Mahavamsa : die große Chronik Sri Lankas

11. Kapitel 11: Die Weihe Devānampiyatissa's zum König

verfasst von Mahanama

übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Mahanama <6. Jhdt n. Chr.>: Mahavamsa : die große Chronik Sri Lankas / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer. -- 11. Kapitel 11: Die Weihe Devānampiyatissa's zum König -- Fassung vom 2006-09-04. -- URL: -- [Stichwort].

Erstmals publiziert:  2001-05-29

Überarbeitungen: 2006-09-04 [Ergänzungen]; 2006-07-19 [Ergänzungen]; 2006-06-12 [Ergänzungen]; 2006-06-10 [Ergänzungen]; 2006-06-07 [Ergänzungen]; 2006-05-29 [Ergänzungen]; 2006-05-22 [Ergänzungen]; 2006-05-08 [Ergänzungen]; 2006-05-06 [Ergänzungen]; 2006-04-21 [Umstellung auf Unicode!]; 2006-03-01 [Einfügung des Palitexts]; 2001-06-01 [kleine Ergänzung]; 2001-06-13 [Hinzufügung von Abbildungen]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltungen, Sommersemester 2001, 2006

©opyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Übersetzers.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Buddhismus von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

0. Übersicht

Pālitext: Zugriff am 2001-06-06

Falls Sie die diakritischen Zeichen nicht dargestellt bekommen, installieren Sie eine Schrift mit Diakritika wie z.B. Tahoma.

Die Zahlreichen Zitate aus Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. sind ein Tribut an dieses großartige Werk. Das Gesamtwerk ist online zugänglich unter: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-08.

Ekādasama pariccheda


Alle Verse mit Ausnahme des Schlussverses sind im Versmaß vatta = siloka = Śloka abgefasst.

Das metrische Schema ist:

 ̽  ̽  ̽  ̽ ˘ˉˉˉ
 ̽  ̽  ̽  ̽ ˘ˉ˘ˉ

 ̽  ̽  ̽  ̽ ˘ˉˉˉ
 ̽  ̽  ̽  ̽ ˘ˉ˘ˉ

Ausführlich zu Vatta im Pāli siehe:

Warder, A. K. (Anthony Kennedy) <1924 - >: Pali metre : a contribution to the history of Indian literature. -- London : Luzac, 1967. --  XIII, 252 S. -- S. 172 - 201.

Abb.: Stammbaum Devānampiyatissa's, vereinfacht (die Regentschaft zwischen Abhaya und Pandukābhaya ist weggelassen)

1. König Mutasiva (regierte 307 bis 247 v. Chr.)

1. Tassaccaye tassa suto,
Muṭasivo ti vissuto;
Suvaṇṇapāliyā putto,
patto rajjam anākulaṃ.

1. Nach dem Tod Paṇḍukābhaya's1 erhielt sein Sohn, der als Muṭasiva2 bekannt war, der Sohn der Suvaṇṇapāli3, das friedliche Königreich.


1 Paṇḍukābhaya


King of Ceylon (377-307 B.C.).

He was the son of Dighagāmanī and Ummāda Cittā and was protected from death in infancy by Citta and Kālavela, who afterwards became Yakkhas.

He was brought up by a man in Dvāramandalaka, but several times his uncles, discovering his whereabouts, tried to kill him, for it had been foretold that he would slay his uncles in order to obtain possession of the kingdom.

At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to the brahmin Pandula, who taught him various arts and provided him later with the necessary money for an army. Pandula's son, Canda, was given as friend and counsellor to Pandukābhaya. Pandukābhaya married, by force, a maiden named Suvannapālī, and declared war upon his uncles, all of whom, except the eldest, Abhaya, had determined to slay him. With the help of the Yakkhinī Cetiyā, who dwelt in Dhūmarakkhapabbata, Pandukābhaya made all preparations for a final campaign against his uncles.

For four years he lived in Dhūmarakkha, and then for seven in Aritthapabbata. Following the counsel of Cetiyā, he enticed his uncles into a trap, and slew them and their followers at Lābugāmaka. He then proceeded to Anurādhagāma, where he set up his capital, which, thenceforward, came to be called Anurādhapura. His uncle, Abhaya, was made Nagaraguttika, and to him was given over the government of the city by night.

After establishing peace in the land, Pandukābhaya proceeded to lay out his capital as a city, and among the buildings which he erected were hermitages for the Niganthas Jotiya, Giri and Kumbhanda, and dwellings for the ājīvakas, the brahmins, etc. He also marked out the boundaries of the villages throughout the island. He ruled for seventy years, and died at the age of 107. He was succeeded by his son Mutasīva. Mhv.ix.28; x.1ff.; xi.1; Dpv.v.69, 81; x.9; xi.1 12."

[Quelle: Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. -- s. v.]

2 Muṭasiva: regierte von 307 bis 247


King of Ceylon, senior contemporary of Asoka. He was the son of Pandukābhaya and Suvannapālī, and reigned for sixty years (307-247 B.C.). Among his works was the laying out of the Mahāmeghavana. He had ten sons and two daughters, and was succeeded by his second son, Devānampiyatissa (Mhv.xi.1ff.; xiii.2). For their names see Dpv.xi.5 and xvii.25f., also MT. 425: Abhaya, Tissa (Devānampiyatissa), Nāga (Mahānāga), Uttiya, Mattābhayā, Mitta, Sīva (Mahā-Sīva), Asela, Tissa, (Sūratissa), Kīra, Anulā and Sīvalī.

The Dīpavamsa (v. 82; but see xi.13) says that the sixth year of Asoka's reign corresponded with the forty eighth of Mutasīva's. Mutasīva, was crowned in the fourteenth year of Candagutta's reign and was still alive when the Third Council was held, when Mahinda was entrusted with the conversion of Ceylon; but Mahinda waited for the death of Mutasīva before carrying out his mission. Mhv.xi.12."

[Quelle: Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. -- s. v.]

3 Suvaṇṇapāli: Tochter von Paṇḍukābhaya's Onkel


Daughter of Girikandasiva and wife of Pandukābhaya.

Pandukābhaya saw her on her way to her father's field with food and made her entertain him and his followers.

Her name was Pālī, and she was given her soubriquet because the banyan leaves, on which she served the meal to Pandukābhaya, turned into gold in her hands.

She had five brothers, all of whom were killed by Pandukābhaya's companion, Canda. Mhv.x.30ff."

[Quelle: Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. -- s. v.]

2. Mahāmeghavanuyyānaṃ,
so rājā kārayi subhaṃ.

2. Dieser König ließ in Anurādhapura den schönen Mahāmeghavana-Park anlegen, der reich war an allen Vorzügen, die aus seinem Namen folgen2. In diesem Park gab es  Blüten- und Fruchtbäume.

1  Anurādhapura

Abb.: Lage von Anurādhapura
(©MS Encarta)

Zu Anurādhapura siehe Mahvāṃsa Kapitel 1, zu Vers 80

2 Mahāmeghavana = Wald der großen Wolke, d.h. es folgen daraus alle Vorteile, die eine gut beregnete Gegend hat

Abb.: Lage des Mahāmeghavana in Anurādhapura

[Quelle der Abb.: Mahânâma <5. Jhd. n. Chr.>: The Mahavamsa or, The great chronicle of Ceylon / translated into English by Wilhelm Geiger ... assisted by Mabel Haynes Bode ... under the patronage of the government of Ceylon. -- London : Published for the Pali Text Society by H. Frowde, 1912. -- 300 S. -- (Pali Text Society, London. Translation series ; no. 3). -- S. 136.]


A park to the south of Anurādhapura. Between the park and the city lay Nandana or Jotivana. The park was laid out by Mutasīva, and was so called because at the time the spot was chosen for a garden, a great cloud, gathering at an unusual time, poured forth rain (Mhv.xi.2f). Devānampiyatissa gave the park to Mahinda for the use of the Order (Mhv.xv.8, 24; Dpv.xviii.18; Sp.i.81) and within its boundaries there came into being later the Mahā-Vihāra and its surrounding buildings. The fifteenth chapter of the Mahāvamsa (Mhv.xv.27ff) gives a list of the chief spots associated with the religion, which came into existence there. Chief among these are the sites of the Bodhi tree, the thirty two mālakas, the Catussālā, the Mahā Thūpa, the Thūpārāma, the Lohapāsāda, and various parivenas connected with Mahinda: Sunhāta, Dīghacankamana, Phalagga, Therāpassaya, Marugana and Dīghasandasenāpati. Later, the Abhayagīri vihāra and the Jetavanārāma were also erected there.

The Mahāmeghavana was visited by Gotama Buddha (Mhv.i.80; Dpv.ii.61, 64), and also by the three Buddhas previous to him. In the time of Kakusandha it was known as Mahātittha, in that of Konagamana as Mahānoma, and in that of Kassapa as Mahāsāgara (Mhv.xv.58, 92, 126).

The Mahāmeghavana was also called the Tissārāma, and on the day it was gifted to the Sangha, Mahinda scattered flowers on eight spots contained in it, destined for future buildings, and the earth quaked eight times (Mhv.xv.174). This was on the day of Mahinda's arrival in Anurādhapura. The first building to be erected in the Mahāmeghavana was the Kālapāsāda parivena (q.v.) for the use of Mahinda. In order to hurry on the work, bricks used in the building were dried with torches (Mhv.xv.203). The boundary of the Mahāmeghavana probably coincided with the sīmā of the Mahāvihāra, but it was later altered by Kanitthatissa, when he built the Dakkhina vihāra. Mhv.xxxvi.12. For a deposition of the various spots of the Mahāmeghavana see Mbv.137."

[Quelle: Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. -- s. v.]

3. Uyyānaṭhānaggahaṇe,
mahāmegho akālajo;
pāvassi tena uyyānaṃ,
Mahāmeghavanaṃ ahu.

3. Als der Platz für diesen Park ausgewählt wurde, regnete eine große Wolke zur Unzeit los, deswegen nannte man den Park Mahāmaghavana1.


1 Mahāmaghavana = Wald der großen Wolke

4. Saṭṭhivassāni Muṭasivo,
rājā rājjam akārayi;
Anurādhapure vare,
Laṃkābhūvadane subhe.

4. Mutasiva regierte 60 Jahre lang1 im prächtigen Anurādhapura2, dem schönen Antlitz des Lankālandes.


1 von 307 bis 247

2 Anurādhapura ist seit Paṇdukābhya (regierte von 377 bis 307) Hauptstadt des Landes

5. Tassa puttā dasāhesuṃ,
duve dhītā cānukulā,
kulānucchavikā ahū.

5. Er hatte zehn Söhne, gegenseitig bedacht auf ihr Heil, sowie zwei angenehme Töchter, würdig ihrer Familie.

6. Devānaṃpiyatisso
ti, vissuto dutiyo suto;
tesu bhātisu sabbesu,
puññāpaññādhiko ahu.

6. Sein zweiter Sohn, als Devānampiyatissa1 bekannt, war unter all seinen Brüdern der tugendhafteste und weiseste.


1 Devānampiyatissa


King of Ceylon (247-207 B.C.). He was the second son of Mutasīva. It is said that on the day of his coronation many wonderful treasures miraculously appeared, some of which he resolved to send as tokens of esteem to his contemporary Dhammāsoka of India, with whom he had long been on terms of friendship. An embassy, led by his nephew Mahārittha, was despatched to Pātaliputta, and the emperor showed the ambassadors every mark of honour. He sent back with them all the requisites for a coronation, with instructions to celebrate the inauguration of the Sinhalese king, whom he invited to embrace Buddhism. On the return of the embassy, the king was solemnly crowned a second time. This confirmation of Devānampiyatissa's sovereignty under the aegis of Asoka may have been due either to the commanding position of Asoka or for the strengthening of family connections. Asoka was a Moriyan (a branch of the Sākiyans) and Devānampiyatissa had Sākiyan blood.

The chief event in the reign of Devānampiyatissa was the arrival of Mahinda in Ceylon. He arrived at the head of a mission in the year of the king's second coronation. Mahinda met the king hunting on the full-moon day of Jettha. The king welcomed him with great honour and speedily embraced the new religion, to which Asoka had already drawn his attention.

His conversion was the direct result of Mahinda's preaching of the Cūlahatthipadopama Sutta. His earlier religion is not known, it may have been Jainism. His example was followed by a large number of his subjects, many of whom entered the Order. Devānampiyatissa dedicated to their use the Nandana park and the Mahāmeghavana, which he himself had laid out a little earlier. In the Mahāmeghavana he built the famous Mahā-Vihāra which, for many centuries, remained the centre of the orthodox religion in Ceylon. The dedication of the Mahā-Vihāra took place in the two hundred and thirty-sixth year after the death of the Buddha. The king's next pious work was the erection of the Cetiyapabbata-vihāra and he, later, built the Thūpārāma, containing the Buddha's right collar-bone.

When the women of the palace, led by Anulā, wife of the sub-king, Mahānāga, expressed a desire to become nuns, Devānampiyatissa sent another embassy to Asoka asking him to send Sanghamittā, together with the right branch of the sacred Bodhi-tree. This branch miraculously severed itself from the parent tree and, together with Sanghamittā, was conveyed down the Ganges and arrived in Jambukola, where it was received with all honour by Devānampiyatissa. From Jambukola it was taken in procession to Anurādhapura, where it was planted in the Mahāmeghavana, the king instituting in its honour a festival, which was observed for many centuries. For the use of Sanghamittā and the nuns the king erected various buildings, the chief of which was the Hatthālhaka-vihāra and the Upāsikā-vihāra with its twelve mansions. (This account is summarised from the Mahāvamsa (chaps.xi., xiii.-xx.); also Dpv.xi.14ff; xii.7; xvii.92).

Among other works of Devānampiyatissa we are told of the building of the Issarasamana- and the Vessagiri-vihāras, the refectory called Mahāpāli, the Jambukola-vihāra in Nāgadīpa, the Tissamahā-vihāra, the Pācīnārāma and the Pathamathūpa. He also built the Tissavāpi at Anurādhapura. (The Cv. (xxxvii.94) mentions also the Dhammacakka as having been built by Devānampiyatissa. It later became the Temple of the Tooth at Anurādhapura).

Mahinda survived him by eight years. Devānampiyatissa seems to have died without issue, for he was succeeded by four of his brothers."

[Quelle: Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. -- s. v.]


king of Sri Lanka during whose reign (250—210 B.C.) the official introduction of Buddhism to the island occurred. He was the second son of Muṭasiva and a junior contemporary of emperor Asoka of India (See. ASOKA (5) ) with whom he had developed a close friendship, though the two had never met. His reign is of special significance in the history of Sri Lanka and that of Buddhism.

Tissa was a man of vision and in his political wisdom, he even before his elevation to the throne, developed a close friendship with the Indian emperor Asoka. At the initial stage of his rule Tissa sent envoys headed by his chief minister and nephew named Ariṭṭha (See ARITTHA (4)) bearing costly presents to Asoka. These envoys were graciously received by the Indian emperor. The effect of this diplomatic relationship has to be assessed in the light of the political situation current at the time in Sri Lanka and the policy of Maurya imperialism, though by then, Asoka had given up conquest by war (digvijaya) and had firmly resorted to conquest by the spread of Dhamma (dhammavijaya). During this period in Sri Lanka, apart from the Royal House at Anurādhapura to which Tissa belonged, there were several kṣatriya families at Kājaragāma and Candanagāma in Rohaṇa and many other places, exercising authority in their principalities irrespective of the title they bore, be that gāmani or parumaka. These local rulers would not have readily acknowledged Tissa's overlordship. This surmise is reinforced by the fact that "the first thing that Tissa did after the inauguration of his rule was to send envoys bearing costly presents to Asoka'" and also in the centuries that followed there emerged supreme a kṣatriya family in Mahāgāma (See DUṬṬHAGĀMANĪ). It is plausible that the expansion of the Maurya empire would have necessitated Tissa to send the mission to the Maurya emperor, as Paranavitana puts it "to obtain the consent and support of the Indian potentiate for his assumption of regal status" (ibid). Emperor Asoka's reciprocal presents to Tissa consisted of (i) gifts material i.e. the five insignia of royalty and the parapbanalia necessary for a royal consecration and, (ii) gifts spiritual — the gift of the dhamma i.e. an exhortation to embrace Buddhism. In addition the rank of the commander of the army (senāpatiṭṭhāna) was bestowed on Ariṭṭha by emperor Asoka. This too would have had a bearing on the politics of Sri Lanka favourable to Tissa. When Tissa received the gifts and the message, he heeded to the superior power and had a consecration for a second time with the regal insignia presented to him by emperor Asoka. With the second consecration Tissa came to be known by the name of Devānampiya (pleasing to the gods) Tissa. Tissa was his generic name. It was by this name Mahinda Thera addressed the king at the first encounter at Missakapabbata (See MIHINTALE). The King looked astonished at this call for, by then, he commanded the respect of his subjects as King Devānampiya Tissa. It must be noted that the title Devānampiya used by Tissa and his successors had been a title used by emperor Asoka himself. It is surmised that with the second consecration Tissa assumed the honorific title Devānampiya (pleasing to the gods) to place himself in proximity to Asoka who must have been highly respected in Sri Lanka.

As the second consecration was held with the blessings of Asoka, Tissa fortified himself as a sovereign ruler and was thus the duly consecrated king of Sri Lanka leaving all other kṣatriya families in the island to follow him. The second consecration was performed in the month of vesākha and it is obvious that at the arrival of the Buddhist mission there was political stability in the island. It must also be recalled that when Mahinda was selected to head the mission to Sri Lanka, he gave thought to the situation prevalent at the time and "concluded that it was not yet the time to go there". He, therefore tarried for sometime awaiting the accession of Tissa to the throne (VinA. 1. p. 69) and in the interim, there was Tissa's mission to Asoka which paved the way to welcome the Buddhist mission and accept with alacrity the gift of the dhamma sent by emperor Asoka.

Tissa's first official function after he was acclaimed King of Sri Lanka had been the participation in a national festival (nakkhatta) on the full-moon day of jeṭṭhamūla (May-June: Sinhala: Poson). On this day the king proclaimed the festival and accompanied by a large retinue set forth to Missakapabbata to enjoy the pleasures of the chase. On the same day Mahinda along with his companions had arrived at the same mountain. Tissa climbed the mountain and came to the spot where elder Mahinda was standing, awaiting Tissa's arrival. When Mahinda called out "Come here, Tissa", the king was surprised (supra), but when Mahinda disclosed his identity and informed the purpose of his arrival, the king was pleased and greeted the thera. Mahinda had an interview with Tissa during which syllogisms were used and the king proved himself intelligent and quick-witted. Mahinda was satisfied that the king was able to understand the dhamma and therefore, to him he preached the Cūlahatthipadopama Sutta (M. I. pp. 175-84). Having listened to this discourse the king and his retinue of forty-thousand people embraced Buddhism (VinA. I. p. 77). The conversion of King Devānampiya Tissa laid the foundation for the establishment of the Buddha-sāsana in Sri Lanka.

Tissa was a duty-bound host. He invited the monks to his palace at Anurādhapura on the morrow. Having returned to the capital he made all arrangements to receive the theras. Seats were prepared inside the palace for the theras. This gave a better opportunity for the members of the royalty to wait upon the theras and acquaint themselves with the life of a recluse and consequently, first to enter the Order were members of the royalty (infra) which greatly facilitated the propagation of Buddhism in the island. The king called upon the five-hundred ladies headed by Anulādevī, the wife of one of king's brothers, to make obeisance to the theras. On this occasion, after the meal was over, Mahinda preached the Petavatthu, the Vimānavatthu and the Saccasaṃyutta (S.V.pp. 414-478), to the people assembled and the five-hundred ladies attained sotāpatti (the fruition of the First Path). By then the news of the arrival of the theras had received publicity and multitudes of people assembled at the palace gate. The king ordered the hall of the state-elephant to be decorated and made arrangements for the thera to preach to a larger crowd. On this occasion Mahinda Thera preached the Devadūta Sutta (A.I. pp. 138-42). As the gathering grew still larger, the king shifted the venue having prepared the seats in the park Nandanavana at the southern gate of the city. Here, the thera preached Āsivisopama Sutta (S. IV 172-5; Mhv.XVV. v, 4 gives it as Bālapaṇḍita Sutta).

On the second day after the arrival of the theras. Tissa realised the necessity of a suitable place for the theras to reside and, therefore, he invited them to Meghavana — a park which was neither too far away from nor too close to the city. There he got a structure built in haste and the theras spent the night there. In the morning the king went to Meghavana and bestowed the park en the theras. It must be emphasised that the consecrated boundaries were fixed by the king himself ploughing a furrow to mark them so as to include his own city within them. This incident is eloquent of the devotion and the enthusiasm of the king to establish the sāsana in the island. In this park the king built various buildings for the use of the Saṅgha and in course of time it came to be known as Mahāvihāra — the leading monastery and the centre of Theravāda Buddhism. For seven days the thera preaced in the city and the king extended his patronage. When the thera preached the Mahā-appamāda Sutta and exhorted the king to be diligent and returned to Cetiyagiri — another name for Missakapabbata, the king suspecting that the thera was getting ready to depart from the island hastened to Cetiyagiri and inquired about the intentions of the thera. When the king was told that it was time for the theras to observe the vassa i.e. the period of retreat (See VASSA) and the monks had to stay in one place, the king caused the construction of sixty-eight caves at Cetiyagiri for the use of the monks during the rainy season (Mhr. XVT. v. 12; VinA. I. p. 82).

Tissa was a willing participant in the establishment of the Buddha-sāsana in Sri Lanka. On the seventh day of Mahinda's visit, Ariṭṭha (See ARIṬṬHA (3) — a minister entered the Order along with his fifty-five brothers and attained Arahantsbip. During the construction of the stūpa named Thūpārāma (infra) Abhaya - a brother of the king entered the Order with thousand men. Men from various villages entered the Order in large numbers. When Anulādevī, the king's sister-in-law, desired to enter the order and posed a problem to Mahinda Thera, the king willingly and forthwith sent his experienced minister Ariṭṭha to emperor Asoka with the thera's message to his sister Saṅghamittā (See SAṄGHAMITTĀ) to come over to Sri Lanka to establish the bhikkhunīsāsana (the Order of the Buddhist nuns). Ariṭṭha was also asked to bring a branch of the Sacred Bodhi Tree. The king allowed Ariṭṭha too to enter the Order after completing his mission.

It was Mahinda's desire to get a stūpa built. On his advice the king built the Thūpārāma — first stūpa in Sri Lanka enshrining the collar-bone relic
of the Buddha. This stūpa still continues to receive the veneration of millions of Buddhists the world over. He also built a nunnery known as the Upāsikāvihāra as the residence for the ladies who took upon themselves the observance of ten precepts and awaited the arrival of Saṅghamittā. In this vihāra Sanghamitta lived with her company of nuns and the king built twelve other buildings on the same spot to meet the requirements of Saṇghamittā. Later it came to be called Hatthāḷhaka Vihāra.

Tissa's religious fervour is to be seen from the reception he accorded to Theri Saṅghamittā and to the branch of the sacred Bodhi Tree on their arrival. They were received with befitting ceremonial by the king himself at the seaport of Jambukola and conveyed to Anurādhapura in a magnificient procession after having been paid honour at a number of places on its way (VinA. I, p. 98). The planting of the Bodhi branch was a great event in the history of Sri Lanka and was done with much ceremonial and honour. In the presence of Mahinda thera, Saṅghamittā therī, the nobles, the kṣatriyas of Kājaragāma and Candanagāma and Brāhmaṇa Tivakka and people from many parts of the country, the Bodhi Tree was planted on the terrace prepared for it. Saplings grown from the seeds of the Sacred Bodhi Tree were subsequently planted by the king near the port of Jambukola, at the gate of the village of the Brāhmaṇa Tivakka, at Thūpārāma, Issaranimmānavihāra, Paṭhamacetiya, and at distant places — Cetiyapabbata, Kājaragāma, and Candanagāma in the district of Rohaṇa and in thirty-two other places at a distance of one yojana from one another.

With the planting of the Sacred Bodhi Tree and its saplings there was established an unseverable bond between the king and his subjects. One writer succinctly says, "It is doubtful if any other single incident in the long history of their race has seized upon the imagination of the Sinhalese with such tenacity as this of the planting of the aged tree, like its pliant roots which find sustenance on the face of the bare rock and cleaves their way through the stoutest fabric, the influence of what it represents has penetrated into the innermost being of the people till the tree itself has become almost human."

When Buddhism was established in the island in its various aspects — monastic order including monks and nuns, residences for them, and shrines for worship, Tissa wanted to find out from Mahinda thera whether Buddhism had well established itself in the island. On being told that the religion will take root only when a person born in Sri Lanka of Sri Lankan parents, studies the Vinaya in Sri Lanka and expounds it in Sri Lanka, the king made arrangements to hold a Vinaya recital at Thūpārāma. Ariṭṭha, who had twice been to Maurya Court as envoy to help the king and who entered the order after accomplishing his second mission, possessed the required conditions, expounded the Vinaya at this assembly (Mhv. XV. vs. 180 ff). Thus on the initiative of Tissa, fulfilling the wish of Mahinda, the saṅgha in Sri Lanka became an independent and truely national institution. The wisdom of this policy has been amply demonstrated by the course of events in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, for the king or the state and the people looked upon Buddhism as an institution that must be maintained and defended at all costs.

