Shukra Niti by Shukracharya

by Benoy Kumar Sarkar | 1914 | 106,458 words

The English Translation of the Shukra Niti by Shukracharya: An ancient Sanskrit text possibly dating to the 4th-century BC. The text contains maxims that deal with politics, statecraft, economis and ethics and shed light on the social life, monarchy and government of ancient India as well their knowledge of early political science....

The translation of Śukranīti is based on the text edited by Dr. Gustav Oppert for Madras Government in 1882.

An Introduction to this translation forms Volume XVI of The Sacred Books of the Hindus Series and is called “The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology.” The discussion of date and locale of the treatise is among other topics the subject-matter of that work, of which the table of contents under main headings is given below:


Chapter I. Relativity of Nīti Śāstras.
Chapter II. The Data of Ancient Indian Geography.
Chapter III. The Data of Ancient Indian Ethnology.
Chapter IV. The Data of Ancient Indian Mineralogy.
Chapter V. The Data of Ancient Indian Botany.
Chapter VI. The Data of Ancient Indian Zoology.
Chapter VII. The Data of Ancient Indian Art (Architecture, Sculpture and Painting).
Chapter VIII. The Data of Ancient Indian Morals and Manners (including socioreligious rites and institutions).
Chapter IX. The Data of Ancient Indian Pedagogy (including vidyās, kalās, and literature).
Chapter X. The Data of Ancient Indian Economics (including statistics of Prices, Wages, &c).


Chapter I. The Data of Ancient Indian Polity or Constitution, i.e., form of Government (including the theory of Rāṣṭra or State).
Chapter II. The Data of Ancient Indian Public Finance.
Chapter III. The Data of Ancient Indian Jurisprudence.
Chapter IV. The Data of Ancient Indian International Law (the Doctrine of Maṇḍala, as influencing the conceptions regarding ‘spheres of influence’ and ‘spheres of interest.’

These Data are collected from an analytical study of the facts and ideas embodied in Śukranīti, and have been placed as far as possible in their proper historical perspective by comparison with the landmarks of Indian and European thought. The first six chapters of Book I are already out together with five valuable appendices, kindly contributed by Dr. Brajendranatha Seal, M.A., Ph. D., King George V Professor of Philosophy in the University of Calcutta, dealing with the scientific concepts of the Hindus regarding Plants and Plant Life, the classification of Animals, the Nervous System of the Tantras, Vital Force, Heredity, Mechanics and Acoustics.

I beg to acknowledge my indebtedness to Pandit Yogendranatha Tarka-Samkhya-Vedantatirtha [Paṇḍita Yogendranātha Tarka-Sāṃkhya-Vedāntatīrtha] of Susung (Mymensingh), with whom I read portions of Śukranīti, Rājatarangiṇī, some of the Purāṇas, and other Sanskrit works.

I have also to thank Kumar Narendra Nath Law M.A, B.L., author of Studies in Ancient Hindu Polity (based on the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya) for the labour he has kindly undergone in preparing the Index to this translation,

Nor must I omit to express my gratefulness to Major B. D. Basu, I.M.S. (Retd.), the learned editor of the Series, and Prof. Radhakumud Mookerji, M.A., Premchand Roychand Scholar, author of A History of Indian Shipping. from whom, among others, í have derived help in manifold ways during a period of ill-health and distraction in the midst of which the translation was finished.

Finally, I have to add that the work is humbly dedicated to Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar [Paṇḍita Īśvara Candra Vidyāsāgara], the great Indian Educator of the 19th century.


April. 1914.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: