Talk:Ashoka

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Writing Style[edit]

After having read the initial paragraphs, and moving onto the Conquest part of the article, I just have to say that there's a sudden loss of quality. It's very obvious that it's been written by someone who intends to portray written accounts as true (as opposed to simply referring to the written accounts). There's an odd mix of using complicated, old fashioned terms (kith and kin, for one) mixed with some odd sentence structures that indicate that the writer is not a native English-speaker. It just doesn't come off as encyclopedic. - Ben. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.208.146.186 (talk) 12:06, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit request from Narayanam5, 25 December 2010[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}}


1st page------------------------------------------------------------

(1) In the web site of Ashoka in wikipedia: it is true that the paragraph in this website in the top of this page ie> even before biography,the 3rd paragraph it used to be the follwing paragraph of HJ wells book paragraph. Please keep it back there. It is the most important paragraph. Several historians referred to this persons HJ wells in this book regarding Ashoka. A great emperor of all time in the history of the world. Please keep it back as the third paragraph as usual as before(even before biographysection), so that at a first glance his greatness will be known to the readers . The paragraph to be rewritten there ino the top of the page in the above specified location is  :

Renowned British author and social critic H. G. Wells in his bestselling two-volume work, The Outline of History (1920), wrote of emperor Ashoka: In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves 'their highnesses,' 'their majesties,' and 'their exalted majesties' and so on. They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day.


2nd change-----------------------------------------------------------

(2) In the History of Buddhism Ashoka is considered just after Gautama Buddha.[citation needed]. This statement do not require citation as dalialama also acknowledged regarding this in the acknowledgements in the asoka hindi movie and also mainly buddha envisaged the birth of ashoka and regarding his matter of spread of buddhism. So plese remove this [c.itation required]. Just keep it as "In the History of Buddhism Ashoka is considered just after Gautama Buddha".


3rd change---------------------------------------------------------

(3) it used to be in the top of this "ashoka" web page in the baove specified location ie> even before biography section: there used to be this paragraph:

"even after 2000 years, his influence can still be seen in asia specifically in indian subcontinent."

Please Keep this paragraph back there becasue this is the sureshot inference from HJ wells book and also some more popular historians books regarding ashoka. Please keep this paragraph back there.

Narayanam5 (talk) 15:39, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

  • X mark.svg Not done We have a policy that all articles must be written from a neutral point of view. Your first requested change would have disrupted the neutral point of view by substituting a glowing biography from an outdated history. Your second request is inaccurate because we do require citations for such statements, all material such as this must be properly verified. Your third change cannot be made withour reliable sources. Wells' history isn't a reliable source for this (it is outdated). ThemFromSpace 15:12, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Hi. on the top of the picture on the right side, it says Mauryan Samrat. Sanskrit words, as far as i know, don't end in consonants so it should be Samrata. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.147.224.225 (talk) 19:23, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Edit Request[edit]

A couple of suggestions for addition:

a. I feel that it is important to note that most of the evidence of Ashoka came from Sri Lankan Buddhist chronicles unearthed in the 19th century. Thus, despite the epithet 'the Great' of Asoka, India's historians had obscured Asoka's existence until this time (I do not have on-line resources to support this, but Sri Lankan historians should chip in).

b. In the famous monologue of Asoka, there is one phrase of significant import that the present block obscures:

"If this is my Dharma, what is Adharma?"

Dharma and Adharma are hard phrases to translate, but still the question is worth reproducing as it has deep linkages with the Arjuna Vishada (Arjuna's Despondency) thesis that was inspired by this dwandwa monologue. Arjuna Vishada was the kernel of the Bhagavat Gita, believed to be an attempt by Vedic traditionalists to arrest large-scale abandonment of the Vedic religion in favour of Buddhism, Jainism and other faiths such as the 'Bhakti' movement.

The article isn't protected, so go ahead and make the changes yourself. Bearing in mind WP:V, of course! --rgpk (comment) 16:37, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

A bit of prudence in historical assumptions[edit]

I have not gone through the whole article. I write from the general feel of the theme. It could be in consonance with the generally accepted version of King Ashoka (the great).

Living in India and understanding the local social compulsions and the mentality, I feel that the common view about Ashoka could be a duped view. It could very well be like discovering India after about 2000 years and finding that it was a welfare state, while Britain was a Capitalistic nation. So, the direct understanding would be that in India, the government took care of the people; there were free schools, free hospitals, public transportation and everything else, while in Britain the people were intolerably looted by the capitalists, and suffered heavily.

