3rd-century BC Indian emperor and patron of Buddhism

Ashoka was a famous emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty of Magadh ruling South Asia[1] who ruled from 268-232 BC. His name means "Without Sorrow".

Ashoka is often cited as one of India's greatest emperors. After a number of military conquests, he reigned over much of present-day India, and Eastern Pakistan. He fought a war with the kingdom of Kalinga in which there was said to be 200,000+ casualties. He conquered Kalinga (present-day Odisha) around 261 BCE.

Afterwards, shaken by his brutal victory, he decided to become a Buddhist and lead with peace, not war. To do this, he set up hospitals for animals and humans, created shaded and rested areas along roads for weary travelers to rest, and dug wells in villages. We know these things about his life through various inscriptions (writing) on rocks and pillars. Ashoka also convinced people to follow Buddhists paths.

The national emblem of India and the "Ashok Chakra" are created by Ashoka. It's in the flag to keep a remembrance of him.


  1. "Emperor Ashoka and Spread of Buddhism". Buddhist Potpourri. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-17.