Works of R. Tagore

 Major Works
  Kautilya's Arthashastra
  Vatsayana Kama Sutra

 Stories of India
  Tales of Panchatantra
  Indian Fairy Tales
  Stories of Birbal
  Stories of Tenali Rama
  Vikram Betal Stories
  Arabian Nights
  Alladin & Wonder Lamp
  Voyages of Sindbad

 Telugu Literature
  Ramayanam - Telugu
  Mahabharata - Telugu
  Telugu Novels (online)
  Telugu Stories (PDF)
  Moral Stories (PDF)
  Telugu Magazines

 Tamil Literature

  The Mahabharata
  Srimad Bhagavatam

  Rig Veda
  Yajur Veda
  Sama Veda
  Atharva Veda

  Bhagavad Gita
  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

  Brahma Sutra
  Sankara Bhashya I
  Sankara Bhashya II
  Ramanuja SriBhashya


  Agni Purana
  Brahma Purana
  Garuda Purana
  Markandeya Purana
  Varaha Purana
  Matsya Purana
  Vishnu Purana
  Linga Purana
  Narada Purana
  Padma Purana
  Shiva Purana
  Skanda Purana
  Vamana Purana

  Manu Smriti


Kautilya's Arthashastra
Book V: The Conduct of Courtiers
Translated by R. Shamasastry

Concerning the awards of punishments; replenishment of the treasury; concerning subsistence to government servants; the conduct of a courtier; time-serving; consolidation of the kingdom and absolute sovereignty.


        MEASURES necessary to remove the thorns of public peace both in fortified cities and country parts have been dealt with. We shall now proceed to treat of measures to suppress treason against the king and his kingdom.

        With regard to those chiefs who, though living by service under the king, are inimically disposed towards him, or have taken the side of his enemy, a spy with secret mission or one in the guise of an ascetic and devoted to the king's cause shall set to work as described before; or a spy trained in the art of sowing the seeds of dissension may set to work, as will be described in connection with the ‘Invasion of an enemy's villages.’

        The king in the interests of righteousness may inflict punishment in secret on those courtiers or confederacy of chiefs who are dangerous to the safety of the kingdom and who cannot be put down in open daylight.

        A spy may instigate the brother of a seditious minister and with necessary inducements, take him to the king for an interview. The king, having conferred upon him the title to possess and enjoy the property of his seditious brother, may cause him to attack his brother; and when he murders his brother with a weapon or with poison, he shall be put to death in the same spot under the plea that he is a parricide.

        The same measure will explain the proceedings to be taken against a seditious Pârasava (one who is begotten by a Bráhman on Sûdra wife), and a seditious son of a woman-servant.

        Or instigated by a spy, the brother of a seditious minister may put forward his claim for inheritance. While the claimant is lying at night at the door of the house of the seditious minister or elsewhere, a fiery spy (tîshna) may murder him and declare "Alas! the claimant for inheritance is thus murdered (by his brother)." Then taking the side of the injured party, the king may punish the other (the seditious minister).

        Spies in the presence of a seditious minister may threaten to beat his brother claiming inheritance. Then "while the claimant is lying at the door of, etc." .............. as before.

        The same proceedings will explain the quarrel fraudulently caused to crop up between any two seditious ministers, in whose family a son or a father has had sexual intercourse with a daughter-in-law, or a brother with the wife of another brother.

        A spy may flatter to the vanity of a seditious minister's son, of gentle manners and dignified conduct by telling him "Though thou art the king's son, thou art kept here in fear of enemies." The king may secretly honour this deluded person and tell him that "apprehending danger from the minister, I have put off thy installation, though thou hast attained the age of heir apparent." Then the spy may instigate him to murder the minister. The task being accomplished, he, too, may be put to death in the same spot under the plea that he is a parricide.

        A mendicant woman, having captivated the wife of a seditious minister by administering such medicines as excite the feelings of love, may through that wife contrive to poison the minister.

        Failing these measures, the king may send a seditious minister with an army of inefficient soldiers and fiery spies to put down a rebellious wild tribe or a village, or to set up a new superintendent of countries or of boundaries in a locality bordering upon a wilderness, or to bring under control a highly-rebellious city, or to fetch a caravan bringing in the tribute due to the king from a neighbouring country. In an affray (that ensues in consequence of the above mission) either by day or at night, the fiery spies, or spies under the guise of robbers (pratirodhaka) may murder the minister and declare that he was killed in the battle.

