Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Dharma of Asoka

 Dharma of Asoka

After seeing deaths of millions of humans in the battle of Kalinga, King Asok of Magadh was transformed and became Buddhist, associated himself with Sangha, built many stupas, pilgrimaged places associated with Budh, propagated Budhism across Asia; but none of his edicts (pillar and rock) inscribed four noble truths and eightfold path of Buddhism. He was Jain by birth and Buddhist in action post Kalinga war, but his edicts talk more about welfare state (King to follow) and virtues of life (people to follow), the wisdom of ancient India. 

He has been named ‘deva nam piya piya dasi laja’ on most edicts but his name as Asok is found on minor rock edicts (MRE-II) of Nittur in Karnataka. His name as Raya Asoko on edict and stone portrait with his queens and female attendants have also been found out at Sannati-Kanaganahalli (Karnataka).

The Nittur MREs inscribed that when the King of Jambudip (Bharat) Asoka was away (from the capital on pilgrimage) for 256 nights, it was 2.5 years of he became ‘Upasak’ and not feeling zealous about others for a year and for more than a year he has been associated with the ‘Sangh’ and exerting himself as a result unmingled people were mingled in his kingdom. He believed that big and small, rich and poor can exert themselves and therefore he dispatched the commands through edicts throughout his kingdom (earth) and bordering kingdoms so that people living at the borders should also know about these teachings. He told the Kumars and the Mahamantris to pass orders on Rajikas who in turn pass orders on people living in country side and Rastikas with the help of teachers, Brahmanas, elephant riders, scribes and charioteers. He told to (instruct pupils) follow this ancient wisdom (porana pakiti). 

The ancient attributes of dharma-guna he told to propound were:

“1) be obedient to parents.
2) in the same way (obedient) to one’s elders.
3) be kind to living beings.”

When I was pupil, my mother used to teach me lessons of life through proverbs and Subhasita. One of them was:”कह्यु करो माँ बाप नुं, दो मोटा ने मान; गुरू नी शिक्षा मानीए, तो करे प्रभु लीलालहेर” meaning “God makes you happy if (you) are obedient to parents, give respect elders and follow the teachings of teacher.” In her one sentence the ancient wisdom of India and the Dhamm of Ashok were induced. Obedience of parents, respect to elders and learning from teachers is the dharma of Indians for centuries. 

10 July 2024


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