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....

Chapter 1 - The Duties of Princes

1-3.[1] Having saluted and duly worshipped the Stay of the Universe, the Cause of the origin, maintenance and destruction (of the Creation), Śukrācāryya, the offspring of Bhṛgu, questioned with respectful decorum by Pūrvadevas or Asuras, his disciples, gave them a discourse on the essence of morals in the logical order.

4-5.[2] For the good of men Brahmā, the self-created Lord, had spoken that treatise on morals which contained 100 lakhs, i.e., 10 million ślokas.

5-7.[3] By a process of selection, the essence of that Nīti Śāstra, which was an extensive argumentative thesis, has been compiled in an abridged form by Vasiṣṭha and others like myself for the increase of prosperity of rulers of the earth and of others whose life is of short span.

8-9.[4] Other Śāstras treat of certain specialised departments of human activity (and hence can be useful only in limited cases) whereas Nīti Śāstra is useful to all and in all cases and is the means for the preservation of human society.

10-11.[5] As Nīti Śāstra is considered to be the spring of virtue, wealth, enjoyment and salvation, the ruler should ever carefully peruse it.

12-13.[6] By knowing which, rulers can be victorious over foes, affectionate and conciliatory towards subjects and well up in the arts of statecraft.

14-17.[7] Is not the knowledge of words and their meanings acquired without the study of Grammar? Cannot the knowledge of material substances be acquired without logical discussions? Cannot the rituals, practices and ceremonies (i.e., the practical part of religion or Karmakāṇḍa) be known without Mīmāṃsā philosophy (i.e., the Pūrva Mīmāṃsā of Jaimini)? Cannot the frailty and destructibility of material body (and earthly possessions) be realised without the Vedānta philosophy (i.e., the Uttara Mīmāṃsā of Vyāsa, which treats of the eternal verities of the universe)?

18-19.[8] These Sciences, moreover, treat only of the topics specially relegated to each (and give truths about them only); and hence are always cared for and mastered by such persons only as have need for those teachings (i.e., whose life and occupation require a knowledge of those truths).

20-22.[9] Are these sciences of any avail to persons following their ordinary affairs or avocations (vyāvahāris) in supplying them with skill and intelligence? But on the other hand without Nīti or the system of moral philosophy the stability of no man’s affairs can be maintained. Just as without food the physical body of men cannot be maintained and preserved.

23-24.[10] Nīti Śāstra conduces to the desires and interests of all and hence is respected and followed by all. It is also indispensable to the prince since he is the lord of all men and things.

25-26.[11] Just as in the case of the sick persons who take unprescribed food (apathya) the diseases come immediately and do not delay in manifesting themselves, so also in the case of the princes who are unschooled in the principles of Nīti Sāstra, the enemies make their appearance at once and do not delay in declaring themselves.

27-28. The two primary functions of the king are protection of subjects and constant punishment of offenders; these two cannot be achieved without Nīti Śāstra.

29-30. The absence of Nīti Śāstra is always dangerous to a king like a vessel which leaks. It multiplies and satisfies enemies and causes the diminution of strength and efficiency.

31-32.[12] The man who by serving obedience to Nīti becomes independent (and follows his own inclinations without reference to Nīti) has misery for his lot. Service to a lord in an independent way (i.e., without following Nīti) is like licking the keen edge of the sword.

33-34. The king who follows Nīti is well-respected, but the king who does not follow it is not honoured. Where there are both Nīti and might there flourishes all-round prosperity.

35-36.[13] In order that the whole State may be productive of good and comforts to the people without effort, Nīti must be maintained and followed by the king for his own interests.

37-38.[14] Of the prince who does not follow Nīti the kingdom is weakened, the army is inefficient, and the civil service is disorganised; other elements of the State get topsy-turvy, in short, evils prevail everywhere.

39-40.[15] The king is the ruler, protector, and benefactor of the people and acquires his strength by penance. And he is the lord of this earth; because of his deeds in the previous births as well as of penance.

41-42.[16] Time is divided into several periods, epochs or ages according, in the first place, (to the atmospheric conditions, e.g., moisture and temperature, i.e.,) to rains, cold and heat and (to the astronomical conditions, e.g.) to the movements, shape and nature of the planets; and in the second place, to the deeds and activities of men, whether beneficial or hurtful, and great or small.

43-44.[17] The king is the cause of the setting on foot of the customs, usages and movements and hence is the cause or maker of time i.e., the creator of epochs). If the age or time were the cause (of usages and activities) there could be no virtue in the actors.

45-47.[18] Through fear of the punishment meted out by the king, each man gets into the habit of following his own dharma or duty. The person who practises his own duty (and sticks to it) can become powerful and influential in this world. Without strict adherence to one’s own walk in life there can be no happiness. Practising one’s own duty is the paramount penance.

48-49. Even the gods minister to the wants of him by whom this practice of one’s own duty is increased among men. What to say of the human beings?

50-51.[19] The king should make the subjects acquire the habits of performing their duties by the use of his terrible sceptre. And he himself should practise his own religion, or his influence will be on the wane.

52-54.[20] From the very moment a man attains the position of a king through skill, might or valour, no matter whether he is properly anointed and duly installed or not, he should begin to rule his subjects according to Nīti, being always above board and ever holder of the sceptre.

55-56.[21] Of the intelligent man even the small wealth can daily increase. And even lower animals can be subdued through heroism, morality, might and wealth.

57-58.[22] There are three kinds of penance, sātvika, rājasika and tāmasa. The king has his character according to the penance he often performs.

59-62. The king who is constant to his own duty and is the protector of his subjects, who performs all the sacrifices and conquers his enemies, and who is charitable, forbearing and valorous, has no attachment to the things of enjoyment and is dispassionate, is called sātvika and attains salvation at death.

63. The king who has the opposite characteristics is tāmasa and gets hell at death.

64-8. The miserable king who is not companionate and is mad through passions, who is envious and untruthful, who has vanity, cupidity and attachment for enjoyable things, who practises deceit and villany, who is not the same or uniform in thought, speech and action, who is fond of picking up quarrels and associates himself with the lower classes, who is independent of, and does not obey, Nīti, and who is of an intriguing disposition, is called rājasa and gets the condition of lower animals or immovable thought after death.

69-70. The sātvika king enjoys the blessings (?) of the gods, the rājasika those of the men, the tāmasa of the demons, Mind should hence be devoted to satva.

71. Human birth ensues through the mixture of satva with tamas.

72.[23] The men of the world have their luck and character according to the nature of the penance they adopt.

73-74.[24] Man’s work is the cause of his good or bad luck (prosperity or adversity). Even that which is called prāktana (i.e., comes from previous birth) is really man’s own work. Who can ever be without work?

75-76.[25] Not by birth are the Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya, Śūdra, and Mleccha separated, but by virtues and works.

77-78.[26] Are all descended from Brahmā to be called Brāhmaṇa? Neither through colour nor through ancestors can the spirit, worthy of a Brāhmaṇa, be generated.

79-80. The Brāhmaṇa is so called because of his virtues, e.g., he is habitually a worshipper of the gods with knowledge, practices and prayers, and he is peaceful, restrained and kind.

81-82. The man who can protect men, who is valorous, restrained and powerful, and who is the punisher of the wicked is called Kṣatriya.

83-84. Those who are experts in sales and purchases, who ever live by commerce, who are tenders of cattle and who cultivate lands are called Vaiśyas in this world.

85-86. Those men of the lower order who are servants and followers of the twice-born, who are bold, peaceful and have mastered their senses, and who are drivers of the plough, drawers of wood and grass are called Śūdras.

87-88. Those who have deserted practising their own duties, who are unkind and troublesome to others, and who arc very excitable, envious and foolish are Mlecchas.

89-90.[27] According to the effects of work in previous births the mind of men is inclined to virtues or vices. It is not possible to do otherwise.

91-92.[28] The intellectual disposition is generated according as the fruits of work make their appearance. The means and instrumentalities used also are such as are adapted to the predetermined Fate.

93-94.[29] It is sure that everything happens under the influence of Prāk-karma. Hence advice suggesting commission and omissions is useless.

95-96.[30] Men who are wise and whose character deserves praise, greatly respect Pauruṣa or Energy; whereas the weaklings who are unable to exercise energy, to exert themselves, worship Daiva or Fate.

97-98.[31] Of course, everything in this world is founded on both Fate and self-exertion, and this latter is divided into two classes, that done in a previous birth, and that done in this.

99-100.[32] The strong is always the enemy of the weak. And the discrimination between the strong and the weak is made by seeing the results, not otherwise.

101-2.[33] The achievement of results is not experienced by the direct process immediately in this world). For that is the cause of Prāk-karma (constitutes Prāk-karma and hence is visible in the next life).

103-5.[34] If sometimes great results ensue out of even small activities that is due to prāktana work done in a previous life. Some maintain that it is due to the earlier works in this life.

105, The pauruṣa of men is born of activities in this life.

106. It is possible to protect the lamp with its wick and oil from the wind with great care.

107-8.[35] If it is possible to have remedies to the certain destinies it is good to discard the evils by dint of intelligence and might.

109-10.[36] The prince should recognise three kinds of Fate, viz., light, moderate and great, according to the favourable or unfavourable consequence.

111-13.[37] Fate was unfavourable to Rāvaṇa and Bhīṣma when the one met with discomfiture from one monkey on the occasion of Vanabhaṅga, and the other from a single man at Gograha (on the occasion of the capture of cattle). Fate was certainly favourable to Rāghava and Arjuna.

114-16. When Fate is favourable, even small exertions achieve good results. But when it is unfavourable, great efforts may be productive of no good. Thus both Bali and Hariścandra were bound by their charity.

117-18.[38] Benefits accrue out of good deeds. Injuries come out of evil deeds. So one should know from Sāstra what is good and what is evil, and leaving the evil practise the good.

119-20. The prince is the cause of time (the maker of his age) and of the good and evil practices. By a terrible use of his engine of sovereignty he should maintain the subjects each in his proper sphere.

121-22. The kingdom is an organism of seven limbs, viz., the Sovereign, the Minister, the Friend, the Treasure, the State, the Fort and the Army.

123-24.[39] Of these seven constituent elements of the kingdom, the king or Sovereign is the head, the Minister is the eye, the Friend is the ear, the Treasure is the mouth, the Army is the mind, the Fort is the, arms and State is the legs.

125-26. I shall gradually describe the qualities of each of these limbs, which intelligent monarchs possess.

127-28. The king is the cause of the prosperity of this world, is respected by the experienced and old people and gives pleasure to the eyes (of the people) as the moon to the sea.

129-30. If the king is not a perfect guide, his subjects will get into trouble as a boat without the helmsman sinks in a sea.

131-32.[40] Without the governor, the subjects do not keep to their own spheres. Nor does the sovereign flourish in the world without subjects.

133-34. If the monarch proceeds according to the dictates of Nyāya or Justice (Nīti) lie can supply himself as well as the subjects with Trivarga or virtue, wealth and enjoyments, otherwise he destroys both.

135-36. The king called Vaiśravaṇa could rule the earth through virtue, but through sin Nahuṣa got hell.

137-38.[41] Vena was ruined through vice and Pṛthu was prosperous through virtue. So the ruler should cultivate his interests by placing virtue in his front.

139-40. The prince who is virtuous, is a part of the gods. He who is otherwise is a part of the demons, an enemy of religion and oppressor of subjects.

141-43.[42] The king is made out of the permanent elements of Indra, Vāyu, Yama, Sun, Fire, Varuṇa, Moon and Kuvera [Kubera], and is the lord of both the immovable and movable worlds.

144. Like Indra, the sovereign is able to protect the wealth and possessions.

145. As Vāyu or Air is the, spreader (and diffuser) of scents, so the prince is the generator (and cause) of good and evil actions.

146. As the sun is the dispeller of darkness (and the creator of light) so the king is the founder of religion and destroyer of irreligion.

147. As Yama is the god who punishes (human beings after death) so also the monarch is the punisher of offences (in this world).

148. Like Agni, the prince is the purifier and the enjoyer of all gifts.

149. As Varuṇa, the god of water, sustains everything by supplying moisture, so also the king maintains everybody by his wealth.

150. As the Moon pleases human beings by its rays, so also the king satisfies everybody by his virtues and activities.

151.[43] As the god of wealth protect the jewels of the universe, so the king protects the treasure and possessions of the State.

152. As the moon does not shine well if deprived of one of its parts, so the king does not flourish unless he has all the parts described above.

153-54. The sovereign is always possessed of the attributes of seven persons, father, mother, preceptor, brother, friend, Vaiśravaṇa or Kuvera [Kubera] and Yama.

155.[44] As a father provides his offsprings with attributes, (i.e., by education), so the king can endow his subjects with good qualities.

156. The mother pardons offences and nourishes the children, (so also the king).

157. The Guru is an adviser to the disciple and teaches him good lessons (so also the king).

158. The brother takes out his own legal share from the ancestral property (so also the king receives his own share of the people's wealth and produce).

159. The friend is the confidante and keeper (or protector) of one’s self, wife, wealth and secrets (so also the king).

160. Kuvera [Kubera] gives wealth (so also the king), and Yama is the punisher (so also the king).

161-62. These attributes abide in the king who is prospering. These seven qualities should never be deserted by a king.

163-64.[45] The man who can pardon and deal out mercy (at the proper time) is really able to quell and subdue (the offenders). Without the attribute of mercy, the king, cannot get on even with all his good qualities.

165-66. The king should give up his own faults and abandon unfriendly words, but should ever satisfy his subjects by gifts, bestowal of honours and good deeds.

167-70. The king who is restrained, valorous and skilled in the use of arms and weapons, who is the queller of foes and not independent of Nīti, who is a man of parts and has acquired the arts and sciences, who is not an associate of the lower classes, who has long views, who respects old men and attends to Nīti, and who is respected by meritorious men is known to be a part of the gods.

171. The king who is otherwise is a part of the demons and gets hell.

172.[46] The attendants of the king are always according to the parts of the king.

173-74. The king abides by their actions, and is always gratified by their conduct. He cannot be otherwise because of the strength of Fate.

175-77.[47] Effects of works done must be endured by men unless there be remedies. If remedies be procured, the effects have not to be endured to the same extent, just as a disease under treatment.

178-80.[48] Who tries or cares to abide by an advice that is the cause of evils? For the mind is gratified with only good results, nobody’s heart is attracted by evil consequences. So one should follow the Śāstras after discriminating between those that treat of good, and those that treat of evil, consequences.

181-82.[49] Discipline is the chief thing to the guide or king. This comes through the dictates or precepts of Śāstras. This gives mastery over the senses, and one who has mastered the senses, acquires the Śāstras.

183-85. The king should first provide discipline to himself, then to the sons, then to ministers, then to servants, then to the subjects. He should never display his ability in only advising others.

