Emperor Ashoka

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EMPEROR ASHOKA
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<h1>ASHOKA the GREAT</h1>
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<h2>Early Life of Ashoka The Great:</h2>

<p>
Samrat Ashoka was born around 304 BCE in Patliputra, Patna. He was the son of Mauryan King Bindusara and Maharani Dharma (Also incribed in some scripts as " Maharani Subhadrangi")
and grand-son of the founder of Maurya Dynasty, Great Chandragupta Maurya.
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Emperor Ashoka had only one younger sibling, Vitthashok, but, several elder half brothers. 
Right from his childhood days Ashok showed great promise in the field of weaponry skills as well as academics.
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      <p>The meaning of Ashoka in Sanskrit is 'without sorrow', the one whom sadness cannot overcome.</p> 
      <p>He was also one of the few Kings who had different names due to affection and superiority of his leadership skills:</p>
   <ol>
   <li>Samrat Chakravarti (meaning emperor of emperors),</li> 
   <li>Devanampriya (meaning the beloved of god),</li> 
   <li>Priyadarśin (meaning He who regards everyone with affection.)</li>
   </ol></td>
   <td><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/75/Indian_relief_from_Amaravati%2C_Guntur._Preserved_in_Guimet_Museum.jpg/220px-Indian_relief_from_Amaravati%2C_Guntur._Preserved_in_Guimet_Museum.jpg"/></td>
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 <p>
In the early life as an emperor, Ashoka engaged in war with different states. 
He was very short tempered person. 
At that time he was called '<b>Chanda-Ashoka</b>', which means Ashoka the Fierce. 
Ashoka quickly grew into an excellent warrior general and an astute statesman. 
His command on the Mauryan army started growing day by day and because of this, 
his elder half brothers became suspicious of him being favored by Bindusara as the next emperor. 
The eldest son of Bindusara, Prince Susima, convinced him to send Ashoka to Takshashila province in Sindh
 to control an uprising caused by the formation of different militias. 
However, the moment Ashoka reached the province, the militias welcomed him with open arms and the uprising came to an end without any fight.
This particular success of Ashoka made his elder brothers, especially Susima, more insecure.

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<h2>Mauryan Empire:</h2>
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	<th class="border"><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b0/Magadha.GIF/120px-Magadha.GIF"/></th>
	<th  class="border"><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/52/Nanda_Empire.gif/120px-Nanda_Empire.gif"/></th>
	<th  class="border"><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/90/Chandragupta_Empire_320_BC.png/120px-Chandragupta_Empire_320_BC.png"/></th>
	<th class="border"><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9f/Chandragupta_mauryan_empire_305_BC.png/120px-Chandragupta_mauryan_empire_305_BC.png"/></th>
	<th class="border"><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4e/Chandragupta_Maurya_Empire.png/120px-Chandragupta_Maurya_Empire.png"/></th>
	<th class="border"><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bf/Mauryan_Empire_Map.gif/120px-Mauryan_Empire_Map.gif"/></th>
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	<th class="border">The approximate extent of the Magadha state in the 5th century BCE.</th>
	<th class="border">The Nanda Empire at its greatest extent under Dhana Nanda c. 323 BCE.</th>
	<th class="border">The Maurya Empire when it was first founded by Chandragupta Maurya c. 320 BCE, after conquering the Nanda Empire when he was only about 20 years old.</th>	
	<th class="border">Chandragupta extended the borders of the Maurya Empire towards Seleucid Persia after defeating Seleucus c. 305 BCE.</th>
	<th class="border">Chandragupta Maurya later extended the borders of the empire southward into the Deccan Plateau c. 300 BCE.</th>
	<th class="border">Ashoka the Great extended into Kalinga during the Kalinga War c. 265 BCE, and established superiority over the southern kingdoms.</th>
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<h3>Reign of Emperor Ashoka:<h3>
<img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2c/Maurya_Empire%2C_c.250_BCE_2.png/800px-Maurya_Empire%2C_c.250_BCE_2.png" />

