What is Bherighosa

Major Rock Edicts - Major Rock Edicts

The Major Rock Edicts by the Indian Emperor Ashoka refer to 14 separate Major Edicts of Ashoka, which are very detailed and depict some of the earliest dated rock inscriptions by an Indian monarch. These edicts are chronologically preceded by the Minor Rock Edicts.


Ashoka was the third monarch of the Maurya Empire in India and ruled around 269 BC. Ashoka famously converted to Buddhism and renounced violence shortly after his victory in a gruesome Kalinga War, but was full of deep remorse for the bloodshed of the war. Although he was a significant historical figure, little definitive information was known as there was little record of his reign until a large number of his edicts inscribed on rocks and pillars were found in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 19th century . The following locations were found in India: Kalsi, Uttarakhand; Sopara, Maharashtra; Mount Girnar, Gujarat; Yerragudi, Andhra Pradesh; Dhauli, Odisha; Jaugada, Odisha. These many edicts, the first and most impressive of which were Ashoka's Major Rock Edicts, dealt with practical instructions on how to run a kingdom such as designing irrigation systems and describing Ashoka's belief in peaceful moral conduct. They contain little personal details about his life.


The Major Rock Edicts are generally attributed to Ashoka. Strictly speaking, the inscriptions of the Major Rock Edicts as well as those of the Major Pillar Edicts are not in the name of "Ashoka", but in the name of "Devanampriya" ("Beloved of God"). , "Devanampriya Priyadasi" ("Our Lord Priyadasi" or literally "Our Lord who looks amicably") or "Devanampriya Priyadasi Raja" ("Our Lord the King Priyadasi"). This title also appears in Greek in the bilingual rock inscription of Kandahar, when the author of the proclamation is referred to as βασιλεὺς Πιοδασσης ("King Piyodasses") and in Aramaic in the same inscription as "Our Lord, King Priyadasin".

The association of the main inscriptions with "Ashoka" is just a reconstruction based on that Dipavamsa from the 3rd-4th Century AD, associating the name "Ashoka" with the name "Priyadarsi", and an extrapolation based on the fact that the name "Ashoka" appears with the title "Devanampriya" ("Beloved of the Gods") in some the Minor Rock Edicts. Christopher Beckwith has suggested that "Priyadarsi" was a king in his own right, probably the son of Chandragupta Maurya known to the Greeks as Amitrochates, and Ashoka was either just a Buddhist legend or a much later king who wrote the Buddhist minor rock edicts around the 1st century AD

Conversely, the Major Rock Edicts in the name of King Priyadasi do not have a clear Buddhist character, as they are mainly codes of conduct known under the name "Dharma" (translated as Eusebeia ("Piety") in Greek and "Truth" in Aramaic are summarized in the bilingual rock inscription of Kandahar) and without mentioning Buddhism, the Buddha or the Samgha.

List of the most important rock edicts

Ashoka's most important rock arrangements include:

Rock Edict I.
Prohibits the slaughter of animals. Prohibits festive gatherings and killing of animals. Only two peacocks and one deer were killed in Asoka's kitchen. He wanted to stop this practice of killing two peacocks and a deer.
Major Rock Edict II
Takes care of humans and animals and describes the recipients as the kingdoms of Chola, Pandyas, Satyapura and Cheras in southern India as well as the Greek king Antiochus II and his neighbors.
Major Rock Edict III
Generosity to Brahmins. Issued after Asoka's coronation for 12 years. It is said that the yuktas (subordinate officers) and pradesikas (district leaders) along with rajukas (rural officers) should go to all areas of the kingdom every five years and spread the Dhamma policy of Asoka.
Major Rock Edict IV
Dhammaghosa is ideal for humanity and not the Bherighosa. Influence of Dhamma on society.
Major Rock Edict V.
Policy Concerns About Slaves. In this rock edict he mentions "Everyone is my child". The appointment of Dhammamahamatras is mentioned in this edict.
Major Rock Edict VI
Describes King's desire to be constantly informed about the circumstances of the people. Talks about welfare measures.
Major Rock Edict VII
Calls for tolerance for all religions - "To promote one's own sect, to devalue others out of affection for one's own, to increase their merits, means to inflict the worst damage on one's own sect."
Major Rock Edict VIII
Describes Asoka's first Dhamma Yatra for Bodhgaya & Bodhi Tree.
Major Rock Edict IX
Condemns popular ceremonies. Stress in ceremonies of Dhamma.
Major Rock Edict X.
Condemns the desire for fame and honor. Emphasizes the popularity of Dhamma.
Major Rock Edict XI
Explains Dhamma Major
Rock Edict XII
Targeted and determined demand for tolerance between different religious sects.
Also in Greek in the Greek Kandahar Edict of Ashoka (last part)
Major Rock Edict XIII
It is the largest inscription from the edict. It is about the Ashoka victory over Kalinga and the high number of victims in this war. King considered the victory of "Dhamma" to be the most important victory; mentions the victory of "Dhamma" where the Greeks named Amtiyoga or Amtiyaka (rules), identified with Antiochus II. Theos of the Seleucid Empire, ruled; it also mentions the victory of Dhamma, where the following Greek kings reign beyond Antiochus:
It also mentions the victory of Dhamma in South India under the Cholas and Pandyas as far as Ceylon.
This edict was also written in Greek (probably along with all other great rock edicts I-XIV originally) in the Greek Kandahar Edict of Ashoka (first part restored).
Major Rock Edict XIV
Describes the engraving of inscriptions in different parts of the country.

Language of the inscriptions

Three languages ​​and four scripts were used. The edicts in Indian language are written in non-standardized and archaic forms of Prakrit. Prakrit inscriptions were written in Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts that even a citizen could read and understand, the inscriptions used in the Kharosthi script in the Pakistan region. Some northern edicts are written in Greek with a very standardized Greek script or in Aramaic with Aramaic script. The Kandahar Rock inscription is bilingual Greek-Aramaic (but is more commonly classified as Minor Rock Edict). The Greek Kandahar Edict of Ashoka is only in Greek and originally probably contained all the major rock edicts 1-14.

Ashoka's edicts were the first written inscriptions in India after the ancient city of Harrapa fell into disrepair.

Limited Buddhist character of the Major Rock Edicts

Several authors have pointed out that the Major Rock Edicts don't have a very strong Buddhist taste, especially when compared to the Minor Rock Edicts. The theme of the Major Rock Edicts is the Dharma, which is essentially described as a corpus of moral and social values ​​("Compassion, Liberality, Truthfulness, Purity, Meekness, Goodness, Few Sins, Many Vituous Deeds") and neither the Buddha. Neither the samgha nor Buddhism is ever mentioned. The only likely mention of Buddhism appears only with the word "Sramanas" ("ascetics"), which are always mentioned next to "Brahmins", in a rather neutral list of the most important religious actors of this time. In the 12th Major Rock Edict, Ashoka also claims to honor all sects.

However, in Major Rock Edict No. 8, Ashoka clearly describes his pilgrimage to Sambodhi ( Saṃ + Bodhi , "Complete Enlightenment"), another name of Bodh Gaya, the place of the awakening of the Buddha. Ashoka also repeatedly condemns ceremonies and sacrifices, an overt attack on Brahmanism. In the Major Rock Edicts, Ashoka also expresses his belief in karma and rebirth and affirms that good deeds in this and the next life in heaven (𑀲𑁆𑀯𑀕 svaga ) to be rewarded .

Overall, according to Christopher I. Beckwith, the author of the Major Rock Edicts likely stuck to an "early, pietistic, popular" form of Buddhism.

Description of the Major Rock Edicts

The Major Rock Edicts of Ashoka are inscribed on large rocks, with the exception of the Kandahar Greek Edict of Ashoka, which is written on a stone tablet of a building. The Major Edicts are not located in the heartland of the Moorish territory, which is traditionally aligned with Bihar, but on the borders of the territory controlled by Ashoka.

Surname Place and content map overview rock Rubbing / close-up
Kandahar Old Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Major Rock Edict 13 ends and Major Rock Edict 14 begins
(in Greek). 31.602447 ° N 65.658843 ° E.
31 ° 36'09 "N 65 ° 39'32" E. /. / 31.602447; 65.658843
Yerragudi Gooty, near Guntakal, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh.
Major Rock Edicts 1-14.
There are also smaller rock edicts No. 1 and No. 2. 15.209722 ° N 77.576944 ° E.
15 ° 12'35 "N 77 ° 34'37" E. /. / 15.209722; 77.576944
Girnar Girnar, Gujarat
Major Rock Edicts 1-14. Navigable 3D view 21.525075 ° N 70.479543 ​​° E.
21 ° 31'30 "N 70 ° 28'46" E. /. / 21.525075; 70.479543
Dhauli The front is shaped like an elephant. Dhauli, Khordha District, Odisha.
Major Rock Edicts 1-10, 14, Separate Edict 1 & Separate Edict 2. Navigable 3D view 20.1891573 ° N 85.8425935 ° E.
20 ° 11'21 "N 85 ° 50'33" E. /. / 20.1891573; 85.8425935
Jaugada Jaugada, Ganjam District, Odisha
Major Rock Edicts 1-10, 14, Separate Edicts 1 & 2. Navigable 3D view 19.522602 ° N 84.830885 ° E.
19 ° 31'21 "N 84 ° 49'51" E. /. / 19.522602; 84.830885
Khalsi Khalsi, Dehradun District, Uttarakhand.
Major Rock Edicts 1 to 14. Navigable 3D view 30.5180 ° N 77.8482 ° E.
30 ° 31'05 "N 77 ° 50'54" E. /. / 30.5180; 77.8482
Sopara Nala Sopara, Mumbai Metropolitan Area, Palghar District, Maharashtra
Fragments of the 8th and 9th great rock edicts. Inscribed on a free-standing stone. 3D view 19.4141529 ° N 72.7950626 ° E.
19 ° 24'51 "N 72 ° 47'42" E. /. / 19.4141529; 72.7950626
Shahbazgarhi Shahbazgarhi, Mardan, Pakistan
Major Rock Edicts 1 to 14 (in the Kharoshthi script). 34.223676 ° N 72.165541 ° E.
34 ° 13'25 "N 72 ° 09'56" E. /. / 34.223676; 72.165541
Mansehra Mansehra, Hazara, Pakistan
Major Rock Edicts 1 to 14 (in the Kharoshthi script). 34.337804 ° N 73.193420 ° E.
34 ° 20'16 "N 73 ° 11'36" E. /. / 34.337804; 73.193420
Sannati Sannati, Gulbarga, Karnataka
Major Rock Edicts 12, 14, separate edict instead of No. 13. Originally set on a standing stone, inscribed on the front and back. Found (as building material) in the Chandrala Parameswari Temple in Sannati. Now 3 km away, near Kanaganahalli Stupa, where reliefs with Ashoka have been found. 16.835024 ° N 76.9328908 ° E.
16 ° 50'06 "N 76 ° 55'58" E. /. /