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Kautilya on The State

Kautilya on The State


Author: Dr. Ruchi Tyagi
College/ Department: Kalindi College, University of
Delhi.

Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Delhi

Kautilya on The State

Kautilya on The State


Kautilya, the great diplomat, politician, upholder of political unity and the maker of the
destiny of Magadh, was born in 375 B.C. in the historic city of Aryavratain the Magadh
Empire. He was born to a learned, though poor, Brahmin named Chanak, after whom he
came to be known as Chanakya, the son of Chanak. Since he was well-versed in the art and
science of statecraft and diplomacy, he also came to be known as Kautilya.

Figure : Chandragupta Maurya

Figure : Chanakya

He received his education in the Takshashila University, where he had occasion to meet
Chandragupta Maurya. After finishing his studies, he taught at Takshashila for a while.
Later, keeping in view his special knowledge of politics and diplomacy,he was appointed by
Chandragupta as his Prime Minister. At that time, India stood divided into tiny fragmented
states. Chanakya played the historic role of bringing these smaller states together and
uniting them, for the first time, into a great Indian Empire.The principal objective of
Kautilyas
life
was
(the
attainment
ofDharma (ethical
values), Artha (Economic
welfare). kama (material pleasures) and Moksha (Salvation). Despite the fact that Kautilya
was the all in all of the Mauryan Empire,

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Kautilya on The State


Besides politics, the other subjects touched upon include Economics, Ethics, Sociology,
Criminology, Intelligence & Espionage, Science of Education, Warfare, Engineering and
others. In the Ancient Indian Political Thought, Kautilyas Arthashastra is a landmark,
without parallel anywhere else in the world. It negates the Western contention that India
was not attuned to political thinking.
We have generally been accustomed to begin our study of political theory and thought with
the concepts of ideal state of Plato and Aristotle and then jump suddenly to the study of
diplomacy of Machiavelli. Very few people have cared to take into account that it was
Kautilya of ancient India who, too, had described the organization of a well-organized state,
and the qualities of an ideal
ruler, besides laying down the principles of practical politics and ethical and moral order of
the society.In fact, Kautilyas Arthashastra is a classic on the nature of the State and the art
of governance. Kautilya accepted Monarchy as the most ideal form of State and, on that
assumption; he described in Arthashastra the domestic and inter-state policies which an
ideal state should adopt. Kautilyas description of these principles was relevant not only to
his times, but also continues to be relevant today and would hopefully remain so for the
generation to come.
it was after more than 2200 years that a Brahmin of Tanjore found the handwritten
manuscript of this book in 1905 in the Mysore Library. Sham Shastri, the great historian
published Arthashastra for the first time in 1909. The scope of this great classic is confined
mainly to politics. It contains 15 parts, 180 divisions, 150 chapters and 6,000 shlokas. the
Arthashastra. Though Arthashastra was authored by Kautilya at least during 325 B.C., he
lived the simple life of an ascetic and found time to author his world-renowned classic, A
brief sketch of the topics discussed in the Arthashastra will facilitate the visualisation of the
comprehensiveness of polity. In the first place, the theory of kingship or the activities and
functions of the sage-king - rajarshivrittam has been given a detailed description. The first,
sixth and eighth books are devoted to the elucidation of this subject.Kautilya discusses in
the first book the
concepts of discipline and punishment;he goal of knowledge, appointment of ministers,
councilors, priests and spies and envoys; protection and education of the princes; conduct
of a prince kept under confinement; treatment of a prince kept under restraint; duties of a
king (Rajapranidhi); duties of the king towards the female quarters and lastly the personal
safety of the king. The sixth book elucidates the source of the circle of kingdom. It deals
with the seven constituent factors of a commonwealth which are the king, the minister, the
country, the fort, the treasury, the army and the friend. It constructs the categories which
make the ideal, in each of the factors listed.
The eighth book examines the vices and calamities of each of the sevenfold factors. It
analyses the troubles of the king and his kingdom, the aggregate of the troubles of men and
the group of troubles of a friend. It makes an analysis of the relative gravity of the troubles
of the sevenfold factors and the monarchical orientation of the book is revealed in its view
of the kings troubles being the most serious.

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Kautilya on The State

Figure : Arthrashashtra contains 15 parts, 180 divisions, 150 chapters and 6,000 shlokas.
Kautilyas Arthashastra is a landmark, without parallel anywhere else in the world. It
negates the Western contention that India was not attuned to political thinking
Though the Arthashastra is not a theoretical treatise on political science, but as R.P. Kangle
asserts, it is possible to trace some sort of a theoretical basis for the teaching of the
shastra. Monarchy is indeed assumed to be the normal form of government. The entire
teaching is addressed to the king, the single ruler of the state.
Management Fundamentals in Kautilya's Arthashastra -3

Leadership Qualities
be Ever Active
Love for his team Members
Consultation
Respect to Spiritual people

1.1 The Origin of State (Kingship)


Kautilya regarded state as an essentially human, not a divine, institution. This was in
keeping with the early vedic view which looked at monarch essentially as a human being,
rather than a divine person. The theoretical aspect of the State did not fall within the
philosophical domain of Kautilya, for he was not a political theorist.

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Kautilya on The State

Figure : As regards the ideal of kingship Kautilya writes,


"In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness, in their welfare, his welfare.
What pleases him he shall not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subjects he shall
consider as good."
Yet, his stray reflections on the origin of State help us have a better understanding of his
concept of State in its totality. And, the almost casual mention of these ideas in his
Arthashastra is hardly surprising, as these ideas had already gained currency during the
Mauriyan period. Kautilya refers to the problem of the origin of the state during discussion
of spies among themselves. One party there argues that government came into existence to
counteract law of jungle that prevailed in society. (I.13.6-9) Maatsyaanyaabhibhutah praja
manum vaivasvatam raajaanam chakrire; Dhaanyashadbhaagam panyadashbhaagam
hiranyam chaasya bhaagdheyam prakalpyaamaasuh; Ten bhritah raajaanaah prajaanaam
yogakshemvahaasteshaam
kilvishamdanadakaraa
haranti
ayogkshemvahaashch
prajaanaam; According to R.P.Kangle, here, we have something like an original contract for
the establishment of monarchy.
Kautilya was disturbed to find that people had to suffer the anarchy of Matsyanyaya, the
proverbial judicial tendency of the large fish to swallow the smaller ones. He thought that it
was primarily to get rid of this Hobbesian kind of a situation which led people select Manu,
the Vaivasvata, as their first king. While selecting their king, the subjects expected him not
only to ensure their safety and security and punish people with anarchic tendencies, but
also to maintain individual and social order. For this purpose, they empowered him to
collect property taxes or royal dues equivalent to one-sixth of the grain grown and onetenth of merchandise. The king was also authorized to act at once, as Indra and Yama
acted, while dispensing rewards and punishment. And, acting as such, he could "never be
despised". The prevailing view was that if a subject disregarded the king, he would have to
undergo
not
only
political
but
also
divine
punishment.
Thus, to Kautilya, the king derived his authority to rule from those who selected him for this
office and paid him property tax or royal dues to enable him to fulfill the duties and
functions assigned to him. Still, this is no theory of a social contract such as is worked out in
the works of Hobbes or Rousseau. The purpose underlying those words is to dissuade
people from entertaining feelings of disaffection towards the ruler.

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Did you know
1.1.0 The Origin of State (Kingship)
As regards the ideal of kingship Kautilya wrote,
"In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness, in their welfare, his welfare. What
pleases him he shall not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subjects he shall
consider as good." Regarding the qualifications of a king, he should be an educated,
cultured, chivalrous and a religious person."

Figure:Kingship

Qualifications of a King

He Should be educated

Cultured
Chivalrous and religious person

1.2 The Organic State:The Saptanga Theory


Kautilya builds up his theory of the State as an organic entity on the basis of seven
elements, which he describes in his Arthashastra asSaptanga. The seven elements, despite
being enumerated separately, stand in the closest possible relation to one another and are
in themselves mutually serviceable. Together, they constitute the State as an organism,
like a chariot composed of seven parts fitted and subservient to one another. Though
Kautilya likens the State to a Chariot, he conceives it essentially as a living, not a dead,
organism in which the Swami (the king) is the spirit that regulates and guides the remaining
constituents of the body-politic. This harmony is essential not only to their own existence,
but also to that of the whole which they constitute together. Further, according to Kautilya,
of these seven elements, each subsequent element is inferior to the preceding ones. Thus,
the Swami or the King (first prakriti or element) becomes superior to the remaining six

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Kautilya on The State


elements. His righteousness and other qualities would result in the righteousness and
prosperity of other elements, whereas his vices would multiply the troubles and calamities
of the other elements. In this connection, it is to be noted that while Manu argues that
various elements could gain importance on different occasions, the Mahabharta considers all
the elements as supplementary to one another.
To an extent; the organic theory of State finds elaboration in the Ancient Greek Political
Philosophy. For instance: while comparing the State with the human body, Plato had argued
that just as a cut in the finger causes pain in the body, similarly injury of one organ creates
problems for the other organs of the body-politic. Aristotle was of the view that no organ
and no individual have any value, if not considered in totality.
For instance, an arm is meaningless without the body. The Greek philosophers wanted to
avert the causes which endangered the unity and solidarity of the city-states, whereas
Kautilya aimed at comprehensiveness of Anvikshaki, Trayi, Vaarta and Dandaniti.
Seven Angas, Prakritis, or elements were enumerated and elucidated by Kautilya for
describing the nature of the State in its totality. As laid down in the first chapter
of Arthashastras Sixth Book, entitled Mandala Yonih, theseare:

Figure : Hierarchy to denote Swami


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

The
The
The
The
The
The
The

(King to Mitra allies)

Swami, the sovereign King;


Mantrin, the ministers;
Janapada, the people and the territory;
Durga, the fortification;
Kosha, the treasury;
Sena or the Danda, the army; and
Mitra, the allies.

