Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ashokan Rock Edicts

There are Asokan edicts scattered over more than 30 places in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan, in the Brahmi script. The languages they use are ancient Magadhi and Sanskrit, though one bilingual edict in Afghanistan is reportedly in Aramaic and Greek! There are 14 big rock edicts, seven big pillar edicts, minor pillar and rock edicts and the Kalinga rock edicts.
Rock Edict 2 says, ‘Everywhere within Devanam-piya Piyadassi’s realm and among the people beyond the borders, the Cholas, Pandyas, Satya-putras (Konkan), Kerala-putras, as far as Tamraparani (Lanka) and where the Greek king Antiochus rules, and among his neighbours too (Northwest Frontier), Piyadasi has arranged for two kinds of medical treatment: for humans and for animals. Wherever suitable herbs are not available, I have imported and grown them.’
Yes, better health, infrastructure and so on. But above all: law, order and justice. Asoka’s first rock edict says: Esahi vidhi ya iyam, Dhamma palana, Dhamma vidhane , Dhamma sukhiyana , Dhamma gotiti
‘For this is my rule: rule by the law, of the law; prosperity by the law, protection by the law.’