History

The Mauryas

Inscriptions of Ashoka

Minor Rock Edict (MRE) II

This edict is found at the following places: Brahmagiri, Jatinga Ramesvar, Nittur, Rajula Mandagiri, Siddapura, Udegolam, Yerragudi. The text of the edict is almost same at all places, only few extra lines are found at Yerragudi and Rajula Mandagiri. The texts at Yerragudi and Rajula Mandagiri are same.

Brahmagiri text

Sanskrit text by Murti and Aiyangar

  1. से हेवं देवानंपिये
  2. आहा | मातापितीसु सुसूसितविये | हेवमेव गरुत्वं प्राणेसु द्रहीयतवयं | सचं
  3. वतवियं | से इमे धंमगुणा पवतितवया | हेवमेव अंतेवससिना
  4. आचारिये अपचायितविये ज्ञातिकेसु च कु य(था) – रहं पवतितये
  5. पोराणा पकिती दिघावुसे च एसं हेवं एत कटविये |
  6. चपडेन लिखितं लिपिकरणेन |

English translation by Meena Talim

  1. The beloved of God speaks thus:
  2. Obey mother and father; similarly your teacher and be kind to all living creatures.
  3. Speak truth. Thus, these are qualities of Dhamma, which should be established. Similarly disciple
  4. should obey (respect) his master and relatives. Practice these, fittingly (must be acted accordingly).
  5. This has been proclaimed by ancients, doing this here, one can become long-life-one; thus this should be done.
  6. Chapada has inscribed this inscription.

English translation by V A Smith

Thus saith his sacred majesty (Devanampiya):
Father and mother must be hearkened to; similarly, respect for living creatures must be firmly established; truth must be spoken.
These are the virtues of the Law which must be practiced. Similarly, the teacher must be reverenced by the pupil, and fitting courtesy must be shown to relations.
This is the ancient nature of things – this leads to length of days, according to this men must act.
Written by Pada, the scribe.

English translation by D R Bhandarkar

Even thus saith the Beloved of Gods :-
‘Father and mother should be hearkened to: likewise, respect for living creatures should be made firm. Truth should be spoken.’ These are the qualities of Dhamma which should be practiced. Likewise, the preceptor should be reverend by the pupil; and one should behave oneself fittingly towards the blood-relatives. This natural constitution (of the human mind) is primeval; and it is long-enduring. Hence it should be acted upon.
Written by Pada, the scribe.

English translation by D C Sircar

This saith the Beloved of the Gods with reference to the above.
One should obey one’s mother and father and likewise one’s elders. One should be steadfast in one’s kindness towards living beings. One should speak the truth. In this way, one should propound these attributes of Dharma.
In the same way, the pupil should honor his teacher and this practice should be established be one in the proper manner among one’s relations. This is an ancient rule and the principle is longstanding. One should act in this way.
This record is written by the scribe named Chapala.

Yerragudi text

Sanskrit text by D C Sircar

  1. इ हे (वं) देवानंपियो आह |
  2. यथा देवानंपिये आह तथा कटविये |
  3. रजुके आनपेतविये |
  4. से दानि जनपदं आनपयिसति रठिकानि चा |
  5. माता-पितुस सुसु-सितवये |
  6. हेमेव गरुसु सुसुसितवये |
  7. प्राणेसु दयितवये |
  8. सचे वतविये |
  9. इमं धमं – गुना पवतितविया |
  10. हेवु तुंफे आनपयाथ देवानंपियवचनेन |
  11. हेवं आनपयाथ हाथी- आरोहानि का (र) नकानि युग्य आचरियानी बभंनानि च तुंफे |
  12. हेवं निवेसयाथ अंतेवासिनि यारिसा पोराना पकिति |
  13. इयं सुसुसितवये |
  14. अपचायाना य वा आचरिय (स) स (हं) = इव |
  15. यथा वा पुन आचरियस नातिकानि यथारहं नातिकासु प्रावतितवये |
  16. हेसा पि अंतेवासीसु यथारहं पवतितवये यारिसा पोराना पकिति |
  17. यथारहं यथा इयं सतिरो(रे) के सिया हेवं तुंफे आनपयाथ निवेस(य)थ च अंतेवासिनि|
  18. हेवं देवानंपिये आनपयति |

 English translation by Meena Talim

  1. Here the beloved of the god said thus:
  2. Whatever is told by the Beloved of God that should be done.
  3. Thus, Rajjukas have been given orders.
  4. He will now command the country and also officials of kingdom (Ratthikas)
  5. Be obedient to your mother and father.
  6. Similarly obey your teacher.
  7. Be kind to living beings.
  8. Speak the truth.
  9. These qualities of Dhamma should be established.
  10. Thus you command in the name of beloved of God.
  11. These commands you should give to those riding on elephants, to those who perform religious duties, and those who are on carts (or carriage) drawn by a  pair of animals and to teachers and Brahmans.
  12. Similarly to those who are house-holders and to pupils. This is proclaimed by ancients.
  13. This should be obeyed.
  14. Here, teachers should be respected (revered).
  15. Just as to teachers, so be it to his relatives. (respect) should be extended (given) to relatives as they deserve (it).
  16. This should be accordingly narrated to those who live on border. For this is proclaimed by ancients.
  17. Similarly, as you may feel fit for (suitable) you should command and instruct extensively (excessively) to people living in the houses on the border-land.
  18. Thus, the Beloved of God commands.

English translation by D C Sircar

Thus saith the Beloved of the Gods.
You should act as instructed by the Beloved of the Gods.
You should order the Rajjukas, and the Rajjukas in their turn should order the people of the countryside as well as the local officers called Rashtrikas in the following words, “Mother and father are to be obeyed. And similarly elders are to be obeyed. Living beings should be treated with kindness. Truth must be spoken. These attributes of Dharma are to be propounded.” Thus you should order in the words of the Beloved of the Gods.
You should order in the same way the elephant-riders, scribes, charioteers and teachers of the Brahman community in the following words, “You should instruct your pupils in accordance with what is the ancient usage. This instruction should be obeyed. Whatever honor is enjoyed by the teacher lies in this. Then again, the principles underlying these instructions should be established in the proper manner among the teacher’s female relations by the male relatives he may have. This principle should also be established by them among the pupils according to the old usage. You should thus guide and instruct your pupil in the proper way so that the said principle grows among them abundantly.”
This is the order of the Beloved of the Gods.

Observations

हेवं आनपयाथ हाथी- आरोहानि का (र) नकानि युग्य आचरियानी (hevam anapayatha hathi-arohani ka[r]anakani yugy-acariyani) – D C Sircar translates it as ‘Rajjukas should pass this order on the elephant, the scribes, and charioteers and teachers of the Brahman community. Meena Talim mentions that the object of Ashoka was not to restrict the orders to elephant-riders etc but he meant that pass the order to both, whether stationary or moving.

चपडेन (Chapada) – In few instances of MRE II (Brahmagiri, Siddapura, Jatinga-Rameshvara), the scribe has left his signature at the end of the edict. D R Bhandarkar, G Buhler and V A Smith translate the name as Pada whereas R K Mookerji, Meena Talim etc translate it as Chapada, and D C Sircar as Chapala. He has engraved the word lipikarena and his name in Kharosthi script.

This suggests that either the scribe hailed from the north-western frontier of Ashoka where Kharosthi was in vogue or he was somehow aware of writing in that script though not coming from that region. Majority of scholars agrees that he would have come from the north-western frontier and this suggests that few scribes were given responsibility to engrave the inscriptions of Ashoka and they roamed across his empire to perform their duties.

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