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Minor Rock Edicts of Ashoka

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Below are the translation of original Edicts of Ashoka.

Minor Rock Edict – I

Gavimath, Karnataka version, issued in 257 B.C. This edict is found in twelve different places.

Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: It is now more than two and a half years since I became a lay-disciple, but until now I have not been very zealous. But now that I have visited the Sangha for more than a year, I have become very zealous. Now the people in India who have not associated with the gods do so. This is the result of zeal and it is not just the great who can do this. Even the humble, if they are zealous, can attain heaven. And this proclamation has been made with this aim. Let both humble and great be zealous, let even those on the borders know and let zeal last long. Then this zeal will increase, it will greatly increase, it will increase up to one-and-a-half times. This message has been proclaimed two hundred and fifty-six times by the king while on tour.

List of edicts of Ashoka

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List of edicts of Ashoka

The edicts of Ashoka are the first physical evidence of the Buddhism and how it was spread during his region. These edicts were deciphered by the British archaeologist and historian James Prinsep.

The edicts are divided into:

  1. Pillar Edicts (total 7)
  2. Major Rock Edicts(total 14) and 2 separate ones found in Odisha(Kalinga)
  3. Minor Rock Edicts, the queen’s Edict, Barabar Caves inscriptions and the Kandahar bilingual inscription

Edicts of Ashoka

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Edicts of Ashoka

The edicts of Ashoka are the first tangible evidence to prove Ashoka’s existence. In 1837 British archaeologist and historian James Prinsep succeeded in deciphering an ancient inscription on a large stone pillar in Delhi. After deciphering many other pillar and rocks with the same inscriptions, it was proved that they were issued by a king calling himself “Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi”. In 1915, the another edict actually mentioning name Ashoka was discovered that the identification was confirmed.

Causes of the fall of the Maurya Empire

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Causes of the fall of the Maurya Empire

From the time of Bimbisara to the Kalinga war the history of India was the story of the expansion of Magadha from tiny state in South Bihar to a gigantic Empire, extending from the foot of the Hindukush to the borders of the Tamil Country. After the Kalinga war ensued a period of stagnation at the end of which the process is reversed. Under the rule of Ashoka it reached at its peak. But after the death of Ashoka, the empire gradually dwindled down in extent till it sank to the position from which Bimbisara and his successors had raised it. Historians gave may reasons for the fall of the Maurya Empire.

Kanva Dynasty

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Kanva Dynasty

Kanva dynasty was the successor of the Shunga dynasty in Magadha. They also known as Kanvayanas. They ruled for very short time duration of 45 years (75 to 30 BCE). Like Shungas, Kanvas were also from Brahmin origin. They considered themselves as decendents of Rishi Kanva. Vasudeva Kanva was the founder of the dynasty. He killed last ruler Devabhuti Shunga of Shunga Dynasty and ascended the throne.

Shunga Dynasty

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Shunga Dynasty

Maurya dynasty overthrown by the Shunga dynasty during 185 BCE. Pushyamitra Shunga was the founder of the dynasty. He was commander-in-chief(senapati) of the last Maurya King Brihadratha. While king was reviewing the Guard of Honor of his forces, Pushyamitra assassinated him and ascended throne.

Because of the weaker rulers after Ashoka, Magadha empire started to shrink. By the time when Pushyamitra sized throne, Magadha left only fraction of its original size. It reduced only to three states Pataliputra, Ayodhya, Vidisha and some parts of Punjab. Shunga dynasty known to have fought war with Kalingas, Satvahans, the Indo-greeks and possibly Panchals and Mathura.

Chandragupta Maurya

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Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta was the founder of the Maurya dynasty. He was the first king who ruled over the extended India from 321–297 BCE, an India greater than British India. The boundaries of his empire lay far beyond the frontiers modern India along the borders of Persia. He was the first king in the Indian history who extended his empire beyond the barriers of the Vindhyas and united north and south India. Chandragupta was not only a great solider and conqueror but also a great administrator.

Major Rock Edicts by Ashoka

Major Rock Edict – I

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, has caused this Dhamma edict to be written. Here (in my domain) no living beings are to be slaughtered or offered in sacrifice. Nor should festivals be held, for Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, sees much to object to in such festivals, although there are some festivals that Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does approve of.

Formerly, in the kitchen of Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, hundreds of thousands of animals were killed every day to make curry. But now with the writing of this Dhamma edict only three creatures, two peacocks and a deer are killed, and the deer not always. And in time, not even these three creatures will be killed.

Ashokan Pillar Edicts and their Messages

Below are the translation of original Ashokan Pillar edicts.

Pillar Edict – I

Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: This Dhamma edict was written twenty-six years after my coronation. Happiness in this world and the next is difficult to obtain without much love for the Dhamma, much self-examination, much respect, much fear (of evil), and much enthusiasm. But through my instruction this regard for Dhamma and love of Dhamma has grown day by day, and will continue to grow. And my officers of high, low and middle rank are practicing and conforming to Dhamma, and are capable of inspiring others to do the same. Mahamatras in border areas are doing the same. And these are my instructions: to protect with Dhamma, to make happiness through Dhamma and to guard with Dhamma.

Kalinga Edicts By Ashoka

Below are the translation of original Kalinga edicts of Ashoka.

Kalinga Edict – I

Beloved-of-the-Gods says that the Mahamatras of Tosali who are judicial officers in the city are to be told this: I wish to see that everything I consider to be proper is carried out in the right way. And I consider instructing you to be the best way of accomplishing this. I have placed you over many thousands of people that you may win the people’s affection.