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Why King Ashoka devoted himself to peace after the Kalinga War

Written by Ken Lambert, our Peace Correspondent in India

 In India, the history of the Kalinga War is well known. Recently I have been moved by reading more about it and the ruthless ruler who waged it, Ashoka, who went from being one of the cruelest rulers in history to becoming the opposite and promoting peace for the rest of his life. One of the ways he did that was by having inscriptions promoting peace and tolerance carved into pillars, not unlike peace poles. So I wanted to write this blog showing how something as simple as peace poles, like pillars with inscriptions, can have significance and meaning and promote peace.

Ashoka before the Kalinga War

The Kalinga War, fought in what is now a part of India, was one of the most dreadful wars in history. It was fought for wealth, political power, and military dominance. The jealous ruler of the Magadha Empire, Ashoka, waged war on Kalinga in order to dominate what at that time was the state of Magadha. More than 100,000 people were killed, and several lakhs of people (a lakh is a hundred thousand) were imprisoned. Ashoka made sure that his prisoners were subjected to all level of tortures. No one left his prisons alive. The war of Kalinga, waged in 261 BCE, is considered one of the bloodiest and most brutal wars in world history. The Kalinga people put up a valiant defense and fought with honor, but lost.

In the beginning, Ashoka ruled his empire the way his grandfather had ruled, with efficient cruelty. He used his superior military power to expand his territorial rule and encourage sadistic regulations to punish people who didn’t obey.

However, Ashoka, the third monarch of the Mauryan Dynasty, now is considered one of the most exemplary rulers in the history.

Ashoka after the Kalinga War

Ashoka was moved by the massacre. He saw that the Brahmana priests, as well as the Buddhist monks, were affected too, which brought remorse and grief upon him. After the war Ashoka issued an edict expressing his regret for the suffering inflicted. In it Ashoka denounced war and embraced pomoting Dharma. Although exactly what Ashoka meant by Dharma is not clear. Some believe that the mighty King here was referring to the teachings of Buddha and thus later converted into Buddhism. But I believe that with Dharma he is referring to its peace promoting its facets, which were only part of Buddhism. Some of Ashoka’s ways of promoting peace are very similar to peace poles.

Edicts of Ashoka refer to the word Dharma as morals, religious tolerance, and social concerns, more than Buddhism in general. Today, people with the same ideas are trying to promote peace by making peace poles to promote harmony amidst distress and disturbance anywhere in the world.  

The ideology of Buddhism adopted by Ashoka:

After the destruction and sordid methods of establishing his rule, King Ashoka had a turning point. He abandoned physically occupying the land and conquering through cultural confiscation. To state it in technical terms, Ashoka adopted Dhammagosha by replacing Bherigosha. Ashoka started appealing to the frontier and the tribal people to follow Dhamma principles. He stopped treating the conquered dominions as rightfully his as a result of his military conquest.

He started taking steps that were for the welfare of humankind and for animals too, even in foreign lands. Ashoka worked towards establishing peace by sending ambassadors to the Greek Kingdom in Greece and West Asia. He sent missionaries to promote the parts of Buddhism he favored in parts of central Asia and Sri Lanka where inscriptions were put on pillars in support of Ashoka’s peace initiatives, not unlike what is done on today’s peace poles.

After Ashoka’s pillars showing his change of heart after the Kalinga War, the empire experienced 50 years of security and peace. Mauryan India enjoyed religious transformation, social harmony, and the expansion education and science. It just takes a few minutes, or maybe only a few split seconds, for a person’s heart to change and embrace how peace can transform our lives. Ashoka’s is a vivid example with all its mirth and glory. When Ashoka embraced Buddhism as a form of peace, it created a foundation for the reign of political and social harmony, encouraging non-violence across India and other parts of Asia.

