Everyone is familiar with the concept of a time capsule these days. The concept of leaving behind a piece of yourself to be discovered, explored, and relived by the generations to come. The great ruler Ashoka left behind his time capsules, or we can say his Edicts, especially in the form of Ashoka & Karuvaki’s love story.
The inscriptions reveal a lot about him and his life. And in one of these Edicts, we come across the name- Karuvaki, his wife, his queen, his dearly beloved. What was so special about her? What did attract Ashoka to her? Why is there a love story eternal? Read Ashoka and Karuvaki’s love story and find out.
Who is Ashoka?
Ashoka, also known as Asoka was famously regarded as Ashoka the Great. He was the third ruler of the powerful Maurya empire from 268 to 232 BCE. His kingdom was spread to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pataliputra. One of the best works that he did was preaching Buddhism wherever he went.
One of the most notable experiences in Ashoka’s life was due to the Kalinga War in 260 BCE. The Kalinga War was so brutal that he just started hating violence after all the damage and ruin it brought to Kalinga. After a couple of years, Ashoka simply devoted his life to Buddhism after being so dissatisfied with the ways of the world.
The fact for which Ashoka is most respected is that he reconstructed his entire Maurya empire to practice non-violence after shedding blood for years and years. He took the path of Buddhism and made sure that his empire also ran according to it.
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Who is Karuvaki?
Karuvaki is most famous for being Ashoka’s second queen. Queen Edict is where Karuvaki is most mentioned. The mention of Karuvaki mostly run with her religious and charitable donations the way she wanted. She is mostly remembered as being headstrong for wanting a specific mention of her charities.
Probably, she was the favorite wife and queen of Ashoka as he would always go to her for advice and even follow it. He trusted her the most among his other wives and only mentioned her in the Queen Edict.
She was also sometimes known as Charuwaki, Kaurwaki, or Kaurubaki. Basically, she was born to a fisherman from Kalinga. Even after being married to four or more women, Ashoka’s love story with Karuvaki is what people want to really know. Why? Check out below.
Beginning of Ashoka & Karuvaki’s love story in Kalinga
Ashoka & Karuvaki’s love story began in Kalinga, which is present-day Orissa. Amazing, right? As we know from the details above, Karuvaki was a fisherman’s daughter in Kalinga. But what was Ashoka doing in Kalinga?
It is said that Rajkumar Sushim, Samrat Bindusar’s first son wanted Ashoka to be sent away. When Rajkumar Sushim insistently told Samrat Bindusar to send Ashoka away in exile, he gave up and did exactly what he said.
So our dear Ashoka came to the boundaries of Magadh on his exile and soon entered Kalinga. Since it was his exile he stayed lowkey and tried to not bring too much attention to himself. This was when he laid his eyes on Karuvaki.
Ashoka was taken aback by Karuvaki’s beauty and simplicity. Although it wasn’t love at first sight, which you might otherwise think, there was a spark. Spark that drew Ashoka towards her. Spark that made him feel the need to know her.
Ashoka keenly observed Karuvaki’s nature. He adored her pious and religious nature. Eventually, that little spark grew into a burning desire and Ashoka fell in love with Karuvaki. Ashoka didn’t just fall in love with her beauty but also with her true self, her true self which understood the meaning of love and desire.
Ashoka, a king, married Karuvaki, a fisherman’s daughter
What was so unique about Kruvaki that drew Ashoka closer to her? Was it her empathy? The ability to feel what others are feeling? Karuvaki’s true self felt the pain of others and knew that there was no greater service to God than helping the inferior.
Soon Ashoka decided to marry Karuvaki and make her his wife. You might think, Ashoka being a royal-born should have chosen a woman of his match for marriage, instead, he chose Karuvaki, a fisherman’s daughter, a commoner.
You probably relate to that, don’t you? When you are in love with a person nothing matters but that person’s heart, nothing matters- not their bank balance, their car, their home, nothing.
What matters is the beautiful heart and the true love that you both share. Ashoka was no different. He prioritized his love for Karuvaki. Although it wasn’t an impulse, Ashoka took time to know her, to study her and that is what made him fall in love so deeply. So, this is how love happened in Ashoka and Karuvaki’s love story.
Ashoka’s five wives & children
If you think that Karuvaki was the only wife of Ashoka then you are very wrong. Karuvaki was only the second wife of Ashoka and after her, he married three more women. Ashoka’s first wife was Devi.
