ancient

Edicts of Ashoka

Edicts of Ashoka

The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on the pillars as well as boulders and cave walls, attributed to Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan empire who reigned from 268 BCE to 232 BCE. These inscriptions were dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, Nepal, Afganistan & Pakistan.

The edicts describe in details Ashokas view on religion, which was an earnest attempt to solve some of the problems of complex society. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period had reached as far as the Mediterranean.The Maurya Empire, ruled by the Mauryan Dynasty from 322-185 BCE was a geographically extensive and mighty political and military empire in ancient India, established in the subcontinent by Chandragupta Maurya in Magadha (present day Bihar) and was it further thrived under Ashoka the Great.

The Maurya Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, with help from Chanakya Brahmin teacher at Takshila. The Empire was divided into four provinces, which one of the four, look like a giant crescents. with the imperial capital at patliputra. From Ashokan edicts, the names of the four provincial capitals are Tosali (in the east), Ujjain in the west, Suvarna nagri (in the south), and Taxila (in the north). The head of the provincial administration was the Kumara (royal prince), who governed the provinces as king’s representative. The kumarawas assisted by Mahamatyas and council of ministers. This organizational structure was reflected at the imperial level with the Emperor and hisMantriparishad (Council of Ministers). Chanakya encouraged Chandragupta Maurya and his army to take over the throne of Magadha. Using his intelligence network, Chandragupta gathered many young men from across Magadha and other provinces, men upset over the corrupt and oppressive rule of king Dhana, plus resources necessary for his army to fight a long series of battles. These men included the former general of Taxila, other accomplished students of Chanakya, the representative of King Porus of Kakayee, his son Malayketu, and the rulers of small states.

Preparing to invade Pataliputra, Maurya hatched a plan. A battle was announced and the Magadhan army was drawn from the city to a distant battlefield to engage Maurya’s forces. Maurya’s general and spies meanwhile bribed the corrupt general of Nanda. He also managed to create an atmosphere of civil war in the kingdom, which culminated in the death of the heir to the throne. Chanakya managed to win over popular sentiment. Ultimately Nanda resigned, handing power to Chandragupta, and went into exile and was never heard of again. Chanakya contacted the prime minister, Rakshasas, and made him understand that his loyalty was to Magadha, not to the Magadha dynasty, insisting that he continue in office. Chanakya also reiterated that choosing to resist would start a war that would severely affect Magadha and destroy the city. Rakshasa accepted Chanakya’s reasoning, and Chandragupta Maurya was legitimately installed as the new King of Magadha. Rakshasa became Chandragupta’s chief advisor, and Chanakya assumed the position of an elder statesman.
The fall of the Mauryas left the Khyber pass unguarded, and a wave of foreign invasion followed. The Greco Bactrian king, Demetrius, capitalized on the break-up, and he conquered southern Afghanistan and Pakistan around 180 BC, forming the Indo Greek Kingdom. The Indo-Greeks would maintain holdings on the trans-Indus region, and make forays into central India, for about a century. Under them, Buddhism flourished, and one of their kings Menander became a famous figure of Buddhism, he was to establish a new capital of Sagala, the modern city of Sialkot. However, the extent of their domains and the lengths of their rule are subject to much debate. Numismatic evidence indicates that they retained holdings in the subcontinent right up to the birth of Christ. Although the extent of their successes against indigenous powers such as the Sungas Satavahanas & kalingas. are unclear, what is clear is that Scythian tribes, renamed Indo Scythians, brought about the demise of the Indo-Greeks from around 70 BCE and retained lands in the trans-Indus, the region of Mathura, and Gujarat.
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The decline of the Maurya Dynasty was rather rapid after the death of Ashoka/Asoka. One obvious reason for it was the succession of weak kings. Another immediate cause was the partition of the Empire into two. Had not the partition taken place, the Greek invasions could have been held back giving a chance to the Mauryas to re-establish some degree of their previous power. Regarding the decline much has been written. Haraprasad Sastri contends that the revolt by Pushyamitra was the result of brahminical reaction against the pro-Buddhist policies of Ashoka and pro-Jaina policies of his successors. Basing themselves on this thesis, some maintain the view that brahminical reaction was responsible for the decline because of the following reasons.
Chandragupta’s grandson i.e., Bindusara’s son was Ashokavardhan Maurya, also known as Ashoka or Ashoka The Great (ruled 273- 232 BCE)
As a young prince, Ashoka was a brilliant commander who crushed revolts in Ujjain and Taxila. As monarch he was ambitious and aggressive, re-asserting the Empire’s superiority in southern and western India. But it was his conquest of Kalinga which proved to be the pivotal event of his life. Although Ashoka’s army succeeded in overwhelming Kalinga forces of royal soldiers and civilian units, an estimated 100,000 soldiers and civilians were killed in the furious warfare, including over 10,000 of Ashoka’s own men. Hundreds of thousands of people were adversely affected by the destruction and fallout of war. When he personally witnessed the devastation, Ashoka began feeling remorse. Although the annexation of Kalinga was completed, Ashoka embraced the teachings of b uddhism, and renounced war and violence.
Ashoka implemented principles of Ahinsa by banning hunting and violent sports activity and ending indentured and forced labor (many thousands of people in war-ravaged Kalinga had been forced into hard labor and servitude). While he maintained a large and powerful army, to keep the peace and maintain authority, Ashoka expanded friendly relations with states across Asia and Europe, and he sponsored Buddhist missions. He undertook a massive public works building campaign across the country. Over 40 years of peace, harmony and prosperity made Ashoka one of the most successful and famous monarchs in Indian history.
Ashoka is an ideal role model & a figure of inspiration to modern Indians.
Next inscription belongs to the Sunga empire another ancient Magadha dynaisty.