186. Sometimes a king, though well qualified, may be without any subjects or rights.

187-88. But the subjects, however vicious, must not be without a king. Just as Indrāṇī is never a widow, so also the subjects.

189-90. Sovereignty in a kingdom is deprived of its beauty if there is the king only but there are no ministers, well-disciplined kinsmen, and restrained off springs.

191-92. The king whose subjects are devoted, who is devoted to the protection of his subjects, and who has disciplined himself, enjoys great prosperity.

193-94.[50] One should bring to bay or discipline, by the hook of knowledge, the elephant of the senses which is running to and fro in a destructive manner in the vast forest of enjoyable things.

195-96.[51] The mind, covetous of the meat of enjoyable things, sends forth the senses. So one should carefully check the mind, for when the mind is controlled, the senses are conquered.

197-98.[52] How can the man who is unable to subdue one’s mind master the world extending to the sea?

199-200. The king whose heart is agitated by the enjoyable things gets into a trap like the elephant.

201-2.[53] Sound, touch, sight, taste and smell—each of these five alone is sufficient to cause destruction.

203-4.[54] The deer which is innocent feeds upon grass and blades, and can roam far and wide, seeks death attracted by the music of the tempter.

205-6.[55] The elephant whose stature is like the peak of a mountain, and who can uproot trees with ease, is, however caught because of the pleasure of contact with the female.

207-8.[56] The fly gets death by falling suddenly into the lamp because of its mad passion through gratification of eyes by the light of the wick in a mile lamp.

209-10.[57] The fish though it dives into unfathomed depths and lives in distant abodes, tastes the angle with meat for death.

211-12.[58] The bee which has the power of cutting holes, and can fly with wings, gets however caught within a lotus because of its desire for smell.

213-14.[59] These poison-like Viṣayas are each capable of ruining men. Cannot the five combined cause destruction?

215-16.[60] Indulgence in gambling, women and drinking, when undue, produces many disasters; but when within due limits, gives rise to wealth, sons, and intelligence.

217-18.[61] Nala, Dharma (Yudhiṣṭhira) and other kings were ruined through honest gambling, but gambling with dishonesty is productive of much wealth to those who know it.

219-20. Even the name of females is captivating and agitates the mind. What to speak of the effect of sight of those whose brows are luxuriously decorated?

221-22. Whom does not a woman subdue, who is skilled in the art of secret conversation, who talks soft and sweet, and whose eyes are red?

223-24. The woman can subdue with passion the heart of even the ascetic who has conquered the senses. What to say of men whose senses are not controlled?

225-26. Many princes have been ruined through attachment to women, Indra, Daṇḍakya, Nahuṣa, Ravaṇa and others.

227-28.[62] The wife of a man who is not extremely attached to her is for his happiness. For without her there is no other companion in domestic work.

229. Of the man who drinks wine excessively, intelligence disappears.

230-31.[63] Wine, drunk according to some measure, increases the talent, clears the intelligence, augments patience and makes the mind steadfast; but otherwise it is ruinous.

232.[64] Sensuousness and anger are like wine and should be duly used—the former in the maintenance of the family, the latter against enemies.

234.[65] Cupidity should be indulged in by a king who wants victory in the name of the army.

235-36.[66] But princes should not indulge in sensuousness with regard to other’s wives, cupidity in other’s wealth, and anger in punishing their own subjects.

237.[67] Can a man be said to have a mate when he takes to another’s wife? Can anybody be called a hero who punishes his own subjects? Can a man be called wealthy through somebody else’s wealth?

239-40.[68] The gods ruin and cast down the king who is not a protector, the Brāhmaṇa who is not a performer of penances, and the rich man who is not charitable.

241-42. Sovereignty, the position of a giver and opulence are the fruits of penances; and the fruits of sins are begging, slavery and poverty.

243-44. Having observed the Sāstras and duly governed one’s own self, the king should discharge his duties for happiness in this world and the next.

245-48.[69] Punishment of the wicked, charity, protection of the subjects, performance of Rājasūya and other sacrifices, equitable realisation of revenues, conversion of princes into tributary chiefs, quelling of the enemies and extraction of wealth from land—these are the eight functions of the king.

249-50. Those kings are almost like oxen (i.e., fools) by whom their strength (Army) is not increased, by whom princes are not made to pay tribute, and by whom subjects are not well protected.

251-52. The most miserable king is he whom the subjects look upon with terror and disrespect, and who is deserted by both rich and virtuous men.

253-54.[70] The king who is much attached to actors, musicians, prostitutes, athletes, oxen and lower castes deserves ignominy and is exposed to enemies.

255-56. The king who is inimical to the intelligent, who is pleased with cheats, and does not understand his own faults, creates his own destruction.

257-59. When the king does not pardon offences, but is a great punisher, is the robber of men’s wealth, and oppresses the subjects on hearing of his own faults, the society get disturbed and disorganised.

260-65.[71] By making the secret spies keep information as to who are accusing his conduct, in what light the ministers and others who know it are viewing it, what is the extent of satisfaction and who are discontented with him owing to his virtues and vices, and hearing everything from them in secret, the king deserving praise should always know his own faults from the standpoint of the subjects and get rid of them, but never punish the people.

266-67. If when a king is made by the spies to hear “People dispraise you, O king,” he gets angry through wickedness, he hides his own faults.

268-69. Even the chaste Sītā was forsaken by Rāma owing to his dispraise among the subjects. Even a small punishment was not meted to a certain rajaka by one who was able to do so.

270-74.[72] Even when immunity is declared by a king, educated in the arts and sciences, nobody can dare speak out even his serious offences in his presence. Besides it is heard that the gods such as Viṣṇu also are fond of praise. What then to speak of the men? Dispraise always creates anger. Hence the king should be ever merciful, subhāgadaṇḍī and affectionate.

275-76.[73] Youth, life, mind, beauty, wealth, sovereignty—these six are very inconstant. Knowing this, one should be religious.

277-78. The subjects desert a king who is uncharitable, who insults men, who practises deceit and uses harsh words and who is severe in punishments.

279-80. People do not take to a king who is very cowardly, procrastinating, very passionate, and excessively attached to the enjoyable things through ignorance.

281. But the people are satisfied with the opposite qualities.

282. One demerit spreads ill fame, cannot a combination of faults do it?

283-84. Hunting, dice-playing and drinking are condemnable in kings. Dangers from these are illustrated in the cases of Pāṇḍu, Naiṣadha and Vṛṣṇi respectively.

285-86. Sensuousness, anger, ignorance, cupidity, vanity and passion-one should give up these six. These being given up, the king becomes happy.

287-90. King Daṇḍakya went to the dogs by taking to one of these six enemies, sensuousness, Janamejaya through anger, Rājarṣi Aila through cupidity, Asura Bātāpi [Vātāpi] through folly, Rākṣasa Paulastya through vanity, and king Dombhodbhava [Dambhodbhava?] through passion.

291-92.[74] But the powerful Jāmadagnya and the fortunate Ambarīṣa ruled the world for a long time by giving up these six enemies.

293-94. Augmenting virtue and wealth which are pursued by the good with care, and controlling his senses, the king should worship his preceptor.

295-97- Association with the guru is for the acquisition of the Sāstras, the Śāstras are calculated to increase knowledge; the king who is trained in the branches of learning is respected by the good, and does not incline to wrong deeds even if impelled by evil motives.

298-300.[75] The wise king by daily acquiring the various branches of learning, practises only those works which are known to be virtuous according to Śrutī, Smṛtis, tradition and self-deliberation.

301-2. Of the monarch who has conquered his senses, and who follows the Nīti Śāstra, prosperity is in the ascendant and Fame reaches the skies.

303-4. Ānvīkṣikī (Logic), the Trayī (3 Vedas), Varta (Economics) and Daṇdanīti—these four branches of learning the king should always study.

305-8.[76] The science of discussion and Vedānta are founded on the science of Ānvīkṣikī; virtue and vice, as well as interests and injuries of man are based on the Trayī, wealth and its opposite on Varta, good and bad government on Daṇḍanīti. Thus all the castes of men and the stages of human life are built upon these sciences.

310-11.[77] The six Aṅgas, the four Vedas, Mīmāṃsā (system of philosophy,) Nyāya (system of philosophy), Dharma Śāstras as well as the Purāṇas—all these constitute the Trayī.

311-12.[78] In Varta are treated interest, agriculture, commerce and preservation of cows. The man who is well up in Varta need not be anxious for earnings.

313-14. Daṇḍa is restraint and punishment, hence the king is also known to be Daṇḍa. The Nīti that regulates punishment constitutes Daṇḍanīti, so called because it governs and guides.

315-16.[79] Man gives up both pleasure and pain through Ānvīkṣikī and the science of self (metaphysics) and gets both temporal and spiritual self-realisation through the Trayī.

317-18. As kindness is a great virtue among men, so the king should rule the poor people with kindness.

319-20. The king should not oppress the poor people seeking his own interest. For they, dying through repression, ultimately ruin the king.

321-22. One should associate with the good people both for virtue and happiness. One who is respected by the good attains great prosperity.

323-24. The man who is attended by good men gratifies the heart in the same way as the moon with its cool rays pleases the tank with its newly blossomed lotuses.

325-26. One should abandon the company of bad men which is terrible like the desert scorched by the summer sun, frightening and inhospitable.

327-28, One should associate rather with snakes whose mouths contain poison, and whose faces have been darkened by the smoke of fire exhaled by their breathings, but never with bad men.

329-30.[80] By one who desires good, the bad man should be accorded even a better treatment than the signs of honour meant for good persons who are to be worshiped.

331-32. One should always please the world by words that can captivate the heart. Even the man who gives away wealth in charity terrifies the people if he uses harsh words.

333-34. The wise man, even if he be oppressed, should not use such words by which men feel pain as if pierced at heart.

335-36. Pleasant words ought to be used whether to good men or to enemies. The man who is popular speaks sweet words like the notes of the peacock.

337-38. The voices of the drake red with passion, the cuckoo and the peacock are not so attractive as those of the good and wise.

339-40. Those who speak pleasant words and wish good deeds are praiseworthy and prosperous, in short, they are gods in human form.

341-42.[81] There is no such art of subjugation in the three worlds as Mercy, Friendship, Charity and Sweet words.

343-44. One should worship the gods with a heart purified by faith in them, treat the seniors as gods, and the equals as himself.

345-46. One should make favourable the seniors by salutations, the good people by well-behaved dealings, and the gods by good deeds.

347-48. One should attract the friends and relatives by good behaviour, the wife by love, the servants by offering distinctions, and others by gifts.

349-50. The man who is powerful, intelligent and valorous enjoys the earth full of its wealth, and such a king becomes the lord of this world.

351-53. Prowess, strength, intelligence and valour—these are great qualifications. The king who has other qualities but not these, though he is wealthy, cannot enjoy even a small region, but is soon thrown down from his kingdom.

354-55.[82] Superior to the very wealthy king is the monarch, who, though small in territory, has his commands unobstructed and is powerful. He can be such with the qualifications (mentioned above).

356. Men who are other than kings are not competent to (rule and) beautify the earth (land).

357-58. The earth (land) is the source of all wealth. For this earth (land) kings can lay down even their lives.

359-60. Wealth and life are preserved by men for enjoyment. But what avails a man to have wealth and life who has not protected the land?

361-62. Accumulated wealth can never be sufficient for any amount of expenditure, Truly, without perpetual incomes nobody’s, not even Kuvera’s [Kubera’s], (is sufficient).

363-64.[83] The king is honoured because of these qualities. It is not birth that makes a king. He is not respected so much because of his ancestry, as for his prowess, strength and valour.

365-67.[84] That ruler is called a Sāmanta in whose kingdom without oppressing the subjects, an annual revenue from one lakh up to three lakh Karṣas is regularly realised.

368-74.[85] That ruler is called a Māṇḍalika whose annual revenue exceeds three lakh karṣas up to 10 lakhs. The Rājā is he whose income exceeds 10 lakh karṣas up to the 20th lakh. The Mahārāja is he whose income reaches to the 50th lakh. The Svarāṭ [Svarāj] is he whose income exceeds the last up to a crore. The Samrāṭ [Samrāj] is ho whose income exceeds a crore up to 10 crores. Virāṭ [Virāj], whose income goes beyond that to the 50th crore. The Sārvabhauma, who is above that and to whom the earth with its seven islands is ever bound.

375.[86] The ruler has been made by Brahma a servant of the people getting his revenue as remuneration, His sovereignty, however, is only for protection.

377-78. Those servants who have been appointed equal with Sāmantas and others are also to be known as Sāmantas, etc., in succession and to be sharers of the royal income.

379-80. Those who have been deprived of the post of the Sāmantas. etc., but who are maintained by the Mahārāja and others at the same salary are called Under-Sāmantas, etc.

381-2. The governor of 100 Grāmas is also called a Sāmanta. The man who is appointed by a king over 100 Grāmas is called a Nṛ-Sāmanta.

383-4.[87] The man who is appointed over 10 Grāmas is known as Nāyaka. The Āśāpāla is he who enjoys the revenue of Ayuta (10,000) Grāmas, also known as Swarāt.

385-6. A Grāma is that piece of land whose area is a cros, and whose yield is 1,000 silver Karṣa. The half of a Grāma is called Pallī, the half of a Palli, is Kumbha.

387-8. A Cros, according to Prajāpati (Brahmā), is 5,000 cubits, according to Manu, it is 4,000 cubits.

389-90. The area of a Cros, according to Brahmā, is two Crore and a half cubits; or 2,500 Parivartanas.

391-2. An Aṅgula is the length of the middle bone of the middle finger, 8 Yavodaras by length and 5 by breadth.

393-4. A Cubit or kara, according to Prajāpati, is made up of 24 aṅgulas. This standard is the best for land measurements, other standards are inferior.

395-6. A Daṇḍa is the equivalent of 4 karas (cubits) and also 5 cubits. The Aṅgula of the kara (cubit) for measuring Daṇḍa and Laghu is 5 yavodaras (and not 8 as above) according to Manu.

397-8.[88] A Daṇḍa, according to Prajāpati, is 768 yavodaras; according to Manu, 600 yavodaras.

399. The Nivartana, according to each, is 25 daṇḍas.

400-1.[89] According to Manu, a Nivartana is equivalent to, 3,000 aṅgulas, 15,000 yavas; or 125 cubits.

402-4. According to Prajāpati, a Nivartana is equivalent to 19,200 yavodaras, 2,400 aṅgulas, and 100 cubits.

405-6. According to both systems the area of a Nivartana is 625 daṇḍas, for on each side are 25 daṇḍas.

407-8. A Parivartana is made up of 75,000 aṅgulas according to Manu, 60,000 aṅgulas according to Prajāpati.

