Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Emperor Ashoka and Religious Tolerance

The Girnar Rock Edict of Emperor Ashoka, on Religious Tolerance
(Girnar is near Junagarh in Gujrat, and the Edict is inscribed on a rock on the Sudarshan Lake of the Mauryan Emperors. The probable date of the Edict is around 260 B.C.)

"Thus saith His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King : The King honours all religious sects. His Sacred Majesty does not value gifts and honours as he values the growth of the essential elements of all religious sects. But the root of it is restraint of speech, that is, there should not be honour only of one's own religion and condemnation of other religions. On the other hand, other religions should be honoured too. By doing this, one helps his own religion to grow, and benefits the religion of others too. By doing otherwise, one harms his own religion and injures the other religions too. For whoever honours only his own religion and condemns other religions injures more gravely his own religion. Hence concord alone is commendable, and all should listen, and be willing to listen, to the beliefs professed by others. This is the desire of his Sacred Majesty."

14 comments:

  1. Sir, please give me a good Book and Author to read details and more this sir.

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    1. There are a large number of books about Ashoka and his edicts. Please go to any good library and you will find them there

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  2. I would like research more on this. So far, I learned the word "Religion" in English appeared only AD 1100s, +- a few hundred years. However, this Emperor Ashoka's inscription is dated 260BC. I wonder which word from the inscription is translated to English word Religion and details from anyone would be appreciated!.

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    1. In Ashoka's time there were many religions in India, e.g. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc

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  6. keep up the good work............all the best

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  7. Sir,I am skeptical about Ashoka turning to non violence soon after the Kalinga War.This Kalinga war was fought between Ashoka and a descendant of the first sudra king of India Raja Anantha Padmanabha.Tribals Vs Upper caste King .It was also the last resistance Ashoka had to subdue before he consolidated his empire.I suspect Ashoka was opportunistic,he used the Kalinga war to promote himself as a non-violent benevolent king.He could have stopped the war ,and saved thousands of tribals,he did nothing of that sort,instead annexed and colonized Kalinga(something like American invasion of Iraq).

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  8. Saw this in Wikipedia
    The ancient texts Ashokavadana and the Divyavadana mention that the Buddhist king Ashoka ordered killings of several nirgranthas or Jain monks after being informed that two nirgranthas had drawn pictures depicting the Buddha bowing at the feet of Mahavira

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