|Asoka's zeal for diffusion of
Buddhism is something astounding and monumental. This boundless enthusiasm confirmed the
belief current in those days - "It is recorded in the tradition that
Bindusara once saw in his dream a strange phenomenon which indicated the future greatness of his
son, Asoka. Bindusara dreamt one day that "a piece of cloth and a gold
stick that got divided up into eighteen fragments were brought together again by the divine powers
of a great celebrity, who rules over a vast empire. And the same celebrity enshrined the bodily relics
of Buddha in several places, besides preaching his message". Indeed, this belief was attested by
Bhagawan Buddha himself. He predicted: "More than a century of my Nirvana,
there shall rise a righteous ruler named Asoka and he shall rule over the whole of
Jambudvipa when my gospel shall reach every man". So, Asoka was worshipped as a demigod both by
monks and laymen.
The remarkable feature of his
religious ardor is it never absorbed him wholly, nor did it allow him
abandon his royal obligations, i.e., he did not abdicate his throne in his
hopeless passion for religion.