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Friday, 11 September 2015

213) Commemorative stamps issued by India Post: Ashoka the Great or “Samrat Ashok” (304 BC – 232 BC): The Greatest Emperor of the Mauryan Empire & Ancient India:



213) Commemorative stamps issued by India Post: Ashoka the Great or “Samrat Ashok” (304 BC – 232 BC): The Greatest Emperor of the Mauryan Empire & Ancient India:

For a detailed description & a Special Cover on a "Minor Rock Edict" of Samrat ashok, found in Gujarra, Distt. Datia, M.P.  issued by the Indore Region of the MP Postal Circle, Department of Posts, India, please click on the following link: (A Minor Rock Edict on Samrat Ashok, from Gujarra, Distt Datia, Special Cover issued on 18.03.2016)

(In 322 BC, Chandragupt Maurya founded the Mauryan Empire, he was succeeded by his son Bindusar in 298 BC. From 269 BC to 232 BC, the Mauryan Empire reached its height under Ashok, Chandragupt Maurya’s grandson, remembered as the greatest King of Ancient India).

Ashok Bindusar Maurya or Ashoka the Great or “Chakravarti Samrat” Ashoka or Asoka was the third ruler of the Maurya Empire who ruled from 269 BC to 232 BC.

Born in 304 BC at Pataliputra, Magadh (present day Patna in the Indian State of Bihar), he was the grandson of Chandra Gupt Maurya and son of Bindusar.

The Early Years:

Ashok was given royal military training and he later became a warrior King and a heartless Commander. He was fearless and his strength was so immense that he is said to have single-handedly killed a lion on a rampage with a wooden rod.

Because of his military qualities, he was chosen over  many of his elder brothers to quell riots engineered by a coterie of ministers in the Avanti Province of the Mauryan Empire, following which Ashok was appointed as the Governor of Ujjaini.

When Bindusar, his father passed away, a war of succession ensued in which Ashok eliminated the legitimate heir to the throne by tricking him into entering a pit filled with live coals. It is recorded in the “Dipavamsa” and “Mahavamsa” that Ashok killed some 99 of his brothers and half-brothers and spared only one to ascend the throne.

His coronation took place thereafter in 268 BC, a year after his succession to the throne.

The Texts which contain information about Ashok’s life:

Information about Ashok’s life and reign is gathered from a few Buddhist sources – the Sanskrit “Ashokvadana (meaning the “Story of Ashok”) written in the 2nd Century BC and two Pali chronicles of Sri Lanka – the “Dipavamsa” and the “Mahavamsa”).

Ashokvadana:

Along with his Edicts, his legend is narrated in the 2nd Century “Ashokvadana” (meaning “Narrative or Legend of Ashok”) which is a part of “Divyavadana” (or the Narrative of the Divine), which also mentions his fondness for his name’s connection to the “Saraca asoca” tree or the Ashok Tree.

The emphasis of “Ashokvadana” is on exploring the relationship between the King and the “community of monks” (or the “Sangha”) and setting up an ideal way of life for the common man by telling appealing stories about the virtues of righteous living.

Strangely, this text makes no mention of the Kalinga war and only mentions about Ashok using state powers to zealously further the spread of Buddhism.

Mahavamsa:

The “Mahavamsa” or the “Great Chronicle” is a historical poem written in the Pali language of the Kings of Sri Lanka. It covers the period from the reign of King Vijaya of Kalinga (in ancient/present day Orissa) in 543 BC to the reign of King Mahasena (334-361 AD). This text gives an insight into contemporary Royal Dynasties in the Indian sub-continent and helps in dating the consecration of Ashok.

Dwipavamsa:

The “Dwipavamsa” (or the Chronicle of the Island) is the oldest historical record of Sri Lanka believed to have been compiled from the “Atthakatha” and other sources around the 3rd or 4th century. The Dipavamsa was recited at the “Mahinda festival” held annually in Anuradhapura.

Other sources of information on Ashok & his times:

Some more information is gathered from the Edicts of Ashok. Some architectural remains of his period have been found at Kumhrar, Patna, which include an 80 pillar hypostyle hall.

A literal Sanskrit translation ascribes the meaning of “Ashok” as “without pain or distress or without sorrow”.

In his Edicts, he is referred to as “Devanampriya” (meaning “the beloved of the Gods” or “one who is a Believer”) “and “Priyadarshi” (meaning “He who regards everyone with affection and kindness” in Pali). He is also, known by several other titles – “Samrat” (meaning “Emperor”), “Dhammarakhit” (“Defender/Follower of the Righteous Path of Dharma”), “Dharmarajika” (the “Emperor who follows the Righteous Path of Dharma”), “Magadhrajshreshtha” (“Supreme Lord of Magadh”), “Mauryaraja” (The Mauryan King), “Dharmashok” (“Ashok who follows the Righteous Path of Dharma”), “Ashokvardhan”, “Prajapita” (The “Father of his subjects”), “Dharmanayak” (the “Emperor who follows the Righteous Path”) and so on.

Expansion of the Mauryan Empire through military campaigns during Ashok’s reign:

Over the first eight years of Ashok’s reign, Ashoka is believed to have used his vast military strength for the expansion of the Mauryan Empire.

After a number of military conquests, his Empire extended over most of South Asia and beyond – from present day Pamir and Hindukush mountain ranges  in Afghanistan in the North, to Baluchistan in the West,  to Bengal and Assam in the East and Mysore in the South. His Empire covered the entire Indian sub-continent except parts of present day Tamil Nadu and Kerala which were ruled by three ancient Tamil kingdoms. The Empire’s capital was Pataliputra and prominent provincial capitals were located at Ujjaini and Taxila.

