Ashoka’s style of administration is clearly stated in the many edicts issued by him. He is named in the edicts as ‘King Piyadasi, devanaam piya’ which only meant ‘King Priyadrashi, dear to the Gods.’
The king’s acquired name ‘Ashoka’, meant ‘one who is without sadness’. His edicts are found the far away Kandahar in Afghanistan in the NorthWest and Ceylone in the deep South of India, and it is just an indication of the reaches of his empire.
In one of his edicts Ashoka says: ”The people of unconquered lands must become firmly convinced that in our eyes the King is like a father. He feels towards his people what he would feel towards himself, they are dear to him as his children.”
Though Ashoka embraced Buddhism and was the greatest propagator of the religion, his grandson embraced Jainism. A practicing Buddhist though he was, Ashoka did not join the monastic order during the course of his reign. And he did not make Buddhism a state religion.
Tolerance was his religious policy. In his edicts he made it clear the he favored unity of all sects, but should not be achieved through coercion, but by developing the fundamental principles of their teachings.