|Prince of the Maurya Empire|
|Born||3rd Century BCE|
Vitashoka or Tissa (born 3rd-century BCE) was a prince of the Maurya Empire as the only uterine of Ashoka, 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 practised austerities rigorously.
Vitashoka is referred to as Tissa (or Tisya) in Sri Lankan texts. Theragatha commentary regards Tissa and Vitashoka as different individuals. Other sources call him Vigatāshoka, Sudatta, or Sugatra. The Mahavamsa later names him as Ekavihārika.
In the Divyavadana
Divyavadana narrates a story of someone in Pundravardhana and then again at Pataliputra who drew a picture of the Buddha bowing before Nirgrantha Nataputta. As a punishment, Ashoka ordered the Ajivikas 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.:232
In popular culture
- John S. Strong (1989). The Legend of King Aśoka: A Study and Translation of the Aśokāvadāna. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 222–233. ISBN 978-81-208-0616-0. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- 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
- Ashoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India, Volume 2 Volume 29 of Rulers of India, Ashoka, the Buddhist emperor of India, Vincent Arthur Smith, Edition 2, Clarendon Press, 1901, p. 162
- Ashoka, Radhakumud Mookerji, Edition 3, Motilal Banarsidass, 1995, p.7
- Thapar, Romila (2012). "2". Aśoka and the decline of the Mauryas (3rd ed.). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198077244. Retrieved 9 January 2016. (Subscription required (. ))
- Divyavadana apparently equates the Nirgranthas and Ajivikas here.