Under Ashoka, India had an estimated population of 30 million, substantially higher than any contemporary Hellenistic kingdoms.

Emperor Ashok, a bad-tempered and brutal ruler:

Initially, according to Buddhist Legends, Ashoka ruled his Empire in an effective manner but one that simply terrorised criminals and his enemy prisoners. He is said to have been extremely bad-tempered and of a brutal nature.

 It is believed that he set up a prison in the north of his capital Patliputra, where he ordered that prisoners should be subjected to all kinds of torture and that nobody should come out of the prison alive.

 Here he built an elaborate torture chamber called “Ashoka’s Hell” or even “Paradisal Hell” (because of the contrast between its beautiful exterior and the acts carried out within the building by his appointed executioner named “Girikaa”.

This earned Ashok the epithet of “Chanda Ashok” (meaning “Ashok the Brutal”).

The War with the City-State of Kalinga, which completely transformed Ashok & he adopted the Path of Dharma:

As part of his Empire expansion initiatives, Ashok led a war against Kalinga City–State (in present day Orissa, India) with the goal of annexing its territory, a task that his grandfather had already attempted to do before him.

What followed was one of the most brutal and hard fought wars recorded in history of conflict, which took place around 261 BC. Even though the people of Kalinga defended themselves valiantly, Ashok’s military strength was far superior to that of Kalinga and the Army of Kalinga was beaten by sheer numbers of Ashok’s forces.

It is recorded that Kalinga suffered huge losses of around 350,000 casualties (about 100,000 killed and 100,000 seriously wounded and about 150,000 deported or enslaved), the city was looted and razed to the ground.

While on a post-war tour of the battle-field and the destroyed city of Kalinga, he saw the kith and kin of the dead wailing alongside the bodies of their loved ones, Ashok was filled with remorse for the brutal destruction which had been initiated at his command. He issued an Edict expressing his regret for the sufferings that he had inflicted upon Kalinga. He assured everyone in this Edict that he would henceforth renounce war and embrace the path of Dhamma.

 Edict 13 on Ashoka’s rock inscriptions states thus in Pali:

“His Majesty feels remorse on account of the conquest of Kalinga because during the subjugation of a previously unconquered State, slaughter, death,  and taking away as captive of the people necessarily occurs, whereas his Majesty feels profound sorrow and regret”. The Edict further mentions that there was even greater regret that the friends and families of the deceased would suffer greatly too.

He also took a vow in this Edict that he would henceforth renounce all types of armed conflict/war and embrace and spread the path of “Dharma” (the righteous path – related to morals, social concerns and religious tolerance).

It is generally believed that he embraced Buddhism, however, although some of his Edicts specifically mention Buddhist sites and texts, it seems that his concept of “Dharma” went well beyond the teachings of Buddhism. He expressed support for all major religions of his time – Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Ajivikaism and his Edicts generally address the population at large while a few are addressed mainly to Buddhists. He generally focussed on moral themes which adherents to all religious creeds would generally accept.

He was so disturbed by the slaughter in the Kalinga War that he resolved not to annex the remainder of the extreme southern part of the country (present day Tamil Nadu & Kerala) through armed conflict.

After the Kalinga war, Ashoka abandoned his expansionist policy and under his rule, the Mauryan Empire and its Allies turned into a prosperous and peaceful Empire for several years.

Ashok’s Conversion to Buddhism:

By 263 BC, he had converted to Buddhism and dedicated himself to propagating Buddhism across Asia.

Buddhist traditions hold that he converted to Buddhism and that he supported monastic Buddhist communities. He established several Buddhist pilgrimage sites, he offered prayers under the “Bodhi” tree (the Tree under which Buddha had attained Enlightenment).

Propagation of Buddhism in several countries across the World:

 He played a significant role in organising the Third Buddhist Council in 250 BC at Patliputra conducted by the monk Moggaliputta-Tissa, who was the spiritual teacher of Ashok.   

He followed this up with providing all kinds of support to Buddhist missions all over the Mauryan Empire and beyond.

He sent Buddhist missionaries to Kashmir, Afghanistan, Syria, Persia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

His Edicts Ashok mentions some of the people living in Hellenistic countries as converts to Buddhism, and, inter alia, state:

“Now it is conquest by Dhamma or Dharma that the “Beloved of the Gods” (Ashok) considers to be the best conquest. And it (conquest by Dharma) has been won here, on the borders, even six hundred yojanas away (a measure of distance), where the Greek King Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four Kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise among the Cholas, the Pandyas and as far as Tamrapani. Here in the King’s domains the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamktis, the Bhojas, the Pitnikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following the “Beloved of the God’s” instructions in Dhamma. Even where His envoys have not been, these people too having heard of the practice of Dhamma and the Ordinances and instructions in Dhamma given by Him are following it and will continue to do so”.

He is credited with having built over 84000 Stupas.

Several Chinese and Japanese Rulers imitated him and were instrumental in spreading Buddhism all over the Orient.

His son Mahinda (or Mahendra) and daughter Sanghamitra (meaning “Friend of the Sangha”) established Buddhism in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka).

 His initiatives transformed Buddhism from an Indian Religion into a World Religion. Even today, Buddhism, one of India’s ancient spiritual and religious traditions is extremely popular in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.

The changed model of ruler-ship vis-à-vis the earlier concept of Divine Kingship:

He became a model of Kingship in the Buddhist tradition and was an early supporter of Buddhism and established monuments marking several significant sites on Shakyamuni Buddha, and according to tradition was closely associated in the preservation and propagation of Buddhism.

He is regarded as one of the most exemplary rulers in World history. Although there were references in Buddhist Literature to Ashok, definitive historical records of his time were lacking till the 19th century, when there came to light a large number of edicts in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. These edicts are inscribed on rocks and pillars and proclaim Ashok’s reforms and policies and promulgate his advice to his subjects.

