History

The Mauryas

Inscriptions of Ashoka

Pillar Edict (PE) II

Original text by Meena Talim

1. देवानंपिये पियदसि लाज
2. हेवं आहा | धंमे साधू कियं चु धंमे ति | अपासिनवे बहु कयाने |
3. दया दाने सचे सोचये | चखुदाने पि मे बहुविधे दिंने दुपद-
4. चतुपदेसु पखिवालिचलेसु विविधे मे अनुग्गहे कटे आपान-
5. दाखिनाये अंनानि पि च मे बहूनि कयानानि कटानि | एताये मे
6. अठाये इयं धंमलिपि लिखापिता | हेवं अनुपटिजंतु चिलं-
7. थितिका च होतू ती ति | ये च हेवं संपटिपजसीति से सुकटं कछति |

English translation by Meena Talim

1. Piyadassi, the beloved of God
2. says thus: Dhamma is good, what is this Dhamma? I have fasted many a times.
3. Compassion, charity, truth, purity, insight and also in many ways I have given (to).
4. I have done favors to biped, quadruped, birds, and those who live in water; made gift of
5. drinking-halls, many such deeds I have done.
6. For this purpose, I have caused this Dhamma-script to be inscribed. This should be followed,
7. It should remain for a long time, the one who follows this, does a good act.

English translation by V A Smith

Thus saith His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King :
“”The Law of Piety is  excellent.”   But wherein consists the Law of Piety ? In these things, to wit, little impiety, many good deeds, compassion, liberality, truthfulness, purity. The gift of spiritual insight I have given in manifold ways; whilst on two-footed and four-footed beings, on birds and the denizens of the waters, I have conferred various favors, even unto the boon of life ; and many other good deeds have I done. For this my purpose I have caused this scripture of the Law of Piety to be written, that men may walk after its teaching and that it may long endure.  And he who will thus follow its teaching will do well.

English translation by D R Bhandarkar

Thus saith king Priyadarsin, Beloved of the gods : Dhamma is excellent. But what does Dhamma consist of ? (of these things) little sinfulness, much good, mercy, gift, truthfulness, purity. The gift of sight have I given in manifold ways; (and) various favors to bipeds and quadrupeds, to birds and aquatic animals, even up to the boon of life. And much other good have I done. For this purpose I have caused this Dhammalipi to be engraved, that they may follow (me) and that it may long endure. He who acts thus will do what is good.

English translation by R K Mookerji

Thus saith His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King : Good is Dharma. But what does Dharma include ? (It includes) freedom from self-indulgence, abundance of good deeds, kindness, liberality, truthfulness, and purity.
The gift of spiritual insight, too, has bestowed by me in various ways, and for two-footed and four-footed beings, for birds and denizens of waters, I have ordained manifold kindnesses up to the boon of life. Similarly, many other good deeds have been performed by me.
For this purpose have I caused this religious edict to be inscribed in order that (people) might follow it, and that it might be of long duration. And he who will follow it completely will perform a meritorious deed.

English  translation by D C Sircar

Thus saith king Priyadarshi, Beloved of the Gods.
The practices of Dharma are meritorious. But what does Dharma consist of? It consists of the least amount of sin, many virtuous deeds, compassion, liberality, truthfulness and purity.
Even the gift of eye-sight has been bestowed by me in various ways on criminals threatened by punishment. To bipeds and quadrupeds as well as to birds and aquatic animals have I done various kinds of favor even up to the grant of life. And many other virtuous deeds have also been performed by me.
This record relating to Dharma has been caused to be written by me on stone for the following purpose, viz., that people may act according to it and that it may endure for a long time. And he, who will act this, will do what is meritorious.

English translation by S Dhammika

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: Dhamma is good, but what constitutes Dhamma? (It includes) little evil, much good, kindness, generosity, truthfulness and purity. I have given the gift of sight in various ways. To two-footed and four-footed beings, to birds and aquatic animals, I have given various things including the gift of life. And many other good deeds have been done by me.
This Dhamma edict has been written that people might follow it and it might endure for a long time. And the one who follows it properly will do something good.

Observations:

Gift of sight – Except Meena Talim, all scholars translate the edict mentioning gift of sight or life. Meena Talim does not do so. She mentions that this phrase, chakkhudanam, should be taken metaphorical sense or it could be an error from the scribe.

Gift of life – All scholars translates the edict mentioning gift of life except Meena Talim. She mentions that this term is not there in the edict.

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