Sometimes transliterated as: Asoka, AZoka, Ashoka
- without sorrow
- a king of Pāţaliputra
- Aśoka tree (Latin: Saraca indica) believed to be dear to Śiva
Aśoka of the Maurya dynasty
Aśoka was the third emperor of the Mauryan dynasty. He was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya and ruled during from 272-232 B.C. His empire extended from Gāndhāra (Afghanistan) to southern Karnataka.
The terrible blood-shed witnessed during his conquest of the Kaliṅga Kingdom (Orissa) brought about a big change in his mental attitude. He thence-forward vowed to conquer by dharma rather than by war and violence. He is believed to have embraced Buddhism and dispatched Buddhist missionaries to several countries of the world. His rule was a golden era in the history. The several rock-edicts erected by him all over the country bespeak of his rule.
The Aśoka tree (Latin: Saraca indica) is believed to be dear to Śiva, and hence, considered sacred. The grove of Aśoka trees is mentioned in the Rāmāyana as the place where Sītā was confined by the demon king Rāvaṇa. Hence women over the ages have associated it with constancy and chastity, and have both worshiped it and eaten its tender buds.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
- Aśoka by Jit Majumdar