Under Ashok, Buddhism turned into a State religion. A favourable atmosphere was created for acceptance of Buddhist concepts and preachings and guided State policies and initiatives.

Throughout South-eastern Asia, the model of Ruler-ship embodied by Ashok replaced the notion of divine kingship that had previously dominated, for example in the Angkor Kingdom.

Under this model of Buddhist Kingship, the King sought to legitimise his rule not through descent from a divine source but by supporting and earning the approval of the Buddhist Sangha (Brotherhood).

Following Ashok’s example, many rulers established monasteries, funded the construction of Stupas and supported the ordination of monks in their kingdom.

Several of them took an active role in resolving disputes over the status and regulation of the Sangha, just as Ashok had in calling a conclave to settle many contentious issues during his reign.

 This development led to the close association of many Southeast Asian countries between the monarchy and the religious hierarchy.

This Association is seen even today in the State supported Buddhism of Thailand and the traditional role of the Thai king as both religious and secular leader.

The practical approach to Dharma adopted by Ashok:

Ashok became a statesman committed to changing society through the propagation of social ethics.

The Mauryan Empire included a spectrum of societies where different categories were variously organised. The emphasis on harmonious social relations between the different people was repeated on many occasions. Besides, general values such as not injuring humans and animals, being forgiving, treating all creatures with compassion, observing piety and adhering to the truth were also emphasized.

For Ashok, Dharma was an ancient tradition which was essentially a code of ethical behaviour and the benefits thereof which appeared to be his attempt to universalise a code focussed on social ethics and on the accommodation of diverse views.

His promulgations of Dhamma were intended to influence the conduct of his people in relation to each other, and included practice of respect for the elderly, treating slaves and servants kindly and respect for religions and traditions other than one’s own.

He advocated tolerance and non-violence as official policy and this made him an unusual ruler.

He built roads, dug wells and built rest houses. He also arranged for the medical treatment of both human beings and animals.

He sought the advancement of the essentials of all sects and believed that this was only possible if each one treated the other with respect. He believed that in honouring the views of others, one was honouring one’s own sect.

Ashok distributed wealth among the needy, built monasteries, sponsored religious festivals and came to be remembered as a righteous and tolerant ruler that influenced rulers of other countries from the Middle East (Egypt, Syria etc.) to Japan.

He instituted Dharma Implementation Committees concerned with the general welfare of his subjects. These Committees went from place to place spreading the message of Dharma. He also sent messengers to spread these ideas to other lands.

Ashokan Edicts:

Ashok was the first Ruler who inscribed his messages to his subjects and officials on stone surfaces/natural rocks and polished pillars.

He used the stone inscriptions to proclaim what he understood to be “Dhamma” (The Rule of righteous conduct/living).

Ashok instructed his ministers and officials to carve his Edicts on rocks and pillars in the local dialects in a simple language.

A total of 33 Edicts or inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashok and Boulders and Cave walls have been discovered/identified so far.

These inscriptions are dispersed throughout modern day Pakistan and India and represent tangible evidence of the spread of Buddhism all over the Indian sub-continent. Ashok’s Edicts are found scattered in more than 30 places throughout India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Edicts describe in detail the first wide expansion of Buddhism through the efforts of Ashok and offer more information about Ashok’s religious and moral precepts, and his notions of social and animal welfare.

In his Rock Edicts, he mentioned about religious freedom and religious tolerance. His government officials were instructed to help the poor and the elderly, establish medical facilities for both human beings and animals, enforce obedience to parents and generosity to all priests and ascetic orders no matter what their creed. Officials were also instructed to plant fruit and shade trees, wells to be dug for providing water to travellers and local residents.

Most of these Edicts are written in the “Brahmi” script (an ancient Indian language).

Ashok’s Edicts which form the earliest compilation of written documents in India have survived through the centuries because they are written on rocks, stone pillars with animal capitols.

Some, like the Lumbini pillar, mark the Buddha’s birthplace, while its inscriptions commemorate Ashok’s pilgrimage to that place. Others are found in or near important population centres so that the Edicts contained therein could be read by as many people as possible.

The Symbols/Emblems of Ashoka:

The Ashoka Chakra:
The Ashoka Chakra is a depiction of the “Dharmachakra” (or the “Wheel of Dharma). The wheel has 24 spokes which represent the 12 Laws of dependent Origination and the 12 Laws of dependent Termination.

The Ashoka Chakra is seen inscribed on several relics of Ashoka the most prominent being the Lion Capitol of Sarnath and the Ashoka Pillar.

It has been adapted at the centre of the Indian National Flag of the Republic of India, which was adopted on 22.07.1947, where it is in a navy-blue colour on a white background.

It replaced the symbol of the “Charkha” (or the “Spinning Wheel”) of the pre-Independence versions of the National Flag. It is also seen at the base of the Lion Capitol of Ashok which was adopted as the National Emblem of India.

 "Chakra" is a Sanskrit word meaning “Cycle” or “self-repeating Process” The process signifies the cycle of time representing that the World changes with time.

The Ashoka Chakra is also the highest peace-time Gallantry Award which is given to Servicemen.

Pillars of Ashok:

The Pillars of Ashok are a series of columns dispersed throughout the Northern Indian sub-continent which were erected by Ashok during his reign.

Of the several pillars that he got erected, only ten of them with inscriptions have survived to the present day.

Three pillars in particular are testimony to the technological and artistic genius of the ancient Indian Civilisation. Averaging between forty and fifty feet in height and weighing up to fifty tons each, a few animal capitols that survive today are recognised as masterpieces of Indian art. Both the pillars and capitols exhibit a remarkable mirror-like polish that has endured through centuries of exposure to the elements.

