Rock Edicts which created by Ashoka
Ashoka was the first Indian ruler to issue edicts. Ashokan edicts were inscribed either on the pillars of stone or on rocks. They consist of Major and Minor groups. They give information on the life and reign of the kings. The inscriptions found in the Eastern part of India were written in the Magadhi language, using the Brahmi script.
In the western part of India, the language used is closer to Sanskrit. Using the Kharoshti script, one extract of Edict XIII in Greek language and one bilingual edict written in Greek and Aramic. These edicts were decoded by British archaeologist and historian James Princep. The Name ‘Ashok’ is explicitly mentioned in only three Inscriptions at Maski, Gujarra and Nittur.
Major Rock Edicts
They are a set of 14 inscription found at 8 places. Dhauli, Girnar, Jauguda, Kalsi, Mansehra, Shahbazgarhi, Sopara and Yerragudi. The Major Rock Edicts also include two separate edicts found at Kalinga. They deal with administration and ethics.
Minor Rock Edicts
These are spread on 13 places- Bairat, Brahmagiri, Gavinath, Gujarra, Jatinga-Rameshwar, Maski, Palkigunda, Maadagiri, Rupanath, Sasaram, Siddhapur, Suvarnagiri and Yerragudi. The Minor Rock Edict includes
Kandahar Inscriptions It is located at Kandahar and express satisfaction over Ashoka’s Policies.
Bhabru Inscription It is located at bairat in Rajasthan and deals with Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism.
Contents of Major Rock Edicts
|1.||First Major Rock Edict||Prohibition on animal’s laughter|
|2.||Second Major Rock Edict||Mention of places of Cholas, Pradayans, Satayaputras and Keralputras.|
|3.||Third Major Rock Edict||Directions to Pradeshikas, Yuktas and Rajukas for propagation of Dhamma. Liberty towards Brahmins and Sramanas|
|4.||Fourth Major Rock Edict||Impact of Dhamma on Society Non-violence towards animals.|
|5.||Fifth Major Rock Edict||Appointment of Dhamma Mahamatras|
|6.||Sixth Major Rock Edict||Welfare majors, efficient organisation of administration.|
|7.||Seventh Major Rock Edict||Propagation of peace, balance of mind and faith, tolerance among all the sects.|
|8.||Eighth Major Rock Edict||Details of visit to Bodhi tree, Dhammasutras.|
|9.||Ninth Major Rock Edict||Stress on ceremony of Dhamma|
|10.||Tenth Major Rock Edict||Ashoka’s desire to gain popularity for Dhamma.|
|11.||Eleventh Major Rock Edict||Appraisal of Dhamma, religious tolerance|
|12||Twelfth Major Rock Edict||Promotion to religion of different faiths, change of heart after Kalinga war.|
|13.||Thirteenth Major Rock Edict||Largest of all, Kalinga’s destruction, mention of Greek rulers- Antiochus, Ptolemy, antigonus, megas, Alexander. Mention of Castles like- Kamboj, Nabhkas, Nabhakaptees Bhoja, Pittinik, Andhra, Parindas.|
|14.||Fourteenth Major Rock Edict||Nature of all other Rock edicts.|
Other Famous Edicts
|Minor Rock Edict||Inclusion of Ashoka into Sangha.|
|Queen’s Edict||Mention of karuvaki. Tivara, the son of Karuvaki has also been mentioned.|
|Kandhar Edict||It is bilingual. It tells that fishermen and hunters gave up hunting.|
|Bhabru Edict||Faith of ruler and kingdom in Dhamma|
Major Pillar Edicts
These are set of seven edicts found at Allahabad, Meerut, Sopara, Lauriya Averaj, Lauriya Nandangarh and Rampurva.
Contents of Major Pillar Edicts
Pillar Edict I Ashoka’s principle of protection to people
Pillar Edict II Defines Dhamma as minimum of sins, many virtues, compassion, liberality, truthfulness and purity.
Pillar Edict III Abolishes sins of harshness, cruelty, anger, pride etc.
Pillar Edict IV Deals with duties of the Rajukas.
Pillar Edict V List of Animals and birds not be killed on some days and list of those animals which have not to be killed at any occasion.
Pillar Edict VI Dhamma Policy
Pillar Edict VII Works done by Ashoka for Dhamma policy. It is the longest pillar edict.
Minor Pillar Edicts
Rummindei Pillar Inscription It mentions the exemption of Lumbini from tax.
Nigalisagar Pillar Inscription It is located in Kaplivastu. It informs about Ashoka increasing the size of Stupa of Buddha Konakamana to double of its former size.
Schism Edict it is located at Kausambi, Sanchi and Sarnath. It appeals for maintaining unity in Buddhist order.
Barabara Cave inscription it is located in Bihar. They speak about Ashoka’s donation of cave to the Ajivikas. The caves are earliest example of rock cut caves.
Kausambi edicts are known as queen’s edict. They indicate bout donations given by queen Karukaki.