In addition to the religious buildings already mentioned Tissa has been credited with the establishment of a number of other vihāras namely Issarasamaṇa to the south of the city, Vessagiri, Paṭhamakathūpa, the refectory called Mahāpāli and the Jambukola Vihāra at the landing place of the Sacred Bodhi Tree. He also constructed the tank called Tisāvāva at Anurādhapura. He put to fruitful use the artisans belonging to eighteen families who were sent to Sri Lanka along with the sacred Bodhi Tree. Thus, Tissa was able to build up a super culture in the island. Archaeological remains of this period bear ample testimony to this.

It must be remarked that of all the missions sent in various directions by Emperor Asoka, the mission to Sri Lanka was the most fruitful and the credit must go, at least in part, if not the whole, to Devānampiya Tissa for extending his patronage. From the time of his demarcating the consecrated boundaries of Meghavana, Tissa made the monarchy a part and parcel of the sāsana. Thus from its inception the Buddha sāsana in Sri Lanka included the king, the saṅgha and the people. Without one the other two cannot and would not sustain, and even to this day this bond remains unchanged."

[Quelle: M. Karulavinne. -- In: Encyclopaedia of Buddhism. -- Vol. IV. -- Colombo : Government of Sri Lanka, 1979 - 1989. -- S. 426 - 428]

2. Erste Weihe Devānampiyatissa's zum König (247 v. Chr.)

7. Devānaṃpiyatisso so,
rājāsi pitu accaye;
tassābhisekena samaṃ,
bahūn’ acchariyān’ ahuṃ.

7. Dieser Devānampiyatissa wurde nach dem Tod seines Vaters König1. Bei seiner Königsweihe geschahen viele Wunder:


1 er regierte von 247 bis 207 v. Chr.

8. Laṃkādīpamhi sakale,
nidhayo ratanāni ca;
anto ṭhitāni uggantvā,
pathavītalam āruhuṃ.

8. Überall auf der Lankā-Insel kamen Schätze und Edelsteine, die im Erdinnern waren, auf die Erdoberfläche heraus.

9. Laṃkādīpasamīpamhi,
bhinnanāvāgatāni ca;
tatrajātāni ca thalaṃ,
ratanāni samāruhuṃ.

9. Edelsteine, die im Meer lagen, weil sie von in der Nähe der Insel Laṅkā gesunkenen Schiffen1 stammten oder weil sie im Meer gewachsen waren, kamen an die Strände.


1 Sri Lanka ist heute noch unter Tauchern berühmt wegen der vielen Schiffswracks vor seinen Küsten.

10. Chātapabbatapādamhi,
tisso ca veḷuyaṭṭhiyo;
jātā rathapatodena,
samānā parimāṇato.

10. Am Fuß des Chāta-Berges1 wuchsen drei Bambusstämme2, die den Umfang einer Wagendeichsel3 hatten.


1 Der Chātaberg ("Hungerberg") liegt südöstlich von Anurādhapura, er wird mit dem Hügel bei Galkulama identifiziert, auf dem heute der Talaguru Vihāra steht.

Abb.: Lage des Chāta-Berges
(©MS Encarta)


A mountain, slightly over two yojanas to the south-east of Anurādhapura. At the foot was a bamboo-grove in which grew three bamboo-stems, each being a waggon-pole in girth - known as latāyatthi, kusumayatthi and sakunayatthi - because of Devānampiyatissa's good fortune (Mhv.xi.10; Dpv.xi.15, 19; Sp.i.74. For an explanation of these yatthis see Saddhātissa afterwards built a vihāra there, called the Chātavihāra (MT.300). The Anguttara Commentary (i.15) has a reference to a novice dwelling in Chātapabbata who came to grief after hearing a woman's voice."

[Quelle: Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. -- s. v.]

2 Bambus

Abb.: Ernst Haeckel <1834 - 1919>: Riesenbambus von Ceylon (1904).
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2001-06-11]

Table 2: Native and Introduced Bamboo Species in Sri Lanka

Source: Soderstrom and Ellis 1998

Local Name


* Arundinaria densifolia1
* A. debilis
* A. scandens
* A. floribunda
* A. walkeriyana

* Pseudoxytenanthera monadelpha
O Davidsea attenuate
* Ochlandra stridula Syn. O. talboti
* Dendrocalamus cinctus
* Bambusa bambos
Katu Una (Spiny bamboo)

Table 4: Native Bamboo Species and their habitats



Bambusa bambos
Dry zone (wasgamuwa) Intermediate and dry forests in low hills


Ochlandra stridula
Wet lowlands and in the low hills in the western and southern parts of the country


Arundinaria densifolia
High altitudinal montane areas


A. debilis


A. scandens


A. floribunda


A. walkeriana


Pseudooxytenanthera monodelpha
Wet and intermediate zone, mountains of Badulla and Nuwara eliya districts


Davidsea attenuata


Dendrocalamus cinctus
Dry zone North Central Region, restricted distribution.

Abb.: Bambus, Sri Lanka
[Bildquelle: Axel. -- -- Creative Commons Lizenz. -- Zugriff am 2006-05-27]


Table 9. Bamboo species and their uses in Sri Lanka

Species (Native)
Bambusa bambos
Bridges; ladders; leaves for thatching
Ochlandra stridula *
Storage boxes; winnowing fans; food covers; milk strainers; flutes; blinds; tea plucker's baskets
Arundinaria densifolia

A. debilis

A. scandens

A. floribunda

A. walkeriana

Pseudoxytenanthera monodelpha *
tea plucker's baskets, fruit & vegetable baskets
Davidsea attenuata *
tea plucker's baskets, fruit & vegetable baskets
Dendrocalamus strictus


Quelle der Tabellen:

"Bambus (Bambusoideae) ist eine vielgestaltige Unterfamilie aus der Familie der Süßgräser (Poaceae). Es gibt etwa 1.200 Arten in der Unterfamilie der Bambusoideae. Es gibt zwei grundsätzliche Typen (Entspricht gleichzeitig auch der taxonomischen Einteilung in zwei Tribus.) von Bambus:
  • Tribus Bambuseae: Baumartig wachsende verholzende Taxa mit schlanken, holzigen, nicht selten verzweigten, oft meterlangen Halmen, luftigen, zierlichen Blätterkronen, grasartigen Blättern und bisweilen riesigen Blütenrispen.
  • Tribus Olyreae: Taxa, die wie "normale" Gräser wachsen, Horste bilden und nicht verholzen, diese Bambus-Arten werden auch selten höher als einen Meter.

Sie haben ihre Heimat auf den Kontinenten: Asien, (Nord- und Süd-) Amerika und Afrika. Es sind tropische bis subtropische Pflanzen. Doch manche Arten gedeihen auch in kälteren Bereichen gut; so bildet zum Beispiel Chusquea aristata in der östlichen Andenkette noch bei 4.700 m NN undurchdringliche Dickichte und geht selbst bis zur Schneegrenze, auch im Himalaja steigen einige Arten bis 3.800 m NN, und Bambusa metake aus Japan und mehrere chinesische Arten gedeihen in Mitteleuropa ganz gut.


Wuchs ausgewählter Arten

Die Bambusse erreichen riesige Dimensionen (Dendrocalamus brandisii wird 38 m hoch bei 80 cm Halmumfang). Sie gehören zu den nützlichsten Gewächsen, und Bambusa arundinacea ist in dieser Hinsicht nur mit der Kokospalme zu vergleichen. Seine eigentliche Heimat ist unbekannt, man findet es in beiden Hemisphären, und es gedeiht in Algerien und in Südfrankreich üppig. Aus dem Rhizom schießen zahlreiche Halme 18 m und höher mit großer Schnelligkeit auf, die Blätter sind 16 cm lang, aber nur 1,3 cm breit, die Blüten sollen erst im 25. Jahr und dann so reichlich erscheinen, dass die Pflanzen durch die große Produktion von Früchten erschöpft werden und ganz oder bis auf das Rhizom absterben. Bambusa gigantea blüht erst im 30. Lebensjahr. B. tulda in Hinterindien erreicht in einem Monat die Höhe von 22 m. Im Gebiet des Amazonas ist B. latifolia ein wichtiger Bestandteil der Vegetation. Aus China und Japan sind buntblätterige Bambusse eingeführt, von denen besonders die japanische, niedrig bleibende B. fortunei als hübsche Zierpflanze empfehlenswert ist. Bei der Pflanzung von Bambussen in heimischen, europäischen Garten ist zu beachten, dass viele Bambusse Ausläufer (Rhizome) bilden. Diese Rhizome wandern in der Erde und können durchaus einige Meter pro Jahr zurücklegen. Um eine unkontrollierte Ausbreitung zu verhindern, empfiehlt es sich, eine Rhizomsperre um die Pflanze zu setzen.


Einige Bambusarten blühen nur sehr selten, einige nur alle 100 Jahre oder noch seltener. Selbst das bodendeckende Sasa blüht nur etwa alle 20 Jahre.

Wenn selten blühende Bambusarten doch einmal blühen, kann es vorkommen, dass sie absterben, da die Pflanzen dabei ihre letzten Kraftreserven verbrauchen. Da die Pflanzen in einer Region gleichzeitig blühen, kann dieses Absterben von Pflanzen eine große Region betreffen. Das ist unter anderem in den Neunzigerjahren des 20. Jahrhunderts in Europa vorgekommen, wo Bambus als Gartenpflanze genutzt wird. Durch einen Rückschnitt der Pflanze, die im folgenden Jahr wieder austreibt, solange die Rhizome vorhanden sind, kann das Blühen und damit auch das Absterben verhindert werden.

Wegen der seltenen Frequenz ist die Blüte vom Bambus noch nicht sehr eingehend erforscht, es ist z.B. noch nicht bekannt, wieso die Pflanze so selten blüht und was sie zum Blühen anregt. Es wird angenommen, dass die seltene und großflächige Blüte dazu beiträgt, die Samen zu erhalten, da sich keine Tiere auf ihren Verzehr spezialisieren können.



Die jungen Schösslinge des Bambusrohrs werden als Gemüse genossen oder in Essig eingelegt. Besonders die Gattungen Bambusa, Dendrocalamus und Phyllostachys sind für den Verzehr geeignet.

Frischgeerntete Bambussprossen haben ein sehr festes, hellgelbes Fleisch mit schmalen Luftkammern in der Mitte der Sprosse. Sie werden gewonnen, indem sie aus dem Boden ausgegraben werden, und sind mit mehreren sehr festen, haarigen und dunkelbraunen Blättern umgeben, die vor dem Kochen entfernt werden. Bambussprossen werden vorwiegend aus Asien und Lateinamerika importiert. In Europa werden sie nur in Italien angebaut. Bambussprossen werden auch vorgekocht und abgepackt zum Verkauf angeboten.

Die Schösslinge enthalten ein Toxin (Blausäureglykosid), das durch Kochen neutralisiert werden muss. Da viele Bambusarten auch Bitterstoffe enthalten, sollten diese ebenfalls beim Kochen neutralisiert werden. In Japan werden Bambussprossen z.B. zusammen mit dem Mehl gekocht, das beim Polieren von Reis entsteht („nuka“) und vor allem die äußeren Schichten des Reiskorns enthält. Es ist auch möglich, zu diesem Zweck Chilischoten mitzukochen.

Die eingelegten Bambussprossen werden „Achia“ oder „Atchia“ genannt.

Da Bambussprossen einen hohen Anteil an Kieselsäure enthalten, die für Haare, Haut und Knochen notwendig ist und auch lindernd bei Depressionen wirken kann, wurden sie auch in der traditionellen Medizin eingesetzt.

Auch das haferähnliche Korn des Bambus ist essbar.

Bambus ist die einzige Nahrung des Großen Panda-Bären.


Aus dem zähen, leichten und sehr harten Holz können ganze Häuser erbaut werden. Früher wurden ganze Dörfer nur aus Bambus gebaut, und fast die ganze Hauptstadt von Siam schwamm auf Bambusflößen. Auch Brücken und Wasserleitungen wurden aus Bambus gebaut.


In der chinesischen Gartenkunst ist der Bambus ein wesentliches Gestaltungselement. Auch in europäischen Gärten wird der Bambus in den letzten Jahren immer beliebter.

Folgende Verwendungsmöglichkeiten für den Bambus im Garten sind nur ein kleiner Umriss der tatsächlichen Möglichkeiten: Der Bambus als Hain, Hecke, Bambus als Bodendecker, Bambus auf der Terrasse, Innenhöfe, Sicht- und Windschutz, Dachgärten, Kübelpflanzen, Wintergartenbegrünungen. Das flirrend grüne Laub, die eleganten Halme in schönen Farben passen in fast jedes Gartenambiente, harmonieren mit Blüten und Bäumen.

Bambus ist eine immergrüne Pflanze. Auch im Winter behält der Bambus seine Blätter. 80 Prozent aller in Deutschland angebotenen Bambussorten (Fargesie, Phyllostachys) sind robust und verkraften kurzzeitig Temperaturen bis -20 Grad.

Bambusa spinosa gibt undurchdringliche Hecken.

Da Bambus sehr hart ist, so dass er bei der Zerkleinerung gefährlich splittert und auch nur extrem langsam zersetzt wird, sind besonders hohe Arten mit kräftigem Stamm bei der Kompostierung problematisch.

Unter anderem benutzt man Bambus auch für Gerüstbau, Häuserbau, Brückenbau sowie Straßenbau.


Bambus wird auf vielfältige Weisen genutzt, um Möbel und allerlei Hausgeräte herzustellen, unter anderem kunstvoll geflochtene Körbchen, Vorhänge, Dosen u. ä. Aber auch andere praktische Gegenstände des täglichen Gebrauchs wie Hüte, Körbe und Reusen werden aus Bambus hergestellt. Das lange, krause Geschabsel diente zum Polstern. Ein Span von keilförmigem Querschnitt, dessen scharfe Kante von der kieselreichen äußeren, ungemein harten Schicht gebildet wird, gibt ein sehr scharfes Messer. Dieselbe äußere Schicht diente auch als Wetzstein für eiserne Messer.

In einer Bambusröhre, die dabei zwar verkohlt, aber nicht verbrennt, kochten die Javaner an einem Bambusfeuer junge Bambustriebe.

In China wurden zu Rollen zusammengebundene Bambusstreifen als Schreibmaterial verwendet.

Zerklopfter Bambussplint kann als Pinsel genutzt werden, und auch in Europa werden Bambusfedern benutzt.

Eine kletternde Art wird zu allerlei Flechtwerk, Säcken, ja selbst Jacken verarbeitet.

Auch in Europa wurde Bambus zur Produktion von Stöcken (Pfefferrohr) und Regenschirmstielen genutzt.


In einigen Ländern und Regionen, zum Beispiel Java (Angklung), China oder Tahiti, werden auch Musikinstrumente aus Bambus hergestellt. In Japan wird Bambus vor allem benutzt, um Flöten wie die Shakuhachi oder Shinobue herzustellen. Auf Hawaii wird Bambus zur Herstellung eines flötenähnlichen Holzblasinstrumentes, des Xaphoons, genutzt. Es gibt jedoch auch Schlag- und Zupfinstrumente aus Bambus.


Auch als Waffe wurde Bambus genutzt: Blasrohre, Pfeilschäfte und Pfeilspitzen, Lanzen und Palisaden bestanden aus dem Material.

In Japan werden aus Bambus in einem komplizierten Prozess die Bogen der Samurai hergestellt. Ähnliche Bambusbögen werden auch heute in Japan und von fortgeschrittenen Schützen in Europa im Kyudo verwendet.

Mit Bambusspitzen bestückte Fallen und Fallgruben wurden noch im Vietnamkrieg im 20. Jahrhundert durch die Vietnamesen erfolgreich eingesetzt.


In China wurde das meiste Papier aus jungen Bambustrieben erzeugt und auf Jamaika sehr viel Bambusfaser für die nordamerikanische Papierfabrikation gewonnen.

In den Knoten alter Halme bildet sich eine Kieselkonkretion, der Bambuskampfer ( Bambuszucker, Tabaxir), der in der chinesischen Medizin, aber auch als Poliermittel benutzt und in großer Menge nach Arabien exportiert wird.

Kulturelle Bedeutung

Dem Bambus werden verschiedene symbolhafte Bedeutungen zugeordnet. So ist er beispielsweise in China ein Symbol für langes Leben, in Indien jedoch ein Symbol der Freundschaft. In den Philippinen werden Bambuskreuze von Landwirten als Glücksbringer aufgestellt.

In Japan ist Bambus ebenfalls ein positiv besetzter Begriff. Da Bambus sehr gerade wächst und aufgrund seiner frischen grünen Farbe gilt er als Symbol der Reinheit. Er tritt als Symbol auch zusammen mit Kiefernzweigen und Kirschblüten auf. Die drei Pflanzen werden nicht nur als Glückssymbole eingesetzt, sondern z.B. auch, um beim Sushi verschiedene Preisstufen zu markieren. Am Jahresende wird auf jeder Seite der Eingangstür ein Gebinde aus Bambusrohren und Kiefernzweigen aufgestellt, das Glück bringen soll („kadomatsu“).

Da Bambus nur selten blüht und die Samen vorwiegend während Hungerzeiten gegessen wurden, wird die Bambusblüte in manchen Kulturen als Vorbote einer Hungersnot interpretiert.

In einigen Kulturen Asiens, z.B. in den Andamanen, wird davon ausgegangen, dass die Menschheit bei ihrer Entstehung aus einem Bambusrohr herausgetreten ist. In Malaysia und Japan gibt es Legenden über eine junge (und sehr kleine) Frau, die in einem Bambusrohr lebt und erscheint, wenn das Rohr gekappt wird.



Besonders beliebt scheint in letzter Zeit der sogenannte Glücksbambus zu sein, der jedoch kein Bambus ist, denn dafür werden zwei Drachenbaum-Arten (Dracaena) verwendet. Der Name Glücksbambus ist ein eingetragenes Warenzeichen. Er wird in Europa in vielen Möbelhäusern, Baumärkten, Supermärkten, Gartencentern und Blumengeschäften angeboten.

Ebenfalls kein echter Bambus ist das Seychellengras, das als Zwergbambus oder auch Bonsai-Bambus angeboten wird. Der Hängebaumbambus ist ebenso ein Gras, das sogenannte Flechtstraußgras. Weitere fälschlicherweise als Bambus bezeichnete Pflanzen sind: Himmelsbambus, Bambusorchidee, Bambusbegonie, Bambusficus, Bambusblättrige Eiche, Mittelmehrbambus."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-04]

3 Vaṃsatthapakāsinī: = rathapatoda = rathayaṭṭhi = Wagenbaum, d.h. Deichsel (Stange zur Anschirrung der Zugtiere an Fahrzeugen)

Abb.: Indischer Reisewagen: der kleine Prinz Siddhārtha fährt in einem von Schafböcken gezogenen Wagen, 1. Jhdt. n. Chr., Gandhara, man sieht gut die Anschirrung mit der Deichsel


Abb.: Indischer Reisewagen, 2. Jhdt. n. Chr.,  Mathurā: man sieht gut die Deichselkonstruktion

Abb.: Wagen aus Maisūru (nach Buchanan, 1800)

[Bildquelle: Deloche, Jean: Transport and communications in India prior to steam locomotion. -- Delhi : Oxford Univ. Pr. -- (French studies in South Asian culture and society ; 7). -- Originaltitel: La circulation en Inde avant la révolution des Transports (1980). -- Vol 1.: Land transport. -- 1980. -- 327 S. : Ill. -- Originaltitel: La voie de terre (1980). -- S. 260]

11. Tāsu ekā latāyaṭṭhi,
rajatābhā tahiṃ latā;
suvaṇṇavaṇṇā rucirā,
dissante tā manoramā.

11. Einer dieser Bambusstämme, der "Lianenstamm", glänzte wie Silber, auf ihm
[d.h. in seiner Rinde] konnte  man bezaubernde goldfarben glänzende Lianen sehen.

12. Ekā kusumāyaṭṭhi tu,
kusumāni tahiṃ pana;
nānāni nānāvaṇṇāni,
dissante ’tiphuṭāni ca.

12. Ein anderer dieser Bambusstämme war der "Blütenstamm". Auf ihm
[d.h. in seiner Rinde] konnte man üppig blühend verschiedenste verschiedenfarbige Blüten sehen.

13. Ekā sakuṇayaṭṭhi tu
tahiṃ pakkhimigā bahū;
nānā ca nānāvaṇṇā ca,
sajīvā viya dissare.

13. Der dritte dieser Bambusstämme war der "Vogelstamm". Auf ihm
[d.h. in seiner Rinde] konnte man verschiedenste Vögel und Tiere in verschiedensten Farben sehen als ob sie lebendig wären.

14. Hayagajarathāmalakā,
iccetā aṭṭhajātiyo.
15. Muttā samudā uggantvā,
tīre vaṭṭi viya ṭṭhitā;
sabbaṃ puññavijambhitaṃ.

14./15. Perlen der acht Gattungen, nämlich

  1. Pferdeperlen,
  2. Elefantenperlen,
  3. Wagenperlen,
  4. Myrobalanenperlen [Myrobalane = Phyllanthus emblica],
  5. Armbandperlen,
  6. Fingerringperlen,
  7. Kakudhafruchtperlen [Kakudha = Terminalia arjuna] und
  8. gewöhnliche Perlen

kamen aus dem Meer heraus und lagen auf dem Strand wie ein Wall. All dies wurde durch das Verdienst Devānampiyatissa's bewirkt.


Die Perlengattungen sind vermutlich vor allem nach Größe und Form gebildet, eine Zuordnung kann ich allerdings nicht geben.


Pearl-oysters are all marine and belong to a single genus, Pinctada Röding (Pteriidae). Five distinct species, viz.
  • Pinctada vulgaris (Schumacher),
  • P. margaritifera (Linn.),
  • P. chemnitzi (Philippi),
  • P. anomioides (Reeve) and
  • P. atropurpurea (Dunker)

are known to occur in Indian waters.

Pearl-oysters possess a straight long hinge uniting the two valves, the lower valve being a little deeper than the upper. The shell at either end is distinctly marked off from the rest into two small ear regions, one anterior and the other posterior in relation to the hinge. Unlike the edible oyster, where one of the valves is firmly fixed to a substratum, pearl-oyster has both the valves free, a bunch of threads known as the byssus, arising from the basal region of the foot, serving to anchor the animal. If the pearl-oyster by any chance loses its anchorage, it secrets a fresh byssus for fixation. The internal surface of the valves is of a brilliant lustre, which is unrivalled by that of any other shell and raises their commercial value. The arrangement of internal organs in a pearl-oyster is the same as in the edible oyster, except that a much reduced foot is found in the former but not in the latter.

P. vulgaris is the common pearl-oyster found on the pearl banks off Tuticorin [தூத்துக்குட] coast in the Gulf of Manaar on ridges of rocks or dead coral formation and extending all along the east coast from Kilakarai to Kanniyakumari at depths of about 18 m., and in the Palk Bay on submerged objects at the muddy bottom and in the Gulf of Kutch on the intertidal reefs. Its range of distribution extends over the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. The hinge is broad with a small tooth-like thickening in front of the ligamental area. The valves are convex when viewed from above ; their surface is fairly smooth with concentric lines of growth. The anterior ear region is well formed and the posterior one is usually small. The non-nacreous border often presents alternating dark and light bands and the general colouration is reddish brown. The younger shells have marginal thin, flat, radiating projections. The shells grow to c. 8 cm. in height. This species produces the world famous Orient or Lingah pearl shell and is the mainstay of the pearl fisheries of Indian waters.

P. margaritifera occurs but sparsely along the Indian coasts although it is widely distributed, supporting rich fisheries in some parts of the Pacific region, where the oyster is harvested for the sake of the shell or mother-of-pearl. The interior margin of the valves is dark with a smoky hue ; the shell is, therefore, popularly known in commerce as the Black-lip.

P. chemnitzi is frequently found along with P. vulgaris in the pearl banks off the Gulf of Manaar. Its range of distribution extends from the Indian Ocean to the Central Pacific. In general contour the species resembles P. vulgaris except for the posterior ear region which is well developed. It grows up to c. 10 cm. in height.

P. anomioides is spread over the Indo-Pacific region and has been recorded from Bombay and the Andamans in the Indian territory. The shell is thin and the hinge is without a tooth. The maximum size, attained by this species, is much smaller than that of P. vulgaris.

P. atropurpurea is distributed widely in the Indo-Pacific region. It is closely related to P. anomioides. The shell is thin, translucent and copper coloured ; anterior tooth of the hinge is but poorly developed.

The pearl fisheries of the Gulf of Manaar have been exploited from time immemorial and the fishing rights, as far as known from historical records, passed in succession from one ruling power to another. Of the pars or extensive pearl banks in the region, the northern and the southernmost ones at present are barren, and those of the central group, at a distance of 11-13 km. into the sea from the coastline between Kayalpatnam and Vaippar alone remain productive; the fisheries are now being operated from Tuticorin as the base and some millions of oysters are taken out of the sea by skilled divers during the summer season. Details regarding pearl fisheries are given under Fish and Fisheries (With India—Raw Materials, IV, suppl., 125).

Pearls (Sans.—Mukta, marakata ; Hindi—Moti; Beng.—Mukta ; Gut.—Mutti; Tel.—Muthiamu ; Tam.—Muthu, muthuchippi; Mal.—Muti, mutya,
mutiyara lulu) are calcareous concretions, formed as protection against the irritation caused by foreign objects, either bits of gravel or minute parasites, which lodge inside between the mantle and the shell of the animal.