409-10. According to Manu, a Parivartana is 3,125 cubits; according to Prajāpati it is 2,500 cubits.

411-2.[90] According to Manu, a Parivartana is 4 lakh yava minus ¼ lakh; according to Prajāpati, it is 80,000 over 4 lakh yavas.

413-4. According to Manu, thirty-two Nivartanas would make 4,000 cubits or 800 daṇḍas,

415-6.[91] Bhuju or one side of a Parivartana is twenty-five daṇḍas. The area, therefore, is an ayuta karas.

417.[92] Parivartana of cultivated land is four Bhujus.

418-19.[93] The ruler should always realise his share (revenue) of produce from land according to Prajāpati’s system; but in times of danger and difficulty, according to Manu’s system, not otherwise.

420.[94] The ruler who extracts his share through cupidity (i.e., beyond his dues) is ruined with his subjects.

421-22.[95] One should not give up even an aṅgula of land in such a way as to part with rights to it; may, however, give away (to persons) for their maintenance, but so long as the receiver lives.

423-24.[96] The wise man should always give away lands for the gods, for parks and public grounds, and for dwelling houses to the peasants.

425-28.[97] In a place that abounds in various trees, plants and shrubs and is rich in cattle, birds and other animals, that is endowed with good sources of water and supplies of grains, and is happily provided with resources in grasses and woods, that is bestirred by the movements of boats up to the seas, and is not very far from the hills, and that is an even-grounded, picturesque plain, the ruler should build his capital.

429-30.[98] Which is to have the beautiful shape of a half moon or a circle, or a square, is to be surrounded by walls and ditches, and must contain sites for Grāmas or other divisions.

431-3.[99] Which is to have the Sabhā or Council Buildings in the centre, must ever be provided with wells, tanks and pools, which is to be furnished with four gates in the four directions, and which is to have good roads and parks in rows, and well constructed taverns, temples and serais for travellers.

434. Having built (such a capital), the king, well protected, should live there with his subjects.

435-7.[100] The palace is to be in the midst of the Council Buildings must have stables for elephants, horses and cattle, is to be well adorned with spacious tanks, wells and water-pumps, is to have sides of equal length in all directions and to be high southwards and low northwards.

483-9.[101] The palace is to have many and odd number of sides excepting the ordinary buildings. For ordinary buildings, unless they form a square among themselves, do not look well.

440-1.[102] The palace is to have walls guarded by sentinels equipped with arms and weapons and defended by strong machines, should have three courtyards and four beautiful gates in four directions.

442-3.[103] The palace is to be watched both during day and at night by four, five or six well-armed guards placed in each court-yard and acting in rotation every yāma 3 hours).

444.[104] The king should furnish the palace with various, houses, tents, rooms and halls.

445-6.[105] Towards the east the king should have houses for the washing and cleaning of clothes and other things, for baths and for worship, and for dining and cooking.

447-9.[106] For sleep and entertainments, for drinking as well as weeping, for grains and grindstones, for servants and maids, as well as for committing nuisances, houses should be built in order towards the south.

450.[107] Houses should be built towards the west for cows, deer, camels, elephants and other animals.

451-3.[108] The northern rooms are built strong and beautiful for chariots, horses, arms and weapons, gymnasium, watchmen, for clothes and provisions, as well as for the study of the branches of learning.

454.[109] Or the king may build these houses according to his will.

455.[110] The king should build the court house and the museum to the north of the palace.

456-7.[111] The height of the wall of a room is to be one-fifth more than its length. The wall is to be wide to the extent of one-sixth of the room.

458.[112] The above is the measure for a house of one floor, for (houses of) more (than one floor) the measure will rise accordingly.

459-60. One should separate the rooms by pillars or walls. A house is to have three, five or seven rooms.

461-2. The house is to be broken at eight places, for doors. Two doors in each of the four sides are efficacious in giving wealth and children to men. (?)

463-4. The doors must be placed there, and not anywhere else. But windows in each room may be placed according to one’s liking.

465-6.[113] One should not have a door just obstructed by the door of another’s house, or a tree, an angle, a pillar, a road, a stand or a well.

467. Obstructions to roads must not be at the gate of a palace or a temple. (?)

468-9.[114] The floor of the room is to be made one-fourth of the height. But others say that in the cases of palaces and temples it should be one-half.

470. The window also must be obstructed by another man’s window.

471-2.[115] The roof made of tiles is to be high in the middle to the extent of half of the length. So that water falling on it may go down easily.

473. The roof should not be weak or low, so also the floor of the room.

474-75.[116] The wall of the town is to be uniform in depth and should have its foundation to the extent of one-half of its height or one-third of its height and have its width one-half of its height.

476.[117] The wall must be made so high as not to be jumped across by robbers.

477.[118] The wall is to be always guarded by watchmen each for three hours and to be provided with guns.

478- 9.[119] The wall should have many strong shrubs and have a system of well-built widows, and if a hill is not hard by, should have a pratiprākāra or a second wall but less than itself in height.

480-1. Thence the ditch is to be constructed, having its width double the depth, not very near the rampart, and having plenty of water.

482-3.[120] It is not good for a king to live in a fort unattended by men who are proficient in the art of warfare and unprovided with the secret instruments and preparations. Such a life (i.e., without military men and provisions) is for capture (of the king).

484-5. The Council House is to be constructed by the king beautiful and strong and divided into three, five or seven rooms.

4 86-8.[121] The northern and southern sides are to be long, twice or thrice the eastern and western according to liking and the house may be built with one floor or two floors or three floors, and having tents as houses on the top.

489. The Council House is to have windows in each room on all sides.

490.[122] The width of the central room is to be double that of the side rooms.

491-2. The height of the hall is to be one-fifth more than its width or is to be equal to it.

493 (?). The floor as well as roof of the rooms are also to be constructed.

494. The two side rooms have each two floors but the central (i.e., the hall) is to be of one floor.

495. The Council House is to be a beautiful edifice having good rooms within separate pillars and accessible by all routes.

496 -8.[123] The Council House is to be furnished with instrument for throwing water upwards, musical instrument, instruments for distributing air and also for indicating time, mirrors as well as pictures.

499. Such a Council House is for the deliberations of proposals and consideration of problems.

500-1. Dwelling Houses for ministers, clerks, members of Council and officers should be built separately to the north or east.

502-3. Leaving a space of 100 cubits towards the north and 200 cubits towards the east of the palace, military cantonments are to be laid out.

504-5. The wise king should provide for the houses of the people in order of wealth and birth near his palace in all directions.

506-12.[124] The following are to be stationed in the order indicated below: first the lower officers and servants, then the commander, then the infantry, then the cavalry, then the men of horse, men with elephants, attendants of elephants, then the guns and ordnances, then the mares, then the body guards and aid-de-camps, then the foresters.

513. Then the serais or rest-houses for travellers are to be built strong and provided with tanks.

514-5. The rooms of the rest-houses are to be uniform and in a row, and may face the north or east.

516.[125] In the market place, stalls or shops are to be placed according to the classes of commodities.

517(?). On both sides of the road houses io be arranged according to the wealth of the inhabitants.

518.[126] In this way the king should plan both the town and the grāma.

519. Rājamāryas are to be constructed from the palace in all directions.

520. The best Rājamārya should be thirty cubits wide, the average twenty cubits and the worst fifteen cubits only.

522. These Rājamāryas are both in towns and villages and used for the conveyance of marketable commodities.

523. The padya or footpath is three cubits wide, the beethi [vīthi] is 5 cubits and the mārga is 10 cubits whether in town or village.

525. These ways (i.e., the padya, beethi [vīthi] and mārga) should emanate from the centre of the grāma towards the east, west, north and south.

526(?). The king should lay out many roads according to the number of towns.

527.[127] But he should not construct either a beethi [vīthi] a padya in the capital. 528-9. In a forest of six yojanas (i.e, forty-eight miles) the best Rājamārga is to be constructed; in the middle, the average, and between the two, the worst?

530. In each grāma there should be roads of 10 cubits.

531. The roads are to be made like the back of a tortoise (i.e., high in the middle) and provided with bridges.

532.[128] And the road should be provided with drains on both sides for the passage of water.

533-4. All houses must have their faces (i.e., doors) on the Rājamārga; and at their back there should be beethis [vīthis] and place for committing nuisance.

535. The houses should be arranged in two rows.

536-7.[129] The kings should have the roads repaired every year with gravels by men who have been sued against or imprisoned.

538-9. Between every two grāmas a serai is to be built. It is to be daily cleared and well-governed by the rulers of grāmas.

540. The master of the serai is to ask the following question of the travellers coming to it.

541-3.[130] Whence are you coming and why? Whither are you going? Speak truly. Are you or are you not with attendants? Have you any arms in yours possession and have you any conveyances with you? What is your caste? What are your family and name? Where is your permanent residence?

544-5.[131] Asking these questions the master of the rest-house should note them down and in the evening having taken away the traveller’s arms should advise him “Take sleep carefully.”

546-7. Having counted the number of men in the house and shut its gate, he should have it watched by the guards working for three hours each, and awaken the men in the morning.

548-9.[132] He should give back the arms, count the men and then let them off by opening the gate and accompany them up to the boundary line.

550. The king living in the capital city should discharge his daily duties.

551-4. Having got up in the last yāma he should for two muhūrtas study the following points:—How much is the fixed income and how much the certain expenditure? How much has been used out of the things and materials in the Treasury? What is the remainder after the transactions from the fixed Income and Expenditure?

555-6. Then ascertaining from the record as well as by personal knowledge as to the amount expected to be spent to-day he should bring the articles out of the Treasury.

557. Then for one muhūrta the clearing of bowels and bathing are prescribed.

558-9. He should take two muhūrta in prayers, study and charity, and one muhūrta at dawn in exercises over elephants, horses and carriages.

560. He should pass one muhūrta in giving away prizes.

561-2. He should spend four muhūrtas over writing orders, together with estimates of income and expenditure about grains, clothes, gold, jewels, and soldiers.

563. He should peacefully take his meals with kith and kin for one muhūrta.

564. He should observe old and new things for one muhūrta.

565- 6. Then he should spend two muhūrtas over matters explained by Chief Justices and officers; and the same period in hunting and gambling.

567- 9. He should spend one muhūrta over the military exercises of the regiments, then one muhūrta in evening prayers, one muhūrta in dinner, two muhūrtas in hearing informations given by the secret spies, and eight muhūrtas in sleep.

570. Happiness increases to the king who works in this way.

571-2.[133] Dividing the day and night thus into thirty muhūrtas he should pass the time, but never waste it in enjoying women and drinking.

573-4.[134] The work done at the time appointed for it is certain (to produce good results). Thus rains in time give rise to plenty, but otherwise are highly injurious.

5 75-7.[135] The king adept in the use of kind words and proficient in the rules of morality and etiquette should have the offices of work guarded on all sides and without cease by four, five or six excellent watchmen well trained in the use of arms and weapons.

578. The daily affairs of those places he should hear through the head clerks (chief officers).

579. He should rotate the watchmen every day.

580.[136] The out-post should be built by the police at the mouth or end of the line of houses.

581.[137] The king should hear reports of their work from them who are to be maintained by wages raised from the householders.

582- 3.[138] The sentinel should carefully examine those who go out of the grāma and those who come into it and let them out after they have paid some security.

584.[139] But those who are of known, i.e., illustrious deeds and character he should allow without consideration.

585-6.[140] For the prevention of thieves and bad characters the watchmen should at night visit the beethis [vīthis] every half yāma (i.e., hour and a half).

587.[141] The following laws are to be always promulgated by the king among his subjects;

588-9.[142] Towards the slaves and servants, towards the wife and children or towards the disciple no one obeying my command should be harsh and cruel in words.

590-2.[143] (?) Falsehoods must not be practised by anyone with regard to the system and standard of weights and measurements, currency, extracts, some kinds of metals, ghee, honey, milk, fat, oil, ground substances and other things.

593.[144] Nor must writings (or statements) be forced, bribes be accepted, or the interests of the master consciously damaged.

595-6.[145] You should never keep screened, i.e., give protection to, men of wicked activities, thieves, bad characters, malicious and offensive persons, as well as other wrong-doers.

597-8.[146] Insult and jokes should never be dealt out towards the parents and other respectable seniors, as well as towards the men of learning and virtuous character.

599-600.[147] Discord must never be created between husband and wife, master and servant, brother and brother, preceptor and pupil, as well as between father and sons.

601-2.[148] You must never obstruct the tanks, wells, parks, boundaries or place of hindrances to the use of religious houses, temples and roads, nor must you check (the movements of) the poor, the blind and the deformed.

603-8.[149] Without the permission of the king the following things are not to be done by the subjects:—gambling, drinking, hunting, use of arms, sales and purchases of cows, elephants, horses, camels, buffaloes, men, immovable property, silver, gold, jewels, intoxicants and poisons, distillation of wines, the drawing up of deeds indicating a sale, gift, or loan, and medical practice.

609-12.[150] Nor should you ever do the following things:—Serious cursing, acceptance of pledges, promulgation of new social rules, defamation of castes, receipt of unowned and lost goods, disclosure of State secrets, and discussion about the king’s demerits.

613-6.[151] So also you must never even in mind commit the following actions:—Forsaking your own religion, untruth, adultery, perjury, forgery, secret acceptance of gifts, realisation of more than the fixed revenue, thieving, violence and enterprise against the master.

6 17-18.[152] You should never commit violence (or agression) on anybody in the matter of remuneration, duties or revenues by increasing them through sleight or strength.

619.[153] All measurements have been definitely fixed and ascertained by the king.

620. All the subjects should try to be qualified in the performance of meritorious actions.

621. When a violence has been committed the aggressor must be caught and handed over (to the State).

622.[154] Those who have let out bulls and other animals (after religious observances) must keep them within proper control.

623-24.[155] I will surely destroy by severe punishment those offenders who after hearing these my decrees would act contrary to them.

625-6.[156] The king should always inform the subjects of these laws by the State drum and also place them in esplanades as written notices.

627-8. To the wicked people as well as to, the enemies the king should ever be ready with punishment. The subjects are to be protected by the king according to Nīti.

629-30.[157] For the convenience of travellers the king should protect the roads. And those who are oppressors of travellers must be very carefully repressed.

631-5.[158] The heads of the grāmas are to receive one-twelfth of the income from the grāma. The army is to be maintained by three (such parts), charity (to be done to the extent of) half (of such a part), the people are to be entertained with half (of such a part), the officers (are to be paid) with half (of such a part), personal expenditure (to be met) out of half (of such a part). And the treasury is to be saved by the remainder. By dividing the income into six such divisions the king should yearly incur expenditure.

