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Ashoka
Ashoka
(English: /əˈʃoʊkə/; IAST: Aśoka; died 232 BCE)[5], or Ashoka
Ashoka
the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
from c. 268 to 232 BCE.[6] He was the grandson of the founder of the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, who had created one of the largest empires in ancient India
India
and then, according to Jain sources, renounced it all to become a Jain monk.[7] One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka expanded Chandragupta's empire, and reigned over a realm that stretched from present-day Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in the west to Bangladesh
Bangladesh
in the east. It covered the entire Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu, Karnataka
Karnataka
and Kerala. The empire's capital was Pataliputra
Pataliputra
(in Magadha, present-day Patna), with provincial capitals at Taxila
Taxila
and Ujjain. In about 260 BCE, Ashoka
Ashoka
waged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga (modern Odisha).[8] He conquered Kalinga, which none of his ancestors had done.[9] Some scholars suggest he belonged to the Jain tradition, but it is generally accepted that he embraced Buddhism.[10] Legends state he converted after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he himself had waged out of a desire for conquest. " Ashoka
Ashoka
reflected on the war in Kalinga, which reportedly had resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations, ending at around 200,000 deaths."[11] Ashoka
Ashoka
converted to Buddhism
Buddhism
about 263 BCE.[8] He is remembered for the Ashoka
Ashoka
pillars and edicts, for sending Buddhist monks to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and Central Asia, and for establishing monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha.[12] Beyond the Edicts of Ashoka, biographical information about him relies on legends written centuries later, such as the 2nd-century CE Ashokavadana
Ashokavadana
("Narrative of Ashoka", a part of the Divyavadana), and in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa
Mahavamsa
("Great Chronicle"). The emblem of the modern Republic of India
Republic of India
is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka. Ashoka's name "Aśoka" means "painless, without sorrow" in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
(the a privativum and śoka, "pain, distress"). In his edicts, he is referred to as Devānāmpriya ( Pali
Pali
Devānaṃpiya or "the Beloved of the Gods"), and Priyadarśin ( Pali
Pali
Piyadasī or "He who regards everyone with affection"). His fondness for his name's connection to the Saraca asoca
Saraca asoca
tree, or " Ashoka
Ashoka
tree", is also referenced in the Ashokavadana. H.G. Wells
H.G. Wells
wrote of Ashoka
Ashoka
in his book The Outline of History: "Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Ashoka
Ashoka
shines, and shines, almost alone, a star."

Contents

1 Biography

1.1 Ashoka's early life 1.2 Rise to power 1.3 Marriage 1.4 Conquest of Kalinga & Buddhist
Buddhist
conversion 1.5 Death and legacy

1.5.1 Buddhist
Buddhist
kingship

2 Historical sources

2.1 Symbolism

3 Perceptions and historiography

3.1 Focus of debate 3.2 Legends of Ashoka 3.3 Ashoka
Ashoka
and the relics of the Buddha

4 Contributions

4.1 Approach towards religions 4.2 Global spread of Buddhism 4.3 Hellenistic
Hellenistic
world 4.4 As administrator 4.5 Animal welfare 4.6 Ashoka
Ashoka
Chakra 4.7 Stone architecture

4.7.1 Pillars of Ashoka
Pillars of Ashoka
(Ashokstambha) 4.7.2 Lion Capital of Ashoka
Lion Capital of Ashoka
(Ashokmudra) 4.7.3 Constructions credited to Ashoka

5 In art, film and literature 6 See also 7 References

7.1 Citations 7.2 Sources

8 External links

Biography Ashoka's early life Ashoka
Ashoka
was born to the Mauryan
Mauryan
emperor, Bindusara
Bindusara
and Subhadrangī (or Dharmā).[13] He was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya dynasty. Broadly, Chandragupta was born in a humble family, abandoned, raised as a son by another family, then with the training and counsel of Chanakya
Chanakya
of Arthashastra
Arthashastra
fame ultimately built one of the largest empires in ancient India.[14][15][16] Ashoka's grandfather Chandragupta renounced it all, and became a monk in the Jain tradition.[7] According to Roman historian Appian, Chandragupta had made a "marital alliance" with Seleucus; there is thus a possibility that Ashoka
Ashoka
had a Seleucid Greek grandmother.[17][18] An Indian Puranic
Puranic
source, the Pratisarga Parva of the Bhavishya Purana, also described the marriage of Chandragupta with a Greek ("Yavana") princess, daughter of Seleucus.[19] The ancient Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain texts provide varying biographical accounts. The Avadana
Avadana
texts mention that his mother was queen Subhadrangī. According to the Ashokavadana, she was the daughter of a Brahmin from the city of Champa.[20][21]:205 She gave him the name Ashoka, meaning "one without sorrow". The Divyāvadāna tells a similar story, but gives the name of the queen as Janapadakalyānī.[22][23] Ashoka
Ashoka
had several elder siblings, all of whom were his half-brothers from the other wives of his father Bindusara. Ashoka
Ashoka
was given royal military training.[24] Rise to power

Ashoka's empire stretched from Afghanistan
Afghanistan
to Bengal
Bengal
to southern India. Several modern maps depict it as covering nearly all of the Indian subcontinent, except the southern tip.[25]

Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund believe that Ashoka's empire did not include large parts of India, which were controlled by autonomous tribes[25]

The Buddhist
Buddhist
text Divyavadana describes Ashoka
Ashoka
putting down a revolt due to activities of wicked ministers. This may have been an incident in Bindusara's times. Taranatha's account states that Chanakya, Bindusara's chief advisor, destroyed the nobles and kings of 16 towns and made himself the master of all territory between the eastern and the western seas. Some historians consider this as an indication of Bindusara's conquest of the Deccan while others consider it as suppression of a revolt. Following this, Ashoka
Ashoka
was stationed at Ujain, the capital of Malwa, as governor.[20] Bindusara's death in 272 BCE led to a war over succession. According to the Divyavadana, Bindusara
Bindusara
wanted his elder son Susima to succeed him but Ashoka
Ashoka
was supported by his father's ministers, who found Susima to be arrogant and disrespectful towards them.[26] A minister named Radhagupta seems to have played an important role in Ashoka's rise to the throne. The Ashokavadana
Ashokavadana
recounts Radhagupta's offering of an old royal elephant to Ashoka
Ashoka
for him to ride to the Garden of the Gold Pavilion where King Bindusara
Bindusara
would determine his successor. Ashoka
Ashoka
later got rid of the legitimate heir to the throne by tricking him into entering a pit filled with live coals. Radhagupta, according to the Ashokavadana, would later be appointed prime minister by Ashoka once he had gained the throne. The Dipavansa
Dipavansa
and Mahavansa
Mahavansa
refer to Ashoka's killing 99 of his brothers, sparing only one, named Vitashoka or Tissa,[4] although there is no clear proof about this incident (many such accounts are saturated with mythological elements). The coronation happened in 269 BCE, four years after his succession to the throne.[27]

Emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
and his Queen at the Deer Park. Sanchi
Sanchi
relief.

