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, Dhammaradnya, Chakravartin, Samrat, Radnyashreshtha, Magadhrajshretha, Magadharajan, Bhupatin, Mauryaraja, Aryashok, Dharmashok, Dhammashok, Asokvadhhan , Ashokavardhan, Prajapita Born: 304 BC Birthplace: Pataliputra (Modern Day, Patna) Died: 232 BC Place of death Pataliputra Buried:Ashes immersed in Ganges River, possibly at Varanasi Predecessor: Bindusara Successor: Dasaratha Maurya Consort: Maharani Devi Wifes: Rani Tishyaraksha Rani, Padmavati Rani Kaurwaki Offspring :Mahinda, Sanghamitta,Teevala,Kunala Royal House: Mauryan dynasty Father: Bindusara Mother: Rani Dharma or Shubhadrangi Religious beliefs: Buddhism ,Humanism Chandragupta's grandson was Ashokavardhan Maurya, better known as Ashoka the Great (ruled 273- 232 BCE). After the death of his father, Bindusara - the king of PatliPutra, Ashok's elder brother Suman contended for the throne. But most of the ministers and prime minister Radha Gupt, in particular were against Suman. They considered Ashoka more capable and discreet. Therefore they helped him attain the reins of powers. Ashoka had already gained experience of administration during his father's rule. Therefore, he had no difficulty in managing the state affairs when he ascended the throne. The first thing that he did was to restore peace in the kingdom. It took him full three years to do so. In fact the coronation ceremony was performed when he had established peace in his kingdom. Ashoka was a great philanthropist. He used to take his meal after feeding many thousands of Brahmins. He had a very busy schedule of work, which started very
e. A fierce battle ensued. Kalinga war brought great fame to Ashoka. He started hating violence. while according to an other version he got it from his nephew i. it was only on the fourth side that navy had to be sent to surrounded it fully. In his view. religion meant doing good needs and keeping away from sins. According to Magasthenese Kalinga had an infantry of 60000 men. Many women were widowed and many children were orphaned.Anandiji. medicine and surgery had also developed appreciably. He was tolerant and wanted all religions to develop. which formed part of his kingdom. They were very brave and patriotic people. Many persons were killed.It was a vast empire and needed the capabilities of a person like Ashoka to rule over it. He remained very active and kept himself informed of the latest goings on in the land. besides Nepal and Kashmir. His southern boundaries extended upto Mysore State. wounded and crippled. The incidents of theft were unheard of. A great transformation came in him. . Ashoka embraced Budhism. brother's son. which lasted for many days. Science had also made a good progress. while in the west were Saurashtra and Junagarh. In fact on the three sides his territory was already protruding towards Kalinga. According to one version he got initiation from his sister .early in the morning and went upto midnight. or the Britishers. It brought him spiritual awakening and his entire course of life was changed. Its independence was an eyesore to Ashoka. The people of Kalinga refused to submit. He contemplated welfare measures for the people.the great. but because he gave up fighting after winning this war. In the east flowed river Brahamputra. He was not a religious bigot. At last the inevitable happened. In the eighth year of his rule Ashoka surrounded Kalinga on all the four sides. People had religious bent of mind and were truthful. In fact his empire was more extensive than the Mugals. Kalinga was a small kingdom between Godawari and Mahanadi near the Bay of Bengal. Suddenly Ashoka's conscience was jolted. Its land was fertile and its people were prosperous. 10000 horsemen and about 600 elephants. due to this war that he became Ashoka . They were ready to die but not prepared to lose their independence. Now he was a different Ashoka. in fact. Technology. Ashoka had a vast stretch of land under him to rule over. It was because of the transformation that occurred in him. On the north side was snow-capped Himalayas. In the north-west were Baluchistan and Afghanistan. It was because of the reaction that war had on his mind. There were sorpses all around. It is. Kalinga was the first and the last war waged by Ashoka. It was not so because he won the war. About a lakh and a half were made prisoners of war. People were very honest during his reign.
