Early Life of Ashoka The Great : Extent, Achievements

Early Life of Ashoka, He was an Indian Emperor and the third Great Emperor of Maurya Dynasty, who ruled almost all of the Indian sub-continent from regin of 268 BC To 232 BC. He was Also Known As the Name Of Ashoka The Great.

Great Ashoka was the grand son of the founder of Maurya Dynasty , Chandragupta Maurya And the Son of One of The Greatest Emperor of Mauryan Dynasty, Bindusara.

Ashoka was the last major emperor in the Mauryan Dynasty of India. He Promoted the spread of Buddhism across ancient Asia.

During his regin furthered the expansion of that religion throughout India. After the successful but bloody conquest of the Kalinga country on the east coast, Ashoka renounced armed conquest and adopted a policy that he called “Ashoka’s Policy of Dharma” (i.e., by principles of right life).

We Discussed Every Point of Ashoka’s Early Life. And Explaining Every Events of Early Life of Ashoka.

Early Life Of Ashoka

Ashoka’s own inscriptions do not describe his early life, and much of the information on this topic comes from apocryphal legends written hundreds of years after him.

According to Buddhism, His birth date is unknown, and he is said to have been one of a hundred sons of his father Bindusara’s (r. 297-c.273 BCE) wives. His mother’s name is given as Subhadrangi in one text but as Dharma in another. She is also depicted as the daughter of a Brahmin (the highest caste) and Bindusara’s principal wife in some texts while a woman of lower status and minor wife in others. The story of the 100 sons of Bindusara is dismissed by most scholars who believe Ashoka was the second son of Binusara. His older brother, Susima, was the heir apparent and crown prince and Ashoka’s chances of ever assuming power were therefore slim and even slimmer because his father disliked him.

Ascension To The Throne

After his father’s death, Ashoka had his eldest brother killed, and ascended the throne. The text also states that Ashoka killed ninety-nine of his half-brothers, including Sumana. The Dipavamsa states that he killed a hundred of his brothers, and was crowned four years later. The Vamsatthapakasini adds that an Ajivika ascetic had predicted this massacre based on the interpretation of a dream of Ashoka’s Mother. According to these accounts, only Ashoka’s uterine brother Tissa was spared. Other sources name the surviving brother Vitashoka, Vigatashoka, Sudatta (So-ta-to in A-yi-uang-chuan), or Sugatra (Siu-ka-tu-lu in Fen-pie-kung-te-hun). There is Effects Show His Early Life of Ashoka.

The figures such as 99 and 100 are exaggerated, and seem to be a way of stating that Ashoka killed several of his brothers.Taranatha states that Ashoka, who was an illegitimate son of his predecessor, killed six legitimate princes to ascend the throne. It is possible that Ashoka was not the rightful heir to the throne, and killed a brother (or brothers) to acquire the throne. However, the story has obviously been exaggerated by the Buddhist sources, which attempt to portray him as an evil person before his conversion to Buddhism.

But There is Differents Thought By Jainism, Hinduism Etc,

Family Of Ashoka

QUEENS

In the Early Life of Ashoka Were Confusing That, There were many  sources mention five consorts of Ashoka:

  • Devi
  • Karuvaki,
  • Asandhimitra
  • Padmavati, and
  • Tishyarakshita

Kaurvaki is the only queen of Ashoka known from his own inscriptions: she is mentioned in an edict inscribed on a pillar at Allahabad. The inscription names her as the mother of prince Tivara, and orders the royal officers (Mahamattas) to record her religious and charitable donations. According to one theory, Tishyarakshita was the regnal name of Kaurvaki.

SONS

  • Tivara, the son of Ashoka and Karuvaki, is the only of Ashoka’s sons to be mentioned by name in the inscriptions.
  • According to North Indian tradition, Ashoka had a son named Kunala. Kunala had a son named Samprati.
  • The Sri Lankan tradition mentions a son called Mahinda, who was sent to Sri Lanka as a Buddhist missionary; this son is not mentioned at all in the North Indian tradition.
  • The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang states that Mahinda was Ashoka’s younger brother (Vitashoka or Vigatashoka) rather than his illgetimate son.
  • The Divyavadana mentions the crown-prince Kunala alias Dharmavivardhana, who was a son of queen Padmavati. According to Faxian, Dharmavivardhana was appointed as the governor of Gandhara.
  • The Rajatarangini mentions Jalauka as a son of Ashoka.

