POST-VEDIC SOCIAL POLITY
A SOCIO-POLITICAL STUDY OF
V. Nagarajan D.Litt
ISBN 81-901175- 6-4
C/o Sharada Nagarajan
501, Dipesh Enclave
Phone 022-21717590/ 8080138133
402, Savitri Apartments
Laxmi Nagar (West)
1. Bhishma on Rajadharma
2. Trivarga, the Magnum Opus
3. Bhishma on State and Varnasrama Dharma
4. Indra and Mamdhata on Rajadharma
5. Bhishma: Brhaspatis counsel to Vasumanas
6. Bhishma on War and Peace
7. Bhishma on Dharma and Artha
8. Bhishmas stand on Dharmavijaya
9. Bhishma on Rajapurohita, the Kings political guide
10. Bhishma on the New State and
the Duties of the King
11. Rtvigs and Rules of Procedure
12. Kings Associates and Counsellors
13. Selection of Ministers and Formation of Ministry
14. Composition and Functions of the Ministry
15. Punishing the guilty
16. The Fortified Capital
17. Governance of Rural Areas
18. The Kings Duty to the Country (Rashtram)
19. Vamadevas Counsel to Vasumanas
20. Bhishma on Dharma and Rajadharma
21. Kshatra Dharma and Kshatra Dharma
Bhishmas RajadharmaA Note
BHISHMA ON RAJADHARMA
In the battle of Kurukshetra, Bhishma was fatally injured by Arjuna. Yudhishtira lamented that his lust for power had caused the fall of his highly revered grandfather and guardian of the throne of Hastinapura. Krshna and Vyasa prevailed on him to meet Bhishma who was on his death-bed and learn from him Rajadharma, the duties and conduct prescribed for kings and heads of state sectors. Bhishma, an eminent political grammarian, statesman and general consented to teach him. (Santiparva. Ch.54)
Bhishma recognized him as the best of the Kurus who followed dharma and as one devoted to truth (satya), forbearance (kshama) and knowledge (jnana) and to entertaining guests, offering gifts (dana), performing yajnas and studying (adhyayana) what were prescribed by social laws (dharma) and as one who knew the secrets of the Vedas (srutis). At Krshnas suggestion, Bhishma first tried to remove the sense of guilt that weighed on the mind of Yudhishtira. He said that offering charity (dana), study (adhyayana) and strenuous endeavour (tapas) to learn new means were the duties (dharma) prescribed for Brahmanas. These laws required the Kshatriyas to lay down their bodies on the battle-field (55-14).
It may be noted here that he was recalling the recommendations made when the vast middle class of gandharva cadres was reorganized and the two cadres were brought into existence. It was within the framework of social laws (dharma) to kill the vile enemies even if they were ones kinsmen or teachers or were elders, Bhishma said. Bloodshed was within the framework of Kshatriya dharma. Kshatra-bandhus (troops raised from among the commoners, especially from the class of agricultural workers) had to be always ready for war. According to Manu, war was within the scope of dharma and had the approval of the nobility (svarga) and also that of the commonalty (loka). (55-15 to 19)
But Yudhishtira was not ready for any discourse on the legitimacy of war and mobilization of troops. He said that the scholars who knew the social laws (dharma) considered the laws outlining the conduct of the kings (rajas) to be the highest, that is, the powers and duties vested in the kings made them the highest socio-political authorities. Yudhishtira would however treat them to be persons bearing a great (mahan) responsibility (bhara). He implied that the constitution under which the Bharatas functioned placed a great responsibility on the kings who were administrators. It talked not about powers and privileges but about duties and responsibilities.
Yudhishtira, addressing Bhishma as Parthiva, governor of the agrarian hinterland, requested him to enlighten him on this aspect. The concept of a Parthiva who had no coercive power but was a respectable agriculturist trusted by the King to maintain law and order through his charisma was introduced by the Prthu constitution. The Prthu system was contemporaneous with the Bharata system of administration. Would Bhishma be able to reconcile the two? (56-2)
Yudhishtira asked Bhishma to describe the special provisions of Rajadharma that made it the final resort of all the social cadres (lokas) of living beings (jivas), that is, persons who were able to barely subsist. The three values, dharma, artha and kama were included inRajadharma, he agreed. But it was not clear whether it dealt also with moksha, the fourth value, Yudhishtira told the Kuru patriarch. Dharma which a civil administrator and free man who was also vested with power over the army and the treasury exercised as Narendra was meant to keep in check, the commoners (loka), he pointed out. It was delegated authority and not sovereign power. The latter was covered by Rajadharma.