Ashoka found the sword and kept it. in spite of his grandfather's warning. He sent religious teachers not only in the four corners of his kingdom but abroad also. Because of his exemplary intellect and warrior skills. It was mainly due to his efforts that Budhism spread in many Asian countries. He wanted to raise the moral standard of the people through religious preaching. Similarly there were dispensaries for birds and animals. (January 2009) Ashoka was born to the Mauryan emperor Bindusara and his Queen 'Dharma' (although she was a Brahmin or Shubhadrangi. He was a hard task-master and never hesitated from awarding suitable punishment to the corrupt and guilty. truth and purity constituted religion. He is truly a world figure. respecting and obeying teachers and treating lonely people with love and humility. yet it does not mean that he was lenient in administration.According to him kindness. Ashoka has attained unprecedented fame not only in India but also in the whole world. Inns were constructed for the travelers. The language of these edicts is Prakrit. Ashoka had several elder siblings (all half-brothers from other wives of Bindusara). shady trees were planted alongside the roads. He was a kshatriya and was given . Early life This article needs additional citations for verification. since he believed in non-violence. Walls and tanks were sunk for the benefit of the people. Though he hated violence and observed law of Piety i. he was said to have been the favorite of his grandfather Chandragupta Maurya. He propagated such principles of Budhism as were non-controversial. He was a fearsome hunter. In tune with his religious fervour.e. he threw his sword away. By doing good deeds he meant serving parents. The government of India has rightly honoured his memory by adopting 'Ashoka Chakra' as national symbol. It also meant observing norms of good conduct. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Dharma in his personal life. he banned animal sacrifice. Ashoka. in his adolescence. she was undervalued as she wasn't of royal blood). saints and the aged and sick people. when Chandragupta Maurya left his empire for a Jain living. charity. He had just one younger sibling. was rude and naughty. brahmins. Gardens and parks were laid out throughout the empire. Vitthashoka (a much loved brother from the same mother). Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. He got them engraved on the pillars throughout the length and breadth of his empire. He opened hospitals and dispensaries where the rich and the poor alike could get free treatment. As the legend goes. he plunged himself in welfare measures for his people. These pillars were normally more then forty feet high and were very heavy.
a city in the north-west District of Pakistani Punjab region. According to a legend. he was welcomed by the revolting militias and the uprising ended without a conflict. Ashoka was a frightening warrior and a heartless general. (The province revolted once more during the rule of Ashoka. This had led to the formation of different militias causing unrest. for which Prince Susima was the Governor. Ashoka complied and left for the troubled area. he killed a Lion with just a wooden rod. There he met a fisher woman named Kaurwaki. the traditional heir to the throne. Susima. but this time the uprising was crushed with an iron fist) Ashoka's success made his stepbrothers more wary of his intentions of becoming the emperor and more incitements from Susima led Bindusara to send Ashoka into exile. He was very adventurous and this made him a terrific fighter. . Rise to Power Maurya Empire at the age of Ashoka. He went into Kalinga and stayed there incognito. Ashoka was very well known for his sword fighting. Developing into an impeccable warrior general and a shrewd statesman. with whom he fell in love. Ashoka went on to command several regiments of the Mauryan army. persuaded Bindusara to send Ashoka to quell an uprising in Taxshila. Because of this quality he was sent to destroy the riot of Avanti. Recently found inscriptions indicate that she would later become either his second or third queen. As news of Ashoka's visit with his army trickled in. Taxshila was a highly volatile place because of the war-like Indo-Greek population and mismanagement by Susima himself.all royal military trainings and other Vedic knowledge. The eldest of them. His growing popularity across the empire made his elder brothers wary of his chances of being favored by Bindusara to become the next emperor. The empire stretched from Iran to Bangladesh/Assam and from Central Asia (Afganistan) to Tamil Nadu/South India.
