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Which of the following edicts have information about Samrat Ashoka's Dhamma ? 
1. Minor edict 
2. Bhabm edicts 
3. Kalinga edicts 
4. Fourteen edicts

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Correct Answer - Option 1 : Minor edict 

The correct answer is Minor edict.

  • James Prinsep, a British antiquary was the first person to decipher Ashoka’s edicts.
  • These Ashoka’s inscriptions are the first tangible evidence of Buddhism.
  • Ashoka inscriptions can be classified into three:
    • Pillar edicts.
    • Major rock edicts.
    • Minor rock edicts.

Minor rock edicts are found on 15 rocks across the country and Afghanistan. There are minor Rock Edicts and minor pillar Edicts.

  • The Pillar Edict 4 of Asoka deals with Asoka’s Dhamma and also instructions were given to his officials. Thus, this gives a direct relation between Ashoka and Buddhism.
    The XIII Rock Edict gives details about his war with Kalinga.
    The Pillar Edict VII gives a summary of his efforts to promote the Dhamma within his Kingdom.
    Thus the Asokan inscriptions remain valuable sources for the study of Asoka and the Mauryan Empire.
  • The main principles of Ashoka’s dhamma:
    1. People should live in peace and harmony.
    2. Everyone should practice the principle of ahimsa, like non-violence and non-injury to all living beings.
    3. People should love one another and display respect and tolerance towards other religious faiths.
    4. Children should obey their elders and elders should treat children with understanding.
    5. People should be truthful, charitable, and kind to all, even towards servants and slaves.

  • Kalinga Edicts (Separate Rock Edicts) are found in Odisha.
    • Kalinga Edict – I was related to King declares that all men are his children. Talks about Maha mantras.
    • Kalinga Edict – II was related to the Proclamation of edicts even to a single person.
  • Ashoka’s Major Rock Edicts has 14 major rock edicts.
  • ​Asoka’s Edicts & Inscriptions refer to a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Asoka and cave walls
    In these inscriptions, Ashoka has referred to himself as “Beloved of the Gods” and “King Priya-darshi.”
    The inscriptions found in the eastern part of India were written in the Magadhi language with mild use of the Brahmi script.
    The inscriptions found in the western part of India has a language closer to Sanskrit, using the Kharoshthi script.

Ashokan inscriptions are classified as below:

  • Major Rock Edicts: 14 Edicts and 2 separate ones found in Odisha; in Prakrit and Greek. 
  • Major Pillar Edicts: 7 Edicts, inscribed at the end of Ashoka's reign; in Prakrit.
  • Minor Rock Edicts: Edicts inscribed at the beginning of Ashoka's reign; in Prakrit, Greek and Aramaic.
  • Minor Pillar Edicts: Schism Edict, Queen's Edict, Rummindei Edict, Nigali Sagar Edict; in Prakrit.

 

Major Rock Edicts Contents
Major Rock edict 1 the prohibition of animal sacrifices and festive gatherings
Major Rock edict 7 Need for tolerance among all religious sects
Major Rock edict 11 Explanation of Dhamma-policy
Major Rock edict 13 Kalinga War and Hellenic kings

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