Buddhist
Buddhist
legends state that Ashoka
Ashoka
was bad-tempered and of a wicked nature. He built Ashoka's Hell, an elaborate torture chamber described as a "Paradisal Hell" due to the contrast between its beautiful exterior and the acts carried out within by his appointed executioner, Girikaa.[28] This earned him the name of Chanda Ashoka
Ashoka
(Caṇḍa Aśoka) meaning " Ashoka
Ashoka
the Fierce" in Sanskrit. Professor Charles Drekmeier cautions that the Buddhist
Buddhist
legends tend to dramatise the change that Buddhism
Buddhism
brought in him, and therefore, exaggerate Ashoka's past wickedness and his piousness after the conversion.[29] Ascending the throne, Ashoka
Ashoka
expanded his empire over the next eight years, from the present-day Assam
Assam
in the East to Balochistan
Balochistan
in the West; from the Pamir Knot
Pamir Knot
in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in the north to the peninsula of southern India
India
except for present day Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
and Kerala
Kerala
which were ruled by the three ancient Tamil kingdoms.[23][30] Marriage From the various sources that speak of his life, Ashoka
Ashoka
is believed to have had five wives. They were named Devi (or Vedisa-Mahadevi-Shakyakumari), the second queen, Karuvaki, Asandhimitra (designated agramahisī or "chief queen"), Padmavati, and Tishyarakshita.[31] He is similarly believed to have had four sons and two daughters: a son by Devi named Mahendra (Pali: Mahinda), Tivara (son of Karuvaki), Kunala
Kunala
(son of Padmavati, and Jalauka (mentioned in the Kashmir Chronicle), a daughter of Devi named Sanghamitra
Sanghamitra
(Pali: Sanghamitta), and another daughter named Charumati.[31] According to one version of the Mahavamsa, the Buddhist
Buddhist
chronicle of Sri Lanka, Ashoka, when he was heir-apparent and was journeying as Viceroy to Ujjain, is said to have halted at Vidisha
Vidisha
(10 kilometers from Sanchi), and there married the daughter of a local banker. She was called Devi and later gave Ashoka
Ashoka
two sons, Ujjeniya and Mahendra, and a daughter Sanghamitta. After Ashoka's accession, Mahendra headed a Buddhist
Buddhist
mission, sent probably under the auspices of the Emperor, to Sri Lanka.[32] Conquest of Kalinga & Buddhist
Buddhist
conversion While the early part of Ashoka's reign was apparently quite bloodthirsty, he became a follower of the Buddha's teachings after his conquest of the Kalinga on the east coast of India
India
in the present-day states of Odisha
Odisha
and North Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Kalinga was a state that prided itself on its sovereignty and democracy. With its monarchical parliamentary democracy it was quite an exception in ancient Bharata where there existed the concept of Rajdharma. Rajdharma
Rajdharma
means the duty of the rulers, which was intrinsically entwined with the concept of bravery and dharma. The Kalinga War happened eight years after his coronation. From his 13th inscription, we come to know that the battle was a massive one and caused the deaths of more than 100,000 soldiers and many civilians who rose up in defence; over 150,000 were deported.[33]

The Diamond throne
Diamond throne
built by Ashoka
Ashoka
at the Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi Temple
in Bodh Gaya, at the location where the Buddha
Buddha
reached enlightenment.

Edict 13 of the Edicts of Ashoka
Edicts of Ashoka
Rock Inscriptions expresses the great remorse the king felt after observing the destruction of Kalinga:

Directly after the Kalingas had been annexed began His Sacred Majesty’s zealous protection of the Law of Piety, his love of that Law, and his inculcation of that Law. Thence arises the remorse of His Sacred Majesty for having conquered the Kalingas, because the conquest of a country previously unconquered involves the slaughter, death, and carrying away captive of the people. That is a matter of profound sorrow and regret to His Sacred Majesty.[34]

Legend says that one day after the war was over, Ashoka
Ashoka
ventured out to roam the city and all he could see were burnt houses and scattered corpses. The lethal war with Kalinga transformed the vengeful Emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
to a stable and peaceful emperor and he became a patron of Buddhism. According to the prominent Indologist, A. L. Basham, Ashoka's personal religion became Buddhism, if not before, then certainly after the Kalinga war. However, according to Basham, the Dharma
Dharma
officially propagated by Ashoka
Ashoka
was not Buddhism
Buddhism
at all.[35] Nevertheless, his patronage led to the expansion of Buddhism
Buddhism
in the Mauryan
Mauryan
empire and other kingdoms during his rule, and worldwide from about 250 BCE.[36] Prominent in this cause were his son Mahinda (Mahendra) and daughter Sanghamitra
Sanghamitra
(whose name means "friend of the Sangha"), who established Buddhism
Buddhism
in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).[37]

Ashokan Pillar at Vaishali

Death and legacy

Ashoka's Major Rock Edict
Ashoka's Major Rock Edict
at Junagadh
Junagadh
contains inscriptions by Ashoka (fourteen of the Edicts of Ashoka), Rudradaman I
Rudradaman I
and Skandagupta.

Ashoka
Ashoka
ruled for an estimated 36 years and died in 232 BCE.[38] Legend states that during his cremation, his body burned for seven days and nights.[39] After his death, the Mauryan
Mauryan
dynasty lasted just fifty more years until his empire stretched over almost all of the Indian subcontinent. Ashoka
Ashoka
had many wives and children, but many of their names are lost to time. His chief consort (agramahisi) for the majority of his reign was his wife, Asandhimitra, who apparently bore him no children.[40] In his old age, he seems to have come under the spell of his youngest wife Tishyaraksha. It is said that she had got Ashoka's son Kunala, the regent in Takshashila and the heir presumptive to the throne, blinded by a wily stratagem. The official executioners spared Kunala and he became a wandering singer accompanied by his favourite wife Kanchanmala. In Pataliputra, Ashoka
Ashoka
heard Kunala's song, and realised that Kunala's misfortune may have been a punishment for some past sin of the emperor himself. He condemned Tishyaraksha to death, restoring Kunala
Kunala
to the court. In the Ashokavadana, Kunala
Kunala
is portrayed as forgiving Tishyaraksha, having obtained enlightenment through Buddhist practice. While he urges Ashoka
Ashoka
to forgive her as well, Ashoka
Ashoka
does not respond with the same forgiveness.[28] Kunala
Kunala
was succeeded by his son, Samprati, who ruled for 50 years until his death.[citation needed] The reign of Ashoka
Ashoka
Maurya might have disappeared into history as the ages passed by, had he not left behind records of his reign. These records are in the form of sculpted pillars and rocks inscribed with a variety of actions and teachings he wished to be published under his name. The language used for inscription was in one of the Prakrit "common" languages etched in a Brahmi script.[41] In the year 185 BCE, about fifty years after Ashoka's death, the last Maurya ruler, Brihadratha, was assassinated by the commander-in-chief of the Mauryan
Mauryan
armed forces, Pushyamitra Shunga, while he was taking the Guard of Honor of his forces. Pushyamitra Shunga
Pushyamitra Shunga
founded the Shunga dynasty
Shunga dynasty
(185-75 BCE) and ruled just a fragmented part of the Mauryan
Mauryan
Empire. Many of the northwestern territories of the Mauryan Empire (modern-day Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Northern Pakistan) became the Indo-Greek Kingdom.[citation needed] King Ashoka, the third monarch of the Indian Mauryan
Mauryan
dynasty, is also considered as one of the most exemplary rulers who ever lived.[42] Buddhist
Buddhist
kingship

The Khalsi
Khalsi
rock edict of Ashoka, which mentions the Greek kings Antiochus, Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas and Alexander by name, as recipients of his teachings.