All the pillars were quarried at Chunar, (South of the Hindu holy city of Varanasi or Banaras) and transported, sometimes, even up to several hundred miles to where they were erected.

The “wheel” represents the sun time and Buddhist Law, while the “Swastik” stands for the cosmic dance around a fixed centre and which guards against evil.

The Lion Capitol of Ashok (or the “Ashokmudra”):

The Ashok Pillar at Sarnath is the most notable of the relics left by Ashok. Made of sandstone, this pillar records the visit of the Emperor to Sarnath in the 3rd Century BC.

It has a four lion Capitol (four lions standing back to back) which was adopted as the National Emblem of the Indian Republic after India gained Independence from the British in 1947.

The Lions symbolise both Ashok’s Imperial rule in all the four directions as well as his four directional vigilance to guard the frontiers of the Mauryan Empire against potential enemies.

 The Lion capitol was placed on top of the Ashok Pillar but is now kept in the Sarnath Museum.

The Lions are mounted on a short cylindrical Abacus with a Frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion, separated by intervening spoked chariot-wheels placed over an inverted bell-shaped Lotus.

Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the Capitol was crowned by a “Wheel of Dharma” (or the “Dharmachakra”).

The four animals in the Sarnath Capitol are believed to symbolise different steps of Lord Buddha’s life:

-      The Elephant represents Buddha’s concept in the dream of Queen Maya of a white elephant entering her womb. (In the Jataka Tales, a white elephant is a symbol of prosperity and peace in the land)

-      The Bull represents Desire during the life of the Buddha as a Prince

-      The Horse represents Buddha’s departure from palatial life

-      The Lion represents the accomplishments of the Buddha.

Besides these religious interpretations, there are some non-religious interpretations, according to which, the four lions symbolise Ashok’s rule over the four directions, the wheels as the symbols of his enlightened rule (Chakravarti meaning “four directional”) and the four other animals as symbols of four adjoining territories of India.

The Sarnath pillar bears one of the Edicts of Ashok, an inscription against division within the Buddhist community which reads “No one shall cause division in the order of the monks”.

Some other constructions attributed to Ashok;

Sanchi Stupa (in Madhya Pradesh, India), Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh, India), Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar, India), Barabar Caves (Bihar, India), Nalanda Mahavihara (Bihar, India), Taxila University (with some portions like Dharmarajika Stupa & Kunal Stupa – in Taxila, Pakistan), Bhir Mound (Taxila, Pakistan), Bharhut Stupa (Madhya Pradesh, India), Deorkothar Stupa (Madhya Pradesh, India), Butkara Stupa (Swat, Pakistan), Sannati Stupa (Karnataka, India), Mir Rukun Stupa (Nawabshah, Pakistan).

Some Buddhist Monuments in the State of Maharashtra:

The construction of Buddhist Stupas, Chaityas, Viharas etc. which Ashok started in his lifetime picked up pace for several centuries after him. His concept of religious tolerance can be seen in the monuments where Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism continued to flourish in peaceful co-existence.

The State of Maharashtra, India, has a large concentration of Buddhist “Stupas”, “Sangharama”, “Chaityas” and “Viharas” as well as dwellings for Buddhist, Jain and Hindu monks seen carved out on rock faces which were used for meditation by monks for several centuries. These are similar to residences built for Buddhist monks all over South Asia and Central Asia. The Bedsa Caves, Karla Caves (near Lonavla), Aurangabad Caves, and the World famous Ajanta and Ellora Caves are some of the extremely popular tourist spots, especially with the Japanese tourists who strongly believe in Buddhism.

The Ajanta Caves are Cave monuments cut out of hillside rock, first dating back to about 200 BC. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta considered to be the masterpieces of Buddhist religious art. The Caves situated about 100 km northeast of Ellora are cut into the volcanic lava of the Deccan in the forest ravines of the Sahyadri mountain ranges and are set in beautiful wooded surroundings. They contain carvings that depict the life of Buddha and their carvings and sculptures are considered to mark the beginning of classical Indian art. The 29 caves were first excavated around 250 BC and work went on for several hundred years until they were abandoned around 650 AD in favour of another site of cave monuments at Ellora. With its two groups of monuments corresponding to two important periods in Indian history, the caves bear exceptional testimony to the evolution of Indian Art.

The Ellora Caves depict three great religions of ancient India – Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. They also illustrate the spirit of tolerance which allowed these three religions to establish their sanctuaries and their communities at a single place bearing testimony to the strong foundation laid by Ashoka in the matter of religious tolerance. The 34 monasteries and temples of Ellora, extending over two kilometres were dug side by side in the walls of a high basalt cliff, close to Aurangabad in Maharashtra. The caves with their uninterrupted sequence of remarkable reliefs, sculptures and architecture dating from 650 AD to 1000 AD bring to life the ancient civilization of India to life.

The Caves of the Hindu group are the best known among the Ellora caves with the “Cavern of the Ten Avatars” and the Kailash Temple are outstanding examples of rock-cut architecture and sculpture work.
(For more details on the Ajanta, Ellora & Aurangabad Buddhist Caves, please click here)

The Decline of the Mauryan Empire after Ashok:

In a struggle of succession to Ashok, his youngest wife Tishyaraksha got the legal heir to the throne Kunal, blinded through a conspiracy.

Thereafter, Kunal, having obtained enlightenment through Buddhist practices, became a wandering minstrel.

Once Ashok heard him sing on the streets of Patliputra and realized that it was his own son. Although Kunal forgave her, Ashok had Tishyaraksha imprisoned and put to death.

Kunal was succeeded by his son Samprati who ruled the Mauryan Empire for about fifty years.