All these elements establish the nature of State. The Seven characteristics that emerge
from these seven elements are:
1. Unity, uniformity and solidarity of the state;
2. Stable and systematic administration;
3. Definite territory, able to protect and support both the king and the subjects;
4. Planned system of security and defence;
5. System of just and proportionate taxation;
6. Strong and powerful state; and
7. Freedom from alien rule.
Through these elements, Kautilya is able to depict the various facets of the state of his
conception. Inclusion of Mitra (ally), Kosha (treasury), and Sena (army) as separate
elements in the formation of State may not be acceptable today, but it had a marked
relevance in an age when the theory of Separation of Powers was not predominant and

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when the State meant nothing but the sole embodiment of the highest executive authority,
subject only to the supremacy of laws. As a matter of fact, while incorporating all these
elements as constituents of his body-politic, Kautilya is only according recognition to all the
agencies which contribute to the moral and political existence of a community. Moreover,
by including Mitra (ally) as a constituent element of the State, Kautilya has succeeded in
presenting the State not as a thing in itself, but as one entity among and in relation to
many in the international sphere, He recognizes not only its sovereign character but also
its interdependence. His polity has, therefore, been rightly described by M. V. Krishna Rao
as pluralistically dominated monism. Kautilya, thus, furnishes us with full and complete
definition
of
the
State.

The modern constituents of the State, such as sovereignty, government, territory and
population are covered respectively by the elements ofSwami, Amatya and Janapada in
the Saptang theory of the State. In modern times, unless a State receives recognition of
other States, its de jure status is not established. This element in the modern States may
be compared to mitra (ally). Though in the modern definition of the State, there is no place
for army and taxation, these are covered by the concept of sovereign power, which
exercises
the
function
of
coercion
and
tax-collection.
A remarkable similarity between the Kautilyan and the Marxist conceptions of the State has
also been traced with reference to their view of the class-character and the need
of Danda and Kosha. R. S. Sharma concludes his analysis with his observation that
Kautilyas Saptang theory not only bears resemblance to the modern definition of the
State, but contains certain elements typical of the State expounded by Angels.
Kautilyas concept of State is, however, vividly reflected in his description of angas or
elements of the Stale. He did not specifically define the term State as he was essentially a
man of action (a councillor), and not a theorist. His concern for and emphasis on the
internal and external security of State was to save humanity from a sort of Hobbesian state
of nature, a state of war, marked by Matsyanyaya (the strong, like the big fish, tyrannizing
and devouring the weaker and smaller ones). Furthermore, it has to be pointed out that, on
the one hand, Kautilya constructs the categories which make the ideal, in each of the seven
constituents; on the other hand, the eighth book of Arthashastra examines the vices and
calamities of each of the sevenfold factors.
It analysis the troubles of the king and his kingdom (like gambling, drunkenness, greed,
anger etc.), the aggregate of the troubles of men (being untrained, greedy, overambitious), the groups of molestators (if most inhabitants indulge in armed conflicts), the
group of obstructionists (the majority of inhabitants being agricultural labourers), the group
of the troubles of the treasury (arising out of man-made and natural calamities), the group
of troubles of the army (because of loyal soldiers resentment on account of non-payment of
salaries and wives influence on solders) and, lastly, the group of troubles of a friend (who
could be influenced or bribed and could turn neutral at times of crisis). Kautilya was of the
view that if a fault in one element affects other elements, then it should be considered
disastrous
and
has
to
be
rectified.
Here, it is important to note that Kautilya provided for a mechanism to prevent the king
from becoming self-centered and autocratic dictator, by keeping him under the control of
sacred and social traditions, ethical norms aimed at peace and prosperity of his people. The
sovereign
of
Kautilya
is
bound
by
the
ethical
norms
of Anvikshaki,
Trayi, Vaarta and Dandaniti, which he can not change or alter arbitrarily. The happiness and
prosperity of the king consists in the happiness and prosperity of his subjects. By
accepting Praja Dharma as Raaja Dharma, the King of Kautilya is accepted and adored
as parens patriar.

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Kautilya on The State


Debate
1.2.0 The Organic State : The Saptanga Theory
Saptanga theory is relevant in todays time .
Comment Rules:1.You may write for or Against the motion.
2.Your comments must not exceed 150 words.
Do you think that method of internal grading is fare? Tick the appropriate choice
1.Yes
2.No
3. Cant say
The Saptanga Theory: 1.2.0

1.3 The Element of Sovereignty


Subscribing to monarchy as the ideal form of State, Kautilya has accorded to the king the
highest place in the body-politic. The Swami is the chief executive head of the State and,
is, thus the consumation of all other elements. He is not merely a feudatory chieftain, but
a variable sovereign, owing allegiance to none. The word Swami is derived from the
word swayam which refers to self-determining. The Swami,therefore, becomes a living and

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Kautilya on The State


animate embodiment, which is subjected to be ruled by none, does not follow any external
rulings and is liable only to self-imposed restrictions. He is, thus, the symbol of legal and
political authority and power. Distinguished from Raja or Rajan, Swamihas the reflection of
political superior or sovereign. R.S. Sharma has accepted the king as the sovereign for
being the final deciding authority in the state. Romilla Thapur has admitted the
crystallization of sovereignty in the kings court and also in the metropolitan centers, if not
in the peripheral tribal republics. A.S. Altekar has considered the existence of 16
Mahajanapadas as a proof of state formation during Mauryan Empire. R.P. Kangle is of the
view that sovereignty is not intended to be transferred to a council of noblemen in a sort of
aristocracy or to representatives of the people in a sort of democracy, it is imbibed in
monarch, the Swami. Indeed, a reference to the problem of the concept of sovereignty is
immensely important. In Ancient India, there were sovereign States in the sense that the
holders of the political office of kingship could generally make their will prevail by resort to
force.
Various scholars have only been denying the conceptual equivalent in Sanskrit of the notion
of State sovereignty, and not the historical existence of actual powerful sovereign
kingdoms. U.N. Ghoshal observes, "In the history of our justice and political ideas, reference
to the overriding authority of the king's decree over all other judicial processes is of high
significance, for it clearly and unequivocally enumerates, for the first time, the principle of
the king's judicial sovereignty".
Debate
1.3.0 The Element of Sovereignty
The concept of Swami is irrelevant in todays time. Comment
Rules:1. You can write For or Against the motion.
2. Limit your answer to 150 words
Did you know
1.3.0 The Element of Sovereignty
Kautilya's Arthashastra:Book VI, "The Source of Sovereign States" states that the king, the minister, the country,
the fort, the treasury, the army and the friend are the elements of sovereignty.

1.4 Function of State


Kautilyas king was not to be a despot, exercising power through sheer military force, but
was to rule his subjects through affection. Accordingly, the duties and functions that he is
called upon to perform are of two types: (1) Protective (2) Promotive.

Debate
1.4.0 Functions of State

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The qualities, requisite training and obligations of the King, as described by Kautilya, are
equally relevant today as these were during Kautilyas time.
Rules:1. You can express your views For or Against the topic.
2. Limit your answer to 150 words.

Think
1.4.0 Functions of State
Do you feel that todays political leaders fails to strike a balance between their Protective
and Promotive functions?

Function of State - 1.4.0

1.4.1 The Protective Function


In so far as the protective functions that Kautilya expects the Swami to perform, the
following are of vital nature:
(1) Being the natural guardian and saviour (the parens patriae) of his people, his highest
duty is to protect

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Kautilya on The State

the life of his people, specially the ones in distress, the widows, the women without
children, the women with infants, the orphans, the sick and the indigent
hermits, shrotriyas and students
property of the people

(2) To put down violence and maintain law and order


(3) To avert dangers and command the army
(4) To 'redress peoples' grievances
(5) To punish the wrong-doers
(6) To administer justice impartially and in accordance with the sacred
law (Dharma, evidence (vyavhara), history (Samstha) and enacted law(Raajasthasanay)

1.4.2 The Promotive Function


On the other hand, his promotive functions include the following:
(1) To promote the moral and material happiness and welfare of his people, as in their
happiness lies his happiness and in their welfare his welfare
(2) To enable them to pursue freely their independent efforts in life
(3) To maintain unity and solidarity
(4) To reward virtue
(5) To promote agriculture, industry and arts
(6) To regulate the means of livelihood especially of the labourers and artisans
(7) To encourage education and help students

In the exercise of these functions, Kautilyas King was all powerful. The limits of his
authority were imposed by the social and religious customs of his State which have existed
from times immemorial and with which he was required not to interface. Further, the king
was not to be a despot exercising power through sheer military force. Instead he was to rule
his subjects through affection. Kautilya puts great emphasis on the devotion and loyalty of
the Subjects. Accordingly, he suggests that no king should ever generate poverty,
acquisitive greediness and disaffection among the people. The qualities, requisite training
and obligations of the King, as described by Kautilya, have definite similarities with Platos
Philosopher-King, and are equally relevant today as these were during Kautilyas time.

