Ashoka was the grandchild of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan empire. He is said to have been born in 304 B.C. He was the Mauryan Dynasty’s last great ruler. Between 268 and 232 BCE, he ruled almost the whole Indian subcontinent. He propagated Buddhism across ancient Asia. Ashoka was instrumental in the spread of Buddhism across ancient Asia. Ashoka, often regarded as one of India’s greatest rulers, extended Chandragupta’s empire to include a territory extending from modern-day Afghanistan to Bangladesh in the east. It included the whole of the Indian subcontinent, with the exception of portions of modern-day Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala. Pataliputra (in Magadha, present-day Patna) served as the empire’s capital, while Taxila and Ujjain served as regional capitals.
He elevated the Mauryan empire to new heights by extending its geographical reach and consolidating its authority. Nonetheless, his extraordinary change of the country did not occur via the ferocity of his early rule. Rather than that, it was the consequence of his acceptance of Buddhism and the tolerance and nonviolent teachings he disseminated across the vast kingdom.
Ahsoka’s early childhood is very fluid in knowledge since his life isn’t very present. The facts of his youth, authority and the abandonment of bloodshed after Kalinga are derived from Buddhist texts, regarded to be more mythical than factual in many ways. Ashoka’s inscriptions do not detail his early life, and much is from fictitious tales that have been recorded centuries after him. While these tales involve fictional elements like accounts of the previous lives of Ashoka, they include credible factual facts concerning the Ashoka era.
The precise date of Ashoka’s birth is not known, because there is no such information in the current Indian scriptures. It is known that he lived in the third century BC since his inscriptions refer to many contemporaneous kings whose dates have been more certainly established, including Antiochus II Theos, Ptolemy II Philadelphia, Antigonus II Gonathas, and Alexander Magas of Cyrene (of Epirus or Corinth). Ashoka must thus have been born in the late 4th century BCE or early 3rd century BCE at some point (c. 304 BCE).
Ashoka’s inscriptions are very comprehensive; however, his forefathers are not mention. Other traditions, like Puranas and Mahavams, say that his father was emperor Bindusara, Mauryan, and Chandragupta. the Empire founder, was his grandfather. His father is likewise name Bindusara by Ashokavadana, but it traces his lineage via Ajatashatru, Udayin, Munda, Kakavarnin, Sahalin, Tulakuchi, Mahamandala, Prasenajit, and Nanda, to the modern Buddha’s monarch Bimbisara.
According to Ashokavadana, Ashoka’s mother the daughter of a Champa Brahmin and had been foretol to marry a monarch. As a result, her father sent her to Pataliputra.
where she would be accepted into Bindusara’s harem and eventually became his main queen. Although the Ashokavadana does not identify her by name, other tales do.
Ashoka emerging triumphant
According to the second-century historian Appian, Chandragupta formed a marriage alliance with the Greek emperor Seleucus. I Nicator, sparking conjecture that Chandragupta or his son Bindusara marry a Greek royal. There is, however, no proof that Ashoka’s mother or grandmother Greek, and the notion has been reject the majority of historians.
Following Bindusara’s death, Ashoka and his brothers fought a succession battle, with Ashoka emerging triumphant after many years.
Achievements and Reason for Fame
Ashoka’s popularity comes mostly from his rock edicts and pillars, which enabled him to reach a broad public and created a permanent record of history. He is regard as a model king who, through peace and reverence, controls a large and varied Mauryan empire with dharma at the heart of his philosophy.
A centralized dharma politics favoring peace and tolerance and administering public labor and social welfare were the way Ashoka could govern over the large and varied Mauryan kingdom. He also sponsored the spread of Buddhism and art throughout the kingdom.
Casualties during the conquest
Ashoka made them known via oral announcements and gravure on rocks and pillars at appropriate locations to promote his teaching and his works. These inscriptions, rock editions, and pillar edicts, most of which date back many years, including comments about his views and deeds. His words ranged from honesty and sincerity.
According to his own stories, in the ninth year of his rule, Ashoka invaded Kalinga, a coastal state in eastern central India. The victory gave him a greater realm than any of his predecessors. Accounts claiming between 100,000 and 300,000 fatalities during the conquest lost.
Renunciation and Religious Work
The hardships caused by the battle drove him to such repentance that he abandoned military conquests. Dissatisfied with his brutal conquests, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, the Indian monarch Ashoka converted to Buddhism and began treating his people compassionately. He decided to live according to and teach the dharma and to serve his people and all mankind, under its influence and inspired by his active nature.
Ashoka consistently claimed that he acknowledged dharma (by right life principles) to be the vibrant process of the sociomoral virtues of honesty, factuality, benevolence, mercifulness, magnanimity, nonviolence, courteous behavior toward all, “little sin and many good deeds,”. He did not refer to any specific religious belief or method of worship, nor any philosophical theories. Ashoka talked about Buddhism only to his fellow adherents and not to outsiders.
Creation to promote the work of public Dharma
He maintained a policy of tolerance for all religious sects and ensured them complete right to live according to their own beliefs, but he also encouraged them to strive for themselves for the sake of “increasing their inner merit.” Additionally, Ashoka urged them to respect others’ creeds, to extol the virtues of others, and to abstain from vehemently opposing others’ views.
To actively practice the dharma, Ashoka embarked on periodic travels teaching the dharma and alleviating rural people’s miseries. He directed his top officials to follow suit, in addition to their regular responsibilities; he encouraged administrative officers to be constantly conscious of the pleasures and sufferings of the ordinary people and to be quick and impartial in administering justice.
A special class of high officials, dubbed “dharma ministers,” creat to promote public dharma work, alleviate suffering wherever it occurred, and attend to the unique requirements of women, people from remote areas,
adjacent peoples, and different religious groups. It directs that all issues pertain to public welfare be report to him at all times. He said that the only honour he desired was for guiding his people down the road of dharma. There are no questions in the minds of readers of his inscriptions about his sincere desire to serve his people. He said that he had more success in his job by reasoning with individuals than by giving orders.
Among his public service endeavours were the establishment of hospitals for both humans and animals, the planting of wayside trees and groves, the drilling of wells, and the building of watering sheds and rest stops. Additionally, orders made to rein in public laxity and to prevent animal abuse. The Mauryan kingdom collapsed after Ashoka’s death, and his work halted. His memory endures for the goals he set for himself and the lofty values he cherished.
Buddhist religious community
The most lasting contributions to Buddhism made by Ashoka. He constructed a series of stupas (commemorative burial mounds) and temples, as well as pillars on which he had his interpretations of religious teachings engraved. He made strenuous efforts to quell schisms within the sangha (Buddhist religious community) and mandated a course of scripture study for followers. According to the Sinhalese chronicle Mahavamsa, when the order decided to send preaching missions overseas, Ashoka gladly assisted them and dispatched his own son and daughter to Sri Lanka as missionaries. It is because of Ashoka’s support that Buddhism, which had previously been a tiny cult restrict to certain locations, expand across India and eventually beyond the country’s borders.
According to certain traditions, Ashoka died in his 37th regnal year, which places his death in the year 232 BCE. The Ashokavadana states that the monarch became very sick during his last days. He began making contributions to the Buddhist sangha using official money, forcing his ministers to restrict his access to the public treasury. Ashoka subsequently began giving his belongings but equally limited. His sole property on his deathbed was half of a myrobalan fruit, which he gave to the sangha as a last gift. These tales promote generous contributions to the sangha and emphasize the kingship’s responsibility in sustaining the Buddhist religion. According to legend, his corpse burnt for seven days and nights during his cremation.