If the state laws (dharma) adhered to by the Rajarshis of yore were ignored the institution of the commonalty as a separate social world (loka) would not have taken place and all (social worlds) would have suffered afflictions, Yudhishtira said. Even as the rise of the authority designated as Surya destroyed operation of the inauspicious (asubha) elements, Rajadharma stopped the decline and passage (gati) of the social world (loka) towards undesirable ends, he noted, requesting Bhishma to instruct him.
After saluting the official designated as Dharma and Krshna and the jurists (Brahmanas), Bhishma began to describe the features of the permanent legislation (sasvata dharma) and Rajadharma. The king (raja) while desiring to please (ranjana) (his subjects) should follow the rules (vidhis) while dealing with the nobles (devatas) and the educated and civilized persons (dvijas, often translated as twice-born). The plutocrats and technocrats were covered by the term, devatas and the aristocrats by the term, devas. Earlier the term, dvija referred only to Brahmans who were scholars and teachers.
By worshipping the two cadres, the integrated elite (devatas) and the members of the judiciary (Brahmanas) a ruler discharged his debts as mentioned in the laws (dharma) and this led to his being worshipped by the social world (loka). Bhishma was referring to the stand taken by the dharmasastras which did not call for a person to discharge his debts (rna) to his elders (pitrs) who had retired from economic activities or to the sages (rshis). If one was unable to get his debts discharged because of sonlessness it was not a serious fault, Yudhishtira might note. (56-1 to 13)
Bhishma addressing him as putra, one who had to discharge his debts to his ancestors asked him to be ever trying to rise (utthana) in the social ladder.Referring to the two aspects, personal endeavour to raise ones level (utthana) and the desire of and support given by the nobility (daivam), Bhishma said that the latter alone would not give a king (raja) politico-economic (artha) benefits (prasada). This was the law of nature (rta), according to him. Ordinarily both of the two factors, daivam and utthanam should be operative. But in Bhishmas view, dynamic leadership (paurusham) is more important for what had to be done had been decided by the nobles (devas).
If a project begun did not succeed or came to a stop, he should not get upset but should be always exerting himself. That was the best policy (naya) for kings (rajas). Bhishma implied that though the king was not free to determine the policy (naya) that was most helpful for the state, as it was the privilege of the nobility (daivam) to determine that policy, he should continue to implement that policy as he had agreed to though there might be hurdles. (56-14 to 16)
For a king (raja) nothing except adherence to the laws based on truth (satya) could result in fulfillment of the objective of the project (siddhikarakam). A king going along the path of truth (satya) will be happy (nanda) both in this life and after this. According to the sages too, merit obtained by adhering to truth (satya) was the greatest wealth (dhana). For kings nothing except this adherence to truth could become the cause (karanam) for the trust placed in them. A king who had good character (sheela), and had conquered his sense organs (jitendriya) and was generous and soft and a good guide (sudarsha) with a large objective (and wide outlook) (sthula-lakshya) would never become corrupt by possession of wealth, Bhishma opined. He asked Yudhishtira to be upright in all projects (karya) and reexamine his views with reference to state policy (naya) (that was determined by the nobles) and the bounds prescribed by the three Vedas (trayi). (56-17 to 20)
Bhishma pointed out that the orders of a king who was always soft were violated everywhere. The social world (loka) (of commoners) would rise up against him if he was harsh. Hence he should resort to a mixture of the two approaches, soft and harsh. He should never punish (danda) the scholars (vipras) who were always on the move. In the social world (loka), the best of the discrete individuals (bhuta) was called a Brahmana. Such a person was exempt from coercive political control (danda). Bhishma was making a subtle distinction between Vipra and Brahmana, the scholar on the move and the intellectual outside the organized society. (56-21, 22)
He asked Yudhishtira to bear in his heart (mind) the import of the two verses of the great personage (mahatma), Manu, on Svadharma. Fire had evolved out of water, Kshatriyas out of Brahmans and metal out of stone (ore). The three evolutes exhibit their influence everywhere but are silenced by their sources. This oft-quoted figure of speech accepted that the powers exercised by the civil judge, Agni, were earlier vested in Varuna, the representative of the peoples of the river-banks and coastal areas, The political power later exercised by the Kshatras were earlier vested in the scholars and jurists, Brahmam. Tools made of stone preceded the use of copper, bronze and iron tools but these tools could not harm the rocks. These verses advised the Kshatriyas not to hate the Brahmans. (56-23 to 25)
Addressing Yudhishtira as, maharaja, head of the state and the legislature, Bhishma advised him to respect the educated and cultured persons (dvijas, twice-born), for the best (sreshta) among the dvijas kept aloft (dhara) the socio-political constitution (brahmam) of the agro-pastoral commonalty (bhaumam). Hence if the scholars (vipras) rise up to destroy the three social worlds (lokas), they should be always stopped by hands.
