emperor ashoka

Emperor Ashoka

Emperor Ashoka to a stable and peaceful emperor and he started patronising Buddhism.
11. Conversion to Buddhism
It is said that his wife Devi accompanied him at Kalinga. She was so bothered by what she saw that she left his side. She ran away and never returned.Devi was Buddhist and perhaps this in combination with Ashokas memory of learning about Buddhist principles led him to change his ways.From this point on, he embraces Buddhism. He took on the Buddhists Radhaswami and Manjushri as his teachers. He decided that he would base the rest of his rule on Buddhist principles.
12. The First Buddhist King
Ashoka now reversed course. He set free all of his prisoners and returned their property.There is a story that the pregnant wife of one of his brothers escaped the palace before she could be killed. The baby survived and was brought up by Buddhist monks and nuns. When the boy was 13, he was discovered by Ashoka who learned the boys identity. Ashoka, at this time, felt so much shame that he moved the boy and his mother to live in the palace.At this time, he got a new name. Instead of Chandashoka, he became known as Dharmashoka which means pious Ashoka.
13. Great Public Works Projects
Ashoka now begins a massive public works project where he orders the creation of thousands of Buddhist buildings. He builds stupas which are mounds that house Buddhist relics and he builds viharas which are Buddhist monasteries. He orders the construction of roadhouses for travelers which are free of charge.He created edicts which protect wildlife against sport hunting and he promotes the vegetarianism. He initiates the building of universities, irrigation systems, and hospitals.He signs peace treaties with many of the neighboring kingdom even though with Indias resources, he would have little trouble to conquer them outright.
14. Equality for All
Ashoka takes the very innovative position of protecting minority interests in India. He required nonviolence as well as loerance of all other religions and all opinions.Dharmashoka also defined the main principles of dharma as nonviolence, tolerance of all sects and opinions, obedience to parents and other religious teachers and priests, liberality toward friends, humane treatment of servants, and generosity towards all.
15. Legacy of Ashoka
The reign of Ashoka Mauryan could easily have disappeared into history as the ages passed by, and would have, if hadnt he left behind a record of his trials. The testimony of this king was discovered in the form of magnificently sculpted pillars and boulders with the actions and teachings he wished to be published etched into the stone. What Ashoka left behind was the first written language in India since the ancient city of Harrapa. Rather than Sanskrit, the language used for inscription was the current spoken form called Prakrita. In translating these monuments, historians learn the bulk of what is assumed to have been true fact of the Mauryan Empire. It is difficult to determine whether or not some actual events ever happened but the etchings clearly depict how Ashoka wanted to be thought of and remembered.

The pillars, chiseled from stone, could weigh to fifty tons a piece. These would habitually be topped off with the sculpture of a lion or bull and carry the word of the king around its base. The transportation of each rock and pillar was a major ordeal, it may take several hundreds to hoist the artifact into place or onto a vessel capable of travel with such extreme weight. Each edict was sent to the outstretches of the empire so all could read, or be read to, the royal dharma. Most commonly the more elaborate works were sent to places of national importance and spiritual recognition, such as the birth place of Gotama.

Pillar Edict II when translated describes the middle path, the way to enlightenment through dharma that the Buddha taught in his first sermon. Others such as Pillar Edict VII, quote Ashoka as remarking I consider the promotion of my peoples welfare my highest duty. Professor Tambiah, an anthropologist of the University of Chicago translates Rock Edict XI as reading, There is no gift that can equal the gift of dharma, establishment of human relations in dharma, the distribution of wealth through dharma, or the kinship in dharma. Many of the etchings are complex and contradicting but those of the day got the message loud and clear. years preaching the dharma in order to unify his people. Just as he will never be forgotten, neither will his efforts to impose his great force of dharma. This is why the people of modern India have taken his image of the wheel of dharma from the sacred pillars and forever embedded it in the center of their national flag. Its no wonder in all his achievements, Ashoka, the Buddhist King, has inspired infinite cultures, multiple religions, and One nation under god, with liberty and justice for all.

16. Ashoka the Terrible
For the first eight years of his reign, Ashoka waged near-constant war. He had inherited a sizable empire, but he expanded it to include most of the Indian subcontinent, as well as the area from the current-day borders of Iran and Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh and the Burmese border in the east. Only the southern tip of India and Sri Lanka remained out of his reach, plus the kingdom of Kalinga on the northeast coast of India.

