- “In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness, in their welfare his welfare. What pleases him he shall not consider as good but whatever pleases his subjects he shall consider as good”
Heads of various departments
Senapati—Commander of the army
Durgapala—Governor of the forest
Prasasta—Head of the Police
Vamisika—Leader of the haremguards.
- Parisad—A democratic body in the early Vedic period, had turned into a rather exclusive council of high dignitaries.
- The IIIrd MRE suggests that one of the functions of the Parisad was to control the observance of the Dharma.
- Sabha—In Ashoka’s inscription, the Sabha is not mentioned, but an analysis of Megasthenes reports and their comparison with the data of the ancient Indian sources enable one to suppose that it did exist in the Mauryan period.
- Patanjali refers to the Sabha under Chandragupta.
- Vijita was the territory which was directly controlled by him and his agencies.
- The ithijhakha-mahamattas controlled the harem and other departments involving women.
- Jurisdiction in the rural areas was conducted by the rajukas.
- Gurdians of the law in a city or town were astynomi who were grouped into six bodies of five persons each.
I. The members of the first look after every-thing relating to the industrial arts.
II. Those of the second attend to the entertainment of foreigners.
III. The third body consists of those who inquire when and how births and deaths occur.
IV. The fourth class superintends trade and commerce.
V. The fifth class supervises manufactured articles.
VI. The sixth and the last consists of those who collect a tenth of the price of the article sold.
- The city was divided into four parts, each headed by Sthanika; an official subordinated to the chief city official, the nagarika.
- The civil courts were called Dharma-sthiva and the criminal courts Kantaksodhana.
- The administration of the army was looked after by a war-office consisting of thirty members, divided into six boards of five members each.
- These boards were separately incharge of I Admiralty II. Transport III. Infantry IV. Cavalry V. Chariots VI. Elephants.
- To kinds of taxes, bali and bhaga, are referred to in the edicts of Ashoka.
- The Rumanendei edict records that the village of Lumbini, where the Buddha was born, was exempted from bali and was to pay only one-eigth of the bhaga.
- Bhaga was levied on the agricultural produce and the cattle at the rate of one-sixth and was called the king’s share.
- Bali was a religious tribute.
- According to the Arthasastra, the Brahmins, women, children, armourers, the blind, the deaf and other handicapped persons, and the king’s men were exempted from taxation.
- Barley was grown in the west India—Usinara and Madra, and rice in Magadha.
- Both the Jatakas and the Mahavagga mentions large rice-fields in the Magadha area.
- The Mahavagga contains direct evidence of artificial irrigation in Magadha.
- During the excavations in Ujjain archaeologists found a furnace, which is clear evidence of the development of iron-working.
- The main centres of cotton industry were Kasi, Mathura, Vanga and Aparanta in west India.
- According to Kautilya linen manufacturing centres were Kasi and Pandra.
- Gandhara was a wool centre.
- There was a special bazar for selling ivory articles in Varanasi.
- Srenis (a group of people living by a common craft or trade) were organised according to a rigid principle and were headed by hereditary chiefs, jetthakas.
- The Satavahana and the Vakataka inscriptions mention direct economic relations between the state and these corporation.
- The articles of imports were, horses, gold, arsenic, antimony, glass, sesame and some kinds of stones.
- The chief articles of export were species, perfumes, precious stones, ivory articles, cotton fabrics, silk, rice and various sorts of wood and dyes.
- Arthasastra states that the State appointed 27 superintendents mostly to regulate the economic activities of the state.
- Megasthenese declared that there were no slaves in India.
- He distinguished seven groups in Indian society. These are sophists (philosopher), cultivators, herdsmen and hunters, artisans and tradesmen, fighters, overseers, councillors and assessors.
Know The Important Facts
- Bhabru Edict, Schism Edict and Nigalisagar Inscriptions belong to the category directed to the Sangha.
- In Bhabru edict Ashoka express his faith in the Buddhist creed.
- According to Kalhana’s Rajatarangini Ashoka have built the city of Srinagar.
- The king of Sri Lanka, Tissa, adopted the title of Devanampiya and appears to have modelled himself on Ashoka.
- According to Kalhan’s Rajatarangini, Ashoka’s successor was Jaluka.
- Saurashtra—Junagadh had a foreign (Yavana-Greek) Governor.
- The most famous centre of learning during the Mauryan period was Taxila.
- The masterpieces of Mauryan art were the Stupas.
- Kalinga roughly corresponds to modern Orissa and the Ganjam district of Madras.
Mauryan order Regional Mauryan order Regional
of Succession Period of Succession Period
Chandragupta 24 years Bindusara 25 years
Asoka 36 years Dasharatha 8 years
Samprati 9 years Salisuka 13 years
Devadharman 7 years Satadharman 8 years
Brihadratha 7 years
- Gudhapurushas were the detectives.
- The Rumanendei edict records that the village of Lumbini, where the Buddha was born, was exempted from bali.
- Bhaga was levied on agricultural produce and Bali was a religious tribute.
- Pradesika were district officers equivalent to modern district magistrate.
- The Panchatantra notes, “it is wealth that gives a man status.”
- It is stated in the Majjhim-Nikaya that if a Sudra had multiplied his wealth, he was entitled to hire as a servant not only another Sudra but also a Vaishya, a Kshatriya or even a Brahmana.
- There were restrictions on the free movement of women which indicates that purdah system was gaining currency.
- The system of sati was practised at few places in the North-West.
- Monogamy was the rule but the rich people kept many wives. Prostitution was prevalent.
- Administrative Changes or
Reforms by Ashoka
- Orders were given to Rajukas, Yutas and Mahamatras to remain on constant tour within their administrative areas with a view to keep watch on their subordinate officials so that they did not fail in their duty in providing justice and welfare to the people.
- He appointed new classes of officers called the Dharma-Yutas, Dharma-Mahamatras, and Stri-Adhyekash-Mahamatras (female mahamatras). Their primary duty was to make efforts for the moral and spiritual uplift of the subjects.
- The Rajukas were given judicial powers so that the people could have easy and convenient access to justice.
- For social works an officer called Vrajabhumika was appointed.
- Ashoka commanded his officers from the provincial Governors down to the district officer to go on quinquennial (after every five year) or sometimes triennial (after every three years) tours to enable them to come into direct contact with the people.
- Ashoka made an important innovation by delegating his royal powers to the commissioners and allowing them a good deal of independence.
- Ashoka introduced paternalistic conception of kingly duties.
- The Main Features of Dhamma of Ashoka (MRE = Major Rock Edict)
- Prohibition of animal sacrifices and festive gatherings (M.R.E.-I) and avoiding expensive and meaningless ceremonies and rituals (M.R.E.-IX).
- Efficient organisation of administration (M.R.E-VI) in the direction of social welfare (M.R.E.-II).
- Non-violence to animals and courtesy to relations (M.R.E.-IV) and liberality to Brahmanas,
Know The Important Facts
- Vachabhumika were appointed to look after the rest-houses, groves, wells, etc.
- Prativedikas were the reporters.
- The rajukas belonged to the department of administration responsible for surveying and assessing land.
- The duties of the Yukta largely comprised of secreterial work and accounting.
- Trade routes were to be looked after and protected by Samaharta.
- The specific terms for traders’ corporation was perhaps nigama.
- The sartha type guilds were mobile corporations for the transit trade.
- In Kautilya’s time Vanga was famous for its fabrics of dukula (made of fibre of the plant).
- Kautilya mentioned five kinds of frangrant woods namely chandana, agaru, tailaparnika, bhadrasri and kaleyaka.
- The ivory-workers of Vidisha recorded their donation on a gateway of the Great Stupa at Sanchi.
- Manu, while repeating the legal rate of 1¼ per cent per month allowed by Gautama and Vashishtha, alternatively sanctions 2 per cent, in general or 2, 3, 4 and 5 per cent for Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra debtors respectively. Yajnavalkya repeats Manu’s schedule of rates.
Sarmanas etc. (M.R.E.-III).
- Humane treatment of servants by masters and of prisoners by the government (M.R.E.-V), it also mentions the appointment of Dhamma-Mahamatras.
- Tolerance among all the sects (M.R.E—VII & XII).
- Replacement of ‘Bherighosa’ (sound of war drum) by Dhammaghosa (sound of peace) (M.R.E.-XIII).
- Maintenance of constant contact with the rural people through the system of Dhammayatras (M.R.E.—VIII).
Dhamma of Ashoka
- According to Indian sources, under Nigrodha’s (the Buddhist monk) influence Ashoka became a disciple of Buddha.
- According to the Divyavadana it was the influence of Samudra.
- “It is more than two and a half years that I have been Upasaka, but I have not been very zealous (in the field of Buddhism). It is more than a year that I have visited the sangha and I have been very Zealous.”- Minor Rock Edict
- The ‘Schism Edict’ contains the king’s decree instructing that the monks or nun undermining the unity of the Sanghas, should be dressed in white garments and banished from the community.”
- In Bhabru Edict Ashoka openly declares his devotion to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
- Mahavamsa speaks about the third Buddhist Council under Ashoka was convened by Tissa Moggaliputta.
- “I devote my attention to all communities, for all denominations are reverened by me with various forms of reverence”.
- “.....Here no living things is to be killed and sacrificed, and no assembly is to be held”—Ist. Rock Edict.