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Kautilya's Arthashastra
Book II: The Duties of Government Superintendents
Translated by R. Shamasastry

Formation of villages; division of land; construction of forts; buildings within the fort; the duty of the chamberlain; the business of collection of revenue by the collector-general; the business of keeping up accounts in the office of accountants; detection of what is embezzled by government servants out of state-revenue; examination of the conduct of Government servants; the procedure of forming royal writs; the superintendent of the treasury; examination of gems that are to be entered into the treasury; conducting mining operations and manufacture; the superintendent of gold; the duties of the state goldsmith in the high road; the superintendent of store-house; the superintendent of commerce; the superintendent of forest produce; the superintendent of the armoury; the superintendent of weights and measures; measurement of space and time; the superintendent of tolls; the superintendent of weaving; the superintendent of agriculture; the superintendent of liquor; the superintendent of slaughter-house; the superintendent of prostitutes; the superintendent of ships; the superintendent of cows; the superintendent of horses; the superintendent of elephants; the superintendent of chariots; the superintendent of infantry; the duty of the commander- in-chief , the superintendent of passports; the superintendent of pasture lands; the duty of revenue collectors; spies in the guise of householders, merchants, and ascetics; the duty of a city superintendent.


  • EITHER by inducing foreigners to immigrate (paradesapraváhanena) or by causing the thickly-populated centres of his own kingdom to send forth the excessive population (svadésábhishyandavámanéna ), the king may construct villages either on new sites or on old ruins (bhútapúrvama vá).

  • Villages consisting each of not less than a hundred families and of not more than five-hundred families of agricultural people of súdra caste, with boundaries extending as far as a krósa (2250 yds.) or two, and capable of protecting each other shall be formed. Boundaries shall be denoted by a river, a mountain, forests, bulbous plants (grishti), caves, artificial buildings (sétubandha), or by trees such as sálmali (silk cotton tree), samí (Acacia Suma), and kshíravriksha (milky trees).

    There shall be set up a stháníya (a fortress of that name) in the centre of eight-hundred villages, a drónamukha in the centre of four-hundred villages, a khárvátika in the centre of two-hundred villages and sangrahana in the midst of a collection of ten villages.

  • There shall be constructed in the extremities of the kingdom forts manned by boundary-guards (antapála) whose duty shall be to guard the entrances into the kingdom. The interior of the kingdom shall be watched by trap-keepers (vágurika), archers (sábara), hunters (pulinda), chandálas, and wild tribes (aranyachára).

  • Those who perform sacrifices (ritvik), spiritual guides, priests, and those learned in the Vedas shall be granted Brahmadaya lands yielding sufficient produce and exempted from taxes and fines (adandkaráni).

  • Superintendents, Accountants, Gopas, Sthánikas, Veterinary Surgeons (Aníkastha), physicians, horse-trainers, and messengers shall also be endowed with lands which they shall have no right to alienate by sale or mortgage.

  • Lands prepared for cultivation shall be given to tax- payers (karada) only for life (ekapurushikáni).

  • Unprepared lands shall not be taken away from those who are preparing them for cultivation.

  • Lands may be confiscated from those who do not cultivate them; and given to others; or they may be cultivated by village labourers (grámabhritaka) and traders (vaidehaka), lest those owners who do not properly cultivate them might pay less (to the government). If cultivators pay their taxes easily, they may be favourably supplied with grains, cattle, and money.

  • The king shall bestow on cultivators only such favour and remission (anugrahaparihárau) as will tend to swell the treasury, and shall avoid such as will deplete it.

  • A king with depleted treasury will eat into the very vitality of both citizens and country people. Either on the occasion of opening new settlements or on any other emergent occasions, remission of taxes shall be made.

  • He shall regard with fatherly kindness those who have passed the period of remission of taxes.

  • He shall carry on mining operations and manufactures, exploit timber and elephant forests, offer facilities for cattlebreeding and commerce, construct roads for traffic both by land and water, and set up market towns (panyapattana).

  • He shall also construct reservoirs (sétu) filled with water either perennial or drawn from some other source. Or he may provide with sites, roads, timber, and other necessary things those who construct reservoirs of their own accord. Likewise in the construction of places of pilgrimage (punyasthána) and of groves.

  • Whoever stays away from any kind of cooperative construction (sambhúya setubhandhát) shall send his servants and bullocks to carry on his work, shall have a share in the expenditure, but shall have no claim to the profit.

  • The king shall exercise his right of ownership (swámyam) with regard to fishing, ferrying and trading in vegetables (haritapanya) in reservoirs or lakes (sétushu).

  • Those who do not heed the claims of their slaves (dása), hirelings (áhitaka), and relatives shall be taught their duty.

  • The king shall provide the orphans, (bála), the aged, the infirm, the afflicted, and the helpless with maintenance. He shall also provide subsistence to helpless women when they are carrying and also to the children they give birth to.

  • Elders among the villagers shall improve the property of bereaved minors till the latter attain their age; so also the property of Gods.

  • When a capable person other than an apostate (patita) or mother neglects to maintain his or her child, wife, mother, father, minor brothers, sisters, or widowed girls (kanyá vidhaváscha), he or she shall be punished with a fine of twelve panas.

  • When, without making provision for the maintenance of his wife and sons, any person embraces ascetism, he shall be punished with the first amercement; likewise any person who converts a woman to ascetism (pravrájayatah).

  • Whoever has passed the age of copulation may become an ascetic after distributing the properties of his own acquisition (among his sons); otherwise, he will be punished.

  • No ascetic other than a vánaprastha (forest-hermit), no company other than the one of local birth (sajátádanyassanghah), and no guilds of any kind other than local cooperative guilds (sámuttháyiká- danyassamayánubandhah) shall find entrance into the villages of the kingdom. Nor shall there be in villages buildings (sáláh) intended for sports and plays. Nor, in view of procuring money, free labour, commodities, grains, and liquids in plenty, shall actors, dancers, singers, drummers, buffoons (vágjívana), and bards (kusílava) make any disturbance to the work of the villagers; for helpless villagers are always dependent and bent upon their fields.

  • The king shall avoid taking possession of any country which is liable to the inroads of enemies and wild tribes and which is harassed by frequent visitations of famine and pestilence. He shall also keep away from expensive sports.

  • He shall protect agriculture from the molestation of oppressive fines, free labour, and taxes (dandavishtikarábádhaih); herds of cattle from thieves, tigers, poisonous creatures and cattle-disease.

  • He shall not only clear roads of traffic from the molestations of courtiers (vallabha), of workmen (kármika), of robbers, and of boundary-guards, but also keep them from being destroyed by herds of cattle.

  • Thus the king shall not only keep in good repair timber and elephant forests, buildings, and mines created in the past, but also set up new ones.

[Thus ends Chapter I, "Formation of Villages” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of twenty-second chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE King shall make provision for pasture grounds on uncultivable tracts.

  • Bráhmans shall be provided with forests for sóma plantation, for religious learning, and for the performance of penance, such forests being rendered safe from the dangers from animate or inanimate objects, and being named after the tribal name (gótra) of the Bráhmans resident therein.

  • A forest as extensive as the above, provided with only one entrance rendered inaccessible by the construction of ditches all round, with plantations of delicious fruit trees, bushes, bowers, and thornless trees, with an expansive lake of water full of harmless animals, and with tigers (vyála), beasts of prey (márgáyuka), male and female elephants, young elephants, and bisons—all deprived of their claws and teeth—shall be formed for the king's sports.

  • On the extreme limit of the country or in any other suitable locality, another game-forest with game-beasts; open to all, shall also be made. In view of procuring all kinds of forest-produce described elsewhere, one or several forests shall be specially reserved.

  • Manufactories to prepare commodities from forest produce shall also be set up.

  • Wild tracts shall be separated from timber-forests. In the extreme limit of the country, elephant forests, separated from wild tracts, shall be formed.

  • The superintendent of forests with his retinue of forest guards shall not only maintain the up-keep of the forests, but also acquaint himself with all passages for entrance into, or exit from such of them as are mountainous or boggy or contain rivers or lakes.

  • Whoever kills an elephant shall be put to death.

  • Whoever brings in the pair of tusks of an elephant, dead from natural causes, shall receive a reward of four-and-a-half panas.

  • Guards of elephant forests, assisted by those who rear elephants, those who enchain the legs of elephants, those who guard the boundaries, those who live in forests, as well as by those who nurse elephants, shall, with the help of five or seven female elephants to help in tethering wild ones, trace the whereabouts of herds of elephants by following the course of urine and dungs left by elephants and along forest-tracts covered over with branches of Bhallátaki (Semicarpus Anacardium), and by observing the spots where elephants slept or sat before or left dungs, or where they had just destroyed the banks of rivers or lakes. They shall also precisely ascertain whether any mark is due to the movements of elephants in herds, of an elephant roaming single, of a stray elephant, of a leader of herds, of a tusker, of a rogue elephant, of an elephant in rut, of a young elephant, or of an elephant that has escaped from the cage.

  • Experts in catching elephants shall follow the instructions given to them by the elephant doctor (aníkastha) and catch such elephants as are possessed of auspicious characteristics and good character.

  • The victory of kings (in battles) depends mainly upon elephants; for elephants, being of large bodily frame, are capable not only to destroy the arrayed army of an enemy, his fortifications, and encampments, but also to undertake works that are dangerous to life.

  • Elephants bred in countries, such as Kálinga, Anga, Karúsa, and the East are the best; those of the Dasárna and western countries are of middle quality; and those of Sauráshtra and Panchajana countries are of low quality. The might and energy of all can, however, be improved by suitable training.

[Thus ends Chapter II, “Division of Land” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of twenty-third chapter from the beginning.]


  • ON all the four quarters of the boundaries of the kingdom, defensive fortifications against an enemy in war shall be constructed on grounds best fitted for the purpose: a water-fortification (audaka) such as an island in the midst of a river, or a plain surrounded by low ground; a mountainous fortification (párvata) such as a rocky tract or a cave; a desert (dhánvana) such as a wild tract devoid of water and overgrown with thicket growing in barren soil; or a forest fortification (vanadurga) full of wagtail (khajana), water and thickets.

  • Of these, water and mountain fortifications are best suited to defend populous centres; and desert and forest fortifications are habitations in wilderness (atavísthánam).

  • Or with ready preparations for flight the king may have his fortified capital (stháníya) as the seat of his sovereignty (samudayásthánam) in the centre of his kingdom: in a locality naturally best fitted for the purpose, such as the bank of the confluence of rivers, a deep pool of perennial water, or of a lake or tank, a fort, circular, rectangular, or square in form, surrounded with an artificial canal of water, and connected with both land and water paths (may be constructed).

  • Round this fort, three ditches with an intermediate space of one danda (6 ft.) from each other, fourteen, twelve and ten dandas respectively in width, with depth less by one quarter or by one-half of their width, square at their bottom and one-third as wide as at their top, with sides built of stones or bricks, filled with perennial flowing water or with water drawn from some other source, and possessing crocodiles and lotus plants shall be constructed.

  • At a distance of four dandas (24 ft.) from the (innermost) ditch, a rampart six dandas high and twice as much broad shall be erected by heaping mud upwards and by making it square at the bottom, oval at the centre pressed by the trampling of elephants and bulls, and planted with thorny and poisonous plants in bushes. Gaps in the rampart shall be filled up with fresh earth.

  • Above the rampart, parapets in odd or even numbers and with an intermediate, space of from 12 to 24 hastas from each other shall be built of bricks and raised to a height of twice their breadth.

  • The passage for chariots shall be made of trunks of palm trees or of broad and thick slabs of stones with spheres like the head of a monkey carved on their surface; but never of wood as fire finds a happy abode in it.

  • Towers, square throughout and with moveable staircase or ladder equal to its height, shall also be constructed.

  • In the intermediate space measuring thirty dandas between two towers, there shall be formed a broad street in two compartments covered over with a roof and two-and- half times as long as it is broad.

  • Between the tower and the broad street there shall be constructed an Indrakósa which is made up of covering pieces of wooden planks affording seats for three archers.

  • There shall also be made a road for Gods which shall measure two hastas inside (the towers ?), four times as much by the sides, and eight hastas along the parapet.

  • Paths (chárya, to ascend the parapet ?) as broad as a danda (6 ft.) or two shall also be made.

  • In an unassailable part (of the rampart), a passage for flight (pradhávitikám), and a door for exit (nishkuradwáram) shall be made.

  • Outside the rampart, passages for movements shall be closed by forming obstructions such as a knee-breaker (jánubhanjaní), a trident, mounds of earth, pits, wreaths of thorns, instruments made like the tail of a snake, palm leaf, triangle, and of dog's teeth, rods, ditches filled with thorns and covered with sand, frying pans and water-pools.

  • Having made on both sides of the rampart a circular hole of a danda-and-a-half in diametre, an entrance gate (to the fort) one-sixth as broad as the width of the street shall be fixed.

  • A square (chaturásra) is formed by successive addition of one danda up to eight dandas commencing from five, or in the proportion, one-sixth of the length up to one-eighth.

  • The rise in level (talotsedhah) shall be made by successive addition of one hasta up to 18 hastas commencing from 15 hastas.

  • In fixing a pillar, six parts are to form its height, on the floor, twice as much (12 parts) to be entered into the ground, and one-fourth for its capital.

  • Of the first floor, five parts (are to be taken) for the formation of a hall (sálá), a well, and a boundary-house; two-tenths of it for the formation of two platforms opposite to each other (pratimanchau); an upper storey twice as high as its width; carvings of images; an upper-most storey, half or three-fourths as broad as the first floor; side walls built of bricks; on the left side, a staircase circumambulating from left to right; on the right, a secret staircase hidden in the wall; a top-support of ornamental arches (toranasirah) projecting as far as two hastas; two door-panels, (each) occupying three-fourths of the space; two and two cross-bars (parigha, to fasten the door); an iron-bolt (indrakila) as long as an aratni (24 angulas); a boundary gate (ánidváram) five hastas in width; four beams to shut the door against elephants; and turrets (hastinakha) (outside the rampart) raised up to the height of the face of a man, removable or irremovable, or made of earth in places devoid of water.

  • A turret above the gate and starting from the top of the parapet shall be constructed, its front resembling an alligator up to three-fourths of its height.

  • In the centre of the parapets, there shall be constructed a deep lotus pool; a rectangular building of four compartments, one within the other; an abode of the Goddess Kumiri (Kumárípuram), having its external area one-and-a-half times as broad as that of its innermost room; a circular building with an arch way; and in accordance with available space and materials, there shall also be constructed canals (kulyá) to hold weapons and three times as long as broad.

  • In those canals, there shall be collected stones, spades (kuddála), axes (kuthári), varieties of staffs, cudgel (musrinthi), hammers (mudgara), clubs, discus, machines (yantra), and such weapons as can destroy a hundred persons at once (sataghni), together with spears, tridents, bamboo-sticks with pointed edges made of iron, camel-necks, explosives (agnisamyógas), and whatever else can be devised and formed from available materials.

[Thus ends Chapter III, "Construction of Forts,” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of twenty-fourth chapter from the beginning.]


  • DEMARCATION of the ground inside the fort shall be made first by opening three royal roads from west to east and three from south to north.

  • The fort shall contain twelve gates, provided with both a land and water-way kept secret.

  • Chariot-roads, royal roads, and roads leading to drónamukha, stháníya, country parts, and pasture grounds shall each be four dandas (24 ft.) in width.

  • Roads leading to sayóníya (?), military stations (vyúha), burial or cremation grounds, and to villages shall be eight dandas in width.

  • Roads to gardens, groves, and forests shall be four dandas.

  • Roads leading to elephant forests shall be two dandas.

  • Roads for chariots shall be five aratnis (7½ ft.). Roads for cattle shall measure four aratnis; and roads for minor quadrupeds and men two aratnis.

  • Royal buildings shall be constructed on strong grounds.

  • In the midst of the houses of the people of all the four castes and to the north from the centre of the ground inside the fort, the king’s palace, facing either the north or the east shall, as described elsewhere (Chapter XX, Book I), be constructed occupying one-ninth of the whole site inside the fort.

  • Royal teachers, priests, sacrificial place, water-reservoir and ministers shall occupy sites east by north to the palace.

  • Royal kitchen, elephant stables, and the store-house shall be situated on sites east by south.

  • On the eastern side, merchants trading in scents, garlands, grains, and liquids, together with expert artisans and the people of Kshatriya caste shall have their habitations.

  • The treasury, the accountant’s office, and various manufactories (karmanishadyáscha) shall be situated on sites south by east.

  • The store-house of forest produce and the arsenal shall be constructed on sites south by west.

  • To the south, the superintendents of the city, of commerce, of manufactories, and of the army as well as those who trade in cooked rice, liquor, and flesh, besides prostitutes, musicians, and the people of Vaisya caste shall live. 

  • To the west by south, stables of asses, camels, and working house.

  • To the west by north, stables of conveyances and chariots.

  • To the west, artisans manufacturing worsted threads, cotton threads, bamboo-mats, skins, armours, weapons, and gloves as well as the people of Súdra caste shall have their dwellings.

  • To the north by west, shops and hospitals.

  • To the north by east, the treasury and the stables of cows and horses.

  • To the north, the royal tutelary deity of the city, ironsmiths, artisans working on precious stones, as well as Bráhmans shall reside.

  • In the several corners, guilds and corporations of workmen shall reside.

  • In the centre of the city, the apartments of Gods such as Aparájita, Apratihata, Jayanta, Vaijayanta, Siva, Vaisravana, Asvina (divine physicians), and the honourable liquor-house (Srí-madiragriham), shall be situated.

  • In the corners, the guardian deities of the ground shall be appropriately set up.

  • Likewise the principal gates such as Bráhma, Aindra, Yámya, and Sainápatya shall be constructed; and at a distance of 100 bows (dhanus = 108 angulas) from the ditch (on the counterscarp side), places of worship and pilgrimage, groves and buildings shall be constructed.

  • Guardian deities of all quarters shall also be set up in quarters appropriate to them.

  • Either to the north or the east, burial or cremation grounds shall be situated; but that of the people of the highest caste shall be to the south (of the city).

  • Violation of this rule shall be punished with the first amercement.

  • Heretics and Chandálas shall live beyond the burial grounds.

  • Families of workmen may in any other way be provided with sites befitting with their occupation and field work. Besides working in flower-gardens, fruit-gardens, vegetable-gardens, and paddy-fields allotted to them, they (families) shall collect grains and merchandise in abundance as authorised.

  • There shall be a water-well for every ten houses.

  • Oils, grains, sugar, salt, medicinal articles, dry or fresh vegetables, meadow grass, dried flesh, haystock, firewood, metals, skins, charcoal, tendons (snáyu), poison, horns, bamboo, fibrous garments, strong timber, weapons, armour, and stones shall also be stored (in the fort) in such quantities as can be enjoyed for years together without feeling any want. Of such collection, old things shall be replaced by new ones when received.

  • Elephants, cavalry, chariots, and infantry shall each be officered with many chiefs inasmuch as chiefs, when many, are under the fear of betrayal from each other and scarcely liable to the insinuations and intrigues of an enemy.

  • The same rule shall hold good with the appointment of boundary, guards, and repairers of fortifications.

  • Never shall báhirikas who are dangerous to the well being of cities and countries be kept in forts. They may either be thrown in country parts or compelled to pay taxes.

[Thus ends Chapter IV, “ Buildings within the Fort” in Book II, “The Duties of the Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of twenty-fifth chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Chamberlain (sannidhátá = one who ever attends upon the king) shall see to the construction of the treasury-house, trading-house, the store-house of grains, the store-house of forest produce, the armoury and the jail.

  • Having dug up a square well not too deep to be moist with water, having paved both the bottom and the sides with slabs of stone, he shall, by using strong timber, construct in that well a cage-like under-ground chamber of three stories high, the top-most being on a level with the surface of the ground, with many compartments of various design, with floor plastered with small stones, with one door, with a movable staircase, and solemnised with the presence of the guardian deity.

  • Above this chamber, the treasury house closed on both sides, with projecting roofs and extensively opening into the store-house shall be built of bricks.

  • He may employ outcast men (abhityakta-purusha) to build at the extreme boundary of the kingdom a palacious mansion to hold substantial treasure against dangers and calamities.

  • The trading-house shall be a quadrangle enclosed by four buildings with one door, with pillars built of burnt bricks, with many compartments, and with a row of pillars on both sides kept apart.

  • The store-house shall consist of many spacious rooms and enclose within itself the store-house of forest produce separated from it by means of wall and connected with both the underground chamber and the armoury.

  • The court (dharmasthíya) and the office of the ministers (mahámátríya) shall be built in a separate locality.

  • Provided with separate accommodation for men and women kept apart and with many compartments well guarded, a jail shall also be constructed.

  • All these buildings shall be provided with halls (sála) pits (kháta—privy [?]), water-well, bath-room, remedies against fire and poison, with cats, mangooses, and with necessary means to worship the guardian gods appropriate to each.

  • In (front of) the store-house a bowl (kunda) with its mouth as wide as an aratni (24 angulag) shall be set up as rain-gauge (varshamána).

  • Assisted by experts having necessary qualifications and provided with tools and instruments, the chamberlain shall attend to the business of receiving gems either old or new, as well as raw materials of superior or inferior value.

  • In cases of deception in gems, both the deceiver and the abettor shall be punished with the highest amercement; in the case of superior commodities, they shall be punished with the middle-most amercement; and in that of commodities of inferior value, they shall be compelled not only to restore the same, but also pay a fine equal to the value of the articles.

  • He shall receive only such gold coins as have been declared to be pure by the examiner of coins.

  • Counterfeit coins shall be cut into pieces.

  • Whoever brings in counterfeit coins shall be punished with the first amercement.

  • Grains pure and fresh shall be received in full measures; otherwise a fine of twice the value of the grains shall be imposed.

  • The same rule shall hold good with the receipt of merchandise, raw materials, and weapons.

  • In all departments, whoever, whether as an officer (yukta), a clerk (upayukta), or a servant (tatpurusha), misappropriates sums from one to four panas or any other valuable things shall be punished with the first, middlemost, and highest amercements and death respectively.

  • If the officer who is in charge of the treasury causes loss in money, he shall be whipped (ghátah), while his abettors shall receive half the punishment; if the loss is due to ignorance, he shall be censured.

  • If, with the intention of giving a hint, robbers are frightened (by the guards), (the latter) shall be tortured to death.

  • Hence assisted by trustworthy persons, the chamberlain shall attend to the business of revenue collection.

  • He shall have so thorough a knowledge of both external and internal incomes running even for a hundred years that, when questioned, he can point out without hesitation the exact amount of net balance that remains after expenditure has been met with.

[Thus ends Chapter V, "The Duty of the Chamberlain" in Book II, "The Duties of the Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of twenty-sixth chapter from the beginning.]



  • THE Collector-General shall attend to (the collection of revenue from) forts (durga), country-parts (ráshtra), mines (khani), buildings and gardens (setu), forests (vana), herds of cattle (vraja), and roads of traffic (vanikpatha).

  • Tolls, fines, weights and measures, the town-clerk (nágaraka), the superintendent of coinage (lakshanádhyakshah), the superintendent of seals and pass-ports, liquor, slaughter of animals, threads, oils,. ghee, sugar (kshára), the state-goldsmith (sauvarnika), the warehouse of merchandise, the prostitute, gambling, building sites (vástuka), the corporation of artisans and handicrafts-men (kárusilpiganah), the superintendent of gods, and taxes collected at the gates and from the people (known as) Báhirikas come under the head of forts.

  • Produce from crown-lands (sita), portion of produce payable to the government (bhága), religious taxes (bali), taxes paid in money (kara), merchants, the superintendent of rivers, ferries, boats, and ships, towns, pasture grounds, road-cess (vartani), ropes (rajjú) and ropes to bind thieves (chórarajjú) come under the head of country parts.