In 185 BC, the Mauryan Dynasty came to an end and the Empire disintegrated when the Mauryan Dynasty was superseded by the Shunga Dynasty. The end of the Dynasty was tragic, when Pushyamitra Shunga, the Commander-in-Chief of the Mauryan Army, under the Mauryan Emperor Brihadratha, the last of the Mauryan Rulers, assassinated him during the presentation of a Guard of Honour of the Armed Forces.

 The Shunga Dynasty ruled only a fragment of the Mauryan Empire and most of the North-western territories under Ashok now became a part of the Indo-Greek Empire.

Commemorative Stamps issued on Samrat Ashok by India Post:

In August 2015, India Post has brought out a Commemorative Stamp on Samrat Ashok in the denomination of Rs.5/-. 
  Inscribed on the stamp are an image of Emperor Ashok adapted from a  stone  relief found in Amravati, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, which is one of the few representations of Emperor Ashok. A Pillar of Ashok atop which sits a Lion and the Sanchi Stupa in the background. Also seen in the background are an image of Lord Buddha and inscriptions in Brahmi and Pali. The words “Samrat Ashok” are mentioned in both Hindi and English. The year of issue is shown as “2015”.


The Stone relief containing the image of Emperor Ashok found in Amravati, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, which is one of the few representations of Emperor Ashok on the basis of which the Stamp image has been adapted
 A First day Cover showing the Lion capitol and the cancelled Rs.5/- stamp of "Samrat Ashoka" with the Pune GPO cancellation dated 24.08.2015.




 Bilingual inscription in Greek & Aramaic of Emperor Ashok discovered in Kandahar kept in the National Museum of Afghanistan
 An Ashok Stambha located in Thailand showing the inverted Lotus, the four sumbolic animals in Buddhist tradition, the Four Lions keeping a watch in all four directions (the Lion Capitol), atop which is the "Dharma Chakra" or the "Ashok Chakra" having 24 spokes.



 Links to other Posts on Buddhism, Ashok and DR. B.R. Ambedkar on this Blog:




 

 Postage Stamps from Thailand depicting Buddhist Jataka Tales:

1) Thailand postage stamps commemorating Buddhist Jataka Tales & celebrating Magha Puja Day (Part I)

2) Thailand Post stamps commemorating Buddhist Jataka Tales & celebrating Asalha Puja Day (Part II)  

3) Thailand Post stamps commemorating Buddhist Jataka Tales & celebrating Visakha Puja Day (Part III)

4) Postage stamps from Thailand commemorating Buddhist Jataka Tales



Links to posts on Indian Post-Cards:

1) Historical First Day Covers on Post Cards compiled by Karnataka Postal Circle on Post Independence India

2) For Part I of the DYKS (32) "Birds of the Himalayas", please click on the following link: ("Birds of the Himalayas" (Part I) - Description of 16 birds with picture postcards)

3) For Part II of DYKS (32): "Birds of the Himalayas", please click on the following link: ("Birds of the Himalayas" Description of 16 Birds with picture postcards)

4) For Part III of DYKS (32): "Birds of the Himalayas" please click on the following link: ("Birds of the Himalayas" Description of 16 Birds with picture postcards)

5) Two Series of Postage Stamps issued during the reign of George V: Inauguration of New Delhi in 1931 and Silver Jubilee of the reign of George V in 1935 compiled by Karnataka Postal Circle   

6) Aero India 2015: Asia's Premier Air Show: A set of 10 Post cards issued by Karnataka Postal Circle, India Post in 2015. 

7) Himalayan Lakes: Chandratal, Roop Kund, Sela, Tsangu and Tsomo Riri: A set of five post cards issued by India Post in 2015 

8)  Incredible India: (Part I) A set of 48 Post Cards issued by India Post in 2015
9) Incredible India: (Part II) A set of 48 Post cards issued by India Post in 2015
10)   Incredible India: (Part III): A set of 48 Post cards issued by india Post in 2015
 11) Olympic Events: A set of 12 Post cards issued by the Karnataka Postal Circle, India Post on 11.07.2016  

12) "Orchids": A set of 12 postcards issued by the Karnataka Postal Cicle of India Post, with designs inspired by 6 Stamps on Orchids issued by India Post on 21.10.1991 and 6 Stamps issued on 08.08.2016 
  
Maximum or Maxim Cards: 

1) Did You Know series (33): 1) Maxim or Maximum Cards 2) A set of 5 Maximum Cards issued by the Department of Posts, India to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Establishment of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

"My Stamps" Albums:

1) "Ajanta & Ellora Caves": "MyStamps" (issued by India Post): Sumita and Rajeev

 2) "Ghats of Varanasi": "MyStamps" (issued by India Post): Sumita

3) "Sun Temple, Konark": "MyStamps" (issued by India Post): Rajeev 

4) "Fairy Queen": "MyStamps" (issued by India Post): Rajeev 

5) "Mahabodhi Temple": "MyStamps" (issued by India Post): Rajeev 
  
 6) "Port Blair Island": "My Stamps" (issued by India Post): Rajeev

Links to other Commemorative Stamps posts on Indian Stamps issued during 2016:

1)  Special India Post Cover  carried in a dedicated Hot Air Balloon flown during the II International Hot Air Balloon Festival held in Pollachi, Tamilnadu, released by Tamilnadu Circle of India Post in January 2016

2) "Vibrant India": Postage Stamps issued by India Post on this theme

3) MAHAPEX - 2016 held at Nasik from 16-18.01.16: (Part 1) Spl. Covers on Pandu Leni Caves and Smt. Kusum Dhirubhai Mehta released by Maharashtra Postal Circle on 16.01.2016 

4) MAHAPEX - 2016 held at Nashik from 16-18.01.2016: (Part 2) Spl.Covers on Kalaram temple and Nashik "Grape City & Wine Capital of India" released by Maharashtra Postal Circle on 17.01.2016 

5) MAHAPEX - 2016 held at Nashik from 16-18.01.16: (Part 3) Spl. Covers on "Nashik Dhol" and "Dr. Anand Gopalrao Joshi" released by Maharashtra postal Circle on 18.01.2016 

6) International Fleet Review - 2016 (IFR - 16) held at Vishakhapatnam from 04.02.16 to 08.02.16: Commemorative Postage stamps issued by India Post 

7) Celebrating 75 Years of setting up of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal : Commemorative Postage Stamps brought out by India Post. 

