The Mauryas

Inscriptions of Ashoka

Rock Edict (RE) II

Sanskrit text by Dr Hirananda Sastri (The Asokan Rock Edicts at Girnar)

  1. सर्वत विजितम्हि देवानंप्रियस राजो
  2. एवम अपि प्रचंतेसु यथा चोडा पाडा सतियपुतो केतलपुतो आ तंब
  3. पंणी अंतियको योनराजा ये वा पि तस अंतियकस सामीपं
  4. राजानो सर्वत्र देवानंप्रियस प्रियदसिनो राजो द्वे चिकीछा कता
  5. मनुसचिकीछा च पसुचिकीछा च [.] ओसुढानि च यानि मनुसोपगानी च
  6. पसोपगानी च यत यत नास्ति सर्वत्र हारापितानी च रोपापितानी च [.]
  7. मूलानि च फलानि च यत यत्र नास्ति सर्वत हारापितानी च रोपापितानी च [.]
  8. पंथेसु कूपा च खानापिता व्रछा च रोपापिता परिभोगाय पसुमनुसानं [.]

English translation by Meena Talim

  1. Everywhere in the land which has been conquered by King Devanamppiya Piyadassi
  2. and likewise among his borders, such as the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Satiyaputtas, the Ketalaputtas, even
  3. Tambapanni, the Yona king Antiyaka and the neighborhood of Antiyaka, everywhere the King
  4. Devanamppiya Piyadassi has established two kinds of medical treatments
  5. One is medical treatment for men and the other is medical treatment for animals
  6. Wherever there are no medicines available (which are) beneficial to men and animals, they should be brought and even planted
  7. Wherever there are no roots or fruits available, they should be brought and planted
  8. On the roads wells should be dug, trees should be planted for the use of men and animals.

English translation by G Buhler

Everywhere in the empire of King Priyadarsin, beloved of the gods, as well as among those nations and princes that are his neighbors, such as the Chodas, the Pamdiyas, the Satyiaputra, the Keralaputra, Tambapamni, the Yona king, called Amtiyoka as well as among those who are the vassal kings of that Amtiyoka, – everywhere King Priyadarsin, beloved of the gods, has founded two kinds of hospitals, both hospitals for men and hospitals for animals. Everywhere where herbs wholesome for men and wholesome for animals are not found, they have been imported and sown by the king’s order. And wells have been dug by his order for the enjoyment of men and animals.

English translation of the Girnar text by V A Smith

Everywhere in the dominions of His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King, as well as among his frontagers, the Cholas, Pandyas, the Satiyaputra, the Ketalaputra, as far as the Tambaparni, Antiochos the Greek king, or even the kings the neighbors of that Antiochos everywhere have been made the healing arrangements of His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King in two kinds, [namely], healing  arrangements for men and healing arrangements for beasts. Medicinal herbs also, both medicinal herbs for men and medicinal herbs for beasts, where-so-ever lacking, have been everywhere both
Imported and planted. Roots  also  and fruits,  where-so-ever lacking, have been everywhere imported and planted. On the roads, too,  wells have been dug and trees planted for the enjoyment of man and beast.

English translation by D R Bhandarkar

Everywhere in the dominions of King Priyadarsin, Beloved of the gods, as well as those of his frontier sovereigns, such as the Chodas, Pandyas, Satiyaputra, Ketalaputra, as far as the Tambaparni, the Yona (Greek) king called Amtiyaka (Antiochus), and also those who are the neighbors of Amtiyaka – everywhere has king Priyadarsin, Beloved of the gods, established medical treatments of two kinds – that wholesome for men and that wholesome for animals. Where medicinal herbs, wholesome for men and wholesome for animals, are not found, they were everywhere been imported and planted. Roots and fruits,  wherever they are not found, have been imported and planted. On the roads, wells have been caused to be dug, and trees caused to be planted for the enjoyment of man and beast.

English translation of the Girnar text by R K Mookerji

Everywhere within the dominion of His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King, and likewise among the frontagers such as the Cholas, Pandyas, the Satiyaputra, the Ketalaputra, what is (known as) Tamraparni, the Greek King, Antiochos – everywhere has been instituted by His Sacred and Gracious Majesty two kinds of medical treatments – medical treatment for men and medical treatment for beasts. Medicinal herbs also, those wholesome for men and wholesome for beasts, have been caused to be imported and to be planted in all places where they did not exist.
Roots also, and fruits, have been caused to be imported and to be planted everywhere wherever they did not exist. On the roads, wells also have been caused to be dug and trees caused to be planted for the enjoyment of man and beast.

English translation by S Dhammika

Everywhere within Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi’s domain, and among the people beyond the borders, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Satiyaputras, the Keralaputras, as far as Tamraparni and where the Greek king Antiochos rules, and among the kings who are neighbors of Antiochos, everywhere has Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for humans and medical treatment for animals. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not available, I have had them imported and grown. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had them imported and grown. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and animals.