        While marching against an enemy or being engaged in sports, the king may send for his seditious ministers for an interview. While leading the ministers to the king, fiery spies with concealed weapons shall, in the middle enclosure of the king's pavilion, offer themselves to be searched for admittance into the interior, and, when caught, with their weapons by the door-keepers, declare themselves to be the accomplices of the seditious ministers. Having made this affair known to the public, the door-keepers shall put the ministers to death, and in the place of the fiery spies, some others are to be hanged.

        While engaged in sports outside the city, the king may honour his seditious ministers with accommodation close to his own. A woman of bad character under the guise of the queen may be caught in the apartment of these ministers and steps may be taken against them as before.

        A sauce-maker or a sweetmeat-maker may request of a seditious minister some sauce and sweetmeat by flattering him--"thou alone art worthy of such things." Having mixed those two things and half a cup of water with poison, he may substitute those things in the luncheon (of the king) outside the city. Having made this event known to the public, the king may put them (the minister and the cook) to death under the plea that they are poisoners.

        If a seditious minister is addicted to witchcraft, a spy under the guise of an accomplished wizard may make him believe that by manifesting (in witchcraft) any one of the beautiful things,--a pot containing an alligator, or a tortoise or crab--he can attain his desired end. While, with this belief, he is engaged in the act of witchcraft, a spy may murder him either by poisoning him or by striking him with an iron bar, and declare that he brought his own death by his proclivity to witchcraft.

        A spy under the guise of a physician may make a seditious minister believe that he is suffering from a fatal or incurable disease and contrive to poison him while prescribing medicine and diet to him.

        Spies under the guise of sauce-makers and sweet meat-makers may, when opportunity occurs, contrive to poison him.

        Such are the secret measures to get rid of seditious persons.

        As to measures to get rid of seditious persons conspiring against both the king and his kingdom:--

        When a seditious person is to be got rid of, another seditious person with an army of inefficient soldiers and fiery spies may be sent with the mission: "Go out into this fort or country and raise an army or some revenue; deprive a courtier of his gold; bring by force the daughter of a courtier; build a fort; open a garden; construct a road for traffic; set up a new village; exploit a mine; form forest-preserves for timber or elephants; set up a district or a boundary; and arrest and capture those who prevent your work or do not give you help." Similarly the other party may be instructed to curb the spirit of the above person. When a quarrel arises between the two parties at work, fiery spies under cover may throw their weapons and murder the seditious person; and others are to be arrested and punished for the crime.

        When with reference to boundaries, field-produce, and boundaries of houses, or with reference to any damage done to things, instruments, crops, and beasts of burden or on occasions of witnessing spectacles and processions, any dispute, real or caused by fiery spies, arises in seditious towns, villages, or families, fiery spies may hurl weapons and say: "This is what is done to them who quarrel with this man"; and for this offence others may be punished.

        When there arises a quarrel among seditious persons, fiery spies may set fire to their fields, harvest-grounds, and houses, hurl weapons on their relatives, friends and beasts of burden, and say that they did so at the instigation of the seditious; and for this offence others may be punished.

        Spies may induce seditious persons in forts or in country parts to be each other's guests at a dinner in which poisoners may administer poison; and for this offence others may be punished.

        A mendicant woman may delude a seditious chief of a district into the belief that the wife, daughter, or daughter- in-law of another seditious chief of another district loves the former. She may take the jewellery which the deluded chief gives her (for delivery to the wife, daughter, etc.), and, presenting it before the other chief, narrate that this chief in the pride of his youth makes love to the other's wife, daughter, or daughter-in-law. When at night a duel arises between the two chiefs, etc., as before.

        The prince or the commander of the army may confer some benefit upon such inimical persons as have been cowed down by a seditious army, and may declare his displeasure against them afterwards. And then some other persons, who are equally cowed down by another seditious army of the king, may be sent against the former along with an army of inefficient soldiers and fiery spies. Thus all the measures to get rid of seditious persons are of the same type.

        Whoever among the sons of the seditious persons thus put down shows no perturbance of mind shall receive his father's property. It is only thus that the whole of the country will loyally follow the sons and grandsons of the king, and will be free from all troubles caused by men.

        * Possessed of forbearance and apprehending no disturbance either in the present or future, the king may award punishments in secret both upon his own subjects and those who uphold the enemy's cause.

[Thus ends Chapter I, “Concerning the Awards of Punishments” in Book V. “The Conduct of Courtiers” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the ninety-first chapter from the beginning.]



