History

The Mauryas

Inscriptions of Ashoka

Rock Edict (RE) XIV

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

1. अथं धंम लिपि देवानं प्रियेनं प्रियदसिना रजा लिखापिता अस्ति एव |
2. संखितेन अस्ति मझमे न अस्ति विस्ततेनच सर्व सर्वत घटितं |
3. महालक हि विजितं बहु च लिखित लिक्खापयिस चे व अस्ति च एतम
4. पुन पुन वुते तस तस अथय मधुरताय कितिजना तथा पटिपजेथ
5. तता एकदा असम लिखित अस देस वर इछाय कारणं च अलोचेत्पा पराधेन धंम वर …

English translation by Meena Talim

1. This scripture has been caused to be written by king Devanamppiya Piyadassi.
2. It is an abridged form, middle-sized and at full length. All should be proclaimed everywhere.
3. I have conquered vast land, written much and shall write in future.
4. There are some which have been stated again and again. It is because of its meaning, charm and fame amongst the people and plan to be followed.
5. Similarly, there are some which are not written equally (balanced). It is because of the desire of that province or
6. was not appreciated or the fault of writer.

English translation of the Girnar  text by V A Smith

This scripture of the Law of Piety has been written by command of His Sacred Majesty the King, [in a form] sometimes condensed, sometimes of medium length, and sometimes expanded ; and everything is not brought together everywhere. For great is my dominion, and much has been written, and much shall I cause to be written. And certain phrases have been uttered again and again by reason of the honeyed sweetness of this topic or that, in the hope that the people may act accordingly. It may be that something may have been written incompletely by reason of mutilation of a passage, or of misunderstanding, or by a blunder of the writer.

English translation by D R Bhandarkar

These Dhamma-lipis have been caused to be inscribed by king Priyadarsin, Beloved of the gods, either as abridged, of medium length, or expanded. Not everything has been brought together at every place. Vast, indeed, is the kingdom; and much has been inscribed and much will I cause to be inscribed. And, owing to their sweetness, various things have been uttered over and over again. And why? In order that the people may act accordingly. But it may be that something has here been inscribed incompletely, considering either the (unfamiliar) country or (good) reason for condensation, or through the fault of the scribe.

English translation of the Girnar text by R K Mookerji

These religious edicts have been caused to be inscribed by His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King in abridged, medium, or expanded form. Nor, again, was all executed (or suitable) everywhere. Vast is the conquered country, much is already written and much shall I get written. There is also here something said again and again for the sweetness of the topics concerned that the people should act accordingly. There sometimes might also be writing left unfinished, taking into account the locality, or fully considering the reasons, or by the lapses of the scribe.

English  translation of the Girnar text by D C Sircar

This record relating to Dharma has been caused to be written by king Priyadarsi, Beloved of the Gods.
In the series of records, there are, for sooth, texts written in a concise form, or in a medium form, or in an elaborate form. And all the items of the series have not been put together in all the places. For my dominions are wide and much has been written and I shall certainly cause still more to be written.
There are some topics which have been repeated over and over again owing to their sweetness, so that people may act accordingly. There may be some topics have been written incompletely either as the particular place of a record was considered unsuitable for them or as a special reason for abridgement was believed to exist, and also owing to a fault of the scribe.

English translation by S Dhammika

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, has had these Dhamma edicts written in brief, in medium length, and in extended form.[29] Not all of them occur everywhere, for my domain is vast, but much has been written, and I will have still more written. And also there are some subjects here that have been spoken of again and again because of their sweetness, and so that the people may act in accordance with them. If some things written are incomplete, this is because of the locality, or in consideration of the object, or due to the fault of the scribe.


Observations:

Ashoka’s Empire – In this edict, Ashoka mention that he has a very vast kingdom to manage. We have already observed the boundaries of his kingdom in RE XIII earlier. It was indeed a very large empire, even larger than what was India under the British.

Repetitions – Ashoka admits that there are many things said repeatedly in his edicts and he explains that it is because of their sweetness. We have also observed that many things Ashoka had repeated, whether it is kindness towards animals or hearkening to your elders or seemly behavior towards Brahmana and Sramanas. These various things have been said in many edicts.

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