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Prince of the Maurya Empire
Born 3rd Century BC
Birthplace Possibly Pataliputra, India
Royal house Mauryan dynasty
Father Bindusara
Religious beliefs Tirthika, Buddhism

Vitashoka as called in Divyavadana or Tissa (born 3rd-century BC) was a prince of the Maurya Empire as the only uterine of Ashoka.[1] and the only brother left alive by Ashoka. According to Divyavadana he was a follower of the Tirthikas and used to criticize the Buddhist monks for living a comfortable life. He was made to sit on the throne by the courtiers. When Ashoka found out about that, he persuaded Vitashoka to become a Buddhist.

Vitashoka became a monk and practiced austerities rigorously.

Divyavadana narrates a story of someone in Pundravardhana and then again at Patliputra, drew a picture of the Buddha bowing before Nirgrantha Nataputta. As a punishment Ashoka ordered the Ajivikas[2] to be put to death and declared a reward for killing of Nirgranthas. Someone killed Vitashoka taking him to be a Nirgrantha. His head was taken to Ashoka. After identifying that it was his own brother, Ashoka stopped giving orders for executions.

He is referred to as Tissa in Srilanka chronicles.[3][4] Theragatha commentary[5] regards Tissa and Vitashoka as different individuals.


  • Vitasoka appears in the 2001 epic Indian historical drama film Aśoka. Madhu Varshitt portrayed Vitasoka in the film.


  1. ^ The Legend of King Aśoka: A Study and Translation of the Aśokāvadāna,John Strong, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1989, p. 222-234
  2. ^ Divyavadana apparently equates the Nirgranthas and Ajivikas here.
  3. ^ Yuan Chwang's travels in India Volumes 14-15 of Oriental Translation Fund Volume 2 of On Yuan Chwang's Travels in India, 629-645 A.D, Stephen Wootton Bushell Authors Thomas Watters, Vincent Arthur Smith Editors Thomas William Rhys Davids, Stephen Wootton Bushell Royal Asiatic Society, 1905 p. 95
  4. ^ Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India, Volume 28 Volume 29 of Rulers of India, Asoka, the Buddhist emperor of India, Vincent Arthur Smith, Edition 2, Clarendon Press, 1901, p. 162
  5. ^ Asoka, Radhakumud Mookerji, Edition 3, Motilal Banarsidass, 1995, p.7