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National Emblem

National Emblem of India (Lion Capital of Asoka)

It was adopted as the National Emblem of India on 26 January 1950, the day that India became a republic. The emblem of India is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion on an Ashoka pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka to mark the spot where Gautama Buddha first taught and where the Buddhist religion was born.

The emblem is a part of the official letterhead of the Government of India and appears prominently on the diplomatic and national Passports of India. The emblem is also shown on the Indian Currency.

The emblem has four lions standing back to back (only three are visible), mounted on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculpture in high relief of an elephant, a gallping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening wheels (chakras). Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the Capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra). The words, "Satyameva Jayate" from Mundaka Upanishad meaning 'Truth alone triumphs', are inscribed below the abacus in Devangari script.

The lion capital of the Ashoka pillar at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh is probably the most ubiquitous symbol in India. Being India’s national emblem, it adorns the nation’s currency notes and coins, government documents and even the cover of the Indian passport. But do you know what it means? Read on to know more about the history and symbolic meaning of the lion capital.

The lions are considered to be symbols of power, courage and victory. While the four animals were originally supposed to represent the four stages in the life of the Buddha, a more secular interpretation is that it stands for the four directions. The Dharma chakra, which epitomizes the triumph of righteousness, has twenty-four spokes representing the hours in a day.

 

Facts About The National Emblem of India: 

  1. The National Emblem of India is a replica of the Lion of Sarnath, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
  2. The Lion Capital was erected in the third century BC by Emperor Ashoka to mark the spot where Buddha first proclaimed his gospel of peace and emancipation to the four quarters of the universe.
  3. The National emblem is symbolic of contemporary India's reaffirmation of its ancient commitment to world peace and goodwill.
  4. The four Lions (one hidden from view) - symbolize power, courage and confidence.
  5. The four Lions rest on a circular abacus.
  6. The abacus is girded by four smaller animals - guardians of the four directions: the Lion of the north, the Elephant of the east, the Horse of the south and the Bull of the west.
  7. The Elephant of the east is a representation of Queen Maya’s conception of Buddha when she saw a white elephant entering her womb in a dream. The Bull of the west represents desire during the life of the Buddha as a prince. The Horse of the south symbolizes Buddha’s departure from palatial life. The Lion of the North represents the attainment of Nirvana by Lord Buddha.
  8. The abacus rests on a lotus in full bloom which exemplifies the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration.
  9. The motto, 'Satyameva Jayate,' is inscribed below the emblem in Devanagari script.
  10. "Satyameva Jayate' means 'truth alone triumphs'.

 

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