Searching for a truth is hard and fun at the same time
Before we start, I'd like to say that this post was dedicated to give explanation about Ashoka. It is LONG, guys, so prepare yourself! I cannot guarantee 100% whether this explanation is right or not because I am myself still researching over and over. If you try to find about Ashoka's life story, you will find many differences between ones statements and the others.
Thus, I will try to sum up everything I have found so far and I will try to be as objective as I can.
Okay, life as one of the most exemplary king in India somehow is similar to celebrity. People try to find the truest truth, while some romanize the holes between the truth. Some others make fandoms and offer their 'fanfictions' too. But seriously, people will keep on trying to find the truth.
So, I have read about Ashoka the Great since I was still in Junior High School, and on 2000+ (I forgot the exact year) a movie about Ashoka was released. Though it was undoubtedly interested, I decided not to watch it because the one portraying Ashoka is... Sharukh Khan. Well, as much as I am respecting him as a megastar of India but... I think I got more than an eyeful of him also around that year. So yeah, maybe the magic wore off and I was bored by seeing his face in almost all famous India movies in my country :p
Later on, I felt relieved that I did not watch it because it seemed that Kareena Kapoor also offered... uh... more than an eyeful of her body :p
While guys would like it, I thought I would be irked :p
Then the interest about Ashoka the Great slowly faded away. For years... Until one day when I found out that Colors TV has started the broadcast of a TV serial entitled Chakravartin Ashoka Samraat.
Then, the curiosity tickles me again :p
Okay, so I have tried to trace back the history of Ashoka and I dwelled myself in so many sources stating about his history all over the internet then I found... ... so many differences between themselves, as well as differences between them and the shows (TV shows and movie)
Interestingly, all claimed that theirs are nearing the truth, whether explicitely or not. So, here I will share it to you. Feel free to correct me if I write it wrong, okay? :)
First of all, let's talk about the truth behind Ashoka's birth.
It was stated in TV show that Ashoka was born from a daughter of a guru. The wise woman was named Subhradrangi. This woman played a pivotal role of saving the life of Samraat Bindusara when he was gravely injured by the forest. Bindusara was infatuated by both her beauty and wisdom and not much later married her while he himself recovered. Bindusara gave her a name: Dharma.
Eventually, the Samraat's location was found by his minister (and later father in law from Khurasani), Mir. That was the first time Dharma found out that her husband was the emperor of Magadh. She encouraged Bindusara to go back to Pataliputra since he must be essentially needed there. Bindusara agreed. He departed back to Pataliputra and promised to go back to her soon.
Not too long after his coming back to Pataliputra, Bindusara was married to a princess of Khurasani which was also Mir's daughter, named Noor. The princess was now entitled as the second (since Dharma was not yet included and Bindusara has been married to Maharani Charumitra before he met Dharma) Rani of Magadh.
But, Bindusara missed Dharma all too much, and spoke of her name in his sleep. This enraged Noor, who was so in love with Bindusara. She told her father about this and he promised he would somehow get rid of anyone who gave sadness to his daughter. Following this, Mir chased the 9 months pregnant Dharma. She ran to her hut and Mir burnt her alive.
What Mir did not know was that Dharma safely gave birth to a son inbetween the fire. A child that took away all Dharma's sadness, hence he was named 'Ashoka'.
Dharma secluded herself away from her burnt hut and raised her son by herself. No one was aware that the infamous kind healer and guru named Subhradrangi was still alive, even Bindusara believed that she died in the fire, leaving him brokenhearted.
For years, Dharma taught Ashoka a lot about value of life and her son came to love and respect her like she was the world for him. Still, she only ever mentioned her name as Subhradrangi to her son, and never mentioned 'Dharma' at all.
Growing up as both smart and spontaneous boy, Ashoka befriended and became the leader of his peers. One day, Ashoka led his friends to make a fuss on a village, stating himself as Samraat Ashoka who would throw away Unani (Greece) from Magadh. Just at that same time, the main couselor of Magadh, Acharya Chanakya, was passing by. He found the boy reminding him of the founder of Magadh, Chandragupta Maurya, thus, he followed Ashoka back to the forest.
