The Ashoka before and after Kalinga War

The Ashoka before and after Kalinga War

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The Ashoka before and after Kalinga War

Samrat Ashoka

The Ashoka before and after Kalinga War: If you stumble upon the most cutting-edge Indian flag or the current cash change between Indians, you may be surprised to find that they are connected to the emperor who ruled 2000 years ago.

This wheel and these lions are symbols of Ashoka the Great, a man that shares his title with Alexander the Great. But he isn’t remembered for his glorious conquest but rather for turning to the path of peace when violence probably would have served him better.

The Ashoka before and after Kalinga War
          The Ashoka before and after Kalinga War

He was one of the only powerful rulers in the history of the world who tried to conquer in a moral way. His huge stone pillar was once lost by the restraint of time, but now he is resurrected from the earth and tells the story of a complicated person. , Once bloodthirsty, then calm. A man who transformed Buddhism from a small philosophical sect to a global religion.

But can his entire legacy be made up? Ancient propaganda is still working today.

We will explore all of these and more in a double story about the life and legacy of “Ashoka the Great”.

Before Ashoka was his grandfather Chandragupta, a man that rose up from humble origins as a shepherd and overthrew the Nanda Empire with the help of his tutor and advisor Chanakya. He set up the Maurya Empire, which under his rule expanded over most of modern-day India. Chandragupta expanded in the territory that was only just recently conquered by Alexander the Great and then solidified this conquest by defeating one of Alexander’s successor, Seleucus, in war.

Having established one of the greatest empires in Asian and World history, Chandragupta decided to renounce it all and spend the end of his life as a Jain monk, or so says the Jain legend. His son Bindusara inherited an empire that stretched from Persia to Bengal and Bindusara probably has one of history’s oddest origin stories. According to Buddhist legend, one of Chandragupta’s swivels was 7 days away from giving birth. Alongside this event, Chanakya had kindly been putting small amounts of poison in Chandragupta’s food. So that he would develop a tolerance. Chandragupta, unaware of this, shares some of his meal with his wife. Just as she put food in her mouth, Chanakya entered the room and saw that disaster was happening.

Knowing that she would die Chanakya without missing a beat, chops off her head and performs an emergency C-Section to save the heir. Proving to the world that Chanakya is clearly the most metal advisor of all time. Child in hand Chanakya notices that it needs a few more days of cooking and so he slaughters a goat every day and places the child inside of it for 7 days. The child is then “born” and named Bindusarathe word for spotted because he was covered in spots of goat’s blood. Now that story is almost completely irrelevant to the tale at hand. But I couldn’t let you continue to exist not knowing it.

Like many Indian emperors and goats, Bindusara (Bindusara) has many different children and many different women.

Among them was Ashoka. We are told that his mother was not very high on the imperial food chain and so Ashoka, one of the youngest of around 100 brothers, wasn’t paid any special attention. The fact that he had a weird pumpkin head, a fiery temper, and some strange skin disease didn’t warm his father much too him either. But as a son of the Emperor, he received a princely education and soon stood out amongst his brothers. Bindusara had no time for this exceptional son of his.

He had already decided that his son Sushima was to be his heir and competition was not welcome. Ashoka was sent away to put down rebellions the fringes of the Empire in order to keep him away from the court so he couldn’t build connections with scheming ministers. After excelling at crushing revolts, Ashoka was stationed as governor of Ujjain, far from the Imperial Capital at Paliputra.

These efforts to stunt his son’s promise proved fruitless, as on Bindusara’s death in 272 BC Ashoka rushed to the capital and seized the throne for himself and won the support of his father’s ministers who found Sushima to be too disrespectful. Sushma, deprived of his royal inheritance and disliked by the men that once served his father soon faced the wrath of Ashoka. He was burned alive in a pit of coals. This may be a myth, but what we know for certain is that a bloody civil war kicked off as Ashoka slaughtered all remaining claimants to the throne in a violent 4 years of chaos.

His shrewdness and ruthlessness won him an Empire and he crowned himself in 269 BC. All dissent was crushed, opposition swept aside, and rebels imprisoned all of which earned him the name Ashoka the Fierce. Even though he ruled the largest Empire in Indian history, Ashoka grew frustrated at the existence of an independent kingdom just south of his capital, the Kingdom of Kalinga. God, that’s a fun name to say. Kalinga was a prosperous state with far-reaching trade connections, rich ports, and a strong navy. This alongside the fact that even his brilliant grandfather, Chandragupta, could not conquer it, made Kalinga an irresistible prize for Ashoka the Fierce.