  • Gold, silver, diamonds, gems, pearls, corals, conch-shells, metals (loha), salt, and other minerals extracted from plains and mountain slopes come under the head of mines.

  • Flower-gardens, fruit-gardens, vegetable-gardens, wet fields, and fields where crops are grown by sowing roots for seeds (múlavápáh, i.e., sugar-cane crops, etc.) come under sétu.

  • Game-forests, timber-forests, and elephant-forests are forests.

  • Cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, asses, camels, horses, and mules come under the head of herds.

  • Land and water ways are the roads of traffic.

  • All these form the body of income (áyasaríram).

  • Capital (múla), share (bhága), premia (vyáji), parigha (?) fixed taxes (klripta), premia on coins (rúpika), and fixed fines (atyaya) are the several forms of revenue (áyamukha, i.e., the mouth from which income is to issue).

  • The chanting of auspicious hymns during the worship of gods and ancestors, and on the occasion of giving gifts, the harem, the kitchen, the establishment of messengers, the store-house, the armoury, the warehouse, the store-house of raw materials, manufactories (karmánta), free labourers (vishti), maintenance of infantry, cavalry, chariots, and elephants, herds of cows, the museum of beasts, deer, birds, and snakes, and storage of firewood and fodder constitute the body of expenditure (vyayasaríram).

  • The royal year, the month, the paksha, the day, the dawn (vyushta), the third and seventh pakshas of (the seasons such as) the rainy season, the winter season, and the summer short of their days, the rest complete, and a separate intercalary month are (the divisions of time).

  • He shall also pay attention to the work in hand (karaníya), the work accomplished (siddham), part of a work in hand (sésha), receipts, expenditure, and net balance.

  • The business of upkeeping the government (samsthánam), the routine work (prachárah), the collection of necessaries of life, the collection and audit of all kinds of revenue,—these constitute the work in hand.

  • That which has been credited to the treasury; that which has been taken by the king; that which has been spent in connection with the capital city not entered (into the register) or continued from year before last, the royal command dictated or orally intimated to be entered (into the register),—all these constitute the work accomplished.

  • Preparation of plans for profitable works, balance of fines due, demand for arrears of revenue kept in abeyance, and examination of accounts,—these constitute what is called part of a work in hand which may be of little or no value.

  • Receipts may be (1) current, (2) last balance, and (3) accidental (anyajátah= received from external source).

  • What is received day after day is termed current (vartamána).

  • Whatever has been brought forward from year before last, whatever is in the hands of others, and whatever has changed hands is termed last balance (puryushita).

  • Whatever has been lost and forgotten (by others), fines levied from government servants, marginal revenue (pársva), compensation levied for any damage (párihínikam), presentations to the king, the property of those who have fallen victims to epidemics (damaragatakasvam) leaving no sons, and treasure-troves,---all these constitute accidental receipts.

  • Investment of capital (vikshépa), the relics of a wrecked undertaking, and the savings from an estimated outlay are the means to check expenditure (vyayapratyayah).

  • The rise in price of merchandise due to the use of different weights and measures in selling is termed vyáji; the enhancement of price due to bidding among buyers is also another source of profit.

  • Expenditure is of two kinds—daily expenditure and profitable expenditure.

  • What is continued every day is daily.

  • Whatever is earned once in a paksha, a month, or a year is termed profit.

  • Whatever is spent on these two heads is termed as daily expenditure and profitable expenditure respectively.

  • That which remains after deducting all the expenditure already incurred and excluding all revenue to be realised is net balance (nívi) which may have been either just realised or brought forward.

  • Thus a wise collector-general shall conduct the work of revenue-collection, increasing the income and decreasing the expenditure.

[Thus ends Chapter VI, “The Business of Collection of Revenue by the Collector-General” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the twenty-seventh chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE superintendent of accounts shall have the accountant's office constructed with its door facing either the north or the east, with seats (for clerks) kept apart and with shelves of account-books well arranged.
  • Therein the number of several departments; the description of the work carried on and of the results realised in several manufactories (Karmánta); the amount of profit, loss, expenditure, delayed earnings, the amount of vyáji (premia in kind or cash) realised,—the status of government agency employed, the amount of wages paid, the number of free labourers engaged (vishti) pertaining to the investment of capital on any work; likewise in the case of gems and commodities of superior or inferior value, the rate of their price, the rate of their barter, the counterweights (pratimána) used in weighing them, their number, their weight, and their cubical measure; the history of customs, professions, and transactions of countries, villages, families, and corporations; the gains in the form of gifts to the king's courtiers, their title to possess and enjoy lands, remission of taxes allowed to them, and payment of provisions and salaries to them; the gains to the wives and sons of the king in gems, lands, prerogatives, and provisions made to remedy evil portents; the treaties with, issues of ultimatum to, and payments of tribute from or to, friendly or inimical kings,— all these shall be regularly entered in prescribed registers.
  • From these books the superintendent shall furnish the accounts as to the forms of work in hand, of works accomplished, of part of works in hand, of receipts, of expenditure, of net balance, and of tasks to be undertaken in each of the several departments.
  • To supervise works of high, middling and low description, superintendents with corresponding qualifications shall be employed.
  • The king will have to suffer in the end if he curtails the fixed amount of expenditure on profitable works.
  • (When a man engaged by Government for any work absents himself), his sureties who conjointly received (wages?) from the government, or his sons, brothers, wives, daughters or servants living upon his work shall bear the loss caused to the Government.
  • The work of 354 days and nights is a year. Such a work shall be paid for more or less in proportion to its quantity at the end of the month, Ashádha (about the middle of July). (The work during) the intercalary month shall be (separately) calculated.
  • A government officer, not caring to know the information gathered by espionage and neglecting to supervise the despatch of work in his own department as regulated, may occasion loss of revenue to the government owing to his ignorance, or owing to his idleness when he is too weak to endure the trouble of activity, or due to inadvertence in perceiving sound and other objects of sense, or by being timid when he is afraid of clamour, unrighteousness, and untoward results, or owing to selfish desire when he is favourably disposed towards those who are desirous to achieve their own selfish ends, or by cruelty due to anger, or by lack of dignity when he is surrounded by a host of learned and needy sycophants, or by making use of false balance, false measures, and false calculation owing to greediness.
  • The school of Manu hold that a fine equal to the loss of revenue and multiplied by the serial number of the circumstances of the guilt just narrated in order shall be imposed upon him.
  • The school of Parásara hold that the fine in all the cases shall be eight times the amount lost.
  • The school of Brihaspathi say that it shall be ten times the amount.
  • The school of Usanas say that it shall be twenty times the amount.
  • But Kautilya says that it shall be proportional to the guilt.
  • Accounts shall be submitted in the month of Ashádha.
  • When they (the accountants of different districts) present themselves with sealed books, commodities and net revenue, they shall all be kept apart in one place so that they cannot carry on conversation with each other. Having heard from them the totals of receipts, expenditure, and net revenue, the net amount shall be received.    
  • By how much the superintendent of a department augments the net total of its revenue either by increasing any one of the items of its receipts or by decreasing anyone of the items of expenditure, he shall be rewarded eight times that amount. But when it is reversed (i.e., when the net total is decreased), the award shall also be reversed (i.e., he shall be made to pay eight times the decrease).
  • Those accountants who do not present themselves in time or do not produce their account books along with the net revenue shall be fined ten times the amount due from them.
  • When a superintendent of accounts (káranika) does not at once proceed to receive and check the accounts when the clerks (kármika) are ready, he shall be punished with the first amercement. In the reverse case (i.e., when the clerks are not ready), the clerks shall be punished with double the first amercement.
  • All the ministers (mahámáras) shall together narrate the whole of the actual accounts pertaining to each department.
  • Whoever of these (ministers or clerks ?) is of undivided counsel or keeps himself aloof, or utters falsehood shall be punished with the highest amercement.
  • When an accountant has not prepared the table of daily accounts (akritáhorúpaharam), he may be given a month more (for its preparation). After the lapse of one month he shall be fined at the rate of 200 panas for each month (during which he delays the accounts).
  • If an accountant has to write only a small portion of the accounts pertaining to net revenue, he may be allowed five nights to prepare it.
  • Then the table of daily accounts submitted by him along with the net revenue shall be checked with reference to the regulated forms of righteous transactions and precedents and by applying such arithmetical processes as addition, subtraction, inference and by espionage. It shall also be verified with reference to (such divisions of time as) days, five nights, pakshás, months, four-months, and the year.
  • The receipt shall be verified with reference to the place and time pertaining to them, the form of their collection (i.e., capital, share), the amount of the present and past produce, the person who has paid it, the person who caused its payment, the officer who fixed the amount payable, and the officer who received it. The expenditure shall be verified with reference to the cause of the profit from any source in the place and time pertaining to each item, the amount payable, the amount paid, the person who ordered the collection, the person who remitted the same, the person who delivered it, and the person who finally received it.
  • Likewise the net revenue shall be verified with reference to the place, time, and source pertaining to it, its standard of fineness and quantity, and the persons who are employed to guard the deposits and magazines (of grains, etc.).
  • When an officer (káranika) does not facilitate or prevents the execution of the king's order, or renders the receipts and expenditure otherwise than prescribed, he shall be punished with the first amercement.
  • Any clerk who violates or deviates from the prescribed form of writing accounts, enters what is unknown to him, or makes double or treble entries (punaruktam) shall be fined 12 panas.
  • He who scrapes off the net total shall be doubly punished.
  • He who eats it up shall be fined eight times.
  • He who causes loss of revenue shall not only pay a fine equal to five times the amount lost (panchabandha), but also make good the loss. In case of uttering a lie, the punishment levied for theft shall be imposed. (When an entry lost or omitted) is made later or is made to appear as forgotten, but added later on recollection, the punishment shall be double the above.
  • The king shall forgive an offence when it is trifling, have satisfaction even when the revenue is scanty, and honour with rewards (pragraha) such of his superintendents as are of immense benefit to him.

[Thus ends Chapter VII, "The Business of Keeping up the Accounts in the Officeof Accountants," in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of twenty-eighth chapter from the beginning.]


  • ALL undertakings depend upon finance. Hence foremost attention shall be paid to the treasury.

  • Public prosperity (prachárasamriddhih), rewards for good conduct (charitránugrahah), capture of thieves, dispensing with (the service of too many) government servants, abundance of harvest, prosperity of commerce, absence of troubles and calamities (upasargapramokshah), diminution of remission of taxes, and income in gold (hiranyópáyanam) are all conducive to financial prosperity.

  • Obstruction (pratibandha), loan (prayóga), trading (vyavahára), fabrication of accounts (avastára), causing the loss of revenue (parihápana), self-enjoyment (upabhóga), barter (parivartana), and defalcation (apahára) are the causes that tend to deplete the treasury.

  • Failure to start an undertaking or to realise its results, or to credit its profits (to the treasury) is known as obstruction. Herein a fine of ten times the amount in question shall be imposed.

  • Lending the money of the treasury on periodical interest is a loan.

  • Carrying on trade by making use of government money is trading.

  • These two acts shall be punished with a fine of twice the profit earned.

  • Whoever makes as unripe the ripe time or as ripe the unripe time (of revenue collection) is guilty of fabrication. Herein a fine of ten times the amount (panchabandha) shall be imposed.

  • Whoever lessens a fixed amount of income or enhances the expenditure is guilty of causing the loss of revenue. Herein a fine of four times the loss shall be imposed.

  • Whoever enjoys himself or causes others to enjoy whatever belongs to the king is guilty of self-enjoyment. Herein death-sentence shall be passed for enjoying gems, middlemost amercement for enjoying valuable articles, and restoration of the articles together with a fine equal to their value shall be the punishment for enjoying articles of inferior value.

  • The act of exchanging government articles for (similar) articles of others is barter. This offence is explained by self-enjoyment.

  • Whoever does not take into the treasury the fixed amount of revenue collected, or does not spend what is ordered to be spent, or misrepresents the net revenue collected is guilty of defalcation of government money. Herein a fine of twelve times the amount shall be imposed.

  • There are about forty ways of embezzlement: what is realised earlier is entered later on; what is realised later is entered earlier; what ought to be realised is not realised; what is hard to realise is shown as realised; what is collected is shown as not collected; what has not been collected is shown as collected; what is collected in part is entered as collected in full; what is collected in full is entered as collected in part; what is collected is of one sort, while what is entered is of another sort; what is realised from one source is shown as realised from another; what is payable is not paid; what is not payable is paid; not paid in time; paid untimely; small gifts made large gifts; large gifts made small gifts; what is gifted is of one sort while what is entered is of another; the real donee is one while the person entered (in the register) as donee is another; what has been taken into (the treasury) is removed while what has not been credited to it is shown as credited; raw materials that are not paid for are entered, while those that are paid for are not entered; an aggregate is scattered in pieces; scattered items are converted into an aggregate; commodities of greater value are bartered for those of small value; what is of smaller value is bartered for one of greater value; price of commodities enhanced; price of commodities lowered; number of nights increased; number of nights decreased; the year not in harmony with its months; the month not in harmony with its days; inconsistency in the transactions carried on with personal supervision (samágamavishánah); misrepresentation of the source of income; inconsistency in giving charities; incongruity in representing the work turned out; inconsistency in dealing with fixed items; misrepresentation of test marks or the standard of fineness (of gold and silver); misrepresentation of prices of commodities; making use of false weight and measures; deception in counting articles; and making use of false cubic measures such as bhájan— these are the several ways of embezzlement.

  • Under the above circumstances, the persons concerned such as the treasurer (nidháyaka), the prescriber  (nibandhaka), the receiver (pratigráhaka), the payer (dáyaka), the person who caused the payment (dápaka), the ministerial servants of the officer (mantri-vaiyávrityakara) shall each be separately examined. If any one of these tells a lie, he shall receive the same punishment as the chief-officer, (yukta) who committed the offence.

  • A proclamation in public (prachára) shall be made to the effect "whoever has suffered at the hands of this offender may make their grievances known to the king."

  • Those who respond to the call shall receive such compensation as is equal to the loss they have sustained.

  • When there are a number of offences in which a single officer is involved, and when his being guilty of parókta in any one of those charges has been established, he shall be answerable for all those offences. Otherwise (i.e., when it is not established), he shall be tried for each of the charges.

  • When a government servant has been proved to be guilty of having misappropriated part of a large sum in question, he shall be answerable for the whole.

  • Any informant (súchaka) who supplies information about embezzlement just under perpetration shall, if he succeeds in proving it, get as reward one-sixth of the amount in question; if he happens to be a government servant (bhritaka), he shall get for the same act one-twelfth of the amount.

  • If an informant succeeds in proving only a part of a big embezzlement, he shall, nevertheless, get the prescribed share of the part of the embezzled amount proved.

  • An informant who fails to prove (his assertion) shall be liable to monetary or corporal punishment, and shall never be acquitted.

  • When the charge is proved, the informant may impute the tale-bearing to someone else or clear himself in any other way from the blame. Any informant who withdraws his assertion prevailed upon by the insinuations of the accused shall be condemned to death.

[Thus ends Chapter VIII, "Detection of what is Embezzled by Government Servants out of State Revenue," in Book II, " The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of twenty-ninth chapter from the beginning.]


  • THOSE who are possessed of ministerial qualifications shall, in accordance with their individual capacity, be appointed as superintendents of government departments. While engaged in work, they shall be daily examined; for men are naturally fickle-minded and like horses at work exhibit constant change in their temper. Hence the agency and tools which they make use of, the place and time of the work they are engaged in, as well as the precise form of the work, the outlay, and the results shall always be ascertained.

  • Without dissension and without any concert among themselves, they shall carry on their work as ordered.

  • When in concert, they eat up (the revenue).

  • When in disunion, they mar the work.

  • Without bringing to the knowledge of their master (bhartri, the king), they shall undertake nothing except remedial measures against imminent dangers.

  • A fine of twice the amount of their daily pay and of the expenditure (incurred by them) shall be fixed for any inadvertence on their part.

  • Whoever of the superintendents makes as much as, or more than, the amount of fixed revenue shall be honoured with promotion and rewards.

  • (My) teacher holds that that officer who spends too much and brings in little revenue eats it up; while he who proves the revenue (i.e., brings in more than he spends) as well as the officer who brings inasmuch as he spends does not eat up the revenue.

  • But Kautilya holds that cases of embezzlement or no embezzlement can be ascertained through spies alone.

  • Whoever lessens the revenue eats the king's wealth. If owing to inadvertence he causes diminution in revenue, he shall be compelled to make good the loss.

  • Whoever doubles the revenue eats into the vitality of the country. If he brings in double the amount to the king, he shall, if the offence is small, be warned not to repeat the same; but if the offence be grave he should proportionally be punished.

  • Whoever spends the revenue (without bringing in any profit) eats up the labour of workmen. Such an officer shall be punished in proportion to the value of the work done, the number of days taken, the amount of capital spent, and the amount of daily wages paid.

  • Hence the chief officer of each department (adhikarana) shall thoroughly scrutinise the real amount of the work done, the receipts realised from, and the expenditure incurred in that departmental work both in detail and in the aggregate.

  • He shall also check (pratishedhayet) prodigal, spend-thrift and niggardly persons.

  • Whoever unjustly eats up the property left by his father and grandfather is a prodigal person (múlahara).

  • Whoever eats all that he earns is a spendthrift (tádátvika).

  • Whoever hordes money, entailing hardship both on himself and his servants is niggardly.

  • Whoever of these three kinds of persons has the support of a strong party shall not be disturbed; but he who has no such support shall be caught hold of (paryádátavyah).

  • Whoever is niggardly in spite of his immense property, hordes, deposits, or sends out—hordes in his own house, deposits with citizens or country people or sends out to foreign countries;—a spy shall find out the advisers, friends, servants, relations, partisans, as well as the income and expenditure of such a niggardly person. Whoever in a foreign country carries out the work of such a niggardly person shall be prevailed upon to give out the secret. When the secret is known, the niggardly person shall be murdered apparently under the orders of (his) avowed enemy.

  • Hence the superintendents of all the departments shall carry on their respective works in company with accountants, writers, coin-examiners, the treasurers, and military officers (uttarádhyaksha).

  • Those who attend upon military officers and are noted for their honesty and good conduct shall be spies to watch the conduct of accountants and other clerks.

  • Each department shall be officered by several temporary heads.

  • Just as it is impossible not to taste the honey or the poison that finds itself at the tip of the tongue, so it is impossible for a government servant not to eat up, at least, a bit of the king's revenue. Just as fish moving under water cannot possibly be found out either as drinking or not drinking water, so government servants employed in the government work cannot be found out (while) taking money (for themselves).

  • It is possible to mark the movements of birds flying high up in the sky; but not so is it possible to ascertain the movement of government servants of hidden purpose.

  • Government servants shall not only be confiscated of their ill-earned hordes, but also be transferred from one work to another, so that they cannot either misappropriate Government money or vomit what they have eaten up.

  • Those who increase the king's revenue instead of eating it up and are loyally devoted to him shall be made permanent in service.

[Thus ends Chapter IX, "Examination of the Conduct of Government Servants" in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of thirtieth chapter from the beginning.]


  • (TEACHERS) say that (the word) sásana, command, (is applicable only to) royal writs (sásana).

  • Writs are of great importance to kings inasmuch as treaties and ultimate leading to war depend upon writs.

  • Hence one who is possessed of ministerial qualifications, acquainted with all kinds of customs, smart in composition, good in legible writing, and sharp in reading shall be appointed as a writer (lékhaka).

  • Such a writer, having attentively listened to the king's order and having well thought out the matter under consideration, shall reduce the order to writing.

  • As to a writ addressed to a lord (ísvara), it shall contain a polite mention of his country, his possessions, his family and his name, and as to that addressed to a common man (anisvara), it shall make a polite mention of his country and name.

  • Having paid sufficient attention to the caste, family, social rank, age, learning (sruta), occupation, property, character (síla), blood-relationship (yaunánubandha) of the addressee, as well as to the place and time (of writing), the writer shall form a writ befitting the position of the person addressed.

  • Arrangement of subject-matter (arthakrama), relevancy (sambandha), completeness, sweetness, dignity, and lucidity are the necessary qualities of a writ.

  • The act of mentioning facts in the order of their importance is arrangement.

  • When subsequent facts are not contradictory to facts just or previously mentioned, and so on till the completion of the letter, it is termed relevancy.

  • Avoidance of redundancy or deficiency in words or letters; impressive description of subject matter by citing reasons, examples, and illustrations; and the use of appropriate and suitably strong words (asrántapada) is completeness.

  • The description in exquisite style of a good purport with a pleasing effect is sweetness.

  • The use of words other than colloquial (agrámya) is dignity.

  • The use of well-known words is lucidity.

  • The alphabetical letters beginning with Akára are sixty-three.

  • The combination of letters is a word (pada). The word is of four kinds—nouns, verbs, prefixes of verbs, and particles (nipáta).

  • A noun is that which signifies an essence (satva).

  • A verb is that which has no definite gender and signifies an action.

  • 'Pra' and other words are the prefixes of verbs.

  • 'Cha' and other indeclinable words are particles.

  • A group of words conveying a complete sense is a sentence (vákya).

  • Combination of words (varga) consisting of not more than three words and not less than one word shall be so formed as to harmonise with the meaning of immediately following words.

  • The word, ‘iti,’ is used to indicate the completion of a writ; and also to indicate an oral message as in the phrase ‘váchikamasyeti,’ an oral message along with this (writ).

  • Calumniation (nindá), commendation, inquiry, narration request, refusal, censure, prohibition, command, conciliation, promise of help, threat, and persuasion are the thirteen purposes for which writs are issued.

  • Calumniation (nindá) consists in speaking ill of one's family, body and acts.

  • Commendation (prasamsá) consists in praising one's family, person, and acts.

  • To inquire 'how is this?' is inquiry.

  • To point out the way as 'thus,' is narration (ákhyána).

  • To entreat as 'give,' is request.

  • To say that 'I do not give,' is refusal.

  • To say that 'it is not worthy of thee,' is censure (upálambhah).

  • To say as 'do not do so,' is prohibition (pratishedha).

  • To say that 'this should be done,' is command (chódaná).

  • To say 'what I am, thou art that; whichever article is mine is thine also, is conciliation (sántvam).

  • To hold out help in trouble is promise of help (abhyavapattih).

  • Pointing out the evil consequences that may occur in future is threat (abhibartsanam).

  • Persuasion is of three kinds: that made for the purpose of money, that made in case of one's failure to fulfill a promise, and that made on occasion of any trouble.

  • Also writs of information, of command, and of gift; likewise writs of remission, of licence, of guidance, of reply, and of general proclamation are other varieties.

  • Thus says (the messenger); so says (the king); if there is any truth in this (statement of the messenger), then the thing (agreed to) should at once be surrendered; (the messenger) has informed the king of all the deeds of the enemy. (Parakára);—this is the writ of information which is held to be of various forms.

  • Wherever and especially regarding Government servants the king's order either for punishment or for rewards is issued, it is called writ of command (ájnálékha).

  • Where the bestowal of honour for deserving merit is contemplated either as help to alleviate affliction (ádhi) or as gift (paridána), there are issued writs of gift (upagrahalekha).

  • Whatever favour (anugraha) to special castes, cities, villages, or countries of various description is announced in obedience to the king's order, it is called writ of remission (pariháralékha) by those who know it.

  • Likewise licence or permission (nisrishti) shall be enjoined either in word or deed; accordingly it is styled verbal order or writ of licence.

  • Various kinds of providential visitations or well ascertained evils of human make are believed to be the cause for issuing writs of guidance (pravrittilékha) to attempt remedies against them.

  • When having read a letter and discussed as to the form of reply thereto, a reply in accordance with the king's order is made, it is called a writ of reply (pratilékha).

