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 15 - The Superintendent of Store-house

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The superintendent of store-house (koṣṭhāgāra)[1] shall supervise the accounts of agricultural produce (sītā); taxes coming under rāṣṭra, country-parts; commerce (krayima); barter (parivartana); begging for grains (prāmityaka); grains borrowed with promise to repay (āpamityaka); manufacture of rice, oils, etc. (siṃhanika); accidental revenue (anyajāta); statements to check expenditure (vyayapratyaya); and recovery of past arrears (upasthāna).

Whatever in the shape of agricultural produce is brought in by the superintendent of agriculture (of crown lands) is termed sitā.

The taxes that are fixed (piṇḍakara),[2] taxes that are paid in the form of one-sixth of produce (ṣaḍbhāga),[3] provision paid (by the people), for the army (senābhakta),[4] taxes that are levied for religious purposes (bali),[5] taxes or subsidies that are paid by vassal kings and others (kara),[6] taxes that are specially collected on the occasion of the birth of a prince (utsaṅga),[7] taxes that are collected when there is some margin left for such collection (pārśva),[8] compensation levied in the shape of grains for any damage done by cattle to crops (pārihīṇaka),[9] presentation made to the king (aupāyanika), and taxes that are levied on lands below tanks, lakes, etc., built by the king (Kauṣṭheyaka[10])—all these come under the head “Rāṣṭra.”

Sale proceeds of grains, grains purchased and the collection of interest in kind or grain debts (prayogapratyādāna) are termed commerce.

Profitable exchange of grains for grains is termed barter (parivarthana).

Grains collected by begging is termed prāmityaka.

Grains borrowed with promise to repay the same is termed āpamityaka.

Pounding (rice, etc.), dividing (pulses, etc.), frying (corns and beans), manufacture of beverages (śuktakarma), manufacture of flour by employing those persons who live upon such works, extracting oil by employing shepherds and oil-makers, and manufacture of sugar from the juice of sugar-cane are termed siṃhanikā.[11]

Whatever is lost and forgotten (by others) and the like form accidental revenue (anyajāta).[12]

Investment, the relic of a wrecked undertaking, and savings from an estimated outlay are the means to check expenditure (vyayapratyaya).[12]

That amount or quantity of compensation which is claimed for making use of a different balance or for any error in taking a handful is termed vyāji.[12]

Collection of arrears is termed “upasthāna,” “recovery of past arrears.”[13]

Of grains, oils, sugar, and salt, all that concerns grains will be treated of in connection with the duties of the “Superintendent of Agriculture.”

Clarified butter, oil, serum of flesh, and pith or sap (of plants, etc.), are termed oils (sneha).

Decoction (phāṇita), jaggery, granulated sugar, and sugar-candy are termed kṣāra.

Saindhava, that which is the product of the country of Sindhu; Sāmudra, that which is produced from sea water; Biḍa; Yavakṣāra, nitre; Sauvarcala, that which is the product of the country of Suvarcala; and Udbhedaja, that which is extracted from saline soil are termed lavaṇa, salt.

The honey of the bee as well as the juice extracted from grapes are called madhu.

Mixture made by combining any one of the substances, such as the juice of sugar-cane, jaggery, honey, the juice of grapes, the essence of the fruits of jambu (Euginia jambolana) and of jack tree—with the essence of meṣasṛṅga (a kind of plant) and long pepper, with or without the addition of the essence of cirbhiṭa (a kind of gourd), cucumber, sugar-cane, mango fruit and the fruit of myrobalam, the mixture being prepared so as to last for a month, or six months, or a year, constitute the group of astringents (śukta-varga).

The fruits of those trees[14] which bear acid fruits, those of karamarda (Carissa carandas), those of vidalāmalaka (myrobalam), those of mātulaṅga (citron tree), those of kola (small jujuba), those of badara (Flacourtia cataphracta), those of sauvīra (big jujuba), and those of paruṣaka (Grewia asiatica) and the like come under the group of acid fruits.

Curds, acid prepared from grains and the like are acids in liquid 95 form.

