Shishupala-vadha (Study)

by Shila Chakraborty | 2018 | 112,267 words

This page relates ‘Amatya according to Manu’ of the study on the Shishupala-vadha (in English) in the light of Manusamhita (law and religious duties) and Arthashastra (science of politics and warfare). The Shishupalavadha is an epic poem (Mahakavya) written by Magha in the 7th century AD. It consists of 1800 Sanskrit verses spread over twenty chapters and narrates the details of the king of the Chedis.

Kauṭilya mentioned that kingship is possible only with the aid of assistants. Among the assistants ministers are very important aid. A single wheel of a chariot can not work. In the same manner king should appoint minister.

Sage Manu also says in this context—

“api yat sukaraṃ karma tadapyekena duṣkaram |
viśeṣato'sahāyena kimu (kiṃ tu) rājyaṃ mahodayam || 7. 55 ||[1]

‘Even an undertaking easy (in itself) is (some times) hard to be accomplished by a single man, how much (harder is it for a king) especially (if he has) no assistant (to govern), a prosperous kingdom.[2]

“The term ‘mahodaya [mahodayam]’ means “a kingdom yielding great revenue”. It appears to us, however, that the sense which has been sought to be conveyed here is this; governing a prosperous kingdom is really a difficult task. Good administration of a prosperous kingdom requires really capable and intelligent leadership which must be reinforced by worthy counsels and devoted assistants”.[3]

It is very appropriately said by Kauṭilya that—rulership can be successfully carried out (only) with the help of associates. One wheel alone does not turn. Therefore, king should appoint ministers and listen to their opinion.

The king should select a number of ministers for the efficient running of administration. Manu discussed the quality of amātya.

He says—

“maulān śāstravidaḥ śūrān lavdhalakṣyān kulodgatān |
sacivān sapta cāṣṭau vā prakurvīta parīkṣitān ||”7. 54 ||[4]

“Let him appoint seven or eight ministers whose ancestors have been royal servants who are versed in the sciences heroes skilled in the use of weapons and descended from (noble) families and who have been tried.”[5]

Commentator Kullūkabhaṭṭa says in his commentary of above śloka

‘maulān pitṛpitāmahakrameṇa sevakān, teṣāmapi drohādinā vyabhicārāda, dṛṣṭādṛṣṭārtha śāstrajñān vikrāntān lavdhalakṣyān lakṣyādapracyuta śarīraśalyādīn āyudhavida ityarthaḥ, viśuddhakulabhavān devatāsparśādi niyatānamātyan saptāṣṭau vā mantrādau kurvīta |’