Ashoka can easily be described as a King who instead of taking care of the national administration, took interest in religious pursuits, travels and building up monuments eulogising himself. I am witness to the frenzy for putting up boards, stones and other monuments shown by various administrative and political functionaries in current day India. He called himself the ‘Devanampriya’, the beloved of the Gods! Well, at best, a unilateral claim, that should not be swallowed bait, hook, line and sinker.

Moreover the claim that he set up hospitals and other public institutions is also a thing to be scrutinised. For, it is the native officialdom that is to run these institutions. What would be their behaviour to the common person who approaches them for services? Well, since almost all the languages in India have a stinging feudalism in them, pejorative to the lower man, it is only common sense to understand that their behaviour to them would have been suppressive.

Then I remember reading about the Mahapatras (the ministers) of Ashoka, who were given blanket powers over their fiefdoms. When they visited the villages over extended periods, each house in the village had to take care of their one day’s needs. In a feudal language nation, imposing officials over household can be a terrifying event. I remember reading that in Taxila, the villagers revolted against them. Then the ‘Great’ King Ashoka sent his army to crush the revolt. Well, it really is just like the tactics of modern-day Indian administration.

I also remember reading that King Ashoka was murdered by his own minister. Is it a fact? How did Ashoka die? Was it of natural causes?

Well, the things I have mentioned here, the revolt, and the death, are they mentioned in the article? Or could I be wrong in my remembrances. As to H G Wells’ opinion on Ashoka, it can be a very unintelligent one. For, even now most Britons cannot understand the reality of the feudal tones of Indian social communication. H G Well also suffers from this un-understanding. --Ved from Victoria Institutions (talk) 06:05, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

inscriptions of asoka[edit]

there is an information in this article that asoka had 33 inscriptions , in the eastern sources paragraph.but i have a doubt that there is only 14 of them found by the historians .i just want to know that is the information verified? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Anirban1993 (talkcontribs) 22:39, 6 August 2011

I saw that -- I'm not sure how they came up with 33 -- I'm only seeing 14 major edicts, two Kalinga edicts, three minor rock edicts, seven pillar edicts, and two minor pillar edicts, which is only 28. Then again, there are supposed to be some edicts on boulders as well, so five more would bring the total up to 33. Banaticus (talk) 23:39, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Conversion of Kings[edit]

I don't think the quote supports kingly conversion -- I think it's only listing the kings who rule the areas where people converted. Banaticus (talk) 23:40, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Renaming Ashoka to "Ashoka the Great"[edit]

If Alexander’s Wikipedia page name includes “the Great” than Ashoka’s Wikipedia page must include “the Great”! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pt.Sumit (talkcontribs) 16:13, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

wikipedia admins clearly abuse their power by changing articles as they wish. it should be changed or boycott the wikipedia. Avaloan (talk) 12:37, 5 February 2012 (UTC)


Ashoka is called Ashoka the Great its not a Honorific reference

Princeton.Edu

Wytze-Keuning

Buddhist Encyclopedia

I quoted these sources of foreign authors to refrain from bias . Modern History is anglosaxon, as English Monarchy has amounted to nothing .Great care has been taken to discredit others i.e Chengis Napoleon .

If these changes are not constituted will be forced to change it myself . And "NO" I really dont care about sanctity of Wiki , thats hilarious to even consider — Preceding unsigned comment added by 122.179.39.24 (talk) 00:40, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 13:45, 5 February 2012 (UTC)



Emperor Ashoka The GreatAshoka – The article was originally at Ashoka but had been moved here without consensus to push a POV. That being the case, reverting the move by way of G6 is a possibility. However, that way lies a possible edit war. See also this notice at ANI. Hence, I'm opening this discussion partly to clarify the community consensus and establish a permanent name for this article. ClaretAsh 00:47, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

I came across the latter spelling, too, in my copy of The Penguin encyclopedia of classical civilizations. It appears to be a style thing with some publishers. Formal versus simple transliteration. ClaretAsh 04:09, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
This isn't needed. Articles must stay at their current title first, then the requirement is that those who want to move it must propose the move to the new name. The default is to leave the article in its current state unless consensus clearly shows that a change is appropriate and desired. If Avalaon wants to argue for some version of "Ashoka the Great", it's xyr responsibility to do so. Qwyrxian (talk) 12:31, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Support Common name Ashoka.Pernoctator (talk) 13:35, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The article should be renamed to "Ashoka the Great". it's totally unfair and disgrace to a great emperor. the references which use the title "Ashoka the Great" http://www.woofiles.com/dl-283035-uZTl0dLU-file.txt http://nirmukta.com/2010/01/10/how-ashoka-the-great-gave-brahmins-the-gift-of-a-song-with-which-they-conquered-india/

consider for renaming the the title of the "Ashoka" article to "Ashoka the Great" it's not a matter of how majority of people in here believe. it's a matter of how people try to change the history with their corrupted power. no wonder why most of colleges/ universities banned wikipedia as a reference source. it's obvious. there are a ton of bigots. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Avaloan (talkcontribs) 14:36, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

