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 11 - Examination of Gems that are to be entered into the Treasury

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The superintendent of the treasury shall, in the presence of qualified persons, admit into the treasury whatever he ought to, gems (ratna) and articles of superior or inferior value.

Tāmraparṇika, that which is produced in the Tāmraparṇi;[1] Pāṇḍvakavāṭaka, that which is obtained in Pāṇḍyakavāṭa;[2] Pāśikya, that which is produced in the Pāśa;[3] Kauleya, that which is produced in the Kūla;[4] Caurṇeya, that which is produced in the Cūrṇa;[5] Māhendra, that which is obtained near the mountain of Mahendra; Kārdamika, that which is produced in the Kārdama;[6] Srautasīya, that which is produced in the Srotasi;[7] Hrādīya, that which is produced in (a deep pool of water known as) Hrada;[8] and Haimavata, that which is obtained in the vicinity of the Himālayas are the several varieties of pearls.

Oyster shells, conch shells, and other miscellaneous things are the wombs of pearls.

That which is like masūra (Ervum hirsutam), that which consists of three joints (tripuṭaka),[9] that which is like a tortoise (kūrmaka), that which is semi-circular, that which consists of several coatings, that which is double (yāmaka), that which is scratched, that which is of rough surface, that which is possessed of spots (siktaka), that which is like the water-pot used by an ascetic, that which is of dark-brown or blue colour, and that which is badly perforated are inauspicious.

That which is big, circular, without bottom (nistala), brilliant, white, heavy, soft to the touch, and properly perforated is the best.

Śīrṣaka,[10] upaśīrṣaka,[11] prakāṇḍaka,[12] avaghāṭaka,[13] and taralapratibandha[14] are several varieties of pearl necklaces.

One thousand and eight strings of pearls form the necklace, Indracchanda.
Half of the above is Vjjayacchanda.
Sixty-four strings make up Ardhahāra.
Fifty-four strings make up Raśmikatāpa.
Thirty-two strings make up Guccha.
Twenty-seven strings make up Nakṣatramālā.
Twenty-four strings make up Ardhaguccha.
Twenty strings make up Māṇavaka.
Half of the above is Ardhamāṇavaka.

The same necklaces with a gem at the centre are called by the same names with the word “Māṇavaka” suffixed to their respective names.

When all the strings making up a necklace are of śīrṣaka pattern, it is called pure necklace[15] (śuddhahāra); likewise with strings of other pattern.[16] That which contains a gem in the centre is (also) called Ardhamāṇavaka.

That which contains three slab-like gems (triphalaka)[17] or five slab-like gems (pañcaphalaka) in the centre is termed Phalakahāra.

An only string of pearls is called pure Ekāvali; the same with a gem in the centre is called Yaṣṭi; the same variegated with gold globules is termed Ratnāvalī.

A string made of pearls and gold globules alternately put is called Apavartaka.

Strings of pearls with a gold wire between two strings is called Sopānaka.

The same with a gem in the centre is called Maṇisopānaka.

The above will explain the formation of head-strings, bracelets, anklets, waist-bands, and other varieties.

Kauṭa, that which is obtained in the Kūṭa;[18] Mauleyaka, that which is found in the Mūleya[18] and Pārasamudraka, that which is found beyond the ocean are several varieties of gems.

That which possesses such pleasant colour as that of the red lotus flower, or that of the flower of pārijāta (Erithrina Indica), or that of the rising sun is the Saugandhika gem.

That which is of the colour of blue lotus flower, or of śirīṣa (Acacia sirisa), or of water, or of fresh bamboo, or of the colour of the feathers of a parrot is the Vaiḍūrya[19] gem; Puṣyarāga, Gomūtraka, and Gomedika are other varieties of the same.

That which is characterised with blue lines, that which is of the colour of the flower of Kalāya (a kind of phraseolus), or which is intensely blue, which possesses the colour of Jambu fruit, (rose-apple), or which is as blue as the clouds is the Indranīla gem; Nandaka (pleasing gem), Sravanmadhya (that which appears to pour water from its centre), Sītavṛṣṭi (that which appears to pour cold shower), and Sūryakānta (sunstone) are other forms of gems.

Gems are hexagonal, quadrangular, or circular, possessed of dazzling glow, pure, smooth, heavy, brilliant, transparent (antargataprabha) and illuminating; such are the qualities of gems.

Faint colour, sandy layer, spots, holes, bad perforation, and scratches are the defects of gems.