There, Chanakya found the lost 'queen' and the only true love of Bindusara, Devi Dharma.
Time out here. Let's take a look about the same topic from other source.
Okay, so truthfully, a lot of sources state that there was no one named Mir at all. There was no conspiration to kill Dharma / Subhradrangi at all. Dharma was indeed stated as a low rank queen of Bindusara and was actually a daughter of a guru, but I found no source stating her as 'the only true love' or something nearing that.
Was she Bindusara's favorite wife like shown in TV show? Again, I found no source indicating that :p
So, Ashoka was not born within the burning hut. Many sources states differently about the exact location of his birth. I have read a source stating that Ashoka was born in the palace, while other stated that Dharma secluded herself far from palace to give birth. The similarities are that no source said that Dharma was accompanied by Bindusara at the moment of Ashoka's birth, and, that the name 'Ashoka' was actually derived from Dharma's words of relieve, "Now I am freed of sadness," ('soka' means sadness in Hindi).
Still, no source stated what kind of sadness did actually befall Dharma. TV shows provided an alternative, leading viewer to think that the sadness was rooted from Bindusara's unfulfilled promise to Dharma.
How did Subhradrangi got her name 'Dharma'? Well, I found no source stating how, so... yeah, once again, the TV show provides you with alternative.
Another thing that was somewhat similar was Ashoka's childhood. All sources stated that Ashoka grew up as a smart boy. He showed a great deal of leadership since he was very young. Though, I found no source stating that Ashoka lived in secluded place unknown by his father.
Still, all sources indicated that Dharma means a whole lot for Ashoka. It was also indicated that the death of Dharma marked the change of Ashoka's personality to be violent and cruel. One source stated that Dharma died to protect Ashoka's wife, Devi, while they both were attacked. Other source stated that the cause of her death is unkown, thus presuming that she died naturally.
Was Ashoka originally a violent and cruel person? Well, I can say this much, Prince Ashoka was indeed a fearsome and cold-blooded general. This fact was stated in all sources that I have read so I personally think that this must be true. Then (I personally think) Dharma's death made it worsened.
Yep, the real Rajkumar Ashoka is not as kind, pure hearted and charming as shown in TV show.
Okay so now let's talk about relationship between Ashoka and Acharya Chanakya.
The TV show provided a truly heartwarming relationship between Chanakya and Ashoka ever since Chanakya brought the boy to the palace. While Chanakya served as the main couselor of Bindusara, he also provided a grandfather role for Ashoka. He saw Ashoka as his disciple and the boy returned it with wholehearted respect.
From time to time, Chanakya saved Ashoka from getting misjudged and killed. He also was a true protector of Dharma ever since she came as a daasi (servant) in the palace until long after she was recognized as the second wife of Bindusara. Chanakya believed that someone like Ashoka was fitted to become the next Samraat. There was a scene where he was visited by Chandragupta Maurya (posed as a lion) and that was when he got the vision of Ashoka.
Ashoka grew up consuming the values and insights Chanakya was giving him. These bond was severed by the death of Chanakya, taking away one of the utmost exemplary figures from the prince. This left Ashoka being heartbroken and (personally I saw) lost some part of his usual calmness.
Still, many scenes depicted how Ashoka held on close to Chanakya's teaching.
Okay, now let's take a look from other sources.
First of all, I have not found any source stating such a relationship between Ashoka and Chanakya. Whether they are truly like grandfather and grandson or not, well, I myself want to know too! XD
On TV show, Chanakya was killed by being stabbed multiple times and then burnt alive (okay I skipped this part on Youtube since I just could not see him in such a state. Chanakya's presence is one of the strongest in the show and he was just one breath away from revealing the truth to Bindusara. Then he was killed... like... brutally. It was depressing). Ashoka came just in time before he died but the old man's body was fatally burnt to be healed. He gave his last words to Ashoka and then passed away.
It was one of the most dramatic scene in Ashoka's TV shows. though I cannot speak Hindi, I still cried.
