This changed his attitude as a king and an individual. He communicated this new philosophy all across his kingdom through engravings on rock faces and pillars - The Edicts. Ashoka’s edicts contain profound messages on governance, compassion, the need to respect each other religions and faiths, judiciary and most aspects of socio-political life.
Musician TM Krishna got inspired by the universality of Ashoka’s thoughts and has come up with a music project called The Edict Project. “This is probably the first time that the edicts are ever being sung. The challenge was in bringing the edicts into rhythmic structures and getting the pronunciation just right, linguistically and musically. The language of these edicts is Magadhi Prakrit. I took the help of a Buddhist scholar Shravasti Dhammika and a language scholar Naresh Keerthi to get the pronunciation and dialect correct. It was also important to let the words flow musically. Though Magadhi Prakrit is close to Sanskrit, it has its sonic character. In the first recording, I have rendered four edicts,” TM Krishna begins the conversation.
We live in a world where hate, violence and fear dominate our minds and those in power. Krishna believes that in such a context, we need to rediscover and reimagine the edicts, because they transcend every humanly created division, bringing us all together. “The project has just begun and I am also very happy that Ashoka University will be collaborating on this project. The audience can expect to be moved by the mind of Ashoka and that the music will carry the message far and wide. I do also hope we can translate the edicts into many languages and sing them. The first set of edicts will premiere in musical form on my social media pages on October 14, the day Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism,” he says.