ASHOKA CHAKRA

A TO Z INDIA - - Cultural Symbol -

In­dian em­peror Ashoka, the grand­son of Chan­dragupta Mau­rya, was the third king of the Mau­rya Dy­nasty. Ashoka was the ruler of In­dia's great em­pire.

The Ashoka Chakra is a de­pic­tion of the Bud­dhist Dhar­ma­chakra - the Wheel of the Dharma.

The wheel it­self de­picts ideas about the cy­cle of Saṃsāra, which is the the­ory of re­birth and cycli­cal­ity of all life, mat­ter, and fur­ther­more the No­ble Eight­fold Path, which is the path of Bud­dhist prac­tices lead­ing to lib­er­a­tion from Saṃsāra, the painful cy­cle of re­birth.

The most vis­i­ble use of the Ashoka Chakra to­day is at the cen­tre of the Na­tional flag of In­dia, where it is ren­dered in a Navy­blue color on a White back­ground.

The first 12 spokes rep­re­sent 12 stages of suf­fer­ing which was taught by the Bud­dha.

In Jain­ism, the Dhar­ma­chakra is wor­shiped as a sym­bol of the dharma.

In­dia's high­est mil­i­tary dec­o­ra­tion awarded for coura­geous ac­tion or self­sac­ri­fice away from the bat­tle­field is also named "The Ashoka Chakra".

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