Art and Research

Art and Research

Rock edict

Edict of Ashoka

3rd Century B.C.E

Cast of Inscribed Rock, Ginar (Gujarat)

The Emperor Ashoka (272-232 BCE) dedicated himself to the service of man and beast within and beyond his vast dominion and strove to elevate the social and moral outlook of his subjects. His edicts (Dhamma Lipi) incised on pillars and rocks, in both condensed and elaborate versions are found all over the Indian sub-continent, from Shahbazgarhi now in Pakistan to Lauriya Nanadagarh in Bihar and from Girnar in Gujarat to Dhauli In Orissa and further south up to Yerragudi in Andhra Pradesh.

The Girnar edicts represented here by a metal cast of the inscribed rock are fourteen in umber, like those found at Yerragudi, Kalsi, Shahbazgarhi and Mansehra.

1. No living being may be slaughtered for sacrifice.

2. In and outside his dominions, Priyadarshi Ashoka has arranged for the medical treatment of man and beast.

3. Priyadarshi Ashoka ordered tours by his officers every five years to inspect and preach Dhamma (moral and social code of conduct) in his dominions, in addition to their regular duties and to teach his people to obey parents, be liberal to friends, relatives, Brahmanas and Sramanas (Monks), to abstain from killing animals.

4. Priyadarshi promotes Dhamma and expects his descendants like wise to continue to promote it.

5. Dhamma Mahamatras have been appointed for establishing and promoting Dhamma in his land even among the Yavanas, Kambojas, Gandharas, Rashtrikas and others.

6. Reports of affairs in his kingdom could be brought to his notice anytime, as he considered it his duty constantly and speedily to attend to the welfare of his subjects.

7. Priyadarshi wishes that all religious sects in his dominion should like in peace and amity and stresses self-control and purity of mind.

8. Priyadarshi who visited Sambodhi (Bodh Gaya, Bihar) started on pilgrimage of Dhamma making gift to Brahmanas and Sramanas, contacting the people of the countryside and exhorting them to follow the path of Dhamma.

9. Ceremonies associated with Dhamma produce great results. These are courtesy to slaves and servants, reverence to elders, restraint and liberality to Brahmanas and Sramanas. By this practice heaven is won.

10. Priyadarshi does not consider glory in this life or fame after death as of any consequences except the glory of his being able to induce his people to practice Dhamma.

11. There is no gift like the gift of Dhamma, there is no distribution like the distribution of Dhamma and no kinship like the kinship of Dhamma.

12. The growth of Dhamma is by the restraint of speech which means no praise of one’s own faith or disparagement of another.

13. The conquest of Kalinga resulting in unprecedented slaughter and carrying away of captives brought remorse to Priyadarshi. He was therefore determined for conquest through Dhamma.

14. This record relating to Dhamma has been inscribed in abridged or expanded form, so that people may act accordingly.



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