By Romila Thapar
"An authoritative paintings, Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas is predicated mostly at the edicts of Asoka, whose rules are analysed opposed to the historical past of Mauryan civilization throughout the 3rd and fourth centuries BC. This used to be probably the most very important sessions of Indian historical past which observed the emergence of a trend that throws a lot gentle at the later advancements of Indian civilization. the writer bargains an interpretation of Asoka's reference to Buddhism and exhibits how he was once capable of utilize a normal stream of social and religious switch for the political and ethical integration of his empire."--Jacket. Read more...
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Extra resources for Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas
Antsa states that Mahinda was twenty years old when he was ordained and that * MoAdwnw» V , f j o If Agnibrahm* w ii the son of Suntans the brother of Aioka, then the child would he named after its grandfather * W in en On Yuan Chicani? t Travth w IaJta voi u p 93 ' Aioka p jo EARLY LIFE, A CC E SS IO N . AND CH RO NO L O GY aj this e\ent took place m the sixth >ear o f Aioka’s reign * Thus Mahinda was fourteen when Aioka was crowned and ten when the struggle for succession among the pnnces began It follows from this that Aioka must have had.
L* * * ? * " * * CTAtoka •r Ip 145-6 ti EARLY LIFE. i>ig> moment within three >cais after the Ralinga War, he would surely have mentioned it in the 1 jth Rock Edict Drawing closer to the Order may have implied that the king took instruction from Buddhist priests on the prin ciples o f Buddhism It must be kept m mind that Aâoka was sincerely interested in the mutual understanding between the various religious sects A far more direct avowal of Buddhtst teaching is made in the Bhabra Edict ' Unfortunately it is not dated, but we believe it to belong to the latter period of his reign, issued perhaps at about the same tune as the Schism Edict In the Bhabra Edict he states his acceptance o f the Buddhist creed, the faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma (in this case the teachings of the Buddha) and the Samgha This edict w as written specifically for the local Buddhist clergy and not for the population at large, nor was it an order to his administrators He refers to himself as the ‘ King of Magadha', a title which he uses only on this occasion In a study of his edicts it is of the greatest importance to distinguish between those which were meant for his subjects and those which were concerned solely with the Samgha In the former he has the role of the king addressing his subjects, and- the Litter (to which category the Bhabra Edict belongs), are his personal religious manifestoes It is possible that the Buddhist clergy acknowledged him as their temporal head, referring to him as the king of Magadha m the same way as the Catholic clergy in Europe acknowledged the Holy Roman Emperor In this case the emperor declares his faith in the creed and quotes specific parts of the scriptures with which he expects the clergy to be acquainted W e may therefore assume that his interest was more personal T h e analogy with the Holy Roman Emperor is, however, limited, since Catholicism was the state religion in the European example, whereas Buddhism was not a state religion under Aéoka.
UB**lx}nam k-t'Tì’nivlo'TH India vol 11 p 88 * F n y lu tlu L a Legende de l Empereur A foha pp 2J7 ff * 1b d p 154 • T h e tem i used for Buddhist monk* * i-rzJiu A ïj A foka pp 4I3 18 * Bloch L ei Inscription* d Atoka pp «25 ß EARLY LIFE. * T h e Tibetan write* refers to the nuwfu UIC a ^ U K 3 V't U1W «w«* « ^ jsi i «v i <« « t*^u*»* nfirl ****>• tKtt« -v him. AJoka, after gaining sufficient ment, conquers them Eggermont interprets the nagas as the seafanng people of Ralinga, the gaining of sufficient tuent ow the part o f A£oka as his conversion to Buddhism, and the conquest of the nâgas m the Ralinga War T h e reliability o f this sequence of events is doubtful, since Täränätha then goes on to state that Moka conquered the whole of Jambudvipa during thi3 war, whereas actually only the conquest o f Ralinga took place T h e equation o f Asoka gaining ment and his conversion to Buddhism is in any case rather exaggerated At most it may be said that the Tibetan account hints at the real cause o f the war, that Moka wished to control both the land and sea routes to south India, and any hostile power obstructing the route would have had to be conquered Other historians such as, for example, Thomas are of the opinion that Moka’* conversion to Buddhism took placé soon after the Ralinga War, in this case in the ninth year of his reign, and furthermore that he became an active Buddiust at the end of the eleventh regnal year when he joined the Buddhist Order and trav elled from place to 'v place » The period at the conclusion of the Ralinga War would certainly .
Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas by Romila Thapar