And commentator Medhātithi says—

‘pitṛpitāmahānvayāgatā vahusutadhanavāndhavāḥ prakaṭagobhūmidhanāstaddeśavāsino maulāḥmūlaṃ pratiṣṭhā tatra bhavā maulāḥ | śāstravidaḥ śāstraṃ śāsanaṃ bhṛtyavidhijñānaṃ tenānye'pi guṇāḥ gṛhyante | tadyathā—prājñaḥ dṛḍhakārī dhārayiṣṇurdakṣaḥ vāgmī pravalaḥ pratipattimān utsāhaprabhāvayukkaḥ kleśasahaḥ śucirdānaśīlaḥ yogyasattvayuktastambhacāpalahīnaḥ priyo vairāṇāmakarteti | śūraśavdena rājakārye śarīrakalatrāpatyadhanādiṣvapi nirapekṣa ucyate | tathā maraṇe'bhīruḥ yuddhotsāhī ekaeva paribhavabhayādvahabhirvirudhyate | dṛḍhaprahārī valavān | lavdhalakṣāḥ paridṛṣṭakarmatā mananohāḥ dṛṣṭakhaḍga vyāpārāḥ kṛtārthādhikārāḥ ānubhūtamantribhūmayaḥ | kulodgatān kulāṅkuśanigṛhītā hyakārye na vartante | sacivān sahāyān | nityamete rājñaḥ pārśavartino bhaveyuḥ | sapta—vāṣṭau vā niyamo'yaṃ yena cālpa ekacittā bhavanti | tataśca rājamantrodghāṭakaḥ syāt vahunāmapi mantrabhedaḥ | tasmādetāvanta eva kartavyāḥ | suparīkṣitān dharmārthakāmabhayopadhābhiḥ seyaṃ parīkṣocyate | purīhitaḥ svalpakārye rājñā vyājenādhikṣiptaḥ vahunārthasampadānenāptapuruṣairekaikamamātyamupajayet rājavināśaya | etacca sarvaṃ mantrimyo rocate | atha kathaṃ bhavata iti, pratyakhyāte arthopadhāśuddhaḥ | parivrājikāntaḥpure lavdhaviśvāsā ekekamamātyamūpajeyata sā rājamahiṣī bhavantaṃ kāmayate kṛtasamāgamopāyeti | pratyakhyāne kāmopadhāśuddhaḥ | rājaprayuktāeva kecit puruṣāḥ pramādamāviṣkuryyuḥ kṛtasamayairamātyai rājā hanyata iti | upalavdhapramādaḥ purohitasyāptaḥ kaścidamātyeṣu mantraṃ śrāvayet | imaṃ pravādamupaśrutya bhavatāṃ nigraho rājñā kriyata iti teṣāmeva cānyatamaḥ pūrvameva kṛtasaṃvitkaḥ pratyekaṃ rājñāmātyeṣūtsāhayet | tatra ye pratyacakṣate te bhayopadhāśuddhāḥ | athavā mailāstāvat kuryyādarthapramāda—kartṛsannidhātṝn ye arthaṃ grāmebhyaḥ samāharanti samāhṛtañca rakṣanti viniyuñjate ca sarvathārtha vyavahāriṇo maulāḥ kartavyā ityuktaṃ bhavati | śāstravido vuddhisacivā mantriṇaḥ | śūrān valādhyakṣān | śavdalakṣānityadi sarveṣāṃ viśeṣaṇamekaikasya | samuditaparīkṣā ca yoktā rājaviṣayā rājāmātyeṣūtsāhanamiti sā na yukteti manyante | eṣa eva hi vuddhibhedo bhavedamātyanām | tasmādanyā kācit strī sādhvī prayojyā anyaśca vināśāviṣaya udāhāryaḥ |”

“Medhātithi Points out that the restriction to a small number makes unity possible. In case of a greater number it is difficult to obtain unanimity on a aparticular issue… The appointment of a prime minister has not been mentioned by Manu. It is worthy of notice that pedigree is one important point for consideration at the time of selection of ministers. The expression “maulāñ” and “Kulodgatān” should be studied in this light”.[6]

Here Kullūka interprets the word “labdhalakṣān” as skilled in the use of weapons”[7]. Medhātithi and Govindarāja interpret that as “those who do not fail in their undertakings.”[8]

Parīkṣitān or Suparīkṣitān means according to Medhātithi “who have been tried i.e., by tempting them in various ways”[9]. According to Govindarāja—“who have been examined by spies’.[10] Kullūka Bhaṭṭa and Rāghavānanda say that “who have been bound to fidelity by touching images of gods” etc.[11]

Manu says which subjects will be discussed by the king with the ministers.

“taiḥ sārdhaṃ cintayennityaṃ sāmānyaṃ sandhivigraham |
sthanaṃ samudayaṃ guptiṃ lavdhapraśamanāni ca ||”7.56 ||[12]

“Let him daily consider with them the ordinary (business referring to) peace and war, Sthāna (the four subjects, viz., the army, the treasury, the town and the kingdom), the sources of revenue (like fields mines etc.), the manner of protecting (himself and his kingdom) and the sanctification of his gains (by pious gifts)”.[13]

Here according to commentator Kullūka, Govindorāja, Rāghavānanda and sarvajñanārāyana ‘Sthāna’ means “the army, the treasury, the town and the kingdom.” According to Nandana Sthāna means ‘halting’ (āsana).[14]

