What lessons can be learned from King Ashoka (Hinduism) (Bhagavad Gita)

Dear friends, today let us know something new, something different than what you and me have learnt from our school textbooks.

Today, let us know the real knowledge as per the great Bhagavad Gita, Sri Vishnu Sahasranama and other Shastras (Hindu divine books).

Let us acquire the lessons which was neither teached and / nor instructed in our schools from our teachers about King Ashoka.

Dear friends, first of all let us know the Sanskrit meaning of the name (word) Ashoka.

In Sanskrit, Ashoka = A + Shoka = Never + Unhappy = Never unhappy. Ashoka is such a personality, that he can never be unhappy.

Ashoka can’t be in sadness, can’t be in miserable situation, he can’t be an unlucky person, etc.

In the great Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, Lord Vishnu is called as “Shoka Nashanah” as per the below shloka:

उदीर्णः सर्वतश्चक्षुरनीशः शाश्वतस्थिरः |
भूशयो भूषणो भूतिर्विशोकः शोकनाशनः || 67 ||

udīrṇaḥ sarvataścakṣuranīśaḥ śāśvatasthiraḥ |
bhūśayō bhūṣaṇō bhūtirviśōkaḥ śōkanāśanaḥ || 67 ||

ಉದೀರ್ಣಃ ಸರ್ವತಶ್ಚಕ್ಷುರನೀಶಃ ಶಾಶ್ವತಸ್ಥಿರಃ |
ಭೂಶಯೋ ಭೂಷಣೋ ಭೂತಿರ್ವಿಶೋಕಃ ಶೋಕನಾಶನಃ || 67 ||

Here “शोकनाशनः / ಶೋಕನಾಶನಃ / śōkanāśanaḥmeans, Lord Vishnu with highest ease can destroy all our miseries, unhappiness, sadness, ill-fate, depression, grief, gloominess, irritation, etc. etc. etc. if we are a real devotee of Lord Vishnu.

This means, Lord Vishnu is such “Supreme Personality”, he can easily free all of us from the unhappiness, sadness, misery, etc.

Dear friends, in our school textbooks we have learnt that the King Ashoka was the famous Mauryan emperor, ruled a major part of the Indian sub-continent in the 3rd century before the Christ Era.

Our school textbooks have shown him as a great peaceful personality after the war of the Kalinga which was fought against another ruler called as King / Raja Anantha Padmanabha.

(We should note that, not much information have been mentioned about this King / Raja Anantha Padmanabha in our textbooks or any where else. If you have more information about this King, please let me know in the comments box.)

In our textbooks we have learnt that King Ashoka declared war on the Kalingas, as Kalingas refused to accept the rule of Mauryanas in the 261 BCE.

King Ashoka declared war on Kalinga eight years after he became the King. In this battle, 1.5 Lakh people participated and almost 1 Lakh were died and also many became the refugees.

Also, our textbooks explains that, although the Kalinga war was won by King Ashoka, he was completely shocked because of the outcome of this war. Here he saw a great pain, deaths, blood etc.

Thus the King Ashoka decided not to wage war thereafter. King Ashoka considered victory of religion is better than the victory in the battle field.

Thus finally King Ashoka himself converted to Buddhism. He taught Buddhism is spreading peace and harmony.

Now, let us look into the Hindu scriptures (Sanatana Dharma) and understand the following:

Can one convert to another religion?

Does conversion of religion really helps someone?

What Hinduism says about war and peace?

What are the duties of a King (Kshatriya)?

Is war good or bad as per Hinduism? etc.

Can one convert to another religion?

Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) has always given every right and freedom for all the people on this earth. He / She can stay in any Dharma as per his / her will.

But Sanatana Dharma also says that, he / she should and must bear all the consequences as per his / her Karmas, whether he / she stays in Sanatana Dharma or in any of the other present day religion(s).