Soldiers were readied, spears sharpened, elephants captured and trained. In the 9th year of his reign, 261 BC, the campaign commenced. The Kalingans had an impressive army and offered stiff resistance, on the banks of the Daya River, tens of thousands of soldiers smashed against one another, swords clashed against armor, thousands of horse hoofs beat the earth kicking up dust breaking spears and helmet underfoot, as elephants charging throughlines of panicked men caused chaos and madness, their roars drowned by the cacophony of battle noises.

Ashoka, in the thick of the mayhem, struck down Kalingan after Kalingan with his signature brutality. As the hours dripped by the corpses of man and beast began to pile up on each other. The Kalingans were crushed, 100,000 men dead. 150,000 taken as prisoners and there on the battlefield, the victorious Ashoka walked among the corpses, the death caused by his order.

Entering the city he watched as orphans and women wept, as families frantically tried to salvage what was left, and countless innocents now destitute. Kalinga was crushed, and as his men praised their great conquering emperor, Ashoka thought to himself “If this is victory, what then is a defeat” Join me on the next episode where we’ll see Ashoka transform into the man that Orson Welles claimed shinned alone like a star in history and examine whether any of it is true.

Confronted by the destruction he had caused, there amongst the corpses and broken shields, Ashoka the Fierce seems to have melted away, a once violent and fiery mind, quenched. In order to cope with his sorrow Ashoka turned to Buddhism, at this point in world history more of a philosophical sect than anything resembling a religion.

The Ashoka before and after Kalinga War
       The Ashoka before and after Kalinga War

Ashoka was mainly inspired by Buddhism, but may also be inspired by other philosophies that were circulating throughout India at that time, advocating peace, respect and spirituality.

Following his effective however bloody success of the Kalinga nation on the east coast, Ashoka denied furnished victory and embraced an approach that he called “triumph by dharma” ( i.e., by standards of right life ).

So as to increase wide exposure for his lessons and his work, Ashoka made them known by methods for oral declarations and by etchings on rocks and columns at appropriate locales. These engravings—the stone orders and column proclamations (e.g., the lion capital of the column found at Sarnath, which has become India’s national symbol), generally dated in different long stretches of his rule—contain explanations with respect to his musings and activities and give data on his life and acts. His articulations rang of bluntness and earnestness.

As indicated by his own records, Ashoka vanquished the Kalinga nation (present-day Orissa state) in the eighth year of his rule. The sufferings that the war delivered on the crushed individuals moved him to such regret that he repudiated equipped triumphs. It was as of now that he came in contact with Buddhism and embraced it. Under its impact and incited by his own unique personality, he set out to live as per, and lecture, the dharma and to serve his subjects and all mankind.

Ashoka more than once proclaimed that he comprehended dharma to be the vivacious act of the sociomoral excellencies of trustworthiness, honesty, sympathy, tolerance, kindheartedness, peacefulness, accommodating conduct toward all, “little sin and numerous great deeds, ” non extravagance, non acquisitiveness, and non injury to creatures. He talked about no specific method of strict ideology or love, nor of any philosophical conventions. He talked about Buddhism just to his coreligionists and not to other people.

Toward every single strict group, he embraced an arrangement of regard and promised them full opportunity to live as indicated by their own standards, yet he additionally encouraged them to endeavor for the “increment of their internal value.” Moreover, he urged them to regard the doctrines of others, acclaim the valid statements of others, and forgo intense antagonistic analysis of the perspectives of others.

To spread his message Ashoka issued an order to have enormous stone pillars and slabs dragged across his realm and erected at important locations. Upon these edicts his words were carved, informing his people of their emperor’s change of heart and his desire that he and they live righteous and good lives. He emphasized non-violence, respect for all religions, and what could be called rights for all humans and animals. This was a huge project, writing was new to India at this time along with huge stone constructions. These pillars would not only awe citizens but even needed government officials to be stationed nearby just to read them aloud. Making it the first kind of mass communication in India. And you can feel genuine personality seep from these rocks. For example, Rock Edict 13 contains an actual confession of remorse about Kalinga. And the text is pretty interesting.

Its content is this: “When an unconquered country is conquered, it is true that God’s beloved suffers deeply from the pain of killing, death and deportation.

But what makes this beloved God even more painful-living in these countries and respecting superior Brahmins, ascetics, and residents of various religions

Mothers and fathers, elders, behave well and have a strong loyalty to friends, acquaintances, companions, relatives, servants and employees, causing them to be injured, killed or separated from their loved ones.

Even those who are not affected by (all this) feel pain when they see friends, acquaintances, peers and relatives affected.

All these unfortunate things (due to the war) came, which caused the suffering of God’s loved ones. “These laws are not only a way for Ashoka to plead guilty, but also

It is also a way of spreading the emperor’s newly discovered pacifist philosophy. War affects not only combatants but all members of society.

