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(əshō`kə, –sō`k–) or


d. c.232 B.C., Indian emperor (c.273–c.232 B.C.) of the MauryaMaurya
, ancient Indian dynasty, c.325–c.183 B.C., founded by Chandragupta (Chandragupta Maurya). He conquered the Magadha kingdom and established his capital at Pataliputra (now Patna). His son, Bindusara (d. c.
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 dynasty; grandson of ChandraguptaChandragupta
(Chandragupta Maurya) , fl. c.321 B.C.–c.298 B.C., Indian emperor, founder of the Maurya dynasty and grandfather of Aśoka. He conquered the Magadha kingdom (in modern Bihar and Jharkhand) and eventually controlled all India N of the Vindhya Hills. In c.
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. One of the greatest rulers of ancient India, he brought nearly all India, together with Baluchistan and Afghanistan, under one sway for the first time in history. According to legends, after his bloody conquest (c.261 B.C.) of the state of Kalinga, Aśoka was remorseful for the suffering he had inflicted; accepted BuddhismBuddhism
, religion and philosophy founded in India c.525 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. There are over 300 million Buddhists worldwide. One of the great world religions, it is divided into two main schools: the Theravada or Hinayana in Sri Lanka and SE Asia, and
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 and abandoned wars of conquest. Knowledge of Aśoka's rule is obtained chiefly from the many boulders and pillars inscribed with his pious exhortations; a notable example is at SarnathSarnath
, archaeological site, SE Uttar Pradesh, India, 4 mi (6.4 km) N of Varanasi (Benares). It is the site of the deer park (mrigadawa) where, according to tradition, Buddha first preached. Buddhist monuments include an inscribed pillar (3d cent. B.C.
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. In these inscriptions, he proclaimed his belief in ahimsa, or nonviolence and advocated tolerance of all faiths. He erected numerous Buddhist monasteries and stupas, regulated the slaughter of animals, and softened the harsh laws of his predecessors. He sent Buddhist missionaries throughout India and its adjacent lands and as far as Syria, Egypt, and Greece. His own son or brother headed the mission to Sri Lanka. It is said that under his auspices a great Buddhist convocation was held at his capital, Pataliputra; its purpose was probably to suppress heresy and to confirm the Buddhist canon. India prospered and art flourished under the reign of Aśoka, who, beyond his many imperial accomplishments, is most celebrated for his elevation of Buddhism from a simple Indian sect to a world religion. After his death the Mauryan empire swiftly declined.


See studies by V. A. Smith (1909, repr. 1964), R. Thapar (1961), R. D. Mookerji (3d ed. 1962), B. G. Gokhale (1966), and J. Strong (1989).

References in periodicals archive ?
One of the greatest rulers of India was Asoka Maurya who lived in the third century and in whose time there was all round prosperity and humanism.
First, someone--possibly Asoka but more likely the local officials responsible for the execution of the inscriptions--chose these locations probably for some reason.
Listen to Asoka himself in one of his edicts: "I consider the promotion of the people's welfare my highest duty.
Although the Asoka of the avadanas and other Buddhist narratives played a large role in the Buddhist imagination, there is very little evidence that the Asoka of the edicts had any such role.
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Discussions are underway with the Ministry of Justice and other law enforcement officials to introduce severe punishments on culprits, said Asoka Alawatta, acting Secretary of the Child Development and Women's Affairs Ministry.
19 June 2012 - US powerline communications and services firm Asoka Corporation plans to form a joint venture with Swiss telecommunication group Swisscom AG (VTX:SCMN) to create myStrom, with the Swiss partner to own a majority position in the venture, the parties said on Tuesday.
Asoka"" is a novel of ancient India, as King Asoka converts to Buddhism, and in the process, brings the philosophy and faith to his people.
The following cases were heard at Cardiff Magistrates' Court: * Soloman Asoka Richard, 56, of Celerity Drive, Cardiff, admitted exceeding a 30mph speed limit.
Abdulla Bin Jasim Al Muttaire won Silver Bronze medal for his exhibit 'Story of Medicine' and Ali Abdulrahman won Bronze medal for his exhibit 'India: Asoka Stationery'.