Well, I found a source stating that the real Chanakya died while meditating to starvation. I also read that that is one way to reach perfection of life in Jainism. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Though, another source stated that Chanakya was indeed burnt to death. It started when someone exclaimed to Bindusara that Chanakya killed his mother. Bindusara was enraged, and upon this, Chanakya ran from the palace and secluded himself on the mountain. Years passed, Bindusara finally found out that his mother passed away because of a poison within the food given by Chandragupta Maurya to her. At that time, she was pregnant. Since she was the queen consort of Chandragupta Maurya and there was no other candidate of crown prince, Chanakya took the last effort to save the baby Bindusara by dissecting her womb.
So she was not killed by Chanakya.
But, it was indeed Chanakya who put the poison inside the food.
Chanakya meant to have Chandragupta Maurya to eat that food, as Chanakya was secretly build up his emperor's resistance to poison by adding a small dose of it on the emperor's foods.
So at that very time, Chandragupta Maurya gave the food to his wife and... you know what happened next.
So, upon knowing the truth, Bindusara tried to get Chanakya back to the palace, but someone got to burnt Chanakya alive when the guru was meditating.
Well, either way, Chanakya was indeed dead long before the reign of Bindusara ended.
Next, let's talk about relationship between Ashoka and Bindusara.
The TV show presented so much affection given by Bindusara to Ashoka. Bindusara once stated that he found calm everytime he talked to him while Ashoka set aside his selfish side and became completely loyal to Bindusara, even long before the two found out that they were actually father and son. Ashoka even saved Bindusara's life several times without knowing that the man was really the other half of his mother.
Yes, Ashoka was at first completely in dark about who his father was. He even felt hatred for the man that left his mother to survive on her own.
After such a tough competiton, Ashoka won the Sword of Chandragupta Maurya over (later on revealed as Ashoka's half brother) Sushim, and Bindusara appointed Ashoka as his general and personal guard. Living up to Bindusara's expectation, Ashoka stayed by Bindusara's side and fulfil his duty.
Until one day, Rani Niharika from Ujjain brought up the name of a traitor: Dharma. She mentioned that Dharma led rebellion upon him. That was the very first time Magadh ever heard that their emperor's second wife is not Rani Noor, but Devi Dharma.
Bindusara fell into deep grieve upon knowing (the false state) that Dharma led revoltion. Ashoka sensed this, and promised Bindusara that he would find this woman named Dharma.
Of which made Ashoka's world spun around upon knowing that Dharma's maiden name was actually 'Subhradrangi', which meant that he was not 'just Ashoka' but 'Rajkumar Ashoka'. That scene when Ashoka finally found out his shocking truth was engraved deeply in my brain.
Ashoka came back to his mother, who finally relented and told him the whole story of his birth. Still, Ashoka could not find any way to make his father know that his mother was innocent. Following the turn of event, Bindusara finally found out about this truth when he saved both Ashoka and Subhradrangi from being killed by Mir.
That was intense, I mean I was waiting for months until Ashoka and Bindusara finally realized that they share the same blood :')
Bindusara was overly overjoyed upon knowing that the boy he had come to love was actually his son. In a blink of eye, Ashoka raised to become Bindusara's favorite son. That was too obvious to miss.
This love extended to Bindusara's deep grieve upon knowing that Ashoka (presumably) was killed on his way to subdue revoltion of Takshshila. He kept the Sword of Chandragupta Maurya that he gave to Ashoka and continued to mourn every now and then.
Okay, well, let's back to the history lesson.
First of all, I found no source indicating that Bindusara did not know that Ashoka was his son. I also did not find any source reciting that Ashoka was Bindusara's favorite son. Though, some sources stated that Bindusara has recognized Ashoka's skill and brain since the prince was really young.
Actually, I read that Ashoka was not good looking at all (which shocked me) so Bindusara did not pay much attention for him at first. Bindusara did not even care when Ashoka left the palace.
Okay, I will share what I read.
So, a source stated that Ashoka actually has many older brothers but only one younger brother named Vitashoka, the second son of Dharma. Ashoka's cleverness, combat skill and bravery made his brothers jealous, so they tried to get rid of him. It was not clear whether Ashoka was exiled or he ran away on his own.
