Ashoka, Asoka, Aśoka, Aśokā, Asokā: 47 definitions


Ashoka means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi, Hindi, biology. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Aśoka and Aśokā can be transliterated into English as Asoka or Ashoka, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

Alternative spellings of this word include Ashok.

Images (photo gallery)

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)

One of the Hands indicating Trees.—Aśoka, the Patāka hands crossed, i.e., touching at the wrists and freely moving to and fro;

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing Dramatic plays (nataka), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Agriculture (Krishi) and Vrikshayurveda (study of Plant life)

Source: Shodhganga: Drumavichitrikarnam—Plant mutagenesis in ancient India

Aśoka (अशोक) (identified with Saraca asoca) is used in a recipe for producing fragrance (gandha-samutpatti), according to the Vṛkṣāyurveda by Sūrapāla (1000 CE): an encyclopedic work dealing with the study of trees and the principles of ancient Indian agriculture.—Accordingly: “If mud, scented with buds of Saraca asoca [e.g., Aśoka-kalikā], etc. is filled at the root, trees get a very attractive and strong fragrance”.

Unclassified Ayurveda definitions

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Aśokā (अशोका) is another name for Śakulādanī (Picrorhiza kurroa) according to the Bhāvaprakāśa, which is a 16th century medicinal thesaurus authored by Bhāvamiśra. The term is used throughout Ayurvedic literature. Certain plant parts of Śakulādanī are eaten as vegetables.

Source: Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda

Aśoka (अशोक).—The Sanskrit name for an important Ayurvedic drug.—Aśoka is bitter, astringent and cold and is useful in menorrhagia, poisons and improves complexion.

Ayurveda book cover
context information

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

Aśoka (अशोक) is a Sanskrit word, identified with Jomesia asoka by various scholars in their translation of the Śukranīti. This tree is mentioned as bearing good fruits. The King should plant such domestic plants in and near villages. He should nourish them by stoole of goats, sheep and cows, water as well as meat.

The following is an ancient Indian recipe for such nourishment of trees:

According to Śukranīti 4.4.105-109: “The trees (such as aśoka) are to be watered in the morning and evening in summer, every alternate day in winter, in the fifth part of the day (i.e., afternoon) in spring, never in the rainy season. If trees have their fruits destroyed, the pouring of cold water after being cooked together with Kulutha, Māṣa (seeds), Mudga (pulse), Yava (barley) and Tila (oil seed) would lead to the growth of flowers and fruits. Growth of trees can be helped by the application of water with which fishes are washed and cleansed.”

Dharmashastra book cover
context information

Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Aśoka (अशोक).—One of the seven major mountains situated on the western side of mount Niṣadha, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 83. These mountains give rise to many other mountains and various settlements. Niṣadha is one of the seven mountains located in Jambūdvīpa, ruled over by Āgnīdhra, a grandson of Svāyambhuva Manu, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being.

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

1) Aśoka (अशोक).—The charioteer of Bhīmasena. When Bhīmasena was fighting a battle with Śrutāyu the King of Kaliṅga, this charioteer brought the chariot to him. (Mahābhārata, Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 54, Stanzas 70 and 71).

2) Aśoka (अशोक).—A minister of King Daśaratha. Daśaratha had eight ministers. They were Jayanta, Dhṛṣṭi, Vijaya, Asiddhārtha, Arthasādhaka, Aśoka, Mantrapāla and Sumantra. (Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Bālakāṇḍa, Sarga 7).

3) Aśoka (अशोक).—A King of the family of the famous Asura Aśva. This king had been ruling over Kaliṅga. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 67, Stanza 14).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Aśoka (अशोक).—A kulaparvata of the Ketumāla.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 44. 4.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Aśoka (अशोक) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.61.14) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Aśoka) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

1) Aśoka (अशोक) is a name of a tree, according to the Śrīmatottara-tantra, an expansion of the Kubjikāmatatantra: the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.—Accordingly, “Having decided (to do this), those gods did as Brahmā suggested; (and so) having taken (this) order from them, Kāma reached Hara’s hermitage. Kāma, along with Spring, Passion (Rati) and Love (prīti), entered the forest where the Lord himself was. There were great Putrāṅga, Karṇikāra, Kadamba, Aśoka, mango, Arjuna and Campaka trees (there). (All of them) blossomed profusely due to Kāma’s arrival. These new flowers stimulated the god Hara. Gathering many (of them), the goddess come close to Hara. [...]”.