In 265, Ashoka attacked Kalinga. Although it was the homeland of his second wife, Kaurwaki, and the king of Kalinga had sheltered Ashoka before his ascent to the throne, the Mauryan emperor gathered the largest invasion force in Indian history to that point and launched his assault. Kalinga fought back bravely, but in the end it was defeated and all of its cities sacked.Ashoka had led the invasion in person, and he went out into the capital city of the Kalingas the morning after his victory to survey the damage. The ruined houses and bloodied corpses sickened the emperor, and he underwent a religious epiphany. Although he had considered himself more or less Buddhist prior to that day, the carnage at Kalinga led Ashoka to devote himself to Buddhism. He vowed to practice ahimsa from that day forward.

17. Lion Capital of Asoka
The Lion capital of Ashoka is a sculpture of four Indian lions standing back to back. It was originally placed atop the A?oka pillar at Sarnath, now in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The pillar, sometimes called the A?oka Column is still in its original location, but the Lion Capital is now in the Sarnath Museum. This Lion Capital of Ashoka from Sarnath has been adopted as the National Emblem of India and the wheel Ashoka Chakra from its base was placed onto the center of the National Flag of India.The capital contains four lions (Indian Asiatic Lions), standing back to back, mounted on an abacus, with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull, and a lion, separated by intervening spoked chariot-wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital was believed to be crowned by a Wheel of Dharma (Dharmachakra popularly known in India as the Ashoka Chakra).

The Ashoka Lion capital or the Sarnath lion capital is also known as the national symbol of India. The Sarnath pillar bears one of the Edicts of Ashoka, an inscription against division within the Buddhist community, which reads, No one shall cause division in the order of monks. The Sarnath pillar is a column surmounted by a capital, which consists of a canopy representing an inverted bell-shaped lotus flower, a short cylindrical abacus with four 24-spoked Dharma wheels with four animals (an elephant, a bull, a horse, a lion).

18. Ashokstambha
The pillars of Ashoka are a series of columns dispersed throughout the northern Indian subcontinent, and erected by Ashoka during his reign in the 3rd century BCE. Originally, there must have been many pillars of Ashoka although only ten with inscriptions still survive. Averaging between forty and fifty feet in height, and weighing up to fifty tons each, all the pillars were quarried at Chunar, just south of Varanasi and dragged, sometimes hundreds of miles, to where they were erected. The first Pillar of Ashoka was found in the 16th century by Thomas Coryat in the ruins of ancient Delhi. The wheel represents the sun time and Buddhist law, while the swastika stands for the cosmic dance around a fixed center and guards against evil. There is no evidence of a swastika, or manji, on the pillars.
19. Ashoka Chakra
The Ashoka Chakra (the wheel of Ashoka) is a depiction of the Dharmachakra (see Dharmacakra) or Dhammachakka in Pali, the Wheel of Dharma (Sanskrit: Chakra means wheel). The wheel has 24 spokes which represent the 12 Laws of Dependent Origination and the 12 Laws of Dependent Termination. The Ashoka Chakra has been widely inscribed on many relics of the Mauryan Emperor, most prominent among which is the Lion Capital of Sarnath and The Ashoka Pillar. The most visible use of the Ashoka Chakra today is at the centre of the National flag of the Republic of India (adopted on 22 July 1947), where it is rendered in a Navy-blue color on a White background, by replacing the symbol of Charkha (Spinning wheel) of the pre-independence versions of the flag. The Ashoka Chakra can also been seen on the base of Lion Capital of Ashoka which has been adopted as the National Emblem of India.The Ashoka Chakra was built by Ashoka during his reign. Chakra is a Sanskrit word which also means cycle or self-repeating process. The process it signifies is the cycle of time- as in how the world changes with time.A few days before India became independent on August 1947, the specially formed Constituent Assembly decided that the flag of India must be acceptable to all parties and communities. A flag with three colours, Saffron, White and Green with the Ashoka Chakra was selected.
20. As Administrator
Ashokas military power was strong, but after his conversion to Buddhism, he maintained friendly relations with three major Tamil kingdoms in the South namely Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas, the post Alexandrian empire, Tamraparni, and Suvarnabhumi. His edicts state that he made provisions for medical treatment of humans and animals in his own kingdom as well as in these neighbouring states. He also had wells dug and trees planted along the roads for the benefit of the common people.Ashoka banned the slaughter and eating of the common cattle, and also imposed restrictions on fishing and fish-eating.He also abolished the royal hunting of animals and restricted the slaying of animals for food in the royal residence.[36] Because he banned hunting, created many veterinary clinics and eliminated meat eating on many holidays, the Mauryan Empire under Ashoka has been described as one of the very few instances in world history of a government treating its animals as citizens who are as deserving of its protection as the human residents.