Vimalaka (pure), Sasyaka (plant-like), Añjanamūlaka (deep-dark), Pittaka (like the bile of a cow), Sulabhaka (easily procurable), Lohitaka (red), Amṛtāṃśuka (of white rays), Jyotīrasaka (glowing), Maileyaka,[20] Ahicchatraka (procured in the country of Ahicchatra), Kūrpa,[21] Pūtikūrpa,[22] and Sugandhikūrpa,[23] Kṣīrapaka,[24] Śukticūrṇaka (like the powder of an oyster shell), Silāpravālaka (like coral), Pulaka,[25] Śukrapulaka[26] are varieties of inferior gems.

The rest are metallic beads (kācamaṇi).

Sabhārāṣṭraka,[27] that which is found in the country of Sabhārāṣṭra; Madhyamarāṣṭraka,[28] that which is found in the Central Province; Kāśmaka,[29] that which is found in the country of Kāśmaka; Śrīkaṭanaka, that which is found in the vicinity of the mountain Vedotkaṭa; Maṇimantaka, that which is found near the mountain Maṇiman or Maṇimanta; and Indravānaka[30] are diamonds.[31]

Mines, streams, and other miscellaneous places are their sources.

The colour of a diamond may be like that of a cat’s eye, that of the flower of Śiriṣa (Acacia Sirisa), the urine of a cow, the bile of a cow, like alum (sphaṭika), the flower of Mālati, or like that of any of the gems (described above).

That which is big, heavy, hard (prahārasaham, tolerant of hitting), regular (samakoṇa), capable of scratching on the surface of vessels (bhājanalekhi), refractive of light (kubhrāmi),and brilliant is the best.

That which is devoid of angles, uneven (niraśrīka), and bent on one side (pārśvāpavṛtta) is inauspicious.

Ālakandaka,[32] and Vaivarṇaka[33] are (the two) varieties of coral which is possessed of ruby-like colour, which is very hard, and which is free from the contamination of other substances inside.

(As to) Ghandana (sandal):

Sātana is red and smells like the earth;[34] Gośīrṣaka is dark red and smells like fish; Haricandana is of the colour of the feathers of a parrot and smells like tamarind or mango fruit; likewise Tārṇasa;[35] Grāmeruka is red or dark red and smells like the urine of a goat; Daivasabheya is red and smells like a lotus flower; likewise Aupaka (Jāpaka); Joṅgaka[35] and Taurūpa[36] are red or dark red and soft; Māleyaka is reddish white; Kucandana is as black as Agaru (resin of the aloe) or red or dark red and very rough; Kālaparvataka is of pleasant appearance; Kośākāraparvataka (that which is the product of that mountain which is of the shape of a bud) is black or variegated black; Śītodakīya is black and soft, and smells like a lotus flower; Nāgaparvataka (that which is the product of Naga mountain) is rough and is possessed of the colour of Saivala (Vallisneria); and Sākala is brown.

Light, soft, moist (aśyāna, not dry), as greasy as ghee, of pleasant smell, adhesive to the skin, of mild smell, retentive of colour and smell, tolerant of heat, absorptive of heat, and comfortable to the skin—these are the characteristics of sandal (chandana).

(As to) Agaru (Agallochum, resin of aloe):

Joṅgaka[36] is black or variegated black and is possessed of variegated spots; Doṇgaka is black; and Pārasamudraka[37] is of variegated colour and smells like cascus or like Navamālikā (jasminum).

(Agaru is) heavy, soft, greasy, smells far and long, burns slowly, gives out continuous smoke while burning, is of uniform smell, absorbs heat, and is so adhesive to the skin as not to be removable by rubbing;—these are the characteristics of Agaru.

(As to) Tailaparṇika:

Aśokagrāmika,[38] the product of Aśokagrāma, is of the colour of meat and smells like a lotus flower; Joṅgaka[39] is reddish yellow and smells like a blue lotus flower or like the urine of a cow; Grāmeruka[39] is greasy and smells like a cow’s urine; Sauvarṇakuḍyaka,[39] product of the country of Suvarṇakuḍya, is reddish yellow and smells like Mātuluṅga (the fruit of citron tree or sweet lime); Pūrṇadvīpaka,[39] the product of the island, Pūrṇadvīpa, smells like a lotus flower or like butter; Bhadraśrīya[40] and Pāralauhityaka[41] are of the colour of nutmeg; Antaravatya[42] is of the colour of cascus—the last two smell like Kuṣṭha (Costus speciosus); Kāleyaka, which is a product of Svarṇa-bhūmi, gold-producing land, is yellow and greasy; and Auttara-parvataka (a product of the north mountain) is reddish yellow.

The above (fragrant substances) are commodities of superior value (Sāra).