Main article: Buddhist
Buddhist
kingship Further information: History of Buddhism, History of Buddhism
Buddhism
in India, Buddhism
Buddhism
in Nepal, Buddhism
Buddhism
in Sri Lanka, and Buddhism
Buddhism
in Burma One of the more enduring legacies of Ashoka
Ashoka
was the model that he provided for the relationship between Buddhism
Buddhism
and the state. Emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
was seen as a role model to leaders within the Buddhist community. He not only provided guidance and strength, but he also created personal relationships with his supporters.[43] Throughout Theravada
Theravada
Southeastern Asia, the model of rulership embodied by Ashoka replaced the notion of divine kingship that had previously dominated (in the Angkor
Angkor
kingdom, for instance). Under this model of 'Buddhist kingship', the king sought to legitimise his rule not through descent from a divine source, but by supporting and earning the approval of the Buddhist
Buddhist
sangha. Following Ashoka's example, kings established monasteries, funded the construction of stupas, and supported the ordination of monks in their kingdom. Many rulers also took an active role in resolving disputes over the status and regulation of the sangha, as Ashoka
Ashoka
had in calling a conclave to settle a number of contentious issues during his reign. This development ultimately led to a close association in many Southeast Asian countries between the monarchy and the religious hierarchy, an association that can still be seen today in the state-supported Buddhism
Buddhism
of Thailand and the traditional role of the Thai king as both a religious and secular leader. Ashoka
Ashoka
also said that all his courtiers always governed the people in a moral manner.[citation needed] According to the legends mentioned in the 2nd-century CE text Ashokavadana, Ashoka
Ashoka
was not non-violent after adopting Buddhism. In one instance, a non- Buddhist
Buddhist
in Pundravardhana
Pundravardhana
drew a picture showing the Buddha
Buddha
bowing at the feet of Nirgrantha Jnatiputra
Nirgrantha Jnatiputra
(identified with Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara of Jainism). On complaint from a Buddhist
Buddhist
devotee, Ashoka
Ashoka
issued an order to arrest him, and subsequently, another order to kill all the Ajivikas in Pundravardhana. Around 18,000 followers of the Ajivika
Ajivika
sect were executed as a result of this order.[21][44] Sometime later, another Nirgrantha follower in Pataliputra
Pataliputra
drew a similar picture. Ashoka burnt him and his entire family alive in their house.[44] He also announced an award of one dinara (silver coin) to anyone who brought him the head of a Nirgrantha heretic. According to Ashokavadana, as a result of this order, his own brother was mistaken for a heretic and killed by a cowherd.[21] However, for several reasons, scholars say, these stories of persecutions of rival sects by Ashoka
Ashoka
appear to be clear fabrications arising out of sectarian propaganda.[44][45][46] Historical sources Main articles: Edicts of Ashoka, Ashokavadana, Mahavamsa, and Dipavamsa Ashoka
Ashoka
was almost forgotten by the historians of the early British India, but James Prinsep
James Prinsep
contributed in the revelation of historical sources. Another important historian was British archaeologist John Hubert Marshall, who was director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India. His main interests were Sanchi
Sanchi
and Sarnath, in addition to Harappa
Harappa
and Mohenjodaro. Sir Alexander Cunningham, a British archaeologist and army engineer, and often known as the father of the Archaeological Survey of India, unveiled heritage sites like the Bharhut
Bharhut
Stupa, Sarnath, Sanchi, and the Mahabodhi Temple. Mortimer Wheeler, a British archaeologist, also exposed Ashokan historical sources, especially the Taxila.[citation needed]

The Kandahar
Kandahar
Edict of Ashoka, a bilingual inscription (in Greek and Aramaic) by King Ashoka, discovered at Kandahar
Kandahar
(National Museum of Afghanistan).

Information about the life and reign of Ashoka
Ashoka
primarily comes from a relatively small number of Buddhist
Buddhist
sources. In particular, the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Ashokavadana
Ashokavadana
('Story of Ashoka'), written in the 2nd century, and the two Pāli
Pāli
chronicles of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
(the Dipavamsa
Dipavamsa
and Mahavamsa) provide most of the currently known information about Ashoka. Additional information is contributed by the Edicts of Ashoka, whose authorship was finally attributed to the Ashoka
Ashoka
of Buddhist legend after the discovery of dynastic lists that gave the name used in the edicts (Priyadarshi—'He who regards everyone with affection') as a title or additional name of Ashoka
Ashoka
Maurya. Architectural remains of his period have been found at Kumhrar, Patna, which include an 80-pillar hypostyle hall.[citation needed] Edicts of Ashoka
Edicts of Ashoka
-The Edicts of Ashoka
Edicts of Ashoka
are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by Ashoka
Ashoka
during his reign. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout modern-day Pakistan
Pakistan
and India, and represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail the first wide expansion of Buddhism
Buddhism
through the sponsorship of one of the most powerful kings of Indian history, offering more information about Ashoka's proselytism, moral precepts, religious precepts, and his notions of social and animal welfare.[47] Ashokavadana – The Aśokāvadāna is a 2nd-century CE text related to the legend of Ashoka. The legend was translated into Chinese by Fa Hien
Fa Hien
in 300 CE. It is essentially a Hinayana
Hinayana
text, and its world is that of Mathura and North-west India. The emphasis of this little known text is on exploring the relationship between the king and the community of monks (the Sangha) and setting up an ideal of religious life for the laity (the common man) by telling appealing stories about religious exploits. The most startling feature is that Ashoka’s conversion has nothing to do with the Kalinga war, which is not even mentioned, nor is there a word about his belonging to the Maurya dynasty. Equally surprising is the record of his use of state power to spread Buddhism
Buddhism
in an uncompromising fashion. The legend of Veetashoka provides insights into Ashoka’s character that are not available in the widely known Pali
Pali
records.[28]

A punch-marked Coin of Ashoka[48]

A silver coin of 1 karshapana of the empire Maurya, period of Ashoka Maurya towards 272-232 BC, workshop of Mathura. Obv: Symbols including a sun and an animal Rev: Symbol Dimensions: 13.92 x 11.75 mm Weight: 3.4 g.

Mahavamsa
Mahavamsa
-The Mahavamsa
Mahavamsa
("Great Chronicle") is a historical poem written in the Pali
Pali
language of the kings of Sri Lanka. It covers the period from the coming of King Vijaya of Kalinga (ancient Odisha) in 543 BCE to the reign of King Mahasena (334–361). As it often refers to the royal dynasties of India, the Mahavamsa
Mahavamsa
is also valuable for historians who wish to date and relate contemporary royal dynasties in the Indian subcontinent. It is very important in dating the consecration of Ashoka.[citation needed] Dwipavamsa -The Dwipavamsa, or "Dweepavamsa", (i.e., Chronicle of the Island, in Pali) is the oldest historical record of Sri Lanka. The chronicle is believed to be compiled from Atthakatha
Atthakatha
and other sources around the 3rd or 4th century CE. King Dhatusena (4th century) had ordered that the Dipavamsa
Dipavamsa
be recited at the Mahinda festival held annually in Anuradhapura.[citation needed] Symbolism

Caduceus
Caduceus
symbol on a punch-marked coin of the Maurya Empire
Maurya Empire
in India, in the 3rd-2nd century BCE.