Commentator Kullūkabhaṭṭa says about the commentary of this verse—

“taiḥ sacivai saha sāmānyaṃ mantreṣvagopanīyaṃ sandhivigrahādi tannirūpayet | tathā tiṣṭatyaneneti syānaṃ daṇḍapoṣaṇakoṣapurarāṣṭrātmakaṃ caturvidhaṃ cintayet | daṇḍyate'neneti daṇḍo hastyakharathapadātayaḥ, teṣāṃ poṣaṇaṃ rakṣaṇādi taccintayet | koṣo'narthanicayaḥ tasyāyavyāyādi | purasya rakṣaṇādi | rāṣṭraṃ deśaḥ | tadbāsimanuṣyapakhādidhāraṇakṣamatvādi cintayet | tathā samudayantutpadyante asmādarthā iti samudayo dhānyahiraṇyādutpattisthanaṃ tannirūpayet | tathā guptiṃ rakṣāmātmagatāṃ rāṣṭragatāñca suparīkṣitamannādyamadyāt, “parīkṣitāḥ striyaścaivami” tyadinātmarakṣaṇaṃ “rāṣṭrasya saṃgrahe nityami”tyadinā rāṣṭrarakṣāñca vakṣyati | lavdhasya ca dhanasya praśamanāni satpātre pratipādanādīni cintayettathā ca vakṣyati— “jitvā sampujayeddevāni” tyadi |”

Commentator Medhātithi says in his commentary of this śloka

“tairvuddhisacivaimurkhyairścārthadhikāribhiḥ saha sāmānyaṃ yannātirahasya taccintayet sandhivigraham, kiṃ sandhiḥ samprati yuktoatha vigrahaḥ | ubhayatra guṇadoṣān vicārayet | idaṃ kartavyāvadhāraṇantu svavuddhyā kuryāt yathāsya paraprayojyatā na bhavati | idañcāparaṃ cintayet sthanaṃ taccaturvidhaṃ daṇḍakoṣapurarāṣṭrāṇi | tatra daṇḍo hastyakharathapadātayaḥ teṣāṃ pratikarma poṣaṇarakṣaṇādi cintyaṃ pratikarma | na hyasamādhānaṃ pradhānañca yathā kośasya hemarupyavāhulyaṃ pracurarupyatā āyavyayalakṣaṇañca kośasya | tathā nyāyasthanāni na vyāyitavyāni na vilamvanīyāni bhṛtyanām | tathā rāṣṭrasya deśaparyāyasya svājīva ānmasandhāraṇaṃ parasandhāraṇena nadībṛkṣāḥ paśavaḥ śatrudveṣākrāntaprāyaḥ guptigocaraḥ paśumān adevamātṛkaḥ āpadi ca daṇḍakaragraha ityevamādi | purasya vakṣyati tasmādāyadhasampannamiti | āthavā sthanaṃ svadeśaccāpracyavanam evaṃ samudayo'pi cintyaḥ | tatra kṛṣirvrajagulmasthanāni vāṇijyamuktadaṇḍa ityevamādiḥ | guptiṃ svarāṣṭragatāṃ vakṣyati | labdhapraśamanañca devatāsamaṃ vidyāvatāṃ dhārmikāṇāñca mānadānatyagāyogaḥ ābidyānāñcābhyanujñānaṃ sarvavandhanamokṣaḥ | anugraho dīnavyadhitānām utsavānāñcāpūrvāṇāṃ pravartanaṃ pravṛttānāmanuvṛttiḥ | yacca kośadaṇḍopādhikamadhārmikacaritraṃ tadapanīya dharmavyavahārān sthapayet | adharmacārikramakṛtamanyasya kṛtaṃ vānyaiḥ pravartayet na vā dharmakṛtañcānyairnibartayediti | evaṃ sthanādīni cintyāni | “teṣāṃ svaṃ svamabhiprāyamupalabhya pṛthak pṛthak | samastānāñca kāryeṣu vidadhyād hitamātmanaḥ ||” 7.57 ||[15]

“Having (first) ascertained the opinion of each (minister) separately and (then the views) of all together let him do what is (most) beneficial for him in his affairs.”[16]

King should know the opinion of each minister separately and of all together because some persons who can not express their expression among many people. Again some persons are able to express their sharp intellect among all.