The smell of the Tailaparṇika substances is lasting, no matter whether they are made into a paste or boiled or burnt; also it is neither changed nor affected even when mixed with other substances; and these substances resemble sandal and Agallochum in their qualities.

Kāntanāvaka, Praiyaka, and Auttara-parvataka are the varieties of skins.

Kāntanāvaka is of the colour of the neck of the peacock; Praiyaka[43] is variegated with blue, yellow, and white spots; these two are eight aṅgulas (inches) long.

Also Bisī and Mahābisī are the products of Dvādaśagrāma,[44] twelve villages.

That which is of indistinct colour, hairy, and variegated (with spots) is (called) Bisī.

That which is rough and almost white is Mahābisī (great Bisī); these two are twelve aṅgulas long.

Śyāmikā, Kālikā, Kadalī, Candrottarā, and Sākulā are (other kinds of skins) procured from Aroha[45] (Arohaja).

Śyāmikā is brown and contains variegated spots; Kālikā is brown or of the colour of a pigeon; these two are eight aṅgulas long. Kadalī is rough and two feet long; when Kadalī bears variegated moon-like spots, it is called Candrottarakadalī and is one-third[46] of its length; Śākulā is variegated with large round spots similar to those that manifest themselves in a kind of leprosy (kuṣṭha), or is furnished with tendrils and spotted like a deer’s skin.

Sāmūra, Cīnasī, and Sāmūlī are (skins) procured from Bāhlava[47] (Bāhlaveya).

Sāmūra is thirty-six aṅgulas long, and black; Cīnasī is reddish black or blackish white; Sāmūlī is of the colour of wheat.

Sātinā, Nalatūlā, and Vṛttapucchā are the skins of aquatic animals (Audra).

Sātinā is black; Nalatūlā is of the colour of the fibre of Nala, a kind of grass; and Vṛttapucchā (that which possesses a round tail) is brown.

The above are the varieties of skins.

Of skins, that which is soft, smooth and hairy is the best.

Blankets made of sheep’s wool may be white, purely red, or as red as a lotus flower. They may be made of worsted threads by sewing (khacita); or may be woven of woollen threads of various colour (vānacitra); or may be made of different pieces (khaṇḍasaṅghātya); or may be woven of uniform woollen threads (tantuvicchinna).

Woollen blankets are (of ten kinds):—Kambala,[48] Kauchapaka,[49] Kulamitika,[50] Saumitika,[51] Turagāstaraṇa,[52] Varṇaka,[53] Talicchaka,[54] Vāravāṇa,[55] Paristoma,[56] and Samantabhadraka.[57]

Of these, that which is slippery (picchila) as a wet surface, possessed of fine hair, and soft, is the best.

That (blanket) which is made up of eight pieces and black in colour is called Bhiṅgisī used as rainproof; likewise is Apasāraka; both are the products of Nepal.

Sampuṭikā,[58] Caturaśrikā,[59] Lambarā,[60] Kaṭavānaka,[61] Prāvaraka,[62] and Sattalikā[63] are (blankets made of) the wool of wild animals.

That which is manufactured in the country, Vaṅga (vāṅgaka) is a white and soft fabric (dukūla[64]); that of Pāṇḍya manufacture (Pauṇḍraka) is black and as soft as the surface of a gem; and that which is the product of the country, Suvarṇakuḍya, is as red as the sun, as soft[65] as the surface of the gem, woven while the threads are very wet, and of uniform (caturaśra) or mixed texture (vyāmiśravāna).

Single, half, double, treble and quadruple garments are varieties of the same.

The above will explain other kinds of fabrics, such as Kāśika, Benares products, and Kṣauma, which is manufactured in Pāṇḍya (Pauṇḍraka).

Māgadhikā (product of the Magadha country), Pauṇḍrikā, and Sauvarṇakuḍyakā are fibrous garments.

Nāgavṛkṣa (a species of a tree), Likuca (Artocarpus lakuca), and Vakula (Mimusops elengi), and Vaṭa (Ficus indica) are the sources (of their fibres).

That of Nāgavṛkṣa is yellow (pīta); that of Likuca is of the colour of wheat; that of Vakula is white; and the rest is of the colour of butter.

Of these, that which is produced in the country of Suvarṇakuḍya is the best.

The above will explain the fabrics known as kauśeya, silk-cloth, and cinapaṭṭa, fabrics of China manufacture.

Of cotton fabrics, those of Madhura,[66] of Aparānta,[67] western parts, of Kaliṅga, of Kāśi, of Vaṅga, of Vatsa,[68] and of Mahiṣa[69] are the best.

