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Yoga Vashisht or Heaven Found, by Rishi Singh Gherwal, [1930], at


Asoka, the Great, ruled India from 222 to 260 B. C., embraced the Buddhist religion, and spread it over India and far beyond the limits of India. "If a man's fame," says Kopen, "can be measured, by the number of lips that have mentioned and still mention him with honor, Asoka is more famous than Charlemagne or Caesar."

Thus spake royal Piyadasi,
     Of the Gods beloved;
"Grace and righteous exhortation
     Have my subjects moved. p. 186
For my pastors to the people
     Holy lessons sing,—
And my priests to countless thousands
     Loving message bring!

I have spoke to subject peoples,
     Precepts I have loved;
I have carved on rock-made pillars,
     Lessons I have proved.
Ministers of faith and duty
     Have my mandates told;
Spoke to near and distant nations,
     Maxims, loved of old!

And within my spacious empire,
     By each highway made,
Figs and mangoes I have planted,
     For repose and shade;
Wells I made, for man and cattle,
     All that breathe and move,—
But with higher toil constructed
     Springs of faith and love!

Scatter then my royal riches,
     Spread my bounty, then,
To the monk and to the toiler,—
     To all living men,
To the Brahman and the Sharman,—
     To all sects of fame;
Let each clan and corporation
     Know Asoka's name!

And unto my royal bounty,
     Others add their store,
For my queens, with queenly mercy,
     Help the helpless poor;
And my white-robed, royal children,
     Acts of kindness prove,
Charity and Truth and Kindness,
     Purity and Love! p. 187

Thus, in ever-growing current,
     May our bounty flow,
To the Brahman and the Sharma,—
     To the poor and low:
For the humble and the lowly,
     Special kindness crave!
May our mercy reach the menial,
     Cheer the unchained slave!

Laws severe, we vainly fashion,
     Codes we vainly start;
Gentle teaching, soft persuasion,
     Touch the people's heart.
Hence, I carve this loving edict,
     Speak these maxims, pure,—
Future kings shall work as long as
     Sun and moon endure!

Since I won my father's empire,—
     Since this state was mine,
Past are seven and twenty autumns
     When I carve this line.
Where ’tis writ on stony pillar,
     In this empire, vast,
Unto far and distant ages
     May this Edict last!"
                       Pillar Edict, viii.


King and Victor Piyadasi,
     Of the Gods beloved,
O’er the plains of broad Kalinga,
     With his army moved.
Hundred thousand men were taken,—
     Hundred thousand died;
Righteous sorrow wrung his bosom,
And the Victor cried; p. 188

'Brahmans pure and Sharmans holy,—
     Men who toil in life,
Faithful fathers, loving children,—
     Husband and the wife;
These to pain and separation,
     Slavery and death,
I have doomed, and swept Kalinga
With destruction's breath!

Let me seek for other trophies,
     Win the spoils of faith;
Peace and plenty, not disaster;.
     Life and love, not death!
Speak then to my farthest frontiers,
     To each distant soil:'
'Warfare ends, the work of mercy,
     Henceforth is my toil!

Syria's monarch, Antiochus,—
     Egypt's Ptolemy,—
Macedonian Antigonas,—
     Cyrenean Magas, free,—
Alexander of Epiros,—
     These five kings of West,
Have received my loving message,—
     Gospel true and blest!

Cholas and the mighty Pandyas,—
     Tamba-pannis, meek;
     And the Bactrain Greek;
Nabhakas and Nabha-pantis,—
     Bhojas only stirred;
Andhras and the brave Pulindas,
     Have my tidings heard!

Messengers of Piyadasi
     To these lands are sent,—
Grateful kings and listening nations p. 189
     To his faith have bent;
Thus I win a brighter conquest,
     And a holier fame;
And a more than earthly gladness
     Thrills my mortal frame!

Rich and rare the golden fruitage
     Of a life of faith;
Full and ample is the harvest
     Gathered after death:
Hence, the monarch Piyadasi.
     Carves his sacred line, —
That his royal sons and grandsons
     May to faith incline!

That the kings of earth, hereafter,
     May all conquest shun,
Wrought by rapine and by bloodshed,
     Deeds of darkness done.
That the monarchs may, hereafter,
     Conquer realms by faith;
Fame on earth awaits such conquest,
     Glory after death!"

From the Translation of R. C. Dutt.

Note by Author—A workable scheme for the League of Nations.

The night approaches now; hold fast
     The lamp of holy knowledge, bright
With ever slowly kindling light,
     To guide thee till the gloom is past.

                 Mahabharata xii. 12064

Om! Om! Om!

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