2) Aśoka (अशोक) refers to one of the thirty-six sacred trees, according to the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā, an expansion of the Kubjikāmatatantra: the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.—Accordingly, “According to the Kula teaching (these) [i.e., Aśoka] are the most excellent Kula trees that give accomplishments and liberation. (They are full of) Yoginīs, Siddhas, Lords of the Heroes and hosts of gods and demons. [...]”.

Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Aśoka (अशोक) refers to the flower Jonesia ashoka Roxb., according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 6), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “If Mars should appear with a large and clear disc or red like the flower of Kiṃśuka (Butea frondosa) or of Aśoka (Jonesia ashoka Roxb) or of clear and fine rays or like molten gold or if he should pass through the northern path, rulers will be happy and there will be prosperity in the land”.

Jyotisha book cover
context information

Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Sanskrit Literature: The Ashoka

Aśoka (अशोक).—In English, it is identified as either Saraca Asoca (or Saraca Indica) or Jonesia Asoca. The Aśoka trees that surround the imprisoned Sītā in Laṅkā are said to destroy grief (‘śoka-nāśana’) in the Rāmāyaṇa, but they are also seen–in the Haṃsasandeśa–as appropriate co-mourners for Sītā in her burning grief. In the Purāṇas it is said to have got its name from a certain evil and cruel Saśoka (‘with-grief’ or ‘he who brings grief’).

Rājaśekhara talks of three different types of Aśoka:

  1. the red (rakta or raktāśoka),
  2. the blue (nīla or nīlāśoka)
  3. and the golden (suvarṇa or hema-puṣpa). 

The Aśoka has just one synonym, vañjula, according to the Amarakosa, which is often used for many other trees as well. Monier Williams gives raktapallava (‘of red flowers’), piṇḍīpuṣpa, vicitra (‘multicoloured’), aṅganā-priya (‘beloved of women’) and kaṅkeli as names that refer exclusively to the aśoka. Viśoka, a variation on Aśoka with the same meaning (‘griefless’), is also cited. Several other names can be used for the aśoka but are equally used for other trees: hemapuṣpa (‘of golden flowers’), madhupuṣpa (‘of sweet flowers’), piṇḍapusya, kiṅkīrāta, madhuka (‘the sweet one’), śiṃśapā and kaṅkeli.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Tibetan Buddhism

1) Aśokā (अशोका) is the name of a Yakṣiṇī mentioned as attending the teachings in the 6th century Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa: one of the largest Kriyā Tantras devoted to Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of wisdom) representing an encyclopedia of knowledge primarily concerned with ritualistic elements in Buddhism. The teachings in this text originate from Mañjuśrī and were taught to and by Buddha Śākyamuni in the presence of a large audience (including Aśokā).

Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini

Aśoka (अशोक) is the name of the tree (vṛkṣa) associated with Karaṅkaka: the western cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Adbhutaśmaśānālaṃkāra and the Śmaśānavidhi verse 8. The tree associated with the west is sometimes given as Kaṅkeli. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

These trees (e.g., Aśoka) that are associated with the cremation grounds are often equated with the eight bodhi-trees of the Buddhas (the current buddha plus the seven previous one). According to the Śmaśānavidhi each tree has a secondary tree (upavṛkṣa) that is depicted as lovely and covered in vaṅga flowers and fruit. In each tree lives a naked rākṣasa who is wrathful in form, who eats human flesh and who has the animal face or the mount of the dikpati in his cremation ground.

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Aśoka (अशोक) refers to one of the eight trees (vṛkṣa) of the Kāyacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the kāyacakra refers to one of the four divisions of the nirmāṇa-puṭa (‘emanation layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. Aśoka is associated with the charnel ground (śmaśāna) named Adagdha and with the hell-guardian (narakapāla) named Aśokavṛkṣā.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

1. Asoka - King of Magadha. He was the son of Bindusara. Bindusara had sixteen wives who bore him 101 sons.

The chief Pali sources of information regarding Asoka are Dipavamsa (chaps. i., v., vi., vii., xi., etc.), Mahavamsa (v., xi., xx., etc.), Samantapasadika (pp. 35 ff. ). Other sources are the Divyavadana passim, and the Avadanasataka ii.200ff. For an exhaustive discussion of the sources and their contents see Prszlyski, La Legende de lEmpereur Asoka.