        THE king who finds himself in a great financial trouble and needs money, may collect (revenue by demand). In such parts of his country as depend solely upon rain for water and are rich in grain, he may demand of his subjects one-third or one-fourth of their grain according to their capacity. He shall never demand of such of his subjects as live in tracts of middle or low quality; nor of people who are of great help in the construction of fortifications, gardens, buildings, roads for traffic, colonisation of waste lands, exploitation of mines, and formation of forest-preserves for timber and, elephants; nor of people who live on the border of his kingdom or who have not enough subsistence. He shall, on the other hand, supply with grain and cattle those who colonise waste lands. He may purchase for gold one-fourth of what remains, after deducting as much of the grain as is required for seeds and subsistence of his subjects. He shall avoid the property of forest tribes, as well as of Bráhmans learned in the Vedas (srotriya). He may purchase this, too, offering favourable price (to the owners). Failing these measures, the servants of the collector-general may prevail upon the peasantry to raise summer crops. Saying that double the amount of fines will be levied from those who are guilty (among peasants), they (the king's employees) shall sow seeds in sowing seasons. When crops are ripe, they may beg a portion of vegetable and other ripe produce except what is gleaned in the form of vegetables and grains. They shall avoid the grains scattered in harvest-fields, so that they may be utilised in making offerings to gods and ancestors on occasions of worship, in feeding cows, or for the subsistence of mendicants and village employees (grâlmabhritaka).

        Whoever conceals his own grain shall pay a fine of eight times the amount in each kind; and whoever steals the crops of another person shall pay a fine of fifty times the amount, provided the robber belongs to the same community (svavarga); but if he is a foreigner, he shall be put to death. They (the king's employees) may demand of cultivators one-fourth of their grain, and one-sixth of forest produce (vanya) and of such commodities as cotton, wax, fabrics, barks of trees, hemp, wool, silk, medicines, sandal, flowers, fruits, vegetables, firewood, bamboos, flesh, and dried flesh. They may also take one-half of all ivory and skins of animals, and punish with the first amercement those who trade in any article without obtaining a license from the king. So much for demands on cultivators.

        Merchants dealing in gold, silver, diamonds, precious stones, pearls, coral, horses, and elephants shall pay 50 karas. Those that trade in cotton threads, clothes, copper, brass, bronze, sandal, medicines, and liquor shall pay 40 karas. Those that trade in grains, liquids, metals (loha), and deal with carts shall pay 30 karas. Those that carry on their trade in glass (kâcha); and also artisans of fine workmanship shall pay 20 karas. Articles of inferior workmanship, as well as those who keep prostitutes, shall pay 10 karas. Those that trade in firewood, bamboos, stones, earthen-pots, cooked rice, and vegetables shall pay 5 karas. Dramatists and prostitutes shall pay half of their wages. The entire property of goldsmiths shall be taken possession of; and no offence of theirs shall be forgiven; for they carry on their fraudulent trade while pretending at the same time to be honest and innocent. So much about demands on merchants.

        Persons rearing cocks and pigs shall surrender to the Government half of their stock of animals. Those that rear inferior animals shall give one-sixth. Those that keep cows, buffaloes, mules, asses, and camels shall give one-tenth (of their live-stock). Those who maintain prostitutes (bandhakiposhaka), shall, with the help of women noted for their beauty and youth in the service of the king, collect revenue. So much about demands on herdsmen.

        Such demands shall be made only once and never twice. When such demands are not made, the collector general shall seek subscriptions from citizens and country people alike under false pretences of carrying this or that kind of business. Persons taken in concert shall publicly pay handsome donations and with this example, the king may demand of others among his subjects. Spies posing as citizens shall revile those who pay less. Wealthy persons may be requested to give as much of their gold as they can. Those who, of their own accord or with the intention of doing good, offer their wealth to the king shall be honoured with a rank in the court, an umbrella, or a turban or some ornaments in return for their gold.

        Spies, under the guise of sorcerers, shall, under the pretence of ensuring safety, carry away the money, not only of the society of heretics and of temples, but also of a dead man and of a man whose house is burnt, provided that it is not enjoyable by Bráhmans.

        The Superintendent of Religious Institutions may collect in one place the various kinds of property of the gods of fortified cities and country parts and carry away the property (to the king's treasury).

        Or having on some night set up a god or an altar, or having opened a sacred place of ascetics or having pointed out an evil omen, the king may collect subsistence under the pretence of holding processions and congregations (to avert calamities).

