The pillars, chiseled from stone, could weigh to fifty tons a piece. These would habitually be topped off with the sculpture of a lion or bull and carry the word of the king around its base. The transportation of each rock and pillar was a major ordeal, it may take several hundreds to hoist the artifact into place or onto a vessel capable of travel with such extreme weight. Each edict was sent to the outstretches of the empire so all could read, or be read to, the royal dharma. Most commonly the more elaborate works were sent to places of national importance and spiritual recognition, such as the birth place of Gotama.
Pillar Edict II when translated describes the middle path, the way to enlightenment through dharma that the Buddha taught in his first sermon. Others such as Pillar Edict VII, quote Ashoka as remarking I consider the promotion of my peoples welfare my highest duty. Professor Tambiah, an anthropologist of the University of Chicago translates Rock Edict XI as reading, There is no gift that can equal the gift of dharma, establishment of human relations in dharma, the distribution of wealth through dharma, or the kinship in dharma. Many of the etchings are complex and contradicting but those of the day got the message loud and clear. years preaching the dharma in order to unify his people. Just as he will never be forgotten, neither will his efforts to impose his great force of dharma. This is why the people of modern India have taken his image of the wheel of dharma from the sacred pillars and forever embedded it in the center of their national flag. Its no wonder in all his achievements, Ashoka, the Buddhist King, has inspired infinite cultures, multiple religions, and One nation under god, with liberty and justice for all.