Bhishma did not advocate their being submitted to corporal punishment or being put down by weapons. These scholars were expected to assist the chief judge, who was an expert in Brahma or Atharvaveda. The Kshatriya ruler or executive was not entitled to use coercive power against them. Bhishma cited a verse from the works of Usanas, a great political thinker and legislator (maharshi), on this issue and asked Yudhishtira who was a maharaja to remember it while functioning as a civil administrator and chief of free men, nrpa. (56-26 to 28)
The chief of free men (naradhipa) who was a civil administrator empowered to maintain law and order and was eager to uphold the provisions of state laws (dharma) would be functioning within his powers and duties (svadharma) if he defeated the armed militant in battle and took him in custody even if the latter was a scholar who had studied Vedanta. The neo-Vedic constitution had permitted all to take to arms to defend their lives and property and to enforce the laws and did not treat such resort to arms and force as the privilege of the Kshatriya class. One who protects social laws (dharma) from getting ruined is said to know those laws (dharma). He does not destroy dharma. He only reacts to the rage of the vipra who has threatened to destroy all social worlds.
Despite this offence, the scholars (dvijatas, twice-born) should be protected by the civil administrator and only exiled without being given death sentence. Similarly, character assassination of brahma, the chief of the constitution bench, violation of the privileges of the teacher, foeticide and hatred for and treason against the king, the guilty scholar (vipra) should be only exiled from the country. (29 to 33)
A free man (nara) who was devoted to a scholar and cultured person (dvija, twice-born) was loved by all. For a king (raja) there was no greater wealth than a gathering of talented and dynamic leaders (purushas), Bhishma said. Among the different types of forts, the one gaining its strength mainly from the free men (naras) manning its defence was the best, he said. A king who was an individual devoted to dharma and always spoke the truth, that is, gave verdicts on the basis of the Vedic laws based on truth (satya) was expected to always perform compassionate deeds to help all the four classes (varnas).
Bhishma was not solicitous only of the Brahman scholars who enjoyed the status of dvijas from the beginning or the three higher classes who were later given the status of dvijas. He asked Yudhishtira who was a maharaja to listen to what the code (sastra) drafted by Brhaspati said. Even as the mahout sits on the head of the elephant nonchalantly, the lower classes among the natives (jana) of the region dominated the civil administrator (nrpa) who tended to always pardon (kshama) the offenders. Hence the administrator who was a respected and rich free man should be neither soft nor harsh but should like the spring be temperate. (34 to 40)
Bhishma advised Yudhishtira to while performing his role as maharaja constantly use the four methods, the obvious (pratyaksha), the inferential (anumana), the comparative (uoamana) and the traditionally prescribed and lawful (agama) to examine and determine what factors were in his (sva) favour and what were in favour of others (para). He asked Yudhishtira to give up all sorrows and afflictions and not to encircle himself with the combination of wide alternatives as means to overcome others. Bhishma warned that a ruler of the agrarian tracts (mahipati) who was always afflicted (vyasana) would be overcome and isolated to the periphery of individuals (paribhuta) by the social world (loka) of commoners and would be hated by the latter who would rise in anger against him. (56-41 to 43)
The king was asked to avoid all the eighteen causes that afflicted ones career adversely as explained in Manusmrti VII 45ff. It is always impolitic to resort to such undesirable acts. Of these, drinking, gambling, womanizing and hunting, coveting others wealth, use of harsh words and inflicting harsh punishment were very serious flaws. A king given to these weaknesses was always disrespected by the people. A king should think not of his interests but of the welfare of his people, according to the path shown by dharma. If he acted boldly his orders would be obeyed everywhere without hindrance. Bhishma advised the king not to indulge in frivolous talks with his servants lest they should lose respect for his authority. (Santiparva Ch.56-44 to 61)