        Or else he shall proclaim the arrival of gods, by pointing out to the people any of the sacred trees in the king's garden which has produced untimely flowers and fruits.

        Or by causing a false panic owing to the arrival of an evil spirit on a tree in the city, wherein a man is hidden making all sorts of devilish noises, the king's spies, under the guise of ascetics, may collect money (with a view to propitiate the evil spirit and send it back).

        Or spies may call upon spectators to see a serpent with numberless heads in a well connected with a subterranean passage and collect fees from them for the sight. Or they may place in a borehole made in the body of an image of a serpent, or in a hole in the corner of a temple, or in the hollow of an ant-hill, a cobra, which is, by diet, rendered unconscious, and call upon credulous spectators to see it (on payment of a certain amount of fee). As to persons who are not by nature credulous, spies may sprinkle over or give a drink of, such sacred water as is mixed with anasthetic ingredients and attribute their insensibility to the curse of gods. Or by causing an outcast person (âbhityáktá) to be bitten by a cobra, spies may collect revenue under the pretext of undertaking remedial measures against ominous phenomena.

        Or one of the king's spies in the garb of a merchant, may become a partner of a rich merchant and carry on trade in concert with him. As soon as a considerable amount of money has been gathered as sale-proceeds, deposits and loans, he may cause himself to be robbed of the amount.

        This will explain what the examiner of coins and the state-goldsmith may also do.

        Or else a spy, in the garb of a rich merchant, or a real rich merchant famous for his vast commerce, may borrow or take on pledge vast quantities of gold, silver, and other commodities, or borrow from corporations bar gold, or coined gold for various kinds of merchandise to be procured from abroad. After having done this he may allow himself to be robbed of it the same night.

        Prostitute spies under the garb of chaste women, may cause themselves to be enamoured of persons who are seditious. No sooner are the seditious persons seen within the abode of the female spies than they shall be seized and their property confiscated to the Government. Or whenever a quarrel arises between any two seditious parties of the same family, poisoners, previously engaged for the purpose, may administer poison to one party; and the other party may be accused of the offence and deprived of their. property.

        An outcast, under the guise of a high-born man, may claim from a seditious person a large amount of money professed to have been placed in the latter's custody by the claimant, or a large debt outstanding against the seditious person, or a share of parental property. (An outcast) may pretend to be the slave of a seditious person; and he may represent the wife, daughter, or daughter-in-law of the seditious person as a slave-woman or as his own wife; and when the outcast is lying at the door of the seditious person's house at night or is living elsewhere, a fiery spy may murder him and declare:--"The claimant (of his own property or wife) has been thus killed." And for this offence others (i.e., the seditious person and his followers) shall be deprived of their property.

        Or a spy, under the garb of an ascetic, may offer inducements to a seditious person to acquire more wealth by taking in aid the art of witchcraft, and say:--"I am proficient in such witchcraft as brings inexhaustible wealth, or entitles a man to get admission into the king's palace, or can win the love of any woman, or can put an end to the life of one's enemy, or can lengthen the duration of one's life, or can give a son to any one, if desired." If the seditious person shows his desire to carry on the process of witchcraft securing wealth, the spy may make rich offerings, consisting of flesh, wine, and scent to the deity near an altar in a burial-ground wherein a dead body of a man or of a child with a little quantity of money has been previously hidden. After the performance of worship is over, the hidden treasure may be dug out and the seditious person, may be told that as the offerings fell short, the treasure is proportionately small; that the richest of offerings should be made to acquire vast amount of treasure, and that he may purchase with the newly-acquired wealth rich offerings. Then he may be caught in the very act of purchasing commodities for offering.

        A female spy, under the garb of a bereaved mother, may (in connection with the above case) raise an alarm, crying that her child was murdered (for the purposes of witchcraft).

        When a seditious person is engaged in sorcery at night or in a sacrificial performance in a forest, or in sports in a park, fiery spies may murder him and carry away the corpse as that of an outcast.

        Or a spy, under the garb of a servant of a seditious person, may mix counterfeit coins with the wages (he has received from his master), and pave the way for his arrest.

        Or a spy, under the garb of a goldsmith, may undertake to do some work in the house of a seditious person, and gather in his employer's house such instruments as are necessary to manufacture counterfeit coins.

        A spy, under the garb of a physician, may declare a healthy person of seditious character to be unhealthy (and administer poison). Or a spy, attending as a servant upon a seditious person may not only call for an explanation from another fraudulent spy as to how certain articles necessary for the installation of a king and also the letters of an enemy came into the possession of his master, but also volunteer an explanation himself.

