Asandhimitra

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Asandhimitra (also spelled as Asandhamittā) was a queen and chief consort of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka. She was Ashoka's first queen consort[1] and third queen.[2]

Given the title "agramahisi", or "Chief Queen",[3] Asandhimitra was likely from a royal family.[2] She did not have any children.[2] After her death, Tishyarakshita became the chief queen of Ashoka.[1]

Asandhimitra
Born302 BC
Asandhiwat Kingdom
Died240 BC
SpouseAshoka
IssueCharumati (adopted daughter)
Names
Asandhimitra Maurya
DynastyMaurya
ReligionBuddhism

Life[edit]

She was born in the kingdom of Asandivat in 302 BC. She was married to Ashoka in 270 BC.[3] She was a trusted, faithful, and favourite wife of Ashoka. She is often referred to as his "beloved" or his "dear" consort and is said to have been a trusted adviser of the king.[3][2] At her death in 240 BC,[3] Ashoka was deeply grieved.[2]

Karmic legends[edit]

The Mahavamsa tells a legend of how she became queen, stating that she became Ashoka's queen because in a previous life, she had given directions to a pratyekabuddha who was looking for a honey merchant. The story says that after the merchant filled his bowl completely with honey, the pratyekabuddha made a vow to become the lord of Jambudvipa. After hearing this, she herself wished they would be reborn as King and Queen, leading them to be reborn as Ashoka and Asandhimitra.[4]

In the Extended Mahavamsa, a story is additionally told that in a separate past life, Asandhimitra gave a pratyekabuddha a piece of cloth, which is thought to have given her the status of Queen, karmically independent of Asoka.[4]

In the Dasavatthuppakarana, it combines both stories into one, telling the story of the pratyekabuddha and the honey merchant and adding that Asandhimitra's past self gifted the same pratyekabuddha with a piece of cloth.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Barua, Beni Madhab; Topa, Ishwar Nath. Asoka and his inscriptions. 1. New Age Publishers. p. 53. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gupta, Subhadra Sen. Ashoka: The Great and Compassionate King. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-81-8475-807-8. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d The Maha Bodhi: Volume 104. University of Michigan. 1996. pp. 25–26.
  4. ^ a b c Holt, John Clifford; Kinnard, Jacob N.; Walters, Kinnard, eds. (2003). Constituting Communities: Theravada Buddhism and the Religious Cultures of South and Southeast Asia. SUNY Press. pp. 43–51. ISBN 978-0-7914-8705-1. Retrieved 25 September 2020.