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita in the chapter 2, shloka #47 says that : 

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ 2-47 ॥

ಕರ್ಮಣ್ಯೇವಾಧಿಕಾರಸ್ತೇ ಮಾ ಫಲೇಷು ಕದಾಚನ ।
ಮಾ ಕರ್ಮಫಲಹೇತುರ್ಭೂರ್ಮಾ ತೇ ಸಂಗೋSಸ್ತ್ವಕರ್ಮಣಿ ॥ 2-47 ॥

karmaṇyēvādhikārastē mā phalēṣu kadācana।
mā karmaphalahēturbhūrmā tē saṅgōSstvakarmaṇi॥ 2-47॥


karmaṇye = The recommended (prescribed) responsibilities; eva = Definitely; adhikārah = right; te = Of you; = Never; phalēṣu = In the fruits; kadācana = At any time; = Never; karma phala = The result of the works done; hētuh = Cause; bhūr = Become; = Never; tē = Of you; saṅgah = Attachment; astu = Be there; akarmaṇi = In not performing.

Basic meaning:

This is said by Bhagavan Sri Krishna to his beloved devotee and friend Arjuna: “You (Arjuna) have every right to perform your recommended (prescribed) responsibilities, but you (Arjuna) are not definitely entitled for the fruits of your own action (works).

Never ever think that you are your own cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached with the works performed by you, just think it is your duty (duties).”

Deep and inside meaning:

Immediately after doing our Karma(s), that is, good deeds, works, duties etc., expecting fruits shows that we are purely an egoist person and want everything to happen very fast and immediately.

Without expecting the fruits of our works when we do our Karma(s), the fruits Bhagavan Sri Krishna gives is divine, unlimited and definitely we would have never expected that output too.

Doing karma without expecting fruit(s), will result in enormous amount of happiness, bliss, pleasure, delight, joy, etc. and definitely the true satisfaction.

We should always note that, 5k years before, that is, before the start of Kali Yuga there was no other religion on this earth except the Sanatana Dharma.

Sanatana Dharma is not a religion, but in fact it is the way of life, it is a list of rules that has to be followed. These rules are given directly by Lord Vishnu (Lord Rama / Lord Krishna etc. avatars).

Before 5k years, all were following Sanatana Dharma.

Yes, few had their own ideas like Kamsa, Ravana, Hiranyakashipu, Duryodhana, Shishupala, etc. We should always remember that what happened to all these people.

In Today’s period, there is not a single person who belongs to these lineages of Kamsa, Ravana, Hiranyakashipu, Duryodhana, Shishupala, Paudraka etc.

(If anyone aware of the lineage of these people, please let me know in the comments box with authentic inputs.)

Does conversion of religion really helps someone?

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18, shloka #47 says that :

श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुण: परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् |
स्वभावनियतं कर्म कुर्वन्नाप्नोति किल्बिषम् || 47 ||

ಶ್ರೇಯಾನ್ಸ್ವಧರ್ಮೋ ವಿಗುಣಃ ಪರಧರ್ಮಾತ್ಸ್ವನುಷ್ಠಿತಾತ್ ।
ಸ್ವಭಾವನಿಯತಂ ಕರ್ಮ ಕುರ್ವನ್ನಾಪ್ನೋತಿ ಕಿಲ್ಬಿಷಂ ॥ 18-47 ॥

śrēyānsvadharmō viguṇaḥ paradharmātsvanuṣṭhitāt।
svabhāvaniyataṁ karma kurvannāpnōti kilbiṣaṁ॥ 18-47॥

śhreyān = Better; sva-dharmō = One’s own prescribed varna (occupational) duty; viguṇaḥ = Imperfectly done; para-dharmāt = Than another’s dharma;

su-anuṣhṭhitāt = Perfectly done; svabhāva-niyataṁ = According to one’s innate nature; karma = Duty; kurvan = By performing; na āpnoti = Does not incur; kilbiṣham = Sin

Meaning of the above shloka : It is better to do one’s own dharma (varna / occupational dharma), even though imperfectly, than to do another’s dharma (another varna / occupational dharma), even though perfectly. By doing one’s innate duties, a person does not incur sin.

