Unanimous adoption of the resolution by a show of hands
To celebrate the birth anniversary of Emperor Ashok the Great, the Chakravarti Samrat Ashok Mahan Janmotsav was organized on 14 April 2016 by the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) along with the Akhil Bhartiya Shakya Mahasabha, Akhil Bhartiya Maurya Mahasangh, Kushwaha Samaj Delhi, All India Saini Sewa Samaj, Tathagat Shakyamuni Gautam Buddha Sanstha, Apne Log and the Samrat Priyadarshi Youth Federation of India.
Chakravarti Samrat Ashok is among the tallest figures in India’s history and cultural ethos, and is the only known ruler in history to have given up warfare despite being victorious in the battlefield. Though he adopted the Buddha Dhamma following the battle of Kalinga, he continued to respect all religions equally. In his edicts he expressed support for all the major religions of his time, namely Buddhism, Brahmanism, Jainism and Ajivika-ism. His edicts were addressed to all his subjects, regardless of the religion they professed, and generally focused on moral themes that followers of all the religions would accept. Ashok was the embodiment of compassion. According to several accounts he banned animal slaughter in his empire, and encouraged vegetarianism.
Emperor Ashok may be credited with ensuring the status of Buddhism as one of the great religions of the world. Without him the eternal teachings of Buddha would have remained confined to the Gangetic valley and the plains of northern India. He sent his daughter, Sanghamitra and son, Mahindra to spread the Dhamma in what is present-day Sri Lanka. He sent bhikshus to disseminate the teachings of Buddha in the regions that today constitute Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Greece, Italy and Turkey in the west, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Mongolia in the north, and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in the east. He also dispatched messengers to propagate Buddha Dhamma in other parts of India, namely in the present-day states of Kashmir and Maharashtra, and in large parts of South India.
Emperor Ashok is a national icon in India. The highest peace-time gallantry award given to members of the Indian armed forces is known as the Ashok Chakra. All major symbols of India’s governance contain icons related to Chakravarti Samrat Ashok. The Emblem of India, adopted on 26 January 1950, the day that India became a republic, is an adaptation of the Ashok Lion Capital that is now preserved at the Sarnath Museum. The four Asiatic lions, standing back to back, symbolize power, courage, pride and confidence. The emblem is inscribed on all official documents of the Government of India, and appears on all Indian currency as well as Indian passports. The Ashok Chakra (Ashok Wheel), a 24-spoke wheel on its base, features in the centre of the national flag of India.
However no day has been earmarked to celebrate the vast legacy of this great emperor.
Therefore, at the end of the day-long celebration, in order to honour Chakravarti Samrat Ashok’s immense contribution to humankind and the Indian ethos, and his influence that stretched far beyond the current borders of India, a unanimous resolution was adopted to request the Government of India to facilitate the observance of this historic day all over the country as an annual event, and to declare a gazetted holiday every year on his birth anniversary.
The celebration was attended by over 2000 members of the Shakya and Murya communities that trace their descent from the Shakya clan of Buddha Shakyamuni and the Maurya clan of Emperor Ashok respectively. The Chief Guest on the occasion was the Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Mr. Upendra Kushwaha. The Minister of State for Home, Mr. Kiren Rijiju was the Guest of Honour on the occasion, that also saw attendance by Members of Parliament and senior diplomats from Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Mongolia.
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