The Pali Chronicles (Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa) mention only three of the sons, viz. Sumana (Susima according to the northern legends) the eldest, Asoka, and Tissa (uterine brother of Asoka) the youngest. The Mahavamsa Tika (p.125; Mbv.98. In the northern tradition, e.g., Asokavadanamala, she is called Subhadrangi, daughter of a brahmin of Campa) gives the name of his mother as Dhamma and calls her Aggamahesi (Bindusaras chief queen); she belonged to the Moriyavamsa. The preceptor of Dhammas family was an Ajivaka called Janasana (which probably explains Asokas earlier patronage of the Ajivakas).

In his youth Asoka was appointed Governor of Avanti with his capital at Ujjeni. The Divy. says he was in Takkasila with headquarters in Uttarapatha, where he superseded Susima and quelled a rebellion. When Bindusara lay on his death bed, Asoka left Ujjeni and came to Pataliputta where he made himself master of the city and possessor of the throne. He is stated in the Mahavamsa (v.20; Mbv.98) to have killed all his brothers except Tissa that he might accomplish his purpose, and to have been called Candasoka on account of this outrage (Mhv.v.189). It is impossible to say how much truth there is in this account of the accession. Asokas Rock Edicts seem to indicate that he had numerous brothers, sisters and relations alive at the time they were written in Pataliputta and other towns (see Mookherji, Asoka, pp. 3-6). His brother Tissa he appointed as his uparaja (Mhv.v.33), but Tissa (q.v.) became a religious devotee attaining arahantship. The Theragatha Commentary refers to another younger brother of Asoka, Vitasoka, who also became an arahant (i.295f. The northern works give quite a different account of his brothers. See Mookherji, p.6).

Asoka had several wives. His first wife was the daughter of a merchant of Vedisagiri, whom he met when stopping at the merchants house on his way to Ujjeni (Mhv.xiii.8ff). Her name was Devi, also called Vedisa Mahadevi, and she was a Sakyan, descended from a Sakyan family who migrated to Vedisa to escape from Vidudabha (Mbv., pp.98, 116). Of Devi were born a son Mahinda, and a daughter Sanghamitta, who became the wife of Aggibrahma and mother of Sumana. Devi evidently did not follow Asoka to Pataliputta, for his aggamahesi there was Asandhamitta (Mhv.v.85).

-- or --

1. Asoka - A nun of Natika.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Aśoka (अशोक) is the name of the “assistant” (upasthāyaka) of Buddha Vipaśyin, according to the Mahāvadānasūtra, as mentioned in an appendix of the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XLI. Each Buddha had his assistant (upasthāyaka), a monk specially attached to his person, entrusted with fanning him, carrying his robe and bowl for alms-round, introducing visitors. The Sanskrit Mahāvadānasūtra has drawn up a list of the assistants who served the last seven Buddhas: Aśoka for Vipaśyin, Kṣemakāra for Śikhin, Upaśanta for Viśvabhuj, Bhadrika for Krakasunda (or Krakucchanda), Svastika for Kanakamuni, Sarvamitra for Kāśyapa, and finally Ānanda for Śākyamuni.

According to chapter XLVI, “Aśoka became king of Jambudvīpa and built eighty thousand stūpas in one single day because, as a child, he had offered to the Buddha a bit of earth (pāṃśu) that he loved very much”.

According to chapter XLIX, in the Pāṃśupradānāvadāna: “king A-chou-kia (Aśoka) who, as a small child, had given some earth (pāṃśu) to the Buddha, reigned over Jambudvīpa, built eighty thousand stūpas and still later, found bodhi. The thing he had offered was very common (nīca) and the intention (āśaya) of the child (bāladāraka) quite weak (tanu). It was only because of the excellence of the field of merit (puṇyakṣetra-praṇītatas) to which he had given that he acquired a great fruit of retribution (mahāvipākaphala). So we know then that sometimes great merit results from the good ‘field’”.

Source: A Study and Translation of the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā

Aśoka (अशोक) is the name of flower, according to the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā: the eighth chapter of the Mahāsaṃnipāta (a collection of Mahāyāna Buddhist Sūtras).—Accordingly, “To wit, the moon flower, the great moon flower, the most beautiful moon flower, [...] the space-light flower, the tangible flower, the white great fragrance flower, the non-anther flower, the Aśoka flower (aśoka), [...] [The flowers] were adorned with their own splendor, produced by immeasurable merits, and known by Bodhisattvas of the ten directions. The great three-thousand thousands of worlds were covered with those flowers, and all congregations of the Lord were filled with flowers (puṣpa) up to their knees [...]”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Buddhism

Asoka (असोक) (or Asoca) refers to the son of Samaṅkara: one of the descendants of Māghadeva, son of Sāgaradeva: an ancient king from the Solar dynasty (sūryavaṃśa) and a descendant of Mahāsaṃmata, according to the Mahābuddhavaṃsa or Maha Buddhavamsa (the great chronicle of Buddhas) Anudīpanī chapter 1, compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw. Sāgaradeva and Māghadeva and his descendants reigned in Mithilā until their number became eighty-four thousand. The last of these eighty-four thousand kings was named Nimi, the Bodhisatta. His son was named Kaḷārajanaka, whose son was named Samaṅkara, whose son was named Asoca (or Asoka). Their descendants totalling 84,003 again founded Bārāṇasī and reigned there. The last of these 84,003 kings was named Sīhappati.