As to other kinds of gems[70] (which are not treated of here), the superintendent shall ascertain their size, their value,[71] species, form, utility, their treatment, the repair of old ones, any adulteration that is not easily detected, their wear and tear due to lapse of time and place, as well as remedies against those which are inauspicious (hiṃsra).

[Thus ends Chapter XI, “Examination of Gems that are to be entered into the Treasury,” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya. End of thirty-second chapter from the beginning.]

Footnotes and references:


A river in the Pāndya country.


A mountain known as Malayakoṭi in the Pāṇḍya country.


A river of that name.


A river near the village, Mayūra, in the island of Siṃhala.


A river near the village, Murachi, in the Kerala country.


A river in Persia (Pārasīka).


A river failing in the sea, Barbara.


A pool of water known as Śrīghanta in a corner of the sea, Barbara.


That which is like the grain, Tripuṭa.


A necklace of pearls, uniform in size, with one bigger in the centre.


The same as the last, with five bigger pearls of equal size in the centre.


A necklace of pearls of gradually decreasing size, with one bigger in the centre.


A necklace of pearls, all of which are of uniform size.—Com.


A necklace of pearls, with one brilliant in the centre.


As pure Indracchanda-śīrṣaka.


As pure Indracchanda-upaśīrṣaka.


A gem set within three or five gold leaves forming its base.—Com.


These are mountains.


The mountains, such as the Vindhya, the Vidura and that part of the Malaya which possesses the same characteristics as the Vindhya and the Strīrājya, Malabar, are the sources of Vaiḍūrya and other gems.—Com.


This has the colour of Asafoetida.—Com.


This contains a sandy layer inside.—Com.


Like honeycomb.—Com.


Like Phraseolus Mungo.—Com.


Like milk.—Com.


Dark in the interior.—Com.


White in the interior.—Com.


In the Vidarbha country.—Com.


In the Kosala country.—Com.


In the country round Benares.—Com.


In the Kaliṅga country.—Com.


Magadha, Kaliṅga, Śūrpaka, Jaladayasa, Paundraka, Barbara, Tripura, the mountains such as Sahya and Vindhya, Benares, the mountain of Vedotkaṭa, the country of Kosala and Vidarbha are the places where diamond mines are situated.—Com.


Obtained in the mouth of the river of Barbara.—Com.


Vivarṇa is the name of ocean near the island of Yavanas.—Com.


Like the smell of the earth when rain water falls upon it.—Com.


This is of the colour of the feathers of a parrot and of sour smell.—Com.


These are the products of the country of Kāmarūpa, Assam.—Com.


Obtained in the country of Kāmarūpa.—Com.


Available in the island of Siṃhala (Ceylon).—Com.


All these are the products of Kāmarūpa, Assam.—Com.


Different commentators have assigned different meanings to the word; some take it for camphor, some for Takkola, some for Śrīvaśa, and others for red sandal (Rakta-chandana), and so on.—Com.


Called after its native land, Lauhitya in Kāmarūpa.—Com.


This is produced on the bank of the river Antharvati in Kāmarūpa.—Com.


It is of four kinds: blue, yellow, white and spotted.—Com.


The twelve villages are situated on the Himalayas and inhabited by Mlecchas.—Com.


Aroha is the name of a place on the Himālayas.—Com.


Some say it is eight aṅgulas long.—Com.


The name of a country on the borders of the Himālayas.—Com.


A coarse blanket.—Com.


Kucelaka (so reads the commentator) is what is usually worn by cowherds.—Com.


Kathamitika (so reads the commentator) is head dress.—Com.


A covering put over the hustings spread on the back of a bullock—Com.


Hustings spread on the back of a horse.—Com.


Varṇa kambali (commentator’s reading) is a coloured blanket.—Com.


A blanket or a bedsheet.—Com.


A coat.—Com.


A large blanket or hustings.—Com.


Hustings spread on the back of an elephant.—Com.


Trousers (jaṅghatrāṇa).—Com.


A (rectangular) blanket devoid of any special colour on the borders and measuring nine aṅgulas.—Com.


A curtain or wrapper (pracchadapaṭa).—Com.


The same as the last, but made of coarse threads.—Com.


A variety of the last.—Com.


A carpet.—Com.


Dukūla is a fine fabric and Kṣauma is a little coarse.—Com.


It is rubbed with a gem and smoothened while being woven.—Com.


Southern Madhura.—Com.


That is the country of Koṅkaṇa.—Com.


That is, the city of Kausāmbi.—Com.


The country called Māhiṣmati.—Com.


In śloka-metre.


For example, two palas in terms of rice of a diamond is worth 2,00,000.—Com.

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