1.5 Case for Political Economy


Distinguished from the Nitisastra tradition, Kautilya made Political Economy an independent
discipline; propounded a theory of politics which dealt with the immediate concerns of
polity; emphasized the need for a strong political centre in India. In a way, Artha is
equivalent to both domestic and international politics. It also comprehends criminal and civil
law and discussion of warfare. Thus, it is clear that the termArthashastra basically and
fundamentally treats of political problems. Economic problems occupy a very subordinate
place in the scheme of the investigations and discussions of the Arthashastra.
The use of the term Arthashastra for the science of politics has been a subject of debate
among scholars. The usual meaning of the termArthashastra is money or wealth and so the
term Arthashastra should ordinarily connote the Science of Wealth or Economics, and the
Science of Governance. But according to Kautilya, the substance of mankind is
termed Artha (wealth), the earth which contains and is termed Artha(wealth): the science
which deals with the means of acquiring and maintaining earth is Arthashastra, Science of
Political-Economy. While conceding that Artha denotes the avocations of men, Kautilya
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contends that the term can also denote the territory where the people live
together. Arthashastra, thus, is the science which deals with the protection and promotion
of wealth and the acquisition, protection and governance of territory. Kautilya definitely
raised this classic to the level of a systematic, comprehensive and rational-analytical branch
of knowledge, owing to his intensive treatment of all the related and kindered topics of
kingship, economics, social relations, law and diplomacy.
Kautilya believed that political order was responsible for and conducive to the attainment of
all round progress and prosperity and helped society to achieve and scale new heights, to
conserve and consolidate its achievements, to maximize its gains and to promote proper
and equitable distribution of social gains. This is how Kautilya defines (I.4.4-6)
Anvikshiki Trayeevartanam
Yogakshemsadhano
Dandah;
Tasya
Nitirdandanitih;
Alabdhalabhartha Labdhaparirakshini Rakshitvivardhani Vriddhasya Tirtheshu Pratipadini
The science of politics, thus, deals with acquisition and preservation of rest of all other
branches of knowledge. Kautilya, further, says that politics deals with the acquisition of
what has not been gained (Alabdha Laabhaartha); the preservation of what has been
acquired (labdho Paritrakshaniv); the increase of what has been preserved (Rakshit
vivardhani); and the bestowal of the surplus upon the deservers (Vriddhasya Tirtheshu
Pratipaadini). This makes the scope of political science truly comprehensive and humane,
because it is not merely concerned with law and order, but also with preservative and
developmental functions as well as with distributive justice so that the surplus is bestowed
upon the deserving.`
Here, Trayeee (the structure and knowledge constituted by the three Vedas: Rig,
Yajur and Sama);
Anvikshiki (the
philosophical
systems
of
the
dualistic Samkhya and Yoga and the materialistic philosophy of Lokayata);
Varta (which comprehends agriculture, cattle-breeding and trade) and Danda (which is the
mean to achieve Yogakshema, the welfare of all) are the four considered branches of
knowledge. Dandaniti deals with the means of acquiring (Alabdha Labhartha), preservaton
(Labhda Parirakshim), accentuation (Rakshit Vivardhani) and righteous and due
apportionment (Vriddhasya Tirtheshu Pratipadini) of Anvikshiki, Trayee and Varta.
Rajadharma, thus, expected the dandadhara to ensure the acquisition and preservation of
dialectics; to aid the Vedas in so far as it prescribes ways and means as integral part of the
Vedic view of life and culture. It aids Varta because both treasury (related to Varta) and
punishment (Danda) are necessary for the control of one's own kingdom and those of the
enemies. Since Dandaniti is so vitally essential for the other branches of knowledge,
Kautilya goes on to say that, it is on this art of government that the course of the progress
of the world depends." He further asserts that, therefore, the (first) three branches of
knowledge are dependent for their well-being (or rooted in) on the art of punishment.
In an attempt to construct a systematic and balanced philosophy and harmonious
integration, Kautilya acknowledged the proximation ofDharma, Artha, Kamaand Moksha as
the four-fold pursuits of aspirations of an individual. The similar philosophy of balance and
harmonious integration was preached for Dandadhara. As Kautilya proclaims that "the King
may enjoy in an equal degree the three pursuits of life: charity, wealth and aesthetic desire,
which are interdependent upon each other." However, anyone of these three in an extreme
degree, becomes injurious. Nonetheless, he admits that wealth is a very significant
emotional aspect of existence.
Hence, he accepts the notion of the maximisation of wealth and territory, a full treasure and
power of punishment to control one's own people (in the latter's pursuit towards Dharma,
Artha,
Kamaand Moksha) and
also
to
suppress
the
enemy.
Kautilya insists not on the fulfillment of one limited and partial aim, but on success in all the

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Kautilya on The State


fields. He asserts : As Dharma is the basis of wealth, and as Kama is the fruit of wealth,
success in obtaining that kind of wealth which is conducive to the promotion of Dharma,
Artha andKama is comprehensive success, which, in turn, leads towards the realization of
Moksha. Upon the just balance of first three, depends the sustenance of life. If either of
these - dharma, prosperity or sensual pleasure would be enjoyed in excess, it would
destroy not only the other two, but also itself. It was in the pursuit of humanistic aim that
Kautilya discussed all political variables, which might lead to the rise or decline of the state
including the influence of stars, mystical numbers, religious superstitions and social
practices. It was his singular achievement to weave the influence of geo-political factors into
his
science
of
administration,
which
is
truly
inductive
in
character.
Kautilya, however, followed the Smriti pattern in formulating his ideas of the policy and the
state. In the words of U.N. Ghoshal, Kautilya contributed not only to the remarkable concept
of Raajadharma in
the Mahabharta, but
also
to
the
incorporation
of
the Arthashastra material into the old Smriti tradition. He, thus, constituted one of the most
distinctive characteristics of the political thought of Manu and Yajnavalkya as well as of
Bhishma in the great Epic Mahabharta.

1.6 The Welfare State (Yogakshema)


The welfare state in ancient India was realized as Yogakshema, the goal of which was to
realize all-round development, or the holistic welfarism material as well as spiritual and
this development was of the entire society, instead of an individual. Material prosperity was
not to be pocketed by a few, but there had to be its just and equitable distribution. Material
prosperity was never considered as an end in itself, instead it was believed that material
provisions are essential and it is the duty of state to ensure this. It may be noted
that Yogakshema was a forerunner of the contemporary idea of Rama-Rajya and
even Antyodaya (welfare
of
the
poorest
of
the
poor).
To Kautilya, the State was subordinated to the society which it did not create, but which it
existed to secure. The highest office of the State is, thus, an aggregate of the people whose
welfare is an end in itself. Political power is the means to attain such an end. The Kautilyan
maxim: Prajaa Sukhe Sukham Rajyah, Prajanam cha Hiteh Hitam (in the welfare and
happiness of the people lies the kings welfare and happiness), is indicative of his emphasis
on the equation of welfare Vs. power. Kautilya, in fact, was the spokesman of Udyaana, the
establishment of righteousness on earth, and aspired for Vaarta,enhancement to trade and
commerce. In the words of M.V. Krishna Rao, Kautilya was a state-socialist in the sense
that he stood for the maintenance of the authority of the State, for the extension of its
functions and, thereby, established a socialist State. Good government ensued from the
social welfare measures that the State took, pursuing them diligently and consistently. It
was towards this end that Kautilya spelled out the measures for the regulation of commerce
and
mines
and
other
manufacturers.
Guilds and artisans were protected by the State. Kautilya's ideas, thus, added up to more
than "body of positive knowledge which has been applied to industrial
technique, and comprised a comprehensive social plan which aimed at realizing Dharma
through Artha. Kautilya envisaged a policy of state-welfare, while leaving the individual to
maximum of self-help. Realizing the limited resources, Kautilyas state targeted its
expenditure towards the aged, the sick, the weak, the disabled and the poor and those in
distress when these have no one to look after them. The basic assumption was that the
rich and the affluent do have resources to provide for their own welfare and the state need
not allocate its scarce funds for the purpose. Thus, Kautilyan state tries to maximize the
welfare function with resource constraints by adopting the notion of help the help-less.
Moreover, Kautilya was against developing a dependency syndrome in the society in which

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Kautilya on The State


the individual continues to make larger and larger demands on the state. Rather he
preferred to create a social system in which individuals initiative could be kindled so that
the individual or the family learns to solve its problems by self-effort. Kautilyas concept of
welfare treated family as a basic unit and enjoined upon the family to look after its
members in times of difficulty and crisis. It was considered the moral responsibility of the
family to look after the welfare of the household. Here, Kautilya wanted the state to provide
welfare in manageable proportions. The policy of Kautilyan state conformed to the welfare
provisions to help a person towards self-help and also towards the growth of his unique
personality. Cradle-to-grave model of welfare state was completely unsuited Kautilyan
perceptions. A limited welfare state, operating under social control, was eminently coincided
with Kautilyas notion of Yogakshema or the welfare state.
1.6.0 The Welfare State (Yogakshema)
Todays political leaders have failed in the holistic welfarism targeting the materialistic
and spiritual development of the entire society than an individual
Rules:1. You can write For or Against the topic.
2. Your answer should not exceed more than 150 words.
Activities
1.6.0 The Welfare State (Yogakshema)
Kautilyan believed that the welfare of a state could be increased by adopting the notion of
help the help-less.
Carry out a survey in your society to find out how many people believe in this and if they
have actually experienced it.
Opinion Poll
1.6.0 The Welfare State (Yogakshema)
Cradle-to-grave model of welfare state was completely unsuited Kautilyan perceptions.
Cast your votes on the same
1. Agree
2. Disagree
3. Cant say

1.7 Danda and the Notion of Law


Kautilya asserted that Danda (the coercive authority of state) must be yielded with
discretion. If it is used too harshly, the subjects are distressed; if it is used too lightly, the
king will not be held in awe; if it is used in the proper manner, the subjects are happy and
the realm progresses. (I.4.11-15) Further, Kautilya never wanted to use Danda only in
narrow or prohibitive aspect. He asserted that it establishes law and order in society and
thus, indirectly brings about a natural tendency in the average individual to obey the law of
land, which renders the frequent use of force unnecessary. It ultimately secures proper
progress in religion, philosophy and economic well-being. Hence, Danda enables the
individual and the state to have new achievements to their credit, to protect and increase
what has been acquired and to distribute the gains properly as between the state and
individuals, as also among the individuals themselves.

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Kautilya on The State


Kautilyas Swami (the king), however, has to rely on Danda to maintain the State as a going
concern. Once Danda is removed from the scene, the State loses its raison d'eire and is
practically vanished. The king (Dandadharabhave) keeps all beings in Swadharma straight
jacket and ensures that they cooperate with each other to realise happiness for all.
Categorically asserting the transcendental character of Nyaya (edicts of kings) and the
enacted law, Kautilya calls the king as the fountain of justice. As he puts it explicitly, Sacred
Law (Dharma), evidence(Vyavahara), history (Samstha) and
edicts
of
kings (Rajashasana) are four legs of law. Of these four, the latter is superior to the one
previously named.
By superseding the Shastras, the king could promulgate new laws, but their basic principles
were to be rooted in the Shastras. U.N. Ghoshal observes, "In the history of our justice and
political
ideas,
reference
to
the
overriding
authority
of
the
king's decree over all other judicial processes is of high significance, for it clearly and
unequivocally enumerates, for the first time, the principle of the king's judicial sovereignty".
Kautilya adds that the king who administers justice in accordance with the sacred
law (Dharma),evidence (Vyavhara) history (Samstha), and
edicts
of
kings (Rajashasana) will be able to conquer the whole world bounded by the four quarters
(Chaturantam
Mahim).
Kautilya, however, holds reason to be superior, when the king's law is in conflict with the
sacred law. "But, whenever Sacred Law (Shastra) is in conflict with the rational
law (Dharma Nyaya in king's law), then reason shall be held authoritative Having dealt
with the ordained and the other prerogatives of the Swami, and the traditions and usages in
regard to his Dharma, one would tend to agree with Kautilya in so far as the supremacy of
reason is concerned.