Observations:

Cholas – There is no need to identify this term as the Chola dynasty is ruling the northern Tamilnadu around Kaveri river area from very ancient times. D R Bhandarkar suggests that this term has been used in plural to suggest that that there were more than one kingdom ruled by this dynasty. He points to Ptolemy who mentions Orthoura (present Uraiyur), the royal city of Sornagos ruling Soretai region and Arkatos (present Arcot), the capital of the Sorai nomads. These could be the two Chola kingdoms during Ashoka’s period.

Pandyas – There is no need to write about the antiquity of this dynasty as it has been proved in various studies. This term is also used in plural sense suggesting that there were more than one kingdom ruled by the Pandyas. Ptolemy, however, only talks about one, known as Pandinoi with their capital at Modoura (present Madurai). However, Varahmihira speaks about Uttara-Pandyas suggesting that during his time there were more than one kingdom ruled by this dynasty.

Satiyaputra –  Kern identifies it with the people living in the Satpura mountain ranges. G Buhler rejects Kern’s identification and identifies with ‘the king of Satvats’ whom he places in Western India. Satvats are mentioned in Aitareya Brahmana and referred by Panini as a ksatriya clan of southern India. D R Bhandarkar draws attention to Maratha, Kayastha and Brahman of the westernmost portion of the Deccan plateau, bear surname Satpute, which seems to be derived from Satiyaputra. Hence he suggests that the Satiyaputra state would have been situated along the Western Ghats and the Konkan coast.

Luders suggests that as the word ‘putta’ at the end of compounds frequently means ‘belonging to a tribe’. D R Bhandarkar also believed that Satiyaputra and Keralaputra hence denote a tribe rather than a kingdom. He tells that at some point of time, these two tribes migrated to southern India and settled around the Kerala region. He tries to identify Satiya with Aioi of Ptolemy and suggests that they were settled around modern Travancore region.

V A Smith identifies them with the people of the Satyamangalam Taluk of Coimbatore District, lying along the Western Ghats, and bordering on Mysore, Malabar, Coimbatore, and Coorg. He argues that a town of the same name commands the Gazalhatti Pass from Mysore, which used to be of strategic importance. The Satyamangalam country was included in the territory colonized by the Great Migration (Brihadcharanain), possibly that led by Bhadrabahu in the days of Chandragupta Maurya.

L D Barnett in, The Cambridge History of India, writes that possibly it may represent the region around Mangalore; but it is at least equally likely that they were the forefathers of the Satavahana dynasty of the Andhra-desha. Meena Talim goes with Barnett in identifying Satiyaputra with the Satavahanas.

K A Nilakanta Sastri mentions that it is definite that the empire of Ashoka was extended till the latitude of Madras (Chennai) or even somewhat further south, hence the Satiyaputra must be located south of that boundary of his empire. S V Venkateswara takes it to be the name of the country or people having Kanchipuram as their capital on the surmise that this city was known in recent times as Satyavratakshetra. S Krishnaswami Aiyangar suggests that Satiyaputra refers to region north of Cochin, where Matriarchate or Aliyasantanam law prevails.

K A Nilakanta Sastri in his Age of the Nandas and Mauryas writes that the Satiyaputra tribe can be the Kosar tribe referred in the Sangam literature. His identification is based upon the assumption that Satiya of the edict would be same as Satya in Sanskrit. Kosar tribe is lauded for their truthfulness and heroism in Sangam literature and they were placed in the Kongu area, near modern Salem and Coimbatore.

K G Sesha Aiyar writes that the actual reading of the term is ‘Satiya’ but not ‘Satya’. This rules out the identification with the Kosar tribe. On the analogy that Cheraman is same as Keralaputra, Sesha Aiyar tells that Atiyaman should be identified with Satiyaputra. T Burrow offers a more convincing explanation for the identification with Atiyaman and K A Nilakanta Sastri also agrees with T Burrow in one of his later article in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay vol 32. The Atiyaman territory is supposed to be round about Dharmapuri, Salem and Mysore.

Tambapamni – Majority of the scholars take it as Sri Lanka which seems to be correct. In Pali literature, Tambapanni is a name of Sri Lanka. E Hultzsch however suggests that this might be the region where river Tamraparni flows, region around modern Tinnevelly. Bhattasvami, a commentator of the Arthashashtra of Kautilya, mentions a river of the same name in the Pandya country.

Amtiyoka – I assume there is no controversy on the identification of this king, who has been identified with Antiochos II Theos. As per Wikipedia, Antiochos was the father of Seleucus however he was not a king. Antiochos I Soter was the son and the successor of Seleucus. The rule of Antiochos I ended by 261 BCE. He was succeeded by his son, Antiochos II Theos (246-261 BCE). If we agree, which of course we should, that Seleucus was a contemporary of Chandragupta Maurya, there are high possibility that the grandson of Seleucus would be contemporary to the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya.

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