        Measures such as the above shall be taken only against the seditious and the wicked and never against others.

        * Just as fruits are gathered from a garden as often as they become ripe, so revenue shall be collected as often as it becomes ripe. Collection of revenue or of fruits, when unripe, shall never be carried on, lest their source may be injured, causing immense trouble.

[Thus ends Chapter II, "Replenishment of the Treasury" in Book V, "The Conduct of Courtiers" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the ninety-second chapter from the beginning.]



        IN accordance with the requirements of his forts and country parts, the king should fix under one-fourth of the total revenue the charges of maintaining his servants. He should look to the bodily comforts of his servants by providing such emoluments as can infuse in them the spirit of enthusiasm to work. He should not violate the course of righteousness and wealth.

        The sacrificial priest (ritvig), the teacher, the minister, the priest (purohita), the commander of the army, the heir-apparent prince, the mother of the king, and the queen shall (each receive) 48,000 (panas per annum). With this amount of subsistence, they will scarcely yield themselves to temptation and hardly be discontented.

        The door-keeper, the superintendent of the harem (antarvamsika) the commander (prasástri), the collector-general, and the chamberlain, 24,000. With this amount they become serviceable.

        The prince (kumára), the nurse of the prince, the chief constable (náyaka), the officer in charge of the town (paura) the superintendent of law or commerce (vyávahárika), the superintendent of manufactories (karmántika), members of the council of ministers, the superintendents of country parts and of boundaries, 12,000. With this they will be loyal and powerful supporters of the king's cause.

        The chiefs of military corporations, the chiefs of elephants, of horses, of chariots and of infantry and commissioners (pradeshtárah), 8,000. With this amount they can have a good following in their own communities.

        The Superintendents of infantry, of cavalry, of chariots and of elephants, the guards of timber and elephant forests, 4,000.

        The chariot-driver, the physician of the army, the trainer of horses, the carpenter, (vardhaki), and those who rear animals (yoniposhaka), 2,000.

        The foreteller, the reader of omens, the astrologer, the reader of Puránas, the story-teller, the bard (mágadha), the retinue of the priest, and all superintendents of departments, 1,000.

        Trained soldiers, the staff of accountants and writers, 500.

        Musicians (kusílava), 250. Of these, the trumpet-blowers (túryakara) shall get twice as much wages as others. Artisans and carpenters, 120.

        Servants in charge of quadrupeds and bipeds, workmen doing miscellaneous work, attendants upon the royal person, body-guards, and the procurer of free labourers shall receive a salary of 60 panas.

        The honourable play-mate of the king (áryayukta), the elephant-driver, the sorcerer (manavaka), miners of mountains (sailakhanaka), all kinds of attendants, teachers, and learned men shall have honorarium ranging from 500 to 1,000 (panas) according to their merit.

        A messenger of middle quality shall receive 10 panas for each yojana he travels; and twice as much when he travels from 10 to 100 yojanas.

        Whoever represents the king in the rájasúya and other sacrifices shall get three times as much as is paid to others who are equal to him in learning; and the charioteer of the king (in the sacrifices), 1,000.

        Spies such as the fradulent (kápatika), the indifferent (udásthita), the house-holder, the merchant, and the ascetic 1,000.

        The village-servant (grámabhritaka), fiery spies, poisoners and mendicant women, 500 (panas).

        Servants leading the spies, 250 or in proportion to the work done by them.

        Superintendents of a hundred or a thousand coinmunities (varga) shall regulate the subsistence, wages, profits, appointinent, and transference (vikshepa), of the men under them.

        There shall be no transference of officers employed to guard the royal buildings, forts, and country parts. The chief officers employed to superintend the above places shall be many and shall permanently hold the same office.

        The sons and wives of those who die while on duty shall get subsistence and wages. Infants, aged persons, or deceased persons related to the deceased servants shall also be shown favour. On occasions of funerals, sickness, or child-birth, the king shall give presentations to his servants concerned therein.

        When wanting in money, the king may give forest produce, cattle, or fields along with a small amount of money. If he is desirous to colonise waste lands, he shall make payments in money alone; and if he is desirous of regulating the affairs of all villages equally, then he shall give no village to any (of his servants).

        Thus the king shall not only maintain his servants, but also increase their subsistence and wages in consideration of their learning and work.

        Substituting one ádhaka for the salar of 60 panas payment in gold may be commuted for that in kind.

