write a short note on ashoka

Ashoka was the most famous Mauryan ruler. He fought a war to capture Kalinga, where he was horrified to see the violence and bloodshed. Thereafter, he tried to spread the message of peace by adopting dhamma and the teachings of the Buddha. He was the first ruler to have got his messages inscribed on rocks and pillars. Ashoka treated his subjects like his children and appointed officials to teach his dhamma. He was a great administrator and built roads and rest houses and dug wells for the comfort of people. He sent messengers to spread the message of dhamma to countries like Syria, Egypt, Greece and Sri Lanka. His description and of the Mauryan Empire and its capital Pataliputra was provided by Megasthenes, an ambassador of the Greek ruler Seleucus Nicator.

Given are highlights of the Kalinga War.

  • Ashoka, the son of the Mauryan emperor Bindusara and the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, ascended the throne of Magadha  and he set out to expand his empire. 
  • His target was Kalinga (now in Orissa). He sent out a message to Kalinga  ruler asking for his submission. But he refused to submit his kingdom to Mauryan empire. 
  • As a result Ashoka lead a huge army against Kalinga in 261 B.C.
  • The people of Kalinga offered a great resistance to the Mauryan army. It turned the whole of Kalinga into a battlefield. 
  • But despite the resistance victory ultimately rested with Ashoka. 
  • The war presented a horrible sight., Ashoka witnessed that the whole terrain was covered with the corpses of soldiers, soldiers groaning in pain, scavenging birds feasting on their dead bodies, orphaned children mourning  and widows looked despaired.  It overwhelmed Ashoka and changed his heart. He realized the futility of his victory.
  • In the following years, Ashoka gave up violence and deviated towards Buddhism.

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Bindusara was succeeded by his son Ashoka, the most famous of the Mauryan kings. The Mauryan empire reached its zenith under the rule of Ashoka. He undertook military campaign against Kalinga and after defeating it in a bloody war, annexed it. In this war, about 1,00,000 people were killed and another 1,50,000 were made prisoners. However,the sight of the large-scale killing moved Ashoka and he embraced Buddhism. The kalinga war was the turning point of Ashoka's life as he shunned all forms of violence for the rest of his life.
Ashoka's Dhamma were; 
        1. People should live in peace and harmony
        2. Respect and tolerance to all irrespective of caste, creed and religion.
        3. Shunning violence and war
        4. Stopping animal sacrifice and non-vegetarianism
        5. Respect of slaves by their masters

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