Emperor Ashoka, the third monarch of the Maurya Dynasty
, is one of the outstanding rulers in world history. In his early period of his reign, he was an ambitious and ruthless conqueror. The historic Kalinga War
was a turning point in his life. In the war, thousands lost their lives and many more became handicapped. This brought about a drastic change in Ashoka’s attitude towards violence and life in general. Thereafter, he lived for the welfare of his subjects. To atone for his past deeds, Ashoka embraced Budhism and achieved fame as Dharmashoka (Ashoka the just ruler).
Ashoka left behind rock inscriptions in the Prakrit language, mainly on Buddhist teachings. When these monuments were translated, a bulk of true facts on the Mauryan Empire was discovered. The national emblem of Ashoka Chakra was adopted from figures depicted on the monuments erected by Ashoka. The lion capital used on pillars by Ashoka forms the insignia of the Central Government of India.