagola, Karnakata.