DAUGHTERS

  • According to Sri Lankan tradition, Ashoka had a daughter named Sanghamitta, who became a Buddhist nun.

A section of historians, such as Romila Thapar, doubt the historicity of Sanghamitta, based on the folloiwng points:

  • The name “Sanghamitta”, which literally means the friend of the Buddhist Order (sangha), is unusual, and the story of her going to Ceylon so that the Ceylonese queen could be ordained appears to be an exaggeration.
  • The Mahavamsa states that she married Ashoka’s nephew Agnibrahma, and the couple had a son named Sumana. The contemporary laws regarding exogamy would have forbidden such a marriage between first cousins.
  • According to the Mahavamsa, she was 18 years old when she was ordained as a nun. The narrative suggests that she was married two years earlier, and that her husband as well as her child were ordained. It is unlikely that she would have been allowed to become a nun with such a young child.
  • Another source mentions that Ashoka had a daughter named Charumati, who married a Kshatriya named Devapala.

BROTHERS

According to the Ashokavadana, Ashoka had an elder half-brother named Susima. According to the Sri Lankan tradition, Ashoka killed his 99 half-brothers.

Extent of Ashoka The Great

He Faced Many Issues in her Early Life because ignorance of his Father, Bindusara. The extent of the territory controlled by Ashoka’s predecessors is not certain, but it is possible that the empire of his grandfather Chandragupta extended northern India from western coast (Arabian Sea) to the eastern coast (Bay of Bengal), covering nearly two-thirds of the Indian subcontinent. Bindusara and Ashoka appear to have extended the empire southwards. The distribution of Ashoka’s inscriptions suggests that his empire included almost the entire Indian subcontinent, except its southernmost parts. The Rock Edicts 2 and 13 suggest that these southernmost parts were controlled by the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Keralaputras, and the Satiyaputras. In the north-west, Ashoka’s kingdom extended up to Kandahar, to the east of the Seleucid Empire ruled by Antiochus II. The capital of Ashoka’s empire was Pataliputra in the Magadha Region. Its Also Based on Early Life Of Ashoka.

IMPACT OF THE KALINGA WAR ON ASHOKA

The ideology of Buddhism guided Ashoka’s state policy at home and abroad.

After his accession to the throne, Ashoka fought only one major war called the Kalinga war. According to him, 100,000 people were killed in the course of it, several lakhs died, and 150,000 were taken prisoners.

These numbers are exaggerated, because the number ‘a hundred thousand’ is used as a cliche in Ashokan inscription

At any rate, it appears that the king was deeply moved by the massacre in this war. The war caused great suffering to the brahmana priests and Buddhist monks, and this in turn brought upon Ashoka much grief and remorse. He therefore abandoned the policy of physical occupation in favour of one of cultural conquest. In other words, bherighosha was replaced with dhammaghosha. We quote below the words of Ashoka from his Thirteenth Major Rock Edict. The Kalinga War Impact on the Early Life of Ashoka.

When he had been consecrated eight years the Beloved of the Gods, the King Piyadasi, conquered Kalinga. A hundred and fifty thousand people were deported, a hundred thousand were killed and many times that number perished. Afterwards, now that Kalinga was annexed, the Beloved of the Gods very earnestly practised dhamma, desired dhamma, and taught dhamma.

On conquering Kalinga the Beloved of the Gods felt remorse, for when an independent country is conquered the slaughter, death and deportation of the people is extremely grievous to the Beloved of the Gods and weighs heavily on his mind. What is even more deplorable to the Beloved of the Gods, is that those who dwell there, whether brahmanas, shramanas, or those of other sects, or householders who show obedience to their teachers and behave well and devotedly towards their friends, acquaintances, colleagues, relatives, slaves, and servants, all suffer violence, murder and separation from their loved ones ….

Ashoka now appealed ideologically to the tribal people and the frontier kingdoms. The subjects of the independent states in Kalinga were asked to obey the king as their father and to repose confidence in him. The officials appointed by Ashoka were instructed to propagate this idea among all sections of his subjects.

