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Rock Edict VI

Rock Edict VI

SOURCE: The Edicts of Aśoka. Edited and translated by N. A. Nikam and Richard McKeon. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1959, pp. 37–38.

King Priyadarśī says:

In the past, state business was not transacted or reports made at all hours of the day. I have therefore made arrangements that officials may have access to me and may report on the affairs of my people at all times and in all places—when I am eating, when I am in the harem or my inner apartments, when I am tending to the cattle, when I am walking or engaged in religious exercises. I now attend to the affairs of the people in all places. And when a donation or a proclamation that I have ordered verbally, or an urgent matter which I have delegated to my high officials, causes a debate or dispute in the Council, this must be reported to me immediately, at all hours and in all places. These are my orders.

I am never completely satisfied with my work or my vigilance in carrying out public affairs. I consider the promotion of the people's welfare my highest duty, and its exercise is grounded in work and constant application.

No task is more important to me than promoting the well-being of all the people. Such work as I accomplish contributes to discharging the debt I owe to all living creatures to make them happy in this world and to help them attain heaven in the next.

I have ordered this edict on Dharma inscribed in order that it may endure forever and in order that my sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons may follow it for the welfare of all. This is difficult to do, however, without devoted and sustained work.

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