The common parasite found in pearl-oysters of India and Ceylon is the larval cyst of the tapeworm, Tentacularia unionifactor (Herdman &  Hornell). A fold of soft tissue envelops the foreign particle and deposits layer after layer of nacre (mother-of-pearl) on it. Although pearls occur in a variety of molluscs, only-those having a good lustre are valued as gems.

True wild pearls may occur in spherical or irregular shapes in a free state, or may be found attached to the shell as 'demi' or 'blister' pearls, which may have to be cut out from the shell. The value of pearls varies with their size, weight, shape, lustre, colour and perfection.

In South India the merchants employ a nest of ten colanders (brass sieves of different types with perforations varying in number from 20 to 1000) for grading pearls. After grading they are further classified according to their shape weight and lustre.

Ten grades of pearls are recognized in India, viz.

  • Anie (perfect in shape, lustre and weight),
  • Vadivu (not so perfect as Anie),
  • Anatharie (failing in shape or lustre),
  • Masagoe (failing both in shape and lustre),
  • Kallipu (rejected, inferior to Masagoe in both aspects),
  • Korower (a double pearl),
  • Peesal (a cluster of more than two),
  • Mandangoe (folded or bent pearl),
  • Kural (very misshapen and small) and
  • Thul (seed pearls or powders).

The market price of a pearl increases as the square of its weight or size."

[Quelle: The wealth of India : a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. -- Raw materials. -- Vol. VII. -- New Delhi : National Institute of Science Communication, 1966. -- ISBN 81-85038-17-1. -- S. 204 - 206]

16. Indanīlaṃ veḷuriyaṃ,
lohitaṅkam maṇī c’ ime;
ratanāni  ca nekāni,
muttā tā tā ca yaṭṭhiyo.
17. Sattahabbhantare yeva,
rañño santikam āharuṃ;
tāni disvā patīto so,
rājā iti vicintayi.

16./17. Innerhalb einer einzigen Woche brachte man Saphir1, Beryll2, Rubin3, diese Edelsteine und viele Juwelen und die genannten Perlen und diese drei Bambusstämme zum König. Als er diese sah, war der König froh und überlegte:


Sri Lanka ist bekannt für seine Edelsteine aus der Korundfamile (Al2O3), d.h. Rubine und Saphire. Aus der Beryllfamilie (Be3Al2Si6018) kommt in Sri Lanka vor allem Aquamarin vor.

"Die weitaus wichtigsten Vorkommen bunter Korunde sind die ausgedehnten Edelseifen auf Ceylon, aus denen seit Jahrtausenden Edelsteine gewonnen werden. Diese verdanken ihre Entstehung einer Neubildung von Mineralien aus einer Kontaktmetamorphose, als vor mehr als 5oo Millionenjahren aus dem feuerflüssigen Magma der Erdtiefe Pegmatit-Schmelzen in die Risse und Spalten der metamorphosierten Sedimentgebirge Ceylons emporgepresst wurden. Teils durch Kontaktumwandlung des Nebengesteins und der dazwischengelagerten Kalke, teils bei der Abkühlung der heißen Schmelzen kam es zur Bildung verschiedenster Edelsteine. So entstanden die primären Lagerstätten im Berginnern. Unter der verheerenden Wirkung der jährlich wiederkehrenden Monsunregen verwitterten die Gebirge, und die Gesteinsmassen wurden durch die Erosion der angeschwollenen Flüsse zersetzt und abgetragen. Mit den Gesteinstrümmern wurden auch die Edelsteine aus ihrem aufgerissenen Muttergestein weggeführt und in den Talsohlen abgelagert, wo sie im Flussgeschiebe eingebettet ihre neue, sekundäre Lagerstätte gefunden haben.

Durch diesen Jahrmillionen dauernden Prozess erfolgte zugleich eine gewisse qualitative Auslese dieser Steine, indem das weiche und damit wertlose Gestein dieser langen und ungeheuren Beanspruchung nicht standhielt und zerfiel. Die harten Mineralien dagegen sammelten sich in den edelsteinhaltigen Schichten, den sogenannten Edelseifen (von den Einheimischen «Illam» genannt), in Schutthügeln, in Flussläufen und überall da, wo sich an Berghängen Terrassen formten. Die Bildung dieser alluvialen Edelsteinlagerstätten war vor ungefähr einer Million Jahren größtenteils abgeschlossen. Sie liegen über einem viel älteren, teils zersetzten Grundgestein - der ehemaligen uralten Oberfläche der Insel.

Die Verschiedenheit dieser sekundären Lagerstätten bedingt auch eine unterschiedliche Gewinnung der Edelsteine, nämlich die Flussgewinnung einerseits und den Grubenabbau anderseits. Beide Schürfmethoden sind für unsere Begriffe recht primitiv. Doch sind sämtliche Modernisierungsversuche am Widerstand der Eingeborenen gescheitert, die an ihrem seit Generationen vererbten Berufe festhalten. Die wohl kostbarste Anreicherung von Edelsteinen findet sich in den uralten Flussbetten des Kelani- und Kalu-Ganga, vor allem bei den Einmündungen von Bergbächen, in Einbuchtungen und an den seichten Stellen starker Windungen. An solchen Orten errichten die Edelsteinsucher quer durch den Fluss ein Wehr aus geflochtenem Astwerk, damit das Wasser davor gestaut und innerhalb der Faschine in raschere Strömung versetzt wird. Vor dem Wehr wird eine Furche ausgeworfen. Im schnell fließenden Wasser lockern Männer mit langstieligen, rechenähnlichen Schabern das Flussgeschiebe auf, ziehen es zu sich heran und häufen es in der Furche zu einem kleinen Damm auf, während Sand und anderes wertloses Geschiebe von der Strömung darüber hinweggeschwemmt wird. Dadurch erfolgt schon hier eine erste Ausscheidung des leichten Materials von den schwereren kostbaren Mineralien. Eine weitere Trennung nimmt dann der Wäscher vor. Vom Damm schöpft er den herangerechten edelsteinführenden Kies in einen flachen Korb, trägt ihn an eine tiefe Stelle und schwenkt ihn dort mit kreiselnden Bewegungen, so dass die schweren Mineralien sich auf dem Korbboden anreichern und die leichten über den Rand in den Fluss zurückgespült werden. Das Setzgut wird anschließend von den Sortierern verlesen. Diese Art der Edelsteingewinnung aus Flüssen ist auf Ceylon in ihrer ganzen Umständlichkeit seit 2500 Jahren unverändert geblieben. Die meisten auf Ceylon gefundenen Edelsteine werden auch dort geschliffen."

[Güblin, Eduard: Edelsteine. -- Zürich : Silva, ©1969. -- S. 41f.]

1 Saphir

Abb.: Rohsaphir
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia]

"Als Saphir bezeichnet man im weiteren Sinne jeden Schmuckstein aus Korund mit Ausnahme der rubinroten Varietäten (Rubine). Im engeren Sinne bezieht sich der Begriff heute aber nur noch auf die blauen Varianten, die aber immer noch von Himmelblau bis zu einem ins Schwarze gehenden Dunkelblau reichen und je nach Lichteinfall auch im Farbton variieren können.

Saphir besteht aus monokristallinem Al2O3 sowie je nach Farbe Verunreinigungen mit Fe2+-, Fe3+-, Cr3+-, Ti4+- und/oder V4+-Ionen. Die Härte beträgt 9 auf der Mohs-Skala.

Vorkommen und künstliche Herstellung

Saphire treten in Pegmatiten oder durch Verwitterung verbracht in Flusssedimenten auf.

Die bedeutendsten Produzenten von Saphiren waren bis vor kurzem Sri Lanka und Indien, heute kommen die Schmucksteine auch aus den USA oder Nigeria.

Künstliche Saphire können in perfekter Qualität in nahezu unbegrenzter Größe hergestellt werden.


Abb.: Saphire
[Bildquelle: ru.wikipedia]

Neben seiner Verwendung als Schmuckstein wurde der Saphir in Schallplattenspielern der 1950er und 1960er Jahren als Spitze der Tonabnehmernadel eingesetzt.

Synthetische einkristalline Saphir-Substrate sind das wichtigste Ausgangsmaterial für das künstliche Kristallwachstum (Epitaxie) von Galliumnitrid, eine Substanz, die in blauen, weißen und grünen LEDs sowie blauen Halbleiterlasern eingesetzt wird.

Unter Beimischung von Titan als Laserion sind synthetische Saphire auch selbst ein wichtiger Bestandteil für Laser-Anwendungen, insbesondere für durchstimmbare Laser im Wellenlängenbereich von 750 bis etwa 1000 Nanometern; diese werden als Titan-Saphir-Laser, kurz Ti:Sa-Laser bezeichnet.

Für die extremen Belastungen ausgesetzten Fenster von Aufklärungsflugzeugen oder Weltraumflugkörpern werden synthetische Saphire von bis zu 75 Zentimeter Durchmesser eingesetzt.

In besonderen Fällen findet Saphir auch in wissenschaftlichen Instrumenten bei der Raumfahrt Verwendung, zum Beispiel bei der Genesis-Mission.

Individuelle Saphire

Der größte jemals geschliffene Saphir ist der "Stern von Indien" mit einem Gewicht von 563,35 Karat. Der in Sri Lanka gefundene Stein wurde 1901 durch John Pierpont Morgan an das American Museum of Natural History übereignet und kann dort besichtigt werden.


Die himmelblaue Variante wird gewöhnlich mit Eigenschaften wie Ruhe, Reinheit und Frieden in Verbindung gebracht."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

2 Beryll: wahrscheinlich in der Aquamarin-Varietät

Abb.: Rohaquamarin
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia]

"Beryll ist ein im hexagonalen Kristallsystem kristallisierendes Silikat-Mineral der Härte 7,5 bis 8 und hat die chemische Zusammensetzung Be3Al2[Si6O18]. Strukturell ist es ein Ringsilikat. Seine Farbe ist sehr variabel, unter anderem blau, grün, gelb, weiß oder farblos; Strichfarbe ist weiß.

Varietäten und Erscheinungsform

Von großer Bedeutung als Schmuckstein-Varietäten sind der grüne Smaragd, der blassblaue Aquamarin, der gelbe Heliodor und der rosafarbene Morganit. Kristalle sind oft hexagonal-prismatisch und können außergewöhnlich groß werden: So sind im US-amerikanischen Bundesstaat Maine schon sechs Meter lange und eineinhalb Tonnen schwere Exemplare gefunden worden. Daneben kommt das Mineral noch in einer massiven Form vor, die oft mit Quarz verwechselt wird.


Beryll findet sich in Pegmatit-Adern, insbesondere in Graniten, aber auch in metamorphen Gesteinen wie Gneis und als Mineralseife in Flusssedimenten.

Verwendung als Rohstoff

Neben der Verwendung geeigneter Exemplare als Schmuckstein dient Beryll als Hauptquelle für das Leichtmetall Beryllium, dass u. a. in der Raumfahrttechnik als Bestandteil von Speziallegierungen eingesetzt wird. Mehr als 80 Prozent der Weltjahresproduktion stammen aus den USA.


Der Abbau der Beryll-Varietät Smaragd lässt sich bis ins 13. Jahrhundert v. Chr. nach Ägypten zurückverfolgen. Aber auch im präkolumbischen Südamerika wurde der Schmuckstein weiträumig gehandelt."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

"Aquamarin ist eine im hexagonalen Kristallsystem kristallisierende Varietät des Silikat-Minerals Beryll und hat eine Härte von 7,5 bis 8. Seine chemische Zusammensetzung ist durch Be3Al2Si6O18 beschrieben. Die Farbe ist durch Beimengungen von Titan- oder zweiwertigen Eisen-Ionen blassblau, Strichfarbe weiß.


Aquamarine finden sich in Pegmatit-Adern, insbesondere in Graniten, aber auch in metamorphen Gesteinen wie Gneis und als Mineralseife in Flusssedimenten.

Verwendung als Rohstoff

Aquamarine sind begehrte Schmucksteine.

Abb.: Geschliffener Aquamarin


Der größte jemals gefundene Aquamarin-Kristall wurde im Jahre 1910 im brasilianischen Marambaia entdeckt und hatte bei einem Gewicht von 110,5 kg oder 520.000 Karat in seiner größten Abmessung eine Länge von 48 Zentimetern. Er ist damit der schwerste jemals gefundene Edelstein."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

3 Rubin: zwischen Rubin und Spinell wurde wohl nicht unterschieden

Abb.: Unbearbeiteter Rubin, ca. 2 cm lang
[Bildquelle Wikipedia]

"Ein Rubin (mittellatein rubens, rubinus rot, der Rote) ist ein Edelstein aus der Familie der Korunde. Die rote Verfärbung ist auf einen geringen Anteil von Chrom zurückzuführen. Nur die roten Korunde heißen Rubine, andere Varietäten sind Saphir oder auch Padparadscha.


Rubine kommen außer in der Antarktis auf allen Kontinenten vor. Begehrt sind meist nur die asiatischen Rubine. Myanmar, Thailand und die immer seltener werdenden Lagerstätten in Sri Lanka bilden die wichtigsten Nationen für den Export von den Edelsteinen. In Asien befindet sich vor allem in Hinterindien viele Minen, aber es wurden auch in Indien, der Volksrepublik China, Pakistan und Afghanistan Rubine entdeckt. Die Ostafrikanischen Rubine (z. B. Kenia und Tansania) werden ebenfalls hoch bezahlt. Auf den Kontinenten Nordamerika (North Carolina/USA), Südamerika (Kolumbien) und Australien gibt es nur wenige Rubinfunde. In Europa gab es in Finnland, Norwegen und Mazedonien Entdeckungen von diesen Edelsteinen. Je nach Land gibt es kleine Unterschiede.


Rubine galten früher als "Stein des Lebens und der Liebe". Das Aufbewahren dieses Steines verlieh angeblich dem Besitzer mehr Macht, Tapferkeit und Würde. Rubine sollten gegen den Teufel und die Pest schützen. Sternzeichen ist der Steinbock und der Monat ist der Juli.


Abb.: Geschliffener Rubin
[Bildquelle: en.wikipedia]

  • Aktives Medium in Rubinlasern
  • Lagerstein in hochwertigen Uhrwerken (nur synthetische Steine)
  • Schmuckstein

Man nimmt an, dass in der Bronzezeit bereits Rubine aus Gruben in Birma geholt und geschätzt wurden. Vor über 2000 Jahren verehrte man auch in Indien Rubine und nutzten sie als Talismane. Auch die alten Ägypter, die Griechen und die Römer kannten Rubine.

Um 1800 erkannte man die Verwandtschaft zu dem Saphir. Nun konnte man auch Rubine von roten Spinellen und roten Granaten unterscheiden, die bis dorthin alle als Karfunkelsteine bezeichnet wurden.

Seit 1835 kann man Rubine auch künstlich herstellen.

In den 1960er entdeckte man auch die wertvollen Rubinminen in Ostafrika.


Rubine aus Asien werden fast ausnahmslos in Thailand verarbeitet. Das Handelszentrum für asiatische Rubine ist Bangkok.

Bekannte Rubine
  • Nawata Rubin (SLORC R.; 496.5 Karat; größter Rubin)
  • Edward Rubin (167 Karat)
  • Rosser-Reeves-Rubin (138.7 Karat)
  • De-Long-Starrubin (100.32 Karat)
  • Friedensrubin (25 Karat)"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

Abb.: Spinell aus Tanzania
[Bildquelle: Orbital Joe. -- -- Creative Commons Lizenz (Namensnennung, keine Bearbeitung, keine kommerzielle Nutzung). -- Zugriff am 2006-07-19]

"The spinels are any of a class of minerals which crystallize in the isometric system with an octahedral habit. The general formula is as (X2+)(Y3+)2(O2-)4, with X representing a divalent cation and Y a trivalent cation. The bivalent cations may be Mg, Zn, Fe and Mn, and the trivalent oxides may be Al, Fe, Mn and Cr.

The oxygen anions are arranged in a cubic close-packed structure. Half of the octahedral holes are filled with trivalent cations, and the divalent cations are found in one eighth of the tetrahedral holes. There are also inverse spinels, where one eighth of the tetrahedral holes are filled with half of the trivalent cations and half of the octahedral holes are filled with the divalent cations together with the remaining half of the trivalent cations.

Important members of the spinel group are:

  • spinel – MgAl2O4, after which this class of minerals is named
  • gahnite (zinc spinel) - ZnAl2O4
  • franklinite - (Fe,Mn,Zn)(Fe,Mn)2O4
  • chromite - (Fe·Mg)Cr2O4
  • magnetite - Fe3O4

True spinel has long been found in the gemstone-bearing gravel of Sri Lanka and in limestones of Myanmar and Thailand.

Spinel usually occurs in isometric crystals, octahedrons, usually twinned. It has an imperfect octahedral cleavage and a conchoidal fracture. Its hardness is 8, its specific gravity is 3.5-4.1 and it is transparent to opaque with a vitreous to dull lustre. It may be colorless, but is usually various shades of red, blue, green, yellow, brown or black. There is a unique natural white spinel, now lost, that surfaced briefly in what is now Sri Lanka. Another famous spinel is the Black Prince's Ruby in the British Crown Jewels.

The name "spinel" is derived from the Greek word for spark, in reference to the fiery red color of spinels often used for gems. The transparent red spinels are also called spinel-rubies or balas-rubies and were often confused with actual rubies in ancient times. "Balas" is derived from Balascia, the ancient name for Badakhshan, a region in central Asia situated in the upper valley of the Kokcha river, one of the principal tributaries of the Oxus river. Yellow spinel is called rubicelle and violet-colored manganese-bearing spinel is called almandine.

Spinel is found as a metamorphic mineral, and also as a primary mineral in basic rocks, because in such magmas the absence of alkalis prevents the formation of feldspars and any aluminium oxide present will form corundum or combine with magnesia to form spinel. This is why spinel and ruby are often found together.

The spinel structure type is named after the spinel structure Al2MgO4 but is adopted by a range of species which do not necessarily include oxygen. Sn4N4 for example adopts this structure with Sn(IV) in both the octahedral and the tetrahedral holes."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-07-19]

18. Ratanāni anagghāni,
Dhammāsoko imāni me;
sahāyo ’rahate nāñño,
tassa dassaṃ imān’ ato.

18. "Mein Freund Dhammāsoka1 und kein anderer ist dieser meiner unschätzbaren Juwelen würdig. Ich will sie also ihm schenken."


1 Dhammāsoka

Asoka Moriya, 3. König der Maurya-Dynastie, der etwa 268-232 v. Chr. über das Großreich Māgadha herrschte. Nach dem blutigen Feldzug um 261 gegen Kalinga (heute Orissa) verzichtete er auf weitere kriegerische Eroberungen und bemühte sich, Tugend und Recht (dhamma) zum Sieg zu verhelfen. Deswegen wurde er nach seiner Bekehrung Dhammāsoka genannt.

Abb.: Das Staatswappen Indiens: das Kapitell der Säule mit der Inschrift Asoka's in Sarnāth (bei Benares). Die Löwen stellen den "Löwenruf" Buddhas dar. Staatslogan: Satyam eva jayate ("Nur die Wahrheit siegt")

Obwohl Asoka meist als Inbegriff eines buddhistischen Herrschers gesehen wird, sieht H. G. A. van Zeyst <1909 - 1989> in der Standardenzyklopädie Encyclopaedia of Buddhism das Verständnis Asoka's vom Buddhismus nüchterner:

"It is interesting to note that Asoka confined himself to the practical side of religion. No mention is made of philosophic doctrines, not even of the ultimate deliverance of Nibbāna. The doctrine of rebirth is referred to only indcidentally, in so far as the consequences of good actions will be happiness in this world and in the life to come. His understanding of the deeper doctrine appears to be rather superficial, for if he had understood e.g. that remorse (vipattisāra) does not lead to mind-release (see Anguttara Nikāya III, 166), he would not have complained in the third thambha [Säulen] -Inscription that people consider only the good done by them, without calling back to mind the evil actions done by them."

[Quelle: H. G. A. van Zeyst <1909 - 1989>. -- In: Encyclopaedia of Buddhism / ed. by G. P. Malalsekera. -- Ceylon : Government of Ceylon. -- Vol. II, Fascicle 2. -- 1967. -- S. 185]

19. Devānaṃpiyatisso ca,
Dhammāsoko ca dve ime;
dve adiṭṭhasahāyassu,
cirappabhuti bhūpatī.

19. Die Könige Devānampiyatissa und Dhammāsoka1 waren nämlich seit langem Freunde, die sich noch nie gesehen hatten2.


1 Dhammāsoka

"ASOKA, the great Buddhist emperor in India.

According to Plutarch [Πλούταρχος], Alexander the Great [Αλέξανδρος ο Μέγας] is supposed to have received in the year 326 B.C. in the Punjab [ਪੰਜਾਬ, پنجاب] the visit of a young person from India who had revolted against his king and who was in search of support. The unpopularity of his king, he said, was such that it could not hold together an army. This may have been due to the king's origin, as he was not of royal birth, but of the vaiśya caste. But Alexander did not give the support; either it was beyond his plans to recover the empire of Darius [داریوش , דַּרְיָוֵשׁ , Δαρεῖος] or, more probably, he was prevented by the mutiny of his soldiers.

The person from India referred to was Candragupta, or as named by Plutarch, Santrakotos. the founder of the Mauryan dynasty.

Within the 24 years of his reign, Candragupta was able to expand the Magadha kingdom considerably, and when Seleucus [Σέλευκος Νικάτωρ] reached the Punjab, which Alexander wanted to make into a Greek colonial outpost, he found Candragupta in possession of a vast empire, stretching from one coast to the other, commanding an army (according to Greek tradition) of 600,000 foot-soldiers, 30,000 cavalry and 9,000 elephants. Seleucus did not succeed and was forced to surrender to the Mauryan ruler some territories up to the river Indus, even concluding with him a matrimonial alliance, as contained in the treaty of 303 B.C. of Pāṭaliputra.

According to Strabo, Sandrakottos of Palibodra (i.e., Candragupta of Pataliputra) was a contemporary of Seleucus Nikator. And Seleucus ceded to Candragupta a tract of land to the west of the Indus, at the same time entering with him into a matrimonial alliance and receiving from him 500 elephants (Lassen, Jndische Alterthumskunde, II, 217 f.; V.A. Smith, Early History of India, 132 f.; Krom, Hermes, 44, 154 S.).

Candragupta's son and successor is known in Buddhist chronicles as Bindusāra, with the Greek appellation Amitrokhates, i.e., Amittaghāta, terror of the enemy. He certainly added to his territories by further conquests, especially in the south of India, as there is no reference in any source to Candragupta having campaigned in the south.

Bindusāra is reported to have had 16 wives and 101 sons. One of his wives is referred to in the Aṣokāvadāna (Przyluski, La Legende de l' Emperer Asoka, p. 320) as Subhadrāṅgī, a daughter of a brāhman of Campā. Palace intrigue had kept her away from the king Bindusāra, but at last she was able to make her presence felt and gain access to royal favour. When she bore the king her first child she is reported to have remarked : Now I am without sorrow (a-soka). And that was the name given to the child. In the Vaṃsatthappakāsinī (iv, 125), the Mahāvaṃsa commentary, her name is given as Dhammā, and the child's name is explained as not having caused any pain to his mother at childbirth. The king, however, disliked this child owing to its rough skin, and tradition says that Asoka's mother had to take him away to save his life. She had another son who is called Tissa in the Mahāvaṃsa and Vītāśoka in the Aśokāvadāna.

Bindusra's eldest son, Sumana, was appointed by the king as vice regent, while Asoka was still young. But when Asoka had grown up he was sent by Bindusāra to Takkasilā to quell a revolt. He was successful in doing so without arousing too much resentment on the part of the citizens. Owing to his charming ways he won the hearts of the people and peace was established without battle. An Aramaic inscription discovered in 1915 by John Marshall in Taksila [ٹپکسلا]  mentions the name of the governor of the town as Priyadarṣī. We now know that this name applies to Asoka and it is possible that this inscription refers to Asoka's settling of the political situation in Taksila.

Having completed his work there he was, probably in recognition of his work, appointed governor or viceroy of Avanti, whose capital was Ujjenī. And it is most likely during this period that Asoka fell in love with the beautiful daughter of a merchant of Vidisā (Przyluski, op. cit. p. 106). The Mahāvaṃsa (xiii, 8 ff.) calls her Devī, the daughter of a merchant of Vedisagiri, and hence also named Vedisadevī. Reference to her as Sakyākumārī (Mhbv. p. 116) appears to be an attempt to relate her to the Sakyas and hence to the Buddha Sakyamuni, thereby paving the way to Asoka's conversion to Buddhism and the mission of their two children, Mahinda and Saṅghamittā to Ceylon in the cause of Buddhism. But the fact that Vedisadevī did not follow Asoka to Pāṭaliputta, where Asoka's chief queen (aggamahesī) was Asandhimittā, might rather be an indication of her ancestral social status of the merchant class not being acceptable in the royal court circles at Pāṭaliputta.