The caduceus appears as a symbol of the punch-marked coins of the Maurya Empire
Maurya Empire
in India, in the 3rd-2nd century BCE. Numismatic research suggests that this symbol was the symbol of king Ashoka, his personal "Mudra".[49] This symbol was not used on the pre-Mauryan punch-marked coins, but only on coins of the Maurya period, together with the three arched-hill symbol, the "peacock on the hill", the triskelis and the Taxila
Taxila
mark.[50] Perceptions and historiography The use of Buddhist
Buddhist
sources in reconstructing the life of Ashoka
Ashoka
has had a strong influence on perceptions of Ashoka, as well as the interpretations of his Edicts. Building on traditional accounts, early scholars regarded Ashoka
Ashoka
as a primarily Buddhist
Buddhist
monarch who underwent a conversion to Buddhism
Buddhism
and was actively engaged in sponsoring and supporting the Buddhist
Buddhist
monastic institution. Some scholars have tended to question this assessment. Romila Thappar writes about Ashoka that "We need to see him both as a statesman in the context of inheriting and sustaining an empire in a particular historical period, and as a person with a strong commitment to changing society through what might be called the propagation of social ethics."[51] The only source of information not attributable to Buddhist
Buddhist
sources are the Ashokan Edicts, and these do not explicitly state that Ashoka
Ashoka
was a Buddhist. In his edicts, Ashoka
Ashoka
expresses support for all the major religions of his time: Buddhism, Brahmanism, Jainism, and Ajivikaism, and his edicts addressed to the population at large (there are some addressed specifically to Buddhists; this is not the case for the other religions) generally focus on moral themes members of all the religions would accept. For example, Amartya Sen writes, "The Indian Emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
in the third century BCE presented many political inscriptions in favor of tolerance and individual freedom, both as a part of state policy and in the relation of different people to each other".[52] However, the edicts alone strongly indicate that he was a Buddhist. In one edict he belittles rituals, and he banned Vedic animal sacrifices; these strongly suggest that he at least did not look to the Vedic tradition for guidance. Furthermore, many edicts are expressed to Buddhists alone; in one, Ashoka
Ashoka
declares himself to be an "upasaka", and in another he demonstrates a close familiarity with Buddhist texts. He erected rock pillars at Buddhist
Buddhist
holy sites, but did not do so for the sites of other religions. He also used the word "dhamma" to refer to qualities of the heart that underlie moral action; this was an exclusively Buddhist
Buddhist
use of the word. However, he used the word more in the spirit than as a strict code of conduct. Romila Thappar writes, "His dhamma did not derive from divine inspiration, even if its observance promised heaven. It was more in keeping with the ethic conditioned by the logic of given situations. His logic of Dhamma was intended to influence the conduct of categories of people, in relation to each other. Especially where they involved unequal relationships."[51] Finally, he promotes ideals that correspond to the first three steps of the Buddha's graduated discourse.[53] Interestingly, the Ashokavadana
Ashokavadana
presents an alternate view of the familiar Ashoka; one in which his conversion has nothing to do with the Kalinga war or about his descent from the Maurya dynasty. Instead, Ashoka's reason for adopting non-violence appears much more personal. The Ashokavadana
Ashokavadana
shows that the main source of Ashoka's conversion and the acts of welfare that followed are rooted instead in intense personal anguish at its core, from a wellspring inside himself rather than spurred by a specific event. It thereby illuminates Ashoka
Ashoka
as more humanly ambitious and passionate, with both greatness and flaws. This Ashoka
Ashoka
is very different from the "shadowy do-gooder" of later Pali
Pali
chronicles.[28] Much of the knowledge about Ashoka
Ashoka
comes from the several inscriptions that he had carved on pillars and rocks throughout the empire. All his inscriptions present him as compassionate and loving. In the Kalinga rock edits, he addresses his people as his "children" and mentions that as a father he desires their good.[54] These inscriptions promoted Buddhist
Buddhist
morality and encouraged nonviolence and adherence to dharma (duty or proper behaviour), and they talk of his fame and conquered lands as well as the neighbouring kingdoms holding up his might. One also gets some primary information about the Kalinga War and Ashoka's allies plus some useful knowledge on the civil administration. The Ashoka Pillar
Ashoka Pillar
at Sarnath
Sarnath
is the most notable of the relics left by Ashoka. Made of sandstone, this pillar records the visit of the emperor to Sarnath, in the 3rd century BCE. It has a four-lion capital (four lions standing back to back), which was adopted as the emblem of the modern Indian republic. The lion symbolises both Ashoka's imperial rule and the kingship of the Buddha. In translating these monuments, historians learn the bulk of what is assumed to have been true fact of the Mauryan
Mauryan
Empire. It is difficult to determine whether or not some events ever actually happened, but the stone etchings clearly depict how Ashoka
Ashoka
wanted to be thought of and remembered.[citation needed] Focus of debate

Front frieze of the Diamond throne, built by Ashoka
Ashoka
at Bodh Gaya.

Recently scholarly analysis determined that the three major foci of debate regarding Ashoka
Ashoka
involve the nature of the Maurya empire; the extent and impact of Ashoka's pacifism; and what is referred to in the Inscriptions as dhamma or dharma, which connotes goodness, virtue, and charity. Some historians[who?] have argued that Ashoka's pacifism undermined the "military backbone" of the Maurya empire, while others have suggested that the extent and impact of his pacifism have been "grossly exaggerated". The dhamma of the Edicts has been understood as concurrently a Buddhist
Buddhist
lay ethic, a set of politico-moral ideas, a "sort of universal religion", or as an Ashokan innovation. On the other hand, it has also been interpreted as an essentially political ideology that sought to knit together a vast and diverse empire. Scholars are still attempting to analyse both the expressed and implied political ideas of the Edicts (particularly in regard to imperial vision), and make inferences pertaining to how that vision was grappling with problems and political realities of a "virtually subcontinental, and culturally and economically highly variegated, 3rd century BCE Indian empire. Nonetheless, it remains clear that Ashoka's Inscriptions represent the earliest corpus of royal inscriptions in the Indian subcontinent, and therefore prove to be a very important innovation in royal practices."[55] Legends of Ashoka

Ashoka
Ashoka
and his two queens, in a relief at Sanchi.