8) PUNPEX - 16 held at Chandigarh from 06 - 09.02.2016: (Part 1): Spl. Covers on "Indian Dak Runner" & "The PUNPEX-16 logo" released by Punjab Postal Circle on 06.02.2016 

9) PUNPEX - 16 held at Chandigarh from 06-09.02.2016: (Part 2): Spl. Cover on "Butterflies of Chandigarh" released by Punjab Postal Circle on 07.02.2016 

10) PUNPEX - 16  held at Chandigarh from 06-09.02.2016: (Part 3): Spl. Cover on "Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandigarh" released by Punjab Postal Circle on 07.02.2016 

11) PUNPEX - 16 held at Chandigarh from 06-09.02.2016: (Part 4): Spl. Cover on "Migratory Birds of Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh" released on 07.02.2016 

12) "Gurudwara Shri Paonta Sahib": Spl. Cover released by HP Postal Circle, of India Post 

13) India's First International Fleet review held on 18.02.2001 at Mumbai 

14) "Jal Mahotsav" on the River Narmada from 12-21.02.2016: Spl Cover issued by the Department of Posts, India 

15) "Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv", Ujjain 22.04.2016-21.05.2016: MAPPEX-2016 Spl Cover released by Postmaster General, Indore Region, India Post on 07.02.2016 

16) Unique Handicrafts of Madhya Pradesh: MAPPEX 2016: A Special Cover issued by the Postmaster General , Indore Region, Indore, on 05.02.2016 

17) Golden Jubilee of The Statesman Vintage & Classic car Rally": Special Cover issued by the Delhi Postal Circle, New Delhi on 28.02.2016 

18) Mahamaham Kumbha Mela Festival, Kumbhakonam, Tamil Nadu: February 13-22, 2016. Special Cover issued by the Postmaster General Tamilnadu Circle, Chennai, India Post. 

19) "Maharaja Agrasen ki Baoli " in New Delhi: "UTSAV 2016"- A Special cover issued by the Delhi Postal Circle on 17.02.2016 

20) Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios Birth Centenary celebrations : A Special Cover issued by Delhi Postal Circle, New Delhi, India Post on 15.02.2016

21) Shri Lakshmi Narayan Temple: UTSAV 2016: A Spl Cover issued on 17.02.2016 by Delhi Postal Circle, New Delhi 

22) National Science Centre Delhi: UTSAV 2016: A Spl Cover issued by the Delhi Postal Circle, New Delhi , Department of Posts, India on 16.02.2016 

23) Commemorating the Birth Centenary of Vasantrao Srinivassa Sinai Dempo: A Rs.5/- Stamp issued by  India Post on 04.03.2016 

24) 150th Anniversary of the Allahabad High Court : Commemorative Stamps & Coins issued by the Department of Posts, India & India Government Mint, Mumbai respectively 

25) National Archives of India (Part 1): 125th Anniversary Celebrations: Commemorative Stamps issued by the Department of Posts, India on 13.03.2016 

26) The Gilgit Record (Manuscripts): National Archives of India (Part 2) A 30 paise Stamp issued in 1979,  by the Department of Posts, India. 

27) "A Minor Rock Edict" of Samrat ashok found in Gujarra , Distt. Datia M.P. : A Special Cover issued by the Indore Region, MP Postal Circle, Deptt. of Posts, India

28) "Batesara Group of Temples": A Special Cover issued by Indore Region, M.P. Postal Circle, Deptt. of Posts, India 

29) "India-UN Women HeForShe Programme": Commemorative Stamps issued by India Post  

30) Fire Services of India: A Rs. 5/- Stamp issued by the department of posts, india to honour the "Fire Services of India

31) Govardhanram Tripathi: Commemorative Rs.5/ Stamps brought out in his honour by the Department of Posts, India. 

32) The "Everlasting Flame international Programme 2016": A Special Cover issued by Delhi Postal Circle, Department of Posts, India. 

33) "Ahimsa Ball": Commemorating the 10th Installation Ceremony of the Ball: A Special Cover issued by the Delhi Postal Circle on 26.04.2016 

34) "BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave 14-16 April 2016, held at Mumbai: A Special Cover issued by the Maharashtra Postal Circle on 14.04.2016 

35) "25th Shukla Day Coin and Philately Fair" held from 22-24.04.2016 at Mumbai: A Special Cover issued by the Maharashtra Postal Circle, India Post on 22.04.2016 

36) "Indian Coast Guard Air Station Chennai Silver Jubilee": A Special Cover issued by Tamilnadu Postal Circle of India Post on 07.03.2016 

37) Swami Chidananda: A Rs.5/- Commemorative stamp issued by India Post on 21.05.2016, celebrating his Birth Centenary. 

