BHISHMA'S STAND ON DHARMAVIJAYA
Yudhishtira wanted to know what dharma a Kshatriya who desired to be a conqueror should follow to gain victory over another Kshatriya in war (95-1). Addressing him as bhumipa, (a chief of agro-pastoral plains), Bhishma said that such a warrior should with or without assistants go to the (predominantly agrarian) nation (rashtra) concerned and declare himself to be its king (raja) and offer to protect it for ever and direct them to pay him the tributes (bali) prescribed by the laws (dharma) and challenge them to fight with him if they did not agree to do so. If they agreed to pay tributes and acknowledge him as king, every thing would be settled happily (95-2).
While Yudhishtira visualised a battle between two warriors, Kshatriyas, and victory of one over the other, Bhishma visualised an aspirant to the status of a king (rajan) making the people of another country (rashtra) accept him as their ruler and in token thereof pay him the prescribed tributes (bali). .
If the people of that country were not Kshatriyas and yet opposed him, as the chief of free men (naradhipa) from whose ranks his troops had been raised, he should use all means (upayas) (sama, dana, bheda and danda) to restrain them from their dysfunctional activities (vikarma). Most of the people of a nation were agriculturists and were not expected to fight. If they took to arms, it would be treated as vikarma, an action violating their duties. If the warriors, Kshatriyas, of that country had no arms and found that they were unable to defend their country the others might take to arms. Bhishma wanted battles to be confined to Kshatriyas but would not rule out an entire nation taking to arms in defence when the troops failed it (95-4,5).
Of course, such taking to arms by persons other than Kshatriyas was deemed by the laws (dharma) as dysfunctional to social order. Yudhishtira agreed that an anointed king (raja) who was a Kshatriya should go to war only with Kshatriyas and wanted to know how that king should conduct himself in war (95-6). Whether the warrior, Kshatriya, of that country was equipped with weapons or not, it was not advisable to go to war (yuddha) with him for he was not an ordained king and might not be prepared for battle. Hence the conqueror should challenge him to one-to-one duel rather than war where many were pitted against many.
If the warrior who was challenged came armed and alone, the challenger too should go armed and alone. If the former led an army, the latter too might lead an army. If the former used methods of deception, the latter too might do so. But if the former used prescribed methods (dharma), the conqueror too should do so. A cavalier should not be attacked by one on a chariot. The latter should fight only with one on a chariot. It should be a battle between equals. A warrior in pain (vyasana) should not be attacked and so too one defeated or one in panic. (7 to 10)
Bhishma banned use of poisoned weapons and double-edged ones and allowed only open and plain (yatartha) war without rage against the opponent. If the gentle and pious among the opponents had differences with others amongst them and if some of them were as a result impaired (vyasana) they should not be attacked. Similarly the weak amongst the enemies and those who had no offspring should not be fatally injured. One whose weapon was broken or incapacitated or who was involved in an accident or whose vehicle had been destroyed should not be attacked. An injured or handicapped person should be sent to his place for treatment if he did not want to be treated in the country where the battle took place. According to sanatana dharma as outlined by Manu Svayambhuva, the injured should not be discharged without being treated. (95-11 to 14)
Bhishma advised the king not to take refuge with the saints who had their own code of dharma lest the latter should be destroyed in the conflict between kings. A Kshatriya who adhered to dharma (in war) would defeat adharma, Bhishma asserted. A sinner who resorted to prohibited means of livelihood would get ruined by himself, he said. Only the impious would seek to score over the pious. It is better to die while following the approved methods (dharma) than to win through sinful methods. Bhishma explains that even as a seed does not grow into a tree and yield fruits immediately so too an adharma act yields its results not immediately but later. When it does, it destroys the sinner king and his descendants. (95-15 to 17)
A sinner rejoices in the wealth obtained through sinful acts like stealing and laughs at the pure saying that there is nothing called morality and ethics, dharma. He has no faith in dharma and goes towards destruction. During the Vedic times when the state laws based on dharma had not yet been brought into force, such sinners were liable to be taken into custody by the Vedic official, designated as Varuna. The sinner gloats even as a body on death bloats like a leather-bag. (Varuna might even throw the sinner with hands and feet tied into a river to die there.)