After the throne at Pāṭaliputta fell vacant on Bindusāra's death (272 B. C), there was a second rebellion at Takkasilā, according to the Divyāvadāna, when the people revolted against the maladministration of Bindusāra's eldest son, Susīma or Sumana. Asoka promptly contested the succession and established himself on the throne to which he was already adjudged as the fittest of all Bindusāra's sons by the king's preceptor, an Ājīvaka saint, named Piṅgalavatsa. The Mahāvaṃsa states that Asoka caused his eldest brother to be slain. Elsewhere in the same work (Mhv. xx, 40) and in the Dīpavaṃsa (vi, 21) it is said that he killed his ninety-nine brothers, which, however, may be dismissed as imaginary, as it is not corroborated by the text of the 5th rock-inscription at Mānsehrā [مانسہرہ], where reference is made to the " harems of my brothers and sisters". Moreover, the tender solicitude for all his relations and expressions of affection which are to be found in several of his edicts (e.g., the 4th) would make one incline to the view that the account of Asoka's earlier cruelty earning for him the epithet of Caṇḍāsoka, was merely an artificial background against which his conversion and future saintliness as Dhammāsoka stand out all the clearer. It is certain, however, that the change on the throne was not affected without difficulty, for there is an interregnum of four years, before the issue of succession was definitely decided. The Ceylon chronicles allow only Asoka's youngest brother Tissa to survive.

The so-called Queen's Edict on the Allahabad [इलाहाबाद;  الاهاباد ] pillar speaks of Asoka's second queen, Kāruvākī, and her son Tīvara, but his chief queen (aggamahesī) in Pāṭaliputta was Asandhimittā. She is well spoken of in the Mahāvaṃsa (v, 85 ; xx, 2), being friendly inclined to the Order of Buddhist monks and sympathetic with the ideas of her husband. She died in the 29th year of his reign, without having borne any children. Four years later Asoka raised Tissārakkhā to the rank of chief queen. She was too young and vain to appreciate the old king's devotion to religious objects more than to her. In a fit of temper she attempted, but without success, to destroy the bodhi-tree at Gayā. The Divyāvadāna (xxvii) mentions another queen, Padmāvatī, mother of Kuṇāla. From the epigraphic records we gather that Asoka had at least four sons, each of whom was in charge of one of the four vice-royalties, of Takkasilā, Ujjenī, Suvarṇagiri and Tosali (Kāliṇga Rock Edicts I and II). Kuṇāla, the viceroy of Ujjenī, was, according to the Divyāvadāna, blinded by the conspiracy of his step-mother. Jalaṅka succeeded his father Asoka as an independent king of Kaśmir, according to the Rājataraṅginī, while Tāranātha mentions Vīrasena as the one who succeeded Asoka as ruler of Gandhāra, although the relationship with Asoka is not quite clear.

Four years after, Asoka had won for himself undivided sovereignty. Consecrated king by anointment (abhiṣeka) he raised his younger brother Tissa to the office of vice-regent.

The Mahāvaṃsa gives for this historical fact of consecration or anointment (abhiṣeka) the year 218 after the Parinibbāna of the Buddha, and from this datum is sometimes reconstructed the actual year of the Teacher's passing away. Opinions differ about the date of Asoka's accession to the throne, but they all range round about 270 B.C. (from 279 to 268).

As a ruler, Asoka assumed two other names under which he is always referred to in the various edicts, rock-inscriptions and pillars, erected during his reign. In these he called himself ' the One dear to the gods' (Devānampiya) and ' the One who looks on all with kindness ' (Piyadassī). The identity of these names with Asoka is borne out by the inscription (So. 4) at Maski, where it is said : devānampiyasa AsoKasa (See also Dīpavaṃsa, e.g., vi, 1, 2, 25). In the recently found Greek Aramaic rock-inscription in Afghanistan the name Piodases is mentioned.

Abb.: Vermutliche größte Ausdehnung von Asokas Reich und Standorte von Inschriften
[Bildquelle. Wikipedia]

The extent of his empire (see accompanying map) can be inferred from the geographical distribution of these inscriptions, which have been found in rocks and caves and on polished memorial columns in various parts of the sub-continent, Peshāwar [پیشاور], Pūri, Ganja, Thāna, Bhopal [भोपाल], Hyderabād [హైదరాబాదు; حیدر آب], Mysore [ಮೈಸೂರು], Bihār [बिहार], and neighbouring countries, Afghanistan [افغانستان] and Nepāl [नेपाल].

Abb.: Fragment des 6. Säulenedikts Asokas, Sandstein, Brahmi-Schrift, British Museum
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia]

The pillars erected by Asoka are not columns forming a part of a building or colonnade, but commemorative posts, more or less like obelisks, and we shall refer to them hereafter as thambha. Their height varies from 40 to 50 feet, with a diameter of about 4 feet at the base, slightly tapering towards its capital. The monolithic shaft is of highly polished fine sand-stone, dressed and proportioned with such utmost nicety and polish that casual observers have been deceived into thinking that it was metallic. Tom Coryate in the seventeenth century described the Delhi thambha as a ' brazen pillar ', and Bishop Heber recorded his impression in the nineteenth century, that it was a high black pillar of cast metal. The dressing and polish of the stone are confined to the section appearing above the ground level, while the continuation underground and foundation of about 8 to 10 feet are undressed and unpolished.

Abb.: Eine Asoka-Säule vor Ort
[Bildquelle: vi.wikipedia]

The thambha has a capital in the form of a stylised lotus with the petals turning over and down, while from the centre of the lotus rises a carved abacus, which again serves as a pedestal for a seated lion, or as in the ease of the capital of the thambha at Sārnāth, four lions seated back to back (See EncyBsm. II, Plate XVI.).

Abb.: Löwenkapitell der Asoka-Säule in Sarnath
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia]

The particular capital at Sārnāth, moreover, has on its abacus the four animals symbolising the four quarters—elephant, east ; horse, south ; lion, north ; and bull, west—which are also typical of the ' moon-stones' found in Anurādhapura in Ceylon.

The most characteristic monuments of Asoka's reign, however, are his stone-inscriptions, in so far as they provide us with an inside view of the controlling power of that ancient empire. It is good to keep in mind the purpose of these inscriptions which are commonly known under the name ' edicts '. An ' edict ' is a proclamation or order made by higher authority. Now, it would be most extraordinary to find an Indian king prescribing a course of theological study for the Sahgha, such as at first sight some of Asoka's inscriptions appear to have done. And even if Asoka would have dared to do so, it would not have been worth while to have his edicts carved in stone to ensure ' their lasting a long time '.

Furthermore, it is not likely that the Saṅgha would have welcomed such interference in their domestic affairs, even if coming from the great Asoka, and one could well visualise the edicts being received by them with our modern remark, ' to be filed '.

Asoka's inscriptions, rock and pillar-edicts are inscribed in kharoṣṭhī, a script derived from the Persian Aramaic, as regards the two northern major rock edicts at Mānsehrā [مانسہرہ] and Shāhbāzgarhi, or in brāhmī, the earliest Indian script so far known to have been used for the writing of Sanskrit and Prakrit, as regards the majority of inscriptions, even those in the southern Deccan, while the most recently discovered inscription at Kandahar (1958) is bilingual, being inscribed in Greek and Aramaic. The brāhmī script had been forgotten in India and early efforts of decyphering had been in vain, till it was finally deciphered by James Prinsep in 1837. It is only after this that the importance of Asoka's inscriptions became obvious in our modern age.

Abb.: Zweisprachige (Griechisch und Aramäisch) Felsinschrift Asokas aus Kandahar (قندهار), Museum Kabul (کابل)
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia]

Asoka's inscriptions, in so far as they contain a list of literature, are a perpetuation of a pious custom. It is customary in eastern countries, even up to this present date, to have ceremonial recitations of the sacred books, either in part or in full. The very form in which the doctrine is cast was intended to assist the memorising thereof, in times when the production of manuscripts was laborious and rare. Asoka's stone inscriptions are, therefore, to be regarded as the result of an effort to spread the existing doctrine in a manner which would ensure the endurance of the doctrine, while safeguarding its pristine purity without interpolation. One can visualise a high official reading out the text of the inscriptions and perhaps giving his commentary thereon to a vast crowd gathered together there just for that purpose.

Some scholars have called these edicts Dhamma-edicts as their main contents is concerning the Dhamma, although several other subjects, of social, cultural and political interest, are also dealt with.

Together with the instruction that certain Buddhist texts should regularly be recited for the good of bhikkhus and laymen, a list of such literature is given. The selection of those texts naturally betrays the personal interest of the selector. And it is obvious that Asoka's selection is specially directed towards the ethical duties of men. His interests appear to be rather in the formation of good citizens and members of society than in philosophical speculation, and the selection from the Rāhulovāda Sutta, in respect of the avoidance of falsehood, becomes typical. Such is the prominence given by Asoka to ethical subjects that it has even been doubted whether Asoka himself was a Buddhist, or merely an emperor interested in establishing peace in his domains and making use of the peaceful doctrine of Buddhism to gain his end.

This is sometimes referred to as Asoka's policy of Dhamma (cp. Romila Thapar, Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, pp. 137-81, Oxford University Press, 1961). Asoka was neither a saint, nor a scholar, and if he is considered in the context of his historical background, the relation between the fast development and spreading of Buddhism and the ideas of Asoka will become clear. The theories and doctrines of Buddhism were not exclusively concerned with philosophical innovations, giving a modern twist to ancient terms and techniques, but they certainly also influenced the general mass of people, breaking them away from the rigidly orthodox outlook of Brahmanism. Although rooted in earlier Hindu tradition, there was a definite deviation leading on to the ' middle path ', which was a clear protest against the malpractices in society and ritualistic observances. The protest against the exclusive monopolies of brahmans is felt in the support given to the Buddha's doctrine by the warrior and commercial castes, the Buddha himself being a ksatriya. The king, by declaring himself in favour of the new belief, was thus able to undermine the dominance of other groups, thereby increasing his own central authority and power. Moreover, as the new beliefs were in many aspects not violently opposed to the old order, a future compromise did not appear impossible, and the practical advantage of adopting the Buddha's Dhamma becomes clear.

Thus, Asoka's policy is frequently called a policy of Dhamma, for although the spreading of the Buddha's teaching was stressed, the centralisation and consolidation of the empire which consisted of a great number of different races and communities were doubtless the foremost aim of his policy.

The edicts gave Asoka the opportunity to expand his Dhamma and make use of it as a social and intellectual force upon society. That Asoka's Dhamma, however, did not necessarily conform to the religious philosophic Norm of the Buddha has been made a point of issue by Romila Thapar (op.cit. p. 157): " Had the Dhamma conformed to any of the religions, more particularly Buddhism, the institution of the dhamma-mahāmattas would have been superfluous. Each religion had either its group of devoted believers or its order of monks who could have been organized into active propagandists with greater efficiency as they would already have been ardent believers."

The reference here is to the fourth Bhābru (or Bairat) rock inscription in which the following texts are recommended by Asoka (See EncyBsm. II, Plate XVII). Scholars have identified these texts with parts of the TheravAda canon, as indicated below:—

  1. Vinaya samukase (sāmukkamsikā dhamma-desanā : S. V, 420 ff.) the Buddha's principal sermon concerning the Four Noble Truths.

  2. Aliyavasāṇi (dasa ariyavaṃsā: A. V, 29) the ten rules of the noble life.

  3. Anāgatabhayāni (A. Ill, 100 ff.): the five future dangers to be feared.

  4. Munigāthā (Muni Sutta : Sn. i, 12) : Who is acclaimed by the wise as a Sage ?

  5. Moneyasute (Moneyyāni: A. I, 273) : On moral perfection in body, speech and mind.

  6. Upatisapasine (Sāriputta Sutta or Therapañha Sutta : Sn. iv, 16) : Question of Sāriputta answered by the Buddha.

  7. Lāghulovāde (Rāhulovāda Sutta : M. I, 420 ff., sutta 62) : Exhortation in regard to lying.

The Mahāvaṃsa (chap, iv) gives details of Asoka's conversion to Buddhism. At first Asoka maintained the alms instituted by his father, but soon, being disappointed in the recipients, he began looking out for holy men. It was then that he saw from his window his nephew, the young novice Nigrodha. Asoka was at once drawn to him and invited him into the palace. Nigrodha preached to him the Appamāda Vagga and the king was greatly pleased. He ceased his benefactions to other religious orders and transferred his patronage to Nigrodha and members of the Buddhist Order. But, later, these benefactions were restored on the advice of the Buddhist monks themselves. There are many references in the inscriptions to confirm the tradition that Asoka had adopted the Buddhist religion in the course of his reign, apart from his recommendation of the study of the Buddhist suttas referred to above.

Asoka's order of expulsion of heretical monks from the Saṅgha, his pilgrimage to places sacred to Buddhists, his observance of Buddhist uposatha days, references to himself as upāsaka or buddha-sāke, using the tribal name of Sakya, belonging to Siddhattha Gotama, as equivalent to Buddhist (e.g., in the Rūpnāth, Sahasrām, Bairāṭ, Maski, Brahmagiri, and Siddāpura-inscriptions), his appointment of superintendents of the Dhamma and his zeal in its propagation cannot be explained satisfactorily, unless we accept the traditional belief of Asoka's conversion to the teaching of the Buddha. His liberality in making donations to other religious sects and his tolerance towards them (Rock-inscription XII) do not bear sufficient weight to the contrary.

There are certain authors who go even further and who maintain that Asoka, ' approaching the Saṅgha ', became a bhikkhu. We shall return to this point later but may state in the meantime that there is nothing in tradition or inscription to warrant the viewpoint of an abdication.

The 13th and 14th year after the coronation were marked by the issue of the most important set of proclamations for the whole empire, viz., the fourteen rock-edicts (which include the two Kāliṅga edicts in that district). They concern themselves particularly with the administration of the newly conquered country. In his 15th year he enlarged the stūpa of Konāgamana and came to the spot on pilgrimage six years later, setting
up a commemorative pillar with inscription. This pilgrimage included other sacred spots such as the Buddha Sakyamuni's birthplace at Lumbinivana, where another commemorative column was erected.

Six years later began the issue of the pillar edicts with a series of six, to which in the following year the longest in this series was added. There are two more inscriptions, which although undated most certainly belong to the closing decade of his reign.

The contents of the rock-inscriptions, with slight variations, are found repeated in several places, more or less completely. The most important are the inscriptions which give fourteen edicts of different dates of which the last one as peroration could have served equally well as a preface.

In respect of their contents, they may be indexed as follows :—

  1. Forbidding slaughter of animals. Sacredness of all life.

  2. Establishments for the dispensing of medicine for men and for beasts.

  3. Duties of royal executive officers. Instruction to be given by the Council.

  4. Practice of the Dhamma.

  5. Appointment of Superintendents of the Dhamma and their duties.

  6. Prompt dispatch of business of State.

  7. Equality of all men of all sects, except in their striving for perfection.

  8. Change in the nature of the king's pleasure.

  9. Virtue is better than ceremonials.

  10. Fame does not bring gain, but good deeds make one free from evil inclinations.

  11. The highest gift is the gift of the Dhamma.

  12.  By tolerance of other sects one benefits one's own sect.

The thirteenth rock-inscription deserves a little more detailed attention, for this deals with Asoka's victory over the Kaliṅgas, which is not known to us from independent historical sources. Not much is known of the first eight years of his reign. But in the eighth year after his consecration occurs his conquest of the Kaliṅgas on the coast of the bay of Bengal. In history, it is not so much his victory and the incorporation of those extensive territories in his empire, that have left their imprint on all ages to come, as the reaction which the horrors of war made on Asoka, his feeling of remorse over the slaughtering and captivity of so many thousands of soldiers, and his still deeper sorrow and regret over the privation and violence, both physical and mental, to those not directly engaged in actual warfare. His delicate sensitiveness to the cruel horrors of war worked a complete revolution in his mind and his attitude towards conquest. All this is expressed in the thirteenth rock-inscription, which opposes the conquest of the Dhamma to military conquest. It is this victory of the Dhamma which alone is able to produce spiritual joy and delight. The fourteenth and final rock-inscription is in the form of an epilogue.

An important discovery was made public in 1958 (V. Scerrato : East and West, Xew Series 9, pp. 4-6) of an inscription of exceptional interest because of the information supplied by it and the problems arriving from it. The discovery was made in the surroundings of the ancient site of Kandahar [قندهار] , east of Persia and Bactria. It is a proclamation comparable to the other Indian decrees of Asoka, calling himself Piyadassi, in two languages, Greek and Aramaic, which latter one is interspersed with ' Iranianisms '. Interesting deductions regarding the Hellenisation of these parts and the linguistic conditions of this western outpost of Asoka's empire are fairly obvious. The proclamation is dated in the tenth year of Asoka's reign to be reckoned from his ' coronation ' (abhiṣeka), i.e., two years after his conquest of the Kaliṅgas, and the following translation is suggested by Carlo Gallavotti (Eivista di Culture Classica e Medioevale, I (1959), pp. 113-26).

"After full ten years king Piodasse had the text of the Dhamma published to men and from this moment he made men merciful and everything prosperous all over the earth. And the king abstains from (eating) living creatures, and so also the other men ; and those who are hunters and fishers of the king cease from hunting ; and if there are people who are incontinent they cease from incontinence by exerting every effort, and they obey to their fathers, mothers and elders too. In present life and in future time they will find themselves in better and preferable conditions from every point of view, if they behave in that way ".

In the above, the word dhamma (for the Greek eusebeia [ευσέβεια]) has been substituted for Gallavotti's ' mercy ', which, no doubt fits in nicely and conveniently with the balance of the text, but eusebeia carries rather the meaning of filial piety and reverence towards the gods and one's parents, or loyalty.

The records of Asoka have been engraved in several kinds of script. The edicts found at Shāhbāzgarhi and at Mānsehrā, are in Kharoṣṭhī script, which is read from right to left. Other inscriptions are in Brāhmā script which has been recognised as the parent script of all indigenous languages used in India and south Asian countries, and which is read from left to right. Others again are found in Aramaic and Greek.

This series of fourteen rock-inscriptions was completed in the fourteenth year after Asoka's consecration.

One may wonder whether the general tolerance advocated by Asoka in his 12th rock-inscription was abused by the various sects in order to establish themselves more firmly. However that may be, tradition, supported by chronicles in Ceylon, has placed in the seventeenth year of his reign an important fact, the third Buddhist Council, which was in session for nine months at Pāṭaliputta, modern Patna, the capital of Asoka's empire. This Council was necessitated by the growth of heretical doctrines within the Order, causing various secessions. The thambha (pillar) inscriptions of the last years of Asoka's reign, at Kauśāmbī, Sāñcī and Sārnāth, refer to action to be taken to prevent a schism in the Saṅgha. This was obviously not an autocratic exercise by Asoka of his sovereign powers. It was determined by the Buddhist Canonical Law (Vinaya), confirmed at the supreme session of this third Council, convened by Asoka under the presidentship of thera Moggaliputta Tissa (q.v.). On this occasion the sixty-two heretical views of seventeen schismatic sects were exposed and condemned. The Council further compiled the Kathāvatthuppakaraṇa which was incorporated into the Abhidhamma Piaka. It contains the various points of controversy maintained by the seventeen different heretical schools, together with their refutation, and the Theravāda view-point as to the correct doctrine. Still, many scholars now hold that this ' council' has no historical background and may refer to a local dispute.

At the termination of this third Council of Buddhism it was decided to send missionaries to the neighbouring lands, and the countries specially favoured were (according to Ceylon Buddhist tradition) Kashmir and Gandhāra (Peshawar), Yavana (old N. W. Frontier Province), the neighbouring lands, the Himalayan districts, the Western country, comprising Gujarat, Kathiawār and Sindh, the country of the Marāthas, Mysore, the Kanara districts, and the gold-bearing districts of Bengal and Ceylon. Asoka made use of the channels of communication, both commercial and diplomatic, that had existed from the time of Candragupta, between India and the Hellenistic kingdoms founded by Alexander's generals, to convey the treasures of Buddhism to the nations of the West. Vincent A. Smith says (in his article on Asoka in ERE. II, 126, which is based on Asokan inscriptions) that missionaries traversed " the wide realms of Antiochos Theos, king of Syria and Western Asia, and penetrated the dominions of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, those of his neighbour, king Magas of Cyrene, and even those of the European monarchs Alexander of Epirus, and Antigonos Gonatas of Macedonia ". Legends in Burma and Siam say that Asoka sent his missions to those countries, too. In any case, Asoka carried his propaganda far beyond the limits of his empire into Asia, Europe and Africa and his missions permanently determined the religious history of a large part of the world. The mission sent to Ceylon was, however, the most successful. It consisted (according to the Mhv.) of four bhikkhus, one sāmaṇera (or novice) and a lay disciple and was headed by Asoka's own son, Mahinda.

The establishment of the female section, the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha, required the services of a fully ordained bhikkhunī, and at the request of the king of Ceylon, named Devānampiya Tissa, Asoka sent his daughter to Ceylon with a branch from the original bodhi-tree under which the Sakyamuni attained enlightenment. This branch was planted in the Mahāmeghavana at Anurādhapura, where it still survives as the oldest historical tree in the world.

The fourth pillar-edict states that seven inscriptions on the thambhas were ' published ' in the 27th year of Asoka's reign ; they differ from the rock-inscriptions in this sense that, whereas the rock-inscriptions predominantly deal with external right conduct, the thambha-inscriptions appear to stress more the need of inner purity: utmost devotion to the Dhamma, vigilance, docility, fear of wrong and utmost application. The Dhamma is mentioned as including abstinence from evil deeds, performance of good deeds, kindness, liberality, truthfulness and purity.

It is interesting to note that Asoka confined himself to the practical side of religion. No mention is made of philosophic doctrines, not even of the ultimate deliverance of Nibbāna. The doctrine of rebirth is referred to only incidentally, in so far as the consequence of good actions will be happiness in this world and in the life to come. His understanding of the deeper doctrine appears to be rather superficial, for if he had understood, e.g., that remorse (vippaṭisāra) does not lead to mind-release (see Aṅguttara Nikāya III, 166) he would not have complained in the third thambha-inscription that people consider only the good done by them, without calling back to mind the evil actions done by them.

In these thambha-inscriptions the welfare of others is not overlooked, e.g., condemned prisoners are given three days' respite, either to appeal against the judgment or to prepare themselves for their final hour; for it does not appear that capital punishment was ever abolished during the reign of this compassionate emperor. A long list of animals not to be killed is given in the fifth inscription. Shade-trees along the roads, wells at regular intervals for drinking-water and other comforts were arranged for with the sole intention that men would conform their lives to the Dhamma.

Minor inscriptions, at Sārnāth, Kosambī and Sāñcī, refer to the punishment of expulsion from the Saṅgha to be meted out to the bhikkhu or bhikkhunī who causes a schism, and we may well presume these inscriptions to have been made soon after the completion of the third Buddhist Council, referred to above.

Further, there are two separate rock-inscriptions in the land of the Kaliṅgas which may be considered a continuation of the earlier series of fourteen rock-inscriptions. They give instructions to the king's superintendents concerning the border tribes. He wants them to be inspired with trust and to be guided in the path of the Dhamma.

A thambha, commemorating Asoka's visit and pilgrimage to the birth place of the Buddha in the 21st year of his reign, is found at Lumbinī in Nepal, and another one, not far from there, in commemoration of his visit to the thūpa of the second last Buddha, named Koṇāgamana. Further pilgrimages (dharmayātrā) of Asoka are recorded in the eleventh year of his reign to the sacred bodhi-tree at Buddhagayā, and to other places in order to proclaim his ideals to the people.

Nepalese tradition states that during Asoka's pilgrimage, under the guidance of Upagupta, into what is now Nepal, he founded the city of Patan [पाटन]  (two miles S.E. of modern Kathmandu [काठमाडौं]) and built five caityas, one at the centre of the new city and the rest at the cardinal points of its perimeter. The latter subsist to this day and conform in shape to the Sañcī and Gandhāra types. Many stūpas marked the route of Asoka from and to Pāṭaliputta.

The king is said to have been accompanied by his daughter Cārumatī for whom a husband, by name Devapāla, was found among the kṣatriyas of Nepal. Both Cārumatī and Devapāla resolved to spend their days in Nepal, and the city of Deopatan, one of the oldest cities of Nepal, is said to have been founded by them.

In her old age Cārumatī built a vihāra named after her (now Chabahil) to the north of Deopatan, and she lived there a recluse till her death.

Two inscriptions in the Barābar Caves and the three Nāgārjunī inscriptions of Dasaratha mention in common the grant of those eaves to the Ājīvikas (q.v.).

We give below a classified list of the Asoka inscriptions—

  1. Buddhist Inscriptions :

    1. Calcutta-Bairāṭ rock-inscription

    2. Rummindei and Nigāli Sāgar pillars

    3. Kauśāmbī, Sāñcī and Sārnāth pillar-edicts.

  2. Proclamations or rescripts on morality :

    1. Early edicts—

      1. Rūpnāth, Sahasrām, Bairāṭ and Maski

      2. Brahmagiri, Siddāpura and Jatiṅga-Rāmeśvara.

    2. Rock-edicts—

      1. Edicts I-XIV at Girnār, Kālsi, Shāhbāzgarhi and Mānsehrā

      2. Edicts I-X, XIV and two separate edicts at Dhauli and Jaugaḍa.

    3. Pillar-edicts—

      1. Edicts I-VI at (Delhi) Mīraṭ

      2. Edicts I-VII at (Delhi) Toprā.

  3. Donative Inscriptions :

    1. Barabar Hill cave-inscriptions

    2. Queen's pillar-edict.

From these various documentary monuments we are in a fair position to form an idea of Asoka's administration. In the legal and political sense of the term his was an absolute monarchy. Yet there is a difference of great significance. His autocracy was not the source of the law but rather its support. He is not the maker of the law and is not placed above that law, but he regards himself as the protector of the law of the land which is based on the Buddha Dhamma. As protector rather than ruler, he feels that all men are his children "and just as I desire for my children that they may enjoy every kind of prosperity and happiness both in this world and the next, so also do I desire the same for all men." And his superintendents also he wants to be as skilful nurses eager to care for the happiness of the king's children.