1.8 Advocacy for a Strong Centralized Monarchical


Bureaucratic State in the Indian-Subcontinent
Bhisma in Mahabharata emphasized the tendency of all kingdoms to slip into anarchy in the
absence of a strong political order. Kautilya was, altogether, convinced that society can
never hope to be in peace without a strong state. Realizing the dangers of anarchy and
necessity to transcend it by establishing order in society, Kautilya used the simile
of Matsyanyaya depicting larger fish eating the smaller when anarchy prevails. It endangers
both the social system as well as the individuals sense of security and his yearning for
future. Kautilya finds remedy in strong ruler capable of creating order. Asserting for
supremacy of the king, Kautilya warns against tyrannical tendencies, which may result in
popular wrath and destroy the kingdom. He argues that when a people are impoverished,
they become greedy; when they are greedy, they become disaffected; when disaffected,
they voluntarily go to the side of the enemy and destroy their own master. Hence, no king
should give room to such causes that may bring impoverishment, greed or disaffection
among the people.
Kautilya, perhaps, was the first thinker who envisaged an all-India state or even empire
with right laws and institutions, honest and clean administration devoted to public welfare
and right kind of relations with other states. He identified Chakravartin ruler with one who
rules the entire land south of the Himalayas, which would cover the whole of the present
day India, with easy to defend natural geographical boundaries.
While J.C. Heesterman rejected the nature of Kautilyan state as being centralized, R.S.
Sharma has projected Kautilyan state as centralized bureaucratic state and Romilla Thapur

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Kautilya on The State


has asserted that circumstantial evidence reflects some scope for federal relations among
the peripheral areas of Mauryan state while the core or central along with metropolitan
areas around Patliputra depict centralized elements of the state.

2.0 Dharama in Arthashastra


In the Arthashastra of Kautilya, the word Dharma is used in various senses and it is essential to
comprehend them to understand his political thought. In accordance with its indigenous version, Kautilya
considered Dharma in its broadest sense as a network of duties and a code of conduct which sustains
both the society and the state. At least four meanings of Dharma in Kautilya can be distinguished:
1.
Dharma as
Social
duty
2.
Dharma as
moral
law
based
on
Truth
3.
Dharma as
Civil
Law
4.
Dharma as
Performance
of
rituals
In Kautilyas system, each individual has his standing in the social order and has accordingly to perform
his duties (Varna-Dharma). The Brahmana was to devote himself to the pursuit of intellectual, religious
and
philosophical
activities.
Consequently, Satya (Truth), Ahimsa (NonViolence), Brahmacharya (Celibacy), andAparigraha (non-stealing) were prescribed for him as aids in his
line of evolution. The development of power through Kshtra and protection of subjects were the main
pursuits of Raajanya or Kshatriya. Specialization in trade and commerce was the preordained duty of the
Vaishyas. To serve these three Dvija-Varnas and also to pursue Vaarta were the duties of
the Shudras. Therefore, performance of ones duties (Swadharma) was an essential feature
of Dharma. Some further ideas aboutDharma are found in the chapter where Kautilya deals with law.
These ideas could be grouped under Dharma as moral law. According to Kautilya, there are four sources
for settling a legal controversy:
(1) Dharma (Sacred Law)
(2) Vyavhaara (evidence)
(3) Samstha (History) or Charitra (conduct of reputed persons)
(4) Raajshasaana (royal edicts)
He says that if there be disagreement between institutional law and practice and the authoritative texts
on Dharma, or if there be conflict between the texts and evidence, then the matter has to be settled in
accordance with Dharma. To Kautilya, Dharma is rooted in Truth. Of these four, the latter is superior to
the one previously named. By superseding the Shastras, the king could promulgate new laws, but their
basic principles were to be rooted in the Shastras. He definitely stands for Truth and Justice over
evidence,
the
texts
of
the Dharmashastras and
institutional
history
and
practice.
Kautilya also uses the term Dharma in the sense of Civil Law. The third book of the Arthashastra is called
Concerning Dharma (Dharmasthiya). It deals with the determination of forms of agreements, the
determination of legal disputes, marriage, recovery of debts, deposits, rules regarding slaves and
labourers, co-operative undertakings, rescission of purchases and sales, resumption of gifts and sale
without ownership, ownership, robbery, defamation, assault, gambling etc. In fact, the meaning
of Dharma as Civil Law is borrowed by Kautilya from the earlier writers of Dharmasutras. Customary
aspects
of Dharma also
find
illustration
in
KautilyasArthashastra.
Adhering to Vedic and Brahmanic religion, he acknowledges rituals. He, thus, reveres Agni, Varuna,
Yajna, Ashwini, Vaishravan, Jayant etc. as gods and recommends offerings to Indra (the
God), Ganga (the river), Parvat (the mountain), Samudra (the Sea), Mushak (the mouse), Naga (the
snake) etc. Calamities like floods, epidemics, famine, rats, tigers, serpants and demons were considered
as an indication of the displeasure of God at mans immoral conduct. Kautilya, therefore, requires
religious ceremonies and prayers to avert such dangers. Kautilya was, however, a firm believer in the

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Kautilya on The State


moral order of the universe. According to him, there is a close relation between kingship
and Dharma. . The King (Swami) is the fountain of justice (Dharmapravartaka).
It is the Kings ordained responsibility to maintain Dharma and to protect his subjects with justice. The
observance of Dharma will lead the king to heaven. Since the State has been created by divine ordination
to preserve Dharma, it has a moral purpose to fulfill. Politics may appear to be divorced from ethics in part
of theArthashastra, but such deviations are incidental, rather than belonging to Kautilyas system of polity.

Figure : Dharma in Arthashastra

2.0 Dharma in Arthashastra

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Kautilya on The State

2.1 Dharama and Political Ethics


To understand Kautilyas notion of Dharma and political Ethics, one has to consider his
emphasis on social dharma and his moral and ethical considerations. The sociology
varnashrama was oriented not to any political and constitutional differences, but to the
notion of Swadharma.While the distinction between the virtues of the good man and the
good citizen was an important point in Aristotles Politics, the performance of ones own
duties was the uppermost consideration of Kautilyas Arthashastra. For instance, a
good Kshatriya is one who faithfully adheres to the duties of the Kshatriya. Similarly, a
good Shudra is the one who is faithful in the performance of his own specific swadharma. To
him, adherence to the Swadharma is a social task, it serves the good of the kingdom, it is
an ethical imperative and, if performed in the spirit of disinterestedness, it leads to divine
realization. A man has to perform his own Dharma as it would result in the attainment of
both
mundane
prosperity
and
spiritual
good.
According to the Varnasharama theory, a king has his own duties. He has to carry on the
duties of the Kshatriya house-holder. So long as he is true to his duties which have been
prescribed by the Vedas and elaborated by the Shrotries, he is a good man and a good
citizen. So long as he is a house-holder, he is to care for his mundane prosperity. When the
time comes for retirement, he can give up political duties and concentrate on austerities,
meditation and God-realisation. From this type of synthetic world-view, Kautilya discusses
the duties or Dharma of the King and says: The King who administers (the kingdom)
according to Dharma, evidence, history and institutional practices and royal edicts, will be
able to conquer the whole world bound by four quarters.
Kautilya prescribes four ways of conquering the earth and, after having given the details of
each, he says that having conquered the earth, the king should enjoy it according to his
own Dharma. According to the traditional Hindu view, which is fully subscribed to by
Kautilya, it is the duty of a Kshatriya King to expand his territories and conquer the
enemies.
To understand Kautilyas ethical and moral considerations, Ethics can be divided into
personal ethics and socio-political ethics.

2.2 Personal Ethics


If the king of unrighteous character and vicious habits fails, through these weaknesses or
otherwise, to protect peoples welfare; So far as personal ethics is concerned, Kautilya is an
emphatic and determined exponent of the moral philosophy) of kingship. According to him,
an accomplished king must be devoted to Dharma. He is called upon to act as the
Promulgator of Dharma" (Dharma-Pravartak). Even if mendicants and ascetics engage in
improper proceedings, the king was to restrain them under threat of punishment because
if Dharma was
transgressed,
it
would
result
in
the
evil
of
rulers.
The king and his ministers, as upholders of the highest virtues, were to act as to present
themselves as a model for the masses. He was to be a follower of Truth
and Dharma, possessor of Trayee, and the protector of his Praja (people). That is how
Kautilya subscribed to the dictum "As the king so the people(Yatha Raaja Tatha Praja).
Creating the moral philosophy of kingship, Kautilya propounds the doctrine of enlightened
royal idealism and gives a comprehensive list of qualities which the king must possess:
1)
Qualities
of
an
inviting
nature (Aabhigaamik
Guna)
2)
Qualities
of
intellect
and
intution (Pragyaa
Guna)
3)
Qualities
of
enthusiasm (Utsaaha
Guna)
4) Qualities of self-restraint and spirit (Aatmasampad)

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Kautilya on The State

According to Kautilya, the king must realise the paramount necessity of controlling his
passions like lust (Kaama), Anger (Krodha), Greed(Lohha) and Attachment (Moha). He must
fight ceaselessly Shatru-Shadvarga, the six enemies of the king: sex, anger, greed, vanity,
haughtiness and over-joy. Kautilya enjoins him to conquer the four special temptations:
hunting, gambling, drinking, and women.
he would fall a prey either to the fury of his own subjects or that of his enemies.
In his remarkable insistence on the conquest of the senses, Kautilya says that intensity of
lust and other appetites provokes ones own people, while lack of policy creates enemies.
Hence, according to him, sensuality and impoliteness are species of demonic actions. In his
remarkable stress on the conquest of passion, Kautilya appears to V.P. Varma, to be a sage
and
a
seer
and
not
a
mere
political
thinker.
This moral philosophy of kingship constitutes a great contribution to political thought. In the
Western political thought, we find that Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and Kant stress the
significance of moral factors in politics. For instance, Plato has stated that the highest
guardians or the philosopher kings should be wise, courageous and temperate. But, if we
make a comparative estimate of Indian and Western political thought, we find that the
stress
on
moral
factors
is
far
more
pronounced
in
Indian
culture.
However, Kautilya, who is regarded as a theorist of political power and conquest, was
primarily concerned with the control of unregenerate passions. This dominant concern with
moral values was an effect of the heightened and exalted character of spiritual truths in
Indian thought.

