“Satyameva jayate nanrtam
Satyena pantha vitato devayanah
yatra tat satyasya paramam nidhanam”
“Only truth prevails, not untruth; by the path of truth is laid out, the Divine way, on which the sages of yore, fulfilled in their desires, attain the supreme treasure of Truth.”
Our National Emblem always intrigued me with its’ striking symbolism that holds greater essence to stimulate beautiful souls. Yet another Republic day is approaching us and there is a passionate urge within me to talk about our magnificent national emblem that was adopted on the same day. The Lion capital of Ashoka originally placed atop the Ashoka Pillar of Sarnath combined with our National Motto Satyameva Jayate was adopted as the National Emblem of India on January 26, 1950, establishing the acquired Republic status of India.
The Lion Capital of Ashoka is a sculpture of four Asiatic lions sitting back to back ( fourth lion is hidden from the view) mounted on a cylindrical abacus carrying high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull, and a lion with Ashoka chakra carved between each animal in the abacus over a bell-shaped lotus. The capital carved out of a single block of black sandstone was erected by Emperor Ashoka. The quote ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in Devanagari script forming an integral part of the Emblem, is adopted from Mundaka Upanishad (ancient Sanskrit Vedic text embedded inside Atharva Veda)
Lion Capital holds beautiful and powerful symbolism that can create an innate sense of profundity. The symbolism of four lions is rooted in the necessity for truth, equality and justice. It reminds us of the greater power we hold to do away with the clashes arising out of inequality and injustice. Clashes always disrupt the natural balance and it leads to an unproductive delay resulting in dreadful stagnancy. Truth alone can restore the balance by invoking a deeper intrinsic sense of power, courage, confidence and dignity reflected by the four lions in the Lion Capital. Recognising power, courage, confidence and dignity behind your every productive thought or action will make you strive for equality and justice in every aspect of your life. The roaring four lions, each facing in the four cardinal directions, also represent the four noble truths (the truth of suffering (dukkha) , the truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya), the truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha) and the truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga) ) encompassing the essence of Buddha’s teachings.
A horse (west), an ox (east), an elephant (south) and a lion (north) are carved on the drum and they are facing four cardinal directions. These animals are shown running and this represents the turning of the wheel of existence or Bhavachakra and the animals itself stand for the four perils of existence: birth (elephant), disease (lion), decay (bull) and death (horse). When you drift away from the path of mindfulness, you get engulfed with the misery of these perils of existence that follows you constantly through cycles of birth and rebirth.
According to Buddha, the only way to escape these perils of samsara is Ariyavasa Dhamma or the ten practices of nobles ones. The first practice is the purging yourself of five hindrances. The second is the mastering of the six senses. When you master your six senses, you can step into the greater stage of mindfulness or the third practice. Mindfulness leads you to the fourth practice of achieving four supports. The fifth practice is quite difficult and it requires the renunciation of false doctrines that fall against the nature of life itself disguised under the monopoly of truth. With the greater amount of distortion involved in the easily accessible information around you clouding your mind, the fifth practice requires an absolute clarity of mind. The sixth practice is giving up all pursuits and learning the essence of detachment and self-fulfilment. The seventh practice is purging the mind and setting it free from any form of disillusionment or perplexity. The eighth practice is extrasensory perception or the transcendental knowledge of the thoughts of others surpassing the medium of organs. The ninth and tenth practices are the giant steps towards the liberation of mind and freedom of the soul.
The words, “Satyameva Jayate” inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script beautifully encapsulates the magnificent symbolism of the National Emblem. Truth prevails over everything reviving that is just and pure. Essence of our emblem is the powerful message of truth that it takes greater courage to embrace the path of truth, but it always rewards you with freedom. Our National Emblem intensely depicts our nation’s profound traditions of philosophical thoughts. As we celebrate our 68th Republic day, let’s explore our spiritual heritage and reinvigorate the awareness of our spiritual inheritance.