Asoka – Kalinga war- policy of dharma


  • The name Asoka means Sorrow free.
  • Period of Asoka brightest the chapter in the history of mankind.
  • His inscription reveals his activities, after serving as Viceroy Asoka success Bindusara to the Mauryans throne.


Name in the Inscriptions

  • The name Asoka is written only once in Maski Edict .
  • The names like Asokaravadhana and Rudrandam(150AD).
  • Asoka assured two titles they are Devanampiya and Piyadassi.


Early Life

  • According to Buddhist account his mother was Janapada Kalyani or Subhadrangi.
  • As price he serve as viceroy of Ujjani and Taxila .
  • During Ujjani period he fell in love with the daughter of a merchant of Vidsa (which means DEVI whom he married).
  • Asoka two other well known queen were Karuvaki (mother of prince Jivara) and Asandhimitra were mentioned in the Queens Edict inscripted in a pillar at Allahabad.
  • Tivara only son of Asoka which is mentioned in inscriptions.



  • The 1st problem with accession of Asoka is the year of his coronation and this wined to the death of Bindusara.
  • The Sri Lankan chronicle says Asoka sized the throne by killing 99 brothers except the young one (Tishya)



  • The chronology of his period start from BC.273 to BC.232.
  • 273-272 Death of Bindusara .
  • 269-268 Coronation of Asoka.
  • 261-260 Kalinga War.
  • 259-258 Issue of Minor Rock Edicts I.
  • 256-255 Issue of Fourteen Rock Edict.
  • 250 Asoka called as the 3rd Buddhist.
  • 249-248 Pilgrimage to Lumbini(Birth place of Buddha).
  • 242-241 Issue of 7th Pillar Edict.
  • 233-232 Death of Asoka.


Kalinga War(Orissa)

  • Which proves a turning point of his life.
  • He conquered 8years after his coronation.
  • Kalinga was a throne in the body-policy of the Mauryan Empire.
  • The Kingdom of South India were friend terms with the Mauryan Empire.
  • The 13th Rock Edict described that ‘’ A hundred and fifty thousand person were deported a hundred thousand were killed and many times that number perished’’.
  • After the war Asoka Realise and wrote ‘’ Today if you hundredth or thousandth part of those people who were killed or died or were deported when kalinga was annexed were to suffer similarly it would weight heavily on the mind of the beloved in the God’’.
  • After this war he decided never to wage any other in war and also instructed to his grandson not to wage such wars.
  • He also declare that a true conquest is not that by piety and virtue.
  • Asoka devoted his life to the welfare of people.
  • Then Asoka adopt non-violence and peace in his life.
  • He came to change his personal religion and adopt Buddhism.
  • The Kalinga War was the last political event of his reign.


Asoka as a Buddhist

  • Asoka covert to Buddhism probably in the 9th year of his coronation.
  • Asoka was converted into Buddhism Nagradha.
  • Buddhism 1st time went outside India during the reign of Asoka.


Policy of Religious Tolerance

  • Though Asoka was devont of Buddha he says in his 7th Rock Edict ‘’All sects desire both self-control and purity of mind.
  • In 12th Rock Edict he pronounces his policy of religious toleration more clearly.
  • In Pillar Edict VI his asserts ‘’I devote my attention to all my communities.


Asoka’s Dhamma

  • After the Kalinga War the greatest ideal objectives before Asoka was the propagation of dhamma for the fulfilment of which he worked relentlessly.
  • The dhamma as explanation in Asoka Edict is not religious (or) religion system but It a ‘’Moral Law’’.
  • He enumerates two basic attributes less evil (or) sin and good deeds.
  • Asoka in Rock Edict XIII he described many Code of Duties such as Susrusa, Apichiti, Sampratiptti, Danom,Anarambha,Prannam,Arihimsa Bhutanam, Apa-vyayata, Apa-bhandata cha,Mardavam, Sadhyam, Dhammarati, Bhava-Suddhi, thus every one of this has a different code meaning.


Measure for the Propagation of  Dhamma

  • Asoka took a number to measure for propagation of Dhamma throughout his empire. He adopted Doctrine of Dhamma and some of the significance were,
  1. Issue of Dhamma Lipis.
  2. Appoinment of Dhamma – mahamatras.
  3. Dhamma – yatras.
  4. Dhamma – mangala.
  5. Preaching of Dhamma.
  6. Administration of Dhamma.