the assassin who came to kill Devi and her child killed his mother instead. Conquest of Kalinga Main article: Kalinga War While the early part of Ashoka's reign was apparently quite bloodthirsty. Chandi-devi being associated with Kali. Ashoka expanded his empire over the next eight years.Meanwhile. Ashoka then asked Kalinga's royalty to submit before his supremacy. With its monarchical parliamentary democracy it was quite an exception in ancient Bharata where there existed the concept of Rajdharma. he married her. . but his generals quelled the uprising. however. It was quite unacceptable to Bindusara that one of his sons should marry a Buddhist. Kalinga was a state that prided itself on its sovereignty and democracy. This enraged Ashoka immensely. This is where he first learned the teachings of the Buddha. He was treated by Buddhist monks and nuns. Ashoka went into Ujjain and in the ensuing battle was injured. the Sanskrit word chanda meaning cruel. The pretext for the start of the Kalinga War (265 BC or 263 BC) is uncertain. He was advised by his ministers to attack Kalinga for this act of treachery. After recovering. The following year passed quite peacefully for him. Emperor Bindusara summoned Ashoka out of exile after two years.e. As the news of the unborn heir to the throne spread. and it is also where he met Devi. he became a follower of the Buddha's teaching after his conquest of Kalinga on the east coast of India in the present-day state of Orissa. who was his personal nurse and the daughter of a merchant from adjacent Vidisha. Ascending the throne. Ashoka was treated in hiding so that loyalists of the Susima group could not harm him. Emperor Bindusara died. Tamilnadu / Andhra pradesh). from the present-day boundaries and regions of Burma–Bangladesh and the state of Assam in India in the east to the territory of present-day Iran / Persia and Afghanistan in the west. and Devi was about to deliver his first child. One of Susima's brothers might have fled to Kalinga and found official refuge there. Ashoka was known for his unquenched thirst for wars and campaigns launched to conquer the lands of other rulers and became known as Chandashok (terrible Ashoka). from the Pamir Knots in the north almost to the peninsular of southern India (i. In the meanwhile. or rude. so he did not allow Ashoka to stay in Pataliputra but instead sent him back to Ujjain and made him the governor of Ujjain. In this phase of his life. fierce. Ashoka sent one of his generals to Kalinga to make them submit. which was intrinsically entwined with the concept of bravery and Kshatriya dharma. When they defied this diktat. Rajdharma means the duty of the rulers. Ashoka beheads his elder brother to ascend the throne. Prince Susima planned the execution of the unborn child. there was again a violent uprising in Ujjain.
. what's a defeat then? Is this a victory or a defeat? Is this justice or injustice? Is it gallantry or a rout? Is it valor to kill innocent children and women? Do I do it to widen the empire and for prosperity or to destroy the other's kingdom and splendor? One has lost her husband. Buddhist Conversion This article needs additional citations for verification. Ashoka. The whole of Kalinga was plundered and destroyed. crows. Thailand showing another larger Dharma Chakra / Ashoka Chakra atop the four lions thought to be missing in the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath Museum which has been adopted as the National Emblem of India.000 people were killed on the Kalinga side and 10.. (March 2009) A similar four "Indian lion" Lion Capital of Ashoka atop an intact Ashoka Pillar at Wat U Mong near Chiang Mai. someone a child. attacked with the greatest invasion ever recorded in Indian history until then.. What's this debris of the corpses? Are these marks of victory or defeat? Are these vultures. Ashoka ventured out to roam the city and all he could see were burnt houses and scattered corpses. but they were no match for Ashoka's brutal strength. Thousands of men and women were deported. baffled at this defeat. someone an unborn infant. completely routed through the skilled tact of Kalinga's commander-in-chief. Ashoka's later edicts state that about 100. As the legend goes. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. someone else a father. one day after the war was over. eagles the messengers of death or evil? . Please help improve this article by adding reliable references.The general and his forces were.000o from Ashoka's army. Kalinga put up a stiff resistance. This sight made him sick and he cried the famous monologue: What have I done? If this is a victory. however.
