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1.03.2020

Emperor Ashoka. Sorokin, ways and Power of Love.

After his accession to the throne POWER OF CREATIVE LOVE 67 in 273 B . C . Asoka, like his predecessors, spent the first twelve years of his reign in wars of consolidation of his Indian empire. The conquest of the province of Kalinga in 261 B . C . was his last war. From Asoka’s own inscriptions we learn that the horrors and miseries of wars aroused in him a deep remorse, a sense of profoundest shame, and an understanding of the utter futility of war as a means of pacification and of social improvement. As a result, in 261-260 B . C . he was converted into Buddhism, as a lay disciple, and in 259 he entered a Buddhist order as a monk. This date marks the complete transformation of Asoka and of his policies. The successful emperor-warrior changed into a zealous apostle of peace, compassion, love, and good works. He began now to preach, to practice, and to carry on “ the policies of goodness, mercy, liberality, truthfulness, purity, and gentleness,” — especially towards the conquered peoples — and the policies of liberation from “ depravity, violence, cruelty, anger, conceit, and envy.” Specific duties required from his followers and officials were: nonslaughter of animate beings, noninjury to “existing creatures hearkening to father and mother; reverence to teachers; liberality and seemly behavior towards friends, acquaintances, fellow men, and ascetics; compassionate and seemly conduct towards slaves and servants; and “ small expense and small accumulation.” His works of charity consisted in planting the roads with shade trees and orchards, building rest houses and watering sheds, and digging wells; in construction of hospitals and dispensaries (for men and animals), in distribution of medical drugs, in planting medicinal herbs and fruit trees; in outright grants of money and organized relief to the poor, the aged, the helpless, prisoners, the infirm, and needy people generally. His political administration was marked by the complete cessation of wars and establishment of undisturbed peace — internal and external — and by the organization of a special class of high officials (Dharma-Mahamatras) whose duties were concerned solely with the temporal and spiritual welfare of the people. All political officers were to follow Asoka’s example in their personal behavior. They were exhorted to carry on the policy of good will, sympathy, and love to their own people, as well as to the peoples of the bordering territories. The officials thus were missionaries and moral leaders. One of their main functions was to be “ peacemakers ” between all sects, races, parties, and peoples, building their mutual good will and decreasing their enmities. Asoka revised the existing law and judicial administration, making these more just, human, and uniform. He made himself available for the business of the people at any and all times, and so on..... 

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