<h2>Edicts of Ashoka:</h2>
<p>
After the war of Kalinga, Ashoka controlled all the Indian subcontinent except for the extreme southern part and 
he could have easily controlled that remaining part as well, but he decided not to. Some versions say that Ashoka
 was sickened by the slaughter of the war and refused to keep on fighting. Whatever his reasons were, Ashoka stopped
 his expansion policy and India turned into a prosperous and peaceful place for the years to come.
</p>
<p>
Ashoka began to issue one of the most famous edicts in the history of government and instructed his officials to 
carve them on rocks and pillars, in line with the local dialects and in a very simple fashion. In the rock edicts, 
Ashoka talks about religious freedom and religious tolerance, he instructs his officials to help the poor and the elderly, 
establishes medical facilities for humans and animals, commands obedience to parents, respect for elders, generosity for 
all priests and ascetic orders no matter their creed, orders fruit and shade trees to be planted and also wells to be dug 
along the roads so travellers can benefit from them.
</p>
<h3><b>One of the Famous Edicts of Ashoka</b></h3>

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<th>Bilingual (Greek and Aramaic) inscriptions by king Ashoka at Kandahar (Shar-i-kuna). 
(3rd century BCE). Preserved at Kabul Museum.<th>
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<td><p><em><b>English Translation of Edict:</b><em></p>
<p>Ten years (of reign) having been completed, King
    Piodasses (Ashoka) made known (the doctrine of)
    Piety (εὐσέβεια, Eusebeia) to men; and from this moment he has made
    men more pious, and everything thrives throughout
    the whole world. And the king abstains from (killing)
    living beings, and other men and those who (are)
    huntsmen and fishermen of the king have desisted
    from hunting. And if some (were) intemperate, they
    have ceased from their intemperance as was in their
    power; and obedient to their father and mother and to
    the elders, in opposition to the past also in the future,
    by so acting on every occasion, they will live better
    and more happily." (Trans. by G.P. Carratelli)</p>
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<td><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/AsokaKandahar.jpg"/></td>
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<h2>Ashoka's Legacy</h2>

<p>
The stories about Ashoka propagating Buddhism, distributing wealth, building monasteries, sponsoring festivals, 
and looking after peace and prosperity served as an inspiring model of a righteous and tolerant ruler that influenced 
monarchs from Sri Lanka to Japan. 
Particularly 84,000 stupas buit by Ashoka (commemorative Buddhists buildings used as a place of meditation), 
served as an example to many Chinese and Japanese rulers who imitated Ashoka’s initiative.
</p>
<p>
He did with Buddhism in India what Emperor Constantine did with Christianity in Europe and 
what the Han dynasty did with Confucianism in China: 
he turned a tradition into an official state ideology and thanks to his support Buddhism ceased 
to be a local Indian cult and began its long transformation into a world religion. 
Eventually Buddhism died out in India sometime after Ashoka’s death, 
but it remained popular outside its native land, especially in eastern and south-eastern Asia. 
The world owes to Ashoka the growth of one of the world’s largest spiritual traditions.
</p>

<h2>References:</h2>
<ol>
        <li class="url"><a href ="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka"> Wikipedia Page</a> on Ashoka The Great</li>
	<li class="url"><a href ="http://www.ancient.eu/Ashoka/">Ancient History Encyclopedia Page</a> on Emperor Ashoka</li>	
	<li class="url"><a href="http://haribhakt.com/hindu-king-ashok-converting-to-buddhism-led-to-demise-of-his-empire/#The_Creator_of_World8217s_Best_Stambh_The_ExceptionalIndian_Emperor_Ashok_The_Great">Article on The Rise and Fall of Samrat Ashok’s Empire</a> on Haribakti.com</li>
	<li class="url"><em>ASHOKA the GREAT</em> a book by J.E.Steur (Translation version of Ashoka Trilogy by Wytze Keuining)</li>
</ol>

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