Meaning in simple words : If a person ‘X’ is a teacher of Mathematics, he / she should try to teach his / her students only Mathematics and shouldn’t try to teach Biology. This is because, ‘X’ profession is to teach Mathematics and not Biology.

This subject Biology has completely different understanding and there are people who has expertise in teaching Biology.

Thus ‘X’ should teach his / her expertise subject of Mathematics and not any other subject. Similarly, people who have expertise in Biology should teach only Biology and shouldn’t be trying to teach Mathematics or any other subject(s).

Thus, someone who is born in Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma), his / her parents and ancestors are aware of the greatness of Hinduism.

Just because someone says “if you marry me and convert to my religion you will get wealth, property, happiness, prosperity, etc.”, then it is just a foolishness and nothing else.

Conversion with greed or less knowledge about another religion will certainly send that person into bigger problems and that person is sure of falling to bigger ditch.

If Lord Vishnu has wished you to be born in Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma), then how can any other religion’s God can save you if you convert to another religion. This is certainly a pure stupidity.

Only Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is existing since ages and all the other present new religions are based on one person theory and nothing else.

This is happening since ages, If we have heard about Hindu Puranas, we must be aware of the people like Hiranyakashipu, Hiranyaksha, Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Shishupala, Dantavakra, Kamsa, Kalanemi, Duryodhana, etc. who had started their own religions and their own theories.

But we all know what happened to these people. As said before, not a single person of these lineage is existing in today’s date.

What Hinduism says about war and peace?

Bhagavan Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita chapter 2, shloka #33 as given below:

अथ चेतत्त्वमिमं धर्म्यं संग्रामं न करिष्यसि |
तत: स्वधर्मं कीर्तिं च हित्वा पापमवाप्स्यसि || 33||

ಅಥ ಚೇತ್ತ್ವಮಿಮಂ ಧರ್ಮ್ಯಂ ಸಂಗ್ರಾಮಂ ನ ಕರಿಷ್ಯಸಿ ।
ತತಃ ಸ್ವಧರ್ಮಂ ಕೀರ್ತಿಂ ಚ ಹಿತ್ವಾ ಪಾಪಮವಾಪ್ಸ್ಯಸಿ ॥ 2-33 ॥

atha cēttvamimaṁ dharmyaṁ saṅgrāmaṁ na kariṣyasi।
tataḥ svadharmaṁ kīrtiṁ ca hitvā pāpamavāpsyasi॥ 2-33॥

atha chet = If, however; tvam = You; imam = This; dharmyam saṅgrāmam = Righteous war; na = Not; kariṣhyasi = Act; tataḥ = Then; sva-dharmam = One’s duty in accordance with the Vedas; kīrtim = Reputation; cha = And; hitvā = Abandoning; pāpam = Sin; avāpsyasi = Will incur

Meaning of the above shloka : If, however, you (Arjuna) refuse to fight this righteous war, abandoning your social duty and reputation, you will certainly incur sin.

Simple meaning of the above shloka : If our enemy country attacks us, can we simply keep quite and wait for the heinous consequences?

Let our enemy country attack us, kill us, rape our women, loot our property, destroy our temples, etc., but we should keep quite and calm. Is this correct?

No, we can’t do that. We have to attack our enemy country and we need to nullify their attacks immediately. This is the correct duty of our soldiers (Kshatriya).

That is, the perfect duty of a King (Kshatriya). King can’t keep quite when his enemy is trying to wage a war against his country. A Kshatriya (King) has to attack his attacking enemy and should completely nullify his enemies powers.

Some times, war means peace. We have to attack our attacking enemy (enemies) and must and should nullify our enemy (enemies) immediately.

What are the duties of a King?