38) "Brave Fighter Narvir Shivaji Kashid: A Special Cover issued by Maharashtra Postal Circle on 05.05.2016 

39) Tata Power: Commemorating the centenary of the establishment of The Company by India Post, by issuing Rs.5/- stamps on 10.06.16 

 40) "Surya Namaskar": The theme of second International Day of Yoga: Commemorative stamps issued by India Post on 21.06.2016

41) Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in Jharkhand: DEOPEX:2016: A Special Cover issued by the Jharkhand Postal Circle, India Post on 18.03.2016 

42) "Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar": DEOPEX-2016: A Special Cover issued on him by Jharkhand Postal Circle, India Post on 18.03.2016 

43) "Philatelic Seminar, Jaipur": A Special Cover issued by the Rajasthan Postal Circle, India Post on 28.02.2016 

44) "Shantheyanda Okkada Hockey Namme - 2016": A Spcial Cover issued by Karnataka Postal Circle, India Post on 03.05.2016 

45) The Indian Institute of Architects: Commemorating the Centenary year of the Institute by issuing a Special Cover by Maharashtra Postal Circle, India Post on 12.05.2016  

46) Indian Naval Air Squadron 300 (INAS 300): A Special Cover issued on the Induction of MiG-29Ks and de-induction of Sea Harriers in the Squadron, by the Maharashtra Postal Circle of India Post on 11.05.2016 

47) State Trading Corporation : Celebrating 60 Glorious Years: A Special Cover issued by the Delhi Postal Circle, India Post on 18.05.2016 

48) Christ Church Fort Teppakullam, Tirichirappalli: 250th Anniversary Celebrations: A Special Cover issued by Tamilnadu Postal Circle, India Post on 17.05.2016 

49) "BSE" (formerly Bombay Stock Exchange): Commemorating the 140th Year of its establishment: A Rs.5/- commemorative stamp brought out by India Post on 09.07.2016 

50) "VIKAS PARV - CHHAU DANCE": A Special Cover issued by Jharkhand Postal Circle on 17.06.16 

51) 65th Plenary of the North Eastern Council held on 26-27 May 2016 at Shillong: A Special Cover brought out by the NE Postal Circle of India Post, on 03.06.2016 

52) Platinum Jubilee of the First Philatelic Bureau set up in Mumbai: A Special Cover issued by Karnataka Postal Circle, India Post on 21.06.2016 

53) Chennai Book Fair: A Special Cover issued by the Tamilnadu Postal Circle of India Post on 01.06.2016

54) Chennai Book Fair (Part II) A.K. Chettiar : One of 6 eminent Tamil writers on whom Tamilnadu Postal Circle has issued Special Covers on 10.06.2016 

55) Chennai Book Fair (Part III): T.Janakiraman: One of 6 eminent Tamil writers on whom Tamilnadu Postal circle has issued Special Covers on 10.06.2016 

56) Chennai Book Fair (Part IV): P.V. Akilandam: One of 6 eminent Tamil writers on whom Tamilnadu Postal Circle has issued Special Covers on 10.06.2016 

57) Chennai Book Fair (Part V): D. Jayakanthan: One of 6 eminent Tamil writers on whom Tamilnadu Postal Circle has issued Special Covers on 10.06.2016 

58) Chennai Book Fair : (Part VI): Pudhumaipithan: One of Six Eminent Tamil writers on whom Tamilnadu Postal Circle has issued Special Covers on 10.06.2016 

59) Chennai Book Fair: (Part VII): Va Ramasamy: One of six eminent Tamil writers on whom Tamilnadu Postal Circle has issued Special Covers on 10.06.2016 

60) Tadoba Andhari National Park: Commemorative stamps brought out by India Post on "International Tiger Day" at Nagpur on 29.07.2016 

61) Tara Mata Temple Shimla: Famous Temples of Himachaal Pradesh Series: A Special Cover issued by HP Postal Circle of India Post on 29.04.2016 

62) Bagla Mukhi Temple, Bankhandi, Kangra: Famous Temples of Himachal Pradesh Series: A Special Cover released by the H.P. Postal Circle of India Post on 29.04.2016  

63) Chintpurni Temple , Chintpurni Una, HP: Famous temples of Himachal {radesh Sries: A Special Cover released by H.P.Postal Circle of India Post on 29.04.2016 

64) Ter-Centenary of the martyrdom of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur: A Special Cover brought out by Delhi P0stal Circle of Indiapost on 20.06.2016 

65) "Rio 2016" Summer Olympics: Commemorative Stamps and booklets issued by the Department of Posts, India on 05.08.2016

66) "Orchids": A set of 6 Commemorative postage stamps brought out by India Post on 08.08.2016  

67) Indian Metal Crafts: A set of six Stamps issued by India Post on 26.08.2016 

68) Independence Day - Tourism in India: A Rs. 25/- Commemorative Stamp issued by India Post on 15.08.2016 

Links to other Commemorative Stamps posts on Indian Stamps issued during 2014 and 2015:

1) 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil - A set of four stamps issued by India Post.

2) Commemorative Stamps on "Swachh Bharat" Mission

3) Commemorative Stamps on "Project Rukmini"

4) Commemorative Stamps on "Indian Ocean & Rajenda Chola I"

5) International Day of Yoga - "Commemorative Stamps & Coins" 

6) India-France - 50 Years of Space Co-operation - Commemorative Stamps

7) Commemorative Stamps on 50 years (Golden Jubilee) of "Engineers India Limited"

8Bicentenary of the "Old Theological Seminary" (OTS) Kottayam, Kerala

9Commemorative stamps issued on Nabakalabera (Jagannath Temple, Puri)

10) Commemorative stamps issued on an Indian Game called "Sagol Kangjei" originated in Manipur, from which Polo was adapted all over the World  

11) Samrat Ashok - Commemorative Stamps issued on the legendary Emperor of Ancient India 

12) Women Empowerment - Commemorative Stamps

13) Baba Amte - Commemorative Stamps 

14) Did You Know Series (4): A sample of the beautiful stamps brought out by Department of Posts, India 

15) 10th World Hindi Conference held at Bhopal - Commemorative Stamps issued by Department of Posts India

16) 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Indo-Pak War: Commemorative stamps issued by Department of Posts, India. 

17) Commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Birth of Dr. B.R. Ambedker by Department of Posts, India with a stamp titled "Dr B.R. Ambedkar and the Indian Constitution" 

18) The "Charkha" or the Spinning Wheel: Commemorative stamps issued by the Department of Posts, India 

19) Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam - Commemorative Stamp issued by the Department of Posts, India 

20) 50th Anniversary of the Border Security Force (BSF): Commemorative Stamp issued by the Department of Posts, India 

21) 3rd India- Africa Forum Summit at New Delhi - Commemorative Stamps issued by Department of Posts, India 

22) Commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL): Commemorative Stamps issued by India Post.

23) Commemorating the Bicentenary of the Raising Day of the First and Third Gorkha Rifles: Commemorative stamps issued by India Post.  

24) India-Singapore Joint issue: 50 Years of Bilateral Relationship: Two Commemorative Stamps issued by India-Post. 

25) Celebrating 60 years (Golden Jubilee) of EEPC India: Commemorative stamps issued by India Post. 

26) Centenary of the setting up of the Zoological Survey of India: Commemorative stamps issued by India Post 

27) Celebrating Children's Day on November 14th - Commemorative Stamps issued by India Post. 

28) Musicians of India - Commemorating Classical Musicians of India by issue of Stamps by India Post. 

29) Sumitranandan Pant (poet and writer) : Commemorative postage stamps issued on him by India Post 

30) Golden Jubilee of the Establishment of the IDSA, New Delhi: Commemorative stamps issued by India Post 

31) 100 Years of Return of Mahatma Gandhi to India in 1915: Commemorative postage stamps issued by India Post 

32) Commemorating Alugumuthu Kone, one of the first Freedom Fighters against the British: Commemorative Stamps issued by India Post

33) Centennial of the Patna High Court of Judicature: Commoemrative Stamps issued by India Post 

List of Commemorative Stamps Posts on stamps issued in 2013: 

1) Commemorative Postage stamps on the "Wild Flowers of India" issued by India Post.

2) 100 Years of Indian Cinema: 50 commemorative stamps issued by India Post. 

List of Commemorative Stamps Posts on Stamps issued in 2012:

1) Shekhawati and Warli Paintings (Part I) - Warli Paintings - Commemorative postage stamps brought out by India Post in 2012

2) Shekhawati and Warli Paintings (Part II) - Shekhaati Paintings - Commemorative postage stamps brought out by India Post in 2012 

List of Commemorative Stamps Posts  on Stamps issued in 2011:

1) Commemorative Postage Stamp of Rs.100/- issued on Mahatma Gandhi on Khadi Cloth for the first time ever by India Post.

List of Commemorative Stamps Posts  on Stamps issued in 2010:

1) Princely States of Indore, Sirmoor, Bamra and Cochin : Commemorative Stamps issued by India Post

List of Commemorative Stamps Posts issued in 2008: 

1) Centenary of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru: Commemorative Stamps brought out by Indiapost in 2008

2) Standard Chartered Bank: Commemorating 150 Years of Banking in India: A Rs.5/- Commemorative Postage Stamp issued depicting the SCB Mumbai Heritage Building 

3) "Aldabra Giant Tortoise": A commemorative postage stamp brought out by India Post in 2008 

List of Commemorative Stamps issued in 2007:

1) 2550 years of Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha: Commemorative stamps issued by India Post  

Commemorative stamps issued in 1931, 1947 and 1950:

1) Three Series of original Indian stamps which depict : Inauguration of New Delhi (1931), First Independent India postage stamps (1947) and Republic of India Inauguration (1950)

 Postage Stamps from Thailand depicting Buddhist Jataka Tales:

1) Thailand postage stamps commemorating Buddhist Jataka Tales & celebrating Magha Puja Day (Part I)

2) Thailand Post stamps commemorating Buddhist Jataka Tales & celebrating Asalha Puja Day (Part II)  

3) Thailand Post stamps commemorating Buddhist Jataka Tales & celebrating Visakha Puja Day (Part III)

4) Postage stamps from Thailand commemorating Buddhist Jataka Tales

Forever Stamps from United States Postal Service (USPS):

1) Forever Stamps: A Series of Stamps commemorating the "US Civil War 1861-1865"

2) Forever Stamps: The Hindu Festival of Lights - Diwali (2016) 

Postage Stamps from the Bailiwick of Jersey

1) "Man of Steel": A Superman movie. Jersey post stamps commemorating a local lad Henry William Dalgliesh who played Superman in the Movie 

Postage Stamps from Gibraltar:

1) 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta - the Universal guidepost/landmark in Liberty and Freedom: A miniature stamp sheet issued by the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau

Postage Stamps issued by Hongkong Post:

1) Working Dogs in Government Service: A sheetlet showing six dogs issued by Hongkong Post in June 2012

Postage Stamps issued by New Zealand Post

1) ICC Cricket World Cup - 2015 14 Commemorative Stamps issued with the theme "Have A Ball"

International Philately Exhibitions :

1) World Stamp Show New York 2016

2) Thailand 2016 - FIAP 32nd Asian International Stamp Exhibition 10-15 August 2016







6 comments:

  1. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented:
    "Very informative post about the precise history of Samrat Ashok. Thanks."


    ReplyDelete
  2. Mita Banerjee has commented:
    "It's amazing the wonderful research you do...and the facts you dish out! Give us more !"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Mitaji.

      Delete
  3. Jayashree Mukherjee has commented:
    "Very nice."

    ReplyDelete