Assaka: 4 definitions


Assaka means something in Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India. 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.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

1. Assaka - A king mentioned in the Nimi Jataka, in a list of kings, such as Dudipa, Sagara, Sela, etc., who, in spite of all their great sacrifices, were not able to go beyond the Peta world.

2. Assaka - King of Potali in the kingdom of Kasi. His queen consort Ubbari was very dear to him, and when she died he was plunged into grief. He put her corpse in a coffin, placed it under his bed and lay thereon, starving for seven days. The Bodhisatta was then an ascetic in the Himalaya, and just at this time he visited Potali. There, in the royal park, the king came to see him because he was told that the ascetic would show him Ubbari. The Bodhisatta showed him Ubbari now reborn as a dung worm in the park, because, being intoxicated with her own beauty, she had done no good deeds. Seeing the king incredulous, the ascetic made her speak, and she declared that she cared much more for the dung worm, who was now her mate, than for Assaka who had been her husband in her previous life. Assaka went back to the palace, had the body disposed of, married another queen and lived righteously. J.ii.155-8.

3. Assaka - King of Potanagara in the Assaka country, soon after the Buddhas death. He was the father of Sujata and had two wives. He bequeathed his kingdom to the son of the younger wife (VvA.259-60).

See also Aruna (2).

4. Assaka - The country of Assaka is one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya (A.i.213; iv.252, 256, 260). It does not, however; occur in the list of twelve countries given in the Janavasabha Sutta. The Assakas are said to have had settlements on the Godavari, and Bavaris hermitage (Sn.v.977) was in their territory, in close proximity to the Alaka or Mulaka (the district round Paithan) (Law, Early Geography, 21).

The country is mentioned with Avanti (J.v.317) in the same way as Anga with Magadha, and its position in the list between Surasena and Avanti makes it probable that when the list was drawn up, its position was immediately to the north west of Avanti. It is probable, in that case, that the Godavari settlement, in the Dakkhinapatha, was a later colony.

In the Assaka Jataka (J.ii.155) mention is made of a king Assaka whose realm was in the kingdom of Kasi. It is significant, in this connection, that the capital of Assaka, variously called Potana (E.g., D.ii.235; J.iii.3) or Potali (E.g., J.ii.155), is not mentioned in the reference to the Godavari.

According to the Culla Kalinga Jataka (J.iii.3-5), at one time the King of Assaka (Arum) accepted the challenge of King Kalinga of Dantapura to war, and defeated him. Later Assaka married Kalingas daughter and the relations between the two countries were amicable. In the Hathigumpha Inscription of Kharavela it is related that Kharavela, regardless of King Satakarni,

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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India history and geography

Source: Ancient Buddhist Texts: Geography of Early Buddhism

Assaka (अस्सक) refers to one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas of the 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).—In the Aṅguttara Nikāya Assaka it is mentioned as one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas of Jambudīpa. From the Mahāgovinda Suttanta of the Dīgha Nikāya we learn that Potana was the capital city of the Assakas. In the Sutta-Nipāta (verse 977) we find, however, mention of another Assaka country in the Dakkhiṇāpatha. We are told that the brahmin Bāvarī lived on the banks of the Godāvarī in the Assaka territory in close proximity to Aḷaka or Muḷaka (the district round Paithan).

Assaka represents the Sanskrit Aśmaka (or Aśvaka) which has been mentioned by Asaṅga in his Sūtrālaṅkāra as a country in the basis of the Indus. Asaṅga’s Aśmaka seems, therefore, to be identical with the Kingdom of Assakenus of the Greek writers which lay to the east of the Saraswatī at a distance of about 25 miles from the sea on the Swat Valley. The Aśmakas are also mentioned by Pāṇini. They are placed in the north-west by the authors of the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa and the Brihat-saṃhita. It was a branch of this people of the north-west that probably settled in the territory known in the Aṅguttara Nikāya as Assaka Mahājanapada whose capital was Potana or Potali, the Paudanya of the Mahābhārata.

At the time of the Buddha, the Assakas had another settlement on the Godāvarī as already mentioned. This is probably referred to in the Cullakāliṅga Jātaka and in the Hāthigumphā inscription. Bhaṭṭaswāmi, the commentator of Kauṭilya’s Arthaśāstra identifies Aśmaka, the contiguous territory of Avanti, with Mahārāṣṭra. Practically speaking, therefore, the Assaka country of the Buddhists, whether it be identical with Mahārāshtra or located on the Godāvarī, lay outside the pale of the Madhyadeśa.

India history book cover
context information

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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

assaka : (m.) penniless. (adj.), having nothing as one's own.

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

1) Assaka, 2 (adj.) (a + saka; Sk. asvaka) not having one’s own, poor, destitute M. I, 450; II, 68; A. III, 352; Ps. I, 126 (v. l. asaka). (Page 90)

2) Assaka, 1 (-°) (assa3 + ka) with a horse, having a horse; an’without a horse J. VI, 515 (+ arathaka). (Page 90)

Pali book cover
context information

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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