Until the Ashokan inscriptions were discovered and deciphered, stories about Ashoka
Ashoka
were based on the legendary accounts of his life and not strictly on historical facts. These legends were found in Buddhist textual sources such as the text of Ashokavadana. The Ashokavadana
Ashokavadana
is a subset of a larger set of legends in the Divyavadana, though it could have existed independently as well. Following are some of the legends narrated in the Ashokavadana
Ashokavadana
about Ashoka: 1) One of the stories talks about an event that occurred in a past life of Ashoka, when he was a small child named Jaya. Once when Jaya was playing on the roadside, the Buddha
Buddha
came by. The young child put a handful of earth in the Buddha’s begging bowl as his gift to the saint and declared his wish to one day become a great emperor and follower of the Buddha. The Buddha
Buddha
is said to have smiled a smile that “illuminated the universe with its rays of light”.[20] These rays of light are then said to have re-entered the Buddha’s left palm, signifying that this child Jaya would, in his next life, become a great emperor. The Buddha
Buddha
is said to have even turned to his disciple Ananda
Ananda
and is said to have predicted that this child would be “a great, righteous chakravarti king, who would rule his empire from his capital at Pataliputra”. 2) Another story aims to portray Ashoka
Ashoka
as an evil person in order to convey the importance of his transformation into a good person upon adopting Buddhism.[20] It begins by stating that due to Ashoka’s physical ugliness he was disliked by his father Bindusara. Ashoka wanted to become king and so he got rid of the heir by tricking him into entering a pit filled with live coals. He became famous as “ Ashoka
Ashoka
the Fierce” because of his wicked nature and bad temper. He is said to have subjected his ministers to a test of loyalty and then have 500 of them killed for failing it. He is said to have burnt his entire harem to death when certain women insulted him. He is supposed to have derived sadistic pleasure from watching other people suffer. And for this he built himself an elaborate and horrific torture chamber where he amused himself by torturing other people. The story then goes on to narrate how it was only after an encounter with a pious Buddhist
Buddhist
monk that Ashoka
Ashoka
himself transformed into “Ashoka the pious”. A Chinese traveler who visited India
India
in the 7th century CE, XuanZang recorded in his memoirs that he visited the place where the supposed torture chamber stood. 3) Another story is about events that occurred towards the end of Ashoka’s time on earth. Ashoka
Ashoka
is said to have started gifting away the contents of his treasury to the Buddhist
Buddhist
sangha. His ministers however were scared that his eccentricity would be the downfall of the empire and so denied him access to the treasury. As a result, Ashoka started giving away his personal possessions and was eventually left with nothing and so died peacefully.[20] At this point it is important to note that the Ashokavadana
Ashokavadana
being a Buddhist
Buddhist
text in itself sought to gain new converts for Buddhism
Buddhism
and so used all these legends. Devotion to the Buddha
Buddha
and loyalty to the sangha are stressed. Such texts added to the perception that Ashoka was essentially the ideal Buddhist
Buddhist
monarch who deserved both admiration and emulation.[20] Ashoka
Ashoka
and the relics of the Buddha According to Buddhist
Buddhist
legend, particularly the Mahaparinirvana, the relics of the Buddha
Buddha
had been shared among eight countries following his death.[56] Ashoka
Ashoka
endeavoured to take back the relics and share them among 84,000 stupas. This story is amply depicted in the reliefs of Sanchi
Sanchi
and Bharhut.[57] According to the legend, Ashoka
Ashoka
obtained the ashes from seven of the countries, but failed to take the ashes from the Nagas at Ramagrama. This scene is depicted on the tranversal portion of the southern gateway at Sanchi.

King Ashoka
Ashoka
visits Ramagrama, to take relics of the Buddha
Buddha
from the Nagas, but in vain. Southern gateway, Stupa
Stupa
1, Sanchi.

Contributions Approach towards religions According to Indian historian Romila Thapar, Ashoka
Ashoka
emphasized respect for all religious teachers, and harmonious relationship between parents and children, teachers and pupils, and employers and employees.[58] Ashoka's religion contained gleanings from all religions.[citation needed] He emphasized the virtues of Ahimsa, respect to all religious teachers, equal respect for and study of each other's scriptures, and rational faith.[citation needed] Global spread of Buddhism

Stupa
Stupa
of Sanchi. The central stupa was built during the Mauryas, and enlarged during the Sungas, but the decorative gateway is dated to the later dynasty of the Satavahanas.

As a Buddhist
Buddhist
emperor, Ashoka
Ashoka
believed that Buddhism
Buddhism
is beneficial for all human beings as well as animals and plants, so he built a number of stupas, Sangharama, viharas, chaitya, and residences for Buddhist monks all over South Asia and Central Asia. According to the Ashokavadana, he ordered the construction of 84,000 stupas to house the Buddha's relics.[59] In the Aryamanjusrimulakalpa, Ashoka
Ashoka
takes offerings to each of these stupas traveling in a chariot adorned with precious metals.[60] He gave donations to viharas and mathas. He sent his only daughter Sanghamitra
Sanghamitra
and son Mahindra to spread Buddhism
Buddhism
in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
(then known as Tamraparni). According to the Mahavamsa, in the 17th year of Ashoka's reign, at the end of the Third Buddhist
Buddhist
Council, Ashoka
Ashoka
sent Buddhist
Buddhist
missionaries to nine parts of the world to propagate Buddhism.[61]

Geographical distribution of known capitals of the Pillars of Ashoka. These are all thought to have been commissioned by Ashoka.

Ashoka
Ashoka
also invited Buddhists and non-Buddhists for religious conferences. He inspired the Buddhist
Buddhist
monks to compose the sacred religious texts, and also gave all types of help to that end. Ashoka also helped to develop viharas (intellectual hubs) such as Nalanda
Nalanda
and Taxila. Ashoka
Ashoka
helped to construct Sanchi
Sanchi
and Mahabodhi Temple. Ashoka also gave donations to non-Buddhists. As his reign continued his even-handedness was replaced with special inclination towards Buddhism.[62] Ashoka
Ashoka
helped and respected both Shramanas (Buddhists monks) and Brahmins (Vedic monks). Ashoka
Ashoka
also helped to organise the Third Buddhist
Buddhist
council (c. 250 BCE) at Pataliputra
Pataliputra
(today's Patna). It was conducted by the monk Moggaliputta-Tissa
Moggaliputta-Tissa
who was the spiritual teacher of Ashoka.[citation needed] Emperor Ashoka's son, Mahinda, also helped with the spread of Buddhism by translating the Buddhist
Buddhist
Canon into a language that could be understood by the people of Sri Lanka.[63] It is well known that Ashoka
Ashoka
sent dütas or emissaries to convey messages or letters, written or oral (rather both), to various people. The VIth Rock Edict about "oral orders" reveals this. It was later confirmed that it was not unusual to add oral messages to written ones, and the content of Ashoka's messages can be inferred likewise from the XIIIth Rock Edict: They were meant to spread his dhammavijaya, which he considered the highest victory and which he wished to propagate everywhere (including far beyond India). There is obvious and undeniable trace of cultural contact through the adoption of the Kharosthi
Kharosthi
script, and the idea of installing inscriptions might have travelled with this script, as Achaemenid
Achaemenid
influence is seen in some of the formulations used by Ashoka
Ashoka
in his inscriptions. This indicates to us that Ashoka
Ashoka
was indeed in contact with other cultures, and was an active part in mingling and spreading new cultural ideas beyond his own immediate walls.[64] Hellenistic
Hellenistic
world

Distribution of the Edicts of Ashoka, and location of the contemporary Greek city of Ai-Khanoum.[65]

Buddhist
Buddhist
proselytism at the time of king Ashoka
Ashoka
(260–218 BCE).

