Read full document

Ashoka's Dhamma

By | March 2010
Page 1 of 3
THE DHAMMA IS PRAKRIT FORM OF THE SANSKRIT WORD DHARMA.HOWEVER, ASHOKA TRIED TO USE IT IN A MUCH WIDER SENSE. SCHOLARS HAVE EXPRESSED DIFFERENT OPINIONS REGARDING DHAMMA OF ASHOKA. SOME ARE OF THE VIEW THAT HIS DHAMMA IS NOTHING MORE THAN BUDDHISM OTHERS FEEL THAT IT WAS NOT A PARTICULAR RELIGIOUS SYSTEM BUT A MORAL LAW AND CODE OF ETHICS INDEPENDENT OF CASTE OR CREED. MOST SCHOLARS AGREED THAT PERSONAL RELIGION OF ASHOKA WAS BUDDHISM BUT WHAT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS HIS DHAMMA AND WHICH WAS PROPAGATED BY HIM AMONG HIS SUBJECTS WAS DIFFERENT AND CONTAINED THOSE MORAL PROSPECTS WHICH WERE CERTAINLY INSPIRED BY BUDDHIST TEACHINGS BUT WERE COMMON TO ALL RELIGIONS OF INDIA. IN REALITY ASHOKA’S IDEAL WAS MORE ETHICAL AND SOCIAL THAN RELIGIOUS.HE WAS NOT CONCERNED WITH PARTICULAR RELIGION OF ANY INDIVIDUAL BUT HE DESIRED THAT ALL PEOPLE THOUGH PERSUING DIFFERENT RELIGIONS SHOULD LIVE IN HARMONY WITH EACH OTHER AND CULTIVATE HABITS OF GOOD SOCIAL CONDUCT.ASHOKA PURSUED THIS IDEAL AND BUILT UP THIS POLICY OF DHAMMA ON THIS BASIS DUE TO SEVERAL REASONS. PRIMARILY, HIS OWN PRIVATE BELIEFS. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS AGE AND THE POLITICAL NECESSITY OF HOLDING A BIG EMPIRE INTACT WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS POLICY. THE MAURYANS AS SUCH WERE NOT AGAINST BRAHMANISM BUT WERE DEFINITELY MORE SYMPATHETIC TOWARDS JAINISM AND BUDDHISM.CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA HAD ACCEPTED JAINISM DURING LATER YRS. OF HIS LIFE. THEREFORE, ASHOKA’S FAMILY TRADITIONS WERE IN FAVOUR OF SUPPORT TO THESE NEW RELIGIOUS SECTS.THOUGH OFFCOURSE WITH TOLERENCE. FURTHER THESE NEW RELIGIOUS SECTS HAD CREATED DIVISIONS IN THE SOCIETY WHICH WERE STRENGTHENED BY CHANGED ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES. THE BIG EMPIRE UNDER THE MAURYANS HAD INCREASED FACILITIES FOR TRADE AND COMMERCE WHICH HAD CREATED A NEW AND PROSPEROUS CLASS OF PEOPLE MOSTLY CONCENTRATED IN THE CITIES. THIS STRENGTHENED SOCIAL DIVISIONS.THE NEW RELIGIOUS SECTS ATTRACTED LARGE CONVERTS FROM THIS COMMERCIAL CLASS. THE LOWER STRATA OF THE SOCIETY ALSO IN GENERAL HAD...

Rate this document

What do you think about the quality of this document?

Share this document

Let your classmates know about this document and more at Studymode.com