Buddhist Kingship of Ashoka:

After Ashoka’s conversion into Buddhism, he believed that religion was beneficial for all, including human beings. The basic notion behind it was to restore peace. Ashoka worked towards building several stupas, viharas, Sangharama, chaitya, and residential places for the Buddhist monks all over Central Asia and South Asia. Peace poles are a great way to carry on his peace initiatives. Ashoka ordered for the construction of more than 84,000 stupas (dome-shaped structures erected as Buddhist shrines) for housing the peace relics of Buddha.

Most of us are not in a position to build stupas and residential places dedicated to promoting peace. However, I believe that our planting peace poles all add up to being a significant voice for peace. The tradition of installing the peace poles started some 50 years back, and more and more people are participating in it.

Edicts of Ashoka explained!

The Kalinga War gave Ashoka the ability to control of all the Indian subcontinents, excluding the extreme southern parts. But he decided against it. The inscriptions of his edicts suggest he was sickened by the slaughter and mayhem of the war. He refused to fight anymore. Ashoka stopped expanding his empire and allowed India to experience peace and prosperity for years.

Ashoka began by issuing one of the most famous edicts in history by what he instructed his officials to carve on pillars and rocks. The carvings employed the local dialects and talked about religious tolerance and religious freedom. He also ordered his officials to help the elderly and the poor by establishing medical facilities for humans as well as animals. He preached obedience to parents, respect for elders, generosity towards priests, and tolerance of all creeds. He planted fruit-bearing trees and built well-dug roads to help the travelers as well.

Read: Peace Poles: Why are they so important to the world?

Bottom Line:

Ashoka started out bloodthirsty, but became an avid follower of the teachings of Buddha. He adopted the path of ensuring peace in the state of Kalinga and all parts of his empire. In the 13 proclamations on pillars and rocks issued by Ashoka, it explains how Ashoka felt greater degrees of regret and sorrow for the family and the friends of the ones who were killed in the war. It caused King Ashoka to take a different path for the rest of his life. It altered his entire personality. Peace became the cause of his empire till the end of his reign.

Just as the 13 edicts of Ashoka were put on pillars, peace poles are being put all over the world, which I believe is an immense contribution towards a greater cause. Midst the turbulence and inhumanity, contributing peace offerings is what we all need. For restoring the sanctity of living and enhancing the matters of human unity, we all need to join hands and work towards restoring peace all across the world.

If you are considering peace poles to become a part of this movement that promotes love and harmony, we can help. We make the best longest lasting Peace Poles anywhere for your church, backyard, campus, park, or any other place. Stainless steel, limestone, and granite are out usual materials. For more information, give us a quick call or text at 513-348-4744. Till then, peace to you from all of us here at Team Peace Pole.

Written our Peace Correspondent in India, who prefers to go by the name Ken Lambert in spite of our encouraging him to use his Indian name.

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Garden Peace Pole

Peace Poles: Why are they so important to the world?

Written by Ken Lambert, our Peace Correspondent in India

In a world where mayhem and chaos are ever-existent, so is peace and hope. Today, the best way to support and promote peace is to opt for peace poles that carry the message “May Peace Prevail On Earth” in different languages depending on where you happen to live. Peace poles are internationally-recognized symbols that represent dreams and hope for the complete human population. Whether it is a garden peace pole or something planted in a place of significance, they stand vigil, saying the silent prayer that helps peace prevail on the earth.

Size and sides of Garden Peace Pole

In general, your garden peace pole can have four or more sides. The size can vary depending on your needs. If the peace pole is for personal use, one might not need a tall one. However, for the ones that represent a bigger population, the pole can go as big as required.

Now that you know the basics of peace poles, here is a quick trace back to the history.

History of Peace Poles

The story of peace poles started in the year 1916 with Masahisa Goi from Japan. The Hiroshima-Nagasaki attack signaled the world that we humans were off track, and chaos was prevailing. Peace and love were being taken over by rage and anger. It was confirmed that humanity wasn’t in harmony with the universe and its components.