In this context commentator Kullūkabhaṭṭa says—

“teṣāṃ sacivānāṃ rahasi niṣpratipakṣatayā hṛdayagatabhāvajñānasambhavāt pratyekamabhiprāyaṃ samastānāmapi yugapadabhiprāyaṃ buddhā kāryeṣu yadātmano hitaṃ tat kuryāt” |

According to Medhātithi—

“teṣāṃ pṛthak pṛthagekaikasya rahasyabhiprāyaṃ hṛdayanihitaṃ bhāvamupalabhya samastānāṃ saṃhatānāṃ yat kāraṇaṃ kaścit puruṣaḥ pariṣadi apratibhānavān bhavati rahasi pragalbhaḥ kaścit pariṣadyāsāditaprajñaḥ tataśca tān samastān pṛcchet | tataḥ svayaṃ yadyukkataraṃ hitamātmane sadvyavasyedvidadhyāt | tat prāmāṇyaṃ teṣāmevānyatamenopadiṣṭaṃ vā yadapratyanīkaṃ nirdoṣañca |”

‘It is worthy of notice that the king must have at least one Brāhmaṇa minister and that this minister should be in charge of external affairs. It is implied, therefore, that this minister occupies a status more important than all other ministers’.[17]

Manu says—

“sarveṣāntu viśiṣṭena brāhmaṇena vipaścitā | mantrayet paramaṃ mantraṃ rājā ṣāḍguṇyasaṃyutam ||” 7.58 ||[18]

“But with the most distinguished among them all, a learned Brāhmaṇa, let the king deliberate on the most important affairs which relate to the six measures of royal policy”.[19]

The six measures of royal policy are:

1) treaty, (sandhi),
2) war (vigraha),
3) marching (yāna),
4) halting (āsana),
5) double dealing (dvaidhībhāba),
6) seeking protection (saṃśraya).

nityaṃ tasmin samāśvastaḥ sarvakāryāṇi niḥkṣipet |
tena sārddhaṃ viniścitya tataḥ karma samārabhet ||”7.59 ||[20]

Let him, full of confidence, always entrust to that (official) all business, having taken his final resolution with him, let him (afterwards) beging to act.’[21]

Beside this king should appoint some minister according to his necessity.

“anyānapi prakurvīta śucīn prājñānavasthitān |
samyagartha samāhartṝnamātyan suparīkṣitān ||” 7.60 ||[22]

“He must also appoint other ministers, (men) of integrity, (who are) wise, firm, well able to collect money, and are well-tried”.[23]

It has been said before that the number of ministers should be seven or eight; but the number may be increased.

So, Manu says—

“nirvartetāsya yāvadmiriti kartavyatā nṛbhiḥ
tāvato'tandritān dakṣān prakurvīta vicakṣaṇān ||” 7. 61 ||[24]

“As Many persons as the due performance of his business requires, so many skillful and clever (men), free from sloth, let him appoint.”[25]

Kauṭilya points out that these additional ministers are executive ministers, they are to be appointed for the purpose of doing additional work.

Manu in śloka no sixty two (62) mentions some of the works to be done by these additional ministers.

“teṣāmarthe nijuñjīta śūrān dakṣān kulodgatān |
śucīnākarakarmānte bhīrūnantarniveśane ||” 7.62 ||[26]

“Among them let him employ the brave, the skilful, the high born, and the honest in (offices for the collection of) revenue, e.g., in mines, manufactures and store house, but the timid in the interior of his palace.”[27]

To save the kingdom king does not play tricks his ministers. In this content Manu says—

“amāyayaiva varteta na kathañcana māyayā |” 7.104 ||[28]

Let him ever act without guil and on no account treacherously. In this context the commentary of Kullūka is—

