Ashoka: the Search for Indias Lost Emperor by Charles AllenIndias lost emperor Ashoka Maurya has a special place in history. In his quest to govern India by moral force alone Ashoka turned Buddhism from a minor sect into a world religion and set up a new yardstick for government which had huge implications for Asia. But his brave experiment ended in tragedy and his name was cleansed from the record so effectively that he was forgotten for almost two thousand years. But a few mysterious stone monuments and inscriptions survived, and the story of how these keystones to the past were discovered by British Orientalists and their mysterious lettering deciphered is every bit as remarkable as their author himself. Bit by bit, fragments of the Ashokan story were found and in the process Indias ancient history was itself recovered. In a wide-ranging, multi-layered journey of discovery that is as much about Britains entanglement with India as it as about Indias distant past, Charles Allen tells the story of the man who was arguably the greatest ruler India has ever known.
Chandragupta, Ashoka and the Maurya Empire - World History - Khan Academy
Ashoka the Great
Asoka reigned ca. He combined the piety of a saint with the practical qualities of a king, and in the history of Buddhism he ranks second only to Buddha. By the 3d century B. Only the southern tip of India and Ceylon remained free of the Mauryas' political influence. However, Buddhist missionaries of Asoka extended religious influence into Ceylon, which became a stronghold of Theravada Buddhism through Asoka's efforts.
Ashoka: The Unique Ruler
Considered by many to be one of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka expanded Chandragupta's empire to reign over a realm stretching from present-day Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east. It covered the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu , Karnataka and Kerala. The empire's capital was Pataliputra in Magadha , present-day Patna , with provincial capitals at Taxila and Ujjain. Ashoka waged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga modern Odisha ,  which he conquered in about BCE. Beyond the Edicts of Ashoka , biographical information about him relies on legends written centuries later, such as the 2nd-century CE Ashokavadana " Narrative of Ashoka ", a part of the Divyavadana , and in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa " Great Chronicle ".
Widely believed to be one of the kindest, strongest rulers of India Emperor Ashoka has a fascinating life history. Let us take a look. His empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, who was a grandfather of Ashoka, more than years ago. Ashoka was greatly supported and lead by the famous man Chanakya, also known by Kautilya. Ashoka was the third ruler of the Maurya dynasty and was one of the most powerful kings in ancient times.
The central conception underlying the philosophy of these inscriptions is dharma Skt. His inscriptions and other archaeological evidence testify to that effort: he constructed stupas and gave other financial support for monks and monasteries, intervened in monastic disputes and recommended which texts monks, nuns, and fellow laypeople ought to study , and made pilgrimages to sites of significance in the Buddha's life. This practice of inscribing decisions, donations, and eulogies in stone, and simultaneously landmarking key sites in important monarchs' territories, became a sine qua non of subsequent south Asian political formation, especially at the imperial level. These sites were subsequently transformed into Hindu sites or reclaimed by Buddhists beginning in the late nineteenth century; these remain important places of worship even today. Two basic recensions are especially well known. But given the disagreements among the different versions, this required scholars to privilege one over the others, generating a number of influential theories about which version was in fact the earliest or most authentic, and attacks on the others as derivative or fabricated.