Bhishma expected his king to be persistent in his work. Even as men did not respect women as they lacked persistence, they would not respect a king who was not persistent, Bhishma who was known as a macho said. In this connection he cited a statement of Usanas, the head of an academy: The earth (bhumi) swallows a Brahman who does not travel abroad and a king (raja) who adopts a policy of not antagonizing any one. He implied that both were unfit for the roles assigned and would be ultimately absorbed in the community of agriculturists who were a settled and contented population. The king had to come to a treaty of peace (samdhi) with those with whom such a treaty would be advantageous and adopt a policy of hostility (virodha) towards those who were inimical. (57-1 to 4)
Bhishma declared that any one who followed a policy that was against the state (rajya) with seven organs (angas) should be put down whether he was a teacher (guru) or a friend (mitra). Bhishma would treat all the seven sectors, king (raja), ministry (amatya), ruralhinterland (desa), fortified capital (durga), treasury (kosa), army (sena) and ally (mitra) as together constituting the state (rajya). He would not follow the system by which the five internal units (omitting raja and mitra) were treated as rajyam, making a distinction between king (raja) and state (rajyam). He also would not go along the system by which only the rural areas (desa) were treated as rashtra or rajya. The guru, mentor, was a member of the sector, raja, and was superior to the king. The ally was not a subordinate of the king. (57-5)
Addressing Yudhishtira as Rajendra, one who as Raja was head of the state and as Indra controlled the treasury, Bhishma referred to a statement made by Chakravarti Marutta with reference to the powers of the king which according to Brhaspati was pertinent. Brhaspati was a teacher of the nobles (devas) who were the governing elite during the Vedic times. A teacher who was blinded by arrogance and failed to know, to distinguish between which was a desirable (state) project (karya) and which was a project that would not lead to the desired result (akarya) and went along a wrong path was liable to be punished according to the permanent (sasvata) penal law (danda).
Marutta had dismissed his teacher who had the designation, Brhaspati, when the latter refused to endorse the kings project and got it completed by Samvarta. Brhaspati did not question Maruttas right to do so though he did not approve the kings project which was taken exception to by Indra, the head of the house of nobles (devas). Bhishma said that Raja Sagara (son of Bahu) disinherited the eldest of his godsons (suta), Asamanja, as desired by the members of the urban council (paura) in their interest. Asamanja used to drown their children in the river, Sarayu. As the elders (pitrs) recommended he was removed from where he resided and was exiled. (6 to 9)
The sage, Uddalaka, expelled his godson (suta), Svetaketu, because he misbehaved with the scholars (vipras) who were required to be constantly on the move educating members of all classes. Bhishma emphasized that it was prescribed by the ancient social code (sanatana dharma) that the king should keep pleased (ranjana) the social world (loka) of commoners. He had to protect the (Vedic) laws based on truth (satya) and deal with economic disputes (vyavahara) in an upright (arjava) manner. He should not harass (himsa) the economic activities and wealth (vitta) of others. Whatever he had to give others he should give at the appropriate time. A chief of free men (nrpa) and civil administrator who had prowess (vikranta), kept his word (satyavak) and was forbearing (kshanta) would keep to his path. (57-10 to 12)
One who had complete mastery over himself as atmavan, and had conquered his rage and had arrived at a definite interpretation of the import of the code (sastra) and was always engaged in following the four values, dharma, artha, kama and moksha, and had studied the three Vedas (Rg, Yajur and Sama) and kept to himself the counsel received deserved to be a king (raja), Bhishma said. The greatest duty of a Narendra, an administrator who was a free man (nara) (not bound by rules of any clan or community) and had the powers equal to those of Indra, the head of the council of nobles and chancellor of the exchequer, was to protect all other than the crooked.