  • When the king directs his viceroys (isvara) and other officers to protect and give material help to travellers either on roads or in the interior of the country, it is termed writ of general proclamation (sarvatraga lekha)

  • Negotiation, bribery, causing dissension, and open attack are forms of stratagem (upáya).

  • Negotiation is of five kinds:—

  • Praising the qualities (of an enemy), narrating the mutual relationship, pointing out mutual benefit, showing vast future prospects, and identity of interests.

  • When the family, person, occupation, conduct, learning, properties, etc. (of an enemy) are commended with due attention to their worth, it is termed praising the qualities (gunasankírthana).

  • When the fact of having agnates, blood-relations, teachers (maukha), priestly heirarchy (srauva), family, and friends in common is pointed out, it is known as narration of mutual relationship (sambandhópakhyána).

  • When both parties, the party of a king and that of his enemy are shown to be helpful to each other, it is known as pointing out mutual benefit (parasparópakárasamdarsanam).

  • Inducement such as 'this being done thus, such result will accrue to both of us,' is showing vast future prospects (Ayátipradarsanam).

  • To say 'what I am, that thou art; thou mayest utilize in thy works whatever is mine,' is identity of interests (átmópanidhánam).

  • Offering money is bribery (upapradána).

  • Causing fears and suspicion as well as threatening is known as sowing dissension.

  • Killing, harassing, and plundering is attack (danda).

  • Clumsiness, contradiction, repetition, bad grammar, and misarrangement are the faults of a writ.

  • Black and ugly leaf, (kálapatrakamacháru) and uneven and uncoloured (virága) writing cause clumsiness (akánti).

  • Subsequent portion disagreeing with previous portion of a letter, causes contradiction (vyágháta).

  • Stating for a second time what has already been said above is repetition.

  • Wrong use of words in gender, number, time and case is bad grammar (apasabda).

  • Division of paragraphs (varga) in unsuitable places, omission of necessary division of paragraphs, and violation of any other necessary qualities of a writ constitute misarrangement (samplava).

  • Having followed all sciences and having fully observed forms of writing in vogue, these rules of writing royal writs have been laid down by Kautilya in the interest of kings.

[Thus ends Chapter X, "The Procedure of Forming Royal Writs," in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents," of the Arthasástra of Kautilva. End of thirty-first chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of the treasury shall, in the presence of qualified persons, admit into the treasury whatever he ought to, gems (ratna) and articles of superior or inferior value.

  • Támraparnika, that which is produced in the támraparni; Pándyakavátaka, that which is obtained in Pándyakavata; Pásikya, that which is produced in the Pása; Kauleya, that which is produced in the kúla; Chaurneya, that which is produced in the Chúrna; Mahéndra, that which is obtained near the mountain of Mahéndra; Kárdamika, that which is produced in the Kárdama; Srautasíya, that which is produced in the Srótasi; Hrádíya, that which is produced in (a deep pool of water known as) Hrada; and Haimavata, that which is obtained in the vicinity of the Himalayas are the several varieties of pearls.

  • Oyster-shells, conch-shells, and other miscellaneous things are the wombs of pearls.

  • That which is like masúra (ervum hirsutam), that which consists of three joints (triputaka), that which is like a tortoise (kúrmaka), that which is semi-circular, that which consists of several coatings, that which is double (yámaka), that which is scratched, that which is of rough surface, that which is possessed of spots (siktakam), that which is like the water-pot used by an ascetic, that which is of dark-brown or blue colour, and that which is badly perforated are inauspicious.

  • That which is big, circular, without bottom (nistalam), brilliant, white, heavy, soft to the touch, and properly perforated is the best.

  • Sirshaka, upasirshaka, prakándaka, avaghátaka, and taralapratibandha are several varieties of pearl necklaces.

  • One thousand and eight strings of pearls form the necklace, Indrachchhanda.

  • Half of the above is Vijayachchhanda.

  • Sixty-four strings make up Ardhahára.

  • Fifty-four strings make up Rasmikalápa.

  • Thirty-two strings make up Guchchha.

  • Twenty-seven strings make up Nakshatramála.

  • Twenty-four strings make up Ardhaguchchha.

  • Twenty strings make up Mánavaka.

  • Half of the above is Ardhamánavaka.

  • The same necklaces with a gem at the centre are called by the same names with the words 'Mánavaka' suffixed to their respective names.

  • When all the strings making up a necklace are of sirshaka pattern, it is called pure necklace (suddhahára); likewise with strings of other pattern. That which contains a gem in the centre is (also) called Ardhamánavaka.

  • That which contains three slab-like gems (triphalaka) or five slab-like gems (panchaphalaka) in the centre is termed Phalakahára.

  • An only string of pearls is called pure Ekávali; the same with a gem in the centre is called Yashti; the same variegated with gold globules is termed Ratnávali.

  • A string made of pearls and gold globules alternately put is called Apavartaka.

  • Strings of pearls with a gold wire between two strings is called Sopánaka.

  • The same with a gem in the centre is called Manisópánaka.

  • The above will explain the formation of head-strings, bracelets, anklets, waist-bands, and other varieties.

  • Kauta, that which is obtained in the Kúta; Mauleyaka, that which is found in the Múleya; and Párasamudraka, that which is found beyond the ocean are several varieties of gems.

  • That which possesses such pleasant colour as that of the red lotus flower, or that of the flower of Párijáta (Erithrina Indica), or that of the rising sun is the Saugandhika gem.

  • That which is of the colour of blue lotus flower, or of sirísha (Acacia Sirisa), or of water, or of fresh bamboo, or of the colour of the feathers of a parrot is the Vaidúrya gem Pushyarága, Gómútraka, and Gómédika are other varieties of the same.

  • That which is characterised with blue lines, that which is of the colour of the flower of Kaláya (a kind of phraseolus), or which is intensely blue, which possesses the colour of Jambu fruit (rose apple), or which is as blue as the clouds is the Indraníla gem; Nandaka (pleasing gem), Sravanmadhya (that which appears to pour water from its centre), Sítavrishti (that which appears to pour cold shower), and Súryakánta (sunstone) are other forms of gems.

  • Gems are hexagonal, quadrangular, or circular possessed of dazzling glow, pure, smooth, heavy, brilliant, transparent (antargataprabha) and illuminating; such are the qualities of gems.

  • Faint colour, sandy layer, spots, holes, bad perforation, and scratches are the defects of gems.

  • Vimalaka (pure), sasyaka (plant-like), Anjanamúlaka (deep-dark), Pittaka (like the bile of a cow) Sulabhaka (easily procurable), Lohitaka (red), Amritámsuka (of white rays), Jyótírasaka (glowing), Maileyaka, Ahichchhatraka , (procured in the country of Ahichchhatra), Kúrpa, Pútikúrpa, and Sugandhikúrpa, Kshírapaka, Suktichúrnaka (like the powder of an oystershell), Silápraválaka (like coral), Pulaka, Súkrapulaka are varieties of inferior gems.

  • The rest are metalic beads (káchamani).

  • Sabháráshtraka, that which is found in the country of Sabháráshtra; Madhyamaráshtraka, that which is found in the Central Province; Kásmaka, that which is found in the country of Kásmaka; Sríkatanaka, that which is found in the vicinity of the mountain, Vedótkata; Manimantaka, that which is found near the mountain Maniman or Manimanta; and Indravánaká are diamonds.

  • Mines, streams, and other miscellaneous places are their sources.

  • The colour of a diamond may be like that of a cat's eye, that of the flower of Sirísha (Acacia Sirísa), the urine of a cow, the bile of a cow, like alum (sphatika), the flower of Málati, or like that of any of the gems (described above).

  • That which is big, heavy, hard (prahárasaham, tolerant of hitting), regular (samakóna), capable of scratching on the surface of vessels (bhájanalékhi), refractive of light (kubrámi), and brilliant is the best.

  • That which is devoid of angles, uneven (nirasríkam), and bent on one side (pársvápavrittam) is inauspicious.

  • Alakandaka, and Vaivarnaka are the two varieties of coral which is possessed of ruby-like colour, which is very hard, and which is free from the contamination of other substances inside.

  • Sátana is red and smells like the earth; Gósirshaka is dark red and smells like fish; Harichandana is of the colour of the feathers of a parrot and smells like tamarind or mango fruit; likewise Tárnasa; Grámeruka is red or dark red and smells like the urine of a goat; Daivasabheya is red and smells like a lotus flower; likewise Aupaka (Jápaka); Jongaka and Taurupa are red or dark red and soft; Maleyaka is reddish white; Kuchandana is as black as Agaru (resin of the aloe) or red or dark red and very rough; Kála-parvataka is of pleasant appearance; Kosákaraparvataka (that which is the product of that mountain which is of the shape of a bud) is black or variegated black; Sítódakíya is black and soft, and smells like a lotus-flower; Nágaparvataka (that which is the product of Naga mountain) is rough and is possessed of the colour of Saivala (Vallisneria); and Sákala is brown.

  • Light, soft, moist (asyána, not dry), as greasy as ghee, of pleasant smell, adhesive to the skin, of mild smell, retentive of colour and smell, tolerant of heat, absorptive of heat, and comfortable to the skin--these are the characteristics of sandal (chandana).

  • (As to) Agaru (Agallochum, resin of aloe):—

  • Jongaka is black or variegated black and is possessed of variegated spots; Dongaka is black; and Párasamudraka is of variegated colour and smells like cascus or like Navamálika (jasminum).

  • (Agaru is) heavy, soft, greasy, smells far and long, burns slowly, gives out continuous smoke while burning, is of uniform smell, absorbs heat, and is so adhesive to the skin as not to be removable by rubbing;—these are the characteristics of Agaru.

  • (As to) Tailaparnika:—

  • Asókagrámika, the product of Asókagráma, is of the colour of meat and smells like a lotus flower; Jongaka is reddish yellow and smells like a blue lotus flower or like the urine of a cow; Grameruka is greasy and smells like a cow's urine; Sauvarnakudyaka, product of the country of Suvarnakudya, is reddish yellow and smells like Mátulunga (the fruit of citron tree or sweet lime); Púrnadvipaka, the product of the island, Púrnadviipa, smells like a lotus flower or like butter; Bhadrasríya and Páralauhityaka are of the colour of nutmeg; Antarvatya is of the colour of cascus,---the last two smell like Kushtha (Costus Speciosus); Kaleyaka which is a product of Svarna-bhúmi, gold-producing land, is yellow and greasy; and Auttaraparvataka (a product of, the north mountain) is reddish yellow.

  • The above (fragrant substances) are commodities of superior value (Sára).

  • The smell of the Tailaparnika substances is lasting, no matter whether they are made into a paste or boiled or burnt; also it is neither changed nor affected even when mixed with other substances; and these substances resemble sandal and Agallochum in their qualities.

  • Kántanávaka, Praiyaka, and Auttara-parvataka are the varieties of skins.

  • Kántanávaka is of the colour of the neck of the peacock; Praiyaka is variegated with blue, yellow, and white spots; these two are eight angulas (inches) long.

  • Also Bisí and Mahábisí are the products of Dvádasagráma, twelve villages.

  • That which is of indistinct colour, hairy, and variegated (with spots) is (called) Bisí.

  • That which is rough and almost white is Mahábisí (great Bisí); These two are twelve angulas long.

  • Syámika, Kálika, Kadali, Chandrottara, and Sákulá are (other kinds of skins) procured from Aroha (Arohaja).

  • Syámika is brown and contains variegated spots; Kálika is brown or of the colour of a pigeon; these two are eight angulas long. Kadali is rough and two feet long; when Kadali bears variegated moonlike spots, it is called Chandrottarakadali and is one-third of its length; Sákulá is variegated with large round spots similar to those that manifest themselves in a kind of leprosy (kushtha), or is furnished with tendrils and spotted like a deer's skin.

  • Sámúra, Chínasi, and Sámúli are (skins procured from Báhlava, (Bahlaveya).

  • Sámúra is thirty-six angulas long and black; Chínasi is reddish black or blackish white; Sámúli is of the colour of wheat.

  • Sátina, Nalatúla, and Vrittapuchchha are the skins of aquatic animals (Audra).

  • Sátina is black; Nalatúla is of the colour of the fibre of Nala, a kind of grass; and Vrittapuchchha (that which possesses a round tail) is brown.

  • The above are the varieties of skins.

  • Of skins, that which is soft, smooth and hairy is the best.

  • Blankets made of sheep's wool may be white, purely red, or as red as a lotus flower. They may be made of worsted threads by sewing (khachita); or may be woven of woollen threads of various colour (vánachitra); or may be made of different pieces (khandasanghátya); or may be woven of uniform woollen threads (tantuvichchhinna).

  • Woollen blankets are (of ten kinds):—Kambala, Kauchapaka, Kulamitika, Saumitika, Turagastarana, Varnaka, Talichchhaka, Váravána, Paristoma, and Samantabhadraka.

  • Of these, that which is slippery (pichchhila) as a wet surface, possessed of fine hair, and soft, is the best.

  • That (blanket) which is made up of eight pieces and black in colour is called Bhingisi used as rain-proof ; likewise is Apasáraka; both are the products of Nepal.

  • Samputika, Chaturasrika, Lambara, Katavánaka, Praváraka, and Sattalika are (blankets made of) the wool of wild animals.

  • That which is manufactured in the country, Vanga (vangaka) is a white and soft fabric (dukúla); that of Pándya manufacture (Paundraka) is black and as soft as the surface of a gem; and that which is the product of the country, Suvarnakudya, is as red as the sun, as soft as the surface of the gem, woven while the threads are very wet, and of uniform (chaturasra) or mixed texture (vyámisravána).

  • Single, half, double, treble and quadruple garments are varieties of the same.

  • The above will explain other kinds of fabrics such as Kásika, Benarese products, and Kshauma which is manufactured in Pándya (Paundraka).

  • Mágadhika (product of the Magadha country), Paundraka, and Sauvarnakudyaka are fibrous garments.

  • Nágavriksha (a species of a tree), Likucha (Artocarpus Lakucha), and Vakula (Mimusops Elengi), and Vata (Ficus Indica) are the sources (of their fibres).

  • That of Nágavriksha is yellow (pita); that of Likucha is of the colour of wheat; that of Vakula is white; and the rest is of the colour of butter.

  • Of these, that which is produced in the country of Suvarnakudya is the best.

  • The above will explain the fabrics known as kauseya, silk-cloth, and chinapatta, fabrics of China manufacture.

  • Of cotton fabrics, those of Madhura, of Aparánta, western parts, of Kálinga, of Kási, of Vanga, of Vatsa, and of Mahisha are the best.

  • As to other kinds of gems (which are not treated of here), the superintendent shall ascertain their size, their value, species, form, utility, their treatment, the repair of old ones, any adulteration that is not easily detected, their wear and tear due to lapse of time and place, as well as remedies against those which are inauspicious (himsra).

[Thus ends Chapter XI, "Examination of Gems that are to be entered into the Treasury," in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of thirty-second chapter from the beginning.]



  • POSSESSED of the knowledge of the science dealing with copper and other minerals (Sulbádhátusástra), experienced in the art of distillation and condensation of mercury (rasapáka) and of testing gems, aided by experts in mineralogy and equipped with mining labourers and necessary instruments, the superintendent of mines shall examine mines which, on account of their containing mineral excrement (kitta), crucibles, charcoal, and ashes, may appear to have been once exploited or which may be newly discovered on plains or mountain-slopes possessing mineral ores, the richness of which can be ascertained by weight, depth of colour, piercing smell, and taste.

  • Liquids which ooze out from pits, eaves, slopes, or deep excavations of well-known mountains; which have the colour of the fruit of rose-apple (jambu), of mango, and of fanpalm; which are as yellow as ripe turmeric, sulphurate of arsenic (haritála), honey-comb, and vermilion; which are as resplendent as the petals of a lotus, or the feathers of a parrot or a peacock; which are adjacent to (any mass of) water or shrubs of similar colour; and which are greasy (chikkana), transparent (visada), and very heavy are ores of gold (kánchanika). Likewise liquids which, when dropped on water, spread like oil to which dirt and filth adhere, and which amalgamate themselves more than cent per cent (satádupari veddhárah) with copper or silver.

  • Of similar appearance as the above (tatpratirúpakam), but of piercing smell and taste is Bitumen.

  • Those ores which are obtained from plains or slopes of mountains; which are either yellow or as red as copper or reddish yellow; which are disjoined and marked with blue lines; which have the colour of black beans (masha, Phraseolus Radiatus), green beans (mudga, Phraseolus Mungo), and sesamum; which are marked with spots like a drop of curd and resplendent as turmeric, yellow myrobalan, petals of a lotus, acquatic plant, the liver or the spleen; which possess a sandy layer within them and are marked with figures of a circle or a svastika; which contain globular masses (sagulika); and which, when roasted do not split, but emit much foam and smoke are the ores of gold (suvarnadhátavah), and are used to form amalgams with copper or silver (pratívápárthasté stámrarúpyavedharáh).

  • Those ores which have the colour of a conch-shell, camphor, alum, butter, a pigeon, turtle-dove, Vimalaka (a kind of precious stone), or the neck of a peacock; which are as resplendent as opal (sasyaka), agate (gomédaka), cane-sugar (guda), and granulated sugar (matsyandika) which has the colour of the flower of kovidára (Bauhinia Variegata), of lotus, of patali (Bignonia Suaveolens), of kalaya (a kind of phraseolus), of kshauma (flax), and of atasi (Dinuin Usitatissimum); which may be in combination with lead or iron (anjana); which smell like raw meat, are disjoined gray or blackish white, and are marked with lines or spots; and which, when roasted, do not split, but emit much foam and smoke are silver ores.

  • The heavier the ores, the greater will be the quantity of metal in them (satvavriddhih).

  • The impurities of ores, whether superficial or inseparably combined with them can be got rid of and the metal melted when the ores are (chemically) treated with Tikshna urine (mútra) and alkalies (kshára), and are mixed or smeared over with the mixture of (the powder of) Rajavriksha (Clitoria Ternatea), Vata (Ficus Indica), and Pelu (Carnea Arborea), together with cow's bile and the urine and dung of a buffalo, an ass and an elephant.

  • (Metals) are rendered soft when they are treated with (the powder of) kandali (mushroom), and vajrakanda, (Antiquorum) together with the ashes of barley, black beans, palása (Butea Frondosa), and pelu (Carnea Arborea), or with the milk of both the cow and the sheep. Whatever metal is split into a hundred thousand parts is rendered soft when it is thrice soaked in the mixture made up of honey (madhu), madhuka (Bassia Latifolia), sheep's milk, sesamum oil, clarified butter, jaggery, kinva (ferment) and mushroom.

  • Permanent softness (mridustambhana) is also attained when the metal is treated with the powder of cow's teeth and horn.

  • Those ores which are obtained from plains or slopes of mountains; and which are heavy, greasy, soft, tawny, green, dark, bluish-yellow (harita), pale-red, or red are ores of copper.

  • Those ores which have the colour of kákamechaka (Solanum Indica), pigeon, or cow’s bile, and which are marked with white lines and smell like raw meat are the ores of lead.

  • Those ores which are as variegated in colour as saline soil or which have the colour of a burnt lump of earth are the ores of tin.

  • Those ores which are of orange colour (kurumba), or pale-red (pándurohita), or of the colour of the flower of sinduvára (Vitex Trifolia) are the ores of tíkshna.

  • Those ores which are of the colour of the leaf of kánda (Artemisia Indica) or of the leaf of birch are the ores of vaikrintaka.

  • Pure, smooth, efflugent, sounding (when struck), very hard (satatívrah), and of little colour (tanurága) are precious stones.

  • The yield of mines may be put to such uses as are in vogue.

  • Commerce in commodities manufactured from mineral products shall be centralized and punishment for manufacturers, sellers, and purchasers of such commodities outside the prescribed locality shall also be laid down.

  • A mine-labourer who steals mineral products except precious stones shall be punished with a fine of eight times their value.

  • Any person who steals mineral products or carries on mining operations without license shall be bound (with chains) and caused to work (as a prisoner).

  • Mines which yield such minerals as are made use of in preparing vessels (bhánda) as well as those mines which require large outlay to work out may be leased out for a fixed number of the shares of the output or for a fixed rent (bhágena prakrayena va) Such mines as can be worked out without much outlay shall be directly exploited (by Government agency).

  • The superintendent of metals (lóhádhyakshah) shall carry on the manufacture of copper, lead, tin, vaikrintaka (mercury [?]), árakúta (brass), vritta(?); kamsa (bronze or bell-metal), tála (sulphurate of arsenic), and lodhra (?), and also of commodities (bhánda) from them.

  • The superintendent of mint (lakshnádhyakshah), shall carry on the manufacture of silver coins (rúpyarúpa) made up of four parts of copper and one-sixteenth part (másha) of any one of the metals, tikshna, trapu, sisa, and anjana. There shall be a pana, half a pana, a quarter and one-eighth.

  • Copper coins (támrarúpa) made up of four parts of an alloy (pádajívam), shall be a máshaka, half a máshaka, kákani and half a kákani.

  • The examiner of coins (rúpadarsaka) shall regulate currency both as a medium of exchange (vyávahárikim) and as legal tender admissible into the treasury (kosapravesyám): The premia levied on coins paid into the treasury shall be) 8 per cent, known as rúpika, 5 per cent known as vyáji, one-eighth pana per cent as páríkshika (testing charge), besides (cha) a fine of 25 pana to be imposed on offenders other than the manufacturer, the seller, the purchaser and the examiner.

  • The superintendent of ocean-mines (khanyadhyakshah) shall attend to the collection of conch-shells, diamonds, precious stones, pearls, corals, and salt (kshára) and also regulate the commerce in the above commodities.

  • Soon after crystalisation of salt is over, the superintendent of salt shall in time collect both the money-rent (prakraya) and the quantity of the shares of salt due to the government; and by the sale of salt (thus collected as shares) he shall realise not only its value (múlyam), but also the premium of five per cent (vyájím), both in cash (rúpa).

  • Imported salt (ágantulavanam) shall pay one-sixth portion (shadbhága) to the king. The sale of this portion (bhágavibhága) shall fetch the premia of five per cent (vyáji), of eight per cent (rúpika) in cash (rúpa). The purchasers shall pay not only the toll (sulka), but also the compensation (vaidharana) equivalent to the loss entailed on the king's commerce. In default of the above payment, he shall be compelled to pay a fine of 600 panas.

  • Adulteration of salt shall be punished with the highest amercement; likewise persons other than hermits (vánaprastha) manufacturing salt without license.

  • Men learned in the Vedas, persons engaged in penance, as well as labourers may take with them salt for food; salt and alkalies for purposes other than this shall be subject to the payment of toll.

  • Thus; besides collecting from mines the ten kinds of revenue, such as (1) value of the out-put (múlya), (2) the share of the out-put (vibhága), (3) the premium of five per cent (vyáji), (4) the testing charge of coins (parigha), (5) fine previously announced (atyaya), (6) toll (sulka), (7) compensation for loss entailed on the king's commerce (vaidharana), (8) fines to be determined in proportion to the gravity of crimes (danda), (9), coinage (rúpa), (10) the premium of eight per cent (rúpika), the government shall keep as a state monopoly both mining and commerce (in minerals).

  • Thus taxes (mukhasangraha) on all commodities intended for sale shall be prescribed once for all.

[Thus ends Chapter XII, "Conducting Mining Operations and Manufacture" in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of thirty-third chapter from the beginning.]



  • IN order to manufacture gold and silver jewellry, each being kept apart, the superintendent of gold shall have a goldsmiths office (akshasála) consisting of four rooms and one door.

  • In the centre of the high road a trained, skilful goldsmith of high birth and of reliable character shall be appointed to hold his shop.

  • Jámbúnada, that which is the product of the river, Jambu; Sátakumbha, that which is extracted from the mountain of Satakumba; Hátaka, that which is extracted from the mines known as Hátaka; Vainava, that which is the product of the mountain, Vénu; and Sringasúktija, that which is extracted from sringasúkti (?) are the varieties of gold.

  • (Gold may be obtained) either pure or amalgamated with mercury or silver or alloyed with other impurities as mine gold (ákaródgata).

  • That which is of the colour of the petals of a lotus, ductile, glossy, incapable of making any continuous sound (anádi), and glittering is the best; that which is reddish yellow (raktapíta) is of middle quality; and that which is red is of low quality.

  • Impure gold is of whitish colour. It shall be fused with lead of four times the quantity of the impurity. When gold is rendered brittle owing to its contamination with lead, it shall be heated with dry cowdung (sushkapatala). When it splits into pieces owing to hardness, it shall be drenched (after heating) into oil mixed with cowdung (taila-gomaye).

  • Mine gold which is brittle owing to its contamination with lead shall be heated wound round with cloth (pákapatráni kritvá); and hammered on a wooden anvil. Or it may be drenched in the mixture made of mushroom and vajrakhanda (Antiquorum).

  • Tutthodgata, what which is extracted from the mountain, Tuttha; gaudika, that which is the product of the country known as Gauda; kámbuka, that which is extracted from the mountain, Kambu; and chákraválika, that which is extracted from the mountain Chakravála are the varieties of silver.

  • Silver which is white, glossy, and ductile is the best; and that which is of the reverse quality is bad.

  • Impure silver shall be heated with lead of one-fourth the quantity of the impurity.

  • That which becomes full of globules, white, glowing, and of the colour of curd is pure.

  • When the streak of pure gold (made on touch-stone) is of the colour of turmeric, it is termed suvarna. When from one to sixteen kákanis of gold in a suvarna (of sixteen máshakas) are replaced by from one to sixteen kákanis of copper, so that the copper is inseparably alloyed with the whole mass of the remaining quantity of the gold, the sixteen varieties (carats) of the standard of the purity of gold (shodasavarnakáh) will be obtained.

  • Having first made a streak with suvarna on a touchstone, then (by the side of the streak) a streak with a piece of the gold (to be compared with it) shall be made.

  • Whenever a uniform streak made on the even surface of a touch-stone can be wiped off or swept away or when the streak is due to the sprinkling of any glittering powder (gairika) by the nail on touch-stone, then an attempt for deception can be inferred.

  • If, with the edge of the palm dipped in a solution, of vermilion (játihinguláka) or of sulphate of iron (pushpakásísa) in cow's urine, gold (suvarna) is touched, it becomes white.

  • A touch-stone with soft and shining splendour is the best. The touch-stone of the Kálinga country with the colour of green beans is also the best. A touch-stone of even or uniform colour is good in sale or purchase (of gold). That which possesses the colour of an elephant, tinged with green colour and capable of reflecting light (pratirági) is good in selling gold. That which is hard, durable, and of uneven colour and not reflecting light, is good for purchasers (krayahitah). That which is grey, greasy, of uniform colour, soft, and glossy is the best.

  • That (gold) which, when heated, keeps the same colour (tápo bahirantascha samah), is as glittering as tender sprouts, or of the colour of the flower of kárandaka (?) is the best.

  • That which is black or blue (in gold) is the impurity (apráptaka).

  • We shall deal with the balance and weights under the "Superintendent of Weights and Measures" (Chap. XIX, Book II). In accordance with the instructions given thereunder silver and gold (rúpyasuvarnam) may be given in exchange.

  • No person who is not an employee shall enter the gold-smiths’ office. Any person who so enters shall be beheaded (uchchhedyah).

  • Any workman who enters the office with gold or silver shall have to forfeit the same.

  • Goldsmiths who are engaged to prepare various kinds of ornaments such as kánchana (pure gold), prishita (hollow ornaments), tvashtri (setting gems in gold) and tapaníya; as well as blowers and sweepers shall enter into or exit from the office after their person and dress are thoroughly examined. All of their instruments together with their unfinished work shall be left where they have been at work. That amount of gold which they have received and the ornamental work which they were doing shall be put in the centre of the office. (Finished articles) shall be examined both morning and evening and be locked up with the seal of both the manufacturer and the superintendent (kárayatri, the owner getting the articles prepared).

  • Kshepana, guna, and kshudra ate three kinds of ornamental work.

  • Setting jewels (kácha, glass bead) in gold is termed kshepana.

  • Thread-making or string making is called guna.

  • Solid work (ghana), hollow work (sushira), and the manufacture of globules furnished with a rounded orifice is what is termed kshudra, low or ordinary work. 

  • For setting jewels in gold, five parts of káñchana (pure gold) and ten parts of gold alloyed with four parts of copper or silver shall be the required quantity (mána). Here the pure gold shall be preserved from the impure gold.

  • For setting jewels in hollow ornaments (prishitakácha karmanah), three parts of gold to hold the jewel and four parts for the bottom (shall be the required quantity).

  • For the work of tvashtri, copper and gold shall be mixed in equal quantities.

  • For silver article either solid or hollow, silver may be mixed with half of the amount of gold; or by making use of the powder or solution of vermilion, gold equal to one-fourth the amount of silver of the ornament may be painted (vásayet) on it.

  • Pure and glittering gold is tapaníya. This combined with an equal quantity of lead and heated with rock-salt (saindhav'ika) to melting point under dry cowdung becomes the basis of gold alloys of blue, red, white, yellow (harita), parrot and pidgeon colours.

  • The colouring ingredient of gold is one kákaní of tíkshna which is of the colour of the neck of a peacock, tinged with white, and which is dazzling and full of copper (pitapúrnitam).

  • Pure or impure silver (tára) may be heated four times with asthituttha (copper sulphate mixed with powdered bone), again four times with an equal quantity of lead, again four times with dry copper sulphate (sushkatuttha) again three times in skull (kapála), and lastly twice in cowdung. Thus the silver acted upon seventeen times by tuttha (shodasatutthátikrántam) and lastly heated to white light with rock salt may be made to alloy with suvarna to the extent of from one kákani to two Máshas. Then the suvarna attains white colour and is called sveta-tára.

  • When three parts of tapaníya (pure gold) are melted with thirty-two parts of sveta-tára, the compound becomes reddish white (svetalohitakam). When three parts of tapaníya are combined with thirty-two parts of copper, the compound becomes yellow (píta, red!). Also when three parts of the colouring ingredient (rágatribhága, i.e., tíkshna referred to above) are heated with tapaníya, the compound becomes yellowish red (píta). When two parts of sveta-tára and one part of tapaníya are heated, the whole mass becomes as green as mudga (Phraseolus Mungo). When tapaníya is drenched in a solution of half the quantity of black iron (káláyasa), it becomes black.

  • When tapaníya is twice drenched in (the above) solution mixed with mercury (rasa), it acquires the colour of the feathers of a parrot.

  • Before these varieties of gold are put to use, their test streak shall be taken on touch-stone. The process of assaying tíkshna and copper shall be well understood. Hence the various counterweights (avaneyimána) used in weighing diamonds, rubies, pearls, corals, and coins, (rúpa), as well as the proportional amount of gold and silver necessary for various kinds of ornaments can be well understood.

  • Uniform in colour, equal in the colour of test streak to the standard gold, devoid of hollow bulbs, ductile (sthira), very smooth, free from alloys, pleasing when worn as an ornament, not dazzling though glittering, sweet in its uniformity of mass, and pleasing the mind and eyes,---these are the qualities of tapaníya, pure gold.

[Thus ends Chapter XIII, "The Superintendent of Gold in the Goldsmiths' Office," in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of thirty-fourth chapter from the beginning.]



  • THE State Goldsmith shall employ artisans to manufacture gold and silver coins (rúpyasuvarna) from the bullion of citizens and country people.

  • The artisans employed in the office shall do their work as ordered and in time. When under the excuse that time and nature of the work has not been prescribed, they spoil the work, they shall not only forfeit their wages, but also pay a fine of twice the amount of their wages. When they postpone work, they shall forfeit one-fourth the amount of their wages and pay a fine of twice the amount of the forfeited wages.

  • (The goldsmith of the mint) shall return (to the owners coins or ornaments) of the same weight, and of the same quality (varna) as that of the bullion (nikshepa) which they received (at the mint). With the exception of those (coins) which have been worn out or which have undergone diminution (kshínaparisírna), they shall receive the same coins (back into the mint) even after the lapse of a number of years.

  • The state goldsmith shall gather from the artisans employed in the mint information concerning pure gold, metallic mass (pudgala), coins (lakshana), and rate of exchange (prayóga).

  • In getting a suvarna coin (of 16 máshas) manufactured from gold or from silver, one kákani (one-fourth másha) weight of the metal more shall be given to the mint towards the loss in manufacture.

  • The colouring ingredient (rágaprakshépa) shall be two kákanis of tíkshna (copper sulphate ?) one-sixth of which will be lost during the manufacture.

  • When the quality (varna) of a coin less than the standard of a másha is lowered, the artisans (concerned) shall be punished with the first amercement. When its weight is less than the standard weight, they shall be punished with the middlemost amercement. Deception in balance or weights shall be punished with the highest amercement. Deception in the exchange of manufactured coins (kritabhándopadhau) shall also be punished with the highest amercement.

  • Whoever causes (gold or silver articles) to be manufactured in any place other than the mint or without being noticed by the state goldsmith shall be fined 12 panás, while the artisan who does that work shall, if found out, be punished with twice the above fine. If he is not found out, measures such as are described in Book IV shall be taken to detect him. When thus detected, he shall be fined 200 panás or shall have his fingers cut off.

  • Weighing balance and counterweights shall be purchased from the superintendent in charge of them. Otherwise a fine of 12 panás shall be imposed.

  • Compact work (ghana), compact and hollow work (ghanasushira), soldering (samyúhya), amalgamation (avalepya), enclosing (samghátya), and gilding (vásitakam) are the various kinds of artisan work (kárukasma).

  • False balances (tulávishama), removal (apasárana), dropping (visrávana), folding (petaka), and confounding (pinka) are the several means employed by goldsmiths to deceive the public.

  • False balance are—that of bending arms (sannámini); that of high helm or pivot (utkarnika); that of broken head (bhinnamastaka); that of hollow neck (upakanthi); that of bad strings (kusikya); that of bad cups or pans (sakatukakshya); that which is crooked or shaking (párivellya); and that which is combined with a magnet (ayaskánta).

  • When, by what is called Triputaka which consists of two parts of silver and one part of copper, an equal portion of pure alluvial gold is replaced, that deceitful act is termed copper-removal (triputaká- vasáritam); when, by copper, an equal portion of gold is replaced, that act is termed copper-removal (sulbávasáritam); when by vellakaan equal portion of gold is replaced, it is termed vellaka-removal; and when pure alluvial gold is replaced by that gold half of which is mixed with copper, it is termed gold removal (hemávasáritam).

  • A crucible with a base metallic piece hidden in it; metallic excrement; pincers; a pair of tongs; metallic pieces (jongani); and borax (sauvarchikálavanam),—these are the several things which are made use of by goldsmiths in stealing gold.

  • When, intentionally causing the crucible (containing the bullion) to burst, a few sandlike particles of the metal are picked up along with other particles of a base metal previously put therein, and the whole is wrought into a mass for the intended coin or ornament), this act is termed dropping (visravana); or when examining the folded or inlaid leaves of an ornament (áchitakapatrapariksháyám) deception is perpetrated by substituting silver for gold, or when particles of a base metal are substituted for those of gold, it is termed dropping (visrávana) likewise.

  • Folding (petaka) either firm (gádha) or loose (abhyuddhárya) is practiced in soldering, in preparing amalgams, and in enclosing (a piece of base metal with two pieces of a superior metal).

  • When a lead piece (sísarúpa--lead coin) is firmly covered over with gold leaf by means of wax (ashtaka), that act is termed gádhapetaka, firm folding; and when the same is loosely folded, it is termed loose folding.

  • In amalgams, a single or double layer (of a superior metal) is made to cover a piece (of base metal). Copper or silver may also be placed between two leaves (of a superior metal). A copper piece (sulbarúpya) may be covered over with gold leaf, the surface and the edges being smoothened; similarly a piece of any base metal may be covered over with double leaf of copper or silver, the surface and the edges being smoothened.

  • The two forms of folding may be detected by heating, by testing on touch-stone (nikasha) or by observing absence of sound when it is rubbed (nissabdollekhana).

  • (They) find out loose folding in the acid juice of badarámla (Flacourtia Cataphracta or jujube fruit) or in salt water;—so much for folding (petaka).

  • In a compact and hollow piece (ghana-sushire rúpe), small particles of gold-like mud (suvarnamrinválukáh) or bit of vermilion (hingulakalkah) are so heated as to make them firmly adhere to the piece inside. Even in a compact piece (dridhavástuke rúpe), the waxlike mud of Gándhára mixed with the particles of goldlike sand is so heated as to adhere to the piece. These two kinds of impurities are got rid of by hammering the pieces when red hot.

  • In an ornament or a coin (sapari-bhánde vá rúpe) salt mixed with hard sand (katusarkará) is so heated in flame as to make it firmly adhere to (the ornament or coin). This (salt and sand) can be got rid of by boiling (kváthana).

  • In some pieces, mica may be firmly fixed inside by wax and covered over with a double leaf (of gold or silver). When such a piece with mica or glass inside is suspended in water (udake) one of its sides dips more than the other; or when pierced by a pin, the pin goes very easily in the layers of mica in the interior (patalántareshu).

  • Spurious stones and counterfeit gold and silver may be substituted for real ones in compact and hollow pieces (ghanasushira). They are detected by hammering the pieces when red hot---so much for confounding (pinka).

  • Hence (the state goldsmith) shall have a thorough knowledge of the species, characteristics, colour, weight, and formation (pudgala-lakshana) of diamonds, precious stones (mani), pearls, corals and coins (rúpa).

  • There are four ways of deception perpetrated when examining new pieces or repairing old ones: they are hammering, cutting, scratching and rubbing.

  • When, under the excuse of detecting the deception known as folding (petaka) in hollow pieces or in threads or in cups (made of gold or silver), the articles in question are hammered, that act is termed hammering.

  • When a lead piece (covered over with gold or silver leaf) is substituted for a real one and its interior is cut off, it is termed cutting (avachchhedanam).

  • When compact pieces are scratched by tíkshna (copper sulphate ?), that act is termed scratching (ullekhana).

  • When, by a piece of cloth painted with the powder of sulphuret of arsenic (haritála), red arsenic (manassila), or vermilion or with the powder of kuruvinda (black salt ?), gold or silver articles are rubbed, that act is termed rubbing.

  • By these acts, gold and silver articles (bhándáni) undergo diminution; but no other kind of injury is done to them.

  • In all those pieces which are hammered, cut, scratched, or rubbed the loss can be inferred by comparing them with intact pieces of similar description. In amalgamated pieces (avalepya) which are cut off, the loss can be ascertained by cutting off an equal portion of a similar piece. Those pieces the appearance of which has changed shall be often heated and drenched in water.

  • (The state goldsmith) shall infer deception (kácham vidyát) when [the artisan preparing articles pays undue attention to] throwing away, counter-weight, fire, anvil (gandika), working instruments (bhandika), the seat (adhikarani), the assaying balance, folds of dress (chellachollakam), his head, his thigh, flies, eagerness to look at his own body, the water-pot, and the firepot.

  • Regarding silver, bad smell like that of rotten meat, hardness due to any alloy (mala), projection (prastína), and bad colour may be considered as indicating adulteration.

  • Thus articles (of gold and silver) new or old, or of bad or unusual colour are to be examined and adequate fines as described above shall be imposed.

[Thus ends Chapter XIV, “The Duties of the State Goldsmith in the High Road” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of thirty-fifth chapter from the beginning.]



  • THE superintendent of storehouse (Koshthágára) shall supervise the accounts of agricultural produce (síta); taxes coming under Ráshtra, country-parts; commerce (krayima); barter (parivartna); begging for grains (prámityaka); grains borrowed with promise to repay (ápamityaka); manufacture of rice, oils, etc. (simhanika); accidental revenue (anyajáta); statements to check expenditure (vyayapratyaya); and recovery of past arrears (upasthánam).

  • Whatever in the shape of agricultural produce is brought in by the superintendent of agriculture, (of crown-lands) is termed sítá.

  • The taxes that are fixed (pindakara), taxes that are paid in the form of one-sixth of produce (shadbhága), provision paid (by the people) for the army (senábhakta), taxes that are levied for religious purposes (bali), taxes or subsidies that are paid by vassal kings and others (kara), taxes that are specially collected on the occasion of the birth of a prince (utsanga), taxes that are collected when there is some margin left for such collection (pársva), compensation levied in the shape of grains for any damage done by cattle to crops (párihínaka), presentation made to the king, (aupáyanika), and taxes that are levied on lands below tanks, lakes, etc., built by the king (Kaushtheyaka),--all these come under the head ‘Ráshtra.’

  • Sale proceeds of grains, grains purchased and the collection of interest in kind or grain debts (prayogapratyádána) are termed commerce.

  • Profitable exchange of grains for grains is termed barter (parivarthana).

  • Grains collected by begging is termed prámityaka.

  • Grains borrowed with promise to repay the same is termed ápamityaka.

  • Pounding (rice, etc.), dividing (pulses, etc.), frying (corns and beans), manufacture of beverages (suktakarma), manufacture of flour by employing those persons who live upon such works, extracting oil by employing shepherds and oil-makers, and manufacture of sugar from the juice of sugar-cane are termed simhanika.

  • Whatever is lost and forgotten (by others) and the like form accidental revenue (anyajáta).

  • Investment, the relic of a wrecked undertaking, and savings from an estimated outlay are the means to check expenditure (vyayapratyaya).

  • That amount or quantity of compensation which is claimed for making use of a different balance or for any error in taking a handful is termed vyáji.

  • Collection of arrears is termed ‘upasthána,’ ‘recovery of past arrears.’

  • Of grains, oils, sugar, and salt, all that concerns grains will be treated of in connection with the duties of the ‘Superintendent of Agriculture.’

  • Clarified butter, oil, serum of flesh, and pith or sap (of plants, etc.)., are termed oils (sneha).

  • Decoction (phánita), jaggory, granulated sugar, and sugar-candy are termed kshára.

  • Saindhava, that which is the product of the country of Sindhu; Sámudra, that which is produced from seawater; Bida; Yavakshara, nitre, Sauvarchala, that which is the product of the country of suvarchala; and udbhedaja, that which is extracted from saline soil are termed lavana, salt.

  • The honey of the bee as well as the juice extracted from grapes are called madhu.

  • Mixture made by combining any one of the substances, such as the juice of sugar-cane, jaggory, honey,. the, juice of grapes, the essence of the fruits of jambu (Euginia Jambolana) and of jaka tree—with the essence of meshasringa (a kind of plant) and long pepper, with or without the addition of the essence of chirbhita (a kind of gourd), cucumber, sugar-cane, mango-fruit and the fruit of myrobalam, the mixture being prepared so as to last for a month, or six months, or a year, constitute the group of astringents (sukta-varga).

  • The fruits of those trees which bear acid fruits, those of karamarda (Carissa Carandas), those of vidalámalka (myrobalam), those of matulanga (citron tree), those of kola (small jujuba), those of badara (Flacourtia Cataphracta), those of sauvíra (big jujuba), and those of parushaka (Grewia Asiatica) and the like come under the group of acid fruits.

  • Curds, acid prepared from grains and the like are acids in liquid form.

  • Long pepper, black pepper, ginger, cumin seed, kiratatikta (Agathotes Chirayta), white mustard, coriander, choraka (a plant), damanaka (Artemisia Indica), maruvaka (Vangueria Spinosa), sigru (Hyperanthera Moringa), and the like together with their roots (kánda) come under the group of pungent substances (tiktavarga).

  • Dried fish, bulbous roots (kándamúla), fruits and vegetables form the group of edibles (sakavarga).

  • Of the store, thus, collected, half shall be kept in reserve to ward off the calamities of the people and only the other half shall be used. Old collection shall be replaced by new supply.

  • The superintendent shall also personally supervise the increase or diminution sustained in grains when they are pounded (kshunna), or frayed (ghrishta), or reduced to flour (pishta), or fried (bhrashta), or dried after soaking in water.

  • The essential part (sára, i.e., that which is fit for food) of kodrava (Paspalam Scrobiculatum) and of vrihi (rice) is one-half; that of sáli (a kind of rice) is (half) less by one-eighth part; that of varaka (Phraseolus Trilobus) is (half) less by one-third part; that of priyangu (panic seed or millet) is one-half ; that of chamasi (barley), of mudga (Phraseolus Mungo) and of masha (Phraseolus Radiatus) is (half) less by one-eighth part; that of saibya (simbi) is one-half; that of masúra (Ervum Hirsutum) is (half) less by one-third part (than the raw material or grains from which it is prepared).

  • Raw flour and kulmasha (boiled and forced rice) will be as much as one and a half of the original quantity of the grains.

  • Barley gruel as well as its flour baked will be twice the original quantity.

  • Kodrava (Paspalam Scrobiculatum), varaka (Phraseolus Trilobus), udáraka (Panicum), and priyangu (millet) will increase three times the original quantity when cooked. Vríhi (rice) will increase four times when cooked. Sáli (a kind of rice) will increase five times when cooked.

  • Grains will increase twice the original quantity when moistened; and two and a half times when soaked to sprouting condition.

  • Grains fried will increase by one-fifth the original quantity; leguminous seeds (kaláya), when fried, will increase twice the original; likewise rice when fried.

  • Oil extracted from atasi (linseed) will be one-sixth (of the quantity of the seed); that extracted from the seeds, nimba (Azadirachta Indica), kusámra (?), and Kapittha (Feronia Elephantum) will be one-fifth; and that extracted from tila (seasumum), kusumba (a sort of kidney bean), madhúka (Bassia Latifolia), and ingudi (Terminalia Catappa) will be one-fourth.

  • Five palas of kárpása (cotton) and of kshauma (flax) will yield one pala of threads.

  • Rice prepared in such a way that five dróna of sáli yield ten ádhakas of rice will be fit to be the food of young elephants; eleven ádhakas from five drónas for elephants of bad temper (vyála); ten ádhakas from the same quantity for elephants trained for riding; nine ádhakas from the same quantity for elephants used in war; eight ádhakas from the same for infantry; eleven ádhakas from the same for chiefs of the army; six ádhakas from the same for queens and princes and five ádhakas from the same quantity for kings.

  • One prastha of rice, pure and unsplit, one-fourth prastha of súpa, and clarified butter or oil equal to one-fourth part of (súpa) will suffice to form one meal of an Arya.

  • One-sixth prastha of súpa for a man; and half the above quantity of oil will form one meal for low castes (avara).

  • The same rations less by one-fourth the above quantities will form one meal for a woman; and half the above rations for children.

  • For dressing twenty palas of flesh, half a kutumba of oil, one pala of salt, one pala of sugar (kshára), two dharanas of pungent substances (katuka, spices), and half a prastha of curd (will be necessary).

  • For dressing greater quantities of flesh, the same ingredients can be proportionally increased.

  • For cooking sákas (dried fish and vegetables), the above substances are to be added one and a half times as much.

  • For dressing dried fish, the above ingredients are to be added twice as much.

  • Measures of rations for elephants and horses will be described in connection with the "Duties of Their Respective Superintendents."

  • For bullocks, one drona of masha (Phraseolus Radiatus) or one drona of barley cooked with other things, as prescribed for horses, is the requisite quantity of food, besides the special and additional provision of one tula of oilcakes (ghánapinyaka) or ten ádhakas of bran (kanakuttana-kundaka).

  • Twice the above quantity for buffaloes and camels.

  • Half a drona for asses, red spotted deer and deer with white stripes.

  • One ádhaka for an antelope and big red deer.

  • Half an ádhaka or one ádhaka of grain together with bran for a goat, a ram and a boar.

  • One prastha of cooked rice for dogs.

  • Half a prastha for a hamsa (goose), a krauncha (heron) and a peacock.

  • From the above, the quantity of rations enough for one meal for other beasts, cattle, birds, and rogue elephants (vyála) may be inferred.

  • Charcoal and chaff may be given over for iron smelting and lime-kiln (bhittilepya).

  • Bran and flour (kánika) may be given to slaves, labourers, and cooks. The surplus of the above may be given to those who prepare cooked rice, and rice-cakes.

  • The weighing balance, weights, measures, mill-stone (rochani), pestle, mortar, wooden contrivances for pounding rice, etc., (kuttakayantra), contrivances for splitting seeds into pieces (rochakayantra), winnowing fans, sieves (chálani) grain-baskets (kandoli), boxes, and brooms are the necessary instruments.

  • Sweepers; preservers; those who weigh things (dharaka); those who measure grains, etc.; those who supervise the work of measuring grains (mápaka); those who supervise the supply of commodities to the store-house (dápaka); those who supply commodities (dáyaka); those who are employed to receive compensation for any real or supposed error in measuring grains, etc. (sálákáipratigráhaka); slaves; and labourers;—all these are called vishti.

  • Grains are heaped up on the floor; jaggory (kshára) is bound round in grass-rope (múta); oils are kept in earthenware or wooden vessels; and salt is heaped up on the surface of the ground.

[Thus ends Chapter XV, “The Superintendent of Storehouse,” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the thirty-sixth chapter from the beginning.]



  • THE Superintendent of Commerce shall ascertain demand or absence of demand for, and rise or fall in the price of, various kinds of merchandise which may be the products either of land or of water and which may have been brought in either by land or by water path. He shall also ascertain the time suitable for their distribution, centralisation, purchase, and sale.

  • That merchandise which is widely distributed shall be centralised and its price enhanced. When the enhanced rate becomes popular, another rate shall be declared.

  • That merchandise of the king which is of local manufacture shall be centralised; imported merchandise shall be distributed in several markets for sale. Both kinds of merchandise shall be favourably sold to the people.

  • He shall avoid such large profits as will harm the people.

  • There shall be no restriction to the time of sale of those commodities for which there is frequent demand; nor shall they be subject to the evils of centralisation (sankuladosha).

  • Or pedlars may sell the merchandise of the king at a fixed price in many markets and pay necessary compensation (vaidharana) proportional to the loss entailed upon it (chhedánurúpam).

  • The amount of vyáji due on commodities sold by cubical measure is one-sixteenth of the quantity (shodasabhágo mánavyáji); that on commodities sold by weighing balance is one-twentieth of the quantity; and that on commodities sold in numbers is one-eleventh of the whole.

  • The superintendent shall show favour to those who import foreign merchandise: mariners (návika) and merchants who import foreign merchandise shall be favoured with remission of the trade-taxes, so that they may derive some profit (áyatikshamam pariháram dadyát).

  • Foreigners importing merchandise shall be exempted from being sued for debts unless they are (local) associations and partners (anabhiyogaschárthesshvágantúnámanyatassabhyopakári bhyah).

  • Those who sell the merchandise of the king shall invariably put their sale proceeds in a wooden box kept in a fixed place and provided with a single aperture on the top.

  • During the eighth part of the day, they shall submit to the superintendent the sale report, saying "this much has been sold and this much remains;" they shall also hand over the weights and measures. Such are the rules applicable to local traffic.

  • As regards the sale of the king's merchandise in foreign countries:---

  • Having ascertained the value of local produce as compared with that of foreign produce that can be obtained in barter, the superintendent will find out (by calculation) whether there is any margin left for profit after meeting the payments (to the foreign king) such as the toll (sulka), road-cess (vartaní), conveyance-cess (átiváhika), tax payable at military stations (gulmadeya), ferry-charges (taradeya), subsistence to the merchant and his followers (bhakta), and the portion of merchandise payable to the foreign king (bhága).

  • If no profit can be realised by selling the local produce in foreign countries, he has to consider whether any local produce can be profitably bartered for any foreign produce. Then he may send one quarter of his valuable merchandise through safe roads to different markets on land. In view of large profits, he (the deputed merchant) may make friendship with the forest-guards, boundary-guards, and officers in charge of cities and of country-parts (of the foreign king). He shall take care to secure his treasure (sára) and life from danger. If he cannot reach the intended market, he may sell the merchandise (at any market) free from all dues (sarvadeyavisuddham).

  • Or he may take his merchandise to other countries through rivers (nadípatha).

  • He shall also gather information as to conveyance-charges (yánabhágaka), subsistence on the way (pathyadana), value of foreign merchandise that can be obtained in barter for local merchandise, occasions of pilgrimages (yátrakála), means that can be employed to ward off dangers (of the journey), and the history of commercial towns (panyapattanacháritra).

  • Having gathered information as to the transaction in commercial towns along the banks of rivers, he shall transport his merchandise to profitable markets and avoid unprofitable ones.

[Thus ends Chapter XVI, “The Superintendent of Commerce” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of thirty-seventh chapter from the beginning.]



  • THE Superintendent of Forest Produce shall collect timber and other products of forests by employing those who guard productive forests. He shall not only start productive works in forests, but also fix adequate fines and compensations to be levied from those who cause any damage to productive forests except in calamities.

  • The following are forest products: Sáka (teak), tinisa (Dalbergia Ougeinensis), dhanvana (?), arjuna (Terminalia Arjuna), madhúka (Bassia Latifolia), tilaka (Barleria Cristata), tála (palmyra), simsúpa (Dalbergia Sissu), arimeda (Fetid Mimosa), rájádana (Mimosops Kauki), sirisha (Mimosa Sirísha), khadira (Mimosa Catechu), sarala (Pinus Longifolia), tálasarja (sal tree or Shorea Robesta), asvakarna (Vatica Robesta), somavalka (a kind of white khadíra), kasámra (?), priyaka (yellow sal tree), dhava (Mimosa Hexandra), etc., are the trees of strong timber (sáradáruvarga).

  • Utaja, Chimiya, Chava, Vénu, Vamsa, Sátina, Kantaka, and Bhállúka, etc., form the group of bamboo.

  • Vetra (cane), sokavalli, vási (Justicia Ganderussa ?), syámalatá (Ichnocarpus), nágalata (betel), etc., form the group of creepers.

  • Málati (Jasminum Grandiflorum), dúrvá (panic grass), arka (Calotropis Gigantea), sana (hemp), gavedhuka (Coix Barbata), atasí (Linum Usitatis simum), etc., form the group of fibrous plants (valkavarga).

  • Munja (Saccharum Munja), balbaja (Eleusine Indica), etc., are plants which yield rope-making material (rajjubhánda).

  • Táli (Corypha Taliera), tála (palmyra or Borassus Flabelliformis), and bhúrja (birch) yield leaves (patram).

  • Kimsuka (Butea Frondosa), kusumbha (Carthamus Tinctorius), and kumkuma (Crocus Sativus) yield flowers.

  • Bulbous roots and fruits are the group of medicines.

  • Kálakúta, Vatsanábha, Háláhala, Meshasringa, Mustá, (Cyperus Rotundus), kushtha, mahávisha, vellitaka, gaurárdra, bálaka, márkata, haimavata, kálingaka, daradaka, kolasáraka, ushtraka, etc., are poisons.

  • Likewise snakes and worms kept in pots are the group of poisons.

  • Skins are those of godha (alligator), seraka (?), dvípi (leopard), simsumára (porpoise), simha (lion), vyághra (tiger), hasti, (elephant.), mahisha (buffalo), chamara (bos grunniens), gomriga (bos gavaeus), and gavaya (the gayal).

  • Bones, bile (pittha), snáyu (?), teeth, horn, hoofs, and tails of the above animals as well as of other beasts, cattle, birds and snakes (vyála).

  • Káláyasa (iron), támra (copper), vritta (?), kámsya (bronze), sísa (lead), trapu (tin), vaikrintaka (mercury ?), and árakuata (brass), are metals.

  • Utensils (bhanda), are those made of cane, bark (vidala), and clay (mrittiká).

  • Charcoal, bran, and ashes are other things.

  • Menageries of beasts, cattle, and birds.

  • Collection of firewood and fodder.

  • The superintendent of forest produce shall carry on either inside or outside (the capital city) the manufacture of all kinds of articles which are necessary for life or for the defence of forts.

[Thus ends Chapter XVII, “The Superintendent of Forest Produce” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of chapter thirty-eighth from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of the Armoury shall employ experienced workmen of tried ability to manufacture in a given time and for fixed wages wheels, weapons, mail armour, and other accessory instruments for use in battles, in the construction or defence of forts, or in destroying the cities or strongholds of enemies.

  • All these weapons and instruments shall be kept in places suitably prepared for them. They shall not only be frequently dusted and transferred from one place to another, but also be exposed to the sun. Such weapons as are likely to be affected by heat and vapour (úshmopasneha) and to be eaten by worms shall be kept in safe localities. They shall also be examined now and then with reference to the class to which they belong, their forms, their characteristics, their size, their source, their value, and their total quantity.

  • Sarvatobhadra, jamadagnya, bahumukha, visvásagháti, samgháti, yánaka, parjanyaka, ardhabáhu, and úrdhvabáhu are immoveable machines (sthirayantrám).

  • Pánchálika, devadanda, súkarika, musala, yashti, hastiváraka, tálavrinta, mudgara, gada, spriktala, kuddála, ásphátima, audhghátima, sataghni, trisúla, and chakra are moveable machines.

  • Sakti, prása, kunta, hátaka, bhindivála, súla, tomara, varáhakarna, kanaya, karpana, trásika, and the like are weapons with edges like a ploughshare (halamukháni).

  • Bows made of tála (palmyra), of chápa (a kind of bamboo), of dáru (a kind of wood), and sringa (bone or horn) are respectively called kármuka, kodanda, druna, and dhanus.

  • Bow-strings are made of múrva (Sansviera Roxburghiana), arka (Catotropis Gigantea), sána (hemp), gavedhu (Coix Barbata), venu (bamboo bark), and snáyu (sinew).

  • Venu, sara, saláka, dandásana, and nárácha are different kinds of arrows. The edges of arrows shall be so made of iron, bone or wood as to cut, rend or pierce.

  • Nistrimsa, mandalágra, and asiyashti are swords. The handles of swords are made of the horn of rhinoceros, buffalo, of the tusk of elephants, of wood, or of the root of bamboo.

  • Parasu, kuthára, pattasa, khanitra, kuddála, chakra, and kándachchhedana are razor-like weapons.

  • Yantrapáshána, goshpanapáshána, mushtipáshána, rochaní (mill-stone), and stones are other weapons (áyudháni).

  • Lohajáliká, patta, kavacha, and sútraka are varieties of armour made of iron or of skins with hoofs and horns of porpoise, rhinoceros, bison, elephant or cow.

  • Likewise sirastrána (cover for the head), kanthatrána (cover for the neck) kúrpása (cover for the trunk), kanchuka (a coat extending as far as the knee joints), váravána (a coat extending as far as the heels), patta, (a coat without cover for the arms), and nágodariká (gloves) are varieties of armour.

  • Veti, charma, hastikarna, tálamúla, dharmanika, kaváta, kitika, apratihata, and valáhakánta are instruments used in self-defence (ávaranáni).

  • Ornaments for elephants, chariots, and horses as well as goads and hooks to lead them in battle-fields constitute accessory things (upakaranáni).

  • (Besides the above) such other delusive and destructive contrivances (as are treated of in Book XIV) together with any other new inventions of expert workmen (shall also be kept in stock.)

  • The Superintendent of Armoury shall precisely ascertain the demand and supply of weapons, their application, their wear and tear, as well as their decay and loss.

[Thus ends Chapter XVIII, “The Superintendent of the Armoury” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of thirty-ninth chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of Weights and Measures shall have the same manufactured.
10 seeds of másha (Phraseolus Radiatus) or 5 ,, gunja (Cabrus Precatorius) = 1 suvarna-másha.
16 máshas = 1 suvarna or karsha.
4 karshas = 1 pala.
88 white mustard seeds = 1 silver-másha.
16 silver mashas or 20 saibya seeds = 1 dharana.
20 grains of rice = 1 dharana of a diamond.
  • Ardha-másha (half a másha), one másha, two máshas, four máshas, eight máshas, one suvarna, two suvarnas, four suvarnas, eight suvarnas, ten suvarnas, twenty suvarnas, thirty suvarnas, forty suvarnas and one hundred suvarnas are different units of weights.

  • Similar series of weights shall also be made in dharanas.

  • Weights (pratimánáni) shall be made of iron or of stones available in the countries of Magadha and Mekala; or of such things as will neither contract when wetted, nor expand under the influence of heat.

  • Beginning with a lever of six angulas in length and of one pala in the weight of its metallic mass, there shall be made ten (different) balances with levers successively increasing by one pala in the weight of their metallic masses, and by eight angulas in their length. A scale-pan shall be attached to each of them on one or both sides.

  • A balance called samavrittá, with its lever 72-angulas long and weighing 53 palas in its metallic mass shall also be made. A scalepan of 5 palas in the weight of its metallic mass being attached to its edge, the horizontal position of the lever (samakarana) when weighing a karsha shall be marked (on that part of the lever where, held by a thread, it stands horizontal). To the left of that mark, symbols such as 1 pala, 12, 15 and 20 palas shall be marked. After that, each place of tens up to 100 shall be marked. In the place of Akshas, the sign of Nándi shall be marked.

  • Likewise a balance called parimání of twice as much metallic mass as that of samavrittá and of 96 angulas in length shall be made. On its lever, marks such as 20, 50 and 100 above its initial weight of 100 shall be carved.

20 tulas == 1 bhára.
10 dharanas == 1 pala.
100 such palas == 1 áyamání (measure of royal income).
  • Public balance (vyávaháriká), servants' balance (bhájiní), and harem balance (antahpurabhájiní) successively decrease by five palas (compared with áyamáni).

  • A pala in each of the above successively falls short of the same in áyamáni by half a dharana. The metallic mass of the levers of each of the above successively decreases in weight by two ordinary palas and in length by six angulas.

  • Excepting flesh, metals, salt, and precious stones, an excess of five palas (prayáma) of all other commodities (shall be given to the king ) when they are weighed in the two first-named balances.

  • A wooden balance with a lever 8 hands long, with measuring marks and counterpoise weights shall be erected on a pedestal like that of a peacock.

  • Twenty-five palas of firewood will cook one prastha of rice.

  • This is the unit (for the calculation) of any greater or less quantity (of firewood).

  • Thus weighing balance and weights are commented upon.


200 palas in the grains of másha 1 drona which is an áyamána, a measure of royal income.
187½  ,, 1 public drona.
175  ,, 1 bhájaníya, servants' measure
162½  ,, 1 antahpurabhájaníya, harem measure.

Adhaka, prastha, and kudumba, are each ¼ of the one previously mentioned.

16 dronas  == 1 várí.
20  ,, == 1 kumbha.
10 kumbhas == 1 vaha.
  • Cubic measures shall be so made of dry and strong wood that when filled with grains, the conically heaped-up portion of the grains standing on the mouth of the measure is equal to ¼th of the quantity of the grains (so measured); or the measures may also be so made that a quantity equal to the heaped-up portion can be contained within (the measure).

  • But liquids shall always be measured level to the mouth of the measure.

  • With regard to wine, flowers, fruits, bran, charcoal and slaked lime, twice the quantity of the heaped-up portion (i.e., ¼th of the measure) shall be given in excess.

panas      is the price of  a drona.
¾ pana    ,,  an ádhaka.
6 máshas,,  a prastha.
1 másha  ,,  a kudumba.

The price of similar liquid-measures is double the above.

20 panas       is the price of  a set of counter-weights.
6⅔ panas,,  of a tulá (balance).
  • The Superintendent shall charge 4 máshas for stamping weights or measures. A fine of 27¼ panas shall be imposed for using unstamped weights or measures.

  • Traders shall every day pay one kákaní to the Superintendent towards the charge of stamping the weights and measures.

  • Those who trade in clarified butter, shall give, (to purchasers) 1/32 part more as taptavyáji (i.e., compensation for decrease in the quantity of ghi owing to its liquid condition). Those who trade in oil shall give 1/64 part more as taptavyáji.

  • (While selling liquids, traders) shall give 1/50 part more as mánasráva (i.e., compensation for diminution in the quantity owing to its overflow or adhesion to the measuring can).

  • Half, one-fourth, and one-eighth parts of the measure, kumbha, shall also be manufactured.

84 kudumbas of clarified butter are held to be equal to a wáraka of the same;
64 kudumbas of clarified butter are held to be equal to make one wáraka of oil (taila);and¼ of a wáraka is called ghatika, either of ghi or of oil.

[Thus ends Chapter XIX, "Balance, Weights and Measures" in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the fortieth chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of lineal measure shall possess the knowledge of measuring space and time.
8 atoms (paramánavah) are equal to 1 particle thrown off by the wheel of a chariot.
8 particles are equal to 1 likshá.
8 likshás are equal to  the middle of a yúka (louse) or a yúka of medium size.
8 yúkas are equal to  1 yava (barley) of middle size.
8 yavas are equal to

1 angula (¾ of an English inch) or the middlemost joint of the middle finger of a man of medium size may be taken to be equal to an angula.

4 angulas are equal to 1 dhanurgraha.
8 angulas are equal to 1 dhanurmushti.
12 angulas are equal to 1 vitasti, or 1 chháyápaurusha.
14 angulas are equal to 1 sama, sala, pariraya, or pada.
2 vitastis are equal to 1 aratni or 1 prájápatya hasta
2 vitastis plus 1 dhanurgraha are equal to 1 hasta used in measuring balances and cubic measures, and pasture lands.
2 vitastis plus 1 dhanurmusti  1 kishku or 1 kamsa.
42 angulas are equal to

1 kishku according to sawyers and blacksmiths and used in measuring the grounds for the encampment of the army, for forts and palaces.

54 angulas are equal to 1 hasta used in measuring timber forests.
84 angulas are equal to 1 vyáma, used in measuring ropes and the depth of digging, in terms of a man's height.
4 aratnis are equal to 1 danda, 1 dhanus, 1 nálika and 1 paurusha.
108 angulas are equal to

1 garhapatya dhanus (i.e., a measure used by carpenters called grihapati). This measure is used in measuring roads and fort-walls.

The same (108 angulas) are equal to 1 paurusha, a measure used in building sacrificial altars.
6 kamsas or 192 angulas are equal to 1 danda, used in measuring such lands as are gifted to Bráhmans.
10 dandas are equal to 

1 rajju.

2 rajjus are equal to 1 paridesa (square measure).
3 rajjus are equal to 1 nivartana (square measure).
The same (3 rajjus) plus 2 dandas on one side only are equal to 1 báhu (arm).
1000 dhanus are equal to 1 goruta (sound of a cow).
4 gorutas are equal to 1 yojana.
  • Thus are the lineal and square measures dealt with.
  • Then with regard to the measures of time:---
  • (The divisions of time are) a truti, lava, nimesha, káshthá, kalá, náliká, muhúrta, forenoon, afternoon, day, night, paksha, month, ritu (season), ayana (solstice); samvatsara (year), and yuga.
2 trutis are equal to 1 lava.
2 lavas are equal to  1 nimesha.
5 nimeshas are equal to 1 káshthá.
30 káshthás are equal to 1 kalá.
40 kalás are equal to 1 náliká, or the time during which one ádhaka of water passes out of a pot through an aperture of the same diameter as that of a wire of 4 angulas in length and made of 4 máshas of gold.
2 nálikas are equal to 1 muhúrta.
15 muhúrtas are equal to 1 day or 1 night.
  • Such a day and night happen in the months of Chaitra and Asvayuja. Then after the period of six months it increases or diminishes by three muhúrtas.

  • When the length of shadow is eight paurushas (96 angulas), it is 1/18th part of the day.

  • When it is 6 paurushas (72 angulas), it is 1/14th part of the day; when 4 paurushas, 1/8th part; when 2 paurushas, 1/6th part; when 1 paurusha, ¼th part; when it is 8 angulas, 3/10th part (trayodasabhágah); when 4 angulas, 3/8th part; and when no shadow is cast, it is to be considered midday.

  • Likewise when the day declines, the same process in reverse order shall be observed.

  • It is in the month of Ashádha that no shadow is cast in midday. After Ashádha, during the six months from Srávana upwards, the length of shadow successively increases by two angulas and during the next six months from Mágha upwards, it successively decreases by two angulas.

  • Fifteen days and nights together make up one paksha. That paksha during which the moon waxes is white (sukla) and that paksha during which the moon wanes is bahula.

  • Two pakshas make one month (mása). Thirty days and nights together make one work-a-month (prakarmamásah). The same (30 days and nights) with an additional half a day makes one solar month (saura).

  • The same (30) less by half a day makes one lunar month (chandramása).

  • Twenty-seven (days and nights) make a sidereal month (nakshatramása).

  • Once in thirty-two months there comes one malamása profane month, i.e., an extra month added to lunar year to harmonise it with the solar.

  • Once in thirty-five months there comes a malamása for Asvaváhas.

  • Once in forty months there comes a malamása for hastiváhas.

  • Two months make one ritu (season).

  • Srávana and proshthapada make the rainy season (varshá).

  • Asvayuja and Kárthíka make the autumn (sarad).

  • Márgasírsha and Phausha make the winter (hemanta).

  • Mágha and Phalguna make the dewy season (sisira).

  • Chaitra and Vaisákha make the spring (vasanta).

  • Jyeshthámúlíya and Ashádha make the summer (grishma).

  • Seasons from sisira and upwards are the summer-solstice (uttaráyana), and (those) from varshá and upwards are the winter solstice (dakshináyana). Two solstices (ayanas) make one year (samvatsara). Five years make one yuga.

  • The sun carries off (harati) 1/60th of a whole day every day and thus makes one complete day in every two months (ritau). Likewise the moon (falls behind by 1/60th of a whole day every day and falls behind one day in every two months). Thus in the middle of every third year, they (the sun and the moon) make one adhimása, additional month, first in the summer season and second at the end of five years.

[Thus ends Chapter XX, “Measurement of Space and Time” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the forty-first chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of Tolls shall erect near the large gate of the city both the toll-house and its flag facing either the north or the south. When merchants with their merchandise arrive at the toll-gate, four or five collectors shall take down who the merchants are, whence they come, what amount of merchandise they have brought and where for the first time the sealmark (abhijnánamudrá) has been made (on the merchandise).

  • Those whose merchandise has not been stamped with sealmark shall pay twice the amount of toll. For counterfeit seal they shall pay eight times the toll. If the sealmark is effaced or torn, (the merchants in question) shall be compelled to stand in ghatikásthána. When one kind of seal is used for another or when one kind of merchandise has been otherwise named (námakrite), the merchants shall pay a fine of 1¼ panás for each load (sapádapanikam vahanam dápayet).

  • The merchandise being placed near the flag of the toll-house, the merchants shall declare its quantity and price, cry out thrice "who will purchase this quantity of merchandise for this amount of price," and hand over the same to those who demand it (for that price). When purchasers happen to bid for it, the enhanced amount of the price together with the toll on the merchandise shall be paid into the king's treasury. When under the fear of having to pay a heavy toll, the quantity or the price of merchandise is lowered, the excess shall be taken by the king or the merchants shall be made to pay eight times the toll. The same punishment shall be imposed when the price of the merchandise packed in bags is lowered by showing an inferior sort as its sample or when valuable merchandise is covered over with a layer of an inferior one.

