Kautilya Arthashastra

by R. Shamasastry | 1956 | 174,809 words | ISBN-13: 9788171106417

The English translation of Arthashastra, which ascribes itself to the famous Brahman Kautilya (also named Vishnugupta and Chanakya) and dates from the period 321-296 B.C. The topics of the text include internal and foreign affairs, civil, military, commercial, fiscal, judicial, tables of weights, measures of length and divisions of time. Original ...

Chapter 5 - Association with the Aged

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Hence the (first) three sciences[1] (out of the four) are dependent [10] for their well-being on the science of government. Daṇḍa, punishment, which alone can procure safety and security of life is, in its turn, dependent on discipline (vinaya).

Discipline is of two kinds: artificial and natural; for, instruction (kriyā) can render only a docile being conformable to the rules of discipline, and not an undocile being (adravya). The study of sciences can tame only those who are possessed of such mental faculties as obedience, hearing, grasping, retentive memory, discrimination, inference, and deliberation, but not others devoid of such faculties.

Sciences shall be studied and their precepts strictly observed under the authority of specialist teachers.

Plaving undergone the ceremony of tonsure, the student shall learn the alphabet (lipi) and arithmetic. After investiture with sacred thread, he shall study the triple Vedas, the science of Ānvīkṣakī[2] under teachers of acknowledged authority (śiṣṭa), the science of Vārtā[3] under government superintendents, and the science of Daṇḍanīti under theoretical and practical politicians (vaktṛprayoktṛbhya [vaktṛ-prayoktṛ]).

He (the prince) shall observe celibacy till he becomes sixteen years old. Then he shall observe the ceremony of tonsure (godāna) and marry.

In view of maintaining efficient discipline, He shall ever and invariably keep company with aged professors of sciences, in whom alone discipline has its firm root.[4]

He shall spend the forenoon in receiving lessons in military arts concerning elephants, horses, chariots, and weapons, and the afternoon in hearing the Itihāsa.

Purāṇa, Itivṛtta (history), Ākhyāyika (tales), Udāharaṇa (illustrative stories), Dharmaśāstra, and Arthaśāstra are (known by the name) Itihāsa.[5]

During the rest of the day and night, he shall not only receive new lessons and revise old lessons, but also hear over and again what has not been clearly understood.

For from hearing (śruta) ensues knowledge; from knowledge steady application (yoga) is possible; and from application self-possession (ātmavattā) is possible. This is what is meant by efficiency of learning (vidyāsāmarthya).

The king[6] who is well educated and disciplined In sciences,

[11] devoted to good government of his subjects, and bent on doing good to all people will enjoy the earth unopposed.

[Thus ends Chapter V, “Association with the Aged,” in Book I, “Concerning Discipline” of the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya.]

Footnotes and references:


See Chap. II, Book I.


See Chap. II, Book I.


See Chap. IV, Book I.


Ka. I, 39-60.


See Chap. III, Book I.


In śloka-metre.

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