The ruler of the agrarian tracts (mahikshita) was expected to protect the laws defining the rights and duties (dharmas) of the four social classes (varnas). According to sanatana (ancient) dharma, the king should protect them against deviating from those duties and getting their duties and orientations mixed (dharmasamkara) and losing their identities. Bhishma expected the chief of the agrarian population to implement varnadharma and the king who was a higher authority to prevent varnasamkara. (57-13 to 15)
Bhishma asked the civil administrator, nrpati, not to trust any one and not to trust too much even those who were reliable. He should assess the people (loka) by using his intellect (buddhi) (to be precise, with the help of intellectuals) with respect to their merits and demerits as outlined in the manual dealing with the six policies (shadguna), treaty of peace (samdhi), war (vigraha), march (yana), status quo (asana), dual policy (dvaidhibhava) and seeking shelter (asraya) with a superior king. A nrpati who desired to see the opponent weakened was always praised, Bhishma pointed out.
He was required to get an assessment made according to prescribed rules through scouts about the three levels (trivarga, weak, even and strong) of the organs of the state of the opponent. The nrpati who was in charge of the civil administration in the rural areas was required to arrive at a correct assessment of the movements in the neighbouring inimical state and pass on the data collected by him and his evaluation to the king who was stationed in the fort. Decisions regarding peace and war could however be taken only by the king (raja). (57-16,17)
The king was asked to keep his treasury ever full. His duties might be compared to those performed during the Vedic times by the officials designated as Yama and Kubera (Vaisravana) who looked after maintenance of law and order and treasury respectively. He should always be aware of the statuses of the ten sectors (the five sectors, ministry, fortified capital, rural areas, treasury and army in his country and the five sectors in the country of his opponent) with respect to the three levels, even, growing and declining. (57-18)
The civil administrator (nrpati) was required to bear the responsibility for meeting the needs of the workers who had no master and for ensuring that those who had employers were treated properly. He should always keep smiling and speak sweet words He should revere the aged and conquer indolence and greed. He should take interest in the activities of the pious and should always appear to be happy. He should never take away the wealth from the hands of the pious. He should collect fines from the impious and should give wealth to the pious. The ruler should personally suppress the impious and give aid to the pious and should be one attracting others and using pleasant means. He should give financial aid in time and consume wealth at the appropriate time and be always pure in conduct. (57-19 to 22)
The king should select as his assistants (sahaya) persons who were brave and loyal, who could not be destroyed by others, who were born in good families and were free from diseases, were disciplined and kept company with disciplined persons, who maintained their respect and did not disrespect others, had studied the different disciplines of study and also knew the ways of life of the social world of commonalty and kept watch on the ways of life of the other social world (of nobles), adhered to the social and state laws (dharma), were full of piety, were immovable like the mountain. He should keep them with him forever and honour them with wealth and paraphernalia equal to his except for the parasol that he alone was entitled to.
In carrying out works that came under the categories, personal supervision (pratyaksha) and control through others (paroksha), these sahayas would have the same authority as the ruler had. A Narendra, administrator who was a commoner (free man, nara) with powers equal to that of Indra, the head of the house of nobles would not experience hardships in the social world of commonalty. (23 to 26)
A civil administrator (nrpati) who suspects all would lose everywhere, Bhishma cautioned. The covetous and decrepit person who does not function like a normal human being (anru) would soon be killed by his own people (svajana), Bhishma warned. The ruler of the agro-pastoral commonalty (prthvi) who is pure and wins over the minds (chitta) of that social world (loka) would not fall even if the enemy attacks him and even if he falls he would soon stand up again. A king (raja) who was free from rage (krodha) and afflictions (vyasana) and had controlled (conquered) his (state) organs (indriyas) and used his coercive power (danda) gently would win the confidence of the discrete individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery even as (Siva) the ruler of the Himalayas did (57-27 to 29).
A king should appear to have wide knowledge (prajna), to be one who had given up (tyaga) his personal interests and to be constantly aware of the weaknesses of the other (of the enemy). He should be handsome and know what is politic (naya) and what is impolitic (apanaya) with respect to all the social classes (varnas) and be able to carry out the (state) projects (karya) quickly. [Bhishma had not developed the more precise analysis of four factors, aya, anaya, naya and apanaya evolved by Kautilya. Aya and anaya were what according to the ruling elite (devas) were politic and impolitic respectively. Naya and apanaya were what with respect to the commoners (manushyas) were politic and impolitic. Bhishma kept out the views of the nobles.]