  • When under the fear of bidders (enhancing the price), the price of any merchandise is increased beyond its proper value, the king shall receive the enhanced amount or twice the amount of toll on it. The same punishment or eight times the amount of toll shall be imposed on the Superintendent of tolls if he conceals (merchandise).

  • Hence commodities shall be sold only after they are precisely weighed, measured, or numbered.

  • With regard to inferior commodities as well as those which are to be let off free of toll, the amount of toll due shall be determined after careful consideration.  

  • Those merchants who pass beyond the flag of the toll-house without paying the toll shall be fined eight times the amount of the toll due from them.

  • Those who pass by to and from (the city) shall ascertain (whether or not toll has been paid on any merchandise going along the road.)

  • Commodities intended for marriages, or taken by a bride from her parents' house to her husband's (anváyanam), or intended for presentation, or taken for the purpose of sacrificial performance, confinement of women, worship of gods, ceremony of tonsure, investiture of sacred thread, gift of cows (godána, made before marriage), any religious rite, consecration ceremony (dikshá), and other special ceremonials shall be let off free of toll.

  • Those who utter a lie shall be punished as thieves.

  • Those who smuggle a part of merchandise on which toll has not been paid with that on which toll has been paid as well as those who, with a view to smuggle with one pass a second portion of merchandise, put it along with the stamped merchandise after breaking open the bag shall forfeit the smuggled quantity and pay as much fine as is equal to the quantity so smuggled.

  • He who, falsely swearing by cowdung, smuggles merchandise, shall be punished with the highest amercement.

  • When a person imports such forbidden articles as weapons (sastra), mail armour, metals, chariots, precious stones, grains and cattle, he shall not only be punished as laid down elsewhere, but also be made to forfeit his merchandise. When any of such commodities has been brought in for sale, they shall be sold, free of toll far outside (the fort).

  • The officer in charge of boundaries (antapála) shall receive a pana-and-a-quarter as roadcess (vartani) on each load of merchandise (panyavahanasya).

  • He shall levy a pana on a single-hoofed animal, half a pana on each head of cattle, and a quarter on a minor quadruped.

  • He shall also receive a másha on a head-load of merchandise.

  • He shall also make good whatever has been lost by merchants (in the part of the country under his charge).

  • After carefully examining foreign commodities as to their superior or inferior quality and stamping them with his seal, he shall send the same to the superintendent of tolls.

  • Or he may send to the king a spy in the guise of a trader with information as to the quantity and quality of the merchandise. (Having received this information,) the king shall in turn send it to the superintendent of tolls in view of exhibiting the king's omniscient power. The superintendent shall tell the merchants (in question) that such and such a merchant has brought such and such amount of superior or inferior merchandise, which none can possibly hide, and that that information is due to the omniscient power of the king.

  • For hiding inferior commodities, eight times the amount of toll shall be imposed; and for hiding or concealing superior commodities, they shall be wholly confiscated.

  • Whatever causes harm or is useless to the country shall be shut out; and whatever is of immense good as well as seeds not easily available shall be let in free of toll.

[Thus ends Chapter XXI, “The Superintendent of Tolls” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the forty-second chapter from the beginning.)


  • MERCHANDISE, external (báhyam, i.e., arriving from country parts), internal (ábhyantaram, i.e., manufactured inside forts), or foreign (átithyani, i.e., imported from foreign countries) shall all be liable to the payment of toll alike when exported (nishkrámya) and imported (pravésyam).

  • Imported commodities shall pay 1/5th of their value as toll.

  • Of flower, fruit, vegetables (sáka), roots (múla), bulbous roots (kanda), pallikya (?), seeds, dried fish, and dried meat, the superintendent shall receive 1/6th as toll.

  • As regards conch-shells, diamonds, precious stones, pearls, corals, and necklaces, experts acquainted with the time, cost, and finish of the production of such articles shall fix the amount of toll.

  • Of fibrous garments (kshauma), cotton cloths (dukúla), silk (krimitána), mail armour (kankata), sulphuret of arsenic (haritála), red arsenic (manassilá), vermilion (hingulaka), metals (lóha), and colouring ingredients (varnadhátu); of sandal, brown sandal (agaru), pungents (katuka), ferments (kinva), dress (ávarana), and the like; of wine, ivory, skins, raw materials used in making fibrous or cotton garments, carpets, curtains (právarana), and products yielded by worms (krimijáta); and of wool and other products yielded by goats and sheep, he shall receive 1/10th or 1/15th as toll.

  • Of cloths (vastra), quadrupeds, bipeds, threads, cotton, scents, medicines, wood, bamboo, fibres (valkala), skins, and clay-pots; of grains, oils, sugar (kshára), salt, liquor (madya) cooked rice and the like, he shall receive 1/20th or 1/25th as toll.

  • Gate-dues (dvárádeya) shall be 1/5th of toll dues; this tax may be remitted if circumstances necessitate such favour. Commodities shall never be sold where they are grown or manufactured.

  • When minerals and other commodities are purchased from mines, a fine of 600 panás shall be imposed.

  • When flower or fruits are purchased from flower or fruit gardens, a fine of 54 panas shall be imposed.

  • When vegetables, roots, bulbous roots are purchased from vegetable gardens, a fine 51¾ panas shall be imposed.

  • When any kind of grass or grain is purchased from field, a fine of 53 panas shall be imposed.

  • (Permanent) fines of 1 pana and 1½ panas shall be levied on agricultural produce (sítátyayah).

  • Hence in accordance with the customs of countries or of communities, the rate of toll shall be fixed on commodities, either old or new; and fines shall be fixed in proportion to the gravity of offences.

[Thus ends Chapter XXII, "Regulation of Toll-dues," in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the forty-third chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of Weaving shall employ qualified persons to manufacture threads (sútra), coats (varma), cloths (vastra), and ropes.

  • Widows, cripple women, girls, mendicant or ascetic women (pravrajitá), women compelled to work in default of paying fines (dandápratikáriní), mothers of prostitutes, old women-servants of the king, and prostitutes (devadási) who have ceased to attend temples on service shall be employed to cut wool, fibre, cotton, panicle (túla), hemp, and flax.

  • Wages shall be fixed according as the threads spun are fine, coarse (sthúla, i.e., big) or of middle quality and in proportion to a greater or less quantity manufactured, and in consideration of the quantity of thread spun, those (who turn out a greater quantity) shall be presented with oil and dried cakes of myrobalan fruits (tailámalakódvartanaih).

  • They may also be made to work on holidays (tithishu) by payment of special rewards (prativápadánamánaih).

  • Wages shall be cut short, if making allowance for the quality of raw material, the quantity of the threads spun out is found to fall short.

  • Weaving may also be done by those artisans who are qualified to turn out a given amount of work in a given time and for a fixed amount of wages.

  • The superintendent shall closely associate with the workmen.

  • Those who manufacture fibrous cloths, raiments, silk-cloths, woollen cloths, and cotton fabrics shall be rewarded by presentations such as scents, garlands of flowers, or any other prizes of encouragement.

  • Various kinds of garments, blankets, and curtains shall be manufactured.

  • Those who are acquainted with the work shall manufacture mail armour.

  • Those women who do not stir out of their houses (anishkásinyah), those whose husbands are gone abroad, and those who are cripple or girls may, when obliged to work for subsistence, be provided with work (spinning out threads) in due courtesy through the medium of maid-servants (of the weaving establishment.)

  • Those women who can present themselves at the weaving house shall at dawn be enabled to exchange their spinnings for wages (bhándavetanavinimayam). Only so much light as is enough to examine the threads shall be kept. If the superintendent looks at the face of such women or talks about any other work, he shall be punished with the first amercement. Delay in paying the wages shall be punished with the middlemost amercement. Likewise when wages are paid for work that is not completed.

  • She who, having received wages, does not turn out the work shall have her thumb cut off.

  • Those who misappropriate, steal, or run away with, (the raw material supplied to them) shall be similarly punished.

  • Weavers, when guilty, shall be fined out of their wages in proportion to their offences.

  • The superintendent shall closely associate with those who manufacture ropes and mail armour and shall carry on the manufacture of straps (varatra) and other commodities.

  • He shall carry on the manufacture of ropes from threads and fibres and of straps from cane and bamboo bark, with which beasts for draught are trained or tethered.

[Thus ends Chapter XXIII, "The Superintendent of Weaving" in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the forty-fourth chapter from the beginning.]


  • POSSESSED of the knowledge of the science of agriculture dealing with the plantation of bushes and trees (krishitantragulmavrikshsháyurvedajñah), or assisted by those who are trained in such sciences, the superintendent of agriculture shall in time collect the seeds of all kinds of grains, flowers, fruits, vegetables, bulbous roots, roots, pállikya (?), fibre-producing plants, and cotton.

  • He shall employ slaves, labourers, and prisoners (dandapratikartri) to sow the seeds on crown-lands which have been often and satisfactorily ploughed.

  • The work of the above men shall not suffer on account of any want in ploughs (karshanayantra) and other necessary instruments or of bullocks. Nor shall there be any delay in procuring to them the assistence of blacksmiths, carpenters, borers (medaka), ropemakers, as well as those who catch snakes, and similar persons.

  • Any loss due to the above persons shall be punished with a fine equal to the loss.

  • The quantity of rain that falls in the country of jángala is 16 dronas; half as much more in moist countries (anúpánám); as to the countries which are fit for agriculture (désavápánam);--13½ dronas in the country of asmakas; 23 dronas in avantí; and an immense quantity in western countries (aparántánám), the borders of the Himalayas, and the countries where water channels are made use of in agriculture (kulyávápánám).

  • When one-third of the requisite quantity of rain falls both during the commencement and closing months of the rainy season and two-thirds in the middle, then the rainfall is (considered) very even (sushumárúpam).

  • A forecast of such rainfall can be made by observing the position, motion, and pregnancy (garbhádána) of the Jupiter (Brihaspati), the rise and set and motion of the Venus, and the natural or unnatural aspect of the sun.

  • From the sun, the sprouting of the seeds can be inferred; from (the position of) the Jupiter, the formation of grains (stambakarita) can be inferred; and from the movements of the Venus, rainfall can be inferred.

  • Three are the clouds that continuously rain for seven days; eighty are they that pour minute drops; and sixty are they that appear with the sunshine--this is termed rainfall. Where rain, free from wind and unmingled with sunshine, falls so as to render three turns of ploughing possible, there the reaping of good harvest is certain.

  • Hence, i.e., according as the rainfall is more or less, the superintendent shall sow the seeds which require either more or less water.

  • Sáli (a kind of rice), vríhi (rice), kodrava (Paspalum Scrobiculatum), tila (sesamum), priyangu (panic seeds), dáraka (?), and varaka (Phraseolus Trilobus) are to be sown at the commencement (púrvávápah) of the rainy season.

  • Mudga (Phraseolus Mungo), másha (Phraseolus Radiatus), and saibya (?) are to be sown in the middle of the season.

  • Kusumbha (safflower), masúra (Ervum Hirsutum), kuluttha (Dolichos Uniflorus), yava (barley), godhúma (wheat), kaláya (leguminus seeds), atasi (linseed), and sarshapa (mustard) are to be sown last.

  • Or seeds may be sown according to the changes of the season.

  • Fields that are left unsown (vápátiriktam, i.e., owing to the inadequacy of hands) may be brought under cultivation by employing those who cultivate for half the share in the produce (ardhasítiká); or those who live by their own physical exertion (svavíryopajívinah) may cultivate such fields for ¼th or 1/5th of the produce grown; or they may pay (to the king) as much as they can without entailing any hardship upon themselves (anavasitam bhágam), with the exception of their own private lands that are difficult to cultivate.

  • Those who cultivate irrigating by manual labour (hastaprávartimam) shall pay 1/5th of the produce as water-rate (udakabhágam); by carrying water on shoulders (skandhaprávartimam) ¼th of the produce; by water-lifts (srotoyantraprávartimam), ⅓rd of the produce; and by raising water from rivers, lakes, tanks, and wells (nadisarastatákakúpodghátam),⅓rd or ¼th of the produce.

  • The superintendent shall grow wet crops (kedára), winter-crops (haimana), or summer crops (graishmika) according to the supply of workmen and water.

  • Rice-crops and the like are the best (jyáshtha, i.e., to grow); vegetables (shanda) are of intermediate nature; and sugarcane crops (ikshu) are the worst (pratyavarah, i.e., very difficult to grow), for they are subject to various evils and require much care and expenditure to reap.

  • Lands that are beaten by foam (phenághátah, i.e., banks of rivers, etc.) are suitable for growing vallíphala (pumpkin, gourd and the like); lands that are frequently overflown by water (paríváhánta) for long pepper, grapes (mridvíká), and sugarcane; the vicinity of wells for vegetables and roots; low grounds (hariníparyantáh) for green crops; and marginal furrows between any two rows of crops are suitable for the plantation of fragrant plants, medicinal herbs, cascus roots (usínara), híra (?), beraka (?), and pindáluka (lac) and the like.

  • Such medicinal herbs as grow in marshy grounds are to be grown not only in grounds suitable for them, but also in pots (sthályam).

  • The seeds of grains are to be exposed to mist and heat (tushárapáyanamushnam cha) for seven nights; the seeds of kosi are treated similarly for three nights; the seeds of sugarcane and the like (kándabíjánam) are plastered at the cut end with the mixture of honey, clarified butter, the fat of hogs, and cowdung; the seeds of bulbous roots (kanda) with honey and clarified butter; cotton seeds (asthibíja) with cow-dung; and water pits at the root of trees are to be burnt and manured with the bones and dung of cows on proper occasions.

  • The sprouts of seeds, when grown, are to be manured with a fresh haul of minute fishes and irrigated with the milk of snuhi (Euphorbia Antiquorum).

  • Where there is the smoke caused by burning the essence of cotton seeds and the slough of a snake, there snakes will not stay.

  • Always while sowing seeds, a handful of seeds bathed in water with a piece of gold shall be sown first and the following mantra recited:--

    “Prajápatye Kasyapáya déváya namah.
    Sadá Sítá medhyatám déví bíjéshu cha
    dhanéshu cha. Chandaváta hé."

    “Salutation to God Prajápati Kasyapa. Agriculture may always flourish and the Goddess (may reside) in seeds and wealth. Channdavata he."     

  • Provisions shall be supplied to watchmen, slaves and labourers in proportion to the amount of work done by them.

  • They shall be paid a pana-and-a-quarter per mensem. Artisans shall be provided with wages and provision in proportion to the amount of work done by them.

  • Those that are learned in the Vedas and those that are engaged in making penance may take from the fields ripe flowers and fruits for the purpose of worshipping their gods, and rice and barley for the purpose of performing ágrayana, a sacrificial performance at the commencement of harvest season, also those who live by gleaning grains in fields may gather grains where grains had been accumulated and removed from.

  • Grains and other crops shall be collected as often as they are harvested. No wise man shall leave anything in the fields, nor even chaff. Crops, when reaped, shall be heaped up in high piles or in the form of turrets. The piles of crops shall not be kept close, nor shall their tops be small or low. The threshing floors of different fields shall be situated close to each other. Workmen in the fields shall always have water but no fire.

[Thus ends Chapter XXIV, “The Superintendent of Agriculture” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the forty-fifth chapter from the beginning.]


  • BY employing such men as are acquainted with the manufacture of liquor and ferments (kinva), the Superintendent of Liquor shall carry on liquor-traffic not only in forts and country parts, but also in camps.

  • In accordance with the requirements of demand and supply (krayavikrayavasena) he may either centralize or decentralize the sale of liquor. 

  • A fine of 600 panas shall be imposed on all offenders other than those who are manufacturers, purchasers, or sellers in liquor-traffic.

  • Liquor shall not be taken out of villages, nor shall liquor shops be close to each other.

  • Lest workmen spoil the work in hand, and Aryas violate their decency and virtuous character, and lest firebrands commit indiscreet acts, liquor shall be sold to persons of well known character in such small quantities as one-fourth or half-a-kudumba, one kudumba, half-a-prastha, or one prastha. Those who are well known and of pure character may take liquor out of shop.

  • Or all may be compelled to drink liquor within the shops and not allowed to stir out at once in view of detecting articles such as sealed deposits, unsealed deposits, commodities given for repair, stolen articles, and the like which the customer's may have acquired by foul means. When they are found to possess gold and other articles not their own, the superintendent shall contrive to cause them to be arrested outside the shop. Likewise those who are too extravagant or spend beyond their income shall be arrested.

  • No fresh liquor other than bad liquor shall be sold below its price. Bad liquor may be sold elsewhere or given to slaves or workmen in lieu of wages; or it may form the drink of beasts for draught or the subsistence of hogs.

  • Liquor shops shall contain many rooms provided with beds and seats kept apart. The drinking room shall contain scents, garlands of flowers, water, and other comfortable things suitable to the varying seasons.

  • Spies stationed in the shops shall ascertain whether the expenditure incurred by customers in the shop is ordinary or extraordinary and also whether there are any strangers. They shall also ascertain the value of the dress, ornaments, and gold of the customers lying there under intoxication.

  • When customers under intoxication lose any of their things, the merchants of the shop shall not only make good the loss, but also pay an equivalent fine.

  • Merchants seated in half-closed rooms shall observe the appearance of local and foreign customers who, in real or false guise of Aryas lie down in intoxication along with their beautiful mistresses.

  • Of various kinds of liquor such as medaka, prasanna, ásava, arista, maireya, and madhu:--

  • Medaka is manufactured with one drona of water, half, an ádaka of rice, and three prastha of kinva (ferment).

  • Twelve ádhakas of flour (pishta), five prasthas of kinva (ferment), with the addition of spices (játisambhára) together with the bark and fruits of putraká (a species of tree) constitute prasanná.

  • One-hundred palas of kapittha (Feronia Elephantum) 500 palas of phánita (sugar), and one prastha of honey (madhu) form ásava.

  • With an increase of one-quarter of the above ingredients, a superior kind of ásava is manufactured; and when the same ingredients are lessened to the extent of one-quarter each, it becomes of an inferior quality.

  • The preparation of various kinds of arishta for various diseases are to be learnt from physicians.

  • A sour gruel or decoction of the bark of meshasringi (a kind of poison) mixed with jaggery (guda) and with the powder of long pepper and black pepper or with the powder of triphala (1 Terminalia Chebula, 2 Terminalia Bellerica, and 3 Phyllanthus Emblica) forms Maireya.

  • To all kinds of liquor mixed with jaggery, the powder of triphala is always added.

  • The juice of grapes is termed madhu. Its own native place (svadesa) is the commentary on such of its various forms as kápisáyana and hárahúraka.

  • One drona of either boiled or unboiled paste of másha (Phraseolus Radiatus), three parts more of rice, and one karsha of morata (Alangium Hexapetalum) and the like form kinva (ferment).

  • In the manufacture of medaka and prasanna, five karshas of the powder of (each of páthá (Clypea Hermandifolio), lodhra (Symplocos Racemosa), tejovati (Piper Chaba), eláváluka (Solanum Melongena) honey, the juice of grapes (madhurasa), priyangu (panic seeds), dáruharidra (a species of turmeric) black pepper and long pepper are added as sambhára, requisite spices.

  • The decoction of madhúka (Bassia Latifolia) mixed with granulated sugar (katasarkará), when added to prasanna, gives it a pleasing colour.

  • The requisite quantity of spices to be added to ásava is one karshá of the powder of each of chocha (bark of cinnamon), chitraka (Plumbago Zeylanica), vilanga, and gajapippalí (Scindapsus Officinalis), and two karshas of the powder of each of kramuka (betel nut), madhúka (Bassia Latifolia), mustá (Cyprus Rotundus), and lodhra (Symlocos Racemosa).

  • The addition of one-tenth of the above ingredients (i.e., chocha, kramuka, etc.), is (termed) bíjabandha.

  • The same ingredients as are added to prasanná are also added to white liquor (svetasurá).

  • The liquor that is manufactured from mango fruits (sahakárasurá) may contain a greater proportion of mango essence (rasottara), or of spices (bíjottara). It is called mahásura when it contains sambhára (spices as described above).

  • When a handful (antarnakho mushtih, i.e., so much as can be held in the hand, the fingers being so bent that the nails cannot be seen) of the powder of granulated sugar dissolved in the decoction of moratá (Alangium Hexapetalum), palása (Butea Frondosa), dattúra (Dattura Fastuosa), karanja (Robinia Mitis), meshasringa (a kind of poison) and the bark of milky trees (kshiravriksha) mixed with one-half of the paste formed by combining the powders of lodhra (Symplocos Racemosa), chitraka (Plumbago Zeylanica), vilanga, páthá (clypea Hermandifolia), mustá (cyprus Rotundus), kaláya (leguminous seeds), dáruharidra (Amonum Xanthorrhizon), indívara (blue lotus), satapushpa (Anethum Sowa), apámárga (Achyranthes Aspera) saptaparna (Echites Scholaris), and nimba (Nimba Melia) is added to (even) a kumbha of liquor payable by the king, it renders it very pleasant. Five palas of phánita (sugar) are added to the above in order to increase its flavour.

  • On special occasions (krityeshu), people (kutumbinah, i.e., families) shall be allowed to manufacture white liquor (svetasura), arishta for use in diseases, and other kinds of liquor.

  • On the occasions of festivals, fairs (samája), and pilgrimage, right of manufacture of liquor for four days (chaturahassaurikah) shall be allowed.

  • The Superintendent shall collect the daily fines (daivasikamatyayam, i.e., license fees) from those who on these occasions are permitted to manufacture liquor.

  • Women and children shall collect ‘sura,’ and ‘kinva,’ ‘ferment.’

  • Those who deal with liquor other than that of the king shall pay five percent as toll.

  • With regard to sura, medaka, arishta, wine, phalámla (acid drinks prepared from fruits), and ámlasídhu (spirit distilled from molasses):--

  • Having ascertained the day's sale of the above kinds of liquor, the difference of royal and public measures (mánavyáji), and the excessive amount of sale proceeds realised thereby, the Superintendent shall fix the amount of compensation (vaidharana) due to the king (from local or foreign merchants for entailing loss on the king's liquor traffic) and shall always adopt the best course.

[Thus ends Chapter XXV, "The Superintendent of Liquor" in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents," of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the forty-sixth chapter from the beginning.]


  • WHEN a person entraps, kills, or molests deer, bison, birds, and fish which are declared to be under State protection or which live in forests under State-protection (abhayáranya), he shall be punished with the highest amercement.

  • Householders trespassing in forest preserves shall be punished with the middlemost amercement.

  • When a person entraps, kills, or molests either fish or birds that do not prey upon other animals, he shall be fined 26¾ panas; and when he does the same to deer and other beasts, he shall be fined twice as much.

  • Of beasts of prey that have been captured, the Superintendent shall take one-sixth; of fish and birds (of similar nature), he shall take one-tenth or more than one-tenth; and of deer and other beasts (mrigapasu), one-tenth or more than one-tenth as toll.

  • One-sixth of live animals such as birds and beasts shall be let off in forests under State-protection.

  • Elephants, horses or animals having the form of a man, bull or an ass living in oceans as well as fish in tanks, lakes, channels and rivers; and such game-birds as krauncha (a kind of heron), utkrosaka (osprey), dátyúha (a sort of cuckoo), hamsa (flamingo), chakraváka (a brahmany duck), jivanjívaka (a kind of pheasant), bhringarája (Lanius Malabaricus), chakora (partridge), mattakokila (cuckoo), peacock, parrot, and maina (madanasárika) as well as other auspicious animals, whether birds or beasts, shall be protected from all kinds of molestations.

  • Those who violate the above rule shall be punished with the first amercement.

  • (Butchers) shall sell fresh and boneless flesh of beasts (mrigapasu) just killed.

  • If they sell bony flesh, they shall give an equivalent compensation (pratipákam).

