Samrat Ashoka The great Indian King:
Samrat Ashoka was the great king in the Indian History. Once he was called as cruel king later became a benevolent Buddhist king. Samrat Ashoka was the third emperor of Maurya Dynasty and ruled almost all of the Indian Subcontinent from 268BCE to 232BCE.
Early Days of Samrat Ashoka Life:
Ashoka was born in 304BCE, his father was Bimbisara the second emperor of Maurya Dynasty and mother Sughadrangi, who belongs to the brahmin,Ajivika sect, family. She was very beautiful and fair, her services to Bimbisara made him surprised. He granted her wish to become a mother of his son Ashoka.
Ashoka was not a good looking boy. Bimbisara had no soft corner for Ashoka. However, Ashoka made his own spot among his brothers with his skills and courage. Ashoka had several elder half-brothers. Bimbisara’s eldest son Susima was very insecure that the abilities of Ashoka made him the emperor of the Maurya Dynasty. So he sought to eliminate Ashoka. He managed to convince his father to send Ashoka to Taxila to quell an uprising. Ashoka courageously suppressed the uprising without any bloodshed. His success made him a successful warrior.
Samrat Ashoka succession to the throne:
In the following year 273BCE, Bimbisara fell ill and died. A was of succession was fought between Ashoka and his half brothers. In this fight, Ashoka succeeded and became the third Mourya emperor. Actually, Bimbisara wanted his son Sushima to succeed him, but Ashoka was supported by the ministers. Among the ministers, Radhagupta seems to have played an important role in the Ashoka’s success. The coronation happened in 269BCE, four years after his succession to the throne.
As a brutal Ruler Samrat Ashoka:
At the beginning, his attitude was wicked, cruel and bad temper. One day he wanted to know the loyalty of his ministers and ordered them to chop down all the flowers and fruit trees, but to leave the thorn trees alone. Then the ministers questioned his orders. Ashoka got rage and cut off the heads of five hundred Ministers. He also kept a harem of around 500 women. When a few women insulted him, Ashoka moved very furious and put all the women into burnt to death. He also built a hell chamber which was used for horrific tortures. So all called him Chand Ashoka means Ashoka the fierce.
Expand of Maruya Kingdom:
His empire spread from present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan in the west, to the present-day Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east, and northern Kerala and Andhra Pradesh in the east. He conquered the kingdom named Kalinga, which is not possible from his father Bimbisara and grandfather Chandragupta Maurya, starting from Chandragupta Maurya dynasty. His reign was headquartered in Magadha (present-day Bihar). He embraced Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War.
Effect of the Kalinga War on Ashoka:
The brutal scenes were disheartened Ashoka against the wars. The lamented situations in the war made Ashoka change his attitude towards the imperialism. He saw the dead bodies without heads. The despair and loss of innocent people live filled his heart with deep sorrow and regret. The lamentation of the wives and women of the dead, the tears of the children, the terrifying sufferings of the dying soldiers, all had changed his heart and mind.
This sight made him sick and he cried the famous monologue:
“What have I done? If this is a victory, what’s a defeat then? Is this a victory or a defeat? Is this justice or injustice? Is it gallantry or a rout? Is it valour to kill innocent children and women? Do I do it to widen the empire and for prosperity or to destroy the other’s kingdom and splendour? One has lost her husband, someone else a father, someone a child, someone an unborn infant…. What’s this debris of the corpses? Are these marks of victory or defeat? Are these vultures, crows, eagles the messengers of death or evil”?
Adopted the Buddhism:
The brutality of the conquest led him to accept the Buddhism. As the king, he declared the Buddhism his state religion around 260BCE. He decided to preach the concept of The Dhammapada all over the world. He chooses some Buddhist monks and sent them Sri Lanka, Burma and eastern countries among them his son Mahindra and daughter Sangamitra also participated. Emperor Ashoka undoubtedly first seriously attempted to develop a Buddhist policy.
Patron of Buddhism:
Samrat Ashoka built thousands of Stupas and Viharas for Buddhist followers. The Stupas of Sanchi are world famous and the stupa named Sanchi Stupa was built by Emperor Ashoka. He pursued an official policy of nonviolence. Everyone became protected by the king’s law and also promoted the concept of vegetarianism. Ashoka also showed mercy to those imprisoned, allowing them to leave for the outside a day of the year. He attempted to raise the professional ambition of the common man by building universities for study, and water transit and irrigation systems for samrat and agriculture. He is acclaimed for constructing hospitals for animals and renovating major roads throughout India. After this transformation, Ashoka came to be known as Dhamma Ashoka means who followed the teachings of Buddha and implement them in his daily life.