Ashoka – The Great Emperor | Maurya Empire

Ashoka – The Great Emperor | Maurya Empire

Ashoka, also known as Ashoka the Great was a powerful Indian emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, who dominated almost southeast Asia countries including the Indian region, Tamilian region, Nepal, Afganistan, Pakistan, and so on. He was also famous as the name Priyadasi. 

Ashok first succeeded in the throne later extended his kingdom to outer India. According to ancient history, he became aggressive after occupying unlimited power, and the form of Ashok was popular as Chand Ashoka.

After winning the Kalinga war, he was converted into Buddism. But this war left him in deep sorrow. 

Origination of Emperor Ashoka: 

Ashoka was born as Devanampriya or Priyadarshi in 304BC in Pataliputra. He was the son of Mauryan King Bindusar and Subhadrangi, and the Grandson of Mauryan Empire founder Chandragupta Maurya. As he was born into the royal family then he was good at fighting and hunting. 

It is said that Budhha already predicted him 100 years ago before his birth and announced that Ashoka will be the emperor of Entire Asia. Although, it is a mythological story as no one has the power to predict someone’s birth or death.

Also, it is a popular story, when the Nand  Dynasty king, Gananand insulted Chanakya and challenged him to destroy his kingdom. Then Chanakya pledged to make the Mauryan Dynasty and promised to centralized 16 provinces.  

However, Bindusar never accepted Ashoka as his son, because he wanted Susima as his successor. So he organized one battle knowing the ability of his all 101 sons. Where Ashoka proved his potentiality. Ashoka was always supported by Bindusar’s minister and Radhagupta, grandson of Chanakya. 

Also read: History of Taxila University – World Oldest University?

When Ashoka succeeded to occupy the Throne:

According to historical texts, Ashoka was sent to Taxila by his father for fighting without any weapon. But, when people came to know about the arrival of Ashoka then Taxila welcomed him and declared Ashoka the Viceroy of Ujjain or Avanti Province in 286 BC. 

After some time, revolt happened in Taxila again. Now King Bindusar sent his elder son Susima to prove his power but he failed to combat it. As the departure of Susima, Bindusar felt ill and he remembered Susima for succession. But Radhagupta transferred Bindusara’s news to Susima late, because he wanted Ashok as the Emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty. 

Finally, Ashoka is coronated, and after 4 years of his coronation, he became Emperor. Ashoka has married five wives name Devi, Karuvaki, Asandhimitra, Padmavati, and Tishyarakshita.

The great war of Kalinga: 

After occupying all the provinces, Ashoka wanted to capture Kalinga ( Today’s Odissa), which was the northeast coast of Indian that never came under the control of the Mauryan Empire. So Ashoka wanted to invade Kalinga for political and economic reasons. 

Finally, he attacked Kalinga in 261 BC and that was the biggest war in the life of Ashoka. In which more than lakhs of people sacrificed their lives and it is mention that the land of Kalinga was full of human dead bodies and blood.

Finally, Ashok won the Kalinga war but it impacted him badly. According to history, he apologizes to everyone killed in the war and after this war, he embraced Buddhism. 

Ashok ruled the Entire Southease Asia for 36 years and then he died in 232 BCE. After his death, his son Mahendra became king of Patiliputra but Ashoka’s kingdom was not the last longing more than 50 years after his death.

His last successor Brihadratha assassinated by the commander in chief, Pushyamitra Shunga, Mauryan armed forces. After the Mauryan empire, the Sung dynasty established by Pushyamitra Shunga.

His journey towards Buddhism and his administration:

Initially, India was unfamiliar with the name Ashok. The historian James Prinsep, who was an orientalist and antiquary, found the relics of Ashok. He is also famous for deciphering the Kharosthi and Brahmi scripts of ancient India. Firstly, he mentioned Ashoka in his book name The Asiatic Society, then the world got familiar with the name Ashoka.

Ashoka references generally found in Dipavansa and Mahavansa, which is Srilankan text. However, in this text, Ashoka’s depiction is as a super violent personality, who killed his 101 brothers. However, there is no proof of killing his brother. Because these texts are of Buddhism origin and they have exaggerated his personality before his conversion to Buddism. 

According to some modern texts, when Ashoka embraced Buddhism then he sent his son Mahendra and his daughters Sanghamitra to spread Buddhism all around the world. However, it has not been confirmed by any ancient texts or relics found in Ashoka in India that he embraced Buddhism.  

Administration of Ashoka: 

● The administration of Ashok so organized as he had Judiciary, Executives, Legislative, Purohit, Senapati, Mahamantri, and the Yuvraj.  He even had a Superintendent, civil servants, and a Military and Espionage Department. And his political management was the contribution of Chanakya, who founded the Mauryan Empire. 

● Also, he had a major friendship with major South Indian dynasties like Cheras, Cholas, and Pandyas. 

● The army of the Mauryan Empire included 6000 Foot soldiers, 30,000 cavalry, and 9,000 elephants and chariots.

● Ashok built many Buddist monuments like Stupas, Sangharma, Viharas, Chaitya for Buddhist monks. he also built Mahabodhi Temple, which is in Bihar now.

How Indians adopted from Ashoka in present time:

Ashoka was the greatest warrior in history who makes proud Indian history. The Ashok Chakra (the wheel of Ashok) is a depiction of the Dharmachakra (the wheel of dharma). And this has 24 spokes which represent the 12 laws of dependant origination and 12 laws of Dependent termination.

His inscription is widely found in The Ashoka pillar and the lion capital of Sarnath. And his edicts found in the form of Pillars, Rocks, and in territorial. 
India has acquired some constitutional principles from the politics of the Ashoka Empire. Arthasastra is an ancient Indian Sanskrit book based on economic policy and military strategy, written by Chanakya. 

Ancient Greek historian and Indian ethnographer Megasthenes explored the regulated management of Chanakya politics in his book Indika. And, also adopted the same management in his own country. 

However, we are still unaware of the actual courageous fact of Ashoka, because it has been destroyed over time. But, whatever relics archeologists got from their researches, shows the powerful image of India in the world.

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