Today's Beautiful Gem: `On Religious
Tolerance...' by Emperor Ashoka,
translated by Nikam and McKeon from `The Edicts of Asoka'.
"King Priyadars'i (as'oka) honours men of all faith, members of
religious orders and laymen alike, with gifts and various marks
of esteem. Yet he does not value either gifts or honours as
much as growth in the qualities essential to religion in men of
"This growth may take many forms, but its root is in guarding one's
speech to avoid extolling one's own faith and disparaging the
faith of others improperly or, when the occasion is appropriate,
"The faiths of others all deserve to be honoured for one reason
or another. By honouring them, one exalts one's own faith and
at the same time performs a service to the faith of others. By
acting otherwise, one injures one's own faith and also does
disservice to that of others. For if a man extols his own faith
and disparages another because of devotion to his own and because
he wants to glorify it, he seriously injures his own faith.
"Therefore concord alone is commendable, for through concord men
may learn and respect the conception of Dharma accepted by others.
"King Priyadars'i desires men of all faiths to know each other's
doctrines and to acquire sound doctrines. Those who are attached
to their particular faiths should be told that King Priyadars'i
does not value gifts or honours as much as growth in the qualities
essential to religion in men of all faiths.
"Many officials are assigned to tasks bearing on this purpose--
the officers in charge of spreading Dharma, the superintendents
of women in royal households, the inspectors of cattle and pasture
lands, and other officials.
"The objective of these measures is the promotion of each man's
particular faith and the glorification of Dharma."
Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao