Shishupala-vadha (Study)

by Shila Chakraborty | 2018 | 112,267 words

This page relates ‘Proper time for war’ 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.

In political science specific time of season in a year has been described. As for example autumn and spring. Manu said about proper time for war.

“mārgaśīrṣe śubhe māsi yāyād yātrāṃ mahīpatiḥ |
phālgunaṃ vā'tha caitraṃ vā māsau prati yathābalam ||”7.182 ||[1]

“Let the king undertake his march in the fine month mārgaśirṣa, or towards the months of phālguna and caitra according to the condition of his army.”[2]

The commentary of Kullūkabhaṭṭa is—

‘caturaṅgavalopeto rājā karirathādigamanavilamvena vilambitaprayāṇaḥ tathā haimantikaśasyabahulañca pararāṣṭraṃ jigamiṣuḥ, samupagamanāya śobhane mārgaśīrṣe māsi yātrāṃ kuryāt | yaḥ punaraśvavalaprāyo nṛpatiḥ śīghragatirvasanta śasyavahulaṃ pararāṣṭraṃ yiyāsuḥ sa phālgune caitre vā māsi svabalayogyakālānatikrameṇa yāyāt | ataeva manvarthavyapāraparaṃ saṃkṣepeṇa yājñavalakyavacanam— “yadā śasyaguṇopetaṃ pararāṣṭraṃ tadā brajet |”

And the Commentary of Medhātithi is—

“yātavyāpekṣayā valāpekṣayā dīrghaṃ yoddhumicchan balaprāyaḥ śāradavāsantikaśasyaprāyaṃ pararāṣṭraṃ mārgaśīrṣe yāyāt | tatra hi gacchan śāradaṃ phalaṃ gṛhādigataṃ sukhaṃ gṛhnati, vāsantaṃ śasyamupaharati | kālaśca mahān durgoparodhādikāryakṣamo mārgaśca prasiddhavakrapathopabhṛtakāśodakavīrudho na bhavanti | kālaśca nātyuṣṇaśītaḥ upacitamapi na śasyaṃ nānāprayuktaṃ priyaṃ śasyatrayopaghātakālaviprakarṣāpekṣayā ca para āśrayaṃ sandhatte | ubhayaśasyopaghātāvakarṣaṇaṃ samyak kṛtaṃ bhavatyatmanaśca balāpacaya iti | upaghātamātracikīrṣāyā paradeśāderalpakālasādhye vā yātari, balaprāyaḥ phālgunacaitrayoryāyāt vāsantikaśasyaprāyadeśam | tadāpyatmano yavasādi bhavati | paropadhātakṣetragataśasyopadhātāt | yathāvalamiti yena prakāreṇa valānurupaṃ yāyādityarthaḥ |

English version says—

“The month of mārgaśirṣa has been declared to be the most suitable season for leading an expedition for it is during this period of the year that a country is full of fresh crop and foodstuff. The month of phālguna and caitra i.e. the vernal season is also suitable for march in as much as such kinds of food-stuff as barley, peas and others ripen during that part of the year”[3]. In the Śāntiparvan of the Mahābhārata the utility of this season has been explained. It was said that in these season their were neighter to much cold nor to much hot, neighter the scarsity of water nor the scarsity of food. (100.11)[4]

In the udyogaparvan it has been said that in the Kaumudamāsa that is in the month of October and November their was plenty of food and other meterials. The trees are full of fruits, there is no nuisance of bees, the way is not muddy, the climate is also very pleasant. (142-16-17)[5]

But appeart from these seasons war took place in the other season.

A widely known principle of politics was that a king should attack his enemy whenever he was in trouble and it might be in any time of the year.