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita chapter 4, Shloka #13 says that :

चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुण-कर्म-विभागशः ।
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययं || 4-13 ||

ಚಾತುರ್ವರ್ಣ್ಯಂ ಮಯಾ ಸೃಷ್ಟಂ ಗುಣ-ಕರ್ಮ-ವಿಭಾಗಶಃ ।
ತಸ್ಯ ಕರ್ತಾರಮಪಿ ಮಾಂ ವಿದ್ಧ್ಯಕರ್ತಾರಮವ್ಯಯಂ || 4-13 ||

cāturvarṇyaṁ mayā sr̥ṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ।
tasya kartāramapi māṁ vid’dhyakartāramavyayaṁ || 4-13 ||


chatur-varnyam = The four varnas / divisions of human society; mayaa = Done by Me (Sri Krishna); srstam = Created; guna = quality; karma = Karma; vibhagasah = In the form of division;

tasya = Of that; kartaram = The father; api = although; mam = Me (Sri Krishna); viddhi = you may know; akartaram = As the non-doer; avyayam = Being unalterable.


I (Sri Krishna) have created four Varnas, that is, Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra based on the Karma and deeds of Jeevas (living beings).

And, although I am the creator of these four varnas, you should always remember that I am (Sri Krishna) yet the non-doer and being unalterable.

A great saint of Sri Madhwa (Dvaita) Sampradaya, Sri Raghavendra Swamy has given an extensive explanation for this shloka with the help of Sri Madhwacharya Ji’s commentary.

This Varna system explained is not limited to only India, but is applicable to the entire humanity.

On the outward way it may look like Bhagavan Sri Krishna has created these four varnas, that is, Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra.

But Sri Madhwacharya Ji says this classification is not based purely on the body, but is based on atma / soul.

Each atma / soul has very unique nature of its own. This means, every atma / soul is different from each. My atma / soul is different from your atma / soul.

Many of us know that atmas / souls have been widely divided into three Gunas (qualities), that is, Satvika, Rajasa and Tamasa.

Satvikas include all the Devatas / Demigods.

Tamasas include the Asuras and lowest level of humans.

Rajasas has again divided into three divisions, that is, Rajasa-Satvika, Rajasa-Rajasa, Rajasa-Tamasa.

And again amidst these, Rajasa-Satvika group is divided into chaturvarnya i.e, Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra in Bhagavad gita.

If an atma / soul (with the combination of Rajasa and Satvika) has greater (too high) ‘Satvika guna’ than ‘Rajasa Guna’, then he will be called as a Brahmana.

If ‘Satva Guna’ is a little more than ‘Rajasa Guna’, than he will be called as a Kshatriya.

If ‘Satva Guna’ and ‘Rajo Guna’ are equal in quantity, then he will be called as a Vaishya.

If ‘Rajo Guna’ is higher than ‘Satva Guna’, then he will be called as a Shudra.

This is the correct meaning of Chatur Varna as per Hinduism / Sanatana Dharma.

Thus, a Kshatriya’s mine duty is to protect his subjects and country from the enemies, natural disaster, etc.

If and only if a Kshatriya (Today’s ministers) is protecting all his subject and country, he can be called as Kshatriya otherwise just for name sake he can’t be be called as a Kshatriya.

Lord Krishna always says to Arjuna to fight in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This is because, the main duty of a Kshatriya is to fight his enemy and save his subjects and country.

If the Indian Army doesn’t fight his neighboring enemies and keeps calm, then what is the use of the Indian Army. An army personnel main duty is to fight the enemies and protect the country.

Dear friends, I have added enough information about the “What lessons can be learnt from King Ashoka as per Hinduism (Bhagavad Gita)”.

More information will be added to this on regular basis. Do visit my website after some time to get updated.

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Srimad Bhagavad Gita full lyrics in Kannada

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Srimad Bhagavad Gita full lyrics in Sanskrit (Hindi)

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Srimad Bhagavad Gita full lyrics in English

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