None of those, nor the ones you put on my talk page, count as reliable sources. Note the references given above in the closed discussion are major, international encyclopedias. Again, we're looking for journal articles, history books published by major reliable academic presses, etc. Also, please do not call other people "bigots", that's a violation of WP:NPA. Qwyrxian (talk) 14:41, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Many other kings more exposed to British studies have ingrained titles viz Cyrus and as aforementioned Alexander.
In Hindi, he is always referred to as 'Ashoka Mahaan'

Pokedora (talk) 11:55, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

File:Asoka's Queen.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Edit request regarding Ashoka's vegetraniam[edit]

With reference to Ashoka's promotion on Vegetranian diet, it is in conflict with available information. In book Ashoka by Charles Allen, chapter "Thus Spake King Piyadasi, Page 172 of harcover e dition. It seems according to Dhammika's translation of RE1 that Asoka himself was not able to give up vegetarian diet. 202.179.92.106 (talk) 08:29, 12 April 2012 (UTC)Vikas 12/04/2012

Edit request on 23 July 2012[edit]

Emperor Ashok was most probably a Jain king.

The most obvious reason is, what he has written in his "edicts" across India - they all speak of Jain values. Also, his father and grandfather were well known Jains. Chandragupta, his grandfather even gave up his kingdom to become a Jain monk. There is every reason to assume that he was raised in the Jain faith and followed it to the end.

Vegetarian Emperor His famous edits exhorting his subjects to vegetarianism and banning hunting etc shows clear Jain leanings. There is nothing Buddhist about these edits. His non-violence and desire to see all animals safe was / is a uniquely Jain phenomena. Even now, Jains donate vigorously to animal hospitals and often pay large sums of money to rescue animals from abattoirs.

At that time, Hindus and Buddhists both ate meat ! There is nothing in literature of either religion that speaks of vegetarianism at that stage in it development. Indeed, the last meal of the Buddha was pork ! The only religion to be totally against meat eating or killing of animals was Jainisum.

There was nothing uniquely “Ashokan” about his social welfare activities - such things as digging wells, planting trees etc. were the normal social activities for all kings, aristocrats and wealthy people in the past. Indeed, such actions were done than and now to earn merit in this life and the next. Ashoka’s own edicts admit that these acts were a continuation of what others had done in the past.

Royal monks spread Buddhism His son and daughter who became Buddhists – Mahindra and Sanghamitra - were children of a Buddhist queen – hence it is perfectly understandable that they would have great affinity for the religion of their mother. There is no reason to assume that just because they were Buddhist, that their father was one too !

They could have gone to Shri Lanka for several reasons. Apart from the desire to spread the religion, they could have gone to escape the court rivalry at the imperial capital. Though the son of his first wife, Mahindra may have had other brothers who were more qualified to take the title of “heir-apparent”. Ashoka himself was the youngest son who killed all his step-brothers to become the emperor. Fearing for his own life, Mahindra could have taken holy order and emigrated to escape court jealousies and fate that often befell royal siblings who did not succeed to the throne.

As Buddhism and Jainism were rival religions at the time, it is more than probably that a prince / princess from a Jain family may be considered a “rebel” by becoming a Buddhist. In the tight knit world of court protocol, this was probably the safest form of rebellion possible, followed by a quick permanent trip abroad.

The Emperor may have given his tacit approval for such an emigration to keep peace in his household. Emperor was well aware of the blood bath that ensued when he took the throne by force and would have approved any method possible to avoid the same fate for his children.

Princely monks and nuns would have been welcome in the satellite / neighbouring kingdoms for two reasons. One, because it gave them a piece of Imperial celebrity of their own ! The heady prestige of such personages living in your care would have been an honour they would have treasured for sure. Two, you never know when you can use such priceless guests as bargaining chips for international politics.

Foreign Missions Ashoka, like all great kings, than and now, send out political and religious missions to extend their sphere of influence. There were many religious orders included in these foreign missions. For example, the religion of Mitra - which became very popular in the Roman empire and at one time eclipsed the rise of Christianity. There was no similar popular support for Buddhism in the Western kingdoms. However, Eastern kingdoms welcomed Buddhist and Hindu teachers and wove their own native legends in to the .rich tapestry of lore imported from India.