Kauṭilya has, however, indicated different seasons of the year for undertaking march against different kinds of country. Thus a king may march during the dry season against a country which is of hot climate and in which fodder and water are obtained in little quantities. He may march during the summer against a country in which the sun is shrouded by mist and which is full of deep valleys and thickets of tree and grass. He may murch during the rains against a country which is suitable for the manoeurve of his own army and which is of reverse nature for his enemies’ army. Kauṭilya also speaks of a long march between the months of December and January and a march of mean length between march and April and a short march between may and June.”[6]

According to Kauṭilya the time of going to war depends on the nature of purpose and the organization of the army.

kālaḥ śītoṣṇavarṣātmā | tasya rātrirahaḥ pakṣo māsa ṛturayanaṃ saṃvatsaro yugamiti viśeṣāḥ | taṣu yathāsvabalabṛddhikaraṃ karma prayuñjīta | yatrātmanaḥ sainyavyayāmānāmṛtuḥ anṛtuḥ parasya sa uttamaḥ kālaḥ viparīto'dhamaḥ | sādhāraṇo madhyamaḥ |” (9.1.22-25)[7]

English version says—

“Time is of the nature of cold, heat and rain. Its various parts are; night, day, fortnight, month, season, half year, Year and yuga. In them, he should start work that would augment his own strength. That in which the season is suitable for the operations of one’s own army, unsuitable for those of the enemy, is the best time, the opposite kind is the worst, alike to both is middling”.[8]

Manu said—

“anyeṣvapi tu kāleṣu yadā paśyed dhruvaṃ jayam |
tadā yāyād vigṛhyaiva vyasane cotthite ripoḥ ||” 7.183 ||[9]

It means—

“Even at other times, when he has a certain prospect of victory, or when a disaster has befallen his foe, he may advance to attack him.”[10]

The commentary of Kullūkabhaṭṭa is—

“ukkakālavyatirikteṣu yadātmano niścitaṃ jayamavagacchet tadā svavalayogyakāle grī—ṣmādāvapi hastyaśvādivalaprāyo vigṛhyaiva yātrāṃ kuryyāt | śatroścāmātyadiprakṛtigo—caradaṇḍapāruṣyādivyasane jāte'ripakṣabhūtāyāṃ tatkṛtāvapi ukkakālādanyatrāpi yāyāt |”

And the commentary of Medhātithi is—

‘asyāpaṣādaḥ etadvya— tirekeṇānyetvapi prāvṛḍādikāleṣu yadā manyetātmano'vaśyambhāvivijayaṃ tadā yāyāt | yadā hastyaśvavalaprāyaṃ varṣāsvaśvavalaṃ hastivalaṃ tadā hi svavalakālaprabhāvādekāntiko jayaḥ | vyasanaṃ parasya svavalakośadi tasmin utpanne svavalakālanirapekṣo yāyāt | vyasanapīḍito hi śatruḥ sādhyo bhavati | kāṣṭhamiva gunopayukkasanniyogamātrādeva vinaśyati | vigṛhyeti yātavyamevāṣṭabhyāhūya yāyāt mahānasminnevāvagamyate |”

Kauṭilya thought, the nature of army should also be considered. As per example if in the army of vijigīṣu there were greature number of elephants then it would be possible to go war in the rainy season, because in hot weather the elephants perspire much and suffer from leprosy. On the other hand if there were plenty of chariots horses then he should go to war in other seasons except the rain.

Kauṭilya says—

“vijigīṣurātmanaḥ parasya ca valāvalaṃ śaktideśakālayātrākālavalasamuddānakālapaścātkopakṣayavyāyalābhāpadāṃ jñātvā viśiṣṭavalo yāyāt, anyathā''sīt |”(9.1.1)[11]

English version says—

“After ascertaining the (relative) strength or weakness of powers, place, time, seasons for marching, time for raising armies, revolts in the rear losses, expenses, gains and troubles, of himself and of the enemy, the conqueror should march if superior in strength, otherwise stay quiet.”[12]

He also said about the marching times of the vijigisu king.

“tairabhyuccitaḥ tṛtīyaṃ caturthaṃ vā daṇḍasyāṃśaṃ mūle pārṣṇyāṃ pratyantāṭavīṣu ca rakṣāṃ vidhāya kāryasādhanasahaṃ kośadaṇḍaṃ cādāya kṣīṇapurāṇabhakkamagṛhītanavabhakta masaṃskṛtadurgamamitraṃ vārṣikaṃ cāsya śasyaṃ haimanaṃ ca muṣṭimupahantaṃ] mārgaśīṣoṃ yātrāṃ yāyāt | haimanaṃ cāsya śasyaṃ vāsantikaṃ ca muṣṭimupahantaṃ] caitrīṃ yatrāṃ yāyāt | kṣīṇatṛṇakāṣṭodakamasaṃskṛtadurgamamitraṃ, vāsantikaṃ cāsya sasyaṃ vārṣikīṃ ca muṣṭimupahantuṃ jyeṣṭāmūlīyāṃ yātrāṃ yāyāt |” (9.1.34-36)[13]

English version says—Grown superior in these (power, place and time),

“Keeping a third or a fourth part of the army as protection in the base, in the rear, and in forests on the borders and taking with him treasury and troops capable of carrying out the undertaking, he should march against the enemy, whose old stocks of food are exhausted, who has not yet collected the new food-grains and whose forts is unrepaired, on an expedition in Mārgaśīrṣa, with a viw to destroy his monsoon crops and winter sowings. He should march on an expedition in Caitra, with a view to destroy his winter crops and spring sowings. He should march on an expedition in Jyeṣṭ ha, against the enemy, whose stores of grass, timber and water are exhausted and whose forts is unrepaired, with a view to destroy his spring crops and monsoon sowings”.[14]

Here,

Mule, i.e, in the Kingdom from which the expedition starts. In this case there is no reference to the enemy’s difficulties, Perhaps in Caitra, conditions described in kṣīṇapurāṇa—etc. are not expected to arise. Meyer things that Jyeṣṭha is absured and that Śrāvaṇa was expected, But monsoon sowing so late as in Śrāvaṇa are not very likely.”[15]

In this context shyama Shastri said:

“He should march during the month of Jyeṣṭha (May-June) against one whose storage of fodder, firewood and water has diminished and who has not repaired his fortifications, if he means to destroy the enemy’s vernal crops and handfuls of rainy season”.

(As it is seen in the Kauṭilīyam Arthaśāstram edited by Manabandu Bandyopadhay, part II. page. 416).

Kauṭilya also said about this matter—

“atyuṣṇamalpayavasendhanodakaṃ vā deśaṃ hemante yāyāt | tuṣāradurdinamagādhanimnaprāyaṃ gahanatṛṇavṛkṣaṃ vā deśaṃ grīṣme yāyāt | svasainyavyāyamayogyaṃ parasyā yogyaṃ varṣati yāyat | mārgaśīrṣīṃ taiṣīṃ cāntareṇa dīrghakālaṃ yātrāṃ yāyāt | caitrīṃ vaiśakhīṃ cāntarareṇa madhyamakālāṃ jyeṣṭāmūlīyamāṣāḍhīṃ cāntareṇa hrasvakālāmupoyiṣyanvyasane caturthīm | vyāsanābhiyānaṃ vigṛhyayāne vyākhyātam |” (9.1.37-41)[16]

In English version it is said—

“He should march in winter against a country which is very hot or which has little fodder, fuel and water. He should march in summer against a country with showers of snow, or consisting mostly of deep water or with dense grass and trees. He should march when it is raining against a country suited to the operations of his own army and unsuited to those of the enemy. He should march on an expedition of long duration between the Margaśīrṣa and the pauṣa full moon days, on one of medium duration between the Caitra and the Vaiśākha full moon days, on one of short duration between the Jyeṣṭha and the Āṣāḍha full moon days, on the fourth (expedition), if desirous of burning up (the enemy) in his calamity. Marching in (the enemy’s) calamity has been explained in (the Section on) ‘marching after making war”.[17]

He also says about marching time.