Asoka then, was not so much a symbol of the law, as a direct representative of his people in so far as he felt himself at one with them in one large family. He seemed to be at pains to emphasise his own obligations towards his people : "Work I must for the public benefit......for no other purpose than that I may discharge my debt to all living beings, and make them happy in this world and they thereby attain a heavenly rebirth in the life hereafter. " And so Asoka placed himself at the disposal of his subjects at all hours and places, even while partaking of his meals or after having retired to the bedroom or the harem.

Realising that owing to the largeness of his empire it would be physically impossible to supervise personally every district, he appointed various officers to be in charge of the administration. In the outlying districts a certain amount of autonomy had to be conceded and viceroys (uparājā) were placed in charge, while the more centrally situated districts were placed under governors (rājūkā or mahāmātrā). The administration of justice was in their hands and they are exhorted to look after their subjects like ' skilful nurses '. All these officials -were granted independence in the matter of law and justice.

Asoka's officials were required, in addition to their ordinary duties, to give instructions in morals to their subjects, and to promote piety among the people of all sects, Buddhist or others. They were vested with special powers to prevent wrongful imprisonment or corporal punishment and to investigate cases in which law seemed to press hard upon individuals. The general supervision of female morals was entrusted to a special set of officers.

Mention is madeof a council (parisā) which is to instruct the minor officials (yute). It is not certain whether here is meant a council of ministers controlling the state expenses, or a council of religious dignitaries controlling the right exposition of the Dhamma, or a council of elders controlling the day-to-day interests of community life in town or village. But, this institution clearly shows the advanced stage of democratic representation in an otherwise absolute and centralised monarchy. These councils had even the power to suspend a royal order in case of a dispute, as long as this order had been issued by word of mouth only, but with immediate reference to the king himself.

Asoka's foreign policy for future conduct is clearly outlined in the 13th rock-inscription, where his successors are asked not to suppose it to be their duty to effect any new conquest. But should conquest be the result of war forced upon them, they should find their delight in forbearance and light punishment, keeping in mind that the only victory is the victory of the Dhamma.

There is a difference of opinion among the authorities as to whether Asoka at any stage of his life became a bhikkhu. In one of the minor rock-inscriptions, found in Mysore, Asoka speaks of himself as having been a lay-disciple (upāsaka) for " more than two and a half years, although with little fervour ". But, for the last year he has "' approached the Saṅgha with great zeal ". This approach to the Saṅgha, some scholars say, could be equivalent to entering the Saṅgha as a bhikkhu. Some would have this act of renunciation postponed till the last period of his life, but this is not tenable in view of Asoka's own words of having been a lax lay-disciple for only the earliest two and a half years in his long reign of almost forty years. It is equally untenable to see Asoka as a bhikkhu while ruling his vast empire as an absolute monarch. But it would be possible that in the beginning of his fervent aspirations towards perfection Asoka donned the robes of a bhikkhu for a short period. This seems to be corroborated by the Chinese pilgrim I-tsing [義淨] who mentions an image of Asoka dressed in the garb of a bhikkhu (Takakusu, Records of the Buddhist Religion, p. 73).

The last four years of Asoka's life were marked by his liberality towards the Saṅgha, and legend has it that ultimately he had nothing he could call his own, apart from an āmalaka-fruit (emblica officinalis). Even of that he partook only one half and sent the other half to a nearby monastery, as 'Asoka's last gift'. According to tradition his last years indicated the beginning of the decline of the Mauryan empire and he had to divide his empire between his two sons.

Asoka died after having reigned for thirty-eight years. He occupies a unique place among the rulers of the world. His period is further important for the development of art, as sculpture, architecture, writing, literature, etc. The close contact established during Asoka's reign with other countries made his the first consolidated empire in Indian history. In Buddhist history he ranks in importance only next to the Sakyamuni himself.
BIBLIOGRAPHY : Barua, B. M., Asoka and his Inscriptions ; Basham, A. L., The Wonder that was India, London, 1953 ; Bhandarkar, D. R., Asoka (1925); Bloeh, Jules, Les Inscriptions d' Asoka: Eggermont, P. H. L., The Chronology of the Reign of Asoka Moriya, Leiden, 1956 ; Foucher, A., Vieille Route de V Inde ; Geiger, Wilhelm, Introduction to the Mahdvamsa; in New History of the Indian People, VI; Hultzsch, E., Inscriptions of Asoka : Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. I; Levi, S., L 'Inde civilatrice ; Macphail, James M., The Heritage of India : Asoka ; Malalasekera, G. P., Dictionary of Pali Proper Names ; Mookerjee, Radhakumud, Gaekwad Lectures: Asoka ; Rawlinson, H. G., Indian Historical Studies ; Rhys Davids, T. W., Buddhist India ; Senart, Emile, Les Inscriptions de Piyadasi ; Smith, Vincent A., Rulers of India ; Romila Thapar, Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Oxford, 1961."

[Quelle: H. G. A. van Zeyst <1909 - 1989>. -- In: Encyclopaedia of Buddhism / ed. by G. P. Malalsekera. -- Ceylon : Government of Ceylon. -- Vol. II, Fascicle 2. -- 1967. -- S. 178 - 187]

"A Comparison and Contrast between the Legends and the Edicts.

The figure of Asoka stands cross-lighted in Indian history from two sources, first, dispersed legends about him occurring in a number of Buddhist works, and second, his edicts and rescripts discovered from time to time over more than a century now, in different parts of India, from Gandhāra in the north down to Mysore in the south.

The main body of Asokan legends is in the Ceylonese chronicles, Dīpavaṃsa and Mahāvaāsa, in Buddhaghosa's works, specially Samantapāsādikā, as well as in the ancient legend-collection to which the name Divyāvadna has been given. But, there are also subsidiary sources like the ancient commentary on Kathāvatthu and Mañjuśrī-mūlakalpa, which is a work of the 8th century. These legends must have originated in the after-fame of the emperor and, quite irrespective of the chronology of the works in which the legends are recorded, most of them must have been of ancient tradition. But the tradition itself was post -Asokan.

The edicts on the other hand are contemporary reeords. They were unknown to both the makers and the purveyors of the legends. The script of the edicts had long passed into oblivion and their find-spots had become in their time mostly inaccessible. It is only within the last hundred years or so that archaeologists have unearthed and deciphered them. These edicts are by no means a closed chapter yet: the latest discovery of an Asokan edict was made by an Italian archaeological mission as late as in 1958.

There are no comparable records in Indian history : the style and the manner of the publication of these edicts is reminiscent of the practice of the Achaemenid [هخامنشیان] kings of Iran. In these edicts, the emperor reveals himself in many moods, speaking most often to his people (briefly as the exiguity of a lithic inscription would allow) of his inner thoughts and feelings, his convictions and self-realisations, his imperial acts and measures and their motivation in the Dhamma, and the ethical ideals on which all his injunctions and commands to them were based.

The legends and the edicts cannot be put on a par in reconstructing our mental image of the emperor. The legends come through the medium of other minds, while in the edicts we have the emperor's own self-revelations. In certain respects, however, the former may be regarded as complementary to the latter. The edicts were issued in Asoka's capacity as a ruler : what is said in them is relative only to their purpose, while the legends speak episodically of the emperor's whole life and career. But the legends need to be checked and sifted to winnow away what in them is contradicted by, or is inconsistent with the spirit of the edicts.

The major discrepancies between the legends and the edicts are these :
  1. The Caṇḍāsoka story. The story told in the-legends is that, before his conversion to Buddhism, Asoka had been known as Caṇḍāsoka (Ferocious Asoka), a heartless fratricide, who killed off all his 99 brothers to secure unchallenged accession to the throne. But after his conversion he became so thoroughly devoted to the Dhamma that he was called by the name of Dhammāsoka (Asoka devoted to the Dhamma). In the edicts there is no hint of this crime, although in several of them there are poignant expressions of regret from the emperor for the shortcomings and delinquencies of his past life, and in the Kaliṅga Edict (Rock Edict 13) deep repentance (anusaya = anuśocanā) is expressed for the sufferings caused by him to men by his victory in the Kaliṅga war. Whether Asoka's slaying of his brothers in order to come to the throne was a historical event cannot be ascertained, but it was easy enough for the legend-maker to emphasise in this way the wonderful power of the Buddhist religion to transform the nature of a man and to invent the name Caṇḍāsoka as a telling correlative to Dhammāsoka, a nickname by which Asoka was probably known among his subjects.
  2. The Kāliṅga War. If there was such a turning point in Asoka's career, the greater probability is of its having been brought about by his anusaya or anuśocanā over the dire consequences of the Kāliṅga war than by his earlier conversion to Buddhism. But, curiously enough, there is no reference to the Kāliṅga war in the legends, though the emperor's own testimony stands : " Therefore,, when the Kāliṅgas had been newly conquered, the 'Beloved of the Gods' felt a strong inclination for Dhamma, desire for Dhamma and instruction in Dhamma. Now, it is repentance that the 'Beloved of the Gods' felt on conquering the Kāliṅgas. Indeed the slaughter or death or deportation of the people (that take place) there, when an unconquered country is conquered, is considered very painful and serious by the 'Beloved of the Gods'....................Indeed the 'Beloved of the Gods' wished all beings non-injury, restraint (and) impartiality (even in case of offensive conduct). "

    It is in the same edict that he declares that conquest by the Dhamma is more desirable than by force of arms and he leaves this idea to his successors on the throne to follow and carry out. If Caṇḍāsoka was transformed into Dhammāsoka, the motivation for it must have been in that psychological crisis into which he was led by his broodings over the miseries inflicted by him on the Kāliṅgas by a cruel war of aggression.
  3. The Building of Stūpas and Vihāras. Asoka is set up in the legends as a zealous builder of stūpas and vihāras all over his empire. It is said that he covered the whole country with a network of them and their total number is put at the conventional figure of 84,000. The story has romantic embellishments, such as the employment by the emperor of supernatural agents (yakṣa) for the purpose. It is one of the most persistent of Asokan legends and it came by a long tradition to Hsuan-tsang [玄奘] , who, visiting India in the early part of the 7th century A.C., describes almost all the ancient stpas seen by him in India and even beyond its northern borders as built by Asoka-rājā and repeats the story of supernatural agency. This story has an elaborate poetic version in a work of the 8th century, Mañjusrī-mūlakalpa.

    In the edicts, however, the only stūpa of which any mention is found is a pre-existing one to Koṇāgamana, which Asoka saw in a delapidated condition at Nigālī-sāgara and reconstructed to double its size. Only one stūpa in particular, the great tope of Sāñcī, is said in the legends to have been -of Asoka's foundation, but, as the legend runs, it was built by him to gratify his Buddhist mother-in-law, whose daughter he had married at Vidiśā, and, by this specification, it must have been built by Asoka before he became a Buddhist. In the numerous remains of stūpas and vihāras of northern India, explored by archaeologists, no discovery has been made up to date to connect Asoka with any of them, except for a stone-column with Asoka's Saṅgha-bhedaka edict inscribed on it which stands near the outer periphery of the great tope of Sāñcī. No vihāra is mentioned in the edicts as having been founded by Asoka.

    To the question, whether Asoka really built stūpas and vihāras, the reply from the legends is profusely positive, while the edicts remain totally silent. But to the minds of the makers of the legends, the Dhamma to which the emperor was devoted could be only the Dhamma of the canon, i.e., the Buddhist religion, and if the emperor was zealous in its cause, it could be best manifested by the building of stūpas and vihāras by him.
  4. Missionary activities. The introduction of Buddhism out of the Puratthima (Eastern Tract), to which it had been mostly confined until Asoka's time, into different parts of the empire in his reign, naturally presupposes a great acceleration of missionary activities. In the legends the organisation of these activities is ascribed to Moggaliputta Tissa. It is difficult on the basis of the edicts to ascribe to the emperor any positive part in these missionary activities, for all that is said (in Rock Edict 13) is that he sent envoys to foreign countries and emissaries to regions outside his dominion with the object of promoting the Dhamma. But this Dhamma, as we shall presently see, cannot be identified with Buddhism.

    The Ceylonese tradition of the mission of Asoka's son Mahinda and his daughter Saṅghamittā, in Ceylon does not attribute to Asoka the direction or initiative for it, but to Moggaliputta Tissa at whose instance Asoka is said to have allowed them to join the Saṅgha.
  5. The so-called ' Third Gouncil'. The legends report the holding of the third Buddhist 'council' in Asoka's reign under imperial aegis at the imperial capital Pāṭaliputta with the object of purging the Saṅgha of heretics. It is said that the result of its deliberations was the ejection of 60,000 (conventional figure) heretics who were spotted by their refusal to subscribe to Vibhajjavāda, i.e., the analytic method of textual exegesis, favoured by the Theravāda school. Doubt is thrown upon the historicity of this 'council' by the absence of any sort of reference or even the remotest allusion to it in the edicts. Though in several edicts Asoka refers to acts done and measures taken by him for the promotion of the Dhamma, the 'council' is nowhere indicated or spoken of. One edict (Calcutta-Bairāṭ) which is a message addressed to the monks, might have afforded room for an allusion to the 'council', but this also is silent on the point. Asoka's connection with this 'council', said to have been held under the presidency of Moggaliputta Tissa, is altogether indeterminate, even assuming that it was actually held during his reign.
  6. Asoka and Moggaliputta Tissa. The name of Moggaliputta Tissa is prominent in the Asokan legends. He was the most outstanding figure in the contemporary Buddhist world of India. He was the leader of the Theravāda school of the time, the champion and chief polemist of that school, who in the Kathāvatthu repudiated doctrines and opinions inconsistent with the doctrinal positions of the Theravāda. He is identified in later Asokan legends with Upagupta, supposed to have been Asoka's preceptor and spiritual guide. But there is no mention of him anywhere in the edicts and the Dhamma propounded in them is certainlynot of the kind that could be the result of a preceptor's training, for it is a Dhamma neither canon-based nor denned by doctrines.
  7.  Asoka's status as a Buddhist. From the edicts (Minor Rock Edicts) we know that Asoka became a convert to Buddhism some time after his accession to the throne. He became a lay Buddhist, an upāsaka ; though for two years and a half after his conversion, he was, as he declares, not very zealous (bādhaṃ pakaṃte). But having approached (upeta) the Saṅgha, his zeal was roused. Perhaps his contacts with the Saṅgha resulted in his acquisition of some knowledge of the Buddhist texts as they then existed; this knowledge is shown in his recommending to the monks for earnest study a selection of scriptural texts ', as well as from adapted or clipped quotations from scripture in the phraseology of some edicts. But the legends go farther and speak of his receiving ordination in old age and even attaining to pratyeka-buddhahood.  The only available corroboration of it is a statement which comes from I-tsing [義淨], about a thousand years after Asoka, that he saw in India an image of the emperor in monk's robes, a vague statement which might easily have been based on a mistake.

The discrepancies between the legends and the edicts are not merely factual or incidental—they spring from two different views. Collectively taken and broadly interpreted, they make a great difference between the picture of Asoka as the legends present it and that assembled by the-edicts.

Those who recorded these legends had undoubtedly edited and made additions to them from a certain point of view. The canon sets forth the ideal of a cakkavattin who is a Dhammika Dhammarājā, an emperor who rules according to Dhamma, in Aṅguttara Nikāya, III, 2.4. The memory of such a ruler is said to deserve perpetuation by erecting a stūpa to him ; he is a thūpāraha (worthy of a monument in the form of a stūpa) u. Now, the editors of the legends were of a time when Buddhism in India was several centuries old, long after the passing away of the emperor in whose reign it is said to have blazed forth as a ' holy flame' (puññateja) all over the land. Into their retrospect of Buddhism, the figure of Asoka, then lingering only in traditional tales, came as the ideal Dhammarājā of canonical description. To them the Dhamma could mean only the religion set forth in the canon as Buddhavacana. So they set up Asoka as a ruler who, being a Dhammarājā, must have been a patron and propagandist of Buddhism, devoutly single-minded in advancing its cause by founding innumerable stūpas and vihāras, by purifying the Saṅgha, preventing schisms in and expelling heretics from the Saṅgha, and by propagating the religion among the people.

The Buddha, it is said, had prophesied his advent. Asoka, according to this prophecy, would be ruler from sea to sea, ruling " without oppression, without enforcing penalties, without the force of arms, but according to the Dhamma and customary law ". His piety would reach its consummation when later in life, " giving up his empire, he would shear off his hair and beard, don the yellow robe, go from home into home-lessness, and ultimately attain to the status of a pratyeka-buddha '.

The legends are mostly of Theravāda provenance. Hence, Asoka is identified with the Buddhism of that school. He is represented as a patron, friend and supporter of his contemporary, Moggaliputta Tissa, who presided over the 'council' which resulted in the purge on a large scale of 'heretics', that is, of all monks who did not subscribe to the Theravāda method of doctrinal interpretation and exegesis. As we have remarked, the historicity of this 'council' rests solely on the basis of the legends, while the edicts make no allusion to it. But if Asoka's stand with regard to the Dhamma be interpreted in the light of the edicts, it will seem somewhat improbable that Asoka either initiated this 'council' or that he approved of the purge. Asoka was a pious Buddhist himself, and so completely did he assimilate the spirit of the religion that it is expressed in all his edicts. But his interest in the formulated doctrines does not seem to have been keen. Not only is there a complete absence from the edicts of doctrinal concepts and terms, but it is noticeable that in the selection of scriptural texts recommended by him for study to the monks (in Calcutta-Bairāṭ edict), not one of the important texts, like the Brahmajāla Suttanta, which deal with doctrines, is included. The Buddhist schools sprang from differences in the interpretation of doctrines, and Vibhajjavāda was the exegetic method of the Theravāda school. It is not likely that the emperor would trouble himself with the scholastic aspect of Buddhism and support one school against others.

In fact, the word of crucial significance, endlessly iterated in the edicts, is Dhamma. The emperor professes to follow the Dhamma himself; he wishes to teach it to his subjects ; he exhorts them to understand it rightly and act up to it ; all his own acts and measures, as he declares, are in pursuance of the Dhamma and have the object of promoting it.

What this Dhamma is, is not put in positive terms anywhere in the edicts, but its numerous use in them in various contexts seems to suggest that he meant it as a sort of emblem, to betoken the overall character of his rule, that is the rule of a cakkavattin who was a Dhammarājā. It was from the texts that he picked up the cue for the use of the term Dhamma in this way in his edicts.

The Aṅguttara Nikāya was one part of the scripture he was undoubtedly acquainted with. According to Kosambi and Lanman, the text named Aliya-vasāni, recommended for study to the monks in the Calcutta-Bairāṭ edict, corresponds to the fourth nipāta of the Aṅguttara and in the same edict occurs a phrase borrowed from the Aṅguttara. If the emperor was acquainted with this part of the texts, we may presume his knowledge of a sutta that occurs in it, describing the relationship of a cakkavatti dhammika dhamma-rājā to the Dhamma.

" Herein a rājā who is cakkavatti and dhammika dhammarāj is in dependence on the Dhamma, —honouring the Dhamma, respectful and deferential to the Dhamma, with the Dhamma as his banner, with the Dhamma as his standard, with the Dhamma as his overlord, he keeps watch and ward among his folk.

" Then again, a rājā, (who is etc., etc., as above) keeps constant watch and ward among the warriors who follow in his host, among brahmans and householders and dwellers in outlying parts, among sāmaṇas and brahmans, beasts and birds alike.

" (Such an one) rolls the wheel of sovereignty not to be upset by any human being whatever, by any foe that lives."

It was after his accession to the throne as a cakkavatti (emperor) that Asoka became a convert to Buddhism, and, after his conversion, he aspired to fill the role of a Dhamma-rājā as described in the text, with the Dhamma as his banner, with the Dhamma as his standard, with the Dhamma as his overlord, relating to the Dhamma all his imperial acts and measures.

The makers of Asokan legends were monks who understood by Dhamma only the Dhamma of the canon, that is, the Buddhist religion. But the emperor, in his capacity as ruler over a country where a great diversity of faiths and sects existed, had to be equal and impartial, not boosting by his sovereign authority the faith he himself had preferred and adopted or any sect within that faith. This hypothesis would rationalise the discrepancies we have pointed out that exist between the legends and the edicts.

Judging by the emperor's own elucidation, the difference between the monkish view and his own comes out in relief :

"(The practice of Dhamma) is commendable, but (let us ask) what constitutes the Dhamma ? (These constitute the Dhamma, viz.) . . . little sin and many good deeds (compare Dhamma-pada, verse 183 .... sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ kusalassa upasampadā), mercifulness, charity truthfulness and purity."

Evidently it is the cultivation of these cardinal moral virtues that the emperor understands by the Dhamma rather than adherence to a form of faith. Dhamma is to him an ideal of culture to be translated into those qualities of personality which serve to elevate life in its practical pragmatic sphere.

An indication that the Dhamma spoken of in the edicts is not a form of faith, but a pattern of life and conduct, is held out in his description of the " auspicious ceremony of Dhamma" in Rock-edict, No. 9. After disparaging maṅgala (auspicious) ceremonies, prevalent among the people of India even to this day during illness, or at a wedding, or a child-birth, or on the commencement of a journey, the emperor goes on to say :

" Now, auspicious ceremonies should certainly be performed, but of little merit indeed are auspicious ceremonies such as these. But of great fruit is this auspicious ceremony, viz., the auspicious ceremony of Dhamma. In it, these (are comprised), viz., proper behaviour towards slaves and servants; commendable deference towards elders ; commendable gentleness towards animals ; commendable gifts to brāhmans and sāmaṇas, .... these and similar other (acts) are called the auspicious ceremony of Dhamma."

Had the spread of Buddhism been any object in the emperor's mind it would be reasonable to suppose that, among these items of dhamma-maṅgala, he would have included paying reverence to the stūpa and taking the eight vows of morality (aṭṭhaṅga-uposatha).

Edicts relating to the Dhamma-mahāmātās and Saṅghabheda have been interpreted by some historians as issued in the special interest of the Buddhist Saṅgha.  But in the Dhamma-mahāmātā edicts, the duties assigned to the " Commissioners for Dhamma ", so far as they bear specifically on the Saṅgha, are to see that the sects do not foment quarrels among themselves and that no disruption ensues in the Saṅgha.

The edicts recognise the Saṅgha, but as a corporation, in the welfare of which the king was specially interested. These edicts have a constitutional basis. They were in discharge of the duty of a king in his office and capacity as ruler, enjoined by immemorial practice in India, which we find formulated later in Brahmanical smṛtis and arthaśāstras. In ancient Indian sociological political thought, society was an aggregate of units, village-communities, classes, professions, associations etc., which were unitary bodies that had each its own customary laws called samaya. The Buddhist Saṅgha is recognised as one of these self-governing bodies, its samaya was constituted by what it called Vinaya. The king's duty with regard to these corporate bodies is formulated by the legist Yājñavalkya as being "to prevent divisions in them and uphold their customary laws ". Manu's commentator Medhātithi expressly places under the term Saṅgha, the Saṅgha of the bhikṣus. The edicts on the disrobing of schism-mongers were undoubtedly based on the samaya of the Bhikkhu-saṅgha, that is, the ancient vinaya-law relating to schism mongers .... ' A saṅghabhedaka is not to be ordained ; if ordained to be expelled ' (Mahāvagga, I, 67). The Dhamma-mahāmātās are ordered to publicise and enforce this vinaya-law. The Buddhist emperor was no doubt deeply concerned with the preservation of the unity and integrity of each saṅgha and anxious to check fissiparous tendencies developing within it. For this purpose, he did nothing more than to revive and promulgate a law of its own samaya out of the existing corpus of vinaya-laws.

Asoka had come to the throne as a cakkavattin (emperor) and we may suppose that after his conversion to Buddhism he aspired to rule as a
dhammika dhammarājā, the ideal king as denned in the text. But, ruling over a country of people of diverse faiths as an impartial sovereign, even-handed in his dealings and policies, he could not exalt one faith over another by his sovereign authority, though the fact that the emperor himself was a Buddhist must have given Buddhism a certain weightage with people. He interpreted 'dhamma' in the designation of dhammika dhammarājā in a sublimated sense, not as a concrete form of faith, but an abstract ethical ideal that should set and regulate men's pattern of life and conduct. Dhamma is the ideal, and moral conduct (sīla) is its pragmatic consequence and the emperor distinguishes between the two. And in sīla were comprised those ethical values in which the spirit of Buddhism manifested itself. Asoka's service, as dhammika dhammarājā, was not, as implied by the legends, to strengthen and propagate Buddhism as a system of religion or form of faith, but to instil its essential spirit into all people both within and outside his far-flung empire."

[Quelle: S. Dutt. -- In: Encyclopaedia of Buddhism / ed. by G. P. Malalsekera. -- Ceylon : Government of Ceylon. -- Vol. II, Fascicle 2. -- 1967. -- S. 187 - 193]

Abb.: Varianten der Brahmi-Schrift
[Bildquelle. Wikipedia]

2  d.h. sozusagen Brieffreunde

3. Devānampiyatissa's Gesandtschaft zu König Asoka

20. Bhāgineyyaṃ Mahāriṭṭhaṃ,
amaccaṃ pamukhaṃ tato;
dijaṃ amaccaṃ gaṇakaṃ,
rājā te caturo jane.
21. Dūte katvāna pāhesi,
gāhāpetvā anagghāni,
ratanāni imāni so.
22. Maṇijātī ca tisso tā,
tisso ca rathayaṭṭhiyo;
saṅkhañ ca dakkhiṇāvattaṃ,
muttājātī ca aṭṭha tā.

