ASHOKA – GREATEST RULER OF ASIAJuly 24, 2020
Ashoka, also known as Ashoka the Great was born on 304BC was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. The grandson of the founder of the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka promoted the spread of Buddhism across ancient Asia. He was the third king of the Mauryan Empire (322-185 BCE) best known for his renunciation of war, development of the concept of dhamma (pious social conduct), and promotion of Buddhism as well as his effective reign of a nearly pan-Indian political entity.
Early Life Of Ashoka
His birthdate is unknown, and he is said to have been one of a hundred sons of his father Bindusara’s (r. 297-c.273 BCE) wives. His mother’s name is given as Subhadrangi in one text but as Dharma in another.The story of the 100 sons of Bindusara is dismissed by most scholars who believe Ashoka was the second son of four. His older brother, Susima, was the heir apparent and crown prince and Ashoka’s chances of ever assuming power were therefore slim and even slimmer because his father disliked him
He was highly educated at court, trained in martial arts, and was no doubt instructed in the precepts of the Artashastra – even if he was not considered a candidate for the throne – simply as one of the royal sons.It is attributed to Chanakya, Chandragupta’s prime minister, who chose and trained Chandragupta to become king. When Chandragupta abdicated in favor of Bindusara, the latter is said to have been trained in the Arthashastra and so, almost certainly, would have been his sons.
Conquest Of Takshashila
Bindusara provided Ashoka with a fourfold-army (comprising cavalry, elephants, chariots and infantry), but refused to provide any weapons for this army. Ashoka declared that weapons would appear before him if he was worthy of being a king, and then, the deities emerged from the earth, and provided weapons to the army. When he reached Takshashila, the citizens welcomed him, and told him that their rebellion was only against the evil ministers, not the king. Sometime later, He was similarly welcomed in the Khasa territory, and the gods declared that he would go on to conquer the whole earth.
Story behind 4 headed Lion
After defeating the evil minister Kechak at Takshashila ,Ashok carved out the Ashoka Stamba which symbolizes peace which included four lions, sitting on the abacus, represent power, courage, confidence and pride . The four of smaller carvings of animals namely lion, bull, galloping horse and elephant on the circular abacus are the guardians of the four directions. Each spoke on the chakra symbolises one principle of life and also the twenty-four hours in the day, which is why it is also called the ‘Wheel of Time’.
Battle of Kalinga
Ashoka conquered Kalinga 8 years after his ascension to the throne. The edict states that during his conquest of Kalinga, 100,000 men and animals were killed in action; many times that number “perished”; and 150,000 men and animals were carried away from Kalinga as captives. Ashoka states that the repentance of these sufferings caused him to devote himself to the practice and propagation of dharma.
That human toll took a tremendous emotional toll on Ashoka. He wrote that he was “deeply pained by the killing, dying, and deportation that take place when an unconquered country is conquered.” Thereafter, Ashoka renounced military conquest and other forms of violence, including cruelty to animals. He became a patron of Buddhism, supporting the rise of the doctrine across India. He reportedly dispatched emissaries to several countries, including Syria and Greece, and he sent his own children as missionaries to Sri Lanka.
Achievement of Ashoka
- He sent Buddhist missionaries no many nation to expand Buddhism(A faction of Hinduism) which preached peace.
- He started a monetary system which involved entire India. -The stupa architecture was at peak during his reign.
- He dug many wells, planted trees and levied taxes many times.