In the empire of the Sungas, the main ‘entrance (torana) was caused.to be erected by Dhanabhuti son of vatsi and of Angardyut, the son of Gaupti, and grandson of visvadeva the son of Gargi. The rockework etc. also was got executed (through his agency)

He was a feudatory of a later Sunga king of Vidisha as it is known that the Sungas were still ruling when Simuka defeated the last Kanva king Susarman about 30 B.C.

The Sunga empire was a magadha dynasty which controlled various parts ie north, east & west parts of India from around 185 to 73 B.C.E. It was established after the fall of mauryas. The capital of this empire was Pataliputra. The Empire is noted for its numerous wars. It was replaced by the Kanva dynasty.
The task of protecting India from various invasions including Alexander’s invasion of 326 BC, fell to the Sunga dynasty. Sungas always engaged in diplomacy but couldn’t avoid war with invaders. Significant religious developments took place. Patanjali’s synthesis of the tradition of Yoga became the foundation of one of the Hindu “darshans” (schools of thought) and continues to enrich the lives of people all over the world.
Bhagwat Gita composed around about 150-100 B.C.E. is one of the most popular of all Hindu scriptures. Sunga Empire played an important role in patronizing Indian culture at a time when some of the most important developments in Hindu thought were taking place. The richness of India’s spiritual tradition, from which the whole world has gained insight, owes much to this period.
The Sunga dynasty was established in 185 B.C.E., about 50 years after Ashokas death, when the king Brhadrata, the last of the Mauryan rulers, was assassinated by the then commander-in-chief of the Mauryan armed forces, Pusyamitra Sunga (“Pusyamitra is said in the Puranas to have been the senānī or army-commander of the last Maurya king Brhadratha”) while he was taking the Guard of Honor of his forces. Pusyamitra Sunga then ascended the throne.

Pushyamitra Sunga became the ruler of the maghada and neighboring territories. The kingdom of Pushyamitra was extended up to Narmada in the south, and controlled Jalandhar and Sialkot in the Punjab in the north-western regions, and the city of Ujjain in central India. The Kabul Valley and much of the Punjab passed into the hands of the Indo-Greeks and the Deccan to the Satavahanas.

Pushyamitra died after ruling for 36 years (187-151 B.C.E.). He was succeeded by son Agnimitra. This prince is the hero of a famous drama by one of India’s greatest playwrights, Kalidasa. Agnimitra was viceroy of Vidisha when the story takes place. The power of the Sungas gradually weakened. It is said that there were ten Sunga kings.
The Sungas were succeeded by the Kanva dynasty around 73 B.C.E.

Inscription 6 Ayodhya Stone Inscription of Dhana .. Faizabad district, Uttara

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