Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Shadguna included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Ṣaḍguṇa

Six kingly or political policies. Sandhi, Vigraha, Yāna, Āsana, Dvaidha and Āśraya are the six policies of state-craft. (Manusmrti, Chapter 8, Verse 160)


To enter into peace and concord with the enemy is Sandhi. One may make peace for one’s own benefit with the enemy, who is powerful and is fighting. There are sixteen kinds of sandhi called Kapālasandhi, etc. No kind of peace or treaty should be made with twenty kinds of kings, i.e. infants; old men; one suffering from chronic disease; cast out by one’s own people; coward; one whose supporters are cowards; miser; one whose people are misers; who is very much addicted to women and such other material things; one, who has not a mind of one’s own and is ruled by more than one adviser; he, who does not respect Devas and brahmins; one hated or forsaken by God; blasphemer; one subject to scarcity and sorrow; one not with satisfactory army; local person; one with many enemies; one whose days are numbered and one devoid of truth and righteousness. One shall only fight and not enter into peace with the above types of people.


Fighting, i.e. war is vigraha. War is the result of mutual evil-doings. The king, who desires prosperity who is troubled by others and in whose favour time and circumstances are, should go in for war. The main causes of war are the following: the desire to capture kingdom, woman, position etc. haughtiness and imperiousness, obstruction to duties and rights, the interest of friends and allies, destruction to one’s allies, both parties getting interested in one and the same thing etc. Enmity is engendered chiefly due to the following causes:—rivalry of co-wives, disputes about property and women, verbal controversies and wrongs committed. The following kinds of wars should not be fought:—Wars the benefit of which is meagre or futile; war which would cause harm in the present as also in future; with the enemy whose strength is not correctly known; incited by others, for others, on account of women, which would continue for long; with brahmins, where time and fate are not in favour; with him, who has powerful allies, though of temporary advantage but which will not be so in future; though of advantage in future but useless at present.

The king should always do what will be of advantage at present as also in future. If one’s own army is strong and enthusiastic and when the army of the adversary is not so, one may go in for war. Also, when all circumstances are in one’s favour and against the antagonist one may fight.


Yāna means marching for war. One may start for war after declaring it, after making peace, after making alliances; and incidentally also.


To remain quiet or doing nothing which is also of four kinds as yāna.


To get in between the contending parties to support with words only and to remain without joining either side is dvaidha. He who takes up the stand should, on meeting both the parties, serve the stronger side. But if he finds that both the parties are making peace, and not in need of his aid, he should approach their enemy, who is more powerful than they, or he should fight by himself.


When one is attacked by a stronger enemy and if one finds no means to retaliate, one should depend upon another person, who is noble, truthful and powerful. To put on a supplicant’s look, to understand the moods of that person whose help is sought and to be humble to him—these are the characteristics and traits of the dependent. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 240.

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