Figure : Personal Ethics

Debates
2.2.0 Personal Ethics
Kautilya subscribed to the dictum "As the king so the people (Yatha Raaja Tatha Praja). Do
you agree to this in the present political scenario?
Rules:
1. You can write For or Against the motion.
2. Your answer should not exceed more than 150 words.

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Kautilya on The State


Debates
2.2.0 Personal Ethics
If we compare the Indian and Western political thought, we find that the stress on moral
factors is far more pronounced in Indian culture.
Cast your vote:1. Yes
2. No
3. Cant say

Qualities of King

2.3 Socio-Political Ethics


Under the concept of Raajadharma, the functions and duties of the kings were analysed.
The duties he was expected to perform were of two types: Protective and Promotive. Under
the first category, he was to protect the life and property of people, maintain law and order
avert dangers, punish wrong-doers, administer justice impartially, etc. On the other hand,
his promotive functions included promotion of moral and material happiness and welfare of
the people, development of agriculture, industry, trade, arts and education and regulation of
the means of livelihood, etc. The limits to the authority of the king were imposed by the
social and religious customs of his State which have existed from times immemorial and
with which he was required not to interfere.

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Kautilya on The State

2.4 Provision for Apad-Dharma


The socio-political ethics (Raajadharma) of the king included preservation, accentuation and
acquisition of territory. Kautilya outlines techniques of conquest, even relentless and
ruthless conquest. He refers even to a variety of means by which it may be possible for a
king, aspiring to expand his kingdom, not only to administer his own kingdom in accordance
with
Sacred
Law (Dharma), evidence (Vyavahara), history(Samstha) and
edicts
of
kings (Rajashasana), but also to pursue his expansionist designs. Kautilya, in fact, allows
the king to deviate from the established path of Dharma and transgress its injunctions in
times
of
acute
crisis (Aapatti).
Kautilya refers to various means by which the enemy should be assassinated. He advocates
espionage and battle of intrigues, furnishes a long list of drugs and black magic to ensure
the destruction of the enemy and even goes to the length of asserting that money should be
paid by royal agents by playing upon the religious credibility of the people. He suggests a
variety of methods that are useful to a monarch in gaining and maintaining power. Here,
politics seems to have been reduced to the act of seizure and maintenance of power by
means fair or unfair. This connotes the deliberate suppression of the autonomy of ethical
means for the sake of enshrinement of the political objectives of a monarch. Kautilya has
described various occasions when these immoral means could be adopted. For example,
corrupt officials could be killed, agitating rebellious villages, tribes or cities could be
destroyed; king could indulge in deception; while leveling charges against his enemies, he
could encourage warfare against them. The king was further allowed to adopt various ways
and means to find out the enemies and the criminals and to deal with them. He also
describes the various means, both moral and immoral, which a king could use to enrich his
treasury.
In the conduct of international affairs, Kautilya recommends the use of deception and
immoral means to cause despair in the enemy camps which could be smashed by spreading
the belief that their defeat and the victory of the king is inevitable. Similarly, some people
from the enemy camp can also be won over by various means. He also describes several
immoral means for deceiving and killing the enemy. Though these means are immoral, their
use in emergencies is considered essential by an able politician, Kautilya also suggest
several moral and immoral ways and means of killing the defenders of forts, collection of
taxes and creating dissensions among the people. The king is also allowed to first disturb
peace and encourage treason, to burn treasury, fields, and even the harems of women.
After having indulged in all such immoral activities, he should project himself as an innocent
person. He should express sorrow for much events for which he may hold others
responsible.
Kautilya deals with at least five circumstances, when deviation from ethical means is
acknowledged:

1)
To
collect
revenue
for
royal
treasury
at
the
time
of
crisis
2)
To
identify
and
arrest
corrupt
and
disloyal
officials
of
the
state
3)
To
identify
and
arrest
offenders
and
criminals
4) To vanish any probable conspiracy or rebellion either by princes, nobles, officials or by
ordinary
subjects
5) To pursue expansionist politics in the enemy state or to punish a king who is
against Dharma. But, an advocacy of cruel political diplomacy does not imply that Kautilya
separates politics from ethics. He, in fact, teaches the virtues of self-restraint. He is a
staunch believer in the dominant moral concepts of the Indian tradition.

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Kautilya on The State


The fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of the first Book of Arthashastra, depict Kautilya as a
fundamental believer in the ultimate triumph of the virtues of moral restraint. Advocacy of
ruthless and relentless policy and techniques was only temporary, realistic, calculated and
craft means of politics and diplomacy, where the territorial conquest was to be essentially
followed
by Dharma
Vijaya (victory
of
the
religion).
In fact, politics was broadly conceived as Raajaniti or the Ethics of Politics or Political
Ethics. Due to varying circumstances, some deviations and departures occurred from the
fundamental norms of politics. Consequently, politics became, at times, a matter of
convenience and expedience. Most of the earthly misdeeds were because of the deplorable
fall of politics from its original pedestal. Kautilyas Arthashastra is deeply concerned with the
complex situations of political life and offers solutions to the various problems of politics.

2.5 Concept of Dharma Vijay (Religious Victory)


Prescribing various sacrifices, Kautilya, however, could not disprove of an expedition of
conquest. He only strives to humanize it as much as possible. The king, who was out for
a Dharmavijaya, was to remain content with the formal recognition of his suzerainty and the
payment of a tribute by the conquered king; he was not to annex his kingdom or disturb its
administration (at one instance Kautilya disapproves even the extortion of tribute
in Dharmavijaya). If the defeated king died in war, or it he was occupying the throne
unwillingly; a suitable successor was to be installed in his place. If annexation became
inevitable, the established laws and customs were to be respected and the new subjects
were to be treated as kindly as the old ones. We have very little authentic information about
the internal condition of the Mauryan Empire, but it is not unlikely that it left untouched the
autonomy of the powerful republic of Punjab and Rajputana. The advice to refrain from
annexation after conquest was followed to an extent due partly to the uniformity of culture
and religion that prevailed in the states. Normally, in peace times, their relations were not
embittered by religious or cultural divergences or animosities, and so the war did not spur
the combatants to bring about the utter destruction of each other. Internal autonomy was
easily conceded.

3.0 Circumstantial Evidences


A picture of India during Kautilyas life time is found in the travel records of Megasthenes.
The account is of mixed observations reflecting some emerging facts, showcasing the
relevance of Kautilya and his Arthashastra, such as:
(i) there appears to have been no institution of slavery. Though inequality in property was
permitted, there was some sort of equality before law. People had equal right to all
possessions. According to Megasthenes, people, in general, believed in the moral principle
of equanimity in life resulting in ideal situation of self-regulation instead of domination or
servitude.
(ii) The law, in general, did not play much role in the lives of ordinary Indians. It appears
that men of wisdom were highly respected and played an important role.
(iii) The state assumed a variety of functions including law and order, trade, commerce,
weights and measures, system of production and regulation of prices, care of markets,
regulation of labour relations etc.

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Kautilya on The State


(iv) The tensions between the spiritual and material also surfaced during this period. On one
hand it reflected doctrine of unity; faith in Deity; principle of immortality of soul; conflict
between good and evil in the body; and belief in future judgment after death. On the other
hand, it imbibed zest for life and enjoyment of the pleasures of the world though in due
proportions; which in turn paved the way to the view that the world is prison house, the
enjoyments of body are an obstacle to the realization of God and must, therefore, be
curbed.
(v) A definite all-India view emerged where indigenous people were neither conquered by
others nor sought to conquer others.
(vi) Kings during this period were still under discipline.
(vii) India was consisted of number of small states which were constantly at war with each
other. In this prevailing disunity, Alexander invaded north-west India and established an
authoritarian rule; which in turn provoked some rethinking and produced the political
thinker, Kautilya.
Circumstantial Evidences

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Kautilya on The State

3.1 Kautilya and Aristotle


Kautilya (375-300 B.C.) comes closer to his contemporary Greek philosopher, Aristotle
(388-320 B.C.) in several ways. Just as Aristotle was the first Greek political thinker to
elevate politics to the level of a science by separating it from ethical and moral laws,
Kautilya too was the first Indian thinker who transformed statecraft into an autonomous,
systematic and scientific study by separating it from both Ethics and Religion. The methods
of both Kautilya and Aristotle were analytic and genetic. They first divided a whole into
parts, studied each part thoroughly and synthesized the results of their analysis back into
the whole.

