MemberJune 22, 2023 at 2:54 pm::
Ashoka was the third Mauryan king and the son of Bindusara. He served as viceroy at Ujjain under his father’s rule. A few years after his father’s death, Ashoka ascended the throne and he reigned for 36 or 37 years and died in 232 BC. The date pertaining to his accession and the manner in which he achieved it has been a subject of controversy.
Ashoka contributed greatly to the Mauryan Dynasty and it also expanded vastly under his rule. He continued the aggressive policy of the earlier kings, Campaigns added portions of the north-west, Kalinga, and an enclave to the south of the empire. It is said that Ashoka’s empire stretched from the land of the Kambojas and Gandharas in the north-west to the Andhra country in the Godavari-Krishna basin and district Isila (Ahara) to the north of Mysore. It included Sopara (near Mumbai, Maharashtra) and Girnar (Saurashtra region, Gujarat) in the west, to Jaugauda in the east. Ashoka seems to be on friendly terms with his southern neighbors and close connection with the modern Nepal region.
Ashoka the Great was also a patron of Buddhism. He encouraged the spread of Buddhism across Asia. In fact, The Mauryan Dynasty witnessed the elevation of Buddhism from a sect in India to one of the great religions of the world, affecting and becoming part of the course of the history of Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Japan, Tibet, and, to a lesser extent, China.
The king was obsessed with the idea that everyone must practice Dhamma. In one of his Pillar Edicts, it mentions Dhamma as ‘having few faults and many good qualities, mercy, charity, truthfulness, and purity’. Non-violence was a common aspect of Buddhist thought as well as the Asokan policy of Dhamma. He was greatly influenced by Buddhism and hence, its influence on his Dhamma principle is quite strong. Ashoka’s rule over the vast and diverse land was centralized through his policy of Dhamma which emphasized peace and harmony.
Another great contribution was the Ashokan Rock Inscriptions which give us information about the administration. They talk about the moral duties of the people and how to conduct life, although most of the inscriptions talk about Dhamma. There are 33 inscriptions in total and are classified into Major rock edicts, minor rock edicts, Separate rock edicts, Major pillar edicts, and Minor pillars edicts. These inscriptions were erected all over the sub-continent and remain a good source of information regarding his rule.
Ashoka was a great conqueror and holds a reputation as one of the greatest Indian emperors.