Ashoka defined the main principles of dharma (dhamma) as nonviolence. The Stupas of Sanchi are world famous and the stupa named Sanchi Stupa was built by Emperor Ashoka. Ashoka also showed mercy to those imprisoned. He made Buddhism his state religion around 260 BC. Emperor Ashoka undoubtedly has to be credited with the first serious attempt to develop a Buddhistic policy. and water transit and irrigation systems for trade and agriculture. Ashoka came to be known as Dhammashoka (Sanskrit). obedience to parents. as far as ancient Rome and Egypt. Even the unnecessary slaughter or mutilation of people was immediately abolished. who established Budhism in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). were instead made to be wellrespected allies.The brutality of the conquest led him to adopt Buddhism and he used his position to propagate the relatively new religion to new heights. He treated his subjects as equals regardless of their religion. allowing them leave for the outside a day of the year. Limited hunting was permitted for consumption reasons but Ashoka also promoted the concept of vegetarianism. so easily overthrown. respect for the Brahmans and other . politics and caste. tolerance of all sects and opinions. He built thousands of Stupas and Viharas for Buddhist followers. During the remaining portion of Ashoka's reign. and propogated it and preached it within his domain and worldwide from about 250 BC. He attempted to raise the professional ambition of the common man by building universities for study. meaning Ashoka. The kingdoms surrounding his. the follower of Dharma. He is acclaimed for constructing hospitals for animals and renovating major roads throughout India. Everyone became protected by the king's law against sport hunting and branding. he pursued an official policy of nonviolence (ahimsa). Ashokan Pillar at Vaishali Prominent in this cause were his son Venerable Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra (whose name means "friend of the Sangha"). After this transformation.
These principles suggest a general ethic of behaviour to which no religious or social group could object. The source of much of our knowledge of Ashoka is the many inscriptions he had carved on pillars and rocks throughout the empire. in the 3rd century BC. humane treatment of servants. and they talk of his fame and conquered lands as well as the neighboring kingdoms holding up his might. The lion symbolizes both Ashoka's imperial rule and the kingship of the Buddha. give the names of both Antiochus of the Seleucid empire and Ptolemy III of Egypt. none could match his strength. the founder of the Seleucid Dynasty. He addressed his people as his "children". These inscriptions promoted Buddhist morality and encouraged nonviolence and adherence to Dharma (duty or proper behavior). It is difficult to determine whether or not some actual events ever happened. In translating these monuments. . Stupa of Sanchi. The Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath is the most popular of the relics left by Ashoka. including the Seleucid Empire and the Greco-Bactrian kingdom established by Diodotus I. but the stone etchings clearly depict how Ashoka wanted to be thought of and remembered. and generosity towards all. All his inscriptions have the imperial touch and show compassionate loving.religious teachers and priests. which talk of friendly relations. One also gets some primary information about the Kalinga War and Ashoka's allies plus some useful knowledge on the civil administration. Some critics say that Ashoka was afraid of more wars. but among his neighbors. liberality towards friends. historians learn the bulk of what is assumed to have been true fact of the Mauryan Empire. Emperor Ashoka is known as Piyadasi (in Pali) or Priyadarshi (in Sanskrit) meaning "good looking" or "favored by the gods with good blessing". It has a four-lion capital (four lions standing back to back) which was adopted as the emblem of the modern Indian republic. If his inscriptions and edicts are well studied one finds that he was familiar with the Hellenic world but never in awe of it. His edicts. The fame of the Mauryan empire was widespread from the time that Ashoka's grandfather Chandragupta Maurya defeated Seleucus Nicator. this pillar records the visit of the emperor to Sarnath. He was a contemporary of both Antiochus I Soter and his successor Antiochus II Theos of the Seleucid dynasty as well as Diodotus I and his son Diodotus II of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. Made of sandstone.
