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The Kalinga War a Change of Heart

During Ashoka's grandfather's time the Kalinga army had only 60,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry and 700 elephants. During Bindusara's reign and at the beginning of Ashoka's reign Kalinga must have improved its armed forces considerably.

The mighty Magadha army marched towards Kalinga. Ashoka himself went at the head of his vast army.

The Kalinga army resisted the Magadha army and fought bravely. They were not afraid even of death. But their valor and sacrifices were in vain. Every thinner and finally it accepted defeat.

Ashoka won a glorious victory.

'What Have I done!

True, Ashoka was victorious and Kalinga was his.

What was the price of this victory?

One of Ashoka's own inscriptions describes it:

One and a half people were taken prisoners. A lake was killed during the battle. Many more died as a result of the war.'

Ashoka who led the army saw the battlefield with his own eyes.

As far as his eye could see he saw only the corpses of elephants and horses, and the limbs of soldiers killed in the battle. There were streams of blood. Soldiers were rolling on the ground in unbearable pain. There were orphaned children. And eagles flew about to feast on the dead bodies.

Not one or two but hundreds of terrible sights greeted Ashoka's eyes. His heart was broken with grief and shame.

He felt unhappy over the victory, which he had won at the cost of so much suffering. 'What a dreadful deed have I done! I was the head of a vast empire, but I longed to subjugate a small kingdom and caused the death of thousands of soldiers; I widowed thousands of women and orphaned thousands of children. With these oppressive thoughts in his minds he could not stay there any longer. He led his army back towards Pataliputra with a heavy heart.

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Ashoka - He was an Ideal Ruler, who dedicated himself to the victories of righteousness
About Ashoka
Who Was 'Priyadarshi'?
The Emperors
At Taxila
Ashoka Becomes King
You are Here! The Kalinga War- A Change Of Heart
Matchless In History
The Noblest Victory
Spreading The Message   Of Dharma
The Seeds Of Dharma
A Religious Conference
The Pillar At Sarnath
The People's Friend
Vanquisted Kalinga
Vigilant On All Sides
An Old Age Of Sorrow
The Brightest Star In The History Of The World
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