        Footmen, horses, chariots, and elephants shall be given necessary training in the art of war at sunrise, on all days but those of conjunction (of planets). on these occasions of training, the king shall ever be present and witness their exercise.

        Weapons and armour shall be entered into the armoury only after they are marked with the king's seal.

        Persons with weapons shall not be allowed to move anywhere unless they are permitted by a passport.

        When weapons are either lost or spoilt, the superintendent shall pay double their value; an account of the weapons that are destroyed shall be kept up.

        Boundary-guards shall take away the weapons and armour possessed by caravans unless the latter are provided with a passport to travel with weapons.

        When starting on a military tour, the king shall put his army in action. On such occasions, spies, under the garb of merchants, shall supply to military stations all kinds of merchandise for double the quantity of the same to be repaid in future. Thus not only is there afforded an opportunity for the sale of the king's merchandise, but also is there a way opened for a good return for the wages paid.

        Thus, when both the receipts and expenditure are properly cared for, the king will never find himself in financial or military difficulties.

        Such are the alternatives with regard to subsistence and wages.

        * Spies, prostitutes, artisans, singers, and aged military officers shall vigilantly examine the pure or impure conduct of military men.

[Thus ends Chapter III, "Concerning Subsistence to Government Servants" in Book V, “The Conduct of Courtiers” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the ninety-third chapter from the beginning.]



        WHOEVER possesses enough experience of the world and its affairs may, through the influence of an interested friend, seek the favour of a king who is endowed with amiable qualities and is possessed of all the elements of sovereignty. He may court the favour of any king provided he thinks:--Just as I am in need of a patron, so is this king possessed of a taste for good advice and is of amiable character. He may even court the favour of such a king as is poor and destitute of the elements of sovereignty, but never, of such a one as is of a depraved character: whoever, as a king, is destitute of good temper and amiable character cannot, by reason of his habitual hatred of the science of polity and an inborn proclivity to evil ways, maintain his sovereignty, though he is possessed of immense sovereign power.

        Having obtained admittance to an amiable king, he shall give the king instructions in sciences. Absence of contradiction from the king will render his position secure. When his opinion is sought about present or future schemes needing much thought and consideration, he may boldly and sensibly, and with no fear of contradiction from the assembly of ministers, pronounce his opinion so as to be in harmony with the principles of righteousness and economy. When required, he may answer questions on points of righteousness and economy (and tell the king):

        "Following the rule that there should be no delay in putting down by force even a strong confederacy of wicked people, you should apply force against the wicked, if they have a strong support; do not despise my advice, character and secrets; and by means of gestures, I shall prevent you from inflicting punishments on any one, when you are going to do so either willfully or under provocation."

        With such agreements with the king, he (a courtier) may enter on the duty assigned to him. He shall sit by the side of, and close to, the king and far from the seat of another courtier. He shall avoid speaking slyly against the opinion of any member of the assembly; he shall never make incredible or false statements; nor loud laughter with no cause for jest, and loud noise and spittle. He shall also avoid talking to another in secret, mutual conversation with another in the assembly (of ministers), appearing in royal dress in the public, haughtiness, buffoonery, open request for gems and promotions, seeing with one eye, biting the lips, brow-beating, interrupting the king while speaking, enmity with a strong party, association with women, pimps, messengers of foreign kings, enemies, inimical parties, dismissed officers, and wicked people, stubborn adherence to a single purpose, and contact with any confederacy of men.

        * Without losing the opportune moments, he should speak of the king's interest; of his own interest when in company with persons friendly to him; and of others interests in a suitable time and place, and in conformity to the principles of righteousness and economy.

        * When asked, he should tell the king what is both good and pleasing, but not what is bad, though pleasing; if the king is pleased to listen, he may secretly tell what, though unpleasant, is good.

        * He may even keep silence, but. should never describe what is hateful; by abstaining from talking of what the king hates, even undesirable persons have become powerful when, seeing that the king likes only pleasant things without caring for their evil consequences, they have followed his will.

        * While laughing in jest, he should avoid loud laughter; he shall avoid evil aspersions against others, nor ascribe evil to others; he shall forgive evil done to himself and have as much forbearance as the earth.

        * Self-protection shall be the first and constant thought of a wise man; for the life of a man under the service of a king is aptly compared to life in fire; whereas fire burns a part or the whole of the body, if at all, the king has the power either to destroy or to advance the whole family, consisting of sons and wives, of his servants.