  • If there is any diminution in weight owing to the use of a false balance, they shall give eight times the diminution.

  • Cattle such as a calf, a bull, or a milch cow shall not be slaughtered.

  • He who slaughters or tortures them to death shall be fined 50 panas.

  • The flesh of animals which have been killed outside the slaughter-house (parisúnam), headless, legless and boneless flesh, rotten flesh, and the flesh of animals which have suddenly died shall not be sold. Otherwise a fine of 12 panas shall be imposed.

  • Cattle, wild beasts, elephants (vyala), and fish living in forests under State protection shall, if they become of vicious nature, be entrapped and killed outside the forest preserve.

[Thus ends Chapter XXVI, "The Superintendent of Slaughter-house" in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the forty-seventh chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of Prostitutes shall employ (at the king's court) on a salary of 1,000 panas (per annum) a prostitute (ganiká), whether born or not born of a prostitute's family, and noted for her beauty, youth, and accomplishments.

  • A rival prostitute (pratiganiká) on half the above salary (kutumbárdhéna) shall also be appointed.

  • Whenever such a prostitute goes abroad or dies, her daughter or sister shall act for her and receive her property and salary. Or her mother may substitute another prostitute. In the absence of any of these, the king himself shall take the property.

  • With a view to add to the splendour of prostitutes holding the royal umbrella, golden pitcher, and fan, and attending upon the king seated on his royal litter, throne, or chariot, prostitutes shall be classified as of first, middle and highest rank according to their beauty and splendid jewellery; likewise their salary shall be fixed by thousands.

  • She who has lost her beauty shall be appointed as a nurse (mátriká).

  • A prostitute shall pay 24,000 panas as ransom to regain her liberty; and a prostitute's son 12,000 panas.

  • From the age of eight years, a prostitute shall hold musical performance before the king.

  • Those prostitutes, female slaves, and old women who are incapable of rendering any service in the form of enjoyment (bhagnabhogáh) shall work in the storehouse or kitchen of the king.

  • A prostitute who, putting herself under the protection of a private person, ceases to attend the king's court shall pay a pana-and-a-quarter per mensem (to the Government).

  • The superintendent shall determine the earnings, inheritance, income (áya), expenditure, and future earnings (áyati) of every prostitute.

  • He shall also check their extravagant expenditure.

  • When a prostitute puts her jewellery in the hands of any person but her mother, she shall be fined 4¼ panas.

  • If she sells or mortgages her property (svapateyam), she shall be fined 50¼ panas.

  • A prostitute shall be fined 24 panas for defamation; twice as much for causing hurt; and 50¼ panas as well as 1½ panas for cutting off the ear (of any person).

  • When a man has connection with a prostitute against her will or with a prostitute girl (kumári), he shall be punished with the highest amercement. But when he has connection with a willing prostitute, (under age), he shall be punished with the first amercement.

  • When a man keeps under confinement, or abducts, a prostitute against her will, or disfigures her by causing hurt, he shall be fined 1,000 panas or more rising up to twice the amount of her ransom (nishkraya) according to the circumstances of the crime and the position and the status of the prostitute (sthánaviseshena).

  • When a man causes hurt to a prostitute appointed at the court (praptádhikáram), he shall be fined thrice the amount of her ransom.

  • When a man causes hurt to a prostitute's mother, to her young daughter, or to a rúpadási, he shall be punished with the highest amercement.

  • In all cases of offences, punishment for offences committed for the first time shall be the first amercement; twice as much for offences committed for a second time; thrice as much for the third time; and for offences committed for the fourth time, the king may impose any punishment he likes.

  • When a prostitute does not yield her person to any one under the orders of the king, she shall receive 1000 lashes with a whip or pay a fine of 5,000 panas.

  • When having received the requisite amount of fees, a prostitute dislikes to yield her person, she shall be fined twice the amount of the fees.

  • When, in her own house, a prostitute deprives her paramour of his enjoyment, she shall be fined eight times the amount of the fees unless the paramour happens to be unassociable on account of disease and personal defects.

  • When a prostitute murders her paramour, she shall be burnt alive or thrown into water.

  • When a paramour steals the jewellery or money of, or deceives to pay the fees due to, a prostitute, he shall be fined eight times that amount.

  • Every prostitute shall supply information to the superintendent as to the amount of her daily fees (bhoga), her future income (áyati), and the paramour (under her influence).

  • The same rules shall apply to an actor, dancer, singer, player on musical instruments, a buffoon (vágjivana), a mimic player (kusílava), rope-dancer (plavaka), a juggler (saubhika), a wandering bard or herald (chárana), pimps, and unchaste women.

  • When persons of the above description come from foreign countries to hold their performances, they shall pay 5 panas as license fee (prekshávetana).

  • Every prostitute (rúpájivá) shall pay every month twice the amount of a day's earning (bhogadvigunam) to the Government.

  • Those who teach prostitutes, female slaves, and actresses, arts such as singing, playing on musical instruments, reading, dancing, acting, writing, painting, playing on the instruments like vina, pipe, and drum, reading the thoughts of others, manufacture of scents and garlands, shampooing, and the art of attracting and captivating the mind of others shall be endowed with maintenance from the State.

  • They (the teachers) shall train the sons of prostitutes to be chief actors (rangopajívi) on the stage.

  • The wives of actors and others of similar profession who have been taught various languages and the use of signals (sanja) shall, along with their relatives, be made use of in detecting the wicked and murdering or deluding foreign spies.

[Thus ends Chapter XXVII, "The Superintendent of Prostitutes" in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents," of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the forty-eighth chapter from the beginning.]



  • THE Superintendent of Ships shall examine the accounts relating to navigation not only on oceans and mouths of rivers, but also on lakes natural or artificial, and rivers in the vicinity of stháníya and other fortified cities.

  • Villages on seashores or on the banks of rivers and lakes shall pay a fixed amount of tax (kliptam).

  • Fishermen shall give 1/6th of their haul as fees for fishing license (naukáhátakam).

  • Merchants shall pay the customary toll levied in port-towns.

  • Passengers arriving on board the king's ship shall pay the requisite amount of sailing fees (yátrávetanam).

  • Those (who make use of the king’s boats in) fishing out conch-shells and pearls shall pay the requisite amount of hire (Naukáhátakam), or they may make use of their own boats.

  • The duties of the superintendent of mines will explain those of the superintendent of conch-shells and pearls.

  • The superintendent of ships shall strictly observe the customs prevalent in commercial towns as well as the orders of the superintendent of towns (pattana, port town).

  • Whenever a weatherbeaten ship arrives at a port-town, he shall show fatherly kindness to it.

  • Vessels carrying on merchandise spoiled by water may either be exempted from toll or may have their toll reduced to half and let to sail when the time for setting sail approaches.

  • Ships that touch at harbours on their way may be requested the payment of toll.

  • Pirate ships (himsríká), vessels which are bound for the country of an enemy, as well as those which have violated the customs and rules in force in port towns shall be destroyed.

  • In those large rivers which cannot be forded even during the winter and summer seasons, there shall be launched large boats (mahánávah) provided with a captain (sásaka), a steersman (niyámaka), and servants to hold the sickle and the ropes and to pour out water.

  • Small boats shall be launched in those small rivers which overflow during the rainy season.

  • Fording or crossing the rivers (without permission) shall be prohibited lest traitors may cross them (and escape).

  • When a person fords or crosses a river outside the proper place and in unusual times, he shall be punished with the first amercement.

  • When a man fords or crosses a river at the usual place and time without permission, he shall be fined 26¾ panas.

  • Fishermen, carriers of firewood, grass, flowers, and fruits, gardeners, vegetable-dealers, and herdsmen, persons pursuing suspected criminals, messengers following other messengers going in advance, servants engaged to carry things, provisions, and orders to the army, those who use their own ferries, as well as those who supply villages of marshy districts with seeds, necessaries of life, commodities and other accessary things shall be exempted (to cross rivers at any time and place).

  • Bráhmans, ascetics (pravrajita), children, the aged, the afflicted, royal messengers, and pregnant women shall be provided by the superintendent with free passes to cross rivers.

  • Foreign merchants who have often been visiting the country as well as those who are well known to local merchants shall be allowed to land in port-towns.

  • Any person who is abducting the wife or daughter of another, one who is carrying off the wealth of another, a suspected person, one who seems to be of perturbed appearance, one who has no baggage, one who attempts to conceal, or evade the cognisance of the valuable load in one's hand, one who has just put on a different garb, one who has removed or renounced one's usual garb, one who has just turned out an ascetic, one who pretends to be suffering from disease, one who seems to be alarmed, one who is stealthily carrying valuable things, or going on a secret mission, or carrying weapons or explosives (agniyoga), one who holds poison in one's hand, and one who has come from a long distance without a pass shall all be arrested.

  • A minor quadruped as well as a man carrying some load shall pay one másha.

  • A head-load, a load carried on shoulders (káyabhárah), a cow, and a horse shall each pay 2 máshas.

  • A camel and a buffalo shall each pay 4 máshas.

  • A small cart (laghuyána) 5 máshas; and a cart (of medium size) drawn by bulls (golingam) shall pay 6 máshas and a big cart (sakata) 7 máshas.

  • A head-load of merchandise ¼ másha; this explains other kinds of loads. In big rivers, ferry-fees are double the above. Villages near marshy places shall give (to the ferry-men) the prescribed amount of food-stuff and wages.

  • In boundaries, ferry-men shall receive the toll, carriage-cess, and road-cess. They shall also confiscate the property of the person travelling without a pass. The Superintendent of Boats shall make good the loss caused by the loss of the boat due to the heavy load, sailing in improper time or place, want of ferry-men, or lack of repair. Boats should be launched between the months of Ashádha, the first seven days being omitted, and Kártika; the evidence of a ferryman should be given and the daily income should be remitted.

[Thus ends Chapter XXVIII, “The Superintendent of Ships” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the forty-ninth chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of cows shall supervise (1) herds maintained for wages (vétanópagráhikam), (2) herds surrendered for a fixed amount of dairy produce (karapratikara), (3) useless and abandoned herds (bhagnotsrishtakam), (4) herds maintained for a share in dairy produce (bhágánupravishtam), (5) classes of herds (vrajaparyagram), (6) cattle that strayed (nashtam), (7) cattle that are irrecoverably lost (vinashtam), and (8) the amassed quantity of milk and clarified butter.

  • (1) When a cowherd, a buffalo-herdsman, a milker, a churner, and a hunter (lubdhaka) fed by wages graze milch cows (dhenu) in hundreds (satam satam)--for if they graze the herds for the profit of milk and ghi, they will starve the calves to death,--that system of rearing the cattle is termed ‘herds maintained for wages.’

  • (2) When a single person rears a hundred heads (rúpasatam) made up of equal numbers of each of aged cows, milch cows, pregnant cows, heifers, and calves (vatsatari) and gives (to the owner) 8 várakas of clarified butter per annum, as well as the branded skin (of dead cows if any), that system is called ‘herds surrendered for a fixed amount of dairy produce.’

  • (3) When those who rear a hundred heads made up of equal numbers of each of afflicted cattle, crippled cattle, cattle that cannot be milked by any one but the accustomed person, cattle that are not easily milked, and cattle that kill their own calves give in return (to the owner) a share in dairy produce, it is termed ‘useless and abandoned herd.’

  • (4) When under the fear of cattle-lifting enemies (parachakrátavibhayát), cattle are kept under the care of the superintendent, giving him 1/10th of the dairy produce for his protection, it is termed "herds maintained for a share in dairy produce."

  • (5) When the superintendent classifies cattle as calves, steers, tameable ones, draught oxen, bulls that are to be trained to yoke, bulls kept for crossing cows, cattle that are fit only for the supply of flesh, buffaloes and draught buffaloes; female calves, female steer, heifer, pregnant cows, milch cattle, barren cattle---either cows or buffaloes; calves that are a month or two old as well as those which are still younger; and when, as he ought to, he brands them all inclusive of their calves of one or two months old along with those stray cattle which have remained unclaimed in the herds for a month or two; and when he registers the branded marks, natural marks, colour and the distance from one horn to another of each of the cattle, that system is known as ‘class of herds.’

  • (6) When an animal is carried off by thieves or finds itself into the herds of others or strays unknown, it is called ‘lost.’

  • (7) When an animal is entangled in a quagmire or precipice or dies of disease or of old age, or drowned in water: or when it is killed by the fall of a tree or of river bank, or is beaten to death with a staff or stone, or is struck by lightening (ísána), or is devoured by a tiger or bitten by a cobra, or is carried off by a crocodile, or is involved in the midst of a forest fire, it is termed as “irrecoverably lost.”

  • Cowherds shall endeavour to keep them away from such dangers.

  • Whoever hurts or causes another to hurt, or steals or causes another to steal a cow, should be slain.

  • When a person substitutes an animal (rúpa) bearing the royal brand mark for a private one, he shall be punished with the first amercement.

  • When a person recovers a local cattle from thieves, he shall receive the promised reward (panitam rúpam); and when a man rescues a foreign cattle (from thieves), he shall receive half its value.

  • Cowherds shall apply remedies to calves or aged cows or cows suffering from diseases.

  • They shall graze the herds in forests which are severally allotted as pasture grounds for various seasons and from which thieves, tigers and other molesting beasts are driven away by hunters aided by their hounds.

  • With a view to scare out snakes and tigers and as a definite means of knowing the whereabouts of herds, sounding bells shall be attached to (the neck of) timid cattle.

  • Cowherds shall allow their cattle to enter into such rivers or lakes as are of equal depth all round, broad, and free from mire and crocodiles, and shall protect them from dangers under such circumstances.

  • Whenever an animal is caught hold of by a thief, a tiger, a snake, or a crocodile, or when it is too infirm owing to age or disease, they shall make a report of it; otherwise they shall be compelled to make good the loss.

  • When an animal dies a natural death, they shall surrender the skin with the brand mark, if it is a cow or a buffalo; the skin together with the ear (karnalakshanam) if it is a goat or sheep; the tail with the skin containing the brand mark, if it is an ass or a camel; the skin, if it is a young one; besides the above, (they shall also restore) the fat (vasti), bile, marrow (snáyu), teeth, hoofs, horns, and bones.

  • They (the cowherds) may sell either fresh flesh or dried flesh.

  • They shall give buttermilk as drink to dogs and hogs, and reserve a little (buttermilk) in a bronze vessel to prepare their own dish: they may also make use of coagulated milk or cheese (kíláta) to render their oilcakes relishing (ghánapinyáka-kledartha).

  • He who sells his cow (from among the herds) shall pay (to the king) ¼th rúpa (value of the cow).

  • During the rainy, autumnal, and the first part of winter (hemanta) seasons, they shall milk the cattle both the times (morning and evening); and during the latter part of winter and the whole of the spring and summer seasons, they shall milk only once (i.e., only in the morning). The cowherd who milks a cow a second time during these seasons shall have his thumb cut off.

  • If he allows the time of milking to lapse, he shall forfeit the profit thereof (i.e., the milk).

  • The same rule shall hold good in case of negligence of the opportune moment for putting a string through the nose of a bull and other animals, and for taming or training them to the yoke.

  • One drona of a cow's milk will, when churned, yield one prastha of butter; the same quantity of a buffalo's milk will yield 1/7th prastha more; and the same quantity of milk of goats and sheep will produce ½ prastha more.

  • In all kinds of milk, the exact quantity of butter shall be ascertained by churning; for increase in the supply of milk and butter depends on the nature of the soil and the quantity and quality of fodder and water.

  • When a person causes a bull attached to a herd to fight with another bull, he shall be punished with the first amercement; when a bull is injured (under such circumstances), he shall be punished with the highest amercement.

  • Cattle shall be grouped in herds of ten each of similar colour, while they are being grazed.

  • According to the protective strength of the cowherds the capacity of the cattle to go far and wide to graze, cowherds shall take their cattle either far or near.

  • Once in six months, sheep and other animals shall be shorn of their wool.

  • The same rules shall apply to herds of horses, asses, camels, and hogs.

  • For bulls which are provided with nose-rings, and which equal horses in speed and in carrying loads, half a bhára of meadow grass (yavasa), twice the above quantity of ordinary grass (trina), one tulá (100 palas) of oil cakes, 10 ádhakas of bran, 5 palas of salt (mukhalavanam), one kudumba of oil for rubbing over the nose (nasya), 1 prastha of drink (pána), one tulá of flesh, 1 ádhaka of curis, 1 drona of barley or of cooked másha (Phraseolus Radiatus), 1 drona of milk; or half an ádhaka of surá (liquor), 1 prastha of oil or ghi (sneha) 10 palas of sugar or jaggery, 1 pala of the fruit of sringibera (ginger) may be substituted for milk (pratipána).

  • The same commodities less by one quarter each will form the diet for mules, cows, and asses; twice the quantity of the above things for buffaloes and camels.

  • Draught oxen and cows, supplying milk (payah), shall be provided with subsistence in proportion to the duration of time the oxen are kept at work, and the quantity of milk which the cows supply.

  • All cattle shall be supplied with abundance of fodder and water.

  • Thus the manner of rearing herds of cattle has been dealt with.

  • A herd of 100 heads of asses and mules shall contain 5 male animals; that of goats and sheep ten; and a herd of ten heads of either cows or buffaloes shall contain four male animals.

[Thus ends Chapter XXIX, "The Superintendent of Cows” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the fiftieth chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of Horses shall register the breed, age, colour, marks, group or classes, and the native place of horses, and classify as (1) those that are kept in sale-house for sale (panyágárikam), (2) those that are recently purchased (krayopágatam), (3) those that have been captured in wars (áhavalabdham), (4) those that are of local breed (ájátam), (5) those that are sent thither for help (sáháyyakágatam), (6) those that are mortgaged (panasthitam), and (7) those that are temporarily kept in stables (yávatkálikam).

  • He shall make a report (to the king) of such animals as are inauspicious, crippled, or diseased.

  • Every horseman shall know how to make an economic use of whatever he has received from the king's treasury and storehouse.

  • The superintendent shall have a stable constructed as spacious as required by the number of horses to be kept therein twice as broad as the length of a horse, with four doors facing the four quarters, with its central floor suited for the rolling of horses, with projected front provided with wooden seats at the entrance, and containing monkeys, peacocks, red spotted deer (prishata), mangoose, partridges (chakora), parrots, and maina birds (sárika); the room for every horse shall be four times as broad or long as the length of a horse, with its central floor paved with smoothened wooden planks, with separate compartments for fodder (khádanakoshthakam), with passages for the removal of urine and dung, and with a door facing either the north or the east. The distinction of quarters (digvibhága) may be made as a matter of fact or relatively to the situation of the building.

  • Steeds, stallions and colts shall be separately kept.

  • A steed that has just given birth to a colt shall be provided for the first three days with a drink of 1 prastha of clarified butter; afterwards it shall be fed with a prastha of flour (saktu) and made to drink oil mixed with medicine for ten nights; after that time, it shall have cooked grains, meadow grass, and other things suited to the season of the day.

  • A colt, ten days old, shall be given a kudumba of flour mixed with ¼th kudumba of clarified butter, and 1 prastha of milk till it becomes six months old; then the above rations shall be increased half as much during each succeeding month, with the addition of 1 prastha of barley till it becomes three years old, then one drona of barley till it grows four years old; at the age of four or five, it attains its full development and becomes serviceable.

  • The face (mukha) of the best horse measures 32 angulas; its length is 5 times its face; its shank is 20 angulas; and its height is 4 times its shank.

  • Horses of medium and lower sizes fall short of the above measurement by two and three angulas respectively.

  • The circumference (parínáha) of the best horse measures 100 angulas, and horses of medium and lower sizes fall short of the above measurement by five parts (panchabhágávaram).

  • For the best horse (the diet shall be) 2 dronas of any one of the grains, rice (sáli, vríhi,) barley, panic seeds (priyangu) soaked or cooked, cooked mudga (Phraseolus Munga) or másha (Phraseolus Radiatus); one prastha of oil, 5 palas of salt, 50 palas of flesh, 1 ádhaka of broth (rasa) or 2 ádhakas of curd, 5 palas of sugar (kshára), to make their diet relishing, 1 prastha of súrá, liquor, or 2 prasthas of milk.

  • The same quantity of drink shall be specially given to those horses which are tired of long journey or of carrying loads.

  • One prastha of oil for giving enema (anuvásana), 1 kudumba of oil for rubbing over the nose, 1,000 palas of meadow grass, twice as much of ordinary grass (trina); and hay-stalk or grass shall be spread over an area of 6 aratnis.

  • The same quantity of rations less by one-quarter for horses of medium and lower size.

  • A draught horse or stallion of medium size shall be given the same quantity as the best horse; and similar horses of lower size shall receive the same quantity as a horse of medium size.

  • Steeds and párasamas shall have one quarter less of rations.

  • Half of the rations given to steeds shall be given to colts.

  • Thus is the distribution of ration dealt with.

  • Those who cook the food of horses, grooms, and veterinary surgeons shall have a share in the rations (pratisvádabhajah).

  • Stallions which are incapacitated owing to old age, disease or hardships of war, and, being therefore rendered unfit for use in war live only to consume food shall in the interests of citizens and country people be allowed to cross steeds.

  • The breed of Kámbhoja, Sindhu, Aratta, and Vanáyu countries are the best; those of Báhlíka, Pápeya, Sauvira, and Taitala, are of middle quality; and the rest ordinary (avaráh).

  • These three sorts may be trained either for war or for riding according as they are furious (tíkshna), mild (bhadra), or stupid or slow (manda).

  • The regular training of a horse is its preparation for war (sánnáhyam karma).

  • Circular movement (valgana), slow movement (níchairgata), jumping (langhana), gallop (dhorana), and response to signals (nároshtra) are the several forms of riding (aupaváhya).

  • Aupavenuka, vardhmánaka, yamaka, álídhapluta, vrithatta and trivacháli are the varieties of circular movement (valgana).

  • The same kind of movements with the head and ear kept erect are called slow movements.

  • These are performed in sixteen ways:---

  • Prakírnaka, prakírnottara, nishanna, pársvánuvritta, úrmimárga, sarabhakrídita, sarabhapluta, tritála, báhyánuvritta, panchapáni, simháyata, svádhúta, klishta, slághita, brimhita, pushpábhikírna.

  • Jumping like a monkey (kapipluta), jumping like a frog (bhekapluta), sudden jump (ekapluta), jumping with one leg (ekapádapluta), leaping like a cuckoo (kokila-samchári), dashing with its breast almost touching the ground (urasya), and leaping like a crane (bakasamchari) are the several forms of jumping.

  • Flying like a vulture (kánka), dashing like a water-duck (várikánaka), running like a peacock (máyúra) halt the speed of a peacock (ardhmáyúra), dashing like a mangoose (nákula), half the speed of a mangoose (ardha-nákula), running like a hog (váráha) and half the speed of a hog (ardha- váráha) are the several forms of gallop.

  • Movement following a signal is termed nároshtra.

  • Six, nine, and twelve yojanas (a day) are the distances (to be traversed) by carriage-horses.

  • Five, eight, and ten yojanas are the distances (to be traversed) by riding horses (prishthaváhya).

  • Trotting according to its strength (vikrama), trotting with good breathing (bhadrásvása), and pacing with a load on its back are the three kinds of trot.

  • Trotting according to strength (vikrama), trot combined with circular movement (valgita), ordinary trot (upakantha), middlemost speed (upajava), and ordinary speed are also the several kinds of trot (dhárá).

  • Qualified teachers shall give instructions as to the manufacture of proper ropes with which to tether the horses.

  • Charioteers shall see to the manufacture of necessary war accoutrements of horses.

  • Veterinary surgeons shall apply requisite remedies against undue growth or diminution in the body of horses and also change the diet of horses according to changes in seasons.