Source: Buddhist Door: GlossaryA Buddhist monarch of 300 B.C., the third emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, who unified most of India under his rule and fostered the dissemination of Buddhism. It is said that the Third Council was held during his reign. Ashoka set the model for many other rulers who sought to govern in accordance with Buddhist philosophy.Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

Ashoka was an Indian emperor, of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from 273 BCE to 232 BCE. Often cited as one of Indias as well as worlds greatest emperors. Ashoka reigned over most of present day India after a number of military conquests.

His empire stretched from present day Pakistan, Afghanistan in the west, to the present day Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as the brahmagiri in Karnataka. He could conquer the kingdom named Kalinga,which no one in his dynasty could conquer starting from Chandragupt Maurya.

His reign was headquartered in Magadha (present day Bihar, India). He embraced Buddhism from the prevalent Vedic tradition after witnessing the mass deaths of the war of Kalinga, which he himself had waged out of a desire for conquest. He was later dedicated in the propagation of Buddhism across Asia and established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha. Ashoka in human history is often referred as the emperor of all ages.

Ashoka was a devotee of ahimsa (nonviolence), love, truth, tolerance and vegetarianism. Ashoka is remembered in history as a philanthropic administrator.In the history of India Ashoka is referred to as Samrath Chakravartin Ashoka- the Emperor of Emperors Ashoka.

Source: The Chronological History of Buddhism

Ashoka is the son of Bindusara and Subhadrangi.—Northern and Southern traditions of Buddhism agree that Ashoka or Kalashoka ascended the throne of Pataliputra ~100 years after Buddha nirvana. He conquered entire India from Takshashila in the west to Pragjyotisha in the east and from Kashmir in the north to Karnataka in the sou th. He was a ruthless dictator. Therefore, Buddhist sources call him “Chandāshoka”. He accepted Buddhism later and declared Buddhism to be the state religion. Kalhana, the author of Rajatarangini, also confirms that Ashoka reigned over Kashmir and established the rule of Buddhism (Jina- Shāsanam). Buddhist sources eulogized Ashoka as “Dharmāshoka” because he promoted Buddhism.

Kalhana mentions that Ashoka founded the city of Srinagar in Kashmir. Kunalavadana of Divyavadana records that Ashoka had a son named Kunala from his queen Padmavati. Ashoka’s chief queen Asandhimitrā raised Kunala because Padmavati died when Kunala was in his infancy. Ashoka had ten more sons named Bhadrasena, Korandavarna, Mangara, Sarvanjaha, Jaloka, Ubhaka, Sanjaya, Koravya, Nandivardhana and Panchamukha.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

1) Aśoka (अशोक) is the name of the caitya-tree under which the parents of Malli are often depicted in Jaina iconography, according to both the Śvetāmbara and Digambara tradition. The term caitya refers to “sacred shrine”, an important place of pelgrimage and meditation in Jainism. Sculptures with such caitya-trees generally shows a male and a female couple seated under a tree with the female having a child on her lap. Usually there is a seated Jina figure on top of the tree.

Malli is the nineteenth of twenty-four tīrthaṅkaras: enlightened beings who, having conquered saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), leave a path behind for others to follow. His father is Kumbha and his mother is Prabhāvatī, according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri).

2) Aśoka (अशोक) is the name of a big garden situated near big lotus-lakes in the vicinity of the four Añjana mountains, according to Jain cosmology.

The Añjana-mountains (and gardens such as Aśoka) are situated in the southern direction of the central part of Nandīśvaradvīpa, which is one of the continents (dvīpa) of the middle-world (madhyaloka) and is mentioned in ancient Jaina canonical texts dealing with cosmology and geography of the universe. Examples of such texts are the Saṃgrahaṇīratna in the Śvetāmbara tradition or the Tiloyapannatti and the Trilokasāra in the Digambara tradition.