“mayayā chadmatayā āmātyadiṣu na varteta | tathā sati sarveṣāmaviśvasanīyaḥ syāt | dharmarakṣārthaṃ yathātattenaiva vyavaharet | yatnakṛtītmapakṣarakṣaśca śatrukṛtāṃ prakṛtibhedarūpāṃ māyāṃ cāradvāreṇa jānīyāt”

The commentary of Medhātithi is—

mayā chadma tena na varteta na ca paraprakṛtīrajñātarūpā upajayet | ariṇāprayuktāñca māyāṃ yathāvadvudhyeta vuddhyā kṛtvopajāpaṃ kuryāt | tatra kṛtyapakṣaścaturvidhaḥ kruddhaluvdhabhītāvamānitaiḥ | tatra yena hṛtaṃ śalyaṃ kiñcidupakāro vā darśitaḥ sa vipralabhyate prasādena niyojyate avamanyate vā tadarthe'pi tatsamānaḥ śalyopakārī krudhyati nāsyāsmadīyaṃ śalyamupakāro vopayujyate, tādṛśā upajāpasahā bhavanti | tathā vāllabhyenopagṛhītaḥ paścānmānādhikārābhyāṃ bhraṣṭaḥ pravāsitavandhustadvallabhaḥ prasabhamabhipūjya svīkṛtaḥ sakulyairantarhitaḥ sarvasvamāhāritastat samānakarmavid yo'nya pūjyate so'vadhīryyate ityevamādiḥ kruddhaḥ | kenacit kṛtaṃ paiśunyaṃ tatsamānadoṣebhyo daṇḍinaḥ tat sarvādhikārasthaḥ sahayopapāditārtha ityadi luvdhavargaḥ parikṣīṇaḥ kadaryo vyasanavahula ityadibhītavargaḥ | ātmasambhāvitaḥ śatrupūjārcanarataḥ tīkṣṇasāhasiko homenāsantuṣṭa ityevamādiravamānitavargaḥ | etat parasyopajapet ātmanaśca rakṣet |”

The King is also careful about his ministers etc. rājyāṅga Manu says—

nāsya chidraṃ paro vidyāt vidyācchidraṃ parasya tu |
gūhet kūrma ivāṅgāni rakṣedvivaramātmanaḥ ||” 7.105 ||[29]

“His enemy must not know his weaknesses, but he must know the weaknesses of his enemy; as the tortoise (hides its limbs), even so let him secure the members (of his government against treachery), let him protect his own weak points.”[30]

“Manu says that ‘there may be occasions when the enemy king succeeds in creating dissension among his subjects. But the king should be careful enough to see through the upajāpa of the enemy king and he must counteract the influence of his opponent by successful personal efforts. Inspite of his best endeavour to conceal dissatisfaction among some of his subjects the enemy might come to know of it through the instrumentality of his spies. But in case there is leakage of information it is his duty to see that he can undo the activities of the enemy in that direction”.[31]

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhay, (Ed. & trans.): Manusaṃhitā, p. 656.

[2]:

Ashokanath Shastri, (Ed. & trans.): Manusaṃhitā (7th chap.) pp. 69-70.

[3]:

ibid., p. 70.

[4]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p. 655.

[5]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 67.

[6]:

ibid., p. 68.

[7]:

ibid., p. 69.

[8]:

loc. cit.

[9]:

loc. cit.

[10]:

loc. cit.

[11]:

loc. cit.

[12]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p. 657.

[13]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., pp. 70-71.

[14]:

ibid., p.71.

[15]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p. 658.

[16]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 72.

[17]:

ibid., p. 73.

[18]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p. 658.

[19]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 72.

[20]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p. 658.

[21]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 73.

[22]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p. 659.

[23]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 74.

[24]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p. 659.

[25]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 75.

[26]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p. 659.

[27]:

Ashokanath Shastri,: Op. cit., p. 76.

[28]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhay: Op. cit., p. 679.

[29]:

loc.cit.

[30]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 122.

[31]:

loc.cit.; 31a Ashokanath shastri: Op. cit., pp. 69-70

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