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 3 - Slaying the Commander-in-Chief and Inciting a Circle of States

Spies in the service of the king (the enemy) or of his courtiers may, under the pretence of friendship, say in the presence of other friends that the king is angry with the chiefs of infantry, cavalry, chariots and elephants. When their men are collected together, fiery spies having guarded themselves against night watches, may, under the pretence of the king’s (the enemy’s) order, invite the chiefs to a certain house and slay the chiefs when returning from the house. Other spies in the vicinity may say that it has been the king’s (the enemy’s) order to slay them. Spies may also tell those who have been banished from the country: “This is just what we foretold; for personal safety, you may go elsewhere.”

Spies may also tell those who have not received what they requested of the king (the enemy) that the officer in charge of waste lands has been told by the king: “Such and such a person has begged of me what he should not demand; I refused to grant his request; he is in conspiracy with my enemy. So make attempts to put him down.” Then the spies may proceed in their usual way.

Spies may also tell those who have been granted their request by the king (the enemy) that the officer in charge of waste lands has been told by the king: “Such and such persons have demanded their due from me; I have granted them all their requests in order to gain their confidence. But they are conspiring with my enemy. So make attempts to put them down.” Then the spies may proceed in their usual way.

Spies may also tell those who do not demand their due from the king that the officer in charge of waste lands has been told: “Such and such persons do not demand their due from me. What else can be the reason than their suspicion about my knowledge of their guilt? So make attempts to put them down.” Then the spies may proceed in their usual way.

This explains the treatment of partisans.

A spy employed as the personal servant of the king (the enemy) may inform him that such and such ministers of his are being interviewed by the enemy’s servants. When he comes to believe this, some treacherous persons may be represented as the messengers of the enemy, specifying as “this is that.”

The chief officers of the army, the ministers and other officers may be induced by offering land and gold to fall against their own men and secede from the enemy (their king). If one of the sons of the commander-in-chief is living near or inside the fort, a spy may tell him: “You are the most worthy son; still you are neglected; why are you indifferent? Seize your position by force; otherwise the heir-apparent will destroy you.”

Or some one of the family (of the commander-in-chief of the king), or one who is imprisoned may be bribed in gold and told: “Destroy the internal strength of the enemy, or a portion of his force in the border of his country or any other army.”

Or having seduced wild tribes with rewards of wealth and honour, they may be incited to devastate the enemy’s country. Or the enemy’s rear-enemy may be told: “I am, as it were, a bridge to you all; if I am broken like a rafter, this king will down you all; let us, therefore, combine and thwart the enemy in his march.” Accordingly, a message may be sent to individual or combined states to the effect: “After having done with me, this king will do his work of you; beware of it. I am the best man to be relied upon.”

* In order to escape from the danger from an immediate enemy, a king should frequently send to a Madhyama or a neutral king (whatever would please him); or one may put one’s whole property at the enemy’s disposal.

[Thus ends Chapter III, “Slaying the Commander-in-chief and Inciting a Circle of States,” in Book XII, “Concerning a Powerful Enemy” of the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya. End of the hundred and thirty-eighth chapter from the beginning.]

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