Source: Economic Life In Ancient India (as depicted in Jain canonical literature)

Aśoka (अशोक) refers to a kind of tree (vṛkṣa) commonly found in the forests (vaṇa) of ancient India, mentioned in the 1st century Uvavāiya-sutta (sanksrit: Aupapātika-sūtra). Forests have been a significant part of the Indian economy since ancient days. They have been considered essential for economic development in as much as, besides bestowing many geographical advantages, they provide basic materials for building, furniture and various industries. The most important forest products are wood and timber which have been used by the mankind to fulfil his various needs—domestic, agricultural and industrial.

Different kinds of trees (e.g., the Aśoka tree) provided firewood and timber. The latter was used for furniture, building materials, enclosures, staircases, pillars, agricultural purposes, e. g. for making ploughs, transportation e. g. for making carts, chariots, boats, ships, and for various industrial needs. Vaṇa-kamma was an occupation dealing in wood and in various otherforest products. Iṅgāla-kamma was another occupation which was concerned with preparing charcoal from firewood.

Source: The Jaina Iconography

Aśokā (अशोका) or Mānavī is the name of the Yakṣiṇī accompanying Śītalanātha: the tenth of twenty-four Tīrthaṃkaras or Jinas, commonly depicted in Jaina iconography.—The tree under which Śītalanātha attained the Kevala knowledge is Vilva (Aegle marmelos), The Jaina texts assign tohim the Yakṣa named Brahmā and Yakṣiṇī named Aśokā (Digambara: Mānavī). The Digambaras regard the Aśvattha (Ficus religioso) as his emblem, the Śvetāmbaras Śrīvatsa (wishing tree) for the same.

The image of the Śvetāmbara Yakṣiṇī Aśokā is described as seated upon a lotus and bearing in her hands Varada, noose, fruit and goad. The Digambara books describe Mānavī as riding a hog and holding the attributes, as follows, fruit, Vara, bow, etc. Like the majority of Yakṣiṇīs, the Yakṣiṇī, in question, has a dual aspect, she is in one aspect a Yakṣiṇī and in another, a Vidyādevī. As Vidyādevī, her name is Mānavī and she is described as seated on a blue lotus. Here, also as a pure Yakṣiṇī, the Śvetāmbara accounts give her a blue lotus. The war-like attributes like a goad, noose, bow are symbols quite befitting her characteristic of a Yakṣiṇī or Guardian angel. The benign symbols, such as, Varada, fruit and a blue-lotus seat she is given, however, would make us recognise in her a form of Vidyādevī or goddess of learning.

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

1a) Aśokā (अशोका) refers to one of the eight Dikkumārīs living on the western Rucaka mountains (in the Rucakadvīpa continent), according to chapter 1.2 [ādīśvara-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra: an ancient Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three illustrious persons in Jainism.

Accordingly, “[...] Eight Dikkumārīs [viz., Aśokā] also, living on the west Rucaka Mountains, came in haste, as if outstripping each other from devotion. Having bowed to the Jina and the Jina’s mother and having announced themselves as before, they stood behind, holding palm-leaf fans, singing. [...].”.

1b) Aśokā (अशोका) is the name of a Yakṣiṇī (i.e., Śāsanadevatās or ‘messenger-deities’) associated with Śītalanātha, according to chapter 3.8 [śītalanātha-caritra].—Accordingly, “Originating in that tīrtha, a Yakṣa, named Brahmā, three-eyed, four-faced, with a lotus-seat, white, with four right arms of which three held a citron, hammer, and noose, and one was in the position bestowing fearlessness, and with four left arms holding an ichneumon, club, goad, and rosary; and Aśokā likewise originating there, the color of green gram, with a cloud for a vehicle, one right arm holding a noose and the other in boon-granting position; and one left arm holding a fruit and the other a goad, these two became the messenger-deities of the tenth Arhat. Attended by these two, Lord Śītala wandered for twenty-five, thousand pūrvas less three months”.

2a) Aśoka (अशोक) is the name of a Vidyādhara-city, situated on mount Vaitāḍhya (in the northern row), according to chapter 1.3.—Accordingly, “[...] Taking their families and all their retinue and ascending the best of cars, they went to Vaitāḍhya. [...] Ten yojanas above the earth, King Vinami made at once sixty cities in a northern row at the command of the Nāga-king. [viz., Aśoka]. [...]”.

2b) Aśoka (अशोक) is the tree associated with the Kinnaras, one of the eight divisions of the Vyantaras: a group of deities living above the Ratnaprabhā-earth in the “lower world” (adhaloka), according to chapter 2.2.

Accordingly: “[...] One thousand yojanas above Ratnaprabhā, with the exception of 100 yojanas above and below, live the eight classes of the Vyantaras in northern and southern rows within the 800 yojanas. In these are: [viz., the Kinnaras with the aśoka tree as lāñchana; ...]”.

2c) Aśoka (अशोक) refers to one of the great gardens near the four Añjana mountains, which are situated in the “middle world” (madhyaloka), according to chapter 2.3.—Accordingly, “In the four directions from each of the Añjana Mountains there are lotus-lakes, 100,000 yojanas square: [...]. At a distance of 500 yojanas from each of them there are great gardens, 500 yojanas wide and 100,000 long, named Aśoka, Saptacchadaka, Campaka, and Cūta. Within the lotus-lakes are the crystal Dadhimukha Mountains, cylinder-shaped, characterized by terraces, gardens, etc., as decorations. They are 64,000 yojanas high, and 1,000 buried in the ground; 10,000 in diameter at top and bottom. [...]”.

Source: SOAS Research Online: Prekṣā meditation: History and Methods

Aśoka (अशोक) or “sorrowless” refers to one of the 46 qualities of the soul to be meditated on in the “Practice of Meditation on Liberated Souls (Siddhas)”, according to Jain texts like Ācārāṅga (5.6.123-140), Ṣaṭkhaṇḍāgama ( and Samayasāra (1.49).—The pure soul can be recognised by meditation on its true nature, represented by the liberated souls of the Siddhas. The practice which leads to this realisation is meditation on the fact that attachment, aversion, passions and the influx of karmas, are ‘not mine’, that I am separate from them and consist of infinite knowledge, perception, conduct, spiritual energy, that I am the pure, enlightened, and everlasting soul. The qualities of the soul to be meditated on as truly mine are: [e.g., My soul is sorrowless (aśoka)] [...] The meditation on such extended fourty-five qualities of the pure soul presents the niśacaya-naya, which is aligned with Kundakunda’s approach.

General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geography

Source: Shodhganga: Cultural history as g leaned from kathasaritsagara

Ashoka or Simsapa is the name of a tree mentioned in the Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva (10th century A.D).—This was grown throughout Northern-India. An Ashoka tree on the bank of Godavari is also mentioned. Its another variety called as Lohitashoka or Raktashoka is mentioned.

Somadeva mentions many rich forests, gardens, various trees (e.g., Ashoka), creepers medicinal and flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees in the Kathasaritsagara. Travel through the thick, high, impregnable and extensive Vindhya forest is a typical feature of many travel-stories. Somadeva’s writing more or less reflects the life of the people of Northern India during the 11th century. His Kathasaritsagara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Ashoka, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravahanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyadharas (celestial beings).

Source: Ancient Buddhist Texts: Geography of Early Buddhism

Asoka (असोक) and Asoka are mountains situated in Majjhimadesa (Middle Country) of ancient India, as recorded in the Pāli Buddhist texts (detailing the geography of ancient India as it was known in to Early Buddhism).—The Anoma and Asoka mountains do not seem from their description in the Apadāna, to have been far off from the Himavanta.

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Biology (plants and animals)

Source: Wisdom Library: Local Names of Plants and Drugs

Ashoka [ಅಶೋಕ] in the Kannada language is the name of a plant identified with Saraca asoca (Roxb.) Wilde from the Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar) family having the following synonyms: Jonesia asoka. For the possible medicinal usage of ashoka, you can check this page for potential sources and references, although be aware that any some or none of the side-effects may not be mentioned here, wether they be harmful or beneficial to health.

Source: Google Books: CRC World Dictionary (Regional names)

1) Asoka in India is the name of a plant defined with Polyalthia longifolia in various botanical sources. This page contains potential references in Ayurveda, modern medicine, and other folk traditions or local practices It has the synonym Uvaria altissima Pennant, nom. illeg. (among others).

2) Asoka is also identified with Saraca asoca It has the synonym Jonesia pinnata Willd. (etc.).

3) Asoka is also identified with Saraca indica It has the synonym Jonesia asoca sensu auct. (etc.).

Example references for further research on medicinal uses or toxicity (see latin names for full list):

· Mant. Pl. (1767)
· FBI (1878)
· Mantissa Plantarum (1767)
· Asiatic Researches (1795)
· Journal of Natural Medicines (2007)
· Blumea (1968)

If you are looking for specific details regarding Asoka, for example chemical composition, pregnancy safety, extract dosage, health benefits, side effects, diet and recipes, have a look at these references.