The sinner never does noble deeds and is washed away like a tree on the bank of a river in flood, which is uprooted, losing his roots in the society. Like a pot broken into pieces by stones he is torn to pieces by public censure. Hence the ruler (a bhumipa) should seek to gain victory and wealth through rightful methods sanctioned by the laws of dharma. (95-18 to 22)
Bhishma told Yudhishtira that the chief of the unorganized social universe (jagatpati) should not desire to conquer the agrarian terrain (mahi) using methods not permitted by (state) laws (dharma). The chief of the organized agro-pastoral commonalty (bhumipa) who obtained victory (vijaya) over new areas through such prohibited methods would not be respected by anyone.
Conquest through illegal methods could not be a permanent acquisition and would cause the fall of the ruler from the status of a noble and also of his predominantly agrarian country (mahi), Bhishma warned (96-1, 2). Laws pertaining to war were the same irrespective of the status the conqueror had when he launched his campaign.
Bhishma said that an opponent who had lost his shield or was surrendering or was laying down his arms should not be arrested or harassed. He advised the conquering ruler of the agro-pastoral territory (bhumipa) not to go to war with one captured by his might. The latter should be kept in prison for one year whether he consented to be a subordinate of the former or not.
This policy was to be adopted also in the case of a virgin (kanya) captured by a warrior and in the case of the wealth taken by force from the defeated ruler. Victory did not by itself validate permanent annexation of the property of the defeated ruler. (96-3 to 5) Bhishma indicated that Yudhishtira was not entitled to keep Hastinapura with him for more than one year though he had won the battle of Kurukshetra in a decisive manner. He had to release all the prisoners of war. Dharmavijaya did not lead to formation of a new empire headed by the conqueror. No province of the conquered could be converted into a colony of the conqueror.
The conqueror might have deprived the criminals of his and the conquered territory of the wealth that they had acquired illegally. But he could not attach that wealth or even use it. He had to hand it over to the judiciary (Brahmanas). If the criminals sought pardon, he should return that wealth to them. This rule was applicable in the case of conquests also.
According to Rajadharma an anointed king (raja) might go to war only with an anointed king. One who was not a king (raja) was not entitled to hurl weapons against an opponent who was a king. It was not an issue of merely maintaining status distinctions between unequals and proper relations beteen equals.
It was intended to ensure that the sovereign rights of an anointed king were not challenged by any one other than an anointed king. If after the troops of both the sovereign rulers had been mobilized if any jurist, Brahmana, intervened to make them arrive at a treaty of peace, they should immediately declare truce, Bhishma said.
If either of the two contending kings rejected mediation by the jurist, he would be violating the code of conduct (maryada) that is valid for ever (sasvata). Not all kings (rajans) were members of the Kshatriya class. The latter were required to honour the Brahmans (jurists). If a violator of rules of war claimed that he was not a Kshatriya, he should thereafter not be counted as a Kshatriya and should not be admitted to any assembly (samsada) of Kshatriyas. He was treated to be a violator of the principles and provisions of dharma.
A ruler of an essentially agrarian territory (mahipati) who was not a Kshatriya and yet wanted to be a conqueror (vijigishu) was advised not to follow the conduct of such a violator of dharma. Dharma covered not only social laws but also state laws. It covered also inter-national laws. There is no gain (labha) that is superior to the gain made through a victory (vijaya) secured in accordance with dharma, Bhishma said.
The king (raja) was told that the best policy (naya) to win over the discrete individuals (bhutas) who were outside the civilised community of Aryas (that is, rich Vaisyas) was to speak to them kindly and give them articles that would make them lead an affluent (bhoga) life. If he did not do so and instead adopted improper and harsh steps they would tend to leave their country, svarashtra.
These persons (bhutas) referred to as 'anarya were not aliens. They did not belong to any of the new four classes (varnas) which had been granted the status of free citizens, Aryas and enabled to have personal property. The rashtra included both these new classes (varnas) and the persons on the periphery (bhutas) who followed the practices that were in vogue since the ancient times but had not fallen in line with the new socio-economic codes. The latter might become unfriendly if antagonized by the king and would wait for his fall. (6 to 13)
These persons who had become unfriendly (amitra) waited for him to get into difficulty quickly. As the rajaprakrti comprising the king and members of hhis family and intimate friends and associates got into difficulty they became happy. They were against that king (raja) and not against their country (rashtra)The dissident (amitra) should not be allowed to walk away. His wishes should not be ignored. By paying him reparations, he might be won over and he might even give his life for the king, Bhishma said (96-15). .
