History

The Mauryas

Inscriptions of Ashoka

Rock Edict (RE) VII

Original text of the Girnar edict as per an estampage by Meena Talim

1. देवानं पियो पियदसि राजा सर्वेत इछति सवे पासंडा वसेयु [.] सवे ते सयंमच
2. भावेसु धंम  इछति [.] जनो तु उचावचाछाडा उचावचारागं [.] ते सर्व व कासंति एकदेसं व कंसति [.]
3. विपुले तुपि दाने यस नास्ति सयम भाव सुधिता व कतन्जा व दिढभाविता च निचा बाढं [.]

English translation of the Girnar text by Meena Talim

1. King Devanamppiya Piyadassi desires that all sects may reside everywhere.
2. Let them lead a restrainful life and cultivate good Dhamma. People have high and rousing desires and high and rousing passions. They wish that all their desire be fulfilled; however, some desire less.
3. Let them obtain immensely but one who does not have self-restrain, purity, gratitude and firm resolution of mind, it is exceedingly mean.

English translation of the Shahbazgarhi text by G Buhler

King Priyadarsin, beloved of the gods, desires that adherents of creeds of all kinds may dwell everywhere; for they seek after self-control and purity of mind. But men possess various desires and various likings. They will put in practice either the whole or a part only of what they profess. But self-control, purity of mind, gratitude and firm attachment are laudable in a lowly man, to whom even great liberality is impossible.

English translation of the Shahbazgarhi  text by V A Smith

His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King desires that in  all places men of every denomination (or “sect”) may abide, for they all desire mastery over their senses and purity of mind.  Man, however, is
various in his wishes and various in his passions.  They will perform either the whole or only a part of the commandments.  Even for a person to whom lavish liberality is impossible, mastery over the senses, purity of mind, gratitude, and steady devotion are altogether indispensable.

English translation by D R Bhandarkar

King Priyadarsin, Beloved of the gods, wishes that all sects may dwell at all places, because they all desire self-restraint and purification of heart. People, however, are of various likings and various attachments. They will perform either the whole or a part (of their duty). But he is certainly a low man who has no self-restraint, purity of heart (gratitude, and steadfast devotion), though he may have lavish liberality.

English translation of the Girnar text by R K Mookerji

His Sacred and Gracious Majesty desires that in all places should reside people of diverse sects. For they all desire restraint of passions and purity of heart. But men are of various inclinations and of various passions. They may thus perform the whole or a part (of their duties). But of him whose liberality is, too, not great, restraint of passion, inner purity, gratitude and constancy of devotion should be indispensable and commendable.

English  translation of the Shahbazgarhi  text by D C Sircar

King Priyadarsi, Beloved of the Gods, wishes that all religious sects should live harmoniously in all parts of his dominions. In fact, all of them desire to achieve self-control and purity of thought. People, however, are of diverse inclinations and diverse passions. They will perform either the whole or only a part of their duty. However, even if a person practices great liberality but does not possess self-control, purity of thought, gratitude and firm devotion, he is quite worthless.

English translation by S Dhammika

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, desires that all religions should reside everywhere, for all of them desire self-control and purity of heart. But people have various desires and various passions, and they may practice all of what they should or only a part of it. But one who receives great gifts yet is lacking in self-control, purity of heart, gratitude and firm devotion, such a person is mean.

Observations:

Ashoka : The Secular King – In this short edict, Ashoka tells that people of various sects reside in his dominion. He appeals to all his subject to live in harmony. In a very smart way, he appreciates the moral duties and conducts to be observed by people. These moral duties are common to all major sects in general. This way, Ashoka does not hurt any sect but harmonized all into the prescribed moral conduct.

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