Figure : Aristotle
They considered the views of their predecessor thinkers and philosophers, pointed out their
respective shortcomings and gave their own suggestions to overcome them, so as to
improve the overall quality of the prevailing social; economic and political system. Even in
this exercise, they were inclined more to preserve the older values and ways of thinking,
rather than build castles in the air.
Aristotle, by presupposing the rulers ability to govern the minorities, entrusted him with the
task of regulating the organised society. Kautilya, too, entrusted his ruler with the
responsibility of preserving and protecting the social set-up which was becoming
increasingly corrupt.
Like Aristotle, Kautilya maintained that it is absolutely unjust for anyone to give up his
social and political responsibilities in order to become a philosopher or take up the
responsibilities
of
wandering
ascetic,
a sanyasi.
Just as Aristotle had undertaken an in-depth study of the constitutions and political
organisation of the Greek City States of his times as well as the ones which existed before
him; Kautilya, too, had analysed at length a number of polities known as Dvairajyas,
Vairajyas, and Arajyas. His description of the procedures of choosing a king and of
organising judiciary and administration in India were, by and large, similar to those of
Aristotles
Greek
City-States.
Just as Aristotle had accepted the superiority of meritorious and able philosophers over both
the individual and the society, Kautilya too had acknowledged the relative significance and
superiority
of
religious Brahmans versed
in Vedas and Anavikshiki over
the
rest.
Like Aristotle, Kautilya had also realised the significance of ruleby the noble elite. To both of
them, the people co-exist not by dint of fear or compulsion, but by the motivation to lead
the noblest lives and attain the maximum possible mental and spiritual results. They, thus
in their own ways, prescribe a code of conduct for the monarchs or the oligarchs and look at
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Kautilya on The State


the State as a union or brotherhood of men who are agreed to rule and to be ruled. They,
thus, acknowledge the underlying harmony between the subjects and the sovereign, the
people and the government. They also recommended a number of methods by which the
king could get rid of traitors, rebels, assassins and bad characters. The objective of both
Aristotle and Kautilya was the establishment of a society which is not only based on the
principles of human dignity, moral responsibility and enlightened patriotism, but also
accords the individual his due place in the overall social and political set-up. Despite these
striking similarities, there are some fundamental differences in the philosophies and
strategies of Aristotle and Kautilya. For instance, while Aristotle was eager to establish an
ideal State, Kautilyas primary concern was the proper administration of a well-ordered
State.
While Aristotle devoted himself to the comparative and critical analysis of the political
organisations of a variety of Greek City-states, and the changes to which they were often
subjected. Kautilyas basic concern was the political stability of the monarch and the
monarchy,
the
king
and
the
kingdom.
While Kautilya was primarily interested in the monarchic system and wanted to make it
strong and enduring: Aristotle dilated upon monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy
and tyranny. His sociological network distinguished several types of oligarchies and
democracies
based
on
the
character
of
the
dominant
class
in
each.
Kautilya takes little note of the transformations States constantly undergo. On the contrary.
Aristotle witnessed monarchy being changed into oligarchy. Oligarchy into democracy. and
democracy into tyranny. Kautilya. refers to Sangha (republics) ways of popular control
over the king, who, in turn, was cautioned against political instability. But, sociological
details of the Politics are practically missing in the Arthashastra.Though Kautilya refers
to Dharma, Samastha, Vyavhaara and Raajashaasana as the sources of temporal authority;
no practical effective or constitutional limitations on kingly authority finds reflected in
the Arthashastra.
While Aristotle underlines the significance of constitutionalism and constitutions, Kautilya
upheld the sovereignty of the king and kept him within the traditional maryaada (discipline)
of Anvikshiki, Trayee, Vaarta and Dandaniti.
In the times both of Aristotle and Kautilya, the institution of slavery was widely prevalent.
While Aristotle justified their exclusion on the basis of qualitative differences between the
master and the slave, Kautilya confined himself to ensure the slaves basic rights and
facilities and provided for their emancipation, without going into the question of
righteousness
or
otherwise
of
the
social
system
it
self.
Both Aristotle and Kautilya excluded from citizenship certain classes of people and made no
attempt whatsoever to hide their contempt for the so-called lower classes, the ones who
were engaged in manual and industrial labour. Just as Aristotle would deprive the slaves
from the rights of citizenship, Kautilya would exclude the shudras from the political
process, so as to preserve the assumed superiority of the higher classes of royal families,
the Brahmans, the
royal
fighters
and
the
businessmen.
Aristotles Ideal State was the Greek City-State and its social and political life, Kautilyas
ideal was the Vijigishu King, aiming at conquering the whole of the country from the
Himalayas
to
the
sea
(Kanyakumari).
In short, if Kautilya was philosophically closer to Aristotle, he was poles apart from
Machiavelli. Nonetheless, Aristotle, Kautilya and Machiavelli, all of them continue to be
relevant in their own distinct ways. It is, however, difficult to say as to who would be
relatively more relevant when and where? Their respective relevance would ultimately
depend on the social and political situations and circumstances which keep on changing.

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Kautilya on The State


Activitie
3.1.0 Kautilya and Aristotle
The methods of both Kautilya and Aristotle were analytic and genetic.
Support this statement in not more than 150 words.
Did you know
3.1.0 Kautilya and Aristotle
Kautilya, a 4th century B.C.E. economist, recognized the importance of accounting methods
in economic enterprises. He realized that a proper measurement of economic performance
was absolutely essential for efficient allocation of resources, which was considered an
important source of economic development.
Debates
3.1.0 Kautilya and Aristotle
Kautilya was philosophically closer to Aristotle,comment.
Rules:1. You can write For or Against the topic.
2. Limit your answer to 150 words.
Similarities

Similarities

Analytic and genetic

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Kautilya on The State

Preserve the older values and ways of thinking


Entrusted the ruler with the responsibility of preserving and protecting
Significance of rule by yhe noble elite

3.2 Kautilya and Machiavelli


Kautilya (375-300 B.C.) has often been compared with Nicolo Machiavelli (1496-1527 A.D.),
the modern Italian political thinker whose famous reflections are set forth in his three
complimentary works: The Art of War, The Discourses on King and The Prince. Machiavelli
occupies the enviable position of being the first modern political thinker or philosopher in
European history, one who symbolized a revolution in political theory that reflected the
Renaissance spirit. Kautilya, on the other hand, inherited a long tradition of preexisting Arthashastra school of thought, to which he had given a modernistic outlook and
content.

Figure : Machiavelli

Exhibits
1.1.0 Kautilya and Aristotle

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Kautilya on The State

Figure:Kingship

Did you know


1.1.0 Kautilya and Aristotle
The Art of War (Dell'arte della guerra), is one of the lesser-read works of Niccol
Machiavelli.
The format of 'The Art of War' was in socratic dialogue. The purpose, declared by
Fabrizio (Machiavelli's persona) at the outset, "To honor and reward virt, not to have
contempt for poverty, to esteem the modes and orders of military discipline, to
constrain citizens to love one another, to live without factions, to esteem less the
private than the public good."
Written between 1519 and 1520 and published the following year, it was the only
historical or political work printed during Machiavelli's lifetime, though he was
appointed official historian of Florence in 1520 and entrusted with minor civil duties.

Debates
3.2.0 Kautilya and Aristotle
Both these thinkers introduced the formulae of elasticity in political action. Do you think
this view is relevant in todays time.
1. You can write For or Against the topic.
2. Limit your answer to 150 words.

Kautilya and Machiavelli

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Kautilya on The State

Similarities

Duality of treatment of the feelings


Interest of the state is paramount
Introduction the formulae of elasticity in political action.
Aproach the common political problems in the same spirirt
Interest of state is paramount

3.2.1 Similarities
With the vast difference in the Italian and Indian historical, geographical and cultural
situations, some subjects and themes of the Prince and the Arthashastra are, nevertheless,
common, for instance, the acquisition, preservation, and expansion of the State. Both
realistically analyze the methods by which a king may rise to supreme power and maintain
it against all odds. In both, we find the duality of treatment of the feelings and
susceptibilities of men and the tendency to legitimize force and fraud in the interest of the
State. For, both the authors, the interest of the State, vis--vis the interest of a person is
paramount.
Both of them held the belief that, through a proper and critical study of history one could
deduce not only the causes of maladies of society, but also the cures thereof. Imbued with
an enduring value, these precepts have validity, not only for the writers contemporary
time, but for the future too. One of the signal lessons of history is that in any particular
situation, alternative courses of action are open to the statesmen or the monarch, though
the choice offered may be limited. Accordingly, both these thinkers introduced the formulae
of elasticity in political action. For political preservation, while Machiavelli singles out a class

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Kautilya on The State


of aristocrats for ruthless action. Kautilya considers anti-social elements and conspirators as
enemies of the state and, therefore, objects of extermination.
There is another close affinity between the ancient Indian thinker and the modern Italian
thinker. Both of them approach the common political problems in the same spirit and
temper. Kautilya belonged to the Arthashastra school which looked at the political
phenomenon without linking them in any way with divine agency or revelation.
The approach was thus religious and rational. The Modern Italian thinker affected a break
with the medieval way of thinking and reasoning and adopted the empirical, or historical
method of investigation and emancipated the State from the bondage to ecclesiastical
authorities. He, thus, presented the art of kingship by delinking politics from medieval
influences of Christianity. Similarly, Kautilya reconstructed the science of politics, distinct
from the Dharmashaastra and Nittishaastra.
Machiavelli wrote his Prince with the professed object of indicating the methods by which
Lorenzo de Medici could make himself the master of Italy, just as Kautilya had in mind the
expansion of the Mauryan Empire under the aegis of Chandragupta Maurya.
As far as the maxims set out by Machiavelli, these are often addressed to princes as well as
to the high functionaries who carry on the affairs of the government and even the usurper
or the new monarch. In a similar vain, Kautilya s stratagems for warriors and statesmen, as
given in the Arthashastra, rest on his deep learning, knowledge of human nature and a
sound discernment of the mosaic of motivation that inspire people. both high and low.
These trickeries have undoubted utility for tyrants and usurpers but can equally be useful to
the good kings too.
In the field of realpolitik, there is much that is common between Kautilya and Machiavelli.
Kautilya is aware that the Swami (king) can hardly feel secure in a State where persons
shorn of power by him are still alive and well. Similar insistence was that of Machiavelli
while cautioning the Prince against any possible conspiracy and scandal. What brings the
Florentine closest to ancient India is his doctrine that whenever the interests of the State
are involved, the prince can adopt any means for the achievement of this purpose.
Machiavelli maintains that the sole end of the prince is to make the kingdom strong and
united, establish peace and expel the foreign invaders. For this noble end, any means would
be satisfactory.To him, the question of the morality of means is irrelevant so long as the
end is noble. The name of Machiavelli is, thus, intimately connected with the doctrine that
the end justified the means. He held that, like the art of navigation, the art of government
is also part of morals. However, Kautilya zealously upheld the claim of morality to regulate
personal and public life, he was prepared to advise the Prince to ignore their maxims and
resorts to unfair and even immoral means to protect the safety and security of the State.
Dealing with the kings security against his sons, he asks unscrupulously to banish or
imprison a prince who has no love for his father. He should be kept under duress. He should
be prompted to thieving, robbery, poisoning or may be allowed to conspire and strike the
king and then be put to death. Kautilya suggests a number of measures for the suppression
of persons of doubtful loyalties and criminal character. The kings spies should act as agentprovocateurs so that such persons may be punished by fine or banishment. Thieves and
adulterators should be tempted to commit crimes and then punished. They may be
instigated to attack caravans and villages and then killed by troops specially posted for the
purpose or arrested or poisoned secretly in sleep or intoxication.

