Manasara (English translation)

by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933 | 201,051 words

This page describes “the royal orders and insignia (raja-lakshana)” which is Chapter 42 of the Manasara (English translation): an encyclopedic work dealing with the science of Indian architecture and sculptures. The Manasara was originaly written in Sanskrit (in roughly 10,000 verses) and dates to the 5th century A.D. or earlier.

Chapter 42 - The royal orders and insignia (rāja-lakṣaṇa)

1. I shall now describe in detail the special royal orders and insignia [viz., rāja-lakṣaṇa].

2-5. The Cakravartin, Mahārāja, Narendra, Pārṣṇika, Paṭṭadhara, Maṇḍaleśa, Paṭṭabhāj, Prāhāraka, and Astragrāha: these are the nine ranks of kings (in descending order).

6-10. He who is powerful, and has extended his kingdom up to the four oceans; (thus) being victorious lives (in a palace) having a (victory) bell in front of the gate; who is moderately strict in his judgment of right and wrong; who is the most famous and the best among the prosperous, and the protector of the people with kindness; and who is respected by all (other) kings: such a universal monarch is known as the Cakravartin (emperor, universal monarch).

11-13. That king is known as the Adhirāja (i.e., Mahārāja) who assumes with his three-fold royal powers[1] the lordship of seven kingdoms; who is aware of the six royal policies[2], possesses six (kingly) strengths[3], is versed in politics and ethics, and is born of the solar or the lunar race.

14-17. That king is described as the Narendra who rules over three kingdoms conquered with his three-fold powers[4] from the weak; who is paid homage to by the (inferior) kings called the Pārṣṇika, the Paṭṭadhara, the Maṇḍaleśa, and the Paṭṭabhāj; who possesses the eyes of a statesman; and who is the subduer of his enemy, does good deeds, and remains engaged in festivities.

18-20. That king is known as the Pārṣṇika who is the lord of one kingdom, keeps one fort, possesses the six strengths[5], is wise, knows the opportune time (of warfare), is skilful in (three-fold) actions[6], and is acknowledged as such by others (i.e., his subordinate kings), as their suzerain.

21-24. He who possesses the four out of the six qualities[7], is the lord of half a kingdom, master of one fort, is powerful through the chiefs (lit., lords) and the ministers, and is acknowledged as their superior (lit., left alone) by the Maṇdaleśa, the Paṭṭabhāj, and the other kings (i.e., the Prāhāraka and the Astragrāha): such a king possessing all those qualifications is called by the title of Paṭṭadhara.

25-26. That king is known as the Maṇḍaleśa who is the lord of half a province included in one whole province (maṇḍala), and is paid homage to by the Paṭṭabhāj and the other kings (i.e., the Prāhāraka and the Astragrāha).

27-28. That king is known as the Paṭṭabhāj who is the lord of a part of a province (maṇḍala), and is prosperous, who keeps one fort, and rules over good and rich people.

29-32. That king is known as the Prāhāraka who has those characteristics: that ho is born of one of the Brahman, the Kṣatriya, the Vaiśya, or the Śūdra caste, keeps one fort, is the lord of many localities, rules over good people, and possesses all kinds of defence.

33-3ō. That (petty) king is described as the Astragrāhin who is the master of many localities, the lord of one city, is powerful, keeps one fort, is the only chief of many localities without any rival, and who has conquered the weaker powers.

86-39. The Cakravartin, Adhirāja, Narendra, and Pārṣṇika (classes of kings) should wear a crown indiscriminately, and the Paṭṭadhara a diadem (paṭṭabandhana); the Maṇḍaleśa should also have a diadem (paṭṭa) (as his crown), as well as the Paṭṭabhāj; and both the Prāhāraka and the Astragrāha are known as the wearers of wreaths (mālādhara) (as crowns)[8].

40-45. The Cakravartin, Mahārāja (i.e., Adhirāja), and Narendra (classes of kings), the wearers of crowns (mauli), should possess the throne together with the pinnacled crest (niryūka), the ornamental tree (kalpavṛkṣa) and the ornamental arch (toraṇa); the Pārṣṇika, Paṭṭadhara, and the third one, the Paṭṭabhāj, are said to possess all, namely, the throne, etc., except the ornamental tree (kalpavṛkṣa); the king Prāhāraka is known to possess only the throne (i.e., without the other features); and the (petty) king Astragrāha should possess only a seat, (not a throne).[9]

46-47. All the kings beginning from the Cakravartin (and ending at the Astragrāha) without exception should specially possess the (royal insignia, namely), two chowries and the white umbrella, and many wreaths.

48. All the royal seats (i.e., thrones) are said to have six legs.

49. The Cakravartin in particular should put on nine (seta of) wreaths and be happy.

50-51. One chowry, without any umbrella, and (the throne) with four legs arc generally suited to the kings (who are), superior in rank to the potty kings (that is), the kings of the intermediate and the higher ranks.