The ideal king should have controlled his rage and be pleasant and be a thinker with a wide outlook and one whose nature (prakrti) was to be without anger. He should be a doer and be free from egotism and be able to get the project started completed satisfactorily. Such a king was the best among kings. Even as a son stayed and functioned freely and fearlessly in his fathers house, a manava (who was a citizen of the world and was a member of one of the four classes), should be able to move about fearlessly and follow his pursuits in the country of this ideal king. One in whose country, the residents of the city (pura) and of the rural hinterland (rashtra) were safe and were not required to keep their wealth secret and were aware of what was politic (naya) and what was impolitic (apanaya) was an ideal king, Bhishma said. (57-30 to 34)
The terms, rashtra, rajya and janapada, referred to the rural areas and the term, jana, to their natives and original residents. The term, paura, referred to the residents of the capital, pura, especially to the richer among them who controlled its polity and economy. While the city was directly under the king, the rural areas were governed by the parthiva and its administration was headed bynarapati who led the free men, naras, who were not associated with any clan or community.
The parthiva was asked to ensure that the natives, jana, were controlled and administered in such a way that every one performed his vocation according to rules and was not connected with bad elements. By his humility he should keep the free men (naras) under his influence and ensure that they were not given to agitating against the authorities. The governor should be interested in the policy of winning over all through generosity. The protector of the agricultural land (bhumipala) was asked to follow the sanatana dharma and not resort to secrecy (kuta) and deception (kapata) or illusion (maya) and sadistic elation (matsara).
Bhishma said that only a king (raja) who honoured the scholars (jnani) and ensured the welfare of others and followed the ways of the pious and had given up his personal interests deserved to rule his kingdom (rajyam). Only a king, who kept secret the movements of his scouts and the counsel received by him from his ministers and the work done by his trained executives, from being known by his opponents deserved to rule the kingdom (rajyam).
In this connection, Bhishma referred to what the great sage, Bhargava said about a nrpati while narrating the history of a king. Bhargava said that one should first get a king before getting a wife or wealth. Wives and wealth could not remain safe if there was no king. This Bhargava who opposed anarchism that some thinkers were propagating could not have been either Usanas or Parasurama. [Bhargava Usanas was for a strong government while Bhargava Parasurama demilitarized the state and favoured formation of a stateless society.] (57-35 to 41)
Bhishma clarified that according to the earlier Vedic laws based on Rta every one who could not protect himself had to be protected by the ruling elite. According to sanatana dharma which was closer to the above laws for a king who desired to have a kingdom there was no other duty than to protect the state (rajyam).
Protection was what gave basic support and kept aloft (dharana) the social world (loka) of commonalty. Bhishma cited Pracetas Manu (author of an Arthasastra text) who said that even as the bold persons (purushas) abandoned a ship wrecked in the waters, the teacher (acarya) who did not give lectures to guide his students, the rtvij who did not oversee the duties of others, a king who did not protect, a wife who did not speak sweetly, a cowherd who wanted to stay in the village rather than take the cows to the pastoral lands outside the village and a barber who was enamoured of the forest rather than the village or town which provided him his occupation should be abandoned. (42 to 45)
Bhishma told Yudhishtira that he had instructed the latter on the essence of Rajadharma as held by Brhaspati who was head of an academy (bhagavan) to be proper (nyaya) interpretation of the principles of (state and social) laws (dharma). He said that besides Brhaspati, other great political thinkers like Visalaksha who too was head of an academy, Kavi Usanas who was a great tapasvi, Mahendra who was assisted by a huge council of a thousand observers, Pracetas Manu, Bharadvaja who too headed an academy and Gaurasira, a silent monk (muni) with white head (Gora Angiras?) and Atharvan ideologues (Brahmavadis) who were jurists (Brahmans) and were advocates of Rajasastra had praised protection (raksha) as the greatest dharma of the king as an upholder of dharma.
It may be remarked here that Kautilya was personally acquainted with all these thinkers and noted that there were significant divergences among their thoughts. Bhishma however did not dwell on these divergences. He would only dwell on what was common among their thoughts on the means (sadhana) to be adopted by the king (raja). (58-1 to 4) The king was asked to pay gifts (danam) to the scouts (chara) and spies (pranidhi) in time and without resentment (matsara). Bhishma envisaged them as volunteers from lower ranks of the society who needed to be assisted and not as employees who were to be paid wages.
For this purpose the king was required to collect gifts in the proper manner (yukti) and not in a manner not prescribed (ayoga). Bhishma appears to have approved the suggestion that the state as dharmarajya should survive on gifts (dana) received and should offer gifts to the needy and deserving. It was not a politico-economic state collecting taxes and fines and paying wages to its employees. The king should bring together the pious and valorous and be alert to the welfare of the subjects (prajas) and should adhere to the laws based on truth (satya).
He should distinguish between and cause rift between the upright (who were not to be harmed) and the non-upright among those on the side of his enemy. The king was asked to reconstruct the dilapidated houses by offering loans on nominal interest. He should adopt a dual policy, soft as well as harsh, while enforcing coercive power and inflicting punishment (danda) while summoning the offenders in his capacity as Kala (Yama) (who could pronounce even death sentence). He should never give up the pious and should support those who belonged to good families (academies, kulas, to be precise). He should note that it was the trait of an intellectual to notice and serve those who had to be noticed and looked after. He should always keep the troops (bala) happy and look after the interest of the subjects (prajas).
He should be able to carry out his projects easily and in a facile manner (without being required to struggle for success) and enrich the treasury. He should personally take care of the security of the capital without trusting others and leaving this work to them. He should ensure that there was no rift in the city (paura) union (samgha).
He should keep necessary watch on the activities of the enemy (ari), intermediate king (madhyastha) and the ally (mitra). He should personally ensure that his employees did not fall victim to the manipulations of others. He should inspect the city personally. He should never believe in the promises given by others, especially by the opponents. He should ever strive to rise up in status (uttanam) by following the state and social laws (dharma) drafted in tune with this state policy (niti). He should be always on guard against the deceitful and the anaryas among the natives (jana). The rich who had taken the pledge to abide by truth and non-violence were called aryas. Those who had not taken this pledge and were hence untrustworthy were called anaryas. (58-5 to 12)
Bhishma, following Brhaspati, held that for Narendras, endeavour to rise up in socio-political status was the basis of Rajadharma. A Narendra was a free man (nara) who was a civil administrator and also exercised control over the local economy and police even as Indra, the head of the house of nobles did during the Vedic times. During the Vedic times Brhaspati looked after the administration and economy of the commonalty. A king (raja) ranked higher than a Nrpati (who was only a civil administrator) and even a Narendra. Brhaspati said that it was by endeavour to ascend in social ladder Mahendra obtained the status of a noble (amrta) and killed the feudal lords (asuras) and obtained the position of the chief (sreshta) of the nobility (divi). The warriors (viras) who endeavour to rise in level (uttana) to become dynamic social leaders (purushas) dominate those who only speak bravely like warriors (vagviras), Brhaspati said. (58-13 to 15)
Bhishma warned that a king who did not strive to rise (uttana) in status and power became unsuccessful when attacked by an enemy and harmless like a serpent without poison. He advised the strong king not to ignore even a weak enemy as even a small fire could burn vast areas and even a little poison could kill. Bhishma asked the king to be pragmatic and wise. The enemy even if he had only one of his state organs (anga) in a sound condition could position himself in the fort and harass all the rural areas (desa) of the king who was flourishing, Bhishma cautioned.
The secret counsel for the king to score victory over his opponent was to keep his social world (loka) of commonalty and others together (samgraha). He should keep secret in his heart the motivating causes (karana) he entertained and what his projects (karya) were. He should keep these confidential and at the same time he should be upright. Bhishma was not against the idealism that Yudhishtira cherished. A king could be pragmatic and yet be upright, he held. In order to maintain his prestige in the social world (loka) of commoners, the king should perform rites that were in accordance with the practices (acara) recognized by social laws (dharma). It would appear that Bhishma did not deem that these rites had any real spiritual merit. (58-16 to 20)
Bhishma pointed out that governance of the state (rajyam) was a great art (tantra). An individual (atma) who was not properly trained would not be able to bear that responsibility. One who was too soft too would find it impossible to run it. Only one who was always upright would win the goodwill of all in the state (rajyam). Hence the ruler should always use a mixture of the two policies, soft and tough to administer the state, Bhishma told Yudhishtira. The king was expected to protect his subjects (prajas) even if he had to risk his life. The ruler of the agrarian tracts (bhumipala) had to follow the above dharma and conduct himself (vrtta) accordingly. After giving this outline of Rajadharma, Bhishma permitted Yudhishtira to present his doubts. (58-21 to 24)