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Profile: India's Ashoka the great

06-12-2010 09:57 BJT Special Report: Miniature stupa reveal secret |

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But who is the Emperor Ashoka? Now we take a look the ancient Indian emperor.

He was known as Ashoka the Great, lived from 304 BC to 232 BC. As the head of the Maurya Dynasty, he ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent for more than 35 years.

Regarded as one of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a series of military conquests. His empire stretched from what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan in the west, to Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as the Tamil regions on the Indian subcontinent.

Ashoka was considered a tyrant during his early reign. He waged an all out war with the rival kingdom, Kalinga, conquering it in 264 BC. But after witnessing the mass deaths of the war, Ashoka embraced Buddhism, dedicating his life to its propagation across Asia. He established monuments marking significant sites in the life of the religion's founder, Gautama Buddha.

His name Ashoka means "without sorrow" in Sanskrit. In the history of India, Ashoka is referred to as "the Emperor of Emperors Ashoka", as he was a devotee of nonviolence, love, truth, tolerance and vegetarianism. He is remembered in history as a philanthropic administrator.

After two thousand years, the influence of Ashoka is still seen throughout Asia, especially on the Indian subcontinent. In the history of Buddhism, Ashoka is greatly revered, closely behind Gautama Buddha.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: CCTV.com

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