Bhishma told such dissidents that the civil administrator (naradhipa) with whom they were angry would be satisfied with even a small payment as compensation for the damage caused by them and that he attached more importance to purity in life.
Bhishma was pointing out that the anaryas were guilty of resorting to prohibited means of livelihood and should pay a token fine and the king would recompense them for the damage caused and allow them to function as usual from the periphery. It was a minor revolt against the new laws and could be tided over by the policy of give and take. (96-16)
The governor (parthiva) of the rural areas whose peoplejanapada) were loyal to that king (rajaka) and whose servants and officers (sachivas) too were loyal had firm roots (drdamula). Parthiva had the status of a rajaka which was lower than that of a sovereign king (raja) (96-17). One who honoured the Rtvig (minister for protocol and vigilance), Rajapurohita (political guide), Acarya (the teacher) and other Vedic scholars who deserved to be respected was said to know the needs and views of the social world (loka) of commonalty ( (96-18).
It was by this method the chief of the cultural aristocrats (suras) was able to acquire control over the agrarian commonalty (mahi). If the governor (parthiva) of the rural areas followed this method, as a vijigishu he would gain control over the affairs and issues (vishaya) that had been assigned to Indra, the chief of the nobility. (96-19)
Bhishma told Yudhishtira that Pratardana (Alarka whose rule lasted several decades) defeated Parikshit and took away to his capital all the wealth and medicine and grains that the latter had stored, leaving behind only the agricultural lands (bhumi) of the defeated ruler. These were treated as proper gains. The defeated ruler could not be deprived of his sovereign rights over his territory. Land was an immovable asset.
Divodasa (who was patronized by Sakra Indra) carried away all articles that were required for Agnihotra rites and for feeding the guests and for pleasing the scholars, Vipras, but the latter did not approve this act. Nabhaga who had the status of an associate ruler (sarajaka) gave away his entire country (rashtra) except the wealth that belonged to the Vedic scholars (srotris) and the researchers (tapasas) as fees (dakshina) to the guests and priests who attended the sacrifice performed by him. He did not have any right over the property of these scholars. Nabhaga was totally selfless. (96-20 to 22)
Bhishma told Yudhishtira that the older system which placed only certain categories of wealth in the hands of the king (raja) who was well-versed (had jnana) in (state) laws (dharma) was the best. The king was not the master of all that he surveyed. (96-23) The mahipati (ruler of agrarian tracts) who desired to conquer for himself all the real estates (bhutima) should resort to acquisition of knowledge of all disciplines (vidyas) and should not resort to deceptive illusion (maya) and swagger (dambha), Bhishma counselled (96-24).
Yudhishtira remonstrated that the dharma of no other class was as sinful as that of the Kshatras, for when the king (raja) marched against and declared war on another king, he killed many prominent natives (mahajana) of that country (97-1). He wanted to know by what deeds a Parthiva (governor of the rural areas) could conquer all the social worlds (lokas). The Parthiva was not necessarily a Kshatriya. He was often a member of the agrarian commonalty.
Bhishma said that a king (raja) who put down (nigraha) the sinners and gathered to himself the pious (sadhus) and performed sacrifices (yajna) and offered charity (dana) became pure and free from blemishes (97-3).
A king who was intent on victory (vijaya) and thrust hardships on the discrete individuals (bhutas) on the periphery who were not protected by any social group or state should not ignore them. After gaining victory he should redevelop the economy of the subjects (prajas) of the state. This step would meet the needs of these individuals also. They would be given the status of prajas and the rights of citizenship. (97-4)
Such kings got rid of their sins through charity (dana), sacrifice (yajna) and strenuous endeavour (tapas). By bestowing favours (anugraha) on the suffering discrete individuals (bhutas) of the periphery they increased their virtues (97-5). The reaper ensures that the grains are not harmed or destroyed by weeds. So too, the troops killed many enemies with their weapons while freeing the victims of those enemies. The king had to make amends by fully rehabilitating those individuals (bhutas) after the war. In all wars the people on the borders were the worst hit, Bhishma noted. (6,7)
One who protected these bhutas from loss of wealth, killing, hardships caused by the mercenaries (dasyus) of the feudal lords and gave them life and wealth and happiness was considered to be an (ideal) overlord (virata). While the kings (rajas) under him looked after their respective subjects (prajas) residing in the hinterland, the overlord (virata) was required to protect the peoples on the borders of the states of the quarreling kings. Every king who launched a war against his neighbour was required to pay the reparations, whether he won or lost the war (97-8). [Virata is not to be interpreted as the great god whose authority prevailed everywhere. He was the head of a federation of five states.]
A king who performed all sacrifices (yajnas) to mark the end of the war and offered the fees (dakshina) necessary in guarantee of protection (abhaya) from likely harm caused by his ravaging troops was regarded as one who had acted in an honourable (bhadra) manner. He benefited from such conduct. He also acquired a place in the social world of nobles headed by Indra. He had risked his life by waging war to protect the Brahmana jurist. This was compared to the performance of a sacrifice (yajna) with unlimited fees (dakshina) offered to priests and guests. The nobility did not find in the social world of commoners any thing that was superior to the valour of Kshatriyas by which one hit the enemy with arrows and received on his chest arrows cast in reply. The warrior gains a permanent place in the cadre of nobility with all willingness to the extent to which he has marks of injury on his skin, received on the battlefield. (97-9 to 12)
With the blood that he shed on the battlefield he gets freed of all sins he has committed. A Kshatriya who bears the pains caused to him in war through that strenuous endeavour (tapas) reaches a higher place according to those who know the codes (dharma) of war, a part of Rajadharma. People depend on the rains for their livelihood.
Many social leaders, who were righteous (dharmapurushas) but were afraid to come forward, sought protection by the warriors. Bhishma wanted the warriors to accord them the necessary protection but they should not make the people (jana) function as another army. He was not for a militarised commonalty.The social leaders (purushas) who upheld the provisions of social and state laws (dharma) wanted the institution of army to be solely responsible for the protection of the people. (97-13 to 16)
If the commoners (manushyas) and social leaders (purushas) who had been thus protected were thankful to the warriors (kshatriyas) and along with the nobles (devas) saluted them, the warriors would respond properly and justly and not otherwise, Bhishma warned. Whether the troops who were meant for protection turned into an oppressive force or not depended on how they were treated at the end of the war.
All those persons in the lead appear to be alike. But on the battlefield the differences among them become obvious. Some are brave and go against the enemy while some hesitate. Some flee from the field. Some go to the nobles seeking help leaving behind their companions to face the foe. Bhishma was commenting on the behaviour of those warrior-leaders who were trying to mobilize the support of the aristocrats who were ordinarily averse to war. Bhishma advised Yudhishtira not to procreate such low types of leaders who would betray their followers and colleague and return to the comforts of their homes. Indra and other nobles considered as inauspicious the presence of such cowards who had betrayed their colleagues. They were not to be treated as Kshatriyas, Bhishma said. (97-17 to 29)
One who died on the battlefield was praised and worshipped by the commoners for having upheld his svadharma and was counted among the members of the social world of nobles led by Sakra Indra. A warrior who did not turn his back gained a status equal to that of Indra in the social world of commoners. One, who fell, hit by enemies surrounding him, gained a permanent place in the world of heroes. Bhishma was trying to dispel Yudhishtiras grief. (97-30 to 32)
Yudhishtira wanted to know what social status a warrior who died on the battlefield was assigned. Bhishma drew his attention to the conversation between Rajarshi Ambarisha and Sakra Indra, a great warrior and noble (deva) of the Vedic times who fought almost alone against the feudal warlords, asuras. Ambarisha, son of Nabhaga, went to the enclave of the nobles to have an audience with Sakra Indra and his secretaries (sachivas). What Bhishma has outlined may be treated as the outlook of the aristocratic school of thought represented by Indra on how true warriors were to be rewarded. (98-1 to 3)
Ambarisha found there his former general seated on a platform which was constantly rising. It indicated that the general who earlier ranked lower than the king had secured a rank higher than that of the king and been admitted to the nobility. Even a Rajarshi could not get a place among them. Ambarisha wanted to know from Vasava, the great Indra who was Arjunas godfather, how Sudeva merited his elevation. Ambarisha had extended the boundaries of his essentially agrarian country to the shores of the sea and administered it according to the rules prescribed and was steadfast in performing the activities prescribed by the code (sastra) of duties (dharma) for the classes (varnas). He claimed that he had gone through formal schooling under a teacher and studied the Vedas from the point of view of social laws (dharma) and acquired special knowledge in political science (rajasastra). (98-4 to 7)