[Thus ends Chapter IV, “The Conduct of a Courtier” in Book V, “The Conduct of Courtiers” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the ninety-fourth chapter from the beginning.]



        WHEN employed as a minister, he (the courtier) shall show the net revenue that remains after all kinds of expenditure are met with. He shall also give the exact particulars--as this is thus--of whatever work is external, internal, secret, open, costly, or negligible. He shall follow the king in his pursuits after hunting, gambling, drinking, and sexual pleasures. Ever attending upon the king, he shall, by flattery, endeavour to arrest his fall into evil habits and save him from the intrigues, plots. and deceptions of enemies. He shall also endeavour to read the mind and appearance of the king.

        By way of collecting his wandering thoughts into a resolve, the king exhibits in his appearance and movements his inclination, anger, pleasure, sorrow, determination, fear, and change in the pairs of opposite feelings.

        "By cognising wisdom in others, he is pleased; he attends to the speech of others; he gives a seat; allows himself to be seen in private; does not suspect in places of suspicion; takes delight in conversation; spontaneously looks to things without being reminded; tolerates what is said agreeably to reason; orders with smiling face; touches with the hand; does not laugh at what is commendable; commends the qualities of another behind him; remembers (the courtier) while taking luncheon; engages himself in sports accompanied by (the courtier); consults (the courtier) when in trouble; honours the followers of the courtier; reveals the secret; honours the courtier more and more; gives him wealth; and averts his troubles;--these are the signs of the king's satisfaction (with the courtier)."

        The reverse of the above indicates his (the king's) displeasure. Still, we shall describe them in plain terms:--

        Angry appearance when the courtier is in sight; evading or refusal to hear his speech; no inclination to give him a seat or to see him; change in syllables and accents while talking to him; seeing with one eye; brow-beating; biting the lips; rise of sweat; hard breathing and smiling with no palpable cause; talking to himself; sudden bending or raising of the body; touching the body or the seat of another; molestation to another; contempt of learning, caste, and country (of the courtier); condemnation of a colleague of equal defects; condemnation of a man of opposite defects; condemnation of his opponent; failure to acknowledge his good deeds; enumeration of his bad deeds; attention to whoever enters into the chamber; too much gift; uttering falsehood; change in the conduct and attitude of visitors to the king; nay, the courtier shall also note the change in the life of animals other than men.

        Kátyáyana holds that this (king) showers his favours broad-cast.

        Kaninka Bháradvája says that Krauncha (a bird) has moved from right to left.

        Dírgha Chárayana says that this (king) is (like) a grass.

        Ghotamukha says that (he is like) a wet cloth.

        Kinjalka says that (he is like) an elephant pouring over water.

        Pisuna is of opinion that one should declare him to be a chariot-horse.

        The son of Pisuna says that mortification ensues when his opponent is courted.

        When wealth and honour are discontinued, such a king may be abandoned; or by recognising the character of the king as well as his own defects, he may rectify himself ; or he may seek the protection of one of the best friends of the king.

        * Living with the king's friend, the courtier has to endeavour to remove, through the medium of his own friends, the defects of his master, and then come back to his original place, no matter whether the king is alive or dead.

[Thus ends Chapter V “Time-serving” in Book V, “The Conduct of Courtiers” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the ninety-fifth chapter from the beginning.]


        THE minister shall thus avert the calamities in which the king is involved; long before the apprehended death of the king, he shall, in concert with his friends and followers allow visitors to the king once in a month or two (and avoid their visits on other occasions) under the plea that the king is engaged in performing such rites as are calculated to avert national calamities, or are destructive of enemies, or capable of prolonging life or of procuring a son.

        On appropriate occasions, he may show a pseudo-king not only to the people, but also to messengers coming from friends or enemies; and this (false) king shall make the minister his mouth-piece in conversing with them as deserved. And through the medium of the gate-keeper and the officer in charge of the harem, the minister shall (pretend to) receive the orders of the king. Displeasure or mercy to wrong-doers shall be shown only indirectly.

        Both the treasury and the army shall be kept under the command of two reliable and confidential persons and in a single locality, either within the fort or at the boundary of the kingdom.

        Cognates, princes, and other chiefs of the royal family may be employed in works such as the capture of a chief who, employed as a commander of a fort or the tracts of wilderness, has turned inimical along with a strong band of supporters; or they may be sent on an expedition full of difficulties, or to visit the family of the king's friend.

