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Ashoka The Great

ASHOKA THE GREAT

Welcome to the topic of the day. Ashoka the Great was the emperor of the Mauryan Empire from 273 BCE to 232 BCE. After a number of military conquests, Ashoka reigned over most of South Asia and beyond, from present-day Afghanistan to Bengal and as far south as Mysore. An early supporter of Buddhism, Ashoka established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha, and according to Buddhist tradition was closely involved in the preservation and transmission of Buddhism.

The name "Ashoka" means "without sorrow" in Sanskrit. Asoka was the first ruler of ancient Bharatavarsha (India), after the famed Mahabharata rulers, to unify such a vast territory under his empire, which in retrospect exceeds the boundaries of the present-day Republic of India. The British author H.G. Wells wrote of Ashoka: "In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves 'their highnesses,' 'their majesties,' and 'their exalted majesties' and so on. They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day."

Emperor Ashoka ruled for an estimated forty years, and after his death, the Maurya dynasty lasted just fifty more years. Ashoka had many wives and children, but their names are lost to time. Mahinda and Sanghamitta were twins born by his fourth wife, Devi, in the city of Ujjain. He had entrusted to them the job of making his state religion, Buddhism, more popular across the known and the unknown world. Mahinda and Sanghamitta went into Sri Lanka and converted the King, the Queen and their people to Buddhism

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