Rani Tishyaraksha (died c. 238 BC) was the youngest as well as the last wife of Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire, who was the ruler of India. She is also referred to as Tishyarakshita , Tissarakka and Tissarakbha in some accounts. According to Ashokavadana, she was responsible for blinding Ashoka's son and heir presumptive Kunala. However, historians believe that she was not a wife but simply a concubine.
Haraprasad Shastri's second novel " Kanchanmala" features Tisshyaraksha in a prominent role. The story of Tishyaraksha has also been captured by the Bengali writer Samaresh Majumdar in his novel "Saranagata", however, with very different strokes and shades that are attributed to the life of Emperor Ashoka. Life
It is believed that Tishyaraksha was a favourite maid of Asandhimitra (also known as Devi) who was Ashoka's first and most beloved wife and his Empress consort, at her palace in Ujjaini, and after her death, she went to Pataliputra as a great dancer (Devi was impressed with her intelligence and taught her nursing and dancing) and charmed Ashoka with her dance and beauty (her dancing style bore heavy resemblance to Devi's). Later, she became his concubine and during the later life of Ashoka she medically served him as well.
It is also believed that due to the age difference of about 45 years between her and Ashoka and his obsession with anything related to Buddhism (due to his love for Devi and grief over her death), once she attracted towards Kunala, the second son of Ashoka and the adoptive son of Devi, who was religious in nature and inclined towards Buddhism from his early life. Kunala considered Tishyaraksha as his mother due to her place in the Mauryan Empire at the time. After perceiving neglect from Kunala, Tishyaraksha turned so furious that she decided to blind him (it is believed that the eyes of Kunala were attractive and beautiful and that they had originally attracted Tishyaraksha towards Kunala).
When the Chandragupta Sabha led by Radhagupta (the then minister (Mahaamatya) of Mauryan Empire) decided that Kunal would proceed to subjugate the revolt of Takshashila (Taxila), Tishyaraksha conceived a plot. The plot succeeded after the conquest by Kunala. As per the plot, Ashoka had to request two very precious jewels from the governor of Takshashila which were believed to have been the most unique of their kind. The decisive language of the letter written by Tishyaraksha was sent by Ashoka who did not understand the hidden meaning and therefore could not transmit it to Kunala. However, Kunala immediately understood the hidden meaning, but due to his love towards his father and his loyalty towards Magadha, he felt forced to blow off his own eyes. Then he sent both of his eyes to the court of Magadha at Pataliputra. Ashoka realized his fault but by then it was too late. Immediately Radhagupta ordered to slay Tishyaraksha. It is believed that Tishyaraksha committed suicide after coming to know of this news.