are described in Pali sources as leading Greek (Yona) Buddhist monks. and among the kings who are neighbors of Antiochos. . Rock Edict 13 (S. Antigonos. Dhammika) Ashoka also claims that he encouraged the development of herbal medicine. and among the people beyond the borders. although no Hellenic historical record of this event remain: The conquest by Dharma has been won here. active in spreading Buddhism (the Mahavamsa. Magas and Alexander rule. XII). King Piyadasi. Rock Edict 2 The Greeks in India even seem to have played an active role in the propagation of Buddhism. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not available. and as far as Tamraparni (Sri Lanka). As every father desires the good and the happiness of his children. the Keralaputras. the Cholas. the Pandyas. made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for humans and medical treatment for animals. King Piyadasi's [Ashoka's] domain.Ashoka's own words as known from his Edicts are: "All men are my children. the Satiyaputras. such as Dharmaraksita. on the borders. for human and nonhuman animals. everywhere has Beloved-of-the-Gods. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had them imported and grown. I wish that all men should be happy always. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and animals. —Edicts of Ashoka. I have had them imported and grown. beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy. in their territories: Everywhere within Beloved-of-the-Gods." Edward D'Cruz interprets the Ashokan dharma as a "religion to be used as a symbol of a new imperial unity and a cementing force to weld the diverse and heterogeneous elements of the empire".600 km) away.400–9. in the Edicts. I am like a father to them. Also. Ashoka mentions Hellenistic kings of the period as converts to Buddhism. —Edicts of Ashoka. likewise in the south among the Cholas. where the Greek king Antiochos rules. and even six hundred yojanas (5. as some of the emissaries of Ashoka. as far as Tamraparni and where the Greek king Antiochos rules. the Pandyas.
nor the long tenure of his reign which places him in a unique and unparalleled position in world history. He was responsible for the rapid spread of Buddhism from India to the other parts of Asia including China. south east Asia and Sri Lanka and that Buddhism on today's date is a major world religion is in fact mostly to his credit. He was an Indian monarch of the Maurya dynasty and he ruled most of modern India including modern day Afghanistan. Before Ashoka. But it is not the size of his empire. Ashoka is the second most important person in the history of Buddhism and his postion is second only to Gautama Buddha. that too after a resounding victory against his enemies. Pakistan and Bangladesh from 269 BC to 232 BC. Bactria. the founder of the religion. Early Life of Ashoka .Ashoka the Great was one of the greatest emperors in history Ashoka the Great was one of the greatest emperors to have ever ruled. He is perhaps the only emperor in history who left the path of violent conquests for the cause of peace and harmony. Buddhism was pretty much confined to a small part of the predominantly Hindu population of the Indian sub-continent."The Cruel Ashoka" The early life of this great emperor is stained with the blood of his brothers .
His activities and quick rise to power allerted his half brother Sushima who became wary of Ashoka's intentions towards the Maurya throne and he was sent on exile to Kalinga. . Ashoka started his career as a young general but he rose in ranks quickly to become a ruthless warrior and able statesman. There she met Devi. Meanwhile Bindusara died and Sushima in attempting to kill Ashoka's new born child ended up killing Ashoka's wife Devi. This also marked the start of eight year long military campaigns which extended the Maurya empire across the entire subcontinent. So ruthless were his activities that he came to be known as "Chand Ashok" which in Sanskrit means "the Cruel Ashoka". He returned to Pataliputra after two years and was again sent to Ujjain to subdue a rebellion. Afghanistan and Bangladesh were brought under the Maurya fold. daughter of a Buddhist merchant and married her. Ashoka was so infuriated by this incident that he attacked the Maurya capital Pataliputra and beheaded all his half brothers including Sushima and ascended the Mauya throne. As the legend goes.Ashoka was born in the great Maurya dynasty founded by Chandragupta Maurya. Nearly the whole of present day India barring just the southernmost fringes. the whole of modern day Pakistan. His father was Bindusara who was the son of Chandragupta Maurya.