Nitiprakasika (Critical Analysis)

by S. Anusha | 2016 | 34,012 words

This page relates ‘Ashtadasha-tirtha (18 chief councillors and officials)’ of the study on the Nitiprakasika by Vaisampayana which deals primarily with with Dhanurveda, i.e., the science of war, weapons and military strategies of ancient Indian society. It further contains details on Niti-shastra, i.e., the science of politics and state administration but most verses of the Nitiprakashika deal with the classification and description of different varieties of weapons, based on the four groups of Mukta, Amukta, Muktamukta and Mantramukta.

Aṣṭādaśa-tīrtha (18 chief councillors and officials)

The term “tirtha”, according to Halāyudha kośaḥ[1], indicates 18 chief councillors and officials of a country.

The text declares that a king should have full knowledge of these eighteen officials and fifteen of them (except chief-minister, crown prince and purohita) should always be kept under surveillance of three spies at a time (Nītiprakāśikā I. 51):


In explanation of this, Tattvavivṛti enlists all the eighteen councillors and officials citing from a Niti text[2].

Besides the king, there are–

  1. mantrī (ministers),
  2. purohita (chief priest),
  3. yuvarāja (crown prince),
  4. bhūpati (feudatory king),
  5. dvārapāla (door-keeper),
  6. antarvaṃśika (chamberlain),
  7. kārāgārādhikārī (joint-superintendent),
  8. dravyasañcayakṛt (treasurer),
  9. viniyojaka (distributor of the wealth to different departments),
  10. pradeṣṭās (chief of a territory),
  11. nagarādhyakṣa (chief of the town),
  12. kāryanirmāṇakṛt (head of the department of public works),
  13. dharmādhyakṣa (chief justice),
  14. sabhādhyakṣa (chief of the assembly),
  15. daṇḍapāla (chief of the police),
  16. durgapāla (guard of the fortress),
  17. raṣṭrāntapālaka (chief of the internal affairs) and
  18. aṭavipālaka (guard of the forests).

As the head of the State, the king supervises all these eighteen officials. They are constantly under his watch through a well-develped espionage system, to assess their contribution to the society and the country.

Thus, to maintain peace in the country, the proper application of the four upāyas and ṣaḍguṇya, right approach to triśakti and trisiddhi and right execution of aṣṭakarmas that enhance the treasury and the eighteen tirthas that run the administrative business of the state are all imperative. Proper governance of the state, planning of works of public welfare, correct foreign policy and efficient military administration are absolutely necessary for the upkeep of peace in a welfare state.


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