636. This rule is meant for and should be observed by rulers like Sāmanta and above, not by inferiors.

637- 8. There should be no inactivity in the preservation of acquired kingdoms, fame, celebrity, wealth and qualifications, and also in winning these from others.

639 -41.[159] One should always be very mindful about acquisition and preservation, and never abandon heroism, scholarship, plain speaking, and philanthropy. The king (should be mindful) about strength, prowess and daily preparation for war.

642- 3. That man is a Śūra who, giving up fear for his own life, can securely fight in battles for his own interest or for the cause of his master.

644-5.[160] That man is a Pandit [Paṇḍita] who can accept without partiality even the well spoken words of a child, and practises the truths of religion.

646 -7.[161] The man who even in the presence of a king can fearlessly speak out his demerits and never praises them like merits is the real speaker.

648- 9. The man to whom there is nothing to be kept back from gift, e.g., wife, son and wealth, who can give away even his life to the proper person is called a Dātā or giver.

650. That is called Bala or strength by which a work can be done without anxiety.

651. Parākrama or prowess is that through which other princes appear to be mere kiṅkaras or obedient servants.

652.[162] Utthāna is known to be the preparation for warfare.

653.[163] For fear of poisions the King should examine his food through monkeys and cocks.

654-57. At the very sight of poisoned food drakes limp (i.e., cannot walk), bees hum, peacocks dance, cocks cry, cranes get intoxicated, monkeys pass stools, rats become excited, birds (Maina) vomit. Thus the food is to be examined.

658-59.[164] He should take meals, having six, not simply two or three, tastes, not tasteless, nor over-tasteful, not pungent, not excessively sweet or acid.

660. He should hear with the ministers the petitions and appeals of the people.

661-62. In parks (and places of entertainment) he should carefully indulge in enjoyments with the people, women, actors, musicians, poets and magicians.

663-64.[165] He should every morning and evening exercise himself with elephants, horses, chariots and other conveyances. And he should learn as well as teach the military arrangements of soldiers.

665-66. He should sport with tigers, peacocks, birds and other animals of the forest and in the course of the hunting should kill the wild ones.

667-69.[166] The advantages of hunting are the growth of ability to strike the aim, fearlessness, and agility in the use of arms and weapons, but cruelty is the great defect.

670-73.[167] He should every night hear from the secret spies and informers the opinions, sentiments and demonstrations of the subjects and officers, the Department? of administration, enemies, soldiers, members, relatives, and the females of the inner apartments.

674. He should do that carefully and well equipped with arms and weapons note down (the statements of the spies).

675-76. The king who does not punish the false-speaking spy becomes the destroyer of the people's persons and properties and is called Mleccha.

677-78.[168] The king should examine the spy (and test his efficiency) either directly or by some art after ho has assumed the garb of a religious student, of one practising penance, a hermit, lower class men or a magician.

679-80. If the king accepts a spy without testing him in the above way, he can get no information and has to repent. And the spy also does not fear to speak untruth to a king who does not examine him.

681.[169] He should protect the spy from both officers and the departments of administration.

682-83.[170] There should ever be only one leader in a State, never many. And the king should never try to leave any situation without a leader.

684-85.[171] If in the king’s family there be many males, the eldest among them is to be king, the others are to be his assistants and auxiliaries.

(?)686. More than all other assistants these members of the aristocracy help forward the interests of the State.

687-88. If the eldest, however, is deaf, leprous, dumb, blind or eunuch he will not be eligible for the throne, the king’s brother, or the eldest son s son (will be eligible).

689. And the eldest son's junior (i.e., the king’s second son) or the son of the king’s brother will get the throne.

690. In the absence of seniors the juniors are heirs to the throne.

691-92.[172] Unity of opinion among the heirs (or sharers) is good for the king. Differences among them are dangerous to both the State and the family.

693-94.[173] Hence the king should arrange for these heirs the same kind of comforts and enjoyments as for himself, and should be strict in command (to the servants) in satisfying them with umbrellas and thrones.

695-96.[174] By the partition of kingdoms there can arise no good. Rather, the kingdom divided into parts is exposed to the enemies.

697-98.[175] He should station them in various quarters by paying them one-fourth of the royal revenues or make them governors of provinces.

699. He may appoint them as the heads of cows, elephants, horses, camels, treasure, &c.

700. The mother and the lady who is of the same rank as the mother should be appointed in charge of the kitchen.

701.[176] Cognate kinsmen and brothers-in-law are to be ever appointed in the Military Department.

702. Critics of one’s own faults are to be made those who are superiors and friends.

703-4. The females are to be appointed in the overseeing of clothes, ornaments and vessels.

But he himself must reject upon and seal all in succession.

705-6.[177] He should consult with ministers on future actions in some secret place, e.g., the inner apartments of the house, cleared forests, by day or by night.

707-8. He should discuss royal duties with friends, brothers, sons, relatives, commanders and members in the Council House.

709-10.[178] In the centre of the western half of the meeting the royal throne is to be placed. The bodyguard and retinue are to sit by his right and left.

711-12.[179] The sons, sons' sons, brothers, nephews, daughters’ sons are to sit at his back in succession, proceeding from the right towards the left.

713-14.[180] Uncles, superiors of the same family, members and commanders are to sit in the front on separate seats at the right hand moving towards the east.

715-16.[181] Superiors in the family of maternal grandfather, ministers, cognate relations, fathers-in-law, brothers-in law, and officers are to sit in the front at the left hand (moving towards the east).

717-18. The son-in-law and brother-in-law are to sit just on the left and right sides. And the friend is to be like him, either near or on half of his own seat.

719. In the place of daughter’s sons and nephews the adopted sons may be seated, and nephews and daughter’s sons may have seats of the sons.

720. The Ācāryya [Ācārya] or preceptor, like the father, is to sit on the same kind of good seats.

(?)720. On both sides and in the front the scribes and clerk are to be at the back of the ministers.

721. The servants are to be seated at the back of all.

722. Two men bearing gold sceptres are to be on one side to communicate the presence and salutation (of persons) to the king.

725-27.[182] The king should enter upon the throne provided with his special signs, well-dressed, well-decorated, armoured, with the crown on, with effective missiles and uncovered weapons, and very careful.

728-29.[183] “Thou art the greatest of all Dātās (charitable men) and Śūras (heroes)”—such remarks he should not hear. Those who speak in this way are deceitful men.

730-31.[184] The ministers arc likely to be dumb (i.e., silent) through the passions, cupidity and fear of the king. The king should not consider them friends for his own interest.

732-33.[185] The king should receive in written form the opinions of each separately with all his arguments compare them with his own opinion and then do what is accepted by the many.

734-35.[186] The wise king should every day examine the elephants, horses, chariots, cattle, servants, officers, provisions, and soldiers, and perserve or maintain the able and give up the very old.

736.[187] He should bring in one day nows of places hundred crosas distant.

737(?)-39.[188] He should train the officers appointed with salaries in the cultivation of all the arts, and having seen that they have finished their studies, should appoint them in their special fields.

740.[189] He should also honour those every year who arc very high in arts and sciences.

741.[190] The king should always take such steps as may advance the arts and sciences of the country.

742-43. The king should engage near him the services of the soldiers who are to precede and follow him, gaudily dressed, adept in the rules of etiquette and morality and supplied with useful missiles and naked weapons.

744.[191] The king should tour the city on the back of elephants in order to please the people.

745-46.[192] Does not even the dog look like a king when it has ascended a royal conveyance? Is not the king justly looked upon as a dog by the poets?

747-48.[193] Hence he should be accompanied by his kinsmen, friends, and the State officers who have been made equal to him through qualifications, never, by the low class people.

749. The neecha [nīca] or wicked and the sādhu and honest are respectively the men whose practices are false and evil, and good.

750.[194] The wicked people display greater gentleness than the sādhus.

751-52.[195] The king must personally inspect every year the grāmas, puras or cities, and deśas or districts and provinces and must know which subjects have been pleased and which oppressed by the staff of officers, and deliberate upon the matters brought forward by the people.

754.[196] He should take the side not of his officers but of the subjects.

755.[197] He should dismiss the officer who is accused by one hundred men.

756-57.[198] He should privately punish the minister when he is found to have gone astray more than once and dismiss him who by nature commits offences.

758.[199] Of the rulers who do not act according to Nīti the king should take away both the kingdom as well as all property.

759.[200] Courts should always be established in the territories of conquered rulers.

760.[201] He should give pensions to the conquered rulers according to their character.

761-62. He should have as his bedmate a woman who is devoted to him, beautiful, sweet in speech, well-dressed, well-adorned and well purified.

763.[202] He who sleeps for two yāmas (i.e., six hours) enjoys much happiness.

764. He should not leave his own position but conquer the enemies through Nīti.

765. Teeth, nails, hair, and kings do not look well when taken out of their proper situations.

766.[203] The king should take shelter in the hill-forts in times of great danger, and from those places should try to recover his kingdom by violence and robbery.

767.[204] Pandits, females and creepers do not flourish without resting grounds.

(?)768-70. The king as the robber, should seize from all quarters all the wealth of the enemies for marriage, gifts and sacrifice besides the (?)

771-72.[205] He should not live for ever in the same place, and never have implicit faith in anybody. He should always be careful hut not think of death.

773-74. He must be severe, active and unkind in acts of robbery, should be against attachments to others’ wives and violating the daughters of respectable families.

775-76.[206] If subjects protected as sons become enemies at times, there is no fault of your own activity, that is your luck.

777-78.[207] Seeing his work end in nothing he should practise penance and go to heaven.

779.[208] Thus have been narrated in brief the duties of the king. I intend to say more in the Miscellaneous Chapter.

Colophon.[209] This is the First Chapter of Śukranīti the chapter on the Duties of Princes.

Footnotes and references:


The book is described as having its origin in a lecture by a professor to his disciples.

pūrvadevaiḥ [pūrvadeva]:—Bṛhaspati’s disciples are the devas.

nītisāraŚukra delivers the i.e., the essence or compendium, not the whole treatise. The other reading is nītiśāstra which makes Śukra,the author of the whole thing. But that is not to the point.


The end of Nīti Śāstra, as conceived by its first propounder, is here mentioned as being lokahita or usefulness to human beings. He believed that the precepts of Nīti would conduce to social well-being.


Here is an indication that Śukra was only one of the many Ācāryas who undertook the synoptical editions of the vast work of Brahmā.

tarkavistṛta—Extensive because of full logical discussion.

alpāyuḥ [alpāyus]:—The abridgment was called for by the fact that art is long and life is short.

bhūbhṛdādyarthaṃ—Princes are specially mentioned here as those to whom Nīti Śāstra


The scope and province of Nīti Śāstra are here distinguished from those of ordinary Śāstras.

kriyaikadeśvabodhīni—they have for their subject matter, i.e., treat of (bodhi) one aspect (ekadeśa) of human affairs. This refers to the principle of the division of labour among scientists and scholars and the necessary specialisation and differentiation of the sciences. Division of labour has both its advantages and disadvantages; and so it is here mentioned that the utility of ordinary specialised sciences is limited, their horizon being narrow.

sarvopajīvakaṃ [sarvopajīvaka]—Nīti Śāstra is thus defined as a synthetic, comprehensive and generalised science (or rather art) of society, equivalent to Sociology in its wide and hence should be considered equivalent to neither Ethics nor a treatise on Polity, but to a system of morals, (social, economic and political). The scope of this science or art must be wide enough in order that it may offer practical advice as to social well-being. It is, in fact, a recognised principle in modern times that neither Public finance, nor Economics, nor Political Science, by itself, is competent to be a guide on the art of living.


Nīti Śāstra is specially useful to princes for they hold in their hands the destiny of the peoples, and hence the learning that is calculated to promote human happiness has to be carefully mastered by them.


Three uses of Nīti Śāstra are here mentioned and these indicate three aspects of social life, and hence three branches of the science. In the first place, this science or art can dictate policies about enemies, friends and neutrals, and advise international measures. In the second place, it can suggest the arts of winning over the hearts of the subjects and perform the work of psychology and ethics by studying human interests and motives as well as the ways of dealing with men. In the third place, it offers lessons on diplomacy and political activities in general by which one can be an able pilot of the ship of state.


Uselessness and comparative insignificance of other sciences are here described. In praising the utility of Nīti Śāstra, the truths of which he is going to propound the author disparages the four sciences mentioned as being of no practical service to mankind. For, a language can be learnt even by dispensing with its grammar and rules of Syntax; Truth about a subject can be arrived at even without troubling oneself with syllogistic trains of reasoning. So also to understand the rites and ceremonies attending a religious worship one need not study the rules laid down by Jaimini, nor has one to master the subtle philosophy about the Supreme Being and the transcendental truths about the human soul in order to understand and feel the nothingness of the world and Its affairs.


In II.14-17 the author has said that Grammar, Logic, Pūrva Mīmāṃsā and Vedānta may well be dispensed with by men as they are of no practical utility and that the world would not be any the poorer if these Śāstras did not exist. A further ground of their disparagement is here mentioned (18-19). It is the fact that even if they have some sort of usefulness their usefulness is very limited, these sciences being adapted to special purposes, and not to the universal interests of man as man.

Thus there are men who need have no concern with languages or the correct methods of discussion, whose affairs in this world do not demand of them a knowledge of the Karma Kāṇḍa of the Vedas or of the highest truths of the universe. Such men would go on very well without the Sciences that deal with these topics, and are certainly not any the richer and peppier for their existence.

[It is implied here that Nīti Śāstra is useful to all men and in all his concerns, and cannot in any way be neglected by man as a social animal; for man as man cannot do without those precepts which this Śāstra offers, whereas he can do many things and live in the world in many ways besides being a linguist or a logician, a priest or a philosopher, in which capacities only he need learn the Sāstras mentioned.]

sva svābhimata—its own special subject tattanmatānugaiḥ—By such as, are anugai.e., have to be follow the mata or teachings of each.


The word vyavahāra has various meanings and is a technical term in jurisprudence. Here it denotes ordinary business, profession, occupation, &c.

These lines develop further the idea expressed above that man as an ordinary social and economic being cannot do without Nīti Śāstra, whereas he need not necessarily take the help of the other sciences. The universal occupations of man (sarvalokavyavahāra), the natural fundamental and essential characteristics of human beings indispensably require for their sthiti—i.e., maintenance and order the precepts of Nīti Śāstra which is the most general and comprehensive human science.

Niti Śāstra is the very food of the social organism, its precepts supplying blood to, and helping to form the flesh of, the human society. Like food supplying the primal wants of physical life, it ministers to the fundamental interests of social existence.


Having discussed the comparative merits of the several sciences, the author is describing the universal utility of Nīti Sāstra and dilating on its special importance to the monarch. Morals have to be studied not only by the ordinary men of the world (vyavahāri) their common socio-economic interests but also and specially by the statesmen and politicians who are the guardians of the people. Nīti Śāstra is thus the science regulating social life, economic life and political life, in short, all the departments of human activity.


Nīti Śāstra tutors kings to be always on their guard by keeping them well-informed of International Politics, and thus prevents the inroads of destroyers on the political organism.


In II.29-30 the author has described the evil effects to a king of not following Nīti, viz., that the state is jeopardised both externally, and internally and totters to its fall. Here is described the evil effect to the subject of being i.e., independent (of Nīti), viz., that he meets with misery end punishment.


Peace and prosperity of the State can grow as a matter of course only if the relations between rulers and subjects, subjects and subjects, and foreign affairs are well administered according to the precepts of Nīti Śāstra; and these certainly promote the ruler’s own interests (ātmahita). It is his self-interest to advance social well-being and the happiness of the subjects and therefore to follow Nīti.

aprerita iti—un-worked for (spontaneous), natural benefits, i.e., advantages that of themselves;


There are sapta-aṅga or seven factors of the State:—(1) Sovereignty Ministers and officers (amātya) (3) Friends (suhṛt), (4) Treasure (koṣa), (5) Kingdom (6) Fort (durga) (7) The Army (bala). Each of these factors becomes weak and inefficient bhinnaṃ [bhinna] and there is the stamp of akauśalyaṃ [akauśalya] (i.e., absence of good and prosperity) on the whole State when the ruler is not well up in Nīti. It is proficiency in Nīti that maintains each department in its proper place and contributes to the order and progress of the body politic, In these lines that aspect of Nīti Śāstra is implied which is equivalent to that branch of the art of politics by which the internal constitution of the State is regulated.


tapasā teja ādatte—He gets the tejaḥ [tejas] or powers (of ruling, protecting and doing good to the people) through his tapaḥ [tapas] or penance. These two lines have no connexion with the importance of Nīti Śātra to the king described above or with what follows about time and its effects.


Measurements of time are here described as being twofold (1) Physical, according to (a) the seasons and (b) the rotations and revolutions in the Solar System which bring in days, nights, months and years. (2) Social or human, i.e., historical, according to the events and movements in man’s social life, e.g., the age of Asoka, the epoch of the Reformation, &c.

ācāraiḥ—according to the practices, movements, customs, and usages, &c.—all those, in short, which mark what has been called ‘the spirit of the age.’


The author here discusses the question as to whether time is more important than man in regulating the affairs of the world. He takes for granted the doctrine that man is responsible for bis dharmma [dharma] and therefore must be a voluntary agent, regulating his own work by bis own initiative and not at the will of other agents, e.g., time. And, therefore, the common excuse that it is the spirit of the age, the kāladharmma [kāladharma] that has done such and such things falls to the ground. It is rather advanced here that man is the maker of bis age. The spirit of the age is what is created by the king’s activities.

In describing the superiority of the king over time the author propounds a very important truth that man is the architect of his own fate. The line of arguments in II.41-44 is as follows: The ācāra makes the epochs of time, and the king makes the ācāra therefore, the king is the maker of kāla or time.

From I.43 it would appear that the author recognises the second of the above measurements of time, Historical Division according to ācāra as the primary standard of time and considers the Physical division to be within and subsidiary to it. Thus time should be reckoned not by centuries, years, months, days, &c., but calculated according to the epochmaking activities of kings. Historical movements are, in his opinion, the real basis of calculation with regard to time.


The importance of the king and his authority is here brought out by the fact that it is his sceptre that keeps each individual subject to the performance of his own duty, and thus peoples the world with really able and happy inhabitants. For the strict observance of one’s own avocations and the religious performance of one’s own duties in life are the great promoters of human efficiency and happiness.

svadharma—One’s own dharma or duty. These lines contain a praise of the celebrated doctrines of Personal Religion and Individual Morality (as opposed to those of Universal religion and Absolute morality) which form the bedrock of Hindu Sociology, and suggest the theory of adhikāribheda or Divisions of men according to their Fitness for the enjoyment of Rights on which the caste system is founded. This is the most fundamental maxim of Hindu social polity that every individual has his own religion and duty, and that religion and duty vary with the position, attainments and capabilities of individuals. This philosophy of the relativity of the duties of man to his position in society is eloquently taught by Śrī Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna in the Gītā.


The king’s svadharma or duty is to make the subjects svadharma nirata obedient to their own duties. If the king fails in his own duty, the subjects Would go astray, each from his own work in life. And this would bring in misery and disorder upon the State. Hence the or diminution of influence and importance.


The responsibility of the king to perform his svadharma by enforcing the practice of svadharma among his subjects and to protect them according to the rules of Nīti Śāstra begins from the very moment of his assumption of the royal position.

buddhyā—By artifice or by force or by heroism and not by the ordinary rule of succession. Śukrācārya is not a believer in the theory that ‘necessity has no law’ bub maintains that in extraordinary cases also his Śāstra must be followed. Nīti Śāstra is unrelenting and extremely rigid in its precepts which cannot be relaxed or compromised even in revolutionary times, e.g., when a throne falls vacant and is occupied by an usurper by hook or by crook, The usurper must not wait to have his claim formally recognised and his position well secured; but as soon as he gets the reins of government be must act upon the rules of Nīti like the legally recognised ruler of normal States.

As soon as a revolution is effected, the revolutionists must display their political ability by organising the administration and establishing security and order in the State. Śukranīti is here anticipating the sense of political morality manifested in modern times.


Some of the virtues of a king and their effects. The two lines, however, have no connexion with the praise of king of svadharma above or with what follows.


There are three classes of kings according to their nature and characteristics.


There are three classes of men according to their nature and characteristics,


The author has been discussing the classes of rulers and of men generally according to their characteristics which he attributes to the penances they perform. This idea about the penances leads to the theory of work as determining man’s future.

prāktanamapi—Man might say that destiny is determined by previous birth and not by one’s karma or work. But this is refuted by the statement that this prāktana is, after all, nothing but karma.


The praise of work introduced gradually a new basis and interpretation of the caste system,


Here is an application of the theory of caste according to merits and qualifications in the case of the Brāhmaṇa. The question is asked—who is to be called a Brāhmaṇa? The answer is—not necessarily the son of a Brāhmaṇa, nor the mail with certain colour characteristic.

Having discarded the ordinary tests of birth and colour as determining the castes, Śukrācārya in II.75-85 describes the new test of merits and occupations and enumerates the various qualities of each caste.


prāk karmaphala bhogārha—befitting (arha) the enjoyment (bhoga) of the fruits of previous deeds.

This treatise in praising karma or work as the sole factor of destiny is very particular about the work done in past lives whose effects are transmitted through successive births.


The author is discussing if there is any principle governing man’s course of life in this world or if the ends and means adopted by him are controlled by chance. By his theory of prāk karma he establishes the truth that previous lives determine some sort of a destiny, the karmaphalodaya, manifestation of the effects of work and the bhavitavyatā—future link for men in succeeding births; so that in these births his intelligence and ways and means of action very easily and spontaneously arrange themselves. These things are pre-ordained, but not by an impersonal agent like Fate or by blind chance.


kāryākāryaprabodhakā—which explain and point out what are to be done and what are not to be done.


Śukrācārya refers to the celebrated controversy between daiva and puruṣakāra, himself advocates the latter and disparages the former. He says the controversy resolves itself ultimately into that between weak and able men.


The arguments in II.88-98 amount to this. Life in this world is regulated by three things,—(a) daiva or Fate and (b) karma (puruṣakāra) or work, which again is divided in two classes—(i) prāk or done in previous life and (ii) ihārjitaṃ or achieved in this life. Of these three factors, Fate is resorted to and accused by weak arid foolish people, whereas able men do not wait for the decree of Fate but make their destiny in this life and in the next by their own effects and energisings.


Of course, if there is a struggle for existence, the fitter and more powerful can be known only by their survival.


Whatever a man does in this life is credited to his account for future births, so that whatever he enjoys in those births is due mainly to capital accumulated in the former. This idea is further developed in the next two lines.


This is a test case to prove that results of work do not manifest themselves in this life but in the next. For otherwise we cannot explain the phenomena that even by putting forth small energy a man at times enjoys considerable good. This discrepancy between cause and effect is due to the fact that much of this effect is really the income of causes capitalised, So to speak, in the past life and lying at present in the background and hence out of one’s sight.


In II.105-8 the author is discussing some of the forms which Pauruṣa or Energy should take in this life. Oue of these is the application of skill and force to do away with and remedy the evils of this world. For it is possible to undo even the surest decrees of Fate (bhāvibhāvānāṃ [bhāvibhāva]) just as the lamp can be protected iron the wind.


Fate is either good (anukūla) or bad (pratikūla) as known by the fruits (phalābhyāṃ). But each is divided info 3 classes according to the degrees of favourableness or unfavourableness.


daiva—has in I.95 been recognised as one of the factors that control human life. These lines describe the effects of Fate upon some of the historical characters.


These four lines have no connection with the discussion about Fate and Puruṣakāra above but refer to ordinary rules of morality and repeat what has been previously said about the king’s functions.


The analogy of the kingdom with the body of man and the description of it as the body politic dr political organism, which have been made much of in modern times, are suggested here though in a quite different and fanciful way.

It is not clear what is meant by rāṣṭra and how it is an aṅga or limb of rājya the kingdom or how it can stand for the legs of a human being. The analogies of the Army with the mind and the Fort with the arms are also queer and not quite comprehensible,


The State is natural and necessary institution. Man is a political animal and cannot prosper unless a relation between sovereign and subjects is established in the society.


These are some elementary notions about the king, his functions and bis duties which are oft repeated in treatises like this. The only peculiarity about these passages is the reference to names of Paurāṇik kings and the attempt to make the precept concrete by alluding to their lots in life. Can these references as well as the illustrations of the fortunate and unfortunate persons mentioned in connection with daiva be said to approach a rudimentary application of the historical method in Hindu sociological thought?


The king’s divine origin and extraordinary (superhuman) powers are suggested, His elements are derived from the gods. Each god bestows on him certain powers.


In II.144-51, the functions and general attributes of the king are described, and each is attributed to the making of his body and life out of the elements of one of the gods. These lines elucidate the text in 141-3.

The functions described above in the analogies with the powers of Nature may be grouped under the following five heads:—

(1) Protection of person and property (144,151).
(2) Administration of Justice (147).
(3) Spread of religion and culture (145,46).
(4) Philanthrophy and charity (149).
(5) Realisation of revenues (148).


Almost all the attributes mentioned in 155-60 have been implied or described in the preceding analogies. Thus the functions of the father and the guru may be taken under 145-46, the mother’s function is partly that of Yama (147) and partly that of Varuṇa (149). Yama’s function has been unnecessarily repeated. Kuvera [Kubera] in these lines is a giver, whereas in the preceding account is the protector of wealth. The brother’s work was suggested by Agni’s function. But the peculiar attribute of bhrātā as the sharer of paternal Wealth is to be noted.

The only additional function of the king brought forward in these lines is that suggested by the analogy with the friend. The king should be the protector of the person of the subjects, the custodian of their women and wealth, and the keeper of their secrets. But these are the things which people generally try to keep out of the king’s reach and interference except under circumtances of extreme necessity, e.g., in revolutionary times or when compelled by self-interest. It is strange that Śukranīti should place such confidence in the ruler under normal conditions, for it is otherwise full of the most sound and practical advice adapted to the ways of the world.


This is a very sound advice, for sometimes “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” Coercion is but a very small part of government, and it is only highest statesmanship that can discover when and what to punish and when and what to pardon. Punishment, after all, is a means to an end, and the victories of kindness are more effective and lasting than those of terror. And so mercy is the crown and glory of human virtues. Shakespeare’s eulogy is well-known.


Like ruler, like ministers.


A disease even if treated is still painful, but of course not so much as before treatment. So also if be provided against kṛtaṃkarma [kṛtakarma?] or work done, the phala may not be so much tathā as when there was no remedy (pratikārairvinā). But in any case the karma-phala must be endured


These lines contain an advice as to the observance and pursuit of Śāstras. Any and every Śāstra must not be followed, but a discrimination is to be made between that which is likely to promote one’s interests and that which is not.


naya—guide. The other reading is nṛpa (king)


Here is a complete analogy between the processes of training elephants and the senses. Just as the elephant running to and fro in the forest and committing havoc (vipramāthinaṃ [vipramāthin]) all around has to be tamed by the use of the rod, so also the senses of man incessantly wandering to find gratification in the multifarious objects of the universe and causing perturbation to the soul, have to be controlled and disciplined by the application of knowledge,

This advice about the control and restraint of the senses is the fundamental and primary lesson in the Hindu system of moral education, and the simile about wild and unbroken elephants is one of the most common devices in Sanskrit literature.


The manaḥ [manas] or mind is an independent entity in Hindu psychology; not a mere name for the processes of consciousness produced by the sensations and perceptions through the organs of senses, but a separate organ like the five senses, having its own function to discharge. The manaḥ [manas] is the director or conductor of the five organs of sensation, as described here; these have to work under its guidance.

viṣaya—technical term in Hindu Psychology and Ethics often used in this treatise in connexion with moral topics, eg., training of character, discipline, etc. There are five viṣayas, viz., rūpa (sight), śabda (sound), gandha (smell), rasa (taste) sparśa (touch), ie, the five classes of objects in the universe which can be perceived through the five different organs of sensation These five viṣayas constitute the whole universe of material objects and enjoyable things that fall within the physical reach of man.

The analogy here is between meat and viṣaya.


Just as charity begins at home, so also conquests begin with self. The capacity for mastery over a kingdom is proved by the ability to conquer one’s own self.


The viṣayas are enumerated here, and in the next few lines the evil consequences of each are described.


Here is the pernicious influence of sound (śabda) illustrated by the case of the deer which is otherwise quite innocent


Here is the baneful influences of touch or sparśa illustrated by the case of the elephant who is otherwise very powerful.


Here is the danger from rūpa or sight illustrated by the case of the


The fish is the object lesson for danger from taste or rasa.


The bee illustrates the danger from gandha or smell. The lecture on the necessity for control of the senses and the practice of self-restraint is in II.201-12 very ably and poetically delivered and reaches its climax in the next two lines.


The whole description is a very clear and concrete presentation of the nature of viṣayas and the processes of the working of passions, and a great power of observation is implied in each case. Three important professions have been indicated in the above lines—(1) deer-catching by the hunter, (2) elephant catching, and (3) angling.


Each of these three passions has both its uses and abuses.

ayuktaṃ [ayukta]—Undue, immoderate, excessive.

yuktiyuktaṃ [yuktiyukta]—due and moderate.


Thus gambling has both its uses and abuses.


Thus the woman also has both uses and abuses.