20. /21./22. Der König ernannte vier Personen zu Gesandten

  1. seinen Schwestersohn Mahāriṭṭha1, seinen Chefberater
  2. seinen Hofbrahmanen
  3. einen Berater
  4. seinen Schatzmeister

und entsandte sie. Mit ihnen sandte er eine Heerschar zum Schutz und er gab ihnen diese unschätzbaren Juwelen mit, die drei Arten von Edelstein2, die drei Bambus-Wagenstämme3, eine rechtsdrehende Schnecke4, und die acht Arten von Perlen5.


1 Mahāriṭṭha

"Mahā Ariṭṭha

Nephew of Devānampiyatissa. He was the king's chief minister, and led the embassy which was sent to Asoka soon after Devānampiyatissa ascended the throne (Mhv.xi.20). Asoka conferred on him the title of Senāpati (Mhv.xi.25). It is said that he had fifty five elder and younger brothers who all joined the Order at Cetiyagiri at the end of a sermon by Mahinda on the Vassūpanāyikakhandha (Mhv.xvi.10). This was before the commencement of the rainy season, but elsewhere (Mhv.xviii.3; perhaps here we have to deal with two different traditions) it is said that Arittha was sent in the month of Assayuja -  after the pavārana, when the rains were over -  to Pātaliputta to fetch Sanghamittā and the Bodhi tree from the court of Asoka, and that, he agreed to go only on condition that he should join the Order on his return. The king consented, and, his mission successfully concluded, he entered the Order with five hundred others and attained arahantship (Mhv.xix.5, 12, 66). He died in the reign of Uttiya (Mhv.xx.54).

The Samantapāsādikā (Sp.i.102ff) gives an account of a recital (sangīti) held in Ceylon by Mahā Arittha. The scene was the parivena of the minister Meghavannābhaya in the Thūpārāma, where sixty eight thousand monks were assembled. A seat, facing south, was provided for Mahinda, Arittha's seat, the dhammāsana, facing north. Arittha occupied this seat at Mahinda's request, and sixty eight Mahā-theras, led by Mahinda, sat around him. Devānampiyatissa's younger brother, Mattābhaya Thera, with five hundred others, were present in order to learn the Vinaya, the king also being present. When Arittha began his recital of the Vinaya, many miracles occurred. This was on the first day of the pavārana ceremony in the month of Kattika.

Mahā Arittha's chief disciples were Tissadatta, Kālasumana and Dīghasumana (q.v.)."

[Quelle: Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. -- s. v.]

2 drei Arten von Edelstein: nämlich Saphir, Beryll, Rubin; siehe oben Vers 16

3 drei Bambusstämme: siehe oben Vers 10ff.

4 rechtsdrehende Schnecke: je nach Species sind Meereschnecken (und andere Schnecken) entweder vorwiegend rechtsdrehend oder linksdrehend. Bei vorwiegend linksdrehenden Schnecken gelten die rechtsdrehenden als Glücksbringer  (siehe unten Vers 28ff.). Hier handelt es sich vermutlich um ein rechtsdrehendes (= linksgewundenes) Exemplar von Sinistral turbinella pyrum ("Hinduglocke").

In der Schneckenkunde ist die Bezeichnung "rechtsgewunden" und "linksgewunden", dabei entspricht das "rechtdrehend" unseres Textes dem "linksgewunden" der Schneckenkundler! Man betrachte das Gehäuse mit der Spitze nach oben, Mündung gegen sich: Mündung rechts = rechtsgewundenes Gehäuse (häufig), Mündung links = linksgewundenes Gehäuse (selten)

Abb.: "rechtsgewunden" und "linksgewunden"

[Quelle der Abb.: Arrecgros, Josette: Muscheln am Meer : Schnecken und Muscheln der Nordsee-, Atlantik - und Mittelmeerküsten.  -- Bern : Hallwag, 1958. -- 64 S. : Ill. ; 15 cm. -- (Hallwag-Taschenbücher ; 57). -- S. 8.]

Abb.: Rechtsdrehendes (= linksgewundenes) Exemplar von Turbinella pyrum

"The Dakshinavarti Shankh [dakṣiṇavartī śaṅkha], or Sri Lakshmi Shankh, is a sacred Hindu object otherwise known as the Conch shell with a reverse-turning spiral. When held with the crown pointed up, the conch's spiral will turn to the right (Dakshinavarti) rather than the far more common variety which turns left (Vamavarti). Traditionally this shell is a member of the family Sinistral turbinella pyrum, although other right-turning shells are often revered which are more often found with a right-handed spiral, such as the Lightning Whelk, or Busycon contrarium.

The Lakshmi Conch is said to bring all manner of blessing, but particularly material wealth, upon the owner. Ritual use may include bathing deities, drinking from the conch, or the use of mantras oriented to goddess Sri Lakshmi."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006--07-10]

"A conch (pronounced "konk" (IPA: /kɒŋk/) or "konch" (IPA: /kɒntʃ/)) is a sea-dwelling mollusk, and more specifically, a marine gastropod. Still, it should be noted that many other gastropods have common names using conch, such as the Horse Conch (Pleuroploca gigantea). The genus Strombus is made up of the true conches in the family Strombidae.

While most Strombid species are extinct, at least 65 species are extant. Of these, most are in the Indo-Pacific Oceans while six are in the greater Caribbean region. Living true conch species include the Queen Conch, Strombus gigas, and the West Indian Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis).

Strombus gigas is included in Appendix II of the UNEP's CITES list of endangered species and international trade is heavily restricted.


Conches have spirally constructed shells. Depending on species (or aberrant growth patterns), shell growth can be sinistral (left-handed) or dextral (right-handed).

Conches have long eye stalks, a long and narrow aperture, and a siphonal canal with an indentation near the anterior end called a stromboid notch. They also have a foot ending in a pointed, sickle-shaped, horny operculum. They grow a flared lip on their shells upon reaching sexual maturity.

Conches have a characteristic leaping motion, using their pointed, sickle-shaped, horny operculum to propel themselves forward. They lay eggs in long, gelatinous strands.

Human use

The animal inside the shell is eaten, either raw, as in salads, or cooked, as in fritters, chowders, gumbos, and burgers. In East Asian cuisines, the meat is often cut into thin slices and then steamed or stir-fried. Conch meat is also often called Scungilli.

Conch shells are sometimes used as decoration, as decorative planters, and in cameo making. As with other mollusk shells, they are ground up into an ingredient in porcelain. In classic Mayan art, conches are shown being utilized in many ways including as paint and ink holders for elite scribes, as bugle or trumpet, and as hand weapons (held by combatants by inserting their hands in the aperature).

In some countries, cleaned Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) shells or polished fragments are sold, mainly to tourists, as souvenirs or in jewelry. Without a permit however, export is a breach of CITES regulations and may lead to arrest. This is most likely to occur on return to the tourist's home country while clearing customs. In the UK conch shells are the 9th most seized import.

Conch shells are occasionally used as a building material, either in place of bricks or as bulk for landfill.

Playing the conch shell

Conch shells are sometimes made into crude bugles by removing the small tip of the shell to form a mouthpiece. While lacking the range capabilities and tonal quality of brass instruments, the conch shell is still a fun instrument to play. Having no mouthpiece or valves, the embouchure in shell playing is critical. Most shells will only naturally play one note, but with pitch manipulations multiple sounds can be achieved. The insertion of the hand and the placement of the fingers will change the pitch of the shell. The conch shell is said to be the musical instrument of mermaids and mermen. Steve Turre is the leading innovator of the shell.

Religious symbolism

Hindu tradition

The conch is a major Hindu article of prayer, used as a trumpeting announcement of all sorts. The God of Preservation, Vishnu, is said to hold a special conch, Panchajanya, that represents life as it has come out of life-giving waters. In the story of Dhruva the divine conch plays a special part. The warriors of ancient India would blow conch shells to announce battle, such as is famously represented in the beginning of the war of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata, the famous Hindu epic. The conch shell is a deep part of Hindu symbolic and religious tradition. To this very day, all Hindus use the conch as a part of their religious practices, blowing it during worship at specific points, accompanied by ceremonial bells.

See also: Krishna"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

5 acht Arten von Perlen: siehe oben Vers 14f.

23. Āruyha Jambukolamhi,
nāvaṃ sattadinena te;
sukhena titthaṃ laddhāna,
sattāhena tato puna.
24. Pāṭaliputtaṃ gantvāna,
Dhammāsokassa rājino;
adaṃsu paṇṇākārete,
disvā tāni pasīdi so.

23./24. Diese Gesandtschaft ging in Jambukola1  an Bord eines Schiffes, erreichten nach sieben Tagen heil den Hafen2 und kamen nach weiteren sieben Tagen nach Pātaliputta3. Dort übergaben sie dem König Dhammāsoka diese Geschenke. Als dieser sie sah, freute er sich.


Abb.: Abb.: Anurādhapura -- Jambukola -- Tāmalitti -- Pātaliputta
(©MS Encarta)

1 Jambukola: Hafen für Anurādhapura heutiges Kankesanturai auf Nāgadīpa, der Jaffna-Halbinsel

Abb.: Jambukola = Kankesanturai (©MS Encarta)


A sea-port in Nāgadīpa in the north of Ceylon. Here Mahārittha and his companions embarked on their journey as envoys to Dhammāsoka (Mhv.xi.23). Here also arrived the ship conveying Sanghamittā and the branch of the sacred Bodhi-tree, welcomed by Devānampiyatissa, who awaited her arrival in the Samuddapannasālā (Mhv.xix.25f). A sapling from the Bodhi-tree was afterwards planted on the spot where it had stood after landing (Mhv.vs.59; Sp.i.100; Mbv.145-62, passim) and Devānampiyatissa built a vihāra there called the Jambukolavihāra (Mhv.xx.25). From Jambukola to Tāmalitti by sea was a seven days' voyage (Mhv.xi.23), and it appears to have taken five days to get to Anurādhapura from Jambukola (Mhv.vs.38). It was the seaport of Anurādhapura (E.g., VibhA.446).

Geiger thinks (Cv. Trs.i.293, n.1; see Cv.lxx.72; lxxii.136) that, besides the seaport, there was another locality in the interior of Ceylon bearing the same name, which he identifies with the modern Dambulla."

[Quelle: Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. -- s. v.]

2 Hafen, nämlich Tāmalittī, heute Tamluk in West Bengal

Abb.: Heutige Lage von Tāmluk/Tāmalitti (das Gangesdelta hat sich seit damals weit ins damalige Meer vorgeschoben!)
(©MS Encarta) 

"Tāmalitti (Tāmalitthi)

The port from which the branch of the Bodhi-tree was sent to Ceylon by Asoka (Mhv.xi.38; Dpv.iii.33). It is said (Sp.i.90f) that Asoka came from Pātaliputta, crossed the Ganges by boat, traversed the Vinijhātavi, and so arrived at Tāmalitti.  

It is identified with modern Tamluk, formerly on the estuary of the Ganges, but now on the western bank of the Rūpnārāyana.  

When Fa Hsien came to Ceylon, he embarked at Tāmluk. Giles: op. cit. p.65."

[Quelle: Malalasekera, G. P. <1899 - 1973>: Dictionary of Pāli proper names. -- Nachdruck der Ausgabe 1938. -- London : Pali Text Society, 1974. -- 2 vol. -- 1163, 1370 S. -- ISBN 0860132692. -- s. v.]

"Tamluk is an ancient city of West Bengal [পশ্চিম বঙ্গ] state in India, near the Rupnarayan River.

Tamluk is the headquarters of Midnapore East district. It was home of many great leaders during independence movement.

Kolaghat is another town on the bank of Rupnarayan River and famous for Hilsa (Ilish) [ইলিশ] fishes.

Archaeological remains show continuous settlement from about 3rd century BC; it was known as Tamralipta or Tamalitti, and was a seaport, now buried under river silt."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

3 Pātaliputta: heute: Patna (पटना)

25. Ratanānīdisān' ettha,
natthi me iti cintiya;
adā senāpatiṭṭhānaṃ,
tuṭṭho ’riṭṭhassa bhūpati.
26. Porohiccaṃ brāhmaṇassa,
daṇḍanāyakataṃ pana;
adāsi tassāmaccassa,
seṭṭhittaṃ gaṇakassa tu.

25./26.  Da ihm bewusst war, dass er solcherlei Wertgegenstände nicht hatte, ernannte der erfreute König den Ariṭṭha  zum General, den Brahmanen zum Hofkaplan, den Berater ernannte er zum Obersten der Exekutive, den Schatzmeister zum Oberzunftmeister.


Das bis heute übliche diplomatische Zeremoniell der Titelverleihung und Ordensübergabe.

27. Tesaṃ anappake bhoge,
datvā vāsagharāni ca;
mahāmaccehi mantento,
passitvā paṭipābhataṃ.

27. Er verpflegte und  unterhielt reichlich und gab ihnen Wohnhäuser. Dann beriet er mit seinen Beratern über das Gegengeschenk an Devānampiyatissa.

28. Vālabījaniṃ uṇhisaṃ,
khaggaṃ chattañ ca pādukaṃ;
moḷiṃ vaṭaṃsaṃ pāmaṅgaṃ,
bhiṅgāraṃ haricandanaṃ.
29. Adhovimaṃ vatthakoṭiṃ,
mahagghaṃ hatthapuñchanaṃ;
nāgāhaṭaṃ añjanañ ca,
aruṇābhañ ca mattikaṃ.
30. Anotattodakajaṃ ca,
Gaṅgāsalilam eva ca;
saṅkhañ ca nandiyāvaṭṭaṃ,
vaḍḍhamānaṃ kumārikaṃ.
31. Hemabhojanabhaṇḍañ ca,
sivikañca mahārahaṃ;
harīṭakaṃ āmalakaṃ,
mahagghaṃ amatosadhaṃ.
32. Sukāhaṭānaṃ sālīnaṃ,
saṭṭhivāhasatāni ca;
33. Datvā kāle sahāyassa,
paṇṇākāre narissaro;
dūte pāhesi saddhamma-
paṇṇākāram imam pi ca.

28. - 33.: Er gab, was für eine Königsweihe nötig war, auserlesene Requisiten, nämlich

All dies sandte der König Dhammāsoka seinem Freund Devānampiyatissa zur rechten Zeit als Geschenk mit Gesandten. 

Er sandte ihm auch dieses Geschenk der Wahren Lehre:


Abb.: Einige der Königsinsignien. -- Nach einer Wandmalerei "Ankunft des heiligen Bo-Baumes in Lankā". -- Anurādhapura, 19. Jhdt.

[Bildquelle: Sri Lanka : aus Legende, Märchen, historischer Überlieferung und Bericht / hrsg. von Heinz Mode. -- Hanau : Müller & Kiepenheuer, 1981. -- ISBN 3-7833-8133-9. -- S. 36]

1 Yakhaar

"Der Yak oder Jak (Bos grunniens) ist eine Art der Rinder, die in Zentralasien verbreitet ist. Sie ist eine von fünf Rinderarten, die durch den Menschen domestiziert worden sind.


Ein Yakbulle kann eine Kopfrumpflänge von 3,25 m, eine Schulterhöhe von 2 m und ein Gewicht von einer Tonne erreichen. Die Kühe sind deutlich kleiner und leichter und wiegen selten mehr als 350 kg.

Domestizierte Yaks erreichen nicht die Ausmaße wilder Yaks. Stiere der Hausyaks haben eine Widerristhöhe von 112 bis 180 cm, Kühe sind mit 107 bis 112 cm etwas kleiner. Stiere erreichen ein Gewicht von 700 kg; Kühe werden 250 bis 350 kg schwer.

Sowohl Wildjaks als auch domestizierte Yaks haben ein vollständig behaartes Maul, einen ausgeprägten Widerrist und kräftige, stark behaarte Gliedmaßen.

Gegen die Kälte sind Yaks durch ein langes Haarkleid gewappnet, das bis auf den Boden reicht. Die Farbe eines Wildyaks ist schwarzbraun. Hausyaks sind variabel; es gibt neben braunen und schwarzen auch rote, weiße oder gescheckte Yaks. Die Bullen haben fast 1 m lange, nach außen und aufwärts gerichtete Hörner; die der Kühe sind viel kleiner und unregelmäßiger geformt.


Das ursprüngliche Verbreitungsgebiet umfasste den Himalaya sowie weite Teile der chinesischen Provinzen Xinjiang [新疆维吾尔自治区 ; شىنجاڭ ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونى ], Tibet [བོད་ ; 西藏] und Qinghai [青海]. Heute sind wilde Yaks in großen Bereichen dieses Gebiets ausgestorben. Ihr Lebensraum sind hochgelegene Felsensteppen wie die Chang Tang in Höhen bis zu 6100 m. In den kälteren Jahreszeiten ziehen sie in tiefere Lagen.


Die großen Herden wilder Yaks bestehen aus Kühen mit ihren Kälbern. Früher sollen diese Herden mehrere tausend Tiere umfasst haben. Die Bullen leben einzelgängerisch, bis sie sich im September den Herden anschließen. Dort bekämpfen sie sich untereinander, um das Recht zur Führung einer Herde zu erlangen. Nach einer Tragzeit von neun Monaten wird ein Kalb je Muttertier zur Welt gebracht. Im Alter von acht Jahren hat ein Yak die volle Größe erreicht, und sein Höchstalter beträgt 25 Jahre.

Menschen und Yaks


Der Zeitpunkt der Domestikation ist unbekannt. Verschiedene Theorien verlegen ihn auf Daten zwischen 5000 v. Chr. und 1000 v. Chr., wobei der letztere Zeitraum der wahrscheinlichere ist. Sicher ist, dass vor 2000 Jahren bereits Hausyaks genutzt wurden; dies ist auf Wandgemälden in tibetischen Klostern bezeugt. Es gibt heute in Zentralasien etwa 12,7 Millionen domestizierte Yaks (1993).

Die Verwendung des Yak ist vielfältig. Er dient als Last- und Reittier, gibt Milch, Wolle, Leder und Fleisch. In großen Höhen sind sie weit geeigneter als alle anderen Lasttiere. Mit bis zu 150 kg werden Yaks für die Überquerung der Pässe beladen. Yaks geben im Jahr etwa 400 Liter Milch; eine im Vergleich mit Hausrindern oder Wasserbüffeln geringe Menge, doch die Milch hat einen hohen Fettgehalt (8 %) und ist damit ernährungstechnisch sehr wertvoll. Aus der Milch (die rosa ist, anstatt weiß) werden Butter, Käse und eine als Wegproviant verwendete Trockenmilchmasse hergestellt.

Nach dem Winter wird den Yaks die feine Unterwolle ausgekämmt und zu Garn für Kleidungsstücke versponnen, dabei kommen je Tier etwa 3 kg Wolle zusammen. Aus der Grobwolle und den abgeschnittenen Bauchhaaren werden Decken, Seile, Beutel und Zelte gefertigt. Auch der Yak-Kot wird verwendet; in hohen Lagen ist er manchmal der einzige verfügbare Brennstoff. Man kann mit Recht behaupten, dass Yaks die Existenz von Menschen in den extremen Höhenlagen Tibets überhaupt erst möglich machen.

Yaks lassen sich mit Hausrindern kreuzen. Vor allem im Norden Indiens gibt es zahlreiche Jak-Zebu-Hybride.

Gelegentlich verwildern domestizierte Yaks wieder. So gibt es kleine Herden verwilderter Hausyaks in der Inneren Mongolei [內蒙古 ,  ], wo es keine echten Wildyaks mehr gibt. In Regionen, in denen Wildyaks vorkommen, sind solche verwilderten Hausyaks für Wildyaks eine Bedrohung, da sie sich mit ihnen kreuzen und Nachkommen zeugen, die nicht mehr die Merkmale von Wildyaks besitzen.

Vereinzelt wurden Yaks auch in andere Regionen exportiert. Kleine Yakherden gibt es zum Beispiel in den Alpen oder im Norden Kanadas. Dies sind jedoch Ausnahmen, und außerhalb Asiens bleibt die Yakzucht ein sehr exotischer Wirtschaftszweig.


Wilde Yaks werden von der IUCN seit 1996 als gefährdet angesehen; zuvor hatten sie als bedroht gegolten, bis man erkannt hatte, dass es vor allem in den unerschlossenen Weiten Westchinas viel mehr Wildyaks als zuvor angenommen gibt. Die Zahlen wurden damals auf 15.000 geschätzt, dürften aber seither etwas zurückgegangen sein. 8500 Wildyaks leben in Tibet, 3700 in Qinghai und 2500 in Xinjiang. Außerhalb Chinas gibt es wahrscheinlich keine wilden Yaks mehr: In Nepal sind sie ausgestorben, Vorkommen in Kaschmir sind offenbar erloschen.

Historische Zeichnung einer Yakkuh mit Kalb

Obwohl nach chinesischen Gesetzen vollständig geschützt, werden wilde Yaks noch immer bejagt. Weitere Ursachen für den Populationsrückgang sind Vermischungen wilder und domestizierter Yaks sowie die Ansteckung mit Rinderkrankheiten.


Der Yak wird manchmal in eine eigene Gattung Poephagus gestellt. Über die systematische Stellung gibt es Uneinigkeit. Während manche Zoologen eine enge Verwandtschaft zur Gattung der Bisons vermuten, sehen andere im Yak einen nahen Verwandten des Auerochsen.

Ursprünglich wurde der Hausyak als Bos grunniens, der Wildyak aber als Bos mutus benannt. Da beide in Wahrheit ein und derselben Art angehören, wird heute der ältere Name Bos grunniens auf beide angewandt.

Der Name "Yak" stammt aus der tibetischen Sprache. Dort wird er eher wie jag ausgesprochen und nur auf das männliche Tier angewandt, während das Weibchen als dri bezeichnet wird.

Aufgrund seiner Lautäußerung wird der Yak auch Grunzochse genannt."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

2 Turban: Binde für Nackendutt

3 von den Nāgas herbeigeschaffte Schminke: siehe Mahāvaṃsa Kapitel 5, Vers 30

4 Wasser vom Anotatta-See: siehe Mahāvaṃsa Kapitel 5, Vers 24

5 rote Erde: siehe Mahāvaṃsa Kapitel 7, Vers 41

6 gelben Sandel, d.h. Santalum album

"Sandelholz (Santelholz, Santalholz, lat. lignum santalinum, lignum santali, frz. bois de santal, engl. sandal wood) ist eine Handelsbezeichnung für Hölzer, die von ganz verschiedenen Bäumen stammen.

Unter diesem Namen kommen zwei mit verschiedenen Eigenschaften und Verwendungen, auch von ganz verschiedenartigen Bäumen stammende Hölzer in den Handel, erstens das rote Sandelholz, ein Farbholz, und zweitens das weiße und gelbe (letztere beiden von dem nämlichen Baum) die in dem Produktionslande, dem östlichen Asien, als ein kostbares wohlriechendes Möbelholz und zu Parfümeriezwecken verbraucht werden, während in Europa nur diese letztere Anwendung stattfindet. Das rote Holz, das, zum Teil wenigstens, in den stärksten Blöcken auch Kaliaturholz genannt wird, stammt von einem mächtigen Baum mit Hülsenfrüchten, Pterocarpus santalinus, der in den Gebirgen Ostindiens und Ceylons wächst.

Das Holz kommt sowohl in Blöcken oder Scheiten von 100 kg Gewicht und mehr, als auch geraspelt und gemahlen in feinen wolligen Fasern oder in Pulverform in den Handel; ein besonders feines, unfühlbare Körnchen bildendes Pulver wird Flugsandel genannt. Das gewöhnliche Pulver benutzt man auch zur Herstellung der roten Räucherkerzchen. Die Farbe ist dunkler oder heller rot, durch Lufteinfluss ins Braune ziehend. Das Holz ist schwer, im Wasser untersinkend, hat grobe gewundene und gekreuzt verlaufende Fasern und ist mit harzglänzenden Kanälen durchzogen. Von anderen Rothölzern unterscheidet es sich dadurch, dass es weder an kaltes, noch an siedendes Wasser seinen Farbstoff abgibt. Er kann aus dem zerkleinerten Holz durch Alkohol (mit blutroter Farbe) oder alkalische Laugen (Sodalösung, violett) ausgezogen werden. Aus der alkalischen Lösung lässt sich der Farbstoff durch Säuren niederschlagen; man kann also die Farbe auf Textilien fixieren, wenn man sie mit jener Lösung tränkt und dann durch ein saures Bad zieht. Doch ist die Farbe so gefärbter Wolle stets ins Violette gehend. Die Wolle nimmt jedoch schon den Farbstoff, trotz seiner Unlöslichkeit in Wasser, aus dem Holze auf, wenn das feine Pulver mit Wasser und Wolle gekocht wird; die Farbe ist dann rein rot und wird durch Zusatz einer Beize noch schöner. Man verwendet das Sandelholz auch in Verbindung mit anderen Holzfarbstoffen zu modegrünen, bronzenen und braunen Nuancen auf Wollstoffen. Alkoholische Auszüge des Holzes werden außerdem zum Rotfärben verschiedener Tinkturen, Konditoreiwaren, besonders Likören benutzt. Das Sandelholz enthält mehrere Farbstoffe, der bekannteste ist das Santalin.

