Seven years had by now passed since
Kharavela became the king. His achievements during this period were by no means small. He
had brought the kingdom power and plenty. His subjects had regained their happiness, peace
and self-respect. Other states had come to look upon Kalinga with fear and respect. And
yet he was not satisfied. That very year the younger queen Vajiragharavathi gave birth to
a son. Even the birth of a son did not make Kharavela quite happy. Of course, he was glad
his dynasty would continue but one sorrow haunted him. 'Should I not wipe off the shame
and humiliation inflicted on Kalinga by the Magadhas? And what a humiliation! The much
adored and holy idol of Sheetha- lanatha Jina is still retained by them. How can I have
peace until it is recovered? So he pined. This task of getting back this idol was a very
very difficult one. It was not an easy task to attack and defeat Magadha. It was not
possible to lay siege to the capital of Magadha, Rajagriha, straight away. It was well
protected by a fort to the south of it called Gorathagiri. This was a natural hill
fortress. (This hill is in the Gaya District of Bihar now.) This had to be seized before
the capital could be attacked. That was indeed both difficult and dangerous. But Kharavela
was a mighty hero his soldiers were prepared to fight till their last breath, if
necessary. For, they all considered it their sacred duty to defeat the Magadhas and bring
back the idol of Sheethalanatha Jina. It was also their life's mission. With this grim
determination they captured Gorathagiri, reached the capital Rajagriha and laid siege to
When Kharavela was engaged in this attack, spies came to him and made a report:
"Your Highness, Demetrius, a King of Greece, is also marching with a huge army to
It was a very serious and disturbing piece of news. The defeat of Magadha was, of
course, absolutely necessary, if the Kalingas were to get back their sacred idol.
Otherwise would the Magadhas return it? No. True, Kalinga was now stronger than Magadha,
but it was not easy to inflict a total defeat on Magadha. That would mean a great strain
on Kharavela's army and a heavy loss.
'What should be done now? thought Kharavela to himself. 'Alone, I can defeat Magadha;
if Demetrius joins me, there is no doubt that the task becomes doubly easy. But who is
this Demetrius? Is he one of us, my countryman? No, never! He is after all a robber who
has come to loot our country. A dacoit. Shall I join hands with him? The King of Magadha
is one of as. It is my duty now to drive out this Demetrius, a foreigner. Let me deal with
Magadha later.' Taking the decision after deep deliberation, he withdrew his attack on
Rajagriha and sent his army westwards to check Demetrius.
As soon as Demetrius heard that Kharavela's army was marching against him, he ordered
his army to withdraw. He had already come to know of Kharavela's prowess. He had
miscalculated and misjudged Kharavela. Earlier when he heard that Kharavela was about to
attack on Magadha he had thought, 'if Kharavela attacks Magadha from the south and I
attack from the west at the same time, victory is easy. We may share the spoils.' But he
did not understand that Kharavela was as patriotic as he was heroic; and that he could
distinguish between a brother and a stranger. Alarmed at the turn of events, Demeritus ran
away.And thereafter no Greek King dared look at India. That was the first and last time
that theycrossed the Ganga and reached the East.
When Kharavela returned home from this conquest, he celebrated this event with generous
gifts of money, precious gems, elephants and horses to Brahmins. He got houses built for
them. Though he was a Jain he did not hate other religions. He made all his subjects,
irrespective of caste of creed, happy.
Kharavela had done much to improve the lot of his subjects. He now turned his attention
towards his palace. It had suffered serious damage, having been long exposed to the storm.
A rive, Prachee, flowed across the capital. Kharavela began the construction of a new
capital on the two banks of the river. It cost thirty-eight lakh coins of the day. We can
well imagine the splendor of the palace. As a result of his mighty conquests, the king had
earned the title 'Mahavijaya' (the great conqueror) and so as a symbol of this great
victory the new palace was named 'Mahavijaya'. By his own personal example he had shown
that a ruler's first concern was the welfare of his subjects and that his own comfort and
happiness should come next. He become famous and began to shine not only as a powerful
ruler but also as an ideal king.