Masahisa Goi promoted the prayer that was in the common interest of human beings. He also realized that the words expressed common human aspirations regardless of religion or nationality. So, if you have plans to get a garden peace pole for your home, you should definitely do so to keep things in line and allow peace to prevail.

Planting Your Garden Peace Pole

Planting your very own garden peace pole is a way to bring together people of varying culture, religion, as well as region to awaken, inspire, as well as uplift their conjoined consciousness. Let us tell you a quick story about Pandora’s Box that will help decode how hope helped establish peace in the world.

Known for her ever-increasing curiosity, Pandora was gifted a box with a key that was never to be opened. She was gifted this box by the Greek God Zeus. She was strictly instructed that the box should never be opened else; bad things might happen to the world. However, her curiosity grew stronger with each passing day, and finally, she opened up the box.

Soon enough, all the evil that was locked away in the box, such as jealousy, rage, anger, etc., were released into the world for the humans to deal with. People were all in chaos, and things started to get into turmoil. However, there was one last thing that came out of the box.

This one last thing was “Hope.” With the hope of helping the humans, peace prevailed and helped ease in the chaos. Although ancient mythology, hope, and peace are tied together, and peace poles represent the reign of peace over the evils of the world. So, if you have plans to get your very own garden peace pole, now is the time to do so.

But, how do you plant your garden peace pole?

Planting Process for Garden Peace Poles

With time being of the essence, everyone looks for things that are easy to work with. The garden peace poles by Peace-Pole require no use of cement for proper placement. Cement tends to take up a lot of time to dry and can be harder to remove in case you want your peace pole to be shifted from one spot to another.

With our peace poles, all you need is to dig a hot that is about 20 inches deep. To make the work easier, you can use a post-hole digger. Now, set this garden peace pole within this hole and fill the same back with the earth that was just dug out from the hole.

Depending on the common languages spoken by you and your community, the garden peace pole can be customized. Given the 9 feet height of the peace poles, you can add 8 peace messages on the 4 sides of the same. So, if you want your peace pole to list 8 different languages, it can easily be done. You can also customize the same to represent all the messages in a single language.

Why should you choose a weather-proof garden peace pole?

Regardless of the material used to construct your garden peace pole, it should completely be weather-proof to last through the years. One thing that is sure for your peace pole is that it should stand for years and spread out the message of peace and hope to the complete humanity. In general, there are three types of materials used for peace poles that include limestone, stainless steel, as well as granite.

  • Stainless Steel Peace Poles:

The stainless steel garden peace pole is basically free from any maintenance needs. Plus, it will last you 1000s of years, so that is definitely something for you to check out. The underlying pole within this garden peace pole is constructed from stainless steel variant known as 304. It comes with a mottling copper patina reminiscent.

On the other hand, the stainless steel for text is made up of 316, which never loses its shine. This means it will definitely stand out in contrast to the darker steel underneath.

  • Limestone Peace Poles:

Stone is one of the ideal choices for a garden peace pole. They last for centuries or more, which makes it perfect for any legacy item. Also, it feels complete regal. It comes with a stateliness & solidity that surely serves the message perfectly.

  • Granite Peace Pole:

The granite peace poles reflect the same features, such as limestone. Just the materials is granite. It is just another variant of the stone-based poles.

Conclusion

The peace poles do not just have the peace message inscribed into it. It also has a peace crane added to the poles. If you want to have your very own garden peace pole that stands as a reminder of everything that is beautiful and everything that is hopeful about the world, we say go for it. Regardless of where you live, a peace pole can help you keep up the faith through the toughest times. Not just you, it also helps inspire the larger population starting from your neighbors as well.

Looking for a great garden peace pole to serve as a constant reminder for you that peace will ultimately prevail? At Peace-Pole, we bring to you some of the best quality as well as sturdiest garden peace poles that prevail through time. Our peace poles can be customized as per your requirement, depending on the material, message, and language inscribed onto the same. To order your very own garden peace pole today, give us a quick call at 513-348-4744. You can also sign up for our newsletter to get quick updates on the peace poles made by us.