Essay on Ashoka The Great in English For Students and Children

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Essay on Ashoka The Great in English For Students and Children


Essay on Ashoka The Great in 500 words

Ashoka the Great is one of the bravest kings of the world. He is sometimes compared with Alexander the Great. Both the kings wanted to be Digvijayee (to conquer the world). Ashoka was considered the last emperor of the Mauryan dynasty. Not only his bravery but also his vigorous patronage’ of Buddhism made him a great king of the world.

Ashoka was the son of the Mauryan king, Bindusara. There are not many records about his family life. Ashoka’s own inscriptions witness two queens. But Buddhist legends mention that he had more queens. There is also no written evidence of his death. A Tibetan tradition mentions that he died at Taxila. His two grandsons, Dasaratha and Samprathi succeeded him and divided the empire. But within 50 years of his death, the dynasty came to an end.

He ascended the throne in 273 BC, but his coronation was held after four years, i.e. in 269 BC. Buddhist records speak that he captured the throne after killing his 99 brothers. But there is no supportive evidence of this record.

Ashoka was a great warrior. He wanted to conquer all the states and bring them under his reign. But the sea change came in his life after the `Kalinga War’. Kalinga (modern Orissa) was a powerful state on the east coast, the Bay of Bengal. Ashoka wished to annex Kalinga. This led to a bloody war on the bank of the river Daya (Kalinga). The water of Daya became red with, excessive bloodshed. On seeing this, Ashoka experienced a great transformation. After this change in his nature, he came to be known as Dhannashoka.

Ashoka conquered Kalinga in the eighth year of his reign. Immediately after the war, he denounced armed conquests. He adopted Buddhism and followed the policy of Dharma Vijaya (spreading righteousness in the world). He started practicing socio-moral virtues of honesty, truthfulness, compassion, mercifulness, benevolence2, non-violence, and good behaviour to all.

Ashoka gave respect to all religious sects. He guaranteed them full freedom to practice their own religion. He urged the people to exert’ themselves so that their inner worthiness might increase.

To practice and promote Dharma (Law of Piety), Ashoka toured the rural areas regularly. He ordered his officials to make necessary arrangements to give comfort to the common people. Ashoka himself used to visit people and relieve their sufferings.

To propagate Dharma, he appointed a special class of high officers. These officials were known as Dharma-Mahamatras. These officials had to see the work of dharma like: relieve sufferings wherever found, to see the special needs of women, of neighboring people, and of various religious communities. He ordered that matters related to public welfare should be immediately informed to him.

Among his other welfare activities, Ashoka established hospitals for men and animals. On highways, trees were planted; rest-houses were built, and wells were dug. A separate department was also opened to distribute charity to the poor.

For spreading Buddhism outside India, Ashoka sent people to Egypt, Syria, Macedonia, etc. He also sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Ceylon as missionaries. Because of Ashoka’s patronage, Buddhism spread throughout India and abroad.

Ashoka’s attempts resulted in wide publicity of Buddhism. He engraved the teachings of Buddhism and his own work on the rocks and pillars. These inscriptions can be seen at Sarnath and many other places in India. The Pillar having four lions’ faces at Sarnath has become India’s national emblem. Ashoka’s Wheel is represented on the center of India’s national flag. The inscriptions on the Rock Edicts and Pillar Edicts give us an insight into the various works of his reign, his understandings, thoughts, and actions.

Ashoka built a number of stupas, monasteries, and pillars. In these, his understanding of religious doctrines is inscribed. He was the first Indian king to speak directly to the people through his inscriptions. His memories still survive for what he attempted to achieve and the high ideals he followed to do justice to the people.


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