Edicts of Ashoka – Pillar Edict I

Inscriptions of Ashoka

Pillar Edict (PE) I

Original text by Meena Talim

1. देवानंपिये पियदसि लाज हेवं आहा | सडुविसति
2. वस्स अभिसितेन मे इयं धंमलिपि लिखापिता |
3. हिदतपालते दुसंपटिपाद्ये अंनत अगाया धंमकामताया
4. अगाय पलिखाया अगाय सुसूसाया अगेन भयेना
5. अगेन उसाहेना | एस चु खो मम अनुसाथिया
6. धंमापेक्खा धंमकामता चा सुवे सुवे  वढिता वढीसति चेवा
7. पुलिसा पि च मे उकसा गेवया चा मझिमा चा अनुविधियंती
8. संपटिपादयंति चा अलं चपलं समादपयितवे | हेमेवा अंत
9. महामाता पि |  एसा पि विधि या इयं धंमेन पालना धंमेन विधाने
10. धंमेन सुखियना धंमेनगोती ति |

English translation by Meena Talim

1. Piyadassi, the beloved of God said thus: Twenty-six
2. Years after my coronation I have caused this inscription to be inscribed.
3. It is very difficult to protect and follow the right path, in this world and unless one gives foremost importance to acts of Dhamma,
4. Foremost importance to (self) examination, foremost importance to service (nursing others), foremost importance to dangers (that may fall upon)
5. and foremost importance to enthusiasm. This I have instructed.
6. Desiring of Dhamma, doing religious act will, day after day increase and will increase, in future.
7. My men whether high, low or of middle (ranks) will follow the instruction (way);
8. They will reach destination and (that) is enough and it will encourage (incite) others.
9. In the same way it will reach those living on the border, Mahamattas, will also direct (way) to Dhamma. 10. This should be protected. These are the ways of Dhamma.
11. Let all be happy by Dhamma; let Dhamma assure safety for all.

English translation by V A Smith

Thus saith His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King :
When I had been consecrated twenty-six years I caused this scripture of the Law of Piety to be written. Both this world and the next are difficult to secure save by intense love of the Law of Piety, intense self-examination, intense obedience, intense dread, intense effort. However, owing to my instructions,  this yearning for the Law of Piety, this love of the Law from day to day, have grown and will grow. My Agents, too, whether of high, low, or middle rank, themselves conform- to my teaching and lead others in the right way fickle people must be led in the right way  likewise also  the wardens of the Marches.  For this is the rule: “protection by the Law of Piety, regulation by that Law, felicity by that Law, guarding by that Law.”

English translation by D R Bhandarkar

Thus saith king Priyadarsin, Beloved of the gods : “When I had been crowned twenty-six years, this Dhammalipi was caused to be written. Things of this and the next world are difficult to promote, except through intense love of Dhamma, rigorous scrutiny, extreme obedience, utmost fear, (and) extreme energy. But through my instructions, this longing for Dhamma and love of Dhamma have grown and will grow day by day (among my people). And my officials, whether high, low or middle rank, themselves conform (to theses) and, being fit to induce the fickle-minded to undertake the fulfilment (of Dhamma), cause (the latter also) to attain to them. So also the Mahamatras of the Frontier Provinces. This is the rule : namely, protection by Dhamma, execution (of order) by Dhamma, causing happiness by Dhamma, and administration by Dhamma.”

English translation of the Girnar text by R K Mookerji

Thus saith His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King : By me consecrated twenty-six years was this religious edict caused to be inscribed. Both this world and the next are difficult to attainment except by utmost love of Dhatma, utmost self-examination, utmost obedience, utmost dread and utmost enthusiasm. But, indeed, by my religious insctructions, this regard for Dharma, as well as love of Dharma, has day by day become grown and will grow.
And my Purusas, too, whether high, low, or of middle ranks, act according to my injunctions, and enforce their proper practice, “Being in a position to recall to duty the ficle-minded.” Thus also are my Anta-mahamatras doing. And my injunction, too, is as follows: maintenance by Dharma, regulation by Dharma, causing happiness by Dharma, and protection by Dharma.

English  translation by D C Sircar

Thus saith king Priyadarshi, Beloved of the Gods.
This record relating to Dharma has been caused to be written by me twenty-six years after my coronation.
Happiness in this world and in the next is difficult to secure without intense love of Dharma, rigorous self-examination, implicit obedience to elders, great fear of sin and excessive zeal in the cause of Dharma. But verily, owing to my exhortation, this yearning for Dharma and love of Dharma have increased and will further increase among my people, day by day. And my officers, whether of superior, inferior or middle rank, are conforming to the practices of Dharma and practicing the duties associated with Dharma and they are capable of urging others to do the same. The Mahamatras in charge of bordering districts are also acting in the same way. For these indeed are rules for them, viz., governing the people according to Dharma, administering justice to them according to Dharma, causing happiness to them according to Dharma and protecting them according to Dharma.

English translation by S Dhammika

Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: This Dhamma edict was written twenty-six years after my coronation. Happiness in this world and the next is difficult to obtain without much love for the Dhamma, much self-examination, much respect, much fear (of evil), and much enthusiasm. But through my instruction this regard for Dhamma and love of Dhamma has grown day by day, and will continue to grow. And my officers of high, low and middle rank are practicing and conforming to Dhamma, and are capable of inspiring others to do the same. Mahamatras in border areas are doing the same. And these are my instructions: to protect with Dhamma, to make happiness through Dhamma and to guard with Dhamma.

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