Thus Drinking is both good and bad according to circumstances. All along in this description the author is advocating the Rule of the Golden Mean: ‘Avoid Excesses.’


Śukrācārya’s system does not blindly advocate the absolute inhibition of the passions and the strict asceticism which leads to the killing of the senses. In it, there is a place for gambling, drinking, woman, anger, sensuousness and other indulgences. He gives the devil his due, and does not forget the good to be derived from, and the uses that can be made of, even gambling and drinking, His morality is austere but not inhuman, and is adapted not to the abstract human beings shut up in a convent but to the complete men with all their passions and sensibilities, discharging their thousand and one duties in this world. Śukrācārya thus arrives at a system that is calculated to bring about the harmonious development of all faculties of man without repressing or unduly pushing forward any one.


Thus kāma, krodha and lobha, passions which are ordinarily supposed to be the greatest enemies of moral nature have, according to Śukrācārya, their own parts to play in human life and are not absolutely the unalloyed vices they are painted to be.


These are sufficient checks to the wantouness of the three passions. They are allowed within these limits. Beyond these they become vices.


The advice is ‘Be married,’ ‘Be heroic,’ ‘Be wealthy,’ But taking to another’s wife is no marriage, oppressing one’s own people is no heroism, and getting another’s wealth is no richness.


The proper functions (dharma) of the three classes of men are here described.


bhūmerupārjanaṃ—Income to be derived from land by the king. The agricultural, (and other economic) functions are prescribed īn this phrase.

karadīkaraṇaṃ rājñāṃ—Independant princes to be made dependant and tributaries. The king should always try to be an overlord by conquering kingdoms and establishing an empire over them, so that their chiefs may be made to pay homage. The advice is imperialistic, The other functions are ordinary and have been often mentioned in the treatise.


Śukranīti lays special stress on the king’s own discipline and self-restraint. The greatest of his functions is considered to be ruling himself, The importance of this moral training to the king is constantly mentioned in the treatise.


Having described some of the virtues and vices of kings, the author is suggesting some of the processes by which they should try to rectify themselves. One of the most important rules of morality for the king is that which regulates his relations and dealings with the subjects, and therefore a correct estimate of their opinion and criticism is the first step to the king’s moral discipline.

The spies have to be appointed not only against the subjects, but also against the king himself and on behalf of the subjects. This Intelligence Department is to be regarded as the instrument for bringing public opinion to bear on the king’s public activities.


Two grounds are advanced for asking the king to take special care to be merciful to those who are censurers and detractors of his conduct. In the first place, the king is not likely to get full information about his own faults, for people can never be bold enough to speak the truth- In the second place, it is very difficult to put up with public censure and disprase—Fame being the last infirmity of human character.


This precept has no connexion with the preceding or the following.


Having in II.259-74 described the rules of public morality that the king has specially to observe, Śukrācārya gives an account of the faults and vices that men in general commit io individual lives and which also the king must guard against. This ethics of individual life is illustrated by concrete references to the cases of kings, Ṛṣis, Asuras and Rākṣasas.


Four means are mentioned here for determining the dharma (1) śruti—Revealed leterature, e.g., the Vedas; (2) smṛti, e.g., Dharma Śāstras (3) lokataḥ [lokatas]—Tradition and custom, consensus of public opinion (4) manasā sādhu niścataṃ cogitation in the mind, i.e., introspection and deliberation,


In II.303-8 Śukrācārcya has enumerated and briefly described the scope of the four fundamental branches of learning. In the next few lines each is being fully explained.


aṅgāni—six limbs of the Vedas, they are called. They are auxiliaries and supplements to the Vedas. A preliminary training in them is required to acquire mastery over the Vedas, for they treat of the grammar, phonetics, mathematics, etymology, &c., used in the Vedas.

mīmāṃsā—the common name of two of the six systems of philosophy in Hindu-Literature. They are (1) Pūrva Mīmāṃsā or simply Mīmāṃsā propounded by Jai-mini dealing with the rituals of religion, and (2) Uttara Mīmāṃsā or Vedānta, dealing with esoteric religion. In this line the first is meant, for Vedānta has been included in Ānvīkṣikī or Logic in I.305.

purāṇānī—These are 18 in number, constituting the whole system of Hindu theology and mythology and forming encyclopedia of the learning and wisdom of the ancient Hindus.

trayīi.e., trio of sciences—comprising the first three Vedas, the Atharvan is not a Veda but rather a mere appendix to them all. Here Śukrācārya gives a special meaning to it.


Varta is thus a practical science prescribing rules for the maintenance of family.


Having previously described the system of moral education for a king both as the head of the state and as a private individual, in II.295.316 Śukrācārya has drawn up a syllabus of intellectual training and explained the content of each branch of learning with its utility to man.


Lines 321-30 contain ordinary precepts about companionship in powerful language.


Lines 331-42 contain the rules for regulating one’s speech in an extravagant style.


It is not size that is the strength of a State. But discipline and able management (as avyāhatājña implies) and military efficiency are the two principal conditions of the importance of a kingdom.


Not heredity but personal qualifications constitute the sole title to kingship


karṣa = 80 ratis, thus less than a Rupee or tola, for a tola is equivalant to 96 ratis. So a sāmanta is a king whose annual revenue in terms of modern Indian Currency would be between Rs. 83,333 and Rs. 250,000.


The grades of kings according to modern Indian standard:—
sāmanta—between. Rs. 83,333 and 25,000
māṇḍalika—between. Rs. 250,000 and 833,333
rājā—between. Rs. 833,333 and 16,666,666
mahārāja—between. Rs. 1,666,666 and 41,66,666
virāṭ [virāj] —between. Rs. 83.333,333 and 416,66.666
samrāṭ [samrāj] —between. Rs. 8,333,330 and 83,333.33
svarāṭ [svarāj] —between. Rs. 4,166,666 and 8,333,333
sārvabhauma—above Rs. 416,666,666.


The king is a master only in the sense that he is to protect the people’s interests, and not that he can enjoy any rights and privileges or that he can treat the people in any way he likes. His position is rather that of servitude (dasatva)

bhāga—share of national produce, royal income, revenue;

bhṛti—remuneration wages, the revenue is the salary the king receives for his services to the people.


Grades of Royal officers described in order of income—

  (1) Officer with salary equal to the income of a Sāmanta as described in the gradation of rulers.
  (2) Independent ruler of 100 Grāmas
—Salary same as that of Sāmanta, but post subordinate.
nṛsāmanta—Officer who is the head of 100 grāmas.
nāyaka—Officer who is the head of 10 grāmas.
āśāpāla-svarāṭ—Officer who is the bead of 10,000 grāmas.


vasuṣaḍ-munisaṃkhyā—In this number vasu stands for the figure 8, because there are 8 Vasus in the Universe, and muni stands for figure 7 because there are seven Rishis. Hence the number seems to be 867. But by the rule (aṃkasya vāmāgatiḥ—figures move from the right leftwards) the figure 8 will be the first digit, and 7 the third. Hence the number is 768.

And this according to calculation of Prajapati. Thus:—

daṇḍa = 4 cubits.
= 4 x 24 Aṅgulas.
= 4 x 24 x 8 Yavodara = 768 Yavodaras.
According to Manu’s calculation:
daṇḍa = 5 x 24 x 5 = 600 Yavodaras.


tripañca = 15, sapādaśata = 100 + ¼ of 100 = 125. A pāda is a quarter.


(1) = 4 lakh—¼ lakh = 400,000—25,000
= 375,000 yava.
(2) = 400,000 + 80,000 = 480,000 yava.


parivartana—Equivalent to nivartana for the area 10,000 cubits would give as one of its sides by square root 100 cubits, or 25 daṇḍas and this is the measure of a nivartana (I.399).


1 bhuja = 25 daṇḍa = 100 cubits.
… 4 bhuja = 400 cubits.

The difficulty of interpretation arises from the fact that a line and an area have been indicated by the same term without special care to explain the use.

N.B.—The standard of measurements in II.386-417:—

  Prajāpati. Manu. Measure.
(a) 8 Yavas 5 Yavas = 1 Aṅgula.
  24 Aṅgulas 24 Aṅgulas = 1 Cubit
  4 Cubits 5 cubits = 1 Daṇḍa
  … 768 Yavas 600 Yavas = 1 Daṇḍa
(b) 5,000 cubits 4,000 cubits = 1 Crosa
  … 5,000 x 5,000    
  or 25,000,000 sq. cub. 16,000,000 sq., cub. Area of Crosa
(c) 2,500 Parivartanas   Area of 1 Crosa
  … 10,000 sq. cub.,   Area of 1 Parivartana
  … 100 cub.*   Side bhuja of Parivartana
(d) 25 Daṇḍas 25 Daṇḍas 1 Nivartana
  … 25 x 768 Yavas 25 x 600 Yavas 1 Nivartana
  or 19,200 Yavas 15,000 Yavas
  Again 25 x 4, i.e., 100 Cubits* 25 x 5, i.e., 125 Cubits 1 Nivartana
  So also 25 x 4 x 24 Aṅgulas 25 x 5 x 24 Aṅgulas 1 Nivartana
  i.e., 2,400 Aṅgulas 3,000 Aṅgulas
  So also 25 x 4 x 24 x 8 Yavas 25 x 5 x 24 x 5 Yavas 1 Nivartana
  or 19,200 Yavas 15,000 Yavas
(e) 25 x 25 Sq. Daṇḍas 25 x 25 Sq. Daṇḍas Area of Nivartana
  or 625 Sq. Daṇḍas 625 Sq. Daṇḍas
  625 x 4 625 x 5 Area of Parivartana or Nivartana
  or 2,500 cubits 3,125 Cubits
  … 2,500 x 24 Aṅgulas 3,125 x 24 Area of Parivartana or Nivartana
  or 60,000 Aṅgulas 75,000 Aṅgulas
  … 60,000 x 8 Yavas 75,000 x 5 Yavas Area of Parivartana or Nivartana
  or 480,000 Yavas 375,300 Yavas
(f) 100 Cubits 125 Cub. 1 Nivartana
    125 x 32 Cub. 32 Nivartana
    4,000 Cub.
    4000/5 or 800 Daṇḍas 32 Nivartana

* Nivartana = Parivartana. (Cf. I.399 and I.415).


Since Manu’s standard is lower than Prajāpati’s, revenue realised according to the former would be higher than that on the latter’s system. Realisation on Manu’s system would, therefore, inflict great hardships on the subjects. Hence: the injunction that in ordinary times Prajāpati is to be followed. But, under exceptional circumstances, when there may be a great demand for money the king may use Manu’s calculation and thus practically enhance the rates of payment. In short, Manu’s system is to be reserved as a safety-valve by way of imposition of a kind of tax, so to speak, under abnormal conditions.


This is an advice against arbitrary and exorbitant taxation which is a great hindrance to the development of national resources and hence the cause of political and military inefficiency.


Gifts of land with certain restrictions allowed, but no abandonment of rights on ordinary occasions.


Land Laws (417-24)

(1) Land revenue to be realised ordinarily, according to Prajāpati’s standard, but under circumstances of financial pressure, to the system of Manu.
(2) Realisation of revenue must never be arbitrary or exorbitant.
(3) Rights to land never to be given up.
(4) Gifts of land to poor people allowable for life only.
(5) Various conditions of gifts—
(i) For gods, (ii) For public walks, (iii) For the residences of peasants (kuṭumbinaṃ [kuṭumbin])


This description about the points to be noted in the selection of a site for rājadhānā or capital contains a magnificent account of the ideals of material existence that, according to Śukrācārya, should be present in the mind of the ruler of a State, and gives an idea of the standard of perfection in secular and earthly life that the ancient Hindus or, at any rate, the wisest men among them, could conceive for the happiness.and well-being of man.

vṛkṣalatā—&c,—the place must be well-wooded. The climatological and economic importance of forests and the evils of deforestation have been receiving sufficient recognition in modern times.

paśūpakṣī—the province in which the capital is to be built up must be rich in games and abound with the resources of the animal world.

udakadhānya—Referring to the agricultural opportunities of the country. There must be a splendid network of rivers and waterways intersecting it.

tṛṇakāṣṭha—For fodder and fuel.

sindhunau—There are 3 points to be noted here. In the first place, communication with the sea is necessary; secondly, the use of boats; thirdly, the place must be ākula i.e., agitated or bestirred and moved by the arrivals and departures of the vessels,—referring to the great number of plying and active boats and the bustle of brisk commercial life.

The proximity of the sea to the capital city, or at any rate, the importance of keeping communication with it, was recognised by the ancient Romans also in the matter of a site for their “city of seven hills.” They selected a place which was “near to, yet far from, the sea;” and much of the importance of Rome was ascribed to this condition.

mahīdhara—The hills also must be near—referring to the mineral and other resources peculiar to them which must be within easy reach of the capital.

samabhūdeśa—a plain. According to Śukrācārya the hills must be near but not include the capital which is to be a part of the plains.

The chief city, as described above, must have, the advantages of the hills, plains and seas, command the vegetable, animal and mineral resources of the country, and be a centre of quick commercial activity. This account, even if it be considered to be ideal likely to be realised in the land of “Nowhere” does certainly anticipate, like the Utopia of Sir Thomas More, some of the important principles followed in the construction of modern capital cities.


Having given an account of the province the author describes the shape and boundaries and suggests the size of the capital city.

suśobhanā—Whatever be the shape, semi-circular, circular or square, it must be beautiful. Beauty is never lost sight of. So also the province in which it is to be situated has been described to be suramya or picturesque (428).

prākārā,—walls. ditches. The capital must be well protected and self-sufficient. This has been the ideal of all Indian cities in ancient and mediævul times. No town is mentioned without its walls and ditches.

grāmādīnāṃ—must have within it space for the laying out niveśinī of Grāmas, Pallis, Kumbhas, etc. A grāma does not mean what is implied by a modern village. It. is teacbnical term for a locality with certain definite measurements. Its area, as defined above, is 25,000,000 sq. cubits, that of a cros, i.e., which is something above 2 modern sq. miles.

The Grāmas, &c., must mean here the wards, districts and divisions into which a capital city is divided. Śukrācārya’s capital must be big enough to contain several such divisions.


These lines contain an account of the internal arrangements of the town.

sabhā—The scene of political activity must be easily accessible to all, hence to be located in the central position.

kūpa—Provision for drinking water must be adequate.

mārga etc.,—describing not only the means of communication and the places of public resort and amusements, but suggesting by the word vīthi (lines or rows) the great extent and area of the city. There must be many roads; and these are to be parallel to one another both in the straight and transverse lines. And as the parks also must be laid out iu rows and necessarily many in number, the implication is that the city is very large and populous. Vālmīki in his account of Ayodhyā under King Daśaratha, has decribed such rows of roads intersecting one another at right angles. Sir Thomas More’s ideal description of the roads in Utopia does not surpass these accounts.