Long pepper, black pepper, ginger, cumin seed, kirātatikta (Agathotes chirayta), white mustard, coriander, choraka (a plant), damanaka) Artemisia Indica), maruvaka (Vangueria spinosa), śigru (Hyperanthera moriṅga), and the like together with their roots (kāṇḍa) come under the group of pungent substances (tiktavarga).

Dried fish, bulbous roots (kandamūla), fruits and vegetables form the group of edibles (śākavarga).

Of the store thus collected, half shall be kept in reserve to ward off the calamities of the people, and only the other half shall be used. Old collection shall be replaced by new supply.

The superintendent shall also personally supervise the increase or diminution sustained in grains when they are pounded (kṣuṇṇa) or frayed (ghṛṣṭa), or reduced to flour (piṣṭa), or fried (bhṛṣṭa), or dried after soaking in water.

The essential part (sāra, i.e. that which is fit for food) of kodrava (Paspalam scrobiculatum) and of vrīhi (rice) is one-half; that of śāli (a kind of rice) is (half) less by one-eighth part; that of varaka[15] (Phraseolus trilobus) is (half) less by one-third part; that of priyaṅgu (panic seed or millet) is one-half; that of chamasi (barley), of mudga (Phraseolus mungo) and of māṣa (Phraseolus radiatus) is (half) less by one-eighth part; that of śaibya (śimbi) is one-half; that of masūra (Ervum hirsutum) is (half) less by one-third part (than the raw material or grains from which it is prepared).

Raw hour and kulmāṣa (boiled and forced rice) will be as much as one and a half of the original quantity of the grains.

Barley gruel as well as its flour baked will be twice the original quantity.

Kodrava (Paspalam scrobiculatum), varaka (Phraseolus trilobus), udāraka (Panicum), and priyaṅgu (millet) will increase three times the original quantity when cooked. Vrīhi (rice) will increase four times when cooked. śāli (a kind of rice) will increase five times when cooked.

Grains will increase twice the original quantity when moistened; and two and a half times when soaked to sprouting condition.

Grains fried will increase by one-fifth the original quantity; leguminous seeds (kalāya), when fried, will increase twice the original; likewise rice when fried.

Oil extracted from atasī (linseed; will be one-sixth (of the quantity of the seed); that extracted from the seeds, nimba (Azadirachta Indica), kuśāmra (?), and kapittha (Feronia elephantum) will be one-fifth, and that extracted from tila (sesamum), kusumba (a sort of kidney bean), medhūka (Bassia latifolia), and iṅgudi (Terminalia gatappa) will be one-fourth.

Five palas of kārpāsa (cotton) and of kṣauma (flax) will yield one pala of threads.

Rice prepared in such a way that five droṇas[16] of śāli yield ten āḍhakas[16] of rice will be fit to be the food of young elephants; eleven āḍhakas from five droṇas for elephants of bad temper (vyāla); ten āḍhakas from the same quantity for elephants trained for riding; nine āḍhakas from the same quantity for elephants used in war; eight āḍhakas from the same for infantry; eleven āḍhakas from the same for chiefs of the army; six āḍhakas from the same for queens and princes; and five āḍhakas from the same quantity for kings.

One prastha[16] of rice, pure and unsplit, one-fourth prastha of sūpa, and clarified butter or oil equal to one-fourth part of (sūpa) will suffice to form one meal of an Arya.

One-sixth prastha of sūpa for a man; and half the above quantity of oil will form one meal for low castes (avāra).

The same rations less by one-fourth the above quantities will form one meal for a woman; and half the above rations for children.[17]

For dressing twenty palas[18] of flesh, half a kuṭumba of oil, one pala of salt, one pala of sugar (kṣāra), two dharaṇas of pungent substances (kaṭuka, spices), and half a prastha of curd (will be necessary).

For dressing greater quantities of flesh, the same ingredients can be proportionally increased.

For cooking śakas (dried fish and vegetable), the above substances are to be added one and a half times as much.

For dressing dried fish, the above ingredients are to be added twice as much.

Measures of rations for elephants and horses will be described in connection with the “Duties of their Respective Superintendents.”

For bullocks, one droṇa of māṣa (Phraseolus radiatus) or one droṇa of barley cooked with other things, as prescribed for horses, is the requisite quantity of food, besides the special and additional provision of one tulā[19] of oilcakes (ghāṇapiṇyaka) or ten āḍhakas of bran (kaṇakuṭṭana kuṇḍaka).

Twice the above quantity for buffaloes and camels.

Half a droṇa for asses, red spotted deer, and deer with white stripes.

One āḍhaka for an antelope and big red deer.

Half an āḍhaka or one āḍhaka of grain together with bran for a goat, a ram and a boar.

One prastha of cooked rice for dogs.

Half a prastha for a haṃsa (swan), a krauñca (heron) and a peacock.

From the above, the quantity of rations enough for one meal for other beasts, cattle, birds, and rogue elephants (vyāla) may be inferred.

Charcoal and chaff may be given over for iron smelting and lime kiln (bhittilepya).

Bran and flour (kaṇikā) may be given to slaves, labourers, and cooks. The surplus of the above may be given to those who prepare cooked rice and rice cakes.

The weighing balance, weights, measures, mill stone (rocanī), pestle, mortar, wooden contrivances for pounding rice, etc. (kuṭṭakayantra),[20] contrivances for splitting seeds into pieces (rocakayantra),[21] winnowing fans, sieves (chālanikā), grain-baskets (kandolī), boxes, and brooms are the necessary instruments.

Sweepers; preservers; those who weigh things (dharaka); those who measure grains, etc.; those who supervise the work of measuring grains (māpaka); those who supervise the supply of commodities to the store-house (dāpaka); those who supply commodities (dāyaka); those who are employed to receive compensation for any real or supposed error in measuring grains, etc. (śalākāpratigrāhaka); slaves; and labourers—all these are called viṣṭi.

Grains are heaped up on the floor; jaggery (kṣāra);is bound round in grass rope (mūta); oils are kept in earthenware or wooden vessels; and salt is heaped up on the surface of the ground.[22]

[Thus ends Chapter XV, “The Superintendent of Store-house,” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya. End of the thirty-sixth chapter from the beginning].

Footnotes and references:


Koṣṭha means belly, and implies, therefore, all the necessaries of life. Hence koṣṭhāgāra is the house wherein all the necessaries of life are stored.—Com.


Taxes levied from the whole villages.—Com.


The word “ṣaḍbhāga” includes one-fourth, one-third portions, etc. Some take it to mean an excess of one-sixth portion over and above the prescribed amount of tax.—Com.


Such as oil, rice, salt, etc., which are to be supplied while the army is marching or preparing for expeditions.—Com.


Such as taxes of ten paṇas, twenty paṇas, etc.—Com. The commentator does not restrict the tax for religious purpose only.—Trans.


Such taxes as are collected every year during the month of Bhādrapada or Vasanta, under the names Bhādrapādikā and Vāsantikā.—Com.


Some take this to mean presentations to the king, while others hold that it is an excess paid by tax-payers over and above the fixed amount.—Com.


Some say that such exactions are just, in virtue of royalty.—Com.


Crops that grow on uncultivated grounds.


Some take kauṣṭheyaka to mean the produce from country parts; but it is wrong, since such collection has already been noticed under “Ṣaḍbhāga,” one-sixth portion.—Com.


Siṃhanikā is a name of the work done by labourers in lieu of tax due from them.—Com.


See Chaps. VI and XII, Book II.


“paryuṣitam prārjitam chopasthānam”—Recovery of past arrears together with new collection is termed upasthāna.—Com.


Such as pomegranate and the tamarindus.


Others say that varaka, when prepared, yields one-third of its original as essential part.—Com.


See Chap. XIX, Book II.


Of Arya and low castes respectively.—Com.


For the meaning of these weights and measures, see Chaps. XIX, XX, Book II.


1,000 palas make one tulā.—Com.


This is like the neck of a camel.—Com.


Rocakayantra is a contrivance to reduce grain into flour. It has three forms: that worked by man, that worked by bullocks, and that worked by means of water.—Com.


In śloka-metre.

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