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Ashoka the Indian King

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Ashoka
The Well Appreciated Buddhist and King

Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers of ancient India. He was the grandson of
Chandragupta Maurya of Magadha who established the first Indian empire. Chandragupta wore the crown for twenty-four years before surrendering his throne in favor of his son, Bundusara (Ashoka’s father), who left no noticeable mark upon the empire. Ashoka was born in 304 B.C. and was known in his younger teen years as Canda Ashoka (the fierce Ashoka) because of his very aggressive nature. Ashoka came to the throne in 270 B.C. after a power struggle that ended in the death of one of his brothers. He was at first disposed to follow the example of his father and grandfather and complete the conquest of the Indian peninsula. In about 256 B.C. Ashoka attacked Kalinga, a country on the east coast of Madras, in order to expand his empire, which he ruled as a tyrant at the time. The plan he pursued about Kalinga was forceful and all standing in his way of the throne were killed. Ashoka succeeded in conquering Kalinga in the fatal war in which 100,000 men were killed, 150,000 injured, and thousands were captured and retained as slaves. The sight of the massacre involved in his conquest deeply distressed Ashoka and deeply affected his mind. Overwhelmed by the carnage, he changed his way of life. Brahmanism was the practiced religion of Ashoka, as he abstained from war forever and sought peace in Buddha’s preaching of love and ahimsa. The war developed in him a hatred of all kinds of violence so he gave up hunting and the slaughtering of animals. He became a strict vegetarian. His son, Mahinda, became a Theraveda monk and was sent to introduce Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Ashoka spent time piously retracing the steps of the Buddha and raising stupas inscribed with moral injunctions and imperatives at holy places of pilgrimage,...

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