As the sabhā is so centrally situated with regard to the people of the capital so the is to be centrally situated with regard to the sabhā.

gajāśva—The stables must not be outside the palace.

gava—The cows are of daily service to the Hindu family and hence must be within the palace compounds.

vāpī—The palace must have its own tanks and pools and be a self-sufficient unit in the supply of water for baths and drinks.

jalayantraMechanical instruments, pumps, spouts and other devices for rising and distributing water, or otherwise decorating the gardens as ornamental tricks.

samabhuja—The palace is to be a uniformly built structure, all its sides being of the same dimension, but its shape is not given here.


For ordinary purposes a square should be formed by four houses, two on each side, so that one may face the other in each direction. But this sort of catuḥśāla is not to be the plan for the construction of the royal residence. It is not to be an ordinary and should be naikabhuja, have many sides and be visamavāhū [viṣamavāhu/viṣamavāhuka/viṣamabāhu/viṣamabāhuka], have odd number of arms, 3, 5, 7, &c. The shape of the palace thus seems to be that of a “regular” pentagon or septagon.

The construction here is confused.


suṣṭuyaṃtrakaṃ [suṣṭuyantraka/suṣṭhuyantraka?] The royal residence should have machinery for protecting it from enemies.


Arrangements for defence of the palace.
(1) Walls with sentinels.
(2) Guards in each court-yard. Watchmen to work both during day and night each for 3 hours.

yāmikaiḥ [yāmika]—those who have to work for or the 8th part of a day.

parivartakaiḥ [parivartaka]—rotating, by those who work in turn or succession.


These rooms are mentioned below with the special purposes for which each is intended.


So the eastern houses or rooms are set apart for the supply of the primary necessaries of life.


It is difficult to find what is the propriety of setting apart these southern buildings for the purposes mentioned above. In IL 435-37 the southern side has been described as higher than the northern. Perhaps the former is meant for private and domestic purposes, the latter for public and political, cf. II.454-53.

There are to be separate rooms for drinking and weeping also. Drinking was, in fact, a recognised practice among the kings.


So the whole western side is reserved for the cattle.


It is easy to understand why all these houses are to be strong, well built and well protected sugupta.—They are to be of constant use to them, and some of them are the stores and magazines. And the necessity for making them sumanohara or magnificent arises from the fact that these being signs and indications of the ruler’s wealth and position are likely to be visited by frauds, guests and sightseers. The other houses need not be so well decorated and beautiful as they are for private purposes and hence not worth visiting.

The peculiarity in this account is that it mentions not only the school-room, the temple, the gymnasium, the store house and the magazine, hut also almost all such buildings as may be necessary to men for the ordinary affairs of life.


This statement giving the king an option to follow any order seems to indicate that the philosopher’s own prescription as to the selection of the sides for the various buildings are based on logical principles regarding health or convenience.


Having in II.435-55 described the palace, the author suggests the site of other buildings, but mentions only two.

śilpaśālā—Hall of Arts, a workshop or a museum.


Here is a bit of civil engineering.
Height of the wall = 1⅙ of the length.
Width of the wall = ⅙ of the interior of the room.




The difficulty arising from having these things just in the front of a door may be easily imagined.


Śukrācārya’s civil engineering:
Floor = ¼ the height of ordinary rooms.
= ½ the height palaces and maṇḍapas.


chāda [chadi/chadis]—roof


madhyoccā [?]—High in the middle. The conical shape of a tiled roof is well known.


A technical term for the wall of a city or a fort not the walls of ordinary rooms or buildings.

mūla—Foundation depth, samūlaka [samamūlaka?] uniform in depth pravistāra width or breadth.

The following is the measurement suggested;
Depth of foundation = ½ the height or ⅓ the height.
Width of wall = ½ the height.


The height of the wall has reference to the activities of dacoits, a practical suggestion.




All these are conditions for strengthening the wall.

praṇālī [praṇālika]—system or row. Windows through which the outside, could be observed and missiles thrown without much injury to the life and property from the weapons of the enemies,

pratiprakāra—The erection of a second wall but less high svahīna is necessary where the main wall has not the advantage of protection by a hill.


sambhāra—provisions. necessary preparations.


upakāryyā [upakāryā]—Tents.


The Hall is to have twice the space of the other rooms.


Pumps, fans and clocks are referred to here.



svagaulmika [svagopaka?]—personal guards.


sajāti—of the same class, uniform,

āpaṇamarket place,

paṇyaveśanaṃ [paṇyaveśana]stall for commodities,

nivaha—mass multitude.



Beginning with the capital the author has described the palace, the council, the dwelling houses of soldiers, officers and the people generally, the serais for travellers with many details as to their sites, measurements and internal arrangements. The whole gives a very vivid picture of the socio economic aspects of town and country life among the ancient Hindus. To make the picture complete, Śukrācārya now proceeds to describe the roads and the means of communication generally.


Thus grāmas may have—(1) Padya, (2) Beethi [Vīthi] (3) Mārga, (4) Rājamārga.
Capitals, cities and towns may have—(1) Rājamārga, (2) Mārga,
Definitions: Rājamarga
(i) 30 cubits wide
(ii) 20 cubits wide
(iii) 15 cubits wide
Mārga—10 cubits wide
Beethi [vīthi]—5 cubits wide
Padya—3 cubits wide


The characteristics of roads are highly scientific.


This characteristic of roads and principles of their construction indicates a high standard of hygienic perfection and regard for the comforts and conveniences of life. These descriptions of the town, dwelling-houses, roads, &c., are sufficient evidences to prove that the ancient Hindus, were not transcendental philosophers solely but knew how to enjoy life and use their intelligence to make it worth living and that material civilisation was not less highly developed than spiritual.


Some of these questions may have some political significance besides being mere queries to know details about the travellers. Undesirable persons may thus be arrested.

The fact that there should be such rest-houses between the grāmas is itself an indication of the considerable development of social life and the high sense of duty towards strangers and guests. And the nature of the queries as well as the principles of administration of these serais leave no doubt as to the organising capacity and administrative ability of the ancient Hindus. Even if such complex regulations for their administration are considered to be the products of the philosopher’s brain he must be credited with a good amount of political wisdom and a sound knowledge of the art of good and strong government.


The record kept by the śālādhipa would thus be a very good statistics information about merchants, merchandise, hermits, tourists, strangers, guests, their permanent addresses, position in society and the mission of their journeys. These registers might be valuable materials for the construction of a history of some of the most vital aspects of Indian socio-political life.


The account is rather incomplete because nothing is mentioned about the meals the travellers take during the night. As described above, the rest-houses are meant to be used only during the night and seem to be more like police stations than anything else. The whole method of superintendence and administration point emphatically to this.


30 muhūrtas = 60 daṇḍa = 24 hours.
The following is the king’s time-table and routine of daily work
2 muhūrtas—Studying the Budget.
1 muhūrtas—lavatory and Bath.
2 muhūrtas—Religious performances.
1 muhūrtas—Exercises, physical.
1 muhūrtasDistribution of prizes,
4 muhūrtas—Business with the chief of prizes
1 muhūrtas—Dinner and rest.
1 muhūrtas—Study of old and new,
2 muhūrtas—Consultation with Justices.
2 muhūrtas—Hunting &c.
1 muhūrtasParade of troops.
1 muhūrtas—Evening Services.
1 muhūrtas—Supper.
2 muhūrtas—Business with spies.
8 muhūrtas—Sleep.
30 Muhūrtas,


A commonplace lesson on the advantages of keeping to time, illustrated by an analogy with one of the most characteristic physical and economic features of India.


abhitaḥ [abhitas]—on all sides,

aniśaṃ [aniśa]—having no night or end, i.e., permanently,

nati—bending, bowing, etiquette &c.


dvāra—Police stations, out-posts of sentinels.


The police is to be paid out of taxes collected from the people for whom it has been stationed. An application of the principle of local taxation for local purposes.


lagnaka—Security. The administration of the village police as well as the superintendence of rest-houses for travellers indicate the vast and intricate system of public espionage that was in force. Besides there was the Secret Service Department.


Searching inquiries about strangers and ordinary men necessary. Bub men of name and fame should not be made to submit to this Criminal Investigation. There was thus room for judicious discretion.


paryyaṭana [paryaṭana]—Rounds of the sentinels.


Having described the village police the author is going to give an account of some of the social moral, sumptuary and other laws that the king should pass for the guidance of his subjects.


This is a law enjoining kind treatment of inferiors by superiors, e.g., the employees by the employer, the servant by the master, the wife by the husband, the sens by the father, and the pupils by the Guru, Three classes of social and domestic relations are mentioned here:—(1) Service, (2) The School. And as in each case tìie head is a single individual like the patriarch and likely to be tyrannical, the importance of kind words and gentle treatment cannot be overestimated. These, however, are not left to the individual’s own sense of humanity and justice. The State itself, according to Śukrācārya, should issue definite decrees.

maddeśasaṃsthitaiḥ—By those who live under my jurisdiction or commands.


tulā—Weights and measures., śāsana—system, māna—standard, nāṇaka—coins, vasā—fats, kūḍha—falsehood, deceit, e.g, adulteration in some cases, counterfeiting in others.

Śukrācārya’s comprehensive view grasps almost all the economic transactions which are liable to the practice of dishonesty and deceit, and which it has been the function of the Society and the State to guard against on hygienic, economic, moral and political grounds in all times and ages.

Here, again, as in the above cases of social and domestic relations, Śukrācārya does not advocate the policy of Laissez faire. The State should come forward and intervene and protect the society from the dangers of food adulteration, false and counterfeit coins, unscientific medicinal extracts and other preparations as well as the passing off of base metals for genuine and high class things. The following are the five classes of commodities regarding which such crimes are likely to be perpetrated:—

(1) Weights and measures. (2) Coins, (3) Medicines. (4) Metals, (5) Food substances.


These are more or less administrative and political regulations different from the above which are mainly of social and economic nature.

svāmikāryavilobhana—Just as the master has been ordered to be kind and lenient towards his employees, so the employees are here commanded not to forget or wilfully damage and consciously injure the interests of their masters.


aprakāśa—hidden, screened. It is the duty of the people not only not to commit these wrongs, but also to hand over to the police, or otherwise disclose to the State the existence of the men who are in any way undesirable to the society and the kingdom. The whole society is thus enjoined to be an active information-and-vigilance-committee and an association for public safety.

Here, as in other injunction, Śukrācārya displays the highest political wisdom and the keenest insight into the principles of strong and good government. All these are based on the principle that the security of the State depends not oun the passive, virtue of obedience to the law promulgated by it but on the active co-operation of the people with it in carrying these laws into effect, Śukrācārya’s political system has many points which have anticipated the latest principles of good administration and which have yet to be realised by modern States.


These are rules regulating conduct towards superiors in age, intelligence and character, and supplement those discussed above regarding the treatment of inferiors by superiors. The king, according to Śukranīti, has to enjoin the duties of the son, the disciples and the people generally, because as the head of the State he is also the head of the society and hence the guardian of religion and morality—a principle recognised in all monarchies.


This is a further law of the State regarding social and moral interests of the people. The greatest of all dangers to social peace and political security is the existence of conflicts, disunions, rivalry and party spirit. The bond of civil society is torn asunder when the moral relations are disturbed. Hence the greatest political offender and the most criminal sinner is he who by hie conduct promotes the breach between those who should normally live in amity and peace. And Śukranīti provides against such offences by the socio-political decree issued by the king.


This is a law preventing undue use or abuse of the public places and other works of public utility, and as such indicates, in the first place, the highly complex administrative organisation to be followed by the king, and secondly, the vast number of such temples and parks, wells and roads scattered throughout the kingdom that necessitated the passing of a separate law or at any rate their consideration as an important item of the public interests of the State. The rule regarding the disabled and the unfortunates is purely humanitarian.


Here is a mention of all those practices, and professions which for public safety, social peace and future interests of the parties concerned should be endorsed by the State, and receive a royal patent, charter or license to testify to their bona fide character. In all these cases the State, according to Śukranīti, must interfere even on the principle of “individualistic minimum.” However highly philosophers and theorists might praise the principles of let-alone and non-intervention in social affairs, statesmen and pillars of States have uniformly adopted in practice the principles of socialistic interference, and been compelled to enlarge the functions of their States even against their own abstract conceptions. The hoary Śukrācārya and the modern Sidgwick are here on a common ground.

dyūtaṃ [dyūta]—Gambling, all those plays on which money wagers are staked. Interests of public safety require that there should be a limit to these practices. Hence the necessity of royal licenses.

madyapānaṃ [madyapāna]—Drinking is also to be controlled by some such law as penalises the purchase or possession of more than a fixed quantity.

madya-saṃsādhana—preparation of wines in breweries and distilleries has also to be licensed.

mṛgayā—There are Game Laws in every civilised State. The preservation of games and the preservation of forests have become in these days the accepted principles of scientific administration. Hence sportsmen must carry licenses.

kraya—These deeds must receive royal sanction, for the agreements or contracts might contain some inhuman or immoral or illegal items, and hence have to be registered in order that they may be valid.

cikitsaṃ [cikitsa]—Licences to medical practitioners and druggists and chemists.

In reading an account of these laws one seems to be skipping over the pages of the penal and criminal codes of modern States. These and other regulations point to the remarkably analytical study of legal and juristic problems and the highly developed system of jurisprudence.

śastradhāraṇaṃ [śastradhāraṇa]—Unlicensed arming is prohibited.

The following are the classes of licensable affairs:—

(1) Gambling, (2) Drinking, (3) Distillation, (4) Sports, (5) Arming, (6) Trade in—(a) Cattle, (b) Men, (c) Land, (d) Metals, (e) Spirituous liquors, (f) Poisons, (7) Deeds of contracts regarding—(a) Sales, (b) Gifts, (c) Loans, (8) Medical Profession.

nṛṇāṃ [nṛ]—Trade in men, sales, and purchases of slaves are referred to as one of the licensable affairs.


The specially noteworthy rules in this somewhat miscellaneous regulation are about navasamājaniyama or new social regulations, and jātidūṣaṇaṃ [jāti-dūṣaṇa] or defamation of castes. It seems that no new custom or breach of the existing system was allowed to the people except through royal assent. And perhaps it was an offence to speak ill of the lower castes.



aprakāśa pratigraha—Bribes (hidden receipts.) These lines may be regarded as forming something like a Hindu Decalogue or the Ten Commandments of the Hindus:

(1) Thou must not forsake your Own duty in life.
(2) Thou must not tell lies.
(3) Thou must not commit adultery.
(4) Thou must not bear false witness.
(5) Thou must not forge.
(6) Thou must not accept bribes.
(7) Thou must not extort more than what is due unto you
(8) Thou must not steal.
(9) Thou must not oppress for commit violence.)
(10) Thou must not rebel (or commit perfidy).

