Emperor Ajatshatru had only one ambition in life, to be the greatest emperor that the world had seen. The emperor of emperors, 'Chakravartin'. He would pursue this ambition ruthlessly. "My name shall be forever written on the face of Bharata in the monuments I build!" the emperor exclaimed. He rushed several building projects in his time working hundreds upon hundreds of toiling laborers to death. Pataliputra built a temple complex, Spoiler : Varanasi built a large ashram, Spoiler : Each brick in every temple and every monastery, was writ with the blood of the toilers. Never before had the sons of Bharata seen such misery. The peasants were taxed till their backs broke, the workers were worked till their hands bled. All for the mad ambition of a cruel king. But few suffered the cruelty of Ajatshatru, as much as the royal family. The deposed Emperor Bimbisara, beloved of the lower castes, and a devout follower of the Buddha, was confined in secrecy in a cell below the palace of Pataliputra. There he was isolated from his own family. "None must be able to meet with my father, not even the queen. He is to lay there in that dank cell and starve to death!" this was the order of Ajatshatru. The grieving queen would curse herself for creating such a monster, that would do this to his own father. Under the advice of Devdutta, the king could not be killed by any arms by the son, however, if he be killed without any force of arms, that may not be considered a sin. So Emperor Bimbisara would be starved to death. The queen defied this diktat. Every night the Queen Kosala devi would conceal herself and smuggle food to Bimbisara. Despite emperor Ajatshatru's purges (where the loyalists to King Bimbisara would be given a choice of death by elephant, or forced labor in his pet construction projects) there were still a few who dared to remain loyal to the old Emperor Bimbisara. These were the men who helped keep the King alive. Yet, the king did not fear death. He kept to the path of the Buddha and sought nirvana even in the harshest of conditions. "It is desire that causes suffering. To have want. I have no wants, which is why I do not suffer. Even in this dank cell, I am at peace" ~ Bimbisara. The impatient King Ajatshatru, wanted to settle accounts with his father immediately. Once he had learned of his own mother's betrayal of the imperial order, he ordered that she be kept under house arrest in her bedchamber. That night, he called upon the royal barber and made him commit a sinful act. The barber was ordered on the threat of death, to pierce the kings legs with iron barbs and pour salt and hot water on the wounds. The helpless barber complied with this barbaric order, once this was done, the noble emperor Bimbisara died in agony. But his soul would find nirvana. Ajatshatru had thus removed the foremost obstacle to his path of absolute rule. The continuing project of the temple of the holy trinity in Indraprasth, would be his next priority. But even before that, he sought to upgrade the army of Bharata. His dream of becoming Chakravartin would require the largest army in the world, something which was far from reach. under the king's request a survey was prepared based on reports from travellers from the five great nations of the world. Spoiler : While Bharata outshone all nations in wealth and was only second to the great nation of China, it seemed weak on the military, where it was only first among inequals. The discovery of iron deposits and the science of metal working and iron working would now make it possible to train legions of axemen and swordsmen. When told of this emperor Ajatshatru made an evil grin, his eyes showing a dark determination. The King of Kashi oversaw the training of these new advanced legions. As with his building projects, Emperor Ajatshatru's impatience and megalomania the training of this new legion too would witness cruelty. When the minister came with the news that it would be another fifteen years before the new battalion would be ready for fighting, the King found a novel solution. Several veteran mercenaries were called upon to teach the novices in fighting axes. The King gave a specific order, that only the fit may survive this training. What ensued was utter carnage. The untrained recruits could not withstand before the battle hardened mercenaries. Those that did, were deemed by the emperor to be worthy of joining the new 'death battalion' as he called it. The minister stood witness to this carnage, his blood boiled with anger, as he watched the Ajatshatru the cruel play out his final act of cruelty. He grasped onto the hilt of his dagger struggling to restrain himself from defying his own dharma by killing this king. Thus came the gory birth of Bharata's first attacking infantry division armed with iron weapons. Spoiler : Farther away, beyond the great wall of the, refugees who fled from Ajatshatru's tyranny had settled along the foothills. There they created an industrious community of shepherds. Emperor Ajatshatru sent them a token note of thanks as they built pastures with roads linking their villages. Pleas to connect back with Magadh were ignored. Spoiler : The King would send the workforce away to work the hills near the Chinese pass to help further Indraprasth's construction project of the Great temple of the Trinity. Spoiler : King Ajatshatru grew ever restless. The Great temple would have been his greatest achievement yet, but he may not live to see it. He pushed for more workers to join the construction of this grand marble temple but he may not yet live to see it ! The thought haunted him day and night. He would not be able to sleep. The emperor had a son, Udayabhadra, who some said was the very image of his father. There was the same coldness in his eyes, the same sense of ambition and determination. One night the emperor finally found sleep. That night he dreamt he stood before the Great Saint lord Mahavira. The Proud King asked "Bhante! Where do Chakravartin's (World Monarchs) go after their deaths?" Mahavira replied, ""A Chakravartin, if dying while in office goes to seventh hell called Mahā-Tamahprabhā, and if dying as a monk attains Nirvana." Then Ajatshatru asked, "So will I attain Nirvana or go to the seventh hell?" So Mahavira replied "Neither, you will go to the sixth hell". Ajatshatru, astounded and befuddled by Mahavira's reply, asked in a trembling voice, "Bhante.. Am I not a Chakravartin?" Mahavira smiled, and said "No you are not". Spoiler : The gates of hell opened beneath Ajatshatru's feet and he found himself falling into the fires of the sixth hell. Taunted by the souls of tyrants of the past who dwell as demons in the sixth hell, "You are no Chakravartin!" The nightmare did not end, for the emperor awoke to fire. All around him fire consumed his bedchambers and then his flesh. His cries for help went unheeded as the Crown Prince Udayabhadra stood before the sealed gates of the King's bedchamber with folded arms and a cold smile.