Kinda messed up here, huh?
Well, honestly I was also confused at first. But for now I kind of okay seeing these differences.
Bindusara called Ashoka back to Pataliputra in order to subdue the revoltion in Takshshila (of which Sushim was its governor). Ashoka impressed Bindusara by subduing the revoltion only by letting Takshshila people knew that he was going there. Ashoka was warmly accepted by Takshshila people and this angered his brothers more.
So, next, Bindusara sent Ashoka to subdue the revoltion of Ujjain, of which no other general has ever been able to subdue. This was also a task that he did good.
Still, some sources stated that prior to his death, Bindusara appointed Sushim instead of Ashoka, as his successor, while another source stated that Bindusara died without choosing a successor. Regardless, all sources stated that Bindusara did not choose Ashoka as his successor at all, and, that Bindusara's death led to a huge war between brothers who wanted to claim the throne.
All sources also stated that Ashoka's ascend to throne was hugely supported by lots of minister. Ashoka killed all of his brothers (there is a legend in India that Ashoka killed 99 of his brothers) but Vitashoka then finally claim the throne of Magadh.
So, it is somewhat safe to say that the real Ashoka was seen as an underdog by Bindusara despite of his magnificence. It was kind of ironic that in the very end, the underdog was the one successing Bindusara.
Next let's get to know about relationship between Ashoka and his brothers.
We all can see in TV shows that Ashoka had three (it was about to be four) brothers: one older brother named Sushim, and two younger brother named Siamak (who was initially a very good friend with Ashoka) and Drupadh. As per the TV show on 8 January 2016, Dharma was pregnant, and supposedly the unborn kid was Vitashoka.
From the very first time they met, Ashoka and Sushim's relationship resembled cat and dog already. Sushim showed unbearable hatred to Ashoka for his skills, and frequently tried to trick the younger teen into blame and danger. Their relationship got worsened when Ashoka was revealed as another prince of Magadh. He saw Ashoka as the biggest threat of him ascending to the throne, especially that Ashoka has become Bindusara's favorite since long.
Ashoka thought of Sushim as a brother, or specifically, a cruel brother. It was safe to say that Ashoka himself hated Sushim, though he was a lot better at hiding it than the older teen.
Their relationship got a lot more complicated when Sushim's fiancee was involved. She was Ahankara, a princess of Ujjain, whose father and mother betrayed Magadh and killed. Bindusara promised Ahankara's father to take care of her, thus she continued to live as Sushim's fiancee in Pataliputra while nursing her baby brother.
Sushim was initially in love with Ahankara, but his feeling was soon distorted upon knowing that her father betrayed Magadh. He still accepted their marriage plan but he started to torture Ahankara and her brother. Ahankara was ready to kill herself when Ashoka stopped her. As expected, this blazed up the relationship between Ashoka and Sushim.
As per the show today, Ashoka and Sushim's obvious rivalry continued.
Ashoka's first younger brother was the son of Rani Noor, Siamak. There was a big hidden truth that Siamak was not descendant of Maurya, since he was the son of Rani Noor and Prince Justin, half brother of Bindusara. Bindusara and Siamak was not aware of this truth and they treated each other as if they are real father and son.
Siamak initially started out as Ashoka's first friend when Ashoka was brought to the palace to undergo imperial training. They helped each other out against Sushim, though in the end, Siamak left the fray and made Ashoka promised him to win over Sushim. Ashoka actually won and awarded with Sword of Chandragupta Maurya.
Upon knowing that Ashoka was really his older brother, Siamak was equally overjoyed as his father. He was not worried about possibility of Ashoka snatching his chance to sit on the throne since the older teen promised him not to take the throne from him.
Ashoka himself treated Siamak equally and loved him as a best friend and (later) older brother. He kept telling Chanakya that he did not want to become an emperor and he wanted the kind-hearted Siamak to raise to the throne.
Their beautiful bond ended when Ashoka (accidentally) killed Rani Noor when protecting Dharma. Siamak began to hate Ashoka and planned to take revenge on his once best friend.