Royal embassies were probably accompanied by a retinue of different people, priests & monks of various denominations, politicians, merchants, scholars and adventurers. They all went with the Imperial envoys as a way of getting free protection on route to foreign countries. At a time when prestige was of paramount importance, travelling with the official embassy also gave people the chance to shine in the reflected glory of the Imperial entourage. British businessmen and missionaries did it very effectively when visiting far flung corners of the empire and when visiting the native rulers !

Than, as now, studying and collecting plants from around the world for health and commercial benefits was a state policy. The British botanists were only following in the footsteps of earlier ancient collectors like Ashoka.

Medical centres were opened by Ashoka in foreign countries to spread the herbal lore of India. Even now, one of the first things a missionary organisation does is to open a hospital. This is the most non-controversial method of extending your sphere of influence into foreign territory. Than, as now, medical assistance is given free or at nominal cost to attract the host population to come to your medical facility. It is a classic political stratagem and would have been part of his foreign policy.

Kaling Conversion Emperor Ashok’s conversion after the terrible Kaling war is a popular tale and one that has lost nothing of its magic by being retold by Bollywood aswell.

However, how much of is this real ?

If indeed the conversion of the Emperor was genuine, he would have returned the kingdom to its ruling council (it was a democratic state) straight away ! But records do not mention that – hence the depth of the remorse is doubtful !

Ashokan conquest of Kaling completed the last piece in the Imperial puzzle, bringing in a last chunk of independent India into his ancestral empire. There was little for him to conquer now apart from the southern most tip of India. Not being densely populated, it may not have been worth the trouble of conquest !

Indeed, the Kaling conversion is recorded only in Shri Lankan scriptures and especially Mahavamsha. As it is highly pro-Kaling, it is understandable if Kaling’s loss of sovereignty is mourned loudly in the book. All wars are brutal. Lives lost, people killed, property damaged and splitting up of families are common enough results of war – any war. If indeed the Emperor was truly appalled at the site of massacre after the great war, he would have turned to his non-violent Jain faith for answer rather than go to Buddhism.

Symbols on the Ashokan capital

Animals – Lion is a Hindu symbol of kingship. Lion is the identifying symbol of Mahavir the 24th and final exponent of the Jain philosophy. Deer is the animal most commonly associated with the Buddha.

So the use of Lions on his pillar’s capital can not denote Buddha in any way. It has be a Hindu or Jain symbol. The Lion on the capital is not a tame, demure lion but one that has barred its teeth, ready to show any aggressor how strong it can be. This is not the symbol of a monk-monarch. It is an obvious and open invitation to see the imperial might of a vigorous empire that is more than capable of protecting itself.

Elephant is synonymous with kingship in the South-East Asia. Mahavir and Buddha’s mothers had dreampf of elephants. It is a common enough a dream of good luck and auspicious sign.

Bull, horse, lion and elephant are all symbols of royalty. They denote duty / dharma, steadfastness, speed, strength, valour and vitality.

These symbols are not exclusive to Buddha or the dreams his mother had. Even Mahavir’s mother had similar auspicious animals and objects come to her in her dream. If indeed he was Jain, there is every reason to assume that he associated these symbols with Jainism and not Buddhism.

Dharma Chakra The Chakra on the Ashokan capital is a classic symbol of a “Chakravarti” king – ie a king who literally commands the wheel of time ! Only an emperor, whose rule was obeyed far and wide, could claim to be a Chakravarti – someone who is in command of his own destiny and the destiny of the world !!

The Chakra on the capital is most probably the symbol of royalty and hence the symbol of the emperor being a Chakravarti.

Dharma Chakra would be out of place on a royal / imperial capital.

Close association with the religious orders All rulers like to be associated with popular religious order. Religion and religious leaders can be powerful mediators between kings and people. Religious institutions control a vast amount of money, land, support of the masses and are very adept at spreading ideas and thoughts. As a result, kings naturally like to have some say in how these popular institutions are run.

Emperor Ashoka, seeing how Buddhism was gaining ground took great interest in its running and made sure he was at the helm of change that was taking place in that religion.