“prāyaśaścāryāḥ ‘paravyasane yātavyam’ ityupadiśanti | śaktyudaye yātavyamanaikāntikatvād vyasanānām’ iti kauṭilyaḥ | yadā vā prayātaḥ karśayitumucchettuṃ vā śaktnuyādamitraṃ tadā yāyāt |” (9.1.42-44)[18]

English version says—

“And in general the teachers advise, ‘one should march in the enemy’s calcamity’. ‘On occasion of strength one should march, there being uncertainty as to calamities’, says Kauṭilya. Or, he should march when by marching he would be able to weaken or exterminate the enemy.”[19]

“atyuṣṇopakṣīṇe kāle hastivalaprāyo yāyāt | hastino hyantaḥsvedāḥ kuṣṭhino bhavanti | anavagāhamānāstoyamapibantaścāntaravakṣārāccāndhī bhavanti | tasmāt prabhūtodakedeśo varṣati ca hastibalaprāyaḥ yāyāt | viparyaye kharoṣṭrāśvabalaprāyaḥ deśamalpavarṣapaṅkaṃ varṣati maruprāyaṃ caturaṅgabalo yāyāt |”(9.1.45-50).[20]

In English version it is said—

“At a time when excessive heat is over, he should march with elephant divisions for the most part. For, elephants, sweating inside, become leprous. And not getting a plunge in water or a drink of water, they become blind through internal secretion. Hence in a region with plenty of water and when it is raining he should march with elephant divisions for the most part. In the reverse case, (he should march) with troops consisting mostly of donkeys, camels and horses, in a region with little rain and mud. In a region mostly desert, he should march with the fourfold army when it is raining.”[21]

Only Kauṭilya said—

1) expedition of long duration between the month of Agrahāyaṇa and pauṣa (December and January), expedition of medium duration between the month of caitra and vaiśākha (March and April) and expedition of short duration between the month of Jyajṣṭha and Āṣ āḍha (May and June). But Manu did not classify any duration like Kauṭilya.

2) King should march any time of the year when the vijigīṣu king realises that the enemy is in trouble and in calamity (evil practices). When he (vijigīṣu) thinks that he is powerfull than the enemy success will come sure then he will march for war. Both Manu and Kauṭilya are unanimous in this point.

3) Manu said that king should march against his enemy depending upon the strength of his force power. He did not discuss elaborately about this matter, but the commentators Kullūka and Medhātithi discussed it elaborately. Kauṭilya also discussed this matter in detail.

4) Kauṭilya said that the king should march against his enemy according to the condition of enemies’ country.

Manu did not opine in details but the detail description is given by the commentators. It is more or less similar to the opinion of Kauṭilya.

Basically there is no difference between the opinion of the Manusaṃhitā and the Arthaśāstra. It seems that basing on the opinion of Manu and the commentators Kauṭilya established his explanatory opinion about the appropriate time of marching against the enemy.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p.713.

[2]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 181.

[3]:

ibid., p.182.

[4]:

Mahābhārata, Śāntiparvan, pp. 296-297 (vol.7).

[5]:

ibid., Udyogaparavan, p. 380 (Vol.6).

[6]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 182.

[7]:

R.P. Kangle: Op. cit., part-I, p. 218.

[8]:

ibid., Part-II, p. 407.

[9]:

Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op. cit., p.714.

[10]:

Ashokanath Shastri: Op. cit., p. 183.

[11]:

R.P. Kangle: Op.cit., part-I, p. 217.

[12]:

ibid., part-II, p. 406.

[13]:

ibid., part-I, p. 218.

[14]:

ibid., part-II, p. 408.

[15]:

ibid., part-II, p. 408 (foot note).

[16]:

ibid., part-I, p. 218.

[17]:

ibid., part-II, p. 408.

[18]:

ibid., part-I, p. 218.

[19]:

ibid., part-II, p. 408.

[20]:

ibid., part-I, p. 219.

[21]:

ibid., part-II, p. 409.

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