Biology book cover
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This sections includes definitions from the five kingdoms of living things: Animals, Plants, Fungi, Protists and Monera. It will include both the official binomial nomenclature (scientific names usually in Latin) as well as regional spellings and variants.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

asoka : (adj.) free from sorrow. (m.) the tree Jonesia Asoka.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

1) Asoka, 2 (Sk. aśoka) the Asoka tree, Jonesia Asoka J. V, 188; Vv 354, 359 (°rukkha); Vism. 625 (°aṅkura); VvA. 173 (°rukkha). (Page 89)

2) Asoka, 1 (adj.) (a + soka, cp. Sk. aśoka) free from sorrow Sn. 268 (= nissoka abbūḷha-soka-salla KhA 153); Dh. 412; Th. 2, 512. (Page 89)

Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

aśōka (अशोक).—m (S) pop. aśōga A shrub, Jonesia Asoca. 2 The name of another flowering shrub.

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asōka (असोक).—& asōga f (Corr. from aśōka S) A shrub, Jonesia Asoca.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

aśōka (अशोक).—m A shrub, Jonesia Asoca.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Aśoka (अशोक).—a. Without sorrow, not feeling or causing sorrow.

-kaḥ Name of a tree having red flowers (Jonesia Asoka Roxb.); [said, according to the convention of poets, to put forth flowers when struck by ladies with the foot decked with jingling anklets and painted with lack-dye. Kālidāsa mentions the flowering of this tree in Spring (cf. Rs.6.5,16). The painted foot bears a striking resemblance in colour to the flowers of Asoka (cf. R.8.63). cf. असूत सद्यः कुसुमान्यशोकः (asūta sadyaḥ kusumānyaśokaḥ)... पादेन नापैक्षत सुन्दरीणां संपर्कमाशिञ्जितनूपुरेण (pādena nāpaikṣata sundarīṇāṃ saṃparkamāśiñjitanūpureṇa) Kumārasambhava 3.26; Meghadūta 8; R.8.62; M.3.12.17; also पादाघातादशोकस्तिलककुरबकौ वीक्षणालिङ्गनाभ्याम् । स्त्रीणा स्पर्शात् प्रियङ्गुर्विकसति बकुलः सीधुगण्डूषसेकात् । मन्दारो नर्मवाक्यात् पटु- मृदुहसनाच्चम्पको वक्त्रवातात् चूतो गीतान्नमेरुर्विकसति च पुरो नर्तनात्- कर्णिकारः (pādāghātādaśokastilakakurabakau vīkṣaṇāliṅganābhyām | strīṇā sparśāt priyaṅgurvikasati bakulaḥ sīdhugaṇḍūṣasekāt | mandāro narmavākyāt paṭu- mṛduhasanāccampako vaktravātāt cūto gītānnamerurvikasati ca puro nartanāt- karṇikāraḥ) ||]

2) Name of Viṣṇu.

3) Name of a minister of king Dasaratha. (v. l. for akopa. Rām.1.7.3).

4) Name of a celebrated king of the Maurya dynasty, said to have reigned from 234-198 B. C.

5) Name of the बकुल (bakula). tree अशोको वञ्जुले माने द्रुमनिःशोकयोर्मतः । वर्तते कटुरोहिण्याम् (aśoko vañjule māne drumaniḥśokayormataḥ | vartate kaṭurohiṇyām)... Nm.

6) Joy, happiness; अशोकजैः प्रीतिमयैः कपिमालिङ्गय संभ्रमात् । सिषेच भरतः श्रीमान्विपुलैरश्रुबिन्दुभिः (aśokajaiḥ prītimayaiḥ kapimāliṅgaya saṃbhramāt | siṣeca bharataḥ śrīmānvipulairaśrubindubhiḥ) || Rām.6.125.42.

-kā 1 Name of a medical plant (kaṭuka; Mar. kuṭakī).

2) The sixth day in the first half of Chaitra.

3) One of the female domestic deities of the Jainas.

-kam 1 Quicksilver.

2) The blossom of the Asoka plant (forming one of the five arrows of Cupid).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Aśoka (अशोक).—n. pr. (proper name): (1) name of a former Buddha, Mahāvastu iii.238.6, 7; (2) name of a nephew and disciple of the Buddha Kāśyapa, Avadāna-śataka i.237.14 ff.; (3) name of a king who lived in the time of the Buddha Krakucchanda, Divyāvadāna 418.26 f.; (4) name of a yakṣa, Mahā-Māyūrī 68; (5) name of an uncle of King Mahāpraṇāda, and previous incarnation of Bhaddālin, q.v., Divyāvadāna 59.20; 60.10; (6) name of the historic emperor, Mahāvyutpatti 3653; (Ārya-)Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa 606.14; Karmavibhaṅga (and Karmavibhaṅgopadeśa) 154.14; was given the epithet Dharmāśoka, q.v.; his family name was Maurya, q.v.; he lived 100 years after Buddha's death according to Avadāna-śataka ii.200.7; in Divyāvadāna 364.17 ff. is told first his previous life as Jaya, in which he gave some dust (this is the pāṃśu-pradāna) to the Buddha, made a praṇidhāna, and hence became later the emperor Aśoka, 368.26 ff.; his birth and life as emperor, 370.10 ff.

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Aśokā (अशोका).—(= Pali Asokā), name of a leading female lay-disciple under Maṅgala Buddha: Mahāvastu i.248.19; 252.8.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Aśoka (अशोक).—mfn.

(-kaḥ-kā-kaṃ) Cheerful, not sorrowful. m.

(-kaḥ) A tree commonly Asoka (Jonesia Asoca.) n.

(-kaṃ) Quicksilver. f.

(-kā) 1. A medicinal plant, see kaṭukī. 2. One of the female domestic deities of the jainas. E. a neg. and śoka sorrow.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Aśoka (अशोक).—[a-śoka]. I. adj. Free from sorrow, [Nala] 12, 107. Ii. m. A shrub, Jonesia Asoka, [Ṛtusaṃhāra] 6, 16. Iii. n. An asoka-flower, [Ṛtusaṃhāra] 6, 6.

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Aśoka (अशोक).—see s. v.

Aśoka is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms a and śoka (शोक).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Aśoka (अशोक).—[adjective] heatless, painless; [masculine] the Aśoka tree.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Aśoka (अशोक):—[=a-śoka] 1. a-śoka mf(ā)n. (√1. śuc), not causing sorrow Name; [Lalita-vistara]

2) [v.s. ...] not feeling sorrow, [Nalôd.]

3) [v.s. ...] m. the tree Jonesia Asoka Roxb. (a tree of moderate size belonging to the leguminous class with magnificent red flowers), [Mahābhārata] etc.

4) [v.s. ...] Name of a minister of king Daśaratha, [Rāmāyaṇa i, 7, 3]

5) [v.s. ...] of a well-known king (in Pāṭaliputra), [Mahābhārata; Buddhist literature] etc.

6) Aśokā (अशोका):—[=a-śokā] [from a-śoka] f. Name of a medicinal plant, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

7) [v.s. ...] a female name, ([gana] śubhrādi q.v.)

8) [v.s. ...] Name of one of the female deities of the Jainas, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

9) Aśoka (अशोक):—[=a-śoka] n. the blossom of the Aśoka plant, [Vikramorvaśī], (cf. [Pāṇini 4-3, 166; Siddhānta-kaumudī])

10) [v.s. ...] quicksilver, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

11) [=a-śoka] 2. a-śoka mfn. (√3. śuc), without heat, [Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa xiv.]

12) Āśokā (आशोका):—f. Name of a woman, ([gana] śubhrādi, [Pāṇini 4-1, 123.])

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Aśoka (अशोक):—[a-śoka] (kaḥ) 1. m. A shrub (Jonesia). n. Quicksilver. a. Cheerful.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Aśoka (अशोक) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit words: Asoa, Asoga, Asogā, Āsoa.

[Sanskrit to German]

Ashoka in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Aśoka (अशोक) [Also spelled ashok]:—(nm) Jonesia asoka (a tree); (a) without grief, freed from grief.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Aśōka (ಅಶೋಕ):—

1) [adjective] not affected by or feeling sorrow; not distressed; happy.

2) [adjective] not causing sorrow; pleasing.

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Aśōka (ಅಶೋಕ):—

1) [noun] a god; a deity.

2) [noun] an ascetic.

3) [noun] the tree Saraca indica ( = Jonesia asoca) of Caesalpiniaceae family.

4) [noun] the tree Polyathia cerasoides of Annonaceae family; an avenue tree.

5) [noun] the tree Hardwickia binata ( = H. pinnata) of Caesalpiniaceae family.

6) [noun] a celebrated king of Maurya dynasty (273-232 B.C.) and the first Indian ruler to embrace Buddhism.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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