Asoka 304 BC – 232 BC

  1. Asoka was the third and the greatest of the Mauryan rulers.
  2. He occupies a high position not only in the history of India but in the world history also.
  3. He was coroneted four years after the death of his father, Bindusara (273BC).
  4. The early life of Asoka is not very clear due to scanty historical resources.
  5. Buddhist sources say that he killed all his possible 99 rivals and then acceded the throne, however none of the Asoka inscriptions gives such proofs.
  6. In his adolescence Asoka was a frightening warrior and a heartless general. Because of this quality he was sent to destroy the riot of Avanti.
  7. Buddhist sources call him Chandasoka turned Dhammasoka. However most of the historians call it a fabrication.
  8. Rock Edict No. XIII says that after Kalinga War (261BC) Asoka was a thoroughly changed man. He discarded Digvijay and followed Dhammavijay.
  9. Asoka assumed following titles :
    Priyadarshi (pleasing to look at)
    Devanampriya (beloved of Gods)
    In the Sarnath inscription, he adopted the third title i.e., Dharmasoka.
  10. Before he became King, he was viceroy of Taxila & Ujjain.
  11. In Bhabru Edict he admitted that he believed in the principles of Buddhism.
  12. In several of his edicts he has prescribed rules of punishment for those Bhikshus (monks) who violated the principles of Buddhism.
  13. He also called Buddhist Councils to meet in his time. (Third Buddhist council – 250-253 BCE)
  14. He appointed a new class of officers called dharmayuktas, dharma-mahamatras and stri adhyaksha for the moral and spiritual uplift of the subjects.
  15. He strongly supported the doctrine of Ahimsa.
  16. Mahedra , his son had become a Buddhist monk who had gone to Ceylon and King of Ceylon Devanampiya Tissa was his first convert.
  17. Asoka died in 232 BC.

Ashoka’s hellenistic contemporaries

  1. Antiochus II Theos -Syria
  2. Ptolemy II philadelpus -Egypt
  3. Mages -Cyrne
  4. Antigonus Gonatas -Macedonia
  5. Alexander -Epirus

Various names and epithets of Asoka

  1. Devanampriya –Monarchial Epithet
  2. Piyadassiraja- Barabar cave inscription
  3. Ashoka Maurya- Junagarh Inscription
  4. Piyadasi –Kandahar inscription
    Related Post : Edicts of Asoka

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