In his edicts, Ashoka
Ashoka
mentions some of the people living in Hellenic countries as converts to Buddhism
Buddhism
and recipients of his envoys, although no Hellenic historical record of this event remains:

Now it is conquest by Dhamma that Beloved-of-the-Gods considers to be the best conquest. And it (conquest by Dhamma) has been won here, on the borders, even six hundred yojanas away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni. Here in the king's domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamktis, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dhamma. Even where Beloved-of-the-Gods' envoys have not been, these people too, having heard of the practice of Dhamma and the ordinances and instructions in Dhamma given by Beloved-of-the-Gods, are following it and will continue to do so. — Edicts of Ashoka, Rock Edict (S. Dhammika)[66]

It is not too far-fetched to imagine, however, that Ashoka
Ashoka
received letters from Greek rulers and was acquainted with the Hellenistic royal orders in the same way as he perhaps knew of the inscriptions of the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
kings, given the presence of ambassadors of Hellenistic kings in India
India
(as well as the dütas sent by Ashoka
Ashoka
himself).[64] Dionysius is reported to have been such a Greek ambassador at the court of Ashoka, sent by Ptolemy II Philadelphus,[67] who himself is mentioned in the Edicts of Ashoka
Edicts of Ashoka
as a recipient of the Buddhist proselytism of Ashoka. Some Hellenistic
Hellenistic
philosophers, such as Hegesias of Cyrene, who probably lived under the rule of King Magas, one of the supposed recipients of Buddhist
Buddhist
emissaries from Asoka, are sometimes thought to have been influenced by Buddhist
Buddhist
teachings.[68] The Greeks in India
India
even seem to have played an active role in the propagation of Buddhism, as some of the emissaries of Ashoka, such as Dharmaraksita, are described in Pali
Pali
sources as leading Greek (Yona) Buddhist
Buddhist
monks, active in spreading Buddhism
Buddhism
(the Mahavamsa, XII[69]). Some Greeks (Yavana) may have played an administrative role in the territories ruled by Ashoka. The Girnar
Girnar
inscription of Rudradaman records that during the rule of Ashoka, a Yavana
Yavana
Governor was in charge in the area of Girnar, Gujarat, mentioning his role in the construction of a water reservoir.[70][71] As administrator

Mauryan
Mauryan
ringstone, with standing goddess. Northwest Pakistan. 3rd century BCE. British Museum.

Ashoka's military power was strong, but after his conversion to Buddhism, he maintained friendly relations with three major Tamil kingdoms in the South—namely, Cheras, Cholas
Cholas
and Pandyas—the post-Alexandrian empire, Tamraparni, and Suvarnabhumi. His edicts state that he made provisions for medical treatment of humans and animals in his own kingdom as well as in these neighbouring states. He also had wells dug and trees planted along the roads for the benefit of the common people.[54] Animal welfare Ashoka's rock edicts declare that injuring living things is not good, and no animal should be sacrificed for slaughter.[72] However, he did not prohibit common cattle slaughter or beef eating.[73] He imposed a ban on killing of "all four-footed creatures that are neither useful nor edible", and of specific animal species including several birds, certain types of fish and bulls among others. He also banned killing of female goats, sheep and pigs that were nursing their young; as well as their young up to the age of six months. He also banned killing of all fish and castration of animals during certain periods such as Chaturmasa
Chaturmasa
and Uposatha.[74][75] Ashoka
Ashoka
also abolished the royal hunting of animals and restricted the slaying of animals for food in the royal residence.[76] Because he banned hunting, created many veterinary clinics and eliminated meat eating on many holidays, the Mauryan
Mauryan
Empire under Ashoka
Ashoka
has been described as "one of the very few instances in world history of a government treating its animals as citizens who are as deserving of its protection as the human residents".[77] Ashoka
Ashoka
Chakra Main article: Ashoka
Ashoka
Chakra

The Ashoka
Ashoka
Chakra, "the wheel of Righteousness" ( Dharma
Dharma
in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
or Dhamma in Pali)"

The Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
(the wheel of Ashoka) is a depiction of the Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
(the Wheel of Dharma). The wheel has 24 spokes which represent the 12 Laws of Dependent Origination and the 12 Laws of Dependent Termination. The Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
has been widely inscribed on many relics of the Mauryan
Mauryan
Emperor, most prominent among which is the Lion Capital of Sarnath
Sarnath
and The Ashoka
Ashoka
Pillar. The most visible use of the Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
today is at the centre of the National flag of the Republic of India
Republic of India
(adopted on 22 July 1947), where it is rendered in a Navy-blue color on a White background, by replacing the symbol of Charkha (Spinning wheel) of the pre-independence versions of the flag. The Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
can also been seen on the base of the Lion Capital of Ashoka
Ashoka
which has been adopted as the National Emblem of India.[citation needed] The Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
was created by Ashoka
Ashoka
during his reign. Chakra
Chakra
is a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
word which also means "cycle" or "self-repeating process". The process it signifies is the cycle of time—as in how the world changes with time.[citation needed] A few days before India
India
became independent in August 1947, the specially-formed Constituent Assembly
Constituent Assembly
decided that the flag of India must be acceptable to all parties and communities.[78] A flag with three colours, Saffron, White and Green with the Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
was selected.[citation needed] Stone architecture

The Pataliputra
Pataliputra
capital, a 3rd-century BCE capital from the Mauryan palace in Pataliputra, displaying Hellenistic
Hellenistic
designs.

Rampurva
Rampurva
bull capital, detail of the abacus, with two "flame palmettes" framing a lotus surrounded by small rosette flowers.

Ashoka
Ashoka
is often credited with the beginning of stone architecture in India, possibly following the introduction of stone-building techniques by the Greeks after Alexander the Great.[79] Before Ashoka's time, buildings were probably built in non-permanent material, such as wood, bamboo or thatch.[79][80] Ashoka
Ashoka
may have rebuilt his palace in Pataliputra
Pataliputra
by replacing wooden material by stone,[81] and may also have used the help of foreign craftmen.[82] Ashoka
Ashoka
also innovated by using the permament qualities of stone for his written edicts, as well as his pillars with Buddhist
Buddhist
symbolism. Pillars of Ashoka
Pillars of Ashoka
(Ashokstambha) Main article: Pillars of Ashoka

The Ashokan pillar at Lumbini, Nepal, Buddha's birthplace

The pillars of Ashoka
Ashoka
are a series of columns dispersed throughout the northern Indian subcontinent, and erected by Ashoka
Ashoka
during his reign in the 3rd century BCE. Originally, there must have been many pillars of Ashoka
Ashoka
although only ten with inscriptions still survive. Averaging between forty and fifty feet in height, and weighing up to fifty tons each, all the pillars were quarried at Chunar, just south of Varanasi and dragged, sometimes hundreds of miles, to where they were erected. The first Pillar of Ashoka
Ashoka
was found in the 16th century by Thomas Coryat in the ruins of ancient Delhi. The wheel represents the sun time and Buddhist
Buddhist
law, while the swastika stands for the cosmic dance around a fixed center and guards against evil.[citation needed] Lion Capital of Ashoka
Lion Capital of Ashoka
(Ashokmudra) Main article: Lion Capital of Ashoka

Ashoka's pillar capital of Sarnath. Ashokan capitals were highly realistic and used a characteristic polished finish, giving a shiny appearance to the stone surface. This sculpture has been adopted as the National Emblem of India. 3rd century BCE.

