ASHOKAN ROCK EDICTS
14 Edicts Issued By Ashoka.
Ashoka's edicts, issued after his conversion to Buddhism,
were designed to bring about large-scale acceptance of Buddhism. In pillar
edict 6, he had mentioned that he started issuing these edicts 12 years
after his coronation.
Fourteen such edicts have been found near the edge of the Sudarshan Lake,
about half a mile to the east of Junagadh.
The inscriptions on these edicts are in the Prakrit dialect. The script
used for these edicts used to vary with the need of the region, but was
largely Brahmi or Kharoshthi.
The Junagadh rocks cover all the 14 edicts that Ashoka had issued. They
are in a western dialect, with many Magadhi words resembling Pali.
The edicts record the following orders:
- Human beings shall not be sacrificed. Futile festivities and
gatherings to be banned.
- Setting up of medical facilities for humans and animals
- Instructing government servants to perform their duties.
- Elaboration of edict 3.
- Dharma Mahamantris to enforce edicts.
- Unlimited access to the king for all subjects.
- All religions to live in harmony.
- No hunting or pleasure tours; tours being only for Dharma.
- Superstitious rituals being dismissed as trivial and meaningless.
- Saying no to corruption.
- Listing of the 'dharmic' (religi0ous) acts that produce great
results; what one should do for friends, relatives, well-wishers.
- All sects to be honoured.
- Dharma is the most important thing in life.
- An epilogue of the preceding 13 edicts, it surveys their
compositional features. These edicts, preserved in the Girnar hills,
bear testimony to the benevolent attitude and activities of the