Ashoka the Great (reigned 268–232 BCE), the third of the Maurya dynasty, was the greatest king of the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE), known for his renunciation of war, the development of the concept of Dhamma (ethical social conduct), and the spread of Buddhism at home and abroad. He was known for promoting. as well as their vastly influential empire as an almost all-India political entity.
Biography of Ashoka the Great
At its height, under Ashoka, the Mauryan Empire extended from modern Iran to almost the entire Indian subcontinent. Ashoka was able to rule this vast empire initially through the teachings of a political treatise known as the Arthashastra, attributed to Prime Minister Chanakya (also known by two other names, Kautilya and Vishnugupta, 350–275 BCE) who served under Ashoka’s grandfather Chandragupta Maurya (r.c. 321 – c.297 BCE) who founded the vast Maurya Empire.
Ashoka name meaning
Ashoka means “one without sorrow” which was probably his given name. He is referred to in his inscriptions, which are carved in stone, as Devanampiya Piyadassi, which according to the scholar John Kaye (and agrees with the scholarly consensus) means “Beloved of the Gods” and “Graceful of Pisces”. “.
He is said to have been very cruelly bloodthirsty early in his reign until he launched a campaign against the Kalinga kingdom in 261 BCE, which resulted in such carnage, destruction, and death that Ashoka called the war Abandoned Niti forever and, over time, converted to Buddhism, devoting himself to peace, as exemplified in his concept of Dhamma.
Outside of his orders, much of what is known about him comes from Buddhist texts, which regard him as an exemplar of transformation and virtuous behavior.
The empire that he and his family built was destroyed only 50 years after his death. Although he was the greatest of kings of one of the largest and most powerful empires in ancient Indian history, his name was lost to history until he was identified in 1837 CE by the British scholar and orientalist James Prinsep (1799–1840 CE). was not done.
|| 304 BC
||Chandragupta Maurya 321 – c.297 BCE
||Karuvaki and Vidisha-Mahadevi
||Susim and Vitashoka
||273 – 232 BCE
|| 269 BC
||Kalinga war 261 BC
||Son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra
Since then, Ashoka has been regarded as one of the most fascinating ancient kings for his decision to renounce warfare, his insistence on religious tolerance, and his peace efforts to establish Buddhism as a major world religion.
Early life and rise to power of Ashoka the Great
Although Ashoka’s name also appears in the Puranas (encyclopedic literature of India dealing with kings, heroes, legends, and deities), his name appears as Ashoka Vardhana, but there is a paucity of information about his life. The accounts of his youth, rise to power, and renunciation of violence after the Kalinga campaign comes from Buddhist sources, which are in many ways considered more historical works and more religious legends.
when was Ashoka born?
Ashoka was born in 304 CE in Pataliputra, and is said to have been one of the hundred sons of his father Bindusara (ruled 297–c. 273 BCE) by his wives. His mother’s name is given as Subhadrangi in one place but as Dharma in another. She is also portrayed as the daughter of a Brahmin (highest caste) and the principal wife of Bindusara in some texts, while in others as a woman of low status and a minor wife.
The story of Bindusara’s 100 sons is rejected by most scholars, who believe that Ashoka was the second of the four sons. His elder brother, Susim, was heir apparent and crown prince, and Ashoka’s chances of rising to power were slim and even impossible because his father disliked him.
Description of Ashoka’s qualification
He was highly educated at court, trained in martial arts, and of course, he was instructed in the precepts of the arts—though he was not considered a worthy candidate for the throne—just as one of the royal sons.
Arthashastra is a treatise that covers many different topics related to society, but primarily it is a manual on political science that provides instructions on how to govern effectively. This is attributed to Chanakya, Chandragupta’s prime minister, who selected and trained Chandragupta to become the king. When Chandragupta abdicated in favor of Bindusara, the latter is said to have been trained in economics and so, almost certainly, would have been his son.
Ashoka’s reign as crown prince
When Ashoka was around the age of 18, he was sent from Pataliputra to Takshashila (Takshashila) to quell a rebellion. According to a legend, Bindusara gave his son an army but no weapons; The weapons were later provided by supernatural means.
The same legend claims that Ashoka showed mercy to those who laid down their arms upon his arrival. No historical account of Ashoka’s campaign in Taxila has survived; This is accepted as a historical fact based on suggestions from inscriptions and place names but the details are unknown.