The Lion capital of Ashoka
Ashoka
is a sculpture of four lions standing back to back. It was originally placed atop the Ashoka
Ashoka
pillar at Sarnath, now in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The pillar, sometimes called the Ashoka
Ashoka
Column, is still in its original location, but the Lion Capital is now in the Sarnath
Sarnath
Museum. This Lion Capital of Ashoka
Lion Capital of Ashoka
from Sarnath
Sarnath
has been adopted as the National Emblem of India
India
and the wheel (" Ashoka
Ashoka
Chakra") from its base was placed onto the center of the National Flag of India.[citation needed] The capital contains four lions (Indian / Asiatic Lions), standing back to back, mounted on a short cylindrical abacus, with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull, and a lion, separated by intervening spoked chariot-wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital was believed to be crowned by a 'Wheel of Dharma' ( Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
popularly known in India
India
as the "Ashoka Chakra"). The Sarnath
Sarnath
pillar bears one of the Edicts of Ashoka, an inscription against division within the Buddhist
Buddhist
community, which reads, "No one shall cause division in the order of monks."[citation needed] The four animals in the Sarnath
Sarnath
capital are believed to symbolise different steps of Lord Buddha's life.[citation needed]

The Elephant represents the Buddha's idea in reference to the dream of Queen Maya of a white elephant entering her womb. The Bull represents desire during the life of the Buddha
Buddha
as a prince. The Horse represents Buddha's departure from palatial life. The Lion represents the accomplishment of Buddha.

Besides the religious interpretations, there are some non-religious interpretations also about the symbolism of the Ashoka
Ashoka
capital pillar at Sarnath. According to them, the four lions symbolise Ashoka's rule over the four directions, the wheels as symbols of his enlightened rule (Chakravartin) and the four animals as symbols of four adjoining territories of India.[citation needed] Constructions credited to Ashoka

Illustration of the original temple built by Asoka at Bodh-Gaya on the location of the Mahabodhi Temple, sculpture of the Satavahana
Satavahana
period at Sanchi, 1st century CE.

The British restoration was done under guidance from Weligama Sri Sumangala.[83]

Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar, India Barabar Caves, Bihar, India Nalanda
Nalanda
Mahavihara (some portions like Sariputta
Sariputta
Stupa), Bihar, India Taxila
Taxila
University (some portions like Dharmarajika
Dharmarajika
Stupa
Stupa
and Kunala Stupa), Taxila, Pakistan Bhir Mound
Bhir Mound
(reconstructed), Taxila, Pakistan Bharhut
Bharhut
stupa, Madhya Pradesh, India Deorkothar
Deorkothar
Stupa, Madhya Pradesh, India Butkara Stupa, Swat, Pakistan Sannati
Sannati
Stupa, Karnataka, India: the only known sculptural depiction of Ashoka[citation needed] Mir Rukun Stupa, Nawabshah, Pakistan

In art, film and literature

A c. 1910 painting by Abanindranath Tagore
Abanindranath Tagore
(1871–1951) depicting Ashoka's queen standing in front of the railings of the Buddhist monument at Sanchi
Sanchi
(Raisen district, Madhya Pradesh).

Jaishankar Prasad composed Ashoka
Ashoka
ki Chinta (Ashoka's Anxiety), a poem that portrays Ashoka’s feelings during the war on Kalinga. Ashok Kumar
Ashok Kumar
is a 1941 Tamil film directed by Raja Chandrasekhar. The film stars Chittor V. Nagaiah
Chittor V. Nagaiah
as Ashoka. Uttar-Priyadarshi (The Final Beatitude), a verse-play written by poet Agyeya depicting his redemption, was adapted to stage in 1996 by theatre director, Ratan Thiyam
Ratan Thiyam
and has since been performed in many parts of the world.[84][85] In 1973, Amar Chitra Katha released a graphic novel based on the life of Ashoka. In Piers Anthony’s series of space opera novels, the main character mentions Ashoka
Ashoka
as a model for administrators to strive for. Aśoka is a 2001 epic Indian historical drama film directed and co-written by Santosh Sivan. The film stars Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan
as Ashoka. In 2002, Mason Jennings
Mason Jennings
released the song "Emperor Ashoka" on his Living in the Moment EP. It is based on the life of Ashoka. In 2013, Christopher C. Doyle released his debut novel, The Mahabharata Secret, in which he wrote about Ashoka
Ashoka
hiding a dangerous secret for the well-being of India. 2014's The Emperor's Riddles, a fiction mystery thriller novel by Satyarth Nayak, traces the evolution of Ashoka
Ashoka
and his esoteric legend of the Nine Unknown Men. In 2015, Chakravartin
Chakravartin
Ashoka
Ashoka
Samrat, a television serial by Ashok Banker, based on the life of Ashoka, began airing on Colors TV. The Legend of Kunal
Kunal
is an upcoming film based on the life of Kunal, the son of Ashoka. The movie will be directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi. The role of Ashoka
Ashoka
is to be played by Amitabh Bachchan, and the role of Kunal
Kunal
is played by Arjun Rampal.[86] Bharatvarsh (TV Series) is an Indian television historical documentary series, hosted by actor-director Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher
on Hindi news channel ABP News.[87] The series stars Aham Sharma
Aham Sharma
as Ashoka.