Therefore, after a successful campaign, most rulers would have planned their next campaign and feast, but Ashoka began to carry out radical reforms.He would repay his debt to humanity. Hospitals were built across the land. Special botanical gardens were constructed to ensure a steady supply of medicine.

Roads were built, wells were dug, and trees planted to provide shade to weary travelers. Veterinary clinics were established, meat was banned on certain holidays, and the mistreatment of animals now carried a heavy sentence. Even though he embraced Buddhism, Ashoka did not push it to his people. Who mainly follows Brahmanism is a kind of primitive Hinduism. Ashoka insisted on tolerating all religions.

To quote another sentence again: “Who praises his religion for the excessive dedication and condemns others with the idea of ​​”beautify my own religion” will only damage his religion.

Therefore (contact between religions) is good. “And many of these reforms seem to be real.

We don’t hear of anymore conflict during Ashoka’s reign. While Rome and Carthage were beating each other to bloody pulps in the Mediterranean, Ashoka’s Empire maintained friendly relations with its fellow Indian Kingdoms to the south and the Greeks and Iranians in the West.

Under Ashoka’s rule, India entered a glittering golden age, his pillars acting as the prime example. These pillars measured between 12-15 meters tall and weighed up to 50 tons. They are how we rediscovered the legacy of Ashoka.

On the land that later became Hindu, the Buddhist emperor was almost forgotten, until the English and Indian scholars deciphered the text that was only discovered at the time. Pillar, transforming Ashoka from a random name in the history of Indian rulers to a special character we know today?

Of all of Ashoka’s stone works the most famous is probably the Lion Capital at Sarnath. Made of perfectly cut sandstone and polished so well that from a distance it appears to be shining metal. It is a fantastic example of the architecture that flourished under Ashoka. It even impressed foreign states hundreds of years later, and thousands of kilometers away inspiring replicas as far afield as WatUmong in Thailand.

When India became an independent republic on the 26th of January 1950 it was Ashoka’s 4 lions from Sarnath that were chosen as the new nation’s symbol on that very same day. Ashoka reigned for a peaceful 36 years and died in 232 BC, had he not left the pillars behind we may never have known of his spectacular reign. Because after his death his empire would crumble in about 50 years and would be overthrown by a non-Buddhist dynasty.

Records of his deeds were only maintained by Buddhist monks who all but disappear from India in the coming centuries. If Ashoka was so great and his rule so enlightened why did succeeding rulers not follow in his peaceful footsteps, why was he all but forgotten. It has been argued by some that his rule might not have been as enlightened or peaceful as we think and may all just be ancient propaganda. It should be noted that at this time and even today, the Indian subcontinent is a massive hodge-podge of different religions, peoples, and ethnicities. The empire Chandragupta conquered and Ashoka expanded was one of the most diverse in the world. So was Ashoka just some Machiavellian type character that spotted the practicality of adopting a peaceful facade in order to stitch together his divided population?

Is his conversion compliance pillar just a trick to make people perform well?

I’m a fan of looking at history sideways and trying to see the other side of common narratives so let’s give it a try. Even though he didn’t go to war again during his reign, Ashoka did still maintain an active military and on one of his edicts even make a clear threat towards the forest peoples living on his border.

He promised that if they did not accept his peace, violence would occur.

When we saw the earlier confession of sin, King Ashoka did not return the Kalinga’s land to him, and his repentance decree was not placed near Kalinga. I think it is necessary to pay attention to all these contents, because Ashoka is sometimes portrayed as flawless.

But looking at the sources we do have he comes off as an extreme realist. He saw the carnage at Kalinga and decided to try ruling in another way. Instead of crushing dissent, he would encourage diversity and cooperation instead. By pushing for respect, tolerance, and generosity tried to persuade society to function rather than force it too. Which was a very modern way of thinking fora ruler of the ancient world.

Most sources we have on Ashoka are Buddhist and he’s probably the most important person in Buddhism after well…the Buddha. The reason for this is because after his conversion Ashoka dispersed missionaries across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Spreading the religion out of India and creating a global religion, a legacy that continued long after his pillars had sunk into the Earth. The life of Ashoka and his peaceful aspirations is one of the greatest sources of inspiration for Indians today.

His biggest lie is not only that he avoided violence after a huge victory.

But through how bizarre the events that happened in the history of the world, and how his inner changes really made us think about all the other people we learn and respect in the history of the world.

Is Ashoka commendable for changing or is everyone else condemnable for not doing so? These are the history of the fun question throws at us. There are thousands of stone columns spread across our world heralding the likes of the Akkadians or Romans crushing so and so rebellion or enslaving so and so city but only Ashoka’s pillars stand-alone, speaking of kindness. Kalinga was crushed, and as his men praised their great conquering emperor, Ashoka thought to himself “If this is victory, what then is a defeat”

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