  • Those who move the horses (sútragráhaka), those whose business is to tether them in stables, those who supply meadow-grass, those who cook the grains for the horses, those who keep watch in the stables, those who groom them and those who apply remedies against poison shall satisfactorily discharge their specified duties and shall, in default of it, forfeit their daily wages.

  • Those who take out for the purpose of riding such horses as are kept inside (the stables) either for the purpose of waving lights (nirájana) or for medical treatment shall be fined 12 panas.

  • When, owing to defects in medicine or carelessness in the treatment, the disease (from which a horse is suffering) becomes intense, a fine of twice the cost of the treatment shall be imposed; and when, owing to defects in medicine, or not administering it, the result becomes quite the reverse, a fine equal to the value of the animal (patramúlya) shall be imposed.

  • The same rule shall apply to the treatment of cows, buffaloes, goats, and sheep.

  • Horses shall be washed, bedaubed with sandal powder, and garlanded twice a day. On new moon days sacrifice to Bhútas, and on full moon days the chanting of auspicious hymns shall be performed. Not only on the ninth day of the month of Asvayuja, but also both at the commencement and close of journeys (yátra) as well as in the time of disease shall a priest wave lights invoking blessings on the horses.

[Thus ends Chapter XXX, "The Superintendent of Horses" in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents," of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the fifty-first chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE Superintendent of elephants shall take proper steps to protect elephant-forests and supervise the operations with regard to the standing or lying in stables of elephants, male, female, or young, when they are tired after training, and examine the proportional quantity of rations and grass, the extent of training given to them, their accoutrements and ornaments, as well as the work of elephant-doctors, of trainers of elephants in warlike feats, and of grooms, such as drivers, binders and others.

  • There shall be constructed an elephant stable twice as broad and twice as high as the length (áyáma) of an elephant, with separate apartments for female elephants, with projected entrance (sapragrívám), with posts called kumári, and with its door facing either the east or the north.

  • The space in front of the smooth posts (to which elephants are tied) shall form a square, one side of which is equal to the length of an elephant and shall be paved with smooth wooden planks and provided with holes for the removal of urine and dung.

  • The space where an elephant lies down shall be as broad as the length of an elephant and provided with a flat form raised to half the height of an elephant for leaning on.

  • Elephants serviceable in war or for riding shall be kept inside the fort; and those that are still being tamed or are of bad temper shall be kept outside.

  • The first and the seventh of the eight divisions of the day are the two bathing times of elephants; the time subsequent to those two periods is for their food; forenoon is the time for their exercise; afternoon is the time for drink; two (out of eight) parts of the night are the time for sleep; one-third of the night is spent in taking wakeful rest.

  • The summer is the season to capture elephants.

  •    That which is 20 years old shall be captured.

  • Young elephants (bikka), infatuated elephants (mugdha), elephants without tusks, diseased elephants, elephants which suckle their young ones (dhenuká), and female elephants (hastiní) shall not be captured.

  • (That which is) seven aratnis in height, nine aratnis in length, ten aratnis in circumference and is (as can be inferred from such measurement), 40 years old, is the best.

  • That which is 30 years old is of middle class; and that which is 25 years old is of the lowest class.

  • The diet (for the last two classes) shall be lessened by one-quarter according to the class.

  • The rations for an elephant (of seven aratnis in height) shall be 1 drona of rice, ½ ádhaka of oil, 3 prasthas of ghi, 10 palas of salt, 50 palas of flesh, 1 ádhaka of broth (rasa) or twice the quantity (i.e., 2 ádhakas) of curd; in order to render the dish tasteful, 10 palas of sugar (kshára), 1 ádhaka of liquor, or twice the quantity of milk (payah) ; 1 prastha of oil for smearing over the body, 1/8 prastha (of the same) for the head and for keeping a light in the stables; 2 bháras of meadow grass, 2¼ bháras of ordinary grass (sashpa), and 2½ bháras of dry grass and any quantity of stalks of various pulses (kadankara).

  • An elephant in rut (atyarála) and of 8 aratnis in height shall have equal rations with that of 7 aratnis in height.

  • The rest of 6 or 5 aratnis in height shall be provided with rations proportional to their size.

  • A young elephant (bikka) captured for the mere purpose of sporting with it shall be fed with milk and meadow grass.

  • That which is blood-red (samjátalóhita), that which is fleshed, that which has its sides evenly grown (samaliptapakshá), that which has its girths full or equal (samakakshyá), that whose flesh is evenly spread, that which is of even surface on its back (samatalpatala) and that which is of uneven surface (játadróniká) are the several kinds of physical splendour of elephants.

  • Suitably to the seasons as well as to their physical spendour, elephants of sharp or slow sense (bhadra and mandra) as well as elephants possessed of the characteristics of other beasts shall be trained and taught suitable work.

[Thus ends Chapter XXXI, “The Superintendent of Elephants” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the fifty-second chapter from the beginning.]


  • ELEPHANTS are classified into four kinds in accordance with the training they are given: that which is tameable (damya), that which is trained for war (sánnáhya), that which is trained for riding (aupaváhya), and rogue elephants (vyála).

  • Those which are tameable fall under five groups: that which suffers a man to sit on its withers (skandhagata), that which allows itself to be tethered to a post (stambhagata), that which can be taken to water (várigata), that which lies in pits (apapátagata), and that which is attached to its herd (yúthagata).

  • All these elephants shall be treated with as much care as a young elephant (bikka).

  • Military training is of seven kinds: Drill (upasthána), turning (samvartana), advancing (samyána), trampling down and killing (vadhávadha), fighting with other elephants (hastiyuddha), assailing forts and cities (nágaráyanam), and warfare.

  • Binding the elephants with girths (kakshyákarma), putting on collars (graiveyakakarma), and making them work in company with their herds (yúthakarma) are the first steps (upa-vichara) of the above training.

  • Elephants trained for riding fall under seven groups: that which suffers a man to mount over it when in company with another elephant (kunjaropaváhya), that which suffers riding when led by a warlike elephant (sánnáhyopaváhya), that which is taught trotting (dhorana), that which is taught various kinds of movements (ádhánagatika), that which can be made to move by using a staff (yashtyupaváhya), that which can be made to move by using an iron hook (totropaváhya), that which can be made to move without whips (suddhopaváhya), and that which is of help in hunting.

  • Autumnal work (sáradakarma), mean or rough work (hínakarma), and training to respond to signals are the first steps for the above training.

  • Rogue elephants can be trained only in one way. The only means to keep them under control is punishment. It has a suspicious aversion to work, is obstinate, of perverse nature, unsteady, willful, or of infatuated temper under the influence of rut.

  • Rogue elephants whose training proves a failure may be purely roguish (suddha), clever in roguery (suvrata), perverse (vishama), or possessed of all kinds of vice.

  • The form of fetters and other necessary means to keep them under control shall be ascertained from the doctor of elephants.

  • Tetherposts (álána), collars, girths, bridles, legchains, frontal fetters are the several kinds of binding instruments.

  • A hook, a bamboo staff, and machines (yantra) are instruments.

  • Necklaces such as vaijavantí and kshurapramála, and litter and housings are the ornaments of elephants.

  • Mail-armour (varma), clubs (totra), arrow-bags, and machines are war-accoutrements.

  • Elephant doctors, trainers, expert riders, as well as those who groom them, those who prepare their food, those who procure grass for them, those who tether them to posts, those who sweep elephant stables, and those who keep watch in the stables at night, are some of the persons that have to attend to the needs of elephants.

  • Elephant doctors, watchmen, sweepers, cooks and others shall receive (from the storehouse,) 1 prastha of cooked rice, a handful of oil, land 2 palas of sugar and of salt. Excepting the doctors, others shall also receive 10 palas of flesh.

  • Elephant doctors shall apply necessary medicines to elephants which, while making a journey, happen to suffer from disease, overwork, rut, or old age.

  • Accumulation of dirt in stables, failure to supply grass, causing an elephant to lie down on hard and unprepared ground, striking on vital parts of its body, permission to a stranger to ride over it, untimely riding, leading it to water through impassable places, and allowing it to enter into thick forests are offences punishable with fines. Such fines shall be deducted from the rations and wages due to the offenders.

  • During the period of Cháturmásya (the months of July, August, September and October) and at the time when two seasons meet, waving of lights shall be performed thrice. Also on new-moon and full-moon days, commanders shall perform sacrifices to Bhútas for the safety of elephants.

  • Leaving as much as is equal to twice the circumference of the tusk near its root, the rest of the tusks shall be cut off once in 2½ years in the case of elephants born in countries irrigated by rivers (nadija), and once in 5 years in the case of mountain elephants.

[Thus ends Chapter XXXII, “The Training of Elephants” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the fifty-third chapter from the beginning.]


  • THE functions of the Superintendent of horses will explain those of the Superintendent of chariots.

  • The Superintendent of chariots shall attend to the construction of chariots.

  • The best chariot shall measure 10 purushas in height (,i.e., 120 angulas), and 12 purushas in width. After this model, 7 more chariots with width decreasing by one purusha successively down to a chariot of 6 purushas in width shall be constructed. He shall also construct chariots of gods (devaratha), festal chariots (pushyaratha), battle chariots (sángrámika), travelling chariots (páriyánika), chariots used in assailing an enemy's strong-holds (parapurabhiyánika), and training chariots.

  • He shall also examine the efficiency in the training of troops in shooting arrows, in hurling clubs and cudgels, in wearing mail armour, in equipment, in charioteering, in fighting seated on a chariot, and in controlling chariot horses.

  • He shall also attend to the accounts of provision and wages paid to those who are either permanently or temporarily employed (to prepare chariots and other things). Also he shall take steps to maintain the employed contented and happy by adequate reward (yogyarakshanushthánam), and ascertain the distance of roads.

  • The same rules shall apply to the superintendent of infantry.

  • The latter shall know the exact strength or weakness of hereditary troops (maula), hired troops (bhrita), the corporate body of troops (sreni), as well as that of the army of friendly or unfriendly kings and of wild tribes.

  • He shall be thoroughly familiar with the nature of fighting in low grounds, of open battle, of fraudulent attack, of fighting under the cover of entrenchment (khanakayuddha), or from heights (ákásayuddha), and of fighting during the day and night, besides the drill necessary for such warfare.

  • He shall also know the fitness or unfitness of troops on emergent occasions.

  • With an eye to the position which the entire army (chaturangabala) trained in the skillful handling of all kinds of weapons and in leading elephants, horses, and chariots have occupied and to the emergent call for which they ought to be ready, the commander-in-chief shall be so capable as to order either advance or retreat (áyogamayógam cha).

  • He shall also know what kind of ground is more advantageous to his own army, what time is more favourable, what the strength of the enemy is, how to sow dissension in an enemy's army of united mind, how to collect his own scattered forces, how to scatter the compact body of an enemy's army, how to assail a fortress, and when to make a general advance.

  • Being ever mindful of the discipline which his army has to maintain not merely in camping and marching, but in the thick of battle, he shall designate the regiments (vyúha) by the names of trumpets, boards, banners, or flags.

[Thus ends Chapter XXXIII, "The Superintendent of Chariots, the Superintendent of Infantry, and the Duties of the Commander-in-Chief " in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the fifty-fourth chapter from the beginning.]



  • THE Superintendent of Passports shall issue passes at the rate of a masha per pass. Whoever is provided with a pass shall be at liberty to enter into, or go out of, the country. Whoever, being a native of the country enters into or goes out of the country without a pass shall be fined 12 panas. He shall be punished with the first amercement for producing a false pass. A foreigner guilty of the same offence shall be punished with the highest amercement.

  • The superintendent of pasture lands shall examine passes.

  • Pasture grounds shall be opened between any two dangerous places.

  • Valleys shall be cleared from the fear of thieves, elephants, and other beasts.

  • In barren tracts of the country, there shall be constructed not only tanks, buildings for shelter, and wells, but also flower gardens and fruit gardens.

  • Hunters with their hounds shall reconnoitre forests. At the approach of thieves or enemies, they shall so hide themselves by ascending trees or mountains as to escape from the thieves, and blow conch-shells or beat drums. As to the movements of enemies or wild tribes, they may send information by flying the pigeons of royal household with passes (mudrá) or causing fire and smoke at successive distances.

  • It shall be his duty to protect timber and elephant forests, to keep roads in good repair, to arrest thieves, to secure the safety of mercantile traffic, to protect cows, and to conduct the transaction of the people.

[Thus ends Chapter XXXIV, "The Superintendent of Passports, and the Superintendent of Pasture Lands," in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents," of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the fifty-fifth chapter from the beginning.]


  • HAVING divided the kingdom (janapada) into four districts, and having also subdivided the villages (gráma) as of first, middle and lowest rank, he shall bring them under one or another of the following heads:---Villages that are exempted from taxation (pariháraka); those that supply soldiers (áyudhíya); those that pay their taxes in the form of grains, cattle, gold (hiranya), or raw material (kupya); and those that supply free labour (vishti), and dairy produce in lieu of taxes (karapratikara).

  • It is the duty of Gopa, village accountant, to attend to the accounts of five or ten villages as ordered by the Collector-General.

  • By setting up boundaries to villages, by numbering plots of grounds as cultivated, uncultivated, plains, wet lands, gardens, vegetable gardens, fences (váta), forests, altars, temples of gods, irrigation works, cremation grounds, feeding houses (sattra), places where water is freely supplied to travellers (prapá), places of pilgrimage, pasture grounds and roads, and thereby fixing the boundaries of various villages, of fields, of forests, and of roads, he shall register gifts, sales, charities, and remission of taxes regarding fields.

  • Also having numbered the houses as taxpaying or non-taxpaying, he shall not only register the total number of the inhabitants of all the four castes in each village, but also keep an account of the exact number of cultivators, cow-herds, merchants, artizans, labourers, slaves, and biped and quadruped animals, fixing at the same time the amount of gold, free labour, toll, and fines that can be collected from it (each house).

  • He shall also keep an account of the number of young and old men that reside in each house, their history (charitra), occupation (ájíva), income (áya), and expenditure (vyaya).

  • Likewise Sthánika, district officer, shall attend to the accounts of one quarter of the kingdom.

  • In those places which are under the jurisdiction of Gopa and Sthánika, commissioners (prodeshtárah) specially deputed by the Collector-general shall not only inspect the work done and the means employed by the village and district officers, but also collect the special religious tax known as bali (balipragraham kuryuh).

  • Spies under the disguise of householders (grihapatika, cultivators) who shall be deputed by the collector-general for espionage shall ascertain the validity of the accounts (of the village and district officers) regarding the fields, houses and families of each village---the area and output of produce regarding fields, right of ownership and remission of taxes with regard to houses, and the caste and profession regarding families.

  • They shall also ascertain the total number of men and beasts (janghágra) as well as the amount of income and expenditure of each family.

  • They shall also find out the causes of emigration and immigration of persons of migratory habit, the arrival and departure of men and women of condemnable (anarthya) character, as well as the movements of (foreign) spies.

  • Likewise spies under the guise of merchants shall ascertain the quantity and price of the royal merchandise such as minerals, or products of gardens, forests, and fields or manufactured articles.

  • As regards foreign merchandise of superior or inferior quality arriving thither by land or by water, they shall ascertain the amount of toll, road-cess, conveyance-cess, military cess, ferry-fare, and one-sixth portion (paid or payable by the merchants), the charges incurred by them for their own subsistence, and for the accommodation of their merchandise in warehouse (panyágára).

  • Similarly spies under the guise of ascetics shall, as ordered by the Collector-general, gather information as to the proceedings, honest or dishonest, of cultivators, cow-herds, merchants, and heads of Government departments.

  • In places where altars are situated or where four roads meet, in ancient ruins, in the vicinity of tanks, rivers, bathing places, in places of pilgrimage and hermitage, and in desert tracts, mountains, and thick grown forests, spies under the guise of old and notorious thieves with their student bands shall ascertain the causes of arrival and departure, and halt of thieves, enemies, and persons of undue bravery.

  • The Collector-general shall thus energetically attend to the affairs of the kingdom. Also his subordinates constituting his various establishments of espionage shall along with their colleagues and followers attend to their duties likewise.

[Thus ends Chapter XXXV, "The Duty of revenue collectors; spies under the guise of house-holders, merchants, and ascetics," in Book II, "The Duties of Government Superintendents" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the fifty-sixth chapter from the beginning.]


  • LIKE the Collector-general, the Officer in charge of the Capital City (Nágaraka) shall look to the affairs of the capital.     

  • A Gopa shall keep the accounts of ten households, twenty households, or forty households. He shall not only know the caste, gotra, the name, and occupation of both men and women in those households, but also ascertain their income and expenditure.

  • Likewise, the officer known as Sthánika shall attend to the accounts of the four quarters of the capital.

  • Managers of charitable institutions shall send information (to Gopa or Sthánika) as to any heretics (Páshanda) and travellers arriving to reside therein. They shall allow ascetics and men learned in the Vedas to reside in such places only when those persons are known to be of reliable character.

  • Artisans and other handicraftsmen may, on their own responsibility, allow others of their own profession to reside where they carry on their own work (i.e., in their own houses).

  • Similarly merchants may on their own responsibility allow other merchants to reside where they themselves carry on their mercantile work (i.e., their own houses or shops).

  • They (the merchants) shall make a report of those who sell any merchandise in forbidden place or time, as well as of those who are in possession of any merchandise other than their own.

  • Vintners, sellers of cooked flesh and cooked rice as well as prostitutes may allow any other person to reside with them only when that person is well-known to them.

  • They (vintners, etc.) shall make a report of spendthrifts and fool-hardy persons who engage themselves in risky undertakings.

  • Any physician who undertakes to treat in secret a patient suffering from ulcer or excess of unwholesome food or drink, as well as the master of the house (wherein such treatment is attempted) shall be innocent only when they (the physician and the master of the house) make a report of the same to either Gopa or Sthánika; otherwise both of them shall be equally guilty with the sufferer.

  • Masters of houses shall make a report of strangers arriving at, or departing from their houses; otherwise they shall be guilty of the offence (theft, etc.) committed during that night. Even during safe nights (i.e., nights when no theft, etc., seems to have been committed), they shall be fined 3 panas (for not making such a report).

  • Wayfarers going along a high road or by a foot path shall catch hold of any person whom they find to be suffering from a wound or ulcer, or possessed of destructive instruments, or tired of carrying a heavy load, or timidly avoiding the presence of others, or indulging in too much sleep, or fatigued from a long journey, or who appears to be a stranger to the place in localities such as inside or outside the capital, temples of gods, places of pilgrimage, or burial grounds.

  • (Spies) shall also make a search for suspicious persons in the interior of deserted houses, in the workshops or houses of vintners and sellers of cooked rice and flesh, in gambling houses, and in the abode of heretics.

  • Kindling of fire shall be prohibited during the two middlemost parts of day-time divided into four equal parts during the summer. A fine of 1/8th of a pana shall be imposed for kindling fire at such a time.

  • Masters of houses may carry on cooking operations outside their houses.

  • (If a house-owner is not found to have ready with him) five water-pots (pancha ghatínám), a kumbha, a dróna, a ladder, an axe, a winnowing basket, a hook (such as is used to drive an elephant), pincers, (kachagráhini), and a leather bag (driti), he shall be fined ¼th of a pana.

  • They shall also remove thatched roofs. Those who work by fire (blacksmiths) shall all together live in a single locality.

  • Each houseowner shall ever be present (at night) at the door of his own house.

  • Vessels filled with water shall be kept in thousands in a row without confusion not only in big streets and at places where four roads meet but also in front of the royal buildings (rajaprigraheshu).

  • Any house-owner who does not run to give his help in extinguishing the fire of whatever is burning shall be fined 12 panas; and a renter (avakrayi, i.e., one who has occupied a house for rent) not running to extinguish fire shall be fined 6 panas.

  • Whoever carelessly sets fire (to a house) shall be fined 54 panas; but he who intentionally sets fire (to a house) shall be thrown into fire.

  • Whoever throws dirt in the street shall be punished with a fine of 1/8th of a pana; whoever causes mire or water to collect in the street shall be fined ¼th of a pana; whoever commits the above offences in the king's road (rájamárga) shall be punished with double the above fines.

  • Whoever excretes faeces in places of pilgrimage, reservoirs of water, temples, and royal buildings shall be punished with fines rising from one pana and upwards in the order of the offences; but when such excretions are due to the use of medicine or to disease no punishment shall be imposed.

  • Whoever throws inside the city the carcass of animals such as a cat, dog, mangoose, and a snake shall be fined 3 panas; of animals such as an ass, a camel, a mule, and cattle shall be fined 6 panas; and human corpse shall be punished with a fine of 50 panas.

  • When a dead body is taken out of a city through a gate other than the usual or prescribed one or through a path other than the prescribed path, the first amercement shall be imposed; and those who guard the gates (through which the dead body is taken out) shall be fined 200 panas.

  • When a dead body is interred or cremated beyond the burial or cremation grounds, a fine of 12 panas shall be imposed.

  • The interval between six nálikas (2 2/5 hours) after the fall of night and six nálikas before the dawn shall be the period when a trumpet shall be sounded prohibiting the movement of the people.

  • The trumpet having been sounded, whoever moves in the vicinity of royal buildings during the first or the last yáma (3 hours ?) of the period shall be punished with a fine of one pana and a quarter; and during the middlemost yámas, with double the above fine; and whoever moves outside (the royal buildings or the fort) shall be punished with four times the above fine.

  • Whoever is arrested in suspicious places or as the perpetrator of a criminal act shall be examined.

  • Whoever moves in the vicinity of royal buildings or ascends the defensive fortifications of the capital shall be punished with the middlemost amercement.

  • Those who go out at night in order to attend to the work of midwifery or medical treatment, or to carry off a dead body to the cremation or burial grounds, or those who go out with a lamp in hand at night, as well as those who go out to visit the officer in charge of the city, or to find out the cause of a trumpet sound (turyapreksha), or to extinguish the outbreak of fire or under the authority of a pass shall not be arrested.

  • During the nights of free movement (chárarátrishu) those who move out under disguise, those who stir out though forbidden (pravarjitah), as well as those who move with clubs and other weapons in hand shall be punished in proportion to the gravity of their guilt.

  • Those watchmen who stop whomever they ought not to stop, or do not stop whomever they ought to stop shall be punished with twice the amount of fine levied for untimely movement.

  • When a watchman has carnal connection with a slave woman, he shall be punished with the first amercement; with a free woman middlemost amercement; with a woman arrested for untimely movement, the highest amercement; and a woman of high birth (kulastrí), he shall be put to death.

  • When the officer in charge of the city (nágaraka) does not make a report (to the king) of whatever nocturnal nuisance of animate or inanimate nature (chetanâchetana) has occurred, or when he shows carelessness (in the discharge of his duty), he shall be punished in proportion to the gravity of his crime.

  • He shall make a daily inspection of reservoirs of water, of roads, of the hidden passage for going out of the city, of forts, fortwalls, and other defensive works. He shall also keep in his safe custody of whatever things he comes across as lost, forgotten or left behind by others.

  • On the days to which the birth star of the king is assigned, as well as on full moon days, such prisoners as are young, old, diseased, or helpless (anátha) shall be let out from the jail (bandhanâgâra); or those who are of charitable disposition or who have made any agreement with the prisoners may liberate them by paying an adequate ransom.

  • Once in a day or once in five nights, jails may be emptied of prisoners in consideration of the work they have done, or of whipping inflicted upon them, or of an adequate ransom paid by them in gold.

  • Whenever a new country is conquered, when an heir apparent is installed on the throne, or when a prince is born to the king, prisoners are usually set free.

[Thus ends Chapter XXXVI, “The Duty of a City Superintendent” in Book II, “The Duties of government Superintendents,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the fifty-seventh chapter from the beginning. With this ends the Second Book “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya.]



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