Abb.: Santalum album
Koehler (1887)

Das weiße und gelbe Sandelholz kommt hauptsächlich von Santalum album, einem Baum, dessen Gattung den Typus einer eigenen kleinen natürlichen Familie (Santalaceen) bildet. Er wächst auf Timor und einigen anderen ostindischen Inseln wie auf der Küste von Koromandel, wird auch angepflanzt, da sein Holz sehr gesucht und teuer ist. Außerdem wird noch eine gleichwertige Art, Santalum freysinetianum, auf den Südseeinseln wachsend, angeführt. Als Möbelholz gebraucht, hat es den Vorzug, dass es nicht von Würmern angegangen wird.

Auf der unbewohnten, zum Pitcairnarchipel gehörenden Insel Henderson wächst der endemische, zu den Sandelholzgewächsen zählende niedrige Busch Santalum insulare hendersonensis.

Hauptsächlich wird Sandelholz um seines Wohlgeruchs willen als Räuchermittel und zu Parfümerien benutzt. Die Chinesen beziehen bedeutende Mengen des Holzes zu Räucherwerk und als Nutzholz; außerdem ist es für Indien und für Europa eine stets gesuchte Ware. Das zu uns kommende Holz bildet gewöhnlich nur armdicke, 60-90 cm lange, glatt geschälte Scheite, an denen der Splint weißgelblich, der Kern gelb ist. Es kommt aber auch Holz aus Amerika von nicht genannter Herkunft; es ist zu vermuten, dass der Baum dorthin, vielleicht auf die westindischen Inseln, aus Ostindien verpflanzt worden ist, da die Umstände zu solcher Spekulation wohl einladen können. Das Holz wird jetzt hauptsächlich benutzt, um das ätherische Öl daraus zu destillieren, indem man über das zerkleinerte und in Wasser gequollene Holz direkten Dampf gehen lässt. Die Ausbeute ist etwa 1 1/2 %. Es kommt auch Öl direkt aus Ostindien. Es ist gelblich weiß, sehr dickflüssig und schwerer als Wasser; sein starker Geruch ist eigentümlich fein und balsamisch, sehr lang anhaltend und nur in großer Verdünnung angenehm. Man benutzt es besonders zu Taschentuchparfüms und zum Parfümieren von Seifen. (siehe auch Sandelholzöl)"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

"Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) is currently in serious shortage and very expensive. Although all sandalwood trees in India are government owned and their harvest is strictly controlled, many of the sandalwood trees are still illegally cut and smuggled out by local gangs for export. Sandal essential oil prices have risen up to $1000-1500 per kg in last 5 years. Some countries look to sandal oil trade as illegal activities - from an ecological point of view. Sandalwood from Mysore [ಮೈಸೂರು] region of southern India are generally considered to have the highest quality."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

"Der botanische Name des Sandelholzes lautet Santalum album, und es gehört zur Pflanzenfamilie der Santalaceae - Sandelholzgewächse. Seine Inhaltsstoffe bestehen aus 90 % Sesquiterpenole und Sesquiterpene. Das ätherische Öl wird per Wasserdampf-Destillation gewonnen.

Neuerdings gibt es auch ein ätherische Sandelholzöl aus Neukaledonien, aus Santalum austro-caledonium.

Kein Holzduft wird so verfälscht angeboten, wie das des Sandelholzes. Und so wird vieles einfach als Sandelholz deklariert, was mit dem Sandelholz überhaupt nichts zu tun hat. Letzten Endes gibt der botanische Name darüber Auskunft, was sich im Fläschchen befindet. Ein solch falsch deklariertes ätherisches Öl ist Amyris balsamifera, das oft als westindisches Sandelholz deklariert ist. Für Amyris balsamifera gibt es keine deutsche Bezeichnung und die westindischen Inseln, woher das Holz stammt, haben auch nichts mit Indien zu tun, sondern liegen in der Karibik. Es gehört botanisch zu den Rautengewächsen, also zur selben Pflanzenfamilie wie die Zitrusdüfte, und haben mit Duft und Wirkweise nichts mit dem Sandelholz zu tun, außer einem viel günstigeren Preis.

Echtes Sandelholz ist eine Kostbarkeit, da der Besitz, Handel und die Lagerung von Sandelholz und deren Produkten einer strengen gesetzlichen Regelung seitens der indischen Regierung liegt. Die jährliche Produktion an indischem Sandelholz liegt bei ca. 1.000 Tonnen. Das klingt zwar nach sehr viel, aber man muss sich bewusst machen, dass die weltweite Menge der verkauften Räucherstäbchen, Parfums (fast 80 % aller weltweit verkauften Parfums enthalten Sandelholz), Holzprodukte und ätherischen Öle die indische Jahresproduktion bei weitem übersteigen. Denn gerade ein qualitativ hochwertiges Sandelholzöl lässt sich nur aus Bäumen gewinnen, die mindestens 30 Jahre alt sind. Auch die sogenannte Mysore-Qualität darf mitunter angezweifelt werden, da nur zwei staatliche Destillen in Mysore [ಮೈಸೂರು] und Shimoga [ಶಿವಮೊಗ್ಗ] diese Qualität liefern. Und diese beiden Destillen stellen nicht soviel ätherisches Öl her, wie sich im Handel deklariert finden lässt.

Parfümerie: Balsamisch-süsser, samtig-warmer Holzduft. Gehört zu den aussagekräftigen, aber auch teuren Duftrohstoffen (Provenienz Mysore). Klassische Holznote für Parfüms des Typs "Chypre", "Fougère" und "Orient". Als preiswerte Variante wird auch das sogenannte westindische Sandelholzöl bzw. Amyrisöl eingesetzt (Provenienz Westkaribik). Dieser Duft ähnelt dem Zedernholz."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

7 Schnecke mit glücksbringender Windung, d.h. rechtsdrehend; siehe oben Vers 20ff.

8 gelben Myrobalan: Terminalia chebula, die Früchte werden medizinisch verwendet bei verschiedensten Verdauungsbeschwerden

Abb.: Gelber Myrobalan -- Terminalia chebula

[Quelle Abb.: Dietrich Brandis. -- 1844. -- -- Zugriff am 2001-06-11]

"Terminalia chebula Retz.: C. B. Clarke (Fl. Br. Incl.) in part

Chebulic Myrobalan

D.E.P., VI(4), 24; C.P., 1073; Fl. Br. Ind., II, 446; Kirt. & Basu, PI. 413.

Hindi — Harra ; Beng. — Haritaki; Mar. — Hirda; Guj. — Hardo: Tel. — Karakkai; Tam. — Kadukkai: Oriya — Haridra. Punjab — Har, harar; Assam — Silikha.

Trade—Myrobalan, Chebulic Myrobalan (tree & fruit).

A tree 15-24 m. in height and 1.5-2.4 m. in girth, with a cylindrical bole of 4-9 m., a rounded crown and spreading branches, found throughout the greater parts of India. Bark dark-brown, often longitudinally cracked, exfoliating in woody scales; leaves ovate or elliptic with a pair of large glands at the top of the petiole; flowers yellowish white, in terminal spikes; drupes ellipsoidal, obovoid or ovoid, yellow to orange-brown, sometimes tinged with red or black and hard when ripe, 3-5 cm. long, become 5-ribbed on drying; seeds hard, pale yellow.

T. chebula is found in the sub-Himalayan tracts from the Ravi eastwards to West Bengal and Assam, ascending up to an altitude of 1,500 m. in the Himalayas. In the deciduous forests cf India, it attains a girth of 1.5 — 1.8m., with a bole of 4.5 - 6.0 m. in length. In the moister forests of the west coast, it reaches a girth of 2.4 m. or more, with a bole of 9 m. in favourable localities. In high-level rocky and dry places in the outer Himalayas and in the hills of Deccan and South India it is a small tree. In its natural habitat, the absolute maximum shade-temperature varies from 36 to 47.5° and the absolute minimum from 0 to 15.5°, and the normal rainfall from 75 to 330 cm. It is found on a variety of geological formations, growing on clayey as well as on sandy soils.

In Madhya Pradesh, it is particularly common on metamorphic rocks in open forests or villages, and also occurs on other geological formations. In Maharashtra, it is common on the Deccan trap, and on the laterite of Mahabaleshwar plateau at an altitude of 1,370 m., it is one of the principal constituents of the low elfin-wood forest. In Goalpara district of Assam, it is common in the Bhabar tract fringing the base of the outer hills on deep boulder formation in mixture with sal and Lager-stroemia parviflora in a dry stunted type of forest of a pronounced deciduous character. In Kangra valley, it grows gregariously in rather stunted form on poor rocky ground, at about 1,050 m. elevation, either pure or mixed with Finns roxburghii (Troup, II, 511-14; Pearson & Brown, I, 509-12; Santapau & Raizada, Indian For. Rec, N.S., Bot., 1951-61, 4, 138).

The species is a strong light-demander. It requires direct overhead light and cannot tolerate shade or a cramped situation. The young plants, however, appreciate a certain amount of shade and benefit by side protection from the hot sun. Though best development is reached in moist regions, the tree requires less moisture than T. bellirica. It is frost-hardy and drought-resistant to a considerable extent. It also withstands fire well and exhibits a remarkable power of recovery from scars and burns after a fire. It coppices very well, the coppice-shoots being often very vigorous. It does not produce root-suckers (Troup, II, 513; Indian For., 1939, 65, 126; Chopra, ibid., 1939, 65, 95).

Natural regeneration — Whereas the natural regeneration is good in some localities, the tree is absent in others. The scarcity of natural reproduction in some localities is attributed to the removal of the seed crop because of intensive collection of myro-balans. Under a dense canopy, the natural regeneration of shade-bearing species is prolific and T. chebula has little chance to survive. The lack of natural regeneration may also be attributable to some extent to the poor germinative capacity of seed and the destruction of seed by insects, rats, squirrels and other rodents. The seed germinates better if it is covered with earth or debris. For natural regeneration, good drainage is considered essential, and shelter, possibly from the side, is desirable. Growth in depressions is generally poor and the seedling is often killed by heavy and continuous rain. Some success has been obtained in the forests of Thana, Maharashtra, by creating favourable conditions for natural regeneration. Manipulation of canopy by creating small gaps facilitates regeneration, and this is supplemented by sowing seeds in the gaps. Establishment of the young seedlings requires considerable care and tending (Troup, II, 513; Information from F.R.I., Dehra Dun).

Artificial regeneration — The fruits ripen from November to March, depending upon the locality, and fall soon after ripening. The crop varies from year to year. They are to be collected in first half of January from the ground as soon as they have fallen. These are dried and the seeds can be stored for one year. The germinative capacity of the seeds is low because of the hard cover and the seed requires pre-treatment. Fermentation of the seeds gives the best germinative results. Good results have also been obtained by sowing the seed after clipping it at its broad end without damaging the embryo, soaking the seed in cold water for c. 36 hrs, and then sowing in nursery beds under shade. Germination commences in 15 days and is completed in 3 - 4 weeks, giving c. 80 per cent germination. Soaking of seeds in boiling water is preferable to untreated seeds. The tree can be successfully raised in the field by direct sowing of seeds, transplanting the seedlings, and planting root-and shoot-cuttings. It is reported that the transplanting of one-year-old seedlings is more successful than the stump-planting and direct sowing. In Punjab, the fruit-stones, after removing the outer pulpy portion, are dried and sown either in wooden boxes or nursery-beds covered with soil and regularly watered. Ordinary clayey loam or sandy loam will suffice, and no manuring is needed. The young plants may require watering during the first hot weather. Plants suitable for transplanting are obtained in the second rains. Shelter is desirable in the early stages in the nursery and also after transplanting. Statistics on the rate of growth and yield of T. chebula are rather inadequate. The plant grows rather slowly. The wood shows 4 - 12 rings per 2.5 cm. of radius, the annual girth-increment being 1.3 -4 .0 cm. (Troup, II, 513-14; Edwards, Indian For. Leafl., No. 75, 1945; Information from F.R.I., Dehra Dun; Chopra, loc. cit.; Indian For., 1939, 65, 126).

T. chebula does not suffer from any serious pests. Few pests have been recorded on the species, but none of them causes any appreciable damage. Among the more important of them, mention may be made of the following defoliators; Ascotis infixaria Wlk. Hyblaea puera Cramer and Asura dharma Moore [Mathur & Balwant Singh, Indian For. Bull., N.S., No. 171(9), 1960, 31-32].

The dried fruits (wt. per pint: fresh, 10 - 13 g.; dried, 6.0 - 7.5 g.) constitute one of the most important vegetable tanning materials and have been used in India for a long time. The mature fruits are collected during January-April by shaking the trees, and are then dried in thin layers, preferably in shade, and graded for marketing. The raw myrobalans are graded under different trade names, selection being based upon their solidness, colour and freedom from insect attack [Hathway, Trop. Sci., 1959, 1, 85; Edwards et al., Indian For. Rec, N.S., Chem. & Minor For. Prod., 1952, 1(2), 102; Koteswara Rao, Bull. cent. Lzath. Res. Inst., Madras, 1962-63, 9, 218].

The dried flesh surrounding the seed is rich in tannin (av., 30 - 32%) whose content considerably varies with the different grades of myrobalans from different areas. The important grades recognized for export include Bhimlies (from Madras), Jubbulpores (from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh), Rajpores (from Kolhapur, Maharashtra), Vingorlas (from Bombay forests), and Madras Coast. Myrobalans from Salem district (Tamil Nadu) are considered the best because of their high content of tannin, pale colour and the paleness of the extract from them. Analysis of several samples of fruits of Indian myrobalans showed the following percentages of tannin: Madras, 26-49; Bombay, 31-36; Uttar Pradesh, 20-30; Punjab, 26-36; and Madhya Pradesh, 30-37. Myrobalans contain: moisture, 10.0; tannins, 24.6-32.5; non-tannins, 13.9-16.4; and insolubles, 41.1-50.1 %; pH of infusion, 3.4-3.5 (Kanjilal & Nayudamma, J. sci. industr. R?s., 1966, 25, 400; Howes, 1953, 165, 173; Hathway, loc. cit.).

The tannins in myrobalan belong to the pyrogallol type. They are quite complex in nature and exist in varying degrees of agglomeration. They also considerably differ in their susceptibility to hydrolytic breakdown. The hydrolysable tannins, chebulagic acid (C41H30O27-10H2O; m.p.>240°), chebulinic acid (C41H32O27) and corilagin, are the major tannin constituents present in myrobalans; these belong to ellagitannin class. They are accompanied by varying proportions of the following products of their complete and incomplete hydrolysis: chebulic acid (C14H12O11), 3 :6-digalloylglycose (C20H20O14), ellagic acid, gallic acid, and β-D-glucogallin; the presence of terchebin, 1,3,6-trigalloylglucose and 1,2,3,4,6-pentagalloyl-glucose has also been reported. Some of these constituents are reported in the extract, but not in the fresh, ripe fruits.

The carbohydrates present in myrobalan are : glucose and sorbitol (major constituents), about one per cent each of fructose and sucrose, a smaller amount of gentiobiose, and traces of arabinose, maltose, rhamnose and xylose. Eighteen typical amino acids of plants (all possibly occurring free in the living trees) are also present besides small quantities of phosphoric, succinic, quinic, shikimic, and dihydro- and dehydroshikimic acids. During maturation of the fruits, the amount of tannin decreases whereas the acidity increases.

The mechanism of biosynthesis of the tannins has not been fully understood. Possibly, the formation of chebulinic acid and the related tannins in myrobalan takes place by way of a stepwise combination of many phosphorylated cyclohexane carboxylic acid units of shikimic-acid type with a glucose molecule (Hathway, loc. cit.; Haslam, 105; Kanjilal & Nayudamma, loc. cit.; Nayudamma et ai, Bull. cent. Leath. Res. Inst., Madras, 1958-59, 5, 495; Scaria et ai, ibid., 1956-57, 3, 70; Information from C.L.R.I., Madras).

Preparation of commercial extracts — Myrobalans are marketed in the form of whole nuts, crushed nuts (devoid of seeds, which contain very little tannin), and solid and spray-dried extracts which are used in tanning. For the extraction of tannin, the whole myrobalans are broken into 2 -3 pieces in toothed roller-crushers, and leached with hot water in a battery of six wooden vats, using the counter-current principle. The material is soaked with sufficient water in the vat and heated to 60° for 2-3 hrs by directly passing the steam. A part of the leached solution up to 8° B'e strength (10% solids) is withdrawn into tanks for settling. The rest of the liquor is pumped into the next vat in the battery, and the first vat filled with water and heated to 80° by passing steam as before. The operation of withdrawal and feeding in water is repeated as before. Then the last leach is given in boiling water for c. 3 hrs, and the material after the last leach is unloaded and taken out for drying, for use as fuel in the boiler-furnace. The process is similarly continued in other vats of the battery, the time taken for complete, leaching being 8-10 hrs. Bleaching of the tan-liquor (of 8° B'e) may be done, if required, by the addition of 5.5 kg. sodium hydrosulphite, 0.9 kg. alum and 0.9 kg. oxalic acid per 6,750 litres, to yield a fairly light-coloured finished extract, and it is collected in wooden tanks for settling for 2-3 hrs. In case the liquors are to be left overnight, an addition of 900 g. sodium acetate or formate per 6,750 litres would prevent the fermentation. The temperature in the tank is to be maintained at c. 60° to prevent the separation of chebu-linic and ellagic acids. The tan-liquor is concentrated from 8° B'e to c. 25° B'e strength in triple-effect evaporators under a vacuum of 62.5 cm. and at 60°. The concentrated solution is then fed into storing tanks, for subsequent concentration in vacuum-pan- or spray-drier.

For preparing solid extracts, the concentrated solution of 25° B'e is fed into vacuum-pans (working under a vacuum of 62.5 cm. at 60°) and concentrated for c. 8 hrs. After obtaining the desired viscosity (c. 8 % solids), the liquor is run into wooden receptacles covered with polythene paper and allowed to set, the time varying from 8 to 12 hrs. For the preparation of spray-dried extracts, the tan-liquor is passed through an atomizer, working at c. 1,700 R.P.M., in fine droplets, while hot air is passed from the bottom of the drying-chamber; the inlet temperature and outlet temperature of hot air are controlled at 210° and 110° respectively. These extracts, being very hygroscopic, are packed in polythene-coated bituminized hessian-bags and stored in a cool, dry place. The IS specifications are given in Table 1 (Koteswara Rao & Nayudamma, /. Indian Leath. Technol. Ass., 1966, 14, 326; Koteswara Rao, Bull. cent. Leath. Res. Inst., Madras, 1962-63,9, 218; Hathway, loc. cit; Information from C.L.R.I., Madras).

Uses — Myrobalan is one of the principal bloom-yielding tans due to its high ellagitannic acid content, and is useful especially in the production of sole-leather. It also contains a higher content of sugar (3-5 %) than most tannins, and hence possesses acid-forming properties which help fermentation of the tan-liquor and consequent plumping of the leather. Myrobalan is widely employed in E.I. tanning for weight and to fix fine colour, resistant to light and ageing. It is also used for book-binding leathers. The extract has been successfully tried for pretanning cow- and buffalo-hides (Kanjilal Nayudamma, loc. cit.; Koteswara Rao & Nayudamma, loc cit.; Howes, 1953, 165).

Myrobalan is commonly used in combination with other vegetable tanning materials, such as wattle (Acacia mearnsii de Wild.), avarant (Cassia auriculata) and konnam (C. fistula) in E.I. tanning, and with babul (Acacia nilotica Delile subsp. indica (Benth.) Brenan]. wattle and goran (Ceriops tagal) in sole-leather-tanning. When used alone, myrobalan shows some defects, such as slow rate of penetration of tannin, poor yield of leather, and production of spongy leather with high water-absorption, poor abrasion-resistance, low shrinkage temperature, dark colour, and cracky and bronzy appearance. Owing to these defects, myrobalan is not being fully exploited in the country, and considerable quantities of wattle-bark and-extract have to be importe to meet the industry's demand. Myrobalan tan-liquor shows a sludge-forming tendency on standing mainly due to the crystallization and separation of chebulinic acid and ellagic acid from the liquor and to the hydrolysis of the tannins present; there is probably a disturbance in the balance of the mutual solubility of the different constituents in the tan-liquor due to such causes as aerial oxidation, hydrolysis by the growth of moulds, or enzymic hydrolysis by the enzymes present in the nut.

Various methods have been suggested and tried out at the Central Leather Research Institute. Madras, for modifying the myrobalan tannin with a view to reducing or preventing formation of sludge and utilizing it more efficiently. The control of the pH of tan-liquor seems to be the most promising among them. The different treatments include: solvent-extraction of the nuts with chloroform, acetone, etc. which yields a product with a higher tan/non-tan ratio, and consequently a leather with a better finish; sudden heating of the myrobalans (at c. 120°) in air-oven prior to leaching so as to destroy the enzymes in them and consequently reduce sludge formation, or heating the extract-powder in vacuum or air-oven; ultraviolet irradiation of the extract-powder for several hours which increases the Ts of the leather tanned and also eliminates the moisture-absorbing property of the extract (exposure of myrobalan liquor to u.v. light has been reported to decrease the content of tan and increase the amount of insolubles); passing chlorine through the tan-liquor (finish imparted to the leather is, however, not satisfactory); and reducing the acidity of the liquor by treating it with salts at different concentrations and conditions, either singly or in combination (the use of acetate buffers and salts like sodium acetate and calcium formate gave satisfactory results).

Besides being used in combination with other vegetable lannins, different myrobalan-mineral tanning-agent combinations (e.g. myrobalan-aluminium combination in single-bath tannage for the production of soft leather) and myrobalan-syntan combination (e.g. with cresol-sulphonic acid condensation products; Basyntan and FC; and some other BASF syntans) have been tried out with considerable success at the Central Leather Research Institute, Madras (Information from C.L.R.I., Madras; Kanjilal & Nayudamma, loc. cit.; Rao, Indian Pat., No. 55768, 1957; Kedlaya, Leath. Sci., 1964, 11, 235; Guha et al., ibid., 1965, 12, 256; Kedlaya et at., ibid., 1965, 12, 139).

In addition to its use in tanning, the extract is used on an extensive scale for the internal treatment of locomotive feed-waters, and as an additive in oil-drilling compositions. Both myrobalans and the purified tannic acid prepared from them are widely used in ink-making; fruits in which the fleshy part has not dried hard but become black and powdery on drying are preferred for ink-making. The utilization of extract in various processes, such as in petroleum purification, in cement manufacture, for colouring slate-stones, as a flocculent for washing waters in the preparation of coal by the wet method, and as an anti-corrosion agent can be explored. The myrobalan-pulp or spent-tan, obtained as a byproduct during the extraction of tannin, can be used for making activated carbon, ellagic acid or furfural, and as a filler in cardboard manufacture, in adhesive resins, and as a fuel, or for paper-making. In dyeing, the myrobalans may be used as a mordant for the basic aniline dyes. Their yellow colouring-matter, however, renders them unsuitable for certain shades on cotton and silk. They are commonly employed for the weighting of black silk (Kanjilal & Nayudamma, loc. cit.; IS: 2716-1964; Howes, 1953, 170-72; Koteswara Rao, loc. cit.; Koteswara Rao, /. Indian Leath. Technol. Ass., 1962, 10, 324, 352; Information from C.L.R.I., Madras).

Other parts of the tree such as roots, bark, heartwood, sapwood and leaves also contain tannin. In the tree, the maximum concentration of tannins occurs in the fruits, followed by the roots, bark, heartwood, sapwood and leaves. Only the bark-tannin comprises a mixture of pyrogallol and condensed types whereas the tannin from all the other parts belong to the pyrogallol type (Nayudamma et al., Bull. cent. Leath. Res. Inst., Madras, 1958-59, 5, 495).

The fruits are credited with laxative, stomachic, tonic and alterative properties. According to the LP., which recognizes both the mature dried fruits and the young dried fruits, the content of foreign organic matter shall not exceed one per cent. In combination with emblic myrobalan (Emblica officinalis) and belliric myrobalan (T. bellirica,) under the name triphala, the fruits of T. chebula are extensively used as adjuncts to other medicines in almost all diseases. The main purgative ingredient of triphala is T. chebula, the other two only increasing the purgative activity of T. chebula, possibly by rendering the irregular peristaltic movements uniformly progressive. The purgative principle in the pericarp of the fruit of T. chebula has been found to be a glycoside which may be similar to sennoside A. The comparative purgative activity of different commercial samples of the ripe fruits in rats has been studied; the potency of one gram of survari harde was found to be equal to that of 1.47 g. of bala harde or of 1.76 g. of Java harde (Patel et al., Indian J. Pharm., 1959, 21, 131; Gaind & Saini, ibid., 1965, 27, 145; Gaind & Saini, ibid., 1968, 30, 233).

The anthelmintic activity of triphala was found to be more than that of any of its three components (in dilute aqueous extract) possibly due to their synergistic effects. A fraction obtained by treating the alcoholic (80%) extract of fruits with hydrochloric acid and extracting with ether showed reasonably high activity against a number of bacteria and fungi. In another investigation, the presence of a non-nitrogenous neutral principle in the fruits, named chebulin (suggested formula: C28H48O4; m.p. 249-50°), possessing antispasmodic activity similar to that of papaverine, has been reported (Gaind et al., Indian J. Pharm., 1964, 26, 106; Inamdar et al., ibid., 1959, 21, 333; Inamdar & Rao, /. sci. industr. Res., 1962, 21C, 345).

The fruit-pulp is used as a dentifrice to cure bleeding and ulceration of gums. Water in which the fruits have been steeped overnight is a good cooling wash for eyes, affording relief in conjunctivitis and similar affections of the eyes. When coarsely powdered and smoked in a pipe, the fruit affords relief in asthma. A fine paste of the fruit with carron oil effects a more rapid cure when applied to burns and scalds than when carron oil alone is used. The bark is endowed with both diuretic and cardiotonic properties. Methanolic extract of the trunk-bark showed physiological activity on blood pressure and action on the intestine of rabbit and the uterus of guineapig. The leaves contain shikimic, dehydroshikimic and quinic acids [Kin. & Basu, II, 1021-22; Chopra, loc. cit.; Indian For., 1939, 65, 126; Shabnam, ibid., 1964, 90, 508; Bhatnagar et al, J. sci. industr. Res., 1961, 20A, (8), suppl., 11, 14].

For medicinal purposes, the fruits are usually picked green and dried black. In Indian medicine, six kinds of fruits are usually recognized: 'Halileh-i-zira', when the size is that of a cumin seed; 'Halileh-i-javi', when the size is of a barley corn; 'Halileh-i-zangi', when the size is of a raisin, 'Halileh-i-chini', when the fruit is greenish yellow and somewhat hard; Halileh-i-asfar, when it is very nearly mature and 'Halileh-i-kabul', or fully mature fruit. The second, third and sixth kinds of these are used in medicine; the fourth and fifth are good for tanning (Information from F.R.I., Dehra Dun).

The kernels, on extraction with petroleum-ether gave 36.4 per cent of a yellow, fatty oil, with the following characteristics : sp. gr.g.° 0.9132; n2g 1.4700; sap. val., 190.2; iod. val., 105.1; Hehner val., 96.0; acid val., 3.4; acet. val., 5.25; and unsapon. matter, 1.15%; fatty acid composition : saturated, 17.75; oleic, 58.6; and linoleic, 23.3%. Owing to the small quantity of the oil in the seeds, the oil is not of any commercial value, though it is reported to be used in medicine (Sunthankar & Jatkar, J. Indian Inst. Sci., 1938, 21A, 149). The tree yields a gum, which is said to be largely j collected in Maharashtra It is mixed with the genus of Acacia nilotica Delile subsp. indica (Benth.) Brenan., Anogeissus latifolia, Madhuca longifolia and Azadirachta indica. The mixed gums of these trees are taken to local markets by the Gonds, who collect them, and sell them either for medicinal purposes or to dyers for mixing with their colours.

Production and Trade — There is an organized collection of myrobalans in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra, for both export and internal consumption. In South India also, the collection is done to a small extent, the main marketing centres being Salem, Vathalagundu, Mettuppalaiyam, Polur, Senkattupatti and Sobanapuram in Tamil Nadu, Mysore, Hassan and Bangalore in Karnataka, and Mancherial, Nalgonda, Chittoor, Nathavaram and K. D. Peta in Andhra Pradesh. The production of myrobalan in Tamil Nadu is not sufficient to meet the demand of the E.I. tanning industry. Along with Salem type, tanners use myrobalan obtained from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in times of scarcity, though the quality of these types is not as good as that of Salem type. The collection and trading of fruits were brought under the management of State in Madhya Pradesh in June 1970; in the absence of effective collection and efficient marketing, the arrivals in the open market dwindled soon, and the tanning industry had to face the scarcity and rise in price spiral in 1970 and 1971. The present production of dried fruits is estimated at 80,000-100,000 tonnes, of which only 50-60 per cent is collected during the normal seasons. They are marketed in the form of whole nuts and also in crushed form, without kernels. Of the total collection of nuts, 13-15 per cent is being used for the manufacture of the extract in the country. The rest of the collection is partly utilized within the country and partly exported. The prices of Salem-I and -// types of nuts at Madras market in the months of April/June/July during 1966-73 are given in Table 2. There are three factories producing 4,000-4,500 tonnes of extract, of which c. 2,000 tonnes are consumed by railways as boiler-compound, c. 1,200 tonnes by the leather industry, c. 480 tonnes are exported, and the rest consumed in textile and other industries

Exports — Myrobalans are exported either as myrobalan comprising full and crushed nuts (Table 3) or as an extract (Table 4). The former is exported to UK, USA, Singapore, Afghanistan, Belgium and Japan and the latter to New Zealand, Hungary, Belgium, Japan and UK.

The sapwood is light greenish, yellowish or brownish grey; the heartwood is dark purple, small and irregular. The wood is rather dull to lustrous, with smooth feel, durable both in the open and in contact with water, interlocked-grained in fairly narrow bands and often somewhat twisted-grained or curly-grained (fiddle-back figure) in the radial plane, medium fine-textured and heavy to very heavy (sp. gr., 0.80-1.03; wt., 945 kg./cu.m.). The timber is classed as highly refractory. It is difficult to season and should be dried slowly and evenly to avoid depreciation from surface-cracking, warping and splitting. The best way to air-season the timber is to fell the tree during or just after rains and to convert the logs with the least possible delay after felling. Material converted during rains and stacked for seasoning under shed has been found to season well. Stacks should also be weighted on top to reduce excessive damage from warping. The wood is difficult to saw, especially when dry; it is also difficult to work and finishes to a hard, smooth surface. It is said that the timber polishes well. The fibre is often slightly twisted, and occasionally specimens are found with short, wavy grain which present a fine fiddle-back mottling. The data for the comparative suitability of the timber, expressed as percentages of the same properties of teak, are : wt., 135; strength as a beam, 100; stiffness as a beam, 105; suitability as a post, 105; shock-resisting ability, 125; retention of shape, 55; shear, 130; hardness, 185 (Pearson & Brown, I, 510-12; Limaye, Indian For. Rec, N.S., Timb. Mech., 1954, 1, 61, Sheet No. 20; IS : 399-1952).

The timber is not of much value and is used chiefly in South India for construction and as posts and beams. It is also used for carts, chiefly for the frames, axles and shafts. It is occasionally used for dugouts and might be tried for bottoms of railway wagons, railway keys, buffers, and brake-blocks. The wood has been found suitable for the manufacture of good-quality tool-handles. Pilot-plant trials of a mixture of Shorea robusta (60-80%) and other hardwoods (20-40%), including T. chebula, have given pulp in satisfactory yields with good strength properties for the production of wrapping-and printing-papers. The tree makes a poor fuelwood, the calorific value being 3,967 cal., 7,141 B.t.u. Experiments on the utilization of bark of T. chebula indicate that the bark with the addition of small quantities of paraformaldehyde or furfural will make satisfactory moulding-powders (Limaye, loc. cit.; Sekhar & Bhartari, Indian For., 1964, 90, 767; Guha et al., ibid., 1964, 90, 755; Guha et al, ibid., 1948, 74, 279; Narayanamurti & Das, ibid., 1951, 77, 706; Krishna & Ramaswami, Indian For. Bull., N.S., No. 79, 1932, 25)."

[Quelle: The wealth of India : a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. -- Raw materials. -- Vol. X. -- New Delhi : Council of scientific & industrial research, 1976. -- ISBN 81-85038-20-1. -- S. 171 - 177.]

9 Myrobalan: Phyllanthus emblica,  wird u.a. medizinisch verwendet. Vgl.  Mahāvaṃsa Kapitel 5, Vers 26

Abb.: Myrobalan -- Phyllanthus emblica

[Quelle Abb.: Dietrich Brandis. -- 1844. -- -- Zugriff am 2001-06-11]

"The Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica) is a deciduous tree of the Phyllanthaceae family. It is known for its edible fruit of the same name. Common names of this tree include amla in Hindi, aonla, aola, amalaki, amla berry, dharty, aamvala, aawallaa, emblic, emblic myrobalan, Malacca tree, nellikai, nillika, and usareekai.

The tree is small to medium sized, reaching 8 to 18 m in height, with crooked trunk and spreading branches. The leaves are simple, subsessile, the flowers are greenish-yellow. The fruit is nearly spherical, light greenish yellow, with 6 vertical stripes or furrows. The fruits ripen in autumn. Its taste is bitter-sour. Being more fibrous than most fruits, it cannot be consumed raw in vast quantity; indeed, it is taken with salt, and a glass of water taken immediately after eating a large fruit makes the water seem sweeter.

The fruit allegedly contains 720 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of fresh fruit pulp, or up to 900 mg per 100 g of pressed juice.

The fruit is pickled and also used as a main ingredient in the Ayurvedic tonic Chyawanprash. Its extract is popularly used in inks, dyes, shampoos and hair oils.

In Hinduism it is regarded as a sacred tree and worshipped as Mother Earth in India."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-05-05]

10 Wagenladungen Reis, der von Papageien gebracht worden war: siehe Mahāvaṃsa Kapitel 5, Vers 31

34. Ahaṃ buddhañ ca dhammañ ca,
saṅghañ ca saraṇaṃ gato;
upāsakattaṃ vedesiṃ,
Sakyaputtassa sāsane.

34. "Ich habe Zuflucht genommen zu Buddha, seiner Lehre und er Gemeinschaft der Erlösten1. Ich habe mich zum Laienanhänger in der Religion des Sohnes aus dem Sākyastamme erklärt.


1 d.h. er hat die dreifache Zuflucht (tisarana n.) auf sich genommen:

Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi

dutiyaṃ pi Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
dutiyaṃ pi dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
dutiyaṃ pi saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi

tatiyaṃ pi Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
tatiyaṃ pi dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
tatiyaṃ pi saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi

35. Tvam p' imāni ratanāni,
uttamāni naruttama;
cittaṃ pasādayitvāna,
saddhāya saraṇaṃ bhaja.

35. Bester Mann, nimm auch du gläubig Zuflucht bei diesen höchsten Juwelen1 indem du in ihnen zur heiteren Ruhe2 kommst."


1 Ratana-ttaya n. -- Die drei Juwelen

  1. Buddha m. -- der Buddha
  2. dhamma m. -- die Lehre des Buddha
  3. saṅgha m. -- die Gemeinschaft der Erlösten

(Vgl. Ratanasutta: Khuddakapāṭha 3; Suttanipāta 39)

2 zur heiteren Ruhe kommst: d.h. dich bekehrst und ihnen vertraust

36. “Karotha me sahāyassa,
abhisekaṃ puno” iti;
vatvā sahayāmacce te,
sakkaritvā ca pesayi.

36. Er sprach zu den Beratern seines Freunds: "Wiederholt die Königsweihe meines Freundes". Dann erwies er ihnen alle Ehre und entließ sie.

37. Pañca māse vasitvāna,
te maccātiva sakkatā;
dine dūtā ca niggatā.

37. Die Berater Devānampiyatissa's hatten fünf Monate bei Dhammasoka geweilt und wurden über alle Maßen geehrt. Dann sind sie am ersten Tage der hellen Hälfte des Monats Vesākha1 aufgebrochen.


1 d.h. am Neumondtag des 2. indischen Monats (März/April bzw. April/Mai)

38. Tāmalittiyam āruyha,
nāvaṃ te Jambukolake;
oruyha bhūpaṃ passiṃsu,
pattā dvādasiyaṃ idha.

38. In Tāmalitti1 gingen sie an Bord des Schiffes und verließen es in Jambukola2 [heutiges Kankesanturai auf der Jaffna-Halbinsel]. Am zwölften Tag trafen sie beim König ein.


1 Tāmalitti: heute Tamluk in West Bengal. Siehe oben zu Vers 23f.

2 Jambukola: heutiges Kankesanturai auf der Jaffna-Halbinsel. Siehe oben zu Vers 23f.

39. Adaṃsu paṇṇākāre te,
dūtā Laṃkādhipassa te;
tesaṃ mahantaṃ sakkāraṃ,
Laṃkāpati akārayi.

39. Die Botschafter übergaben dem Herrscher Lankā's die Geschenke, der Herr Lankā's erwies ihnen große Ehre.

4. Zweite Weihe Devānampiyatissa's zum König

40. Te maggasiramāsassa,
ādicandodaye dine;
abhisittañ ca Laṃkindaṃ,
amaccā sāmibhattino.
41. Dhammāsokassa vacanaṃ,
vatvā sāmihite ratā;
puno pi abhisiñciṃsu,
Laṃkāhitasukhe rataṃ.

40./41. Die ihrem Herrn ergebenen Berater waren auf das Heil ihres Herrn bedacht und erzählten vom Ratschlag Dhammasokas. Devānampiyatissa lag am Glück und Heil Lankā's. Deshalb weihten sie den König Lankā's, der schon einmal am ersten Tag des zunehmenden Mondes des Monats Maggasira1 zum König geweiht worden war, ein zweites Mal zum König.


1 d.h. am Neumondtag des 9. indischen Monats (Oktober/November bzw. November/Dezember)

"Agrahayana (Hindi: अगहन agahan) is a month of the Hindu calendar. In India's national civil calendar, Agrahayana is the ninth month of the year, beginning on 22 November and ending on 21 December. In Vedic times, this month was also known as Mārgaśirṣa after the nakṣatra (asterisms) Mṛgaśira.

The word agrahayan means the month of ayan or equinox (agra=first + ayan = travel of the sun, equinox). The aligning of this name with the Mṛgashira asterism (lambda orionis), gives rise to speculation that this name may have been given when the sun was near Orion at the time of vernal equinox, i.e. around 7000 years ago.

In lunar religious calendars, Agrahayana may begin on either the new moon or the full moon around the same time of year, and is usually the ninth month of the year.

In solar religious calendars, Agrahayana begins with the Sun's entry into Scorpio, and is usually the eighth month of the year."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-06-01]

42. Vesākhe narapati puṇṇamāyam evaṃ;
Laṃkāyaṃ pavitatapītiussavāyaṃ;
attānaṃ janasukhado ’bhisecayī so


42. So wurde am Vollmondtag des Monats Vesākha1 der König, in dessen Namen "Götterliebling"2 enthalten ist, der seinem Volk Glück schenkt,  zum König geweiht in Lankā, wo überall ein freudiges Fest gefeiert wurde.



Praharṣiṇī (13 Silben, 3.10.; Schema: ma na ja ra ga: tryāśābhir manajaragāḥ Praharṣiṇīyaṃ)


Zur Metrik siehe:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Einführung in die Exegese von Sanskrittexten : Skript.  -- Kap. 8: Die eigentliche Exegese, Teil II: Zu einzelnen Fragestellungen synchronen Verstehens. -- Anhang B: Zur Metrik von Sanskrittexten. -- URL:

1 d.i. am Tag der Geburt, der erlösenden Einsicht und des vollkommenen Dahinscheidens des Buddha, d.h. am glücksverheißendsten Tag des Jahres

2 Devānampiya = Götterliebling (entspricht Theophilos - Θεοφιλος = Gottlieb) ist ein Beiwort, das sich auch Asoka in seinen Inschriften gibt. Viele spätere Könige Lankās haben dieses Beiwort.


Sujanappasādasaṃvegatthāya kate Mahāvaṃse
Devānaṃpiyatissābhiseko nāma ekādasamo paricchedo.

Dies ist das elfte Kapitel des Mahāvamsa, der zum Vertrauen und zur Erschütterung der guten Menschen verfasst wurde. Der Titel dieses Kapitels ist "Weihe Devānampiyatissa's zum König".

5. Paralleltext im Dīpavaṃsa (XI, 12 - 40)

Candagutte cuddase vasse gato Paṇḍukasavhayo,
Candaguttassa cuddasavasse Muṭasīvam abhisiñcayi
Asokobhisittato sattarasavasso ahū Muṭasīvo tadā gato,
Tamhi sattarase vasse chamāse ca anāgate
Hemante dutiye māse Āsāḷhinakkhattamuttame,
Abhisitto Devānampiyo  Tambapaṇṇimhi issaro.
Chātapabbatapādamhi veḷuyaṭṭhi tayo ahu,
setā rajatayaṭṭhī ca latā kañcanasannibhā.
Nīlaṃ pītaṃ lohitakaṃ odātaṃ ca pabhassareṃ,
Kālakaṃ hoti sassirīkaṃ pupphasaṇṭhānatādisaṃ,
Tathāpi pupphayaṭṭhi sā dijayaṭṭhi tathete,
Dijā yattha yathāvaṇṇe evaṃ tatha catuppade.
Hayagajarathā pattā āmalakavalayamuddikā,
Kakudhasadisā nāma ete aṭṭha tadā muttā.
Uppanne Devānampiye tassābhisekatejasā,
Tayo maṇī āhariṃsu Malayā ca janappadā.
Tayo yaṭṭhī Chātapādā aṭṭha muttā samuddakā,
Maṇiyo Malayā jātā rājārahā mahājanā.
Devānampiyapuññena anto sattāham āharuṃ.
Disvāna rājā ratanaṃ mahagghaṃ ca mahārahaṃ,
Asamaṃ atulaṃ ratanaṃ acchariyam pi dullabhaṃ.
Pasannacitto giram abbhudīrayī
Ahaṃ sujāto kuliko naraggo,
Suciṇṇakammassa me īdisaṃ phalaṃ
Ratanaṃ bahūsatasahassajātikaṃ
Laddhaṃ mama puññakammasambhavaṃ
Ko me arahati ratannānaṃ abhihāraṃ sampaicchituṃ
Mātā pitā ca bhātā vā ñātimittā sakhā ca me,
Iti rājā vicintento Asokaṃ khattiyaṃ sari.
Devānampiyatisso ca Dhammāsoko narādhibhū,
Adiṭṭhasahāyā ubho kalyāṇā daḷhabhattikā.
Atthi me piyasahāyo Jambudīpassa issaro,
Asokadhammo mahāpuñño sakhā pāṇasamo mama.
So me arahati ratanānaṃ abhihāraṃ sampaṭicchituṃ,
Aham pi dātuṃ arahāmi aggaṃ sāsanam dhanaṃ
Uṭṭhehi kattāra taramāno ādāya ratanaṃ imaṃ,
Jambudīpavhayaṃ gantvā nagaraṃ Pupphanāmakaṃ,
Aggaratanaṃ payacchehi Asokaṃ mama sahāyakaṃ.
Mahāariṭṭho Sālo ca brāhmaṇo Parantapabbato,
Putto Tisso ca gaṇako
... ime caturo dūte pāhesi Devānampiyo.
Pabhassaramaṇī tayo aṭṭha muttāvarāni ca,
Patodayaṭṭhittayañ c' etaṃ saṅkharatanam uttamaṃ.
Bahuratanaṃ parivārena pāhesi Devānampiyo,
Amaccaṃ senāpatiṃ Ariṭṭhaṃ Sālañ ca Parañcapabbataṃ.
Puttaṃ Tissagaṇakañ ca hatthe pāhesi khattiyo,
Chattaṃ cāmarasaṅkhañ ca veṭhanaṃ kannabhūsanaṃ.
Gaṅgodakañ ca bhiṅkāraṃ saṅkhañ ca sivikena ca,
Nadiyāvaṭṭaṃ vaḍḍhamānaṃ rājābhiseke pesitā.
Adhovimaṃ vatthayugaṃ aggañ ca hatthapuñchanaṃ,
Haricandanaṃ mahāagghaṃ aruṇavaṇṇamattikaṃ.
Harītakaṃ āmalakaṃ imaṃ sāsanam pi pesayi,
Buddho dakkhiṇeyyān' aggo dhammo aggo virāginaṃ.
Saṅgho ca puññakkhettaggo tīṇi aggā sadevake,
Imañ cāhaṃ namassāmi uttamatthāya khattiyo
Pañca māse vasitvāna te dūtā caturo janā,
Ādāya te paṇṇākāraṃ Asokadhammena pesitaṃ.
Visākhamāse dvādasapakkhe Jambudīpā idhāgatā,
Abhisekaṃ saparivāraṃ Asokadhammena pesitaṃ
Dutiyaṃ abhisiñcittha rājānaṃ Devānampiyaṃ,
Abhisatto dutiyābhiseko visākhamāse uposathe.
Tayo māse atikkamma jeṭṭhamāse uposathe,
Mahindo sattamo huvā Jambudīpā idhāgato.

Rājābhisekakhaṇḍaṃ niṭṭhitaṃ

Ekādasamo paricchedo.

Bhāṇavāraṃ ekādasamaṃ.


12. In the fourteenth year of Candagutta the king called Pakuṇḍaka died; in the fourteenth year of Candagutta they crowned Muṭasīva. 13. Seventeen years had elapsed after the coronation of Asoka, then Muṭasīva died.

14. When seventeen years of that king (that is, Asoka) and six months of the next year had elapsed, in the second month of the winter season, under the most auspicious Nakkhatta of Asāḷhā, Devānampiya was installed in the kingdom of Tambapaṇṇi. 15. At the foot of the Chāta mountain three bamboo poles were to be found. (The first was) white like silver; its creeper shone like gold. 16. 17. There was also (the second), the flower pole, (whereon most beautiful,) delightful (figures) like the shapes of flowers (presented themselves), dark blue, yellow, red, pure white, and black; and so also (the third), the bird-pole on which birds (appeared), each with its natural colours, and also quadrupeds. 18. The eight descriptions of pearls (also presented themselves), viz. the horse pearl, the elephant pearl, the chariot pearl, the myrobalan pearl, the bracelet pearl, the signet pearl, the Kakubha pearl, the Sadisa (Pākatika?) pearl. 19. When Devānampiya had succeeded to the throne, (the people,) moved by the splendour of his coronation, brought the three kinds of gems from the Malaya country, the three bamboo poles from the foot of the Chāta hill, and the eight kinds of pearls from the sea-shore. 20. Great crowds brought in the space of seven days, in consequence of Devānampiya's merit, the gems which were produced in Malaya and which were worthy of a king. 21. When the king saw these costly, precious treasures, the unequalled, incomparable, wonderful, rare treasures, — 22. 23. he spoke with a heart full of joy: „I am high-born, noble, the chief of men; such is the reward of my righteous deeds; look at the treasures I have gained, which are worth many lacs and are produced in consequence of my merit. Who is worthy to receive the donation of these treasures, — 24. my mother or my father, a brother, relations, friends, or companions?" Thus meditating the king remembered prince Asoka. 25. Devānampiyatissa and Dhammāsoka, the master of men, were both intimate friends, united by faithful affection, though they never had seen each other. 26. „l have a dear ally, the ruler of Jambudīpa, the righteous Asokadhamma, a friend dear as my life. 27. He is worthy to receive from me the gift of these treasures, and I also am worthy to present unto him the treasure of these most precious ornaments (?). 28. Arise, my dear (?)'), quickly take these treasures, go to Jambudīpa, to the city called Puppha(pura), and present these most precious treasures to Asoka, my ally."

29. Mahāariṭṭāa, Sala, the Brāhmaṇa Parantapabbata, the astrologer Puttatissa, these four men were the messengers despatched by Devānampiya. 30. Devānampiya sent the three resplendent gems, the eight excellent pearls, and the three (bamboo poles which had the size of) chariot poles, besides a collection of the most precious chanks, together with many valuable objects. 31. The king sent his minister Sāla and his commander-in-chief Ariṭṭha, Parantapabbata, and his astrologer Puttatissa, who were delighted (?) (with this service).

32. (Asoka in return sent) a royal parasol, a ... of Sāra wood (?), a diadem, ear ornaments, water from the Ganges, and an (anointing) vase, a chank trumpet, and a palanquin, — 33. a right hand chank, a virgin, all that being worthy (?) of a royal coronation; a suit (a koṭi?) of clothes which are (cleansed by being passed through the fire) without being washeda), costly towels, — 34. most precious yellow sandal wood, and measures of rouge, yellow, and emblic myrobalan; and therewith he sent this message: 35. „The Buddha is the best among those who are worthy of presents, the Faith is the best of all things which refer to the extinction of the passions, and the Saṃgha is the best field of merit: these are the three best objects in the world of men and Devas. 36. To this (triad) I, the prince, pay my reverence for the sake of the highest bliss."

37. Those four messengers having sojourned five months (in Pāṭaliputta, departed,) taking away the presents sent by Asokadhamma, — 38. and arrived in this island from Jambudīpa on the twelfth day of the increasing moon in the month of Vesākha. The requisites for the coronation having been sent by Asokadhamma, — 39. they celebrated a second coronation of king Devānampiya. This second coronation took place on the full moon day of the month of Vesākha; — 40. one month after that day, on the full moon day of the month of Jeṭṭha, Mahinda arrived in this island from Jambudipa together with his six companions.

Here ends the description of the things for the royal coronation."

[Quelle: Dipavamsa : an ancient historical record / ed. and translated by Hermann Oldenberg [1854 - 1920]. -- 1879. -- S. 164ff.]

6. Vergleich von Mahāvaṃsa, Extended Mahāvaṃsa und Mahāvaṃsa-Tīkā zu Kapitel 11

M = Mahāvaṃsa; EM = Extended Mahāvaṃsa; MT = Mahāvaṃsa Ṭīkā.

"Chapter XI. M. and EM. agree very closely. M. says (20) that three others went with Mahāriṭṭha on the embassy to Asoka ; EM. (20) gives the name of one of them (Hālipabbata), while MT. (302.26) gives all three. MT. (305.8) has a long passage extracted from the Cūla-Sīhanādasutta-vaṇṇanā Sīhalaṭṭhakathā, giving details in connection with the coronation of kings and later (307.ft f) gives particulars of the seven places from which clay is obtained for the construction of vessels to hold various accessories needed for the coronation ceremonials. EM. makes no mention of these details."

[Quelle: G. P. Malalasekera (1899 - 1973). -- In: Extended Mahāvaṃsa / ed. by G. P. Malalasekera. -- Colombo : Times of Ceylon, 1934. -- LVIII, 380 S. -- (Aluvihāra Series ; III). -- Reprint: Oxford : Pali Text Society, 1988. -- ISBN 0-86013-285-4. -- S. XXVI.]

Zu Kapitel 12: Die Bekehrung verschiedener Länder