History – Ashoka -Important One Liners

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1- Ashoka was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE.

2-The empire’s capital was Pataliputra (in Magadha, present-day Patna), with provincial capitals at Taxila and Ujjain.

3-In about 260 BCE, Ashoka waged a bitterly destructive war against the state of Kalinga (modern Odisha). He conquered Kalinga, which none of his ancestors had done.

4- Ashoka embraced Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War.

5- Ashoka converted gradually to Buddhism beginning about 263 BCE.

6- In the Kalinga edicts,Ashoka addresses his people as his “children”, and mentions that as a father he desires their good.

7-Ashoka’s name Aśoka means “painless, without sorrow in Sanskrit.

8- His fondness for his name’s connection to the Saraca asoca tree, or the “Ashoka tree” is also referenced in the Ashokavadana.

9-H.G. Wells wrote of Ashoka in his book The Outline of History.

10- The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

11-Ashoka was born to the Mauryan emperor, Bindusara and a relatively lower ranked wife, Dharmā (or Dhammā).

12-Ashoka was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Mauryan dynasty.

13-The Buddhist text Divyavadana describes Ashoka putting down a revolt due to activities of wicked ministers. This may have been an incident in Bindusara’s times.

14- A minister named Radhagupta seems to have played an important role in Ashoka’s rise to the throne.

15- The Dipavansa and Mahavansa refer to Ashoka’s killing 99 of his brothers, sparing only one, named Vitashoka or Tissa.

16- The Kalinga War happened eight years after his coronation.

17- From his 13th inscription, we come to know that the battle was a massive one and caused the deaths of more than 100,000 soldiers and many civilians who rose up in defence; over 150,000 were deported.

18-Ashoka’s son Mahinda (Mahendra) and daughter Sanghamitra (whose name means ‘friend of the Sangha’),established Buddhism in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

19-Ashoka ruled for an estimated 36 years. Legend states that during his cremation, his body burned for seven days and nights.

20- The language used for inscription was in one of the Prakrit “common” languages etched in a Brahmi script.

21-King Ashoka, the third monarch of the Indian Mauryan dynasty, is also considered as one of the most exemplary rulers who ever lived.

22-The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by Ashoka during his reign.

23- Ashoka also helped to organise the Third Buddhist council (c. 250 BCE) at Pataliputra (today’s Patna). It was conducted by the monk Moggaliputta-Tissa who was the spiritual teacher of Ashoka.

24-The Ashoka Chakra (the wheel of Ashoka) is a depiction of the Dharmachakra (the Wheel of Dharma). The wheel has 24 spokes which represent the 12 Laws of Dependent Origination and the 12 Laws of Dependent Termination

25-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

26-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.

27-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.

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