Mauryas – Time of Ashoka

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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
  • Infantry
  • Cavalry
  • Elephants
  • Chariots
  • Transport
  • Admiral of the fleet
  • Chanakya has mentioned only four wings Chautur-Agobla
  • Infantry
  • Cavalry
  • Chariots
  • 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:-
  • Hereditary troop
  • Hired troop
  • 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
  • Dharmasthiya – decided about the personal disputes
  • 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
  • Dharma
  • Vyavhara – current loyal codes
  • Charitra – customs
  • 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.

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