Edicts of Ashoka – Taxila Aramaic Inscription

Inscription of Ashokas

Aramaic Inscription from Taxila

Sanskrit text translated from the original Aramaic text by Meena Talim

1. प्राननं अविहिसा
2. भुतान नातिनं
3. संपटिपटि ब्राम्हण
4. श्रमणना  संपटिपटिमाता
5. पितुषु वुढानं
6. सुश्रुषा | एत
7. अञं च बहुविधं ध्रम
8. चरणं वढितं ( वढिशति च यो )
9. देवानंप्रियस प्रियदशिस रञो
10. ध्रमचरणं इमं
11. पुत्र पि च कं नतरो च (प्रनतिक च )
12. देवानंप्रियस प्रियद्रशिस रञो
प्रवेधशतिं यो ध्रमचरणं इमं  |

English translation by Meena Talim

1. Non-injury to all living beings.
2. To living being and relatives
3. respect (good behavior) to Brahmanas and
4. Sramanas, respect (good behavior) to mother,
5. father and elders
6. to serve them, such
7. and many kinds of religious
8. practices should be increased; (it will be increased) and those are
9. King, beloved of the God, Piyadassi’s
10. religious practices. Why? Even
11. son and grandson also (great-grandson)
12. of the King, Beloved of the God will increase. This is like a religious practice.

English translation by B N Mukherjee

(Line 1-6) “………for the creations of Law [D(a)t(a)], unto the non-injury to [the creatures] worthy of that which [is] the non-injury and to his (i.e. one’s own) father [and] the aged good obedience [.]
(Line 6-7) This [and[ that (i.e. various kinds of practice of D(a)t(a) or Law) [have] good (or many [fold] or much) increase [.]
(line 8-12) This document (or [this] good document) exists [until] our lord Priyadarsi dies…… and also [until after] his son….. belonging to our lord Priyadarsi [.]”.


Discovery and Interpretations: In 1914-15, an octagonal pillar of white marble was found built into a wall between two chambers of a building of blocks at Sirkap (Taxila). An inscription in Aramaic was engraved on the pillar. A Cowley and L D Barneet were among the first ones to translate this inscription and they attributed it to 4th century BCE as they did not find any reference to Ashoka in it. E Herzfeld was the first one who noticed words ‘marana Priyadar…’ in the inscription therefore he took this as a reference to Ashoka. F C Andreas also noticed this reference and states that this might have been issued when Ashoka was the governor to Taxila.

J H Marshall is of the opinion that the column was erected in honor of a high official, called Romedote, when Ashoka, the heir-apparentof Bindusara, was ruling as Viceroy (or givernor) of Taxila and the north-west. H Humbach, on the other hand, believes that this inscription is a translation of a section of the Shahbazgarhi version of Rock Edict (RE) IV of king Ashoka.

Text and Script – The present edict is in Aramaic script however it is similar to the text found in Brahmi script in India. The text of this edict is similar to slightly abridged version of the rock edict (RE) IV.

mr’n or mlk’ – mr’n stands for ‘our lord’ and mlk’ stands for ‘king’. In this inscription, Ashoka or Priyadarshi is referred as mrn’ which probably made scholars to take that it was issued when Ashoka was governor of Taxila.

B N Mukherjee tells that Ashoka is referred as mr’n in the Kandhar inscription as well therefore usage of mr’n in the present inscription does not guarantee that it was issued when Ashoka was not a king but only a governor of the region.

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