Than, as now, rulers and politicians are often invited to attend large conferences, religious conferences in particular. It is more than probable that the Buddhist council of abbots decided to invite the Emperor to attend to increase their prestige and garner state support. Religious leaders often petition the state for financial support, tax benefits and land grants. Inviting kings, aristocrats, landed gentry, wealthy businessmen and local leaders is often in the interest of the religious institutions. It is the done thing even now and I am sure inviting the Emperor was a strategic move to gain his support. If abbots and monks could prove that the Buddha himself had predicted the coming of the Emperor, all the better ! They even quoted Buddha saying that the Emperor would build 84,000 stupas in his memory ! This from a man who did not believe in being worshiped in any way what-so-ever !!

The abbots obviously succeeded in getting royal support for some of their plans and the Ashoka must have given permission and some donation towards their aims. Emperor was even invited to lay the foundation stone for a major new stupa at Sanchi. As always, the good and the great are often invited to lay the foundation stone, inaugurate functions and officially open new building. The plaque may say so-and-so graced that occasion, but it does not mean that so-and-so paid for the building ! Similarly, it is more than possible that the Emperor laid the foundation or approved the plans of the stupa, he may have even given a large donation, but there is no need to assume he paid for the whole project !! However, historians seem to constantly think history and modern life exists in two different dimensions and often ignore the obvious by sticking to “absolute” interpretations of things they read.

DharmaAshoka People across the world honour their parents or ancestors by joining their names with those of their forbearers. Even in modern USA, there are plenty of people with “Jnr” in their name – basically designating their name to be the same as their father’s. Often in Europe the name of the parent (male/female) or grandparent is used as the middle name of the child.

Similarly Emperor Ashoka used his mother’s name to designate whose son he was ! DharmaAshoka – son of Dharma. Emperor Bindusara had many wives and hence many children. Ashoka and VittAshoka were the sons of his minor queen Dharma. Emperor Ashoka wanted to assert the importance of his linage, paternal and maternal and hence called himself DharmaAshoka Bidusara Maurya.

In the Indian context, Dharma means duty and hence a king / Emperor wishing to assert his credentials as the rightful, diligent, law-abiding ruler would use the title “Dharma” along with his name.

Edicts do not say Emperor was Buddhist ! None of the edits mention the Emperor as being Buddhist ! Yet, the British, and later the socialist government researcher of India, insist he is Buddhist ! The Emperor mentions Shramans, Bharhmins and Ajivikas. He does not align himself to either of them in totality. Being a political creature, he keeps his options open and shows himself to be even handed. Ashokan edicts are found at places sacred to all the religious sects of the time. Yet, current crop of history books insist he was Buddhist !!

It is curious that without any concrete proof the Emperor is declared to be a Buddhist. The British obviously had a political and evangelical reason for doing this, but it is amazing that the socialist government and its researchers carried on in the same vein without doing any independent research of their own. Sadly, they are continuing to do this !


Ashok / Devanampriya / Priyadarshi Infact, the title and name of the king in the edicts is Devanampriya (beloved of the Gods) or Priyadarshi (he who sees everyone with affection). As far as I know, the name “Ashoka” is not mentioned in any of them !! It is only by looking at the Buddhist king lists and comparing names that the British scholars deduced Emperor Ashoka to be the same as the Priyadarshi of the edicts !!

The British could never pronounce the names of places or people with true accuracy. 150 years ago, it was even worse ! The British translation of the original text is sometimes ambiguous. It is desperately in need of an over-haul.

Indeed, the Pali version of the name is often written in English writing as Piyadasi ! This is a female name ! So, was the Emperor of the edicts male or female ? Was the king the one and the same or different ?


The king list, the edicts, the contemporary records of scriptures and references in court documents of other neighbouring kingdoms need to be re-examined to establish true facts about Emperor Ashoka / Devanampriya / Priyadarshi.

I am sure much research needs to be done to confirm “facts”.

©Bhagwat Shah



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114.143.64.104 (talk) 14:44, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

This isn't an edit request it is just a copy of http://proud-hindu.sulekha.com/blog/post/2009/09/emperor-ashoka-jain-or-buddhist.htm. Helpsome (talk) 17:15, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Opening para[edit]

Presently it contains these two sentences, in relatively quick succession: "The empire had Taxila, Ujjain and Pataliputra as its capital." and "His reign was headquartered in Magadha (present-day Bihar)." Not at all clear what the second statement means unless the first is incomplete.--Sarabseth (talk) 11:52, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Title "Samrat"[edit]

The title Samrat (as a translation of English Emperor) is modern. It was unknown in ancient India, in fact unknown before the British period. The local rulers under the sovereign king were term "mandalika" rulers.Malaiya (talk)

You got any sources? Bladesmulti (talk) 02:29, 17 January 2014 (UTC)