Śukranīti is as much textbook of Ethics as of Political Science.


ādharṣaṇaṃ [ādharṣaṇa],—aggression,

śulka—duties, rates, taxes. This law prohibits exactions and undue enhancements of payments from the master in the shape of increased wages or salary, from the merchants in the shape of augmented excise and customs, and from the subjects in the shape of exorbitant revenues. Rates in all these cases must not be increased by threats of physical violence or by crafts of diplomacy.


parimāṇa—Standard of measurement for lands.

unmāna—Unit of measurement for liquids,

māna—Unit of measurement for grains.

vimudritaṃ [vimudrita]—Ascertained and fixed.

Realisations should be made in the above cases according to the fixed rates in the schedules published by the State.


These animals must not be allowed to destroy public property or otherwise damage the peoples’ interests.

This is a peculiar Hindu custom, viz, the consecration (utsṛṣṭa) of bulls and other animals to the gods. But the State enjoins that those who would observe this socioreligious custom must be responsible for the movements of the animals in the interests of the society at large.


Here comes the legal sanction of the social, economic, moral and political duties enumerated above. A careful study of the functions of the State as suggested by the promulgation of these laws would lead to the conviction that the Hindus were not only a nation of dreamers and philosophers, but were practical men who understood their secular and temporal interests as keenly and knew how to protect them as wisely as any other nation that has contributed to the material civilisation of humanity. Comparing the political theories and practices among the Hindas with those obtaining among other nations that have risen to the height of political consciousness and have in any considerable degree wielded the machinery called the State, one is forced to hold that, after all, the test of political wisdom and statesmanship is in the capacity to promote the interests of man and devise ways and means for their furtherance, that there is great truth in the couplet:

“For forms of government let fools contest
Whatever is best administered is best.”

It is an error to suppose that the Hindus were “pre-political” and “pre-economic” people or even that they were an essentially non political or non-economic race. Political insight, the study of public interests, solicitations for material prosperity and discussions about the common weal must have been integral features of Hindu national life in order that it might evolve such conceptions of order and notions of political organisation as we have been-describing here.


In order to prevent the possibility of the pleading of ignorance of laws the greatest publicity has to be given to them. Two means are suggested—(1) The beating of the State drum to announce the royal orders and (2) The Proclamations written down and stuck as poster in public places such as squares, the crossings of streets, &c.


Roads must always be maintained in good condition and free from the aggression of robbers and cheats. The purpose is also mentioned—pādyasukhāyai.e., for the convenience of travellers and passengers.


Six divisions of the annual expenditure are here suggested. The appropriations of the income to serveral purposes are to be in the following proportion:—

Grāmapa ... 1/12th of the income.
Army ... 3/12th of the income.
Charity ... 1/24th of the income.
People ... 1/24th of the income.
Officers ... 1/24th of the income.
Personal ... 1/24th of the income.
Six items of expenditure ... 12/14th or ½ a of the income.

The annual deposit of the surplus is therefore to be ½ of the income.


Each of these qualifications is explained below.


Two conditions make a Pandit [Paṇḍita] (1) intellectual. He must be honest and unprejudiced enough bo discuss with anybody and accept logical truths wherever received, (2) Moral- He must be a man of virtuous deeds.


vaktṛtā—Not oratory or elocution, but plain and honest speaking of the truths. Thus not an intellectual but a moral qualification is expressed by the word as used in the treatise.


utthāna—A technical term for what is known as mobilisation or state of military readiness in view of an imminent war.


From the very great precaution advised against indiscriminate use of food it would appear that poisoning of foods meant for kings or members of the royal family and of men of wealth and position generally was one of the prominent social evils of the times. For this we have an analogy in the Italian society of the Fifteenth Century.

In the next lines the author is describing the process of testing the food and the indications by which its purity is to be determined by narrating the effects of poison upon some of the domestic animals.


A mixed diet is recommended. There must be no preponderance of any one taste.

ṣaḍrasa—The six flavours or tastes are sweet, salt, pungent, bitten sour and astringent.


Military exploit and other physical exercises are described here. The king must never be without military training.

vyūha—Array of soldiers, formation of groups.


lakṣyesandhānasādhanaṃ—Which is instrumental (sādhana) in striking or hitting (sandhāna) the objective or aim (lakṣya)

In a previous part these military and manly exercises were mentioned as two important items of the daily routine of work. The author is here explaining his reason for making them an integral part of the king’s life.



ceṣṭitaṃ [ceṣṭita]—Activities, demonstrations, manifestations.

mataṃ—Opinions, approved measures.

adhikāriṇāṃ [adhikārin]—Of men appointed as officers.

prākṛtīnāṃ [prākṛti]—The Departments of State.


parṇa—Religious student.



The following are the rules about the administration of espionage:—

(1) The king should bear from the spies at night.
(2) He should be well-protected while in their presence,
(3) He should examine them, before appointment, as to their capacity and honesty.
(4) He should punish them when dishonest but carefully protect them during their period of work.


This is a general principle about all kingdoms. Evils of many leaders were not unknown.

‘No leaders’ would mean anarchy. So the rule of One is the only normal form according to Śukranīti. Śukrācārya’s system does not recognise a form of government in which sovereignty rests with the Many.


According to the principle of the rule of One the law of primogeniture must obtain in the matter of succession to the crown.


dāyāda—Receivers of shares, heirs,

The conflict between possible heirs is the great defect of all conditions where hereditary monarchy prevails, and the difficulty is felt both in kingdoms as well as duchies or non-regal jurisdictions Partition suits, civil wars quarrels between sons, nephews and uncles intensified by rivallies between ministers, pretender’s claims are the natural phenomena where possessions come down on the domestic system. Hence the danger both to the territory as well as the family. Both are involved in the common ruin.


The possible heirs who in their self-interest cannot but look upon the existing king as well as his direct successor as rivals and natural enemies and who would gain rather than lose anything in their deaths, must be maintained in the right royal style so that they may not take umbrage at any carelessness on the part of officers of the royal household.


Wants to seize or capture.

This, again, is a sound advice. In politics, as in other affairs, union is strength and disunion is fall. The evil of small kingdoms has been sufficiently indicated in these lines regarding leaders, and succession.


The members of the royal family who may legally hope to get throne in default of heirs, should be pacified by the grant of pensions or appointment as officers under the State, e.g,, chiefs and governors of the districts. Something like, a Feudal system is thus to be introduced by establishing a hierarchy of officials from among the members of the royal blood.


bāndhava—“A distant or cognate kinsman, and subsequent in right of inheritance to the gentile or sagotra; the bandhu is of three kinds—

(1) The kinsman of the person himself,
(2) The kinsman of the person’s father, as his father’s brother’s son,
(3) The kinsman of the person’s mother, as his mother’s sister’s or brother’s son; and the same reckoning upwards, e.g., his father’s father’s sister a son.”—Wilson.




koṣṭha—“Any viscus, as the heart, lungs, stomach, bowels.”—Wilson. It may thus mean a part of the body, a side. So pārśva and koṣṭha refer almost to the same thing. And those who go by pārśva and koṣṭha of the king may thus be roughly described as Aid-de camps. Bodyguards, Attaches or Retinue, &c.


Thus the sons are to take the seats on extreme right wing and the daughter’s sons those on the extreme left wing of the back.


These persons are to sit before him in a row proceeding from the west to the east on his right-hand side.


This is also likely to be a row proceeding from the west to the east. The two rows would thus face each other.


astra—arms which have to be thrown, missiles.

siddha—Unerring, effective.


This is a precaution against flattery and the temptation to hear praises.


With regard to the minister, the king should not act upon the principle “Silence gives consent,” for there may be due motives for their silence.


The king must have his own opinion on the top; then the individual opinions of the ministers with their reasons he will invite in a written form The final decision will rest With him. The principle of acceptance is supplied by the rule of majority.


The king is always to have in bis service competent and able-bodied men and animals, as well as effective and useful materials (sambhāra). Hence the necessity of daily examination.


Conveyance of news is a great part of political life and the king is advised to have a swift Postal Service. The post must be quick enough to carry the news of two hundred miles in the course of one day. If such arrangements could be practically made one of the most important means of modern administration must have been secured.


This is the special arrangement for the training of officers.

bhṛtipoṣitān [bhṛtipoṣita]—Scholarship-holders and stipendiaries. In this case the two lines would imply that the king should maintain students with scholarships for the study of the various branches of learning, and when they have been sufficiently educated, should appoint them to proper posts in the Government service. The lines would then refer to the general system of education financed by the state, and the method of giving employments in the State to learned scholars.


Does it refer to the system of annual examinations or recognitions of merit and the awarding of titles, diplomas, prizes to the alumni every year?


Encouragement of education, spread of learning find the development of arts and sciences are regarded as some of the functions of the king. Śukrācārya while enumerating the so many social, moral and economic functions in addition to the ordinary political and administrative functions of the State, does not forget the educational activities of what has been called the Cultur Staat.


This, however, is the very means of taking away from the people’s minds the notion of “the divinity that hedges the king” Advocates of monarchy generally make a political application of the precept ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ by keeping the king as much away from the peoples’ gaze and scrutiny as possible and thus shrouding him with transcendental halo and endowing the royal position and affairs with a mystic grandeur. It is one of the many peculiar paradoxes of Hindu sociology that the king who is a god in human form is yet by personal contact and other ways brought within the field of public criticism in such a way as in other countries has led to the gradual devolution of bis influence and functions on the many and the establishment of a Democracy, or at any rate, the Aristocracy.


The king does net look magnificent unless he is attended by the retinue of officers and the regal insignia as well as the paraphernalia. The king alçne is no more than a dog, i.e., cannot command awe and reverence of the people.


sva sāmyaprāpitaiḥ guṇaiḥ—by those who have been made to attain (prāpitaḥ [prāpita]) equality (sāmya) with him by dint of qualifications, i.e., meritorious and well-trained.

prakṛti—As a term in Hindu Political treatises means: (1) subjects, (2) the requisites or departments of rāṣṭra which have been mentioned previously to be seven in number, (3) officers, ministers, secretaries, &c.


But the two are to be distinguished by applying the dictum: ‘All that glitters is not gold.’


Among the many duties of the king, inspection and supervision, by fours through the kingdom, of the work of bis officers as well as inquiry into the condition of the subject have been given a prominent place," He must nob be an irresponsible head, but the real controller of affairs and hence must personally study the affairs of the State.

grāmāṇi purāṇi deśān—These three terms [grāma, pura, deśa] seem to describe the three principal units of territorial administration like the township, the city and the circle of modern States.

rañjita—Satisfied, karṣita—tortured, displeased. The words point to the good or bad effects of administration.

tāsāṃ tu bhūtān vyavahāraṃ vicintayet—Should discuss measures (vyavahāra) according to the matters or complaints or petitions (bhūta) brought forward by the people. The king’s tours must not be nominal. He must be prepared to solve some of the knotty points which may have been left untouched or decided unsatisfactorily or temporarily by the servants. The right of direct petition by the subject is here, as in other places, definitely recognised.

A monarchy however divine and absolute in theory, supplies, so far as these and other conditions are mentioned, practically all the advantages of self-rule and government by the Many. The most rigid enforcement of obligations and duties from, side by side with the most lavish grant of rights and privileges to, both the governor and the governed explain the seeming inconsistency and paradox that characterise the Hindu political system, and the great discrepancy between the theoretically despotic and the practically democratic features of the political organisation,


This is a sound political maxim and is based on the observation of the fact that the people’s interests and opinions do in most cases differ from the report and opinions of the servants of the State. Hence in cases of conflict between the two, the king should take the peoples’ point of view.

Happiness of the people is the sole consideration to a king. Hence his interests must ever be identified with those of the people. And in deciding upon measures he should be guided by the truth ‘vox populi vox deii.’ Thus though the king is himself a god, the god of the king is the people. And, in fact, the king has been described their Servant getting remuneration for his work is II.375-6 where the peculiar dualism and antithesis in the king’s position have been very unhesitatingly indicated.

The combination of sacrifice with enjoyment, the harmonising of sanyāsa and asceticism with Saṃsāra and attachments, the intermixture of Nivṛtti or highest spiritual self-realisation with Pravṛtti or pursuit of pleasure in life, the perception of the Infinite in the Finite, and the leavening of duties with right are, in fact, the permanent and essential features of that transcendental Positivism, that. Idealism and Supernaturalism in the interests of the actual and natural, that Sense of otherworldliness for the practical good of this world and the happiness of man that characterise the national life and literature, and are embodied in the social institutions, of the Hindus This eternal antithesis between the human and superhuman is the fundamental bedrock of Hindu Sociology and is never forgotten by poets in their description of ideal kings and great men. It is the basis of the division of Hindu life into the four stages of Brahmacarya, Gārhasthya, Vānaprastha and Yati. The test and touchstone of true greatness among the Hindus are the approximation in life and thought, to such principles as are suggested by the phrases asakto sukhamantabhūt or ‘he enjoyed happiness without attachment,’ and karmaṇyevādhikāraste mā phaleṣu kadācana or ‘thy light is only to the work, never to the fruits.’


Is it something like Greek ostracism? This is a sufficient check to the arbitrary or foolish actions of the royal servants. Verily, the voice of the people is the voice of the god.


sakṛt—many times. sin, āgas—offences, ekānte—privately, not in public manner for otherwise people would have no confidence in the minister. As the minister occupies a very important and dignified post, the king should be very careful in scrutinising his affairs so as not to lower him in the estimation of the public.


Confiscation of possessions when dependent rulers are proved to be incompetent, or conquest of territories when neighbouring kings are found to commit wrong.


The king must never lose time in following up a victory by establishing his offices, courts, palaces in the conquered kingdom (viṣaya) in order to make the people feel the fact of conquest and organise the administration of the province in his own way.

He must display his ability not only to acquire, but also to rule and protect.


These lines prescribe the taking over the administration of a badly ruled country and granting maintenance to the dispossessed.


The period of rest as given in that daily routine described above is 8 muhūrtas of ¼ of the 24 hours.


samāharet—rescue, deliver.


This describes the natural helplessness of these, and by analogy suggests the helplessness of rulers who have been driven out of their own kingdom, unless they can have their hill stations as the basis of operations against the victorious enemies. The necessity of “Protections” for the advancement of learning is also hinted at.


These are the dictates of Diplomacy.


The king should not blame himself for his inactivity or idleness in putting forth energy when he finds that his subjects do not appreciate his paternal care.


suviphalaṃ [suviphala]—thoroughly unsuccessful.


samāsa—brief, condensed form.



Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: