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The Ashoka Chakra is a depiction of the Dharma Chakra; a wheel represented with 24 spokes. It is so called because it appears on a number of edicts of Ashoka, most prominent among which is the Lion Capital of Ashoka. The most visible use of the Ashoka Chakra today is at the centre of the Flag of India (adopted on 24 July 1947), where it is rendered in a navy blue colour on a white background, replacing the symbol of ''chakra'' (spinning wheel) of the pre-independence versions of the flag. India's highest peacetime military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield is also called Ashoka Chakra.


Symbolic history


When Gautama Buddha achieved enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, he came to Sarnath, on the outskirts of Varanasi. There, he found his five disciples Assaji, Mahānāman, Kondañña, Bhaddiya and Vappa, who had earlier abandoned him. He introduced his first teachings to them, thereby establishing the dharmachakra. This is the motive taken up by Ashoka and portrayed on top of his pillars. The 24 spokes represent the twelve causal links taught by the Buddha and paṭiccasamuppāda (Dependent Origination, Conditional Arising) in forward and then reverse order. The first 12 spokes represent 12 stages of suffering. Next 12 spokes represent no cause no effect. So, due to awareness of mind, formation of mental conditioning stops. This process stops the process of birth and death i.e. nibbāna. It also depicts the “wheel of time” i.e the 24 hours of a day according to the 24 saints of The Great Himalayas. The twelve causal links, paired with their corresponding symbols, are: # Avidyā ''ignorance'' # Sanskāra ''conditioning of mind unknowingly'' # Vijñāna ''consciousness'' # Nāmarūpa ''name and form'' (constituent elements of mental and physical existence) # Ṣalāyatana ''six senses'' (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind) # Sparśa ''contact'' # Vedanā ''sensation'' # Taṇhā ''thirst'' # Upādāna ''grasping'' # Bhava ''coming to be'' # Jāti ''being born'' # Jarāmaraṇa ''old age and death'' – ''corpse being carried''. These 12 in forward and reverse represent a total 24 spokes representing the dharma.


Inclusion in National Flag of India


Ashoka Chakra was included in the middle of the national flag of India. The circular Ashoka Chakra illustrates the progressiveness of the country.


See also

* Chakra (disambiguation) * Vergina Sun


Notes


{{reflist|2|refs = Recommended reading http://www.logopie.com/what-makes-ashoka-chakra-a-great-symbol/ Category:Indian culture Category:National symbols of India Category:Memorials to Ashoka