Devi was the first queen who gave birth to two children to Ashoka. She gave him a son named Mahendra, and a daughter named Sanghamitra. However, being a merchant’s daughter she never followed him back to Pataliaputra.
Ashoka’s third wife was Queen Padmavati, Prince Kunala’s biological mother. Ashoka’s fourth wife, Asandhimitta was also his chief queen. She just died four years before Ashoka did.
After the death of Asandhimitta, Ashoka’s fifth wife, Tissarakkha became the chief queen. However, the interesting fact is that in his own inscriptions, only Queen Karuvaki’s name is mentioned. Tivara was Karuvaki and Ashoka’s son.
Tivara is said to be Ashoka’s favorite child and he wanted Tivara to take the throne after him. But sadly Tivara died even before Ashoka. However, he did serve as the viceroy of Takshila.
It is believed that Karuvaki died in the Kalinga war but some believe that after Ashoka’s death, she came a Buddhist and gave up on her life in order to find peace.
Karuvaki changed Ashoka with her love for a better
Following marriage, he went back to his kingdom where he gave Karuvaki the respect that a queen should get. Ashoka used to take into consideration Karuvaki’s opinions and suggestions and would work on those.
This clearly depicts his deep-seated love and dedication towards his wife. As well as it shows that she was not just a beauty, she was a beauty with brains, a very influential queen.
Love, or the person we love, generally brings a lot of changes in our lives for good. The same was the case with Ashoka, Karuvaki had a huge influence on his life, which brought changes, but for good.
Following the adoption of Buddhism by the great ruler, Karuvaki like any other wife, stood by her husband and helped him. This common interest of Buddhism brought them closer and tied them to an immortal string of love.
Is there anything better than having your lover’s support in everything you do? Can you ask for anything more? You can’t, and neither could Ashoka. Karuvaki gave him all her love, care, and dedication. This was the power of Ashoka and Karuvaki’s love story.
Ashoka & Karuvaki’s love story is unconditional
As we see, with time their love only grew and grew. And it grew to the extent that Ashoka felt the need to write Karuvaki’s name on the pages of history for people to read and experience the immense love they shared.
Ashoka engraved her name on one of these edicts- the Queen Edict, which gives us a glimpse into Karuvaki’s life and makes us realize why Ashoka was so much in love with her.
Karuvaki is his only wife to be ever mentioned in his edicts. Ashoka truly immortalized their love and made sure that whenever people remember him as the great ruler, they remember Karuvaki too, as his beloved queen.
Karuvaki, Ashoka’s second queen is said to be his true love. Ashoka was taken aback by Karuvaki’s beauty and simplicity. Although it wasn’t love at first sight, which you might otherwise think, there was a spark.
Ashoka and Karuvaki’s love is eternal. Ashoka keenly observed Karuvaki’s nature. He adored her pious and religious nature. Eventually, that little spark grew into a burning desire and Ashoka fell in love with Karuvaki.
Yes, Ashoka loved Kaurwaki deeply. As we see, with time their love only grew and grew. And it grew to the extent that Ashoka felt the need to write Karuvaki’s name on the pages of history for people to read and experience the immense love they shared.
Yes, Ashoka married Kaurwaki and made her his second wife. Soon Ashoka decided to marry Karuvaki and make her his wife. You might think, Ashoka being a royal-born should have chosen a woman of his match for marriage, instead, he chose Karuvaki, a fisherman’s daughter, a commoner.
Karuvaki was Ashoka’s most loved wife. Following marriage, he went back to his kingdom where he gave Karuvaki the respect that a queen should get. Ashoka used to take into consideration Karuvaki’s opinions and suggestions and would work on those.
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Thoughts on Ashoka & Karuvaki’s love story
Undeniably, Ashoka and Karuvaki’s love story teaches us a lot. The fact that Ashoka always gave importance to Karuvaki among all his queens speaks a lot. It shows that they shared a much deeper and more powerful connection when compared to the others.
Often, Ashoka would go and seek Karuvaki’s advice and would even implement what she wanted. He always gave her opinions the importance that they deserved and made her feel really special.
Their bond was truly unique and it is just foolish to ignore the fact that Ashoka did have a soft corner for Karuvaki in his heart. Probably, it’s safe to say that Ashoka loved Karuvaki just a little better than his other queens.