Why are there four lions in Ashoka Chakra?
The National Emblem of India has an origin steeped in the culture and myriad colors of India. A symbol of the modern Indian republic, the emblem is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion, capital of Emperor Ashoka the Great as preserved in the Sarnath Museum situated near Varanasi in the north Indian province of Uttar Pradesh.
Lion is a symbol of victory and four lions means victory over four directions east, west, south and north of Ashoka the great. Also, Ashoka the great was called a chakravarthi or a great emperor over all directions.
Lion is also the symbol of mightiness and bravery.
Our National Emblem, modeled on the Lion Capital, features 3 lions. The fourth lion is hidden from sight since it is positioned at the rear end; so is the bell-shaped lotus flower situated beneath. The frieze beneath the lions is shown with a wheel in the center, a bull on the right, a galloping horse on the left, and outlines of Dharma Chakras on the extreme right and left. The wheel at the centre
of the abacus symbolizes the "Dharma Chakra".
The three lions (the one hidden from the front view excluded) represent power, courage and confidence, and rest on a circular abacus girded by four smaller animals that are
separated by intervening wheels.
These four animals are the guardians of the four directions:
· the lion of the north,
· the elephant of the east,
· the horse of the south and· the bull of the west.