The tribal peoples were similarly asked to follow the principles of dhamma (dharma). He no longer treated foreign dominions as legitimate areas for military conquest. He took steps for the welfare of men and animals in foreign lands, which was a new thing considering the conditions in those times. He sent ambassadors of peace to the Greek kingdoms in West Asia and Greece.

Whole Early Life of Ashoka is based on Ashoka’s inscriptions. If we rely on the Buddhist tradition, it would appear that he sent missionaries for the propagation of Buddhism to Sri Lanka and Central Asia, and there is inscriptional evidence to support Ashoka’s initiatives to propagate Buddhism in Sri Lanka. As an enlightened ruler, Ashoka tried to enlarge his sphere of influence through propaganda.

Achievements of Ashoka The Great

It is said that Ashoka’s pacific policy destroyed the Maurya Empire, but this is not true.

On the contrary, Ashoka has a number of achievements to his credit. He was certainly a great missionary ruler in the history of the ancient world.

Ashoka brought about the political unification of the country. He bound it further by one dharma, one language, and virtually one script called Brahmi which was used in most of his inscriptions. In unifying the country he respected such non-Indian scripts as Kharoshthi, Aramaic, and Greek. His inscriptions appear not only in different types of the Indian languages like Prakrit, but also in Greek and particularly in Aramaic which was a Semitic language of ancient Syria.

His multi-script and multi-lingual inscriptions enabled him to contact literate people. Ashoka followed a tolerant religious policy, not attempting to foist his Buddhist faith on his subjects; on the contrary, he made gifts to non-Buddhist and even anti- Buddhist sects. Ashoka was fired with a zeal for missionary activity. He deputed officials in the far-flung parts of the empire. He helped administration and promoted cultural interaction between the developed Gangetic basin and distant backward provinces. The material culture, characteristic of the heart of the empire, spread to Kalinga, the lower Deccan, and northern Bengal.

However, Ashoka’s policy did not have any lasting impact on his viceroys and vassals, who declared themselves independent in their respective areas after the king retired in 232 BC. Similarly, the policy did not succeed in converting his neighbours, who swooped on the north-western frontier of his empire within thirty years of Ashoka’s giving up power in 232 BC.

Death Of Ashoka The Great

According to the Sri Lankan tradition, Ashoka died during his 37th regnal year, which suggests that he died around 232 BCE.

According to the Ashokavadana, the emperor fell severely ill during his last days. He started using state funds to make donations to the Buddhist sangha, prompting his ministers to deny him access to the state treasury. Ashoka then started donating his personal possessions, but was similarly restricted from doing so. On his deathbed, his only possession was the half of a Myrobalan fruit, which he offered to the Sangha as his final donation. Such legends encourage generous donations to the sangha and highlight the role of the kingship in supporting the Buddhist faith.

Legend states that during his cremation, his body burned for seven days and nights.

Successors of Ashoka The Great

Dasharatha was a Mauryan emperor from 232 to 224 BC. He was a grandson of Ashoka and is commonly held to have succeeded him as the imperial ruler of India.

Besides These, There are many doubts about the successors of Ashoka to the throne of Mauryan Dynasty. It is Known That his Eldest Son, Mahendra. Among the other sons of Asoka, we get the name of Tivara from his pillar Edict VII. The names of two other sons, besides that of Mahendra, are known from literary sources. They were Kunala and Jalauka.

From the accounts of Vayu Purana, it is understood that Kunala ruled for eight years. According to Buddhist and Jaina traditions, Kunala was made blind during the life time of Asoka as a victim of intrigues without the emperor’s knowledge, and therefore, his son Samprati succeeded to the throne after Asoka’s death. Might be, while the blind Kunala ruled in name, his son Samprati ruled in reality.

About Asoka’s another son Jalauka, it is written by Kalhana in his famous work Rajatarangini that he ruled over Kashmir after the death of his father. Among the grandsons of Asoka, two names stand out prominently, Bandhupalita and Dasaratha.

The last of the Maurya rulers was Brihadratha Maurya who was killed by his own commander-in-chief, Pushyamitra by name, who established a new dynasty known as the Sunga Dynasty. It is evident that the successors of Asoka were no great kings. Within less than half a century after the death of Asoka, the Maurya rule came to an end with the death of Brihadratha in about 185 B.C. The total period of the Maurya rule covered 137′ years since Chandragupta Maurya laid the foundation of the Maurya Empire.

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