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Kautilya on The State


For the suppression of the foes of the State, Kautilya advocates (the methods of treachery
and secret diplomacy. Such officers, who injure State interest, should be prosecuted on
trumped up charges of murdering the king or adultery with the Queen.
In this way alone can all dangers arising from civilians be ruled out? The most important
task for the king was to ensure sovereignty and for that he could use any means, however
mean and petty.For financial emergency, Kautilya recommends the use of force to extract
money, confiscation of property, unscrupulous use of poison and dagger. He demands of a
king an attitude of naked self-interest displayed in inter-state relations where the State
should legitimately use intrigue, opportunism, treachery and violence. For the conquest of a
world-kingdom, everything is justifiable, including secret arms, fire, sword, medicinal
preparauons and poison, espionage, charms and temptations. Similarly, when
the Varnashramadharma, the four fold order, is in crisis and when the survival of a way of
life is at stake, Kautilya thinks no means of protection as immoral. He advises his king to
wield an octopus like iron grip on society and to destroy disloyalty by a heavy and ruthless
hand.

3.2.2 Variances
Between
the
range
of
subjects
covered
by
Machiavellis
Prince
and
Kautilya's Arthashastra one can, no doubt, trace general resemblances, but the two flow
from radically different sources and imbibe opposite spirit and ideology. The prevalent
conception about Kautilyan and Machiavellian traits is founded on the monumental error of
viewing their thinking independently of their basic premise and postulates.
The typically Indian conception of a synthetic philosophy, comprising all knowledge on
diverse human affairs, stands in contrast with the Italian analytical and materialistic
approach
to
social
and
political
problems.
Machiavellis empirical method, founded on historical data has no equivalent in Kautilyas
casual references to classical antiquity. Machiavellis application of history to point a moral is
different from Kautilyas dependence on scriptures and conventional wisdom for reinforcing
the
traditional
moral
order.
The more fundamental difference lies in the objectives of the two sets of policies formulated
by them. Machiavelli was motivated by a burning patriotism to see Italy rise again from the
ashes into a modern nation for the deliverance of the unhappy land from decay. Kautilya, on
the contrary, was aspired to ensure the security and stability of the kingdom so as to
achieve Dharma in the subcontinent. Kautilyas major preoccupation, unlike that of
Machiavelli, was to foster and restore the ethical values of Indian system both in method
and
in
principle.
Kautilyas essentially spiritual disposition and Machiavellis essentially secular-material
makeup stand out against each other. Though both believed and prescribed to the rulers the
rules of the game of politics, the use of religion for political ends, their grounds for doing so,
as also their concepts of power and goals, were mutually exclusive.
Like Mahaabhaarta, Kautilya allows the king, for financial extortions from subjects, use of
techniques of extortion when the treasury is empty, the army is small, and the king has no
allies and friends abroad and is invaded. This is an Apaad-dharma or Dharma of distress in
a critical situation. Disapproval of these methods in normal conditions is a settled Kautilyan
prescription. The ultimate political ideology in times of peace is of inapplication to
these Apaad-dharma situations
that
transgress
the
cannons
of Dharma.
Kautilya also does not wholly subscribe to the view of Machiavelli that man is born bad and
has no inherent virtue in him. That he is a compound of weakness, folly and knavery,
intended by nature to be the dupe of the cunning and the prey of the despotic. On the

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Kautilya on The State


contrary, he admits that man has altruistic and good qualities alongside some selfish and
bad traits. He, thus, does not endorse the view of Machiavelli that man is thoroughly bad
and wholly selfish. To him, a man, apart from being selfish and leaning, is altogether
rational and is, therefore, advised to follow a code of conduct on Dharma and to adopt
immoral
means
to
deal
with
cunning.
Again and again, Kautilya asserted that the State was an organism on which depended the
happiness of the society and its individual members. This moral base of the State was
repeatedly denied by Machiavelli, for his mission was to free politics from its slavery to
theology and isolating the phenomenon of politics, so as to study them wholly without
reference to the facts of moral existence.
The doctrine of political dharma, Raajadharma, incorporates the functions and duties of the
king, outlines the principles of social conduct and deals with royal duties and civil and
criminal law. In accordance with Manus proclamation of Dharma as the supreme principle in
human life,Danda or the royal power of punishment, in the double aspects of coercion and
protection, is equated with Dharma. The King is considered as the wielder of the rod of
punishment and, if he is not just, he has to compensate for the loss and to perform
penance. This involves extra-political sanction for the king against violation of his duties of
protecting the fourfold social order. Dharma does not necessarily imply the contractual
concept of authority versus responsibility. Raajadharma is monarchical in its orientation and
reflects the personification of Dharmain the king and identifies the king with Dharma. It
further advocates the supremacy of Dharma over the king. It would, thus, be wrong to infer
that Kautilya, like Machiavelli, tends to give a carte-blanche to the king. In contrast, it can
be argued that the Kautilyan king was to allow public meetings in temples and markets.
And, when he talks of humiliating the public, he means that ill-treatment is to be awarded
to the foreigners and not to the natives. Kautilya pleads for judicious taxation, a check on
profits and measures to remove poverty. Even in crisis, he suggests taxes to be levied on
certain classes of people and exemption for others. He also asks that the profits of the
fraudulent traders by usurped. Thus, in Arthashastra, there remains an ultimate
accountability
to
the
rule
of Dharma.
It is interesting to note Kautilyas perception of a two-fold standard of the end of existence.
On one hand, Kautilya admits the role of virtue in principles and policies of government,
such as, the behaviour of a saintly king, the noble training of a prince, and restraints on the
king. Kautilya rejects Bhardwajas advice to a king to involve his sons in sexual indulgence
for the sake of his own security. He condemns the advice to a minister to usurp the throne
by treachery and violence after kings death. He suggests judicial pronouncements against
torture. In inter-state relations,he advocates Shapath (oath) as the basis of Pratigya
(treaties). Truthful kings should solemnly pledge and carry out duties with a sense of
dedication, he pleads. The second aspect is that of expediency. Those officials who are
found by spies to be disaffected for some just reasons are to be conciliated by riches and
honours. But, those disaffected for no reasons and harming the kings interest may be
secretly put to death. While the loyal subjects should be honoured, the disloyal ones should
first be treated with conciliation, but if they remain disaffected even thereafter, they should
be entrusted with the work of revenue collection and of inflicting punishment so that they
incur
peoples
wrath
and
then
they
may
secretly
be
put
to
death.
There is fundamental difference between the kingship of Kautilya and Machiavelli. As for
Machiavelli, he left the personal and private character of the Prince of his upbringing out of
sight, and treated him as the personification of the State, wherein the private individual is
inevitably merged in the politician. On the other hand, Kautilya's characterisation of the king
was by self-control, wisdom, discipline and noble conduct. It further emphasises
acquaintance
of
the
King
with Trayee (the
three
Vedas) Aanvikshiki (dualistic
Sankhya), Vaarta (trade, commerce and agriculture) and Dandaniti (punishment) and also
restrains
him

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Kautilya on The State


from Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (Vanity), Mada(haughtiness),
and Harsha (over-joy). The ruler should daily reflect on his adherence to regular public
appearance and punctual performance of his routine duties and sacrifices. What is most
significant is Kautilyas priority to Dharma over Danda. While Machiavelli argues, it is not
necessary for a prince really to have virtues, but it is very necessary to seem to have
them, to Kautilya, Kings departure from moral norms was a temporary expedient for the
restoration of those moral norms.The king was expected to be a virtuous person in thought,
word and deed.
If he had to be cruel by necessity, it was to make virtuous life possible for all. So far as the
ultimate objective of the State is concerned, Machiavelli did not think much of the populace,
the welfare of the less privileged did not bother him, as these concerned Kautilya. The
majority of citizens, to Machiavelli, were content with the security of person and property
that the State provided them. He glorified the State and stressed the over-riding claim of
the State to the loyalty of the individual. He would not concede that man had any right over
and against the State. Man attained his optimum development through subordinating
himself to the society. Machiavelli was of the considered view that the State would provide a
political framework essential to the development of mankind. On the other hand, to
Kautilya, the State was subordinated to the society which it did not create, but which it
existed to secure. The highest office of the State is, thus, an aggregate of the people whose
welfare is an end in itself. Political power is the means to attain such an end.
The Kautilyan maxim: Prajaa Sukhe Sukham Rajyah, Prajanam cha Hiteh Hitam (in the
welfare and happiness of the people lies the kings welfare and happiness), is indicative of
his emphasis on the equation of welfare Vs. power. Machiavelli insists that a good ruler is
one who achieves the good of the people by fair or foul means, Kautilya demands that a
good ruler should be a good man, besides being a good ruler. Kautilya, therefore, was the
spokesman of Udyaana, the establishment of righteousness on earth, and aspired
for Vaarta. enhancement to trade and commerce. To conclude, Kautilya, in contrast to
Machiavelli, is not prepared to subordinate ethics to politics. His schematic diversion into
Machiavellian mode is a minor feature of his total conceptual make up. Thus, the tenor of
his though is both markedly different and fundamentally opposite to that of Machiavelli.

