Biography of Emperor Ashoka. Biography of Ashoka

by Dhrubajyoti Haloi
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Ashok Maurya

Name Ashok Maurya
other names beloved and loving
Birth Pataliputra (Bihar) 304 BC
Father Bindusar
Mother Subhadrangi (Dhamma)
Linage maurya dynasty
Wife Devi and Padmavati
Coronation 269 ​​BC (Magadha)
death Taxila 232 BC

Biography of Emperor Ashoka

Historians have received many inscriptions of Ashoka, but information about Ashoka’s early life comes from Buddhist evidence – Divyavadana and Sinhalese Anushruti . Emperor Ashoka was born in 304 BC in Pataliputra, the capital of Magadha. Ashoka’s full name was Ashoka Devanampriya Maurya, it means beloved of the gods, Ashoka, and Ashoka means painless and worry-free . Emperor Ashoka’s father’s name was Bindusara, who was the second ruler of the Maurya dynasty and Chandragupta Maurya’s son, including Ashoka, King Bindusara had a total of 101 sons .

The name of Ashoka’s mother is mentioned as Subhadrangi in the Ashokavadan book, while in some other texts the name of Ashoka’s mother is mentioned as Dhamma . Emperor Ashoka’s mother was a Brahmin girl who was a resident of present day Champaran. It is said that King Bindusara did not like Ashoka because Ashoka’s body was black, so King Bindusara wanted his beloved son Susim to sit on the throne.

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To find out the merit of all his sons, King Bindusara organized the examination, in all the examinations, Ashoka performed the best. Apart from this, King Bindusara sent Ashoka as the viceroy of Takshashila to stop the rebellion at that time. Ashoka pacified the rebellion with his cleverness and intelligence, but still King Bindusara did not want Ashoka to sit on the throne of the Mauryan Empire, but Ashoka conspired and took the throne under his control and ruled Magadha for 36 years.


Emperor Ashoka had many wives, in which the names of Devi and Padmavati are notable. Ashoka’s son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra were the children of Devi and  Kunal was the son of Emperor Ashoka’s second wife Queen Padmavati who later became the governor of Taxila and Avanti.

Emperor Ashoka is considered the greatest ruler of the Maurya dynasty. Ashoka had an important role in the rise of Buddhism. According to the book Ashokavadan, Ashoka died in Takshashila in 232 BC, while according to some other texts, Ashoka died in Magadha. Historians still have differences regarding the death of Ashoka.


Ascension to the throne of Emperor Ashoka

According to scholars, Ashoka got the throne by killing his 99 brothers. According to Buddhist evidence, King Ashoka killed his brother Susim by throwing him into a burning coal for the throne. Historians differ on this subject and they consider it only a fiction. Are. In Ashokavdan Granth, the form of Ashoka before the Kalinga war is called Chanda Ashoka, which means cruel and merciless Ashoka .

Ashoka’s reign is believed to be from 269 BC to 232 BC. Ashoka ruled Magadha for about 36 years . There was a lot of progress in the education sector during Ashoka’s reign, Ashoka got many universities built, as well as the medical system developed a lot during his reign, Radhagupta, the grandson of Acharya Chanakya, had an important contribution in making King Ashoka a skilled emperor.


expansion of ashoka’s empire

Kashmir was not included in the Maurya Empire at the time of Emperor Ashoka’s accession to the throne. Emperor Ashoka first merged Kashmir into his empire. He adopted the imperialist policy of his grandfather Chandragupta Maurya for the expansion of the empire. He expanded his empire till present day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan.  During the expansion of the empire, Ashoka fought the war of Kalinga.


Battle and Victory of Kalinga   

According to the Hathigupha inscription, Kalinga was under the control of the Nanda dynasty but after the decline of the Nanda dynasty, Kalinga became independent. Emperor Ashoka invaded Kalinga with his huge army in  261 BC to join Kalinga in his empire. This place is currently located in the state of Orissa in India.

The 13th edict of Ashoka tells us about the enormity of the Kalinga war. In the Kalinga war, more than one lakh people were killed, many became prisoners and several thousand people were expelled from the kingdom.

Emperor Ashoka was victorious in the Kalinga war, but so much bloodshed, devastation and devastation aroused Ashoka’s passion and he vowed never to fight again. After this incident, Ashoka, who was considered cruel and merciless, became Dharmashoka.


Emperor Ashoka after the Kalinga war

After the Kalinga war, Ashoka’s heart completely changed He planted mango and peepal trees at various places in his kingdom so that animals and people could get shade. He got platforms constructed at many places for people to sit.

Along with people, a hospital was also built for animals. Emperor Ashoka stopped animal sacrifice and banned drinking.

He took the support of inscriptions to convey all his decisions and orders to the public. Ashoka was the only ruler who recorded all his decisions, thoughts and important events of his life in the rocks. Emperor Ashoka is considered the greatest ruler in history. The Ashoka Chakra described in the tricolor flag of India is the gift of Emperor Ashoka.


Emperor Ashoka and Buddhism

Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism after the Kalinga war.  According to the Mahavamsa , Nikroda told Ashoka about the teachings of Buddha, after which Ashoka adopted Buddhism. According to the Mahavamsa, Nikroda was the son of Ashoka’s elder brother Susim. Tishi, the son of Buddhist monk Mugali, played the most important role in Ashoka’s adoption of Buddhism . Ashoka established Dharmavijay in place of Dwigavijay in his empire.

Emperor Ashoka started propagating Buddhism while undertaking pilgrimages. Emperor Ashoka’s contribution in the upliftment of Buddhism was very important. With the adoption of Buddhism by Ashoka, this religion became the state religion, which paved the way for the advancement of Buddhism. The third Buddhist council was organized during the reign of Emperor Ashoka. After the end of the Third Buddhist Council, Emperor Ashoka sent missionaries to different regions. He abolished the tax on land in Lumbini, as well as Ashoka abolished the tax imposed on religion. Emperor Ashoka got many Buddhist Stupas built. Sanchi’s Buddhist Stupa was built by Emperor Ashoka.


Dhamma doctrine of Emperor Ashoka

The word Dhamma has been mentioned many times in the records of Ashoka. Ashoka did not give any exact name of his Dhamma, therefore there are differences among historians about the real meaning of Dhamma. According to some historians, Ashoka’s Dhamma means Dharma. The definition of Ashoka’s Dhamma policy is that every human being should stay away from sins, do welfare work, follow kindness, charity, truth, purity and gentleness.

According to Ashoka, this religion is as follows: –

  • ethical behavior
  • Respecting the teachers, serving the parents, treating the slaves properly, respecting the younger ones and obeying the orders of the elders.
  • Ashoka gave maximum emphasis on non-violence in his Dhamma. According to Ashoka’s Dhamma, man’s biggest enemy is ‘anger’, so man should control his anger and follow the path of non-violence.
  • According to Ashok Dhamma, a man should control his sentence. Ashoka says never to say such a word to anyone that hurts that person’s heart.
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