52. The kings other than the petty ones are said to be adorned with many wreaths.

53. They (the superior kings) should be like the crest-jewel (niryūha) amongst the good people in respect of conduct, and be ornamented with the garlands of pearls.

54-5.5. The intermediate and the higher (classes of) kings are known to possess (at least) two localities; and all other inferior kings possess only one locality.

56. Those petty kings should serve those kings who are higher in rank.

57-69. The king called the Chahravartin exterminates the wicked; he is kind (to all), and governs the people always with sympathy and kindness; he takes (only) one-tenth (of the product of his subjects) as the royal revenue.

60-61. The Mahārāja (i.e., Adhirāja) takes one-sixth as the royal revenue; he finds out all wicked and good people, and protects their faith (dharma) in all directions (i.e., everywhere).

62-63, The king Narendra rules (over his kingdom) by taking as royal revenue one-fifth of the income of the rich, but gives away to the needy and the very poor.

64. The king called the Pārṣṇika should take (as royal revenue) one-fourth (of the product).

65-66. The king Paṭṭadhara should take up to one-third (from the rich) as his share (of the royal revenue), and give lavishly to the learned and moderately to others.

67-68. The Paṭṭabhāj (class of kings) should take all (kinds of) the revenue from his kingdom, and be always respectful (in the gift of wealth) to the gods and the Brahmans.

69-71. The king Prāhāraka lives on the royal revenue taken from the country (i.e., his kingdom) (and) as laid down in the royal polity distinguishes right from the wrong; he should know the law (dharma) and acknowledge good services, but should be firm in words and deeds regarding (i.e., to retaliate) the contrary actions (i.e., harms done to him).

72-74. The Astragrāha (class of kings) also should take from his kingdom the just share of revenue; he should justly punish in proportion to the crime, but should not take revenge; he should always respect the gods, the Brahmans, and the ascetics.

76-76. In this way the petty kings should take the royal revenue from their own kingdoms and remain subordinate to the Cakravartin and the other kings.

77-78, On those moral and just lines mentioned above the (petty) kings should share (the product of) their kingdoms; thus all those non-Kṣatriya kings are urged by the ancient learned authorities.

79-80. These characteristics of the kings are compiled on the authority of all the revealed Vedas (scripture), the Pūraṇas (traditions), and the Śāstras (customary law books).

81-82. One who studies these and understands the meaning is saluted at his lotus-like feet by all the wise men.

Thus in the Mānasāra, the science of architecture, the forty-second chapter, entitled: “The description of the royal orders and insignia.”

Footnotes and references:


The three-fold powers consist of majesty (prabhāva), energy (utsāha), and counsel (mantra). (See Amarakoṣa, 2, 8, 1, 19).


The six royal policies or measures (according to Manu, VII, 100) comprise alliance, war, marching, halting, dividing the army, and seeking protection. According to another interpretation these refer to six qualities consisting of valour, energy, firmness, ability, liberality, and majesty.


The six strengths consist of chiefs (svāmin), ministers (amātya), friends (suhṛt), funds (kośa), kingdom (rāṣṭra), and forts (durga). (See Amarakoṣa, 2, 9, 1502).


See note 1, page 436.


See note 2 above.


The three-fold actions are known (Amarakoṣa, 3, 4, 2301) as pratyutkrama (preparation for war, mobilization), prakrama (array), and upakrama (advance).


See note 1 above under lines 11-13.


According to the detailed account of the crowns given later on (chapter XLIX) the Cakravartin or Sārvabhauma wear the kirīṭa, so also the Adhirāja or Mahārāja; the Narendra or Mahendra puts on a karaṇḍa; the Pārṣṇika alone wears a śirastraka; all these kings may, however, put on a mukuṭa or karaṇḍa; the Paṭṭadhara wears the patrapaṭṭa; the Maṇḍaleśa puts on a ratnapaṭṭa; the Paṭṭabhāj wears a puṣpapatṭa; and both the Prāhāraka and the Astragrāha put on a puṣpamālya (wreath, not a crown). For the characteristic features of these and other crowns see Chapter XLIX.


According to the detailed account of the royal thrones given later on (Chapter XLV) the Cakravartin is supplied with the prathama (first class, including maṅgala, vīra and vijaya) throne; the Adhirāja or Mahārāja is given the padmabhadra throne; the Śrībhadra throne is also suitable for the Adhirāja as well as for the Narendra; the śrīviśāla also for the Narendra as well as the Pārṣṇika; the śrībandha also for the Pārṣṇika as well as the Pattadhara; the śrīmukha for the Maṇḍaleśa; the bhadrāsana for the Paṭṭabhāj; the padmabandha for the Prāhāraka; and the pādabandha throne for the Astragrāha whose humble seat is not given the lion-legs owing to which the royal seats are called siṃhā-(lion) sana (seat).

For the architectural and other details of the thrones see Chapter XLV; for the similar details of the ornamental trees (kalpavṛkṣa) see Chapter XLVIII; and for arches (toraṇa) see Chapter XLVI.

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