4.0 Contribution of Kautilya


The contribution of Kautilya to the subject is immense. He virtually reconstructed the
science of politics out of the tangled mass of Arthashastraliterature left behind by his
predecessors and left his impression on all subsequent thinkers. His Arthashastra proved to
be a vast storehouse of information and contained all the available data on almost all the
branches of politics. Dr. Radhakrishan Choudhary in his book Kautilyas Political Ideas and
Institutions shows that writers like Dandin, Bana, Samadeva Suri, Manu, Yajnavalkya and
Katyayana were greatly indebted to this great ancient Indian thinker. Dr. Ghoshal opines
that no only the admission of the great merit of Raajadharma in the Mahaabhaarta but also
the "wholesale incorporation of the Arthashastra material into the Smriti tradition can be
traced
to
Kautilya.
It was largely due to Kautilya that the estimate of the four traditional services, i.e. Trayee,
Aanvikshaki, Vaarta, and Dandaniti became a common place in the political thought of
India. The six traditional types of foreign policy, the techniques of applying the Kings
coercive authority, the relative importance of the seven constituents of the State, also
gained currency in the ancient Indian political thought. HisArthashastra proved to be a truly
great treasurehouse of knowledge about statecraft and diplomacy. It would not be wrong to
hold that if he had been guided and inspired solely by the ancient values of life embodied in
traditional Varnashramadharma, his Arthashastra could never have come to exercise the

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Kautilya on The State


wide influence it actually did. High ideals inspire men only when they are adjusted and
adapted to the actual needs of social life. Dharma is indeed the highest value of life, but it
should take due note of the material basis of life of Artha and Kantaa, divorced from the
actualities of life, it would be like a great and beautiful mansion without any one to live in
and enjoy it.Varna-Vavasthaa was a sound ideal,but the realism of Kautilya, however,
"leads him to realise that departure from the healthy rule are bound to take place, and
accordingly he found place for the offspring of mixed marriages in the new castes which he
recognised."
A king should observe all the dictates of Dharma and morality in his dealing with his
subjects and also with States under ordinary circumstances, but Kautilya permits him to
violate them in crisis or if the interest of the States so require. Kautilya knew that the
pursuit of politics requires compromise with the principles of justice and morality. He
realised the necessity of wielding the rod of chastisement and. at the same time, cautioned
the king against the undesirable consequences of unduly severe punishment. He upheld the
ideal of Chakravartin but impresses it on the mind the Yijigishu that he should be content
with the recognition of his suzerainty by the less powerful chiefs and should not think of
annexing their territories. In all spheres of state-activity one finds that Kautilya avoids the
extreme and adopts the middle-of- the-road policy. Masking Arthashastra a manual for the
king and his ministers/administrators, Kautilya perceived their problems with such clarity of
vision
that
his
solutions
became
a
veritable
storehouse
of
learning.
In the words of M.V. Krishna Rao, Kautilya was a State socialist in the sense that he stood
for the maintenance of the authority of the State, for the extension of its functions and
thereby establishes a socialist State. Good government ensued from the social welfare
measures that the State took, pursuing them diligently and consistently. It was towards this
end that Kautilya spelled out the measures for the regulation of commerce and mines and
other manufacturers. Guilds and artisans were protected by the State. Kautilya's ideas,
thus, added up to more than "body of positive knowledge which has been applied to
industrial technique,
and comprised a comprehensive social plan which aimed at realizing Dharma through
Artha.Using the name Chanakya for Kautilya, K.M. Panikkar observed: The system that
Chanakya perfected or inherited or, in any case, described, endured without much change
through the ages. The Hindu kings to last followed the organization of the Mauryan Empire
in its three essential aspects, the revenue system, the bureaucracy and the police. The
organization as it existed was taken over by the Muslim rulers and from them by the British.
If Indian administration is analyzed to its bases, the doctrine and policies of Chanakya will
be
found
to
be
still
in
force.
The essence of Kautilyas teaching was the promotion of a more scientific statecraft, best
illustrated in his pronouncements on diplomacy and inter-state relations which have
enduring value still. His contribution lay not only in expounding the ramifications of
the Mandala theory with its pronounced postulates of peace through power, but also the
value he attached to Dharma Vijaya. Assigning equal importance to the three principal
factors of power, peace and time was a significant contribution of Kautilya.
In his own days, the sage-diplomat witnessed and inspired the irresistable expansion of the
Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta and Bindusara. Later, Chandraguptas grandson,
Ashoka, built his great Empire on the basis of Arthashastra and the scheme of
administrative machinery detailed in its pages. Ashoka bequeathed to history the ideals
of Dharma or Dhamma, a moral or ethical order which is the very basis of every civilised
society. Thus, Kautilya was the prophet of Ashokas kingdom of righteousness, for despite
whatever Kautilya wrote on statecraft and diplomacy, there is the persistent case of a
serene atmosphere in the Arthashastra where intellectual liberty and spiritual freedom are
guaranteed for the people through the Dharma, the ethical, and not the theological, State.

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Kautilya on The State


In formulating the details of his political ideals, principles, plans and ethico-political
strategies, Kautilya had taken cognizance not only of the events of his days, but also the
ones that were likely to change the entire course of thought and action. That is why he and
his Arthashastra have their marked relevance not only for our times, but also for the
generations to come. Though the Arthashastra is not a theoretical treatise on political
science, but as R.P. Kangle asserts, it is possible to trace some sort of a theoretical basis for
the teaching of the shastra.
Think
4.0 Contribution Of Kautilya
Express in not more than 100 words your views on contribution of kautilya to the present
political scenario.
Did you know
4.0 Contribution Of Kautilya
"Kautilya" was none else but "Vishnugupt Chanakya" of the "Nanda" and "Mauryan" period.
He was the best-known professor in the whole of ancient India (teaching at the "Takshshila
Gurukul") for politics and "Arthashastra" (Economics).
Whatever is mentioned in "Kautilya's "Arthashstra", is based on human behavior. For
example, the book gives in detail what motivates, drives, and identifies people who are
enraged, frightened, greedy, and proud - possible trouble creators in any organization,
whether of commercial or political nature.

References
Original Sources:

Kautilya. Arthashastra, ed. R. Shamsastri, 1909.


Chanakya Niti, 1994.

Commentories:

Altekar. A.S .. State and Government in Ancient India. 1958.


Bandyopadhyaya, N.C., Kautilya : An Exposition of His Ideals and Political Theory,
1927.
Beni Prasad, The State in Ancient India, 1927.
Theory of Government in Ancient India, 1927.
Brown, D.M., White Umbrella: Indian Political Thought From Manu to Gandhi, 1953.
Choudhary, Radhakrishna, Kautilyas Political Ideas and Institutions, n.d.
Dikshitara, V.R., The Mauryan Polity, 1932.
Ghoshal, U.N., A History of Indian Political Ideas. 1959.
A History of Hindu Political Theories, 1966.
Jayaswal, K.P., Hindu Polity: A Constitutional History of IndiaIn Hindu Times, 1967.
Kangle, R.P., Kautilya Arthashastra, Pt III; 1965.
Kirtipal, Chandramani, et., al., Chanakya Niti Aur Jeevan Charitra, 1992.
Krishna Rao, M.V., Studies in Kautilya, 1958.
Kosambi, D.D., An Introduction to The Study of Indian History. 1956.

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Kautilya on The State

Mehta, V.R., Fundamentals of Indian Political Thought, 1992.


Mookerji, Radhakumud, Chandragupta Maurya And his Times 1960.
Parmar, Aradhna, Techniques of Statecraft in Kautilyas Arthashastra, 1987.Prasad,
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Articles:

Sankhdher, M.M., Kautilya-Philosopher of Modern Welfare State, Organiser, Vol.


XXXVIII, No. 36, January 18, 1987.
The Latest Work on the Kautilya Arthastra Author(s): Franklin Edgerton Source:
Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 48 (1928), pp. 289-322 Published by:
American Oriental Society.
Kautilya's Arthastra on War and Diplomacy in Ancient India, Author(s): Roger
Boesche Source: The Journal of Military History, Vol. 67, No. 1 (Jan., 2003), pp. 9-37
Published by: Society for Military History.

Summary

Kautilya, Chanakya or Visnugupta is considered as one of the most able politician


and minister in the Indian history. He was a philosopher and a statesman of
outstanding class and his classic compilation on material success and polity'Arthasashtra' is valued even today. He was the master of shrewd act of diplomacy.
He believed in four ways, namely, Treating with Equallity, Enticement, Punishment or
War,Sowing Dissension.

1.0 Kautilya on State


Kautilya was the minister in the Kingdom of Chandragupta Maurya during 317 293
B.C. He has been considered as one of the shrewdest ministers of the times and has
explained his views on State, War, Social Structures, Diplomacy, Ethics, Politics and
Statecraft very clearly in his book called Arthashastra Kautilyas work is primarily a
book of political realism where State is paramount and King shall carry out duties as
advised
in
his
book
to
preserve
his
state.
Although Kautilya proposed an elaborate welfare state in domestic politics,
something that has been called a socialized monarchy, he proved willing to defend
the general good of this monarchy with harsh measures. A number of authors have
explored these domestic policies, but very few scholars have focused on Kautilya's
discussions of war and diplomacy.

2.0 Dharma in Arthashastra


According to Chanakya, the primary duty of a king is to protect "Dharma" or
righteousness in society. That king who upholds righteousness and virtue will have

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Kautilya on The State


happiness in this world and also in the next. Another significant statement made by
Chanakya is that a king who uses his power improperly and unjustly also deserves to
be punished. "The sacred task of a king is to strive for the welfare of his people
incessantly. The administration of the kingdom is his religious duty. His greatest gift
would be to treat all as equals." "The happiness of the commoners is the happiness
of the king. Their welfare is his welfare. A king should never think of his personal
interest or welfare, but should every try to find his joy in the joy of his subjects."

3.0 Circumstantial Evidences


Kautilyas book came to be Chandraguptas guide. Each of its 15 sections deals with
a phase of government, which Kautilya sums up as the science of punishment. He
openly advises the development of an elaborate spy system reaching into all levels of
society and encourages political and secret assassination. Lost for centuries, the
book was discovered in 1905. Compared by many to Italian statesman and writer
Niccol Machiavelli and by others to Aristotle and Plato, Kautilya is alternately
condemned for his ruthlessness and trickery and praised for his sound political
wisdom and knowledge of human nature Kautaliya and Machiavelli(1496-1527 AD)
are both votaries of power and helped their kings to expand their kingdoms.

4.0 Contribution Of Kautilya


The lessons from Kautilya's Arthashastra are relevant even today and can be
integrated into the modern context of corporate management towards achieving the
ultimate aim of corporate governance, which is to provide value to shareholders and
stakeholders. Kautaliya's Arthshastra (322-298BC) is brilliant and comprehensive
treatise on all aspects of international relations, intelligence and good governance.
This master mind was the chief mentor and a minister who helped first emperor of
India Chandragupta Maurya to extend his kingdom to whole of India and beyond up
to Afghanistan.The political science propagated by him was refered as
'Rajadharma'(Righteousness of the King) and 'Nitishastra'(Science of Ethics)with
ethical course of conduct as hallmark of internal and external policy of the state.

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