By Swami Harshananda
Ajātaśatru is literally translated as ‘one whose enemy is not born’ and is a term that is often heard in Sanskrit literary works. The term is most often used to signify a person who is so good, compassionate and noble that no one hates him. It can also refer to someone who is great and mighty and seen to be above challenge. Yudhiṣṭhira, the eldest of the Pāṇḍavas, possessed such qualities and hence is also known by that name.
According to the Buddhist lore, Ajātaśatru was the son of king Bimbisāra and a ruler of Magadha, committed several heinous crimes. He repented them and approached the Buddha for solace. It was on this occasion that the Buddha taught the well-known Samaññaphala Sutta.
Ajātaśatru also built the fortress of Pāṭalīputra, the capital of Magadha.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore