A REPLICA OF THE JUNAGADH ROCK EDICT, NATIONAL MUSEUM DELHI, INDIA.

Clue in the edits.

After slaughtering an estimated one hundred thousand people in what was the Kaligna war (counted among history’s bloodiest conflicts), third generation Mauryan regent more famously known as the greatest of all Indian emperors, Ashoka, had enough of bloodshed and conquests.

Historical evidence unearthed from during his reign, indicate the carnage had a deep psychological impact on the mind of the emperor, prompting him to not only find solace in the embrace of Buddhism but also introduce reforms that he hoped would reduce violence and help unite his massive empire comprising of several cultures, religions and people with an unbiased set of behavioral code that would be seen as just and fair.

Yet his relentless patronage of Buddhism may well have undermined his own vision of a united realm, brought about the downfall of his own dynasty and the end of what was the largest empire in the history of India.

Later records from the period indicate Mauryan rule crumbling not long after the death of the emperor with his last successor murdered by his own commander in-chief – a Bhramin usurper who once more brought back to dominance the more ancient and deeply entrenched faith of Hinduism.

That Ashoka was highly influenced by Buddhism and expected his subjects to follow his example is evident from several rock edicts that survived from his era. The metal cast replica of Junagadh rock edict in Grinar, Gujarat (up in the photo) that sits at the National Museum Delhi right opposite the main entrance is a fine example in support of the claim.

Incised on its surface in an early form of Bhrami scrip is a series of the famous social norms introduced by the emperor who banned animal sacrifices, opened up veterinary clinics and sincerely set about to promote peace and prosperity within his empire. The edicts were largely instrumental in immortalizing Ashoka for posterity and promoting Buddhism.

Also see in books you may like: Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas.

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