Ashoka was the son of the Mauryan emperor Bindusara by a relatively lower ranked Queen known as Dharma (although the daughter of a Brahmin or Shubhadrangi, she was undervalued as she wasn't of royal blood). Ashoka had several elder siblings (all step brothers from other wives of Bindusara) and just one younger sibling, Vitthashoka (a much loved brother from the same mother). Because of his exemplary intellect and warrior skills, he is said to have been the favorite of his grandfather Chandragupta Maurya. As the legend goes, when Chandragupta Maurya left his empire for a Jain living, he threw his sword away. Ashoka found the sword and kept it, in spite of his grandfather's warning.
Ashoka was in his adolescence a rude and naughty boy. He was a fearsome hunter. He was a kshatriya and was given all royal military trainings and other Vedic knowledge as well as the classic Viddyas. According to a legends he was able to kill a lion or tiger with the help of only a wooden rod. He was also able to beat a number of weapon bearing soldiers with empty hands. Ashoka was known for his sword fighting. According to a myth, when he was with his sword no one could confront him. He was very adventurous and this made him a terrific fighter. According to many historians Ashoka was not a delicate prince. He was physically very rude and strong. According to a story he was able to kill even a war elephant with the hilt of a knife. Ashoka was a frightening warrior and a heartless general. Because of this quality he was sent to destroy the riot of Avanti. Many historians assert that he might have killed his own brothers who came against his way to power.