Mauryas – Time of Ashoka

Ashoka and Buddhism

  • Ashoka became a Buddhist in his 9th regnal year, after the Kalinga war

  • According to the Roopnath Insecription, he started visiting Buddhist sangha

  • According to the VIII rock edict, he visited Samodhi (Gaya) and became Sambodhi

  • In his 20th or 21st regnal year, he visited Lumbinigram and the Buddha Kanakmuni stupa was enlarged

  • According to Ceylonese chronicle, he was converted to Buddhism by Nigrodh-a-7-year-old boy, but according to Divyadana Upgupta converted him

  • In the Bhabru edict, he openly confessed that he has faith in the Buddhist Dharma and Sangha.

Army of Ashoka

  • The six branches of Army are

    1. Infantry

    2. Cavalry

    3. Elephants

    4. Chariots

    5. Transport

    6. Admiral of the fleet

  • Chanakya has mentioned only four wings Chautur-Agobla

    1. Infantry

    2. Cavalry

    3. Chariots

    4. Elephants

  • He mentioned that each was under a commander

  • Arthashastra has also mentioned about medical services to the Army.

  • Kautily a classifies has classified the troops into three categories:-

  1. Hereditary troop

  2. Hired troop

  3. Soldiers belonging to the corporations

  • The hereditary troop constitutes the standing army of the king and did probably Magasthenes refer to the troops in describing the fifth class in the soldiers

  • Megasthenes says that numerically they were the second

  • The officers and the soldiers were paid in cash.

Espionage (Spy)

  • The main task of the spice were:-

    1. Keeping an eye on the ministers

    2. Reporting on government officials

    3. Collecting impressions regarding the feeling of citizens

    4. Know the secret of foreign rulers

  • For this they adopted various disguise like ascetics student, house holders, merchants, mendicant women prostitute etc

  • Kautilya said that the spice were organized through the 'Institutions of espionage'

  • He also divided them into Sansthan (stationary) and Sanchari (wansering)

  • Serpant charmers, acrobats and many other professionals were engaged on a part time or full time basis

  • The spice were both male and female

  • Barber, astrologers, peasants, prostitutes, all were recruited

  • Arthashastra also mentions a special kind of spy- 'star'- an orphan trained form the childhood for this work.

  • The spice reported to the king directly.

  • There reference of spices sent to the foreign countries.

Judiciary at time of Ashoka

  • The lowest was Grama

  • On 10 villages, was a Sangrahan

  • On 400 villages there was a court called Dronamukha

  • On 800 villages there was a court called Sthaniya

  • City Judiciary was Vyavharika Mahamatta

  • Diwani Court was related to revenue and was called Dharmasthaiya

  • Jurisdiction in the rural areas was conducted by the Rajuka

  • This information is given by the 5th Pillar Edict

  • Jurisdiction in the cities was carried out by the mahamattas specially appointed for this purpose (according to the 1st Separate Edict)

  • The Rajukas had control over the problem related to the agriculture and land disputes

  • Arthashastra has mentioned about two types of courts

    1. Dharmasthiya – decided about the personal disputes

    2. Kantakasodhana – decides matters related to individuals and state like conduct of works, murder, theft etc.

  • In the civil cases, the Hindu code of law as described in the 'Shastras' was administred.

  • The source of law, according to Arthashastra were

    1. Dharma

    2. Vyavhara – current loyal codes

    3. Charitra – customs

    4. Rajasano – the royal decree

  • The king was the upholder of the Dharma and held the supreme judicial power

  • The cases were decided by a body of abritrators with a system of appeal to the king

  • Punishment was largely in the form of fines

  • Those who could not pay, were permitted to sell them bondage

  • Capital punishment was also practiced

  • Despite being a Buddhist, Ashoka did not abolish death penalty.

Ashokan Inscriptions

Pillar inscriptions: There 7 pillar edicts:

  1. Lauriya – Araraj: Champaran district of Bihar

  2. Lauriya – Nandagarh: Champaran district of Bihar

  3. Rampurva : Champaran district of Bihar

  4. Nigali Sagar In Tarai region in Nepal

  5. Sarnath: Banaras

  6. Topra – near modern Peshawar but shifted to Delhi

  7. Merrut – in Delhi, (at) PresentFiroz Shah Tughlaq transferred Topra and Merrut pillar inscriptions to Delhi.