        Whoever, among the neighbouring kings, seems to threaten with an invasion may be invited for some festival, marriage, capture of elephants, purchase of horses, or of merchandise, or for taking possession of some lands ceded to him, and captured; or such an enemy may be kept at bay by an ally till an agreement of not condemnable nature is made with him; or he may be made to incur the displeasure of wild tribes or of his enemies; or whoever among his nearest relatives is kept under guard may be promised a portion of his territory and set against him.

        Or with the help of nobles and princes of the king's family, the minister may have the heir-apparent installed and show him to the public.

        Or having, as pointed out in the chapter concerning the awards of punishments, removed the thorns of the kingdom, he may conduct the administration.

        Or if a chief among the neighbouring kings seems to give trouble, the minister may invite him, saying "come here and I shall make thee king," and then put him to death; or he may be kept at bay by taking such measures as can ward off dangers.

        Or having gradually placed the burden of administration on the shoulders of the heir-apparent, the minister may announce the death of the king to the public.

        In case of the king's demise in an enemy's land, the minister, having brought about an agreement between the enemy and a friend pretending to be an enemy of the dead king, may withdraw himself; or having installed in the king's fort any one of the neighbouring kings, he may withdraw himself; or having installed the heir-apparent, he may set the army against the enemy; and when attacked by the enemy, he may take, as detailed elsewhere, such measures as can ward off dangers.

        "Thus," says Kautilya, "the minister shall invest himself with the powers of sovereignty."

        "Not so," says Bháradvája, "the king lying on his death-bed, the minister may set up the princes and other chiefs of the royal family against one another or against other chiefs. Whoever attacks the kingdom may be put to death under the plea of disturbance and annoyance to the people; or having secretly punished the chief rebels of the royal family and brought them under his control, the minister shall himself take possession of the kingdom, for on account of the kingdom the father hates his sons, and sons their father; why then should the minister who is the sole prop of the kingdom (be an exception to it)? There- fore he shall never discard what has, of its own accord, fallen into his hands; for it is a general talk among the people that a woman making love of her own accord will, when discarded, curse the man.

        * "An opportunity will only once offer itself to a man who is waiting for it, and will not come a second time when he may be desirous of accomplishing his work."

        "But it is," says Kautilya, "unrighteous to do an act which excites popular fury; nor is it an accepted rule. He shall, therefore, install in the kingdom such a son of the king as is possessed of amiable qualities. In the absence of a prince of good character, he may place before himself a wicked prince, or a princess, or the pregnant queen, and tell the other ministers:--‘This is your caste (kshepa); look to the father of this (boy) as well as to your own valour and descent; this (boy) is merely a flag; and yourselves are the lords; pray, how shall I act’?"

        As he is saying this, others, taken in confidence before, shall say in reply:--"Who else than the one of your lead is capable of protecting the mass of the people of the four castes of the king" ? Then the other ministers will certainly agree to it. Accordingly he shall install a prince, a princess, or the pregnant queen, and show him or her to all the royal relations as well as to the messengers coming from friends or enemies. He shall provide the ministers and military officers with increased subsistence and salary, promising them that "This (boy) will, after attaining full age, increase your emolument still more." He shall likewise promise the chief officers in charge of the forts and country parts as well as the parties of both the friends and enemies. He shall then take necessary steps to educate and train the prince.

        Or he may install a child begotten on the princess by a man of the same caste.

        He shall keep as a representative of the prince one who is of the same family, of little valour and of beautiful appearance, lest the mother's mind may be agitated with wild apprehensions. He shall justly protect her. He shall not provide himself with luxurious means of enjoyment. As to the king, he may provide him with new chariots, horses, jewels, dress, women and palaces.

        * When the prince comes of age, he may request the prince to relieve him from the intellectual worry. He may abandon the king, if he (the king) is displeased; and follow him if he is pleased.

        * If he is disgusted with the ministerial life, he may go to a forest or a long sacrifice, after having informed the queen of the safeguards and persons that are employed to bring up the prince.

        * Even if the king is held by the chiefs under their influence, the minister may, through the medium of the king's favourites, teach him the principles of polity with illustrations, taken from the Itihása and Purána.

        * Having taken the garb of an accomplished ascetic, the minister may ingratiate himself with the king; and having brought the king under his influence, he may take coercive measure against the seditious.

[Thus ends Chapter VI "Consolidation of the Kingdom and Absolute Sovereignty” in Book V, “The Conduct of Courtiers” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the ninety-sixth chapter from the beginning. With this, ends the fifth Book “The Conduct of Courtiers” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya.]



home      contact us