See also

India
India
portal Buddhism
Buddhism
portal History portal Biography portal

Arthashastra Ashoka's policy of Dhamma

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- A Persepective". Economic and Political Weekly. 44 (45): 31–37.  ^ Sen, Amartya (Summer 1998). "Universal Truths and the Westernizing Illusion". Harvard International Review. 20 (3): 40–43.  ^ Richard Robinson, Willard Johnson, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Buddhist Religions, fifth ed., Wadsworth 2005, page 59. ^ a b The Edicts of King Ashoka
Ashoka
Archived 28 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine., English translation (1993) by Ven. S. Dhammika. ISBN 955-24-0104-6. Retrieved on: 21 February 2009 ^ Singh 2012 ^ Asoka and the Buddha-Relics, T.W. Rhys Davids, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1901, pp. 397-410 [5] ^ Asiatic Mythology by J. Hackin p.84 ^ Microsoft Encarta Article on Ashoka ^ Strong 2007, pp. 136–137 ^ Strong 2007, p. 145 ^ Jermsawatdi, Promsak (1979). Thai Art with Indian Influences. Abhinav Publications. pp. 10–11. ISBN 9788170170907.  ^ N.V. Isaeva, Shankara and Indian philosophy. SUNY Press, 1993, page 24. ^ Kate Crosby, Wiley-Blackwell Guides to Buddhism: Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, and Identity (Somerset: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 84. ^ a b Oskar von Hinüber (2010). "Did Hellenistic
Hellenistic
Kings Send Letters to Aśoka?". Journal of the American Oriental Society. Freiburg (130.2): 262–265.  ^ Reference: "India: The Ancient Past" p.113, Burjor Avari, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-35615-6 ^ The Edicts of King Ashoka: an English rendering by Ven. S. Dhammika. Access to Insight: Readings in Theravāda Buddhism. Last accessed 1 September 2011. ^ Pliny the Elder, "The Natural History", 6, 21 ^ Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Philosophy, Anthony Preus, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, p.184 ^ Full text of the Mahavamsa
Mahavamsa
Click chapter XII ^ Foreign Influence on Ancient India
India
by Krishna Chandra Sagar p.138 ^ The Idea of Ancient India: Essays on Religion, Politics, and Archaeology by Upinder Singh
Upinder Singh
p.18 ^ Fitzgerald 2004, p. 120. ^ Simoons, Frederick J. (1994). Eat Not This Flesh: Food Avoidances from Prehistory to the Present (2nd ed.). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-299-14254-4.  ^ "The Edicts of King Asoka". Translated by Ven. S. Dhammika. Buddhist Publication Society. 1994.  ^ D.R. Bhandarkar, R. G. Bhandarkar (2000). Asoka. Asian Educational Services. pp. 314–315.  ^ Gerald Irving A. Dare Draper; Michael A. Meyer; H. McCoubrey (1998). Reflections on Law and Armed Conflicts: The Selected Works on the Laws of War by the Late Professor Colonel G.I.A.D. Draper, Obe. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 44. ISBN 978-90-411-0557-8. Retrieved 30 October 2012.  ^ Phelps, Norm (2007). The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to Peta. Lantern Books. ISBN 1590561066.  ^ Heimer, Željko (2 July 2006). "India". Flags of the World. Archived from the original on 18 October 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2006.  ^ a b Introduction to Indian Architecture Bindia Thapar, Tuttle Publishing, 2012, p.21 " Ashoka
Ashoka
used the knowledge of stone craft to begin the tradition of stone architecture in India, dedicated to Buddhism." ^ Gardner's Art through the Ages: Non-Western Perspectives, Fred S. Kleiner, Cengage Learning, 2009, p14 ^ Mookerji 1995, p. 96. ^ " Ashoka
Ashoka
was known to be a great builder who may have even imported craftsmen from abroad to build royal monuments." Monuments, Power and Poverty in India: From Ashoka
Ashoka
to the Raj, A. S. Bhalla, I.B.Tauris, 2015 p.18 [6] ^ Goonatilake, Hema (30 May 2010). "Edwin Arnold and the Sri Lanka connection". The Sunday Times. Colombo.  ^ Jefferson, Margo (27 October 2000). "Next Wave Festival Review; In Stirring Ritual Steps, Past and Present Unfold". The New York Times.  ^ Renouf, Renee (December 2000). "Review: Uttarpriyadarshi". Balletco. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012.  ^ "The Legend Of Kunal". filmifeat.com. Retrieved 7 June 2016.  ^ "'Bharatvarsh' – ABP News
ABP News
brings a captivating saga of legendary Indians with Anupam Kher". 19 August 2016. 

Sources

Ahir, D. C. (1995). Aśoka the Great. Delhi: B. R. Publishing.  Allen, Charles (2012), Ashoka: The Search for India's Lost Emperor, Hachette, ISBN 978-1-408-70388-5  Ayyar, Sulochana, Costumes and Ornaments as Depicted in the Sculptures of Gwalior Museum, Delhi: Mittal Publications, ISBN 81-7099-002-5  Bentley, Jerry (1993). Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195076400.  Bhandarkar, D.R. (1969). Aśoka (4th ed.). Calcutta: Calcutta University Press.  Bongard-Levin, G. M. Mauryan
Mauryan
India
India
(Stosius Inc/Advent Books Division May 1986) ISBN 0-86590-826-5 Chauhan, Gian Chand (2004). Origin and Growth of Feudalism in Early India: From the Mauryas to AD 650. Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi. ISBN 978-81-215-1028-8 Durant, Will (1935). Our Oriental Heritage. New York: Simon and Schuster.  Falk, Harry. Aśokan Sites and Artefacts – A Source-book with Bibliography (Mainz : Philipp von Zabern, [2006]) ISBN 978-3-8053-3712-0 Fitzgerald, James L., ed. (2004), The Mahabharata, 7, The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-25250-7  Gokhale, Balkrishna Govind (1996). Aśoka Maurya (Twayne Publishers) ISBN 978-0-8290-1735-9 Hultzsch, Eugene (October 1914). "The Date of Asoka". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press: 943–951. JSTOR 25189238.  Kosmin, Paul J. (2014), The Land of the Elephant Kings: Space, Territory, and Ideology in Seleucid Empire, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0-674-72882-0  Lahiri, Nayanjot (2015). Ashoka
Ashoka
in Ancient India. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674057777.  Li Rongxi, trans. (1993). The biographical scripture of King Aśoka / transl. from the Chinese of Saṃghapāla, Berkeley, CA: Numata Center for Buddhist
Buddhist
Translation and Research, ISBN 0-9625618-4-3. MacPhail, James Merry: "Aśoka", Calcutta: The Associative Press ; London: Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
1918 PDF (5.9 MB) Mookerji, Radhakumud (1928). Asoka (Gaekwad lectures). MacMillan.  Mookerji, Radha Kumud (1988) [first published in 1966], Chandragupta Maurya and his times (4th ed.), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0433-3  Mookerji, Radhakumud (1995) [1962]. Aśoka (3rd Revised ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81208-058-28.  Nikam, N. A.; McKeon, Richard (1959). The Edicts of Aśoka. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  Rice, B. Lewis (1889), Inscriptions at Sravana Belgola : a chief seat of the Jains, Bangalore: Mysore Govt. Central Press  Sastri, K. A. Nilakanta (1967). Age of the Nandas and Mauryas. Reprint: 1996, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. ISBN 978-81-208-0466-1 Seneviratna, Anuradha (ed.), Gombrich, Richard; Guruge, Ananda
Ananda
(1994). King Aśoka and Buddhism: Historical and Literary studies, Kandy: Sri Lanka; Buddhist
Buddhist
Publication Society, 1st edition, ISBN 9552400651 Singh, Upinder (2008). A history of ancient and early medieval India : from the Stone Age to the 12th century. New Delhi: Pearson Education. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0.  Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson Education India. ISBN 9788131711200.  Singh, Upinder (2012). "Governing the State and the Self: Political Philosophy and Practice in the Edicts of Aśoka". South Asian Studies. University of Delh. 28 (2): 131–145. doi:10.1080/02666030.2012.725581.  Strong, John S. (1989). The Legend of King Aśoka: A Study and Translation of the Aśokāvadāna. Motilal Banarsidass
Motilal Banarsidass
Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-0616-0. Retrieved 30 October 2012.  Strong, John (2007). Relics of the Buddha. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-81-208-3139-1.  Swearer, Donald. Buddhism
Buddhism
and Society in Southeast Asia (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: Anima Books, 1981) ISBN 0-89012-023-4 Thapar, Romila (1980) [1973]. Aśoka and the decline of the Mauryas (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. SBN 19-660379 6. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ashoka.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ashoka

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Asoka.

In Asoka’s Footsteps 1999. Ashoka
Ashoka
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) BBC Radio 4: Sunil Khilnani, Incarnations: Ashoka. BBC Radio 4: Melvyn Bragg with Richard Gombrich et al., In Our Time, Ashoka
Ashoka
the Great. Hultzsch, E. (1925). Inscriptions of Asoka: New Edition. Oxford: Government of India. 

Ashoka Mauryan
Mauryan
dynasty  Died: 232 BCE

Preceded by Bindusara Mauryan
Mauryan
Emperor 272–232 BCE Succeeded by Dasharatha

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