The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes The six expedients used by a king (continued) which is chapter 240 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 240 - The six expedients used by a king (continued)

Rāma said:

1-5. A king should think mainly about the circle of twelve kings. The enemy, friend, ally of an enemy, ally of an ally, ally of an ally of the enemy are known to be at the front of the conqueror. An enemy in the rear, a king whose kingdom lies next but one, the allies of these two is the circle (of kings) of a king desiring to conquer. One who is beyond the enemy and the invader is the neutral. One is a master in favouring the united and the suppression of the divided. One who is beyond this circle of kings and possessing a greater strength is known to be a neutral. One is a lord in favouring the allies and the annihilalation of the divided. I shall describe the treaty, battle, vehicle, seat etc.

6-9. One should make a treaty with the strongly opposed for one’s welfare. Treaties are said to be sixteen—kapāla, upahāra, santāna, saṅgata, upanyāsa, pratīkāra, saṃyoga, puruṣāntara, adṛṣṭanara, ādiṣṭa, ātman, upagraha, parikrama, chinna, paradūṣaṇa and skandhopaneya. Reciprocally beneficial, mutual amity, being related to each other and making presents (as token of friendship) are the four principal treaties.

10-14. One should not make treaties with the twenty people such as a child, an old man, one ill since a long time, an excommunicated relative, a coward, cowardly people, greedy people, one who has renounced the world, one excessively fond of worldly things, one devising many schemes, a despiser of gods and brahmins, an ill-fated one, one who speaks ill of fate, one suffering from famine, one having a discontented army, one having many enemies within the country and one who had become free in course of time and one swerved from adhering to truth and virtuous life. They should always be fought. A war is the result of mutual offence of men (hostile kings).

15-18. One aspiring the prosperity for himself, one being oppressed by another and one having favourable position, time and strength should begin war. Taking possession of kingdom, women, suzerainty, knowledge and strength, pride, honour, loss of fortune, destruction of knowledge, one’s soul force and the virtue, that is due fate, dishonour on account of a friend, the destruction of a relative, cessation of the favour of (natural) elements, disturbance among the circle of monarchs, intense attachment for the sake of one are the causes for hostility.

19-24. Enmity is said to be of five kinds—through the cowife, on account of one’s abode, on account of wife, that arising from one’s expression and that due to an offence. It should be amended by (suitable) expedients. A king should not engage in any of the following sixteen kinds of war, such as giving meagre result, yielding absolutely nil result, of uncertain result, that vitiating the existing order, proving fruitless in the long run that which affects in the long run and the existing order, with an army mobilised by enemy whose strength is not known, being undertaken for the sake of an ally or for the (recovery of a) woman or that (lasting) for a long time, or with brahmins, with one equipped with an untimely providence, with (an enemy) supported by a mighty friend, when it yields some result only at that moment but with no fruit in the long run and that which bears fruit in the long run but no benefit at that very moment. A king should undertake a task that would bear fruit at that moment and also in the long run.

25-32. One should wage war when one’s forces are happy and strong and the enemy forces are of contrary nature. One should commence a battle when the friend, an ally and a neighbouring king are firmly attached to him and that of the enemy is the contrary. A military expedition is said to be of five kinds by experts such as an open foe, as an ally (If one of the combatants), as united force, as occasional and remaining neutral. Like the expedition, halt is also of five kinds according to the ability of mutually (combating forces) of the enemy and the invader. One should inform his arrival to (the commander of) the stronger of the two opposing forces remaining without taking the side of either of them and like the eye of the crow remain un-noticed. One should join the stronger one when the hostilities begin. When both of them suspect his feigned neutrality and would dislike the engagement, one should himself attack the enemy that is more antagonistic. When a king with his army is routed by the powerful enemy and does not find a strategy, he should practise truthfulness and noble virtues of the ancestors. He should visit the powerful ally frequently, stay by his side, view things as he does and show gratitude for the support extended. The code of conduct for those seeking refuge has been heard.

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