Then, there is Drupadh, the son of Bindusara's youngest queen (I forgot her name, sorry). Drupadh was basically very young, thus he was completely unaware of the fights between his older brothers. Relationship between Ashoka and Drupadh was not as exposed as the relationship between either Sushim and Siamak in the TV show.
How about the history statements?
Well, I found no source ever stated about both Rani Noor and Siamak, so I cannot say whether they were real or not. Also, even though Sushim was mentioned in all sources, there was no source citing about his fiancee. There was a high probability that Ahankara herself was a pure fictional character.
Same goes to Drupadh and his mother. I am still suspicious that they were also fictional character.
The only brother that was extensively mentioned was Sushim. True to his nature in TV show, Sushim was born as the first son of Bindusara, thus giving him the most probability to become successor of the throne. All sources mentioned him as a cruel man who hated all those who might become a hurdle for his ascend, Ashoka included.
Interestingly, I have read that Sushim was infatuated by Ashoka's wife, Devi. This angered Bindusara and he made Sushim promise to stay away from Devi. Which actually made me wonder what kind of person Devi was... I mean, she made not only the heartless Ashoka (I told you, the real Ashoka was a LOT different than the TV show's Ashoka) was so head over heels, but also the equally cruel Sushim.
It was clearly mentioned in all sources that Ashoka himself ended Sushim's life but not many sources indicated how Sushim was killed. One source mentioned that Ashoka tricked Sushim into living mud, thus ended his life.
Nevertheless, Ashoka's ascend to the throne was completely marked with death of his brothers.
Comes the juicy part, let's see the relationship of Ashoka and Ahankara.
It was pretty clear in TV shows that Rajkumari Ahankara came as someone who was infatuated by Ashoka's charm but quickly became heartless toward the boy upon knowing that he was just a commoner. She built a romantic relationship with Sushim instead and continued to mock Ashoka every time they met. Not before long, Ahankara and Sushim was engaged.
Personally I think that her beautiful face is just not so match with her act toward Ashoka :p
Well, problem raised when Ahankara's father, Rajajiraj (sorry for spelling mistake), betrayed Magadh. He was then captured and imprisoned in Pataliputra. Prior to his death, he made Bindusara promised him to take care of Ahankara, since she was innocent. Bindusara promised him and fulfil this promise later on.
Upon knowing this betrayal, Sushim started to hate Ahankara, to the point where he would physically torture her, branding her as a daughter of a traitor. The princess was ready to end her own life when Ashoka came and reasoned with her, that she needed to take care of his baby brother and that it would be her reason to continue living.
That was the starting point of friendship between Ashoka and Ahankara. She began to lean on Ashoka to find the truth about her mother, Rani Niharika, while tried her best to stand against Sushim when her fiance started to torture her. Along this time, she also became acquinted with Dharma, who posed as a daasi named Sevika. Dharma became another source of strength for the princess along with Ashoka.
The following event showed that Ashoka made it possible for Ahankara to finally reunited with Rani Niharika, which made the princess felt very grateful.
But, as Rani Niharika finally lived in Pataliputra, she began to speak ill about Dharma, propelling Ashoka to find the truth about himself as a rajkumar of Magadh. Ashoka came just in time when Mir almost killed his mother, but easily overpowered by the man. Bindusara came to protect both Ashoka and Dharma from Mir's further attempt to kill them. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), Bindusara accidentally killed Rani Niharika who was about to stab the emperor from behind.
The death of Rani Niharika further crumbled the life of Ahankara, and Ashoka felt guilty for this. For a short time, Ahankara blamed Ashoka, stating that Ashoka finally became a prince at the cost of both her parents' life. This remark was one of several reasons that made Ashoka reverted back his appearance to his old attire (rather than decorating himself with gold and expensive clothes just like how a prince should be).
On fulfiling his promise to Rajajiraj, Bindusara kept provide shelter for Ahankara. This gave Sushim a lot more time to torture the princess, as she could not go back to the ruined Ujjain. Ahankara tried to run away from the palace, but she failed.
Ahankara finally could not stand the torture when Sushim abducted her baby brother. The confused and saddened Ahankara then went to find Agradoot, the mysterious warrior of justice, without knowing that Agradoot was actually her best friend, Ashoka.
Ashoka (as Agradoot) was enraged upon knowing how bad Ahankara was tortured by Sushim and proceed to save her baby brother and Ahankara herself, when she was almost killed by Sushim. Just when Sushim was about to stab Ashoka from behind, Ahankara pushed Ashoka aside and stabbed her fiance. Ashoka took all the blame and enraged Bindusara. The emperor even blamed Ahankara for destroying relationship between brothers when she stood up for Ashoka.
Just when Ashoka was about to be hanged, Dharma succesfully healed Sushim, thus the death penalty upon Ashoka was nullified.
When Bindusara finally got to know that Sushim really tortured Ahankara, he apologized to Ahankara, nullified the engagement and built a place specially for Ahankara on the other side of Pataliputra, away from the palace. Ahankara stated her farewell words to Ashoka, stating that from that day on, she would always be looking at him and waiting for him, strengthening her previous (but rejected) love confession to her best friend who saved her and her brother's life.
Yep, Ashoka stated that he saw Ahankara as his friend, and that he would never let anyone to harm her.
Kinda warped logic there, since Ashoka was kind of possessed by anger when Sushim nearly killed Ahankara.
Personally I think that Ashoka's feeling toward her was more than friendship and guilt, but he repressed that with a knowledge that Ahankara was a fiancee of his own brother.
This led him to believe that no matter how far he would go to protect her, she would always be 'just friend' for him.
Well, as what I said, I could not find any history about Ahankara so there is a high probability that Ahankara was pure fictional character. But we do not know that yet, since the name Ujjain is kind of reminding me of the moment when real Ashoka started the path to finally meet Devi.
So, I think it is best to start talking about Devi by now. Since the TV show has yet to tell us about Devi so below is what I have read about her.
I have read many sources citing that Devi was the truest love in Ashoka's life, not only because Devi was his first wife but also because Ashoka stayed monogamous for about 18 years after his marriage to her. Their love story was vastly described in Ashokavadana tome, stating that it was both powerful and beautiful at the same time.
So, who is Devi?
Many sources mentioned that Devi was a commoner who treated the fatally wounded Ashoka when the prince has just subdued the revoltion in Ujjain. He fell in love with her at the very first sight and eventually married her.
There were many versions regarding the meeting of Ashoka and Devi. One source stated that Devi met Ashoka on his way to Ujjain and the prince was quickly infatuated by her charm. She refused to acknowledged his feeling for her because she disliked his ferocious and hot-blooded nature. She finally got a chance to see the whole personas of Ashoka when the prince was severely wounded at revoltion aftermath, and finally reciprocated his feeling.
Another version stated that Ashoka met Devi when he was exiled from Pataliputra. He met Devi when he wandered across India (presumably Sanchi, where Devi was living) and eventually married her.
Regardless, all sources stated the same: Ashoka fell in love with Devi at the first sight.
Interestingly, some believed that Devi was a name given by Ashoka (just like Bindusara named Subhradrangi as Dharma) to a maiden named Asandhimitra, because her presence is like an angel who cured his nearly-dead-state back to health again.
Yet, another source stated that Devi and Asandhimitra are two different women. It was said that while Devi was a commoner, Asandhimitra was a princess. Well, I need to investigate this further ahead anyway.
I found a source stating that Devi was sanctuary to Ashoka. She provided not only unbound love and respect toward her husband, but also becoming someone who played a huge role converting him to Buddhism.
It was also stated that following the death of Dharma, Ashoka reverted back to his old nature and this drifted Devi apart from Ashoka. Devi finally left her husband as she was continuously irked by his hunger of power. Yet, after his remorse at Kalinga War, Ashoka looked for her and begged for her to come back with him to Pataliputra. This indicated the starting point of Ashoka conversion to Buddhism, from feared leader to an exemplary figure of India.
It was also stated that Devi predeceased Ashoka, leaving the emperor brokenhearted, and this remarked the starting point of Ashoka's decline in health, as well as the rotting of Magadh.
It was sad and beautiful at the same time.
Interestingly, I read a source stating that Ashoka never actually brought Devi back to Pataliputra at all. Instead, he left Devi in Sanchi and married his second wife, Kaurvaki, who then become his Maharani.
Wow, that was... cruel.
Which one is true? I am yet to know.
Interestingly, some people in Ashoka TV show fandom stated that there is a probability that Ahankara was Asandhimitra. And, following the remark that Asandhimitra and Devi was the same person, it is possible that Ahankara was Devi after all.
I don't know for sure, but somehow I am not irked by that idea at all :p
Next is the most recent juicy relationship from the TV show: the relationship between Ashoka and Kaurvaki.
Please do remember that things about Devi has not yet mentioned in TV show (or maybe will not be mentioned? Who knows).
So, in the TV show it was very very obvious that Kaurvaki was Ashoka's first love. He was captivated by her voice and speech just before he headed to subdue revoltion at Takshshila. He tried to chase her along the harbor though he failed to know her name and even her face.
This failure did not stay long as fate made him meet Kaurvaki not too long after his ship was sinked by Takshshila revolts. Ashoka hid the fact that he was a royal prince when he was saved by a ship with Kaurvaki on it. She tended the wounded Ashoka and as the payback, he fought to get back her precious amulet from a man who stole it. Kaurvaki saved Ashoka again when he was chained at the lowest part of their ship, completely showed him that she cared a whole lot about him.
Not too long after they both parted ways in Takshshila, Kaurvaki once again saved Ashoka from being chased away by Kichak's soldiers soon after he threw a rock and stopped the killing of an innocent man by Kichak's executor. Still, with both being stubborn toward each other, Ashoka and Kaurvaki bickered over which way to go and parted ways, only to ended up being together again after Ashoka saved Kaurvaki from the chasing soldiers. They shared a meaningful albeit funny time together in a villager's house and continued to help each other reaching Kichak's palace.
Of course, the bickering and mocking between the two also continued all the way.
While Ashoka clearly stated to Kaurvaki that he wanted to end Kichak's reign by slipping into his palace, Kaurvaki hid the fact that she was looking for her father which was imprisoned by Kichak. The two finally succeeded infiltrating Kichak's palace, but then situation get worse when Ashoka took back his royal gold stamp from Kichak. Kaurvaki herself has found her father but unable to freed him. She ran away from the dungeon only to meet Ashoka and the two was spotted by Kichak's soldiers.
Inbetween their runaway, Ashoka fought all the soldiers. He was nearly stabbed by a soldier but Kaurvaki sheltered him, allowing herself to be stabbed. This enraged Ashoka. He determinedly killed the soldier and took Kaurvaki away with the help of Bhami and Devrath who came just in time before Kichak found them.
Ashoka mourned over the severely wounded Kaurvaki. He began to realize that in the end, as much as he felt burdened by all problems arising around him ever since he decided to leave for Takshshila, he had to go that way just to meet Kaurvaki. He finally confessed his feeling in front of the unconscious (or semiconscious) Kaurvaki.
Though, the prince was very shocked to finally know that the maiden he fell in love with was no other than the princess of Kalinga, Kaurvaki.
Well, that was as per episode aired on 8 January 2016.
Okay, now lets turn to look at the history.
There was no source stating that Ashoka met Kaurvaki in Takshshila. Furthermore, Takshshila revoltion happened when Sushim was situated as its governor, and, Ashoka subdued the revoltion just by letting the revolts know that he was coming there. So it is safe to conclude that Kichak's conspiration is a fiction.
For the record, Kalinga was not part of Magadh Empire. It was an independent but small kingdom (compared with Magadh) which a lot of fortune. It was widely known that Kalinga and Magadh were not on a good term as Kalinga refused to gave up and became a part of Magadh. So, it would be logically true to say that people of Kalinga despised Mauryan descendant. This was depicted in TV show, when Kaurvaki openly stated her hatred toward Bindusara and his royal family. Along with the need to stay hidden, Kaurvaki hatred toward Bindusara served as a very strong reason for Ashoka to keep his identity secret.
Well, I read in many sources that the real Kaurvaki herself was not a princess, but indeed a commoner that was equally smart and brave as Ashoka. This truth was partly shown in TV show, depicting Kaurvaki as a smart, observant and brave young lady with vast knowledge of healing. The TV show's Kaurvaki was also indicated as a good spokesperson, which led to Ashoka being captivated by her speech.
The thing that has not shown in TV show is that Kaurvaki led the army of Kalinga in Kalinga War, despite the fact that they was not even equal in numbers with Magadh army.
But interestingly, I read that Kaurvaki in Ashoka's movie (the one with Sharukh Khan) was indeed a princess. In that movie, it was stated that Ashoka met her when he was exiled and wandered to Kalinga. They finally fell in love with each other but Ashoka (posed as a man named Pawan) finally left her to go back to Pataliputra. The most interesting thing was that this happened before Ashoka even met Devi in that movie. Kaurvaki and Ashoka finally met each other as enemy in Kalinga War.
Wow, that seems intense.
Whether Kaurvaki was a princess or not, she was really from Kalinga all the same and become a key person in Kalinga War. All sources also clearly stated that Kaurvaki dedicated her life for philantrophy and this act was fully supported by her husband.
I found a source which stated that Kaurvaki was the most important wife of Ashoka, stating that it was Kaurvaki who played a pivotal role in Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism.
Yes it contradicted the source stating that Devi was the one with that role.
Still, truthfully, Ashoka made a Queen Edict dedicated for her, not Devi. But seeing that Ashokavadana stated a lot more about Devi, it was hard to point out which one of those two who really held the most of Ashoka's heart.
But, interestingly, while Ashokavadana served as one of several main historical sources for Ashoka's life, it was strongly indicated that the story inside it was romanized.
So who wrote Ashokavadana anyway? I am yet to know.
Well, given the fact that no woman would like it when her husband has another wife (just like the hidden catfights between Bindusara's wives in TV show), it was possible that Devi and Kaurvaki also fell into the same form of rivalry or something nearing that. So they both made mementos depicting their own love story with Ashoka. That was my warped theory :p
So who was Ashoka's first love?
Well, many sources stated that Devi was Ashoka's first love. A source even stated that Ashoka married Kaurvaki on his forties, ending his long monogamous marriage to Devi. Most other sources do not mention this detail though so I cannot provide more data regarding their age when they got married.
On the other side, both movie and TV show regarded Kaurvaki as Ashoka's first love.
Which one was true? Hmm... You tell me...
My opinion is that it would be kinda warped to think that the real Ashoka and Kaurvaki had the same kind of cute and heartwarming love-hate relationship just as shown in TV show. Though, just like what I stated in my previous blog post, I like the TV show's Kaurvaki so much, partly because she wiped the damsel-in-distress aura emanated from Ahankara, and mostly because finally there was someone other than Dharma and Chanakya who was more than capable of making Ashoka speechless. That girl was awesome.
According to many sources, Devi and Kaurvaki were not the only wives of Ashoka though they were undoubtedly the first and second wife of his. Some other names were found, including the name Asandhimitra, Padmavati and Tishyaraksha. While Asandhimitra was arguably the same person as Devi, some sources indicated that Padmavati was the princess of Kalinga instead of Kaurvaki.
Though other names of Ashoka's wives lost by the time, all sources stated that Tishyaraksha was his last wife, and, presumably someone who played a big role ending the reign of Maurya dynasty.
Why didn't he stop marrying people after Kaurvaki anyway? :p
Well, that was what I need to say this far. This LONG note may become a lot longer in the future since I am still researching about Ashoka's life until now. I am yet to read more about his children and his own death so yeah, there are still a long way to go :p
Thanks for reading, and please kindly point out to me if you find any mistake.
For closing this, feel free to take a look at these more screeshots I took from the TV show:
Below is all for Kaurvaki, since she is currently my favorite character in the show :p
|This panel shows us how Ashoka stopped someone who just could not stop talking. LOL XD|
The end for now! Sunday, 10 January 2016