Ambarisha had entertained the guests with food and water, met the needs of the elders (pitrs) through personal offerings and the expectations of the sages (rshis) through self-study (svadhyaya) and performed noble sacrifices (yajnas) to please the nobles (devas). He had thus performed the duties of a commoner as prescribed by Vedic dharma. He had adhered to the rules prescribed in the codes of kshatradharma, as constituting the duties of administrators. He had also scored over his opponents in war, he told Vasava, an Indra. He wanted to know from that king of nobles (devaraja) how Sudeva who had been a general under him and was a gentle and calm (prasanta) soldier could rise above him in status. Sudeva had not done any faultless feats or plased the dvijas (Brahman jurists). How could he gain such status of a charismatic and benevolent leader, aisvarya, when it was not easy for even the nobles (devas) to get that status? (98-8 to 11)
Ambarisha was earlier a civil administrator (nrpati) enforcing law and order and then a chief of agrarian tracts (mahipati). Sakra Indra pointed out to him that he had personally witnessed Sudevas feats. When Ambarisha was troubled by three militants (rakshasas), Samyama, Viyama and Suyama who were enforcing yamas, prohibitory orders in the social periphery, none in the organized commonalty (loka) could overcome them. They were sons of Satasrnga (one with a hundred horns). Satasrnga must have been the leader of a battalion of Srngas, a group of armed lancers-cum-woodcutters operating from the woods. Ambarisha was performing a sacrifice in the interests of the nobles (devas) when the three militants tried to disrupt it. They came with a huge army and took away his subjects (prajas) as prisoners.
Ambarisha was misled by his amatyas and had removed Sudeva from his post of the head of the army. Later as advised by them he despatched Sudeva to destroy the militants. At that time, Ambarisha was but a nara adhipa. Later when he became owner of huge wealth he was addressed as vasudha adihpa, a status similar to that of Vasava. Ambarisha had directed Sudeva not to return without conquering the militants and rescuing the prisoners. Sudeva felt that the huge army of militants could not be defeated either by the nobles (suras) or the warlords (asuras). He was asked to lead the troops placed at his disposal by the nobles and use the weapons given by them. But this contingent was not even a fraction of the militant army. Hence Sudeva asked his troops to return to where Ambarisha, nrpati then, had camped and went to meet Mahadeva.
Mahadeva who was a Rudra was jagatpati, chief of the social universe of unorganised and non-settled cadres. He had his camps near the crematoria outside villages and towns, marked by his Rshabha (bull) flag. As Sudeva prepared to cut off his own head, Mahadeva stopped him from that violent act (sahasa). After listening to Sudevas account, Mahadeva placed at his disposal a huge full-fledged army and all sorts of weapons and his own chariot. Samkara, the head of the academy (bhagavan) gave him the pinaka weapon and a shield. With that army and as advised, without getting down from the chariot, Sudeva defeated the militants (rakshasas) and their snipers (paisacas) and rescued the prisoners. But Sudeva and Viyama were fatally injured while fighting with each other, Sakra said.
Sakra Indra distinguished between the great and vast war (sangrama) which Sudeva fought against the organized militants (rakshasas) who while stationed in the periphery paralyzed the hinterland (rajya) of Ambarisha, and the minor battle (yuddha) that Ambarishas police composed of free men (naras) were trained for. The full-fledged army that Sudeva led had a large purpose, liberation of the subjects who had been taken away by the militants as hostages. It was a war between two orientations, a noble one defended by Sudeva and Mahadeva and one of merciless power (bala) as entertained by the militants (rakshasas). Ordinary wars were between kings upholding equal values and calling for sacrifice, war as yajna. In Indras view, every one who was specially trained for the great war should be called as a warrior (yodha) entitled (adhikara) to take part in war (yuddha) (98-12,13).
At Ambarishas request, Indra explained the dos and donts pertaining to battles and the role of the official in charge of protocol, Rtvig. The warrior who climbed the chariot of the commander of the enemy after killing him had the prowess of Vishnu and a status equal to that of Brhaspati (98-42).
The Vedic hymns have presented Vishnu, Prajapati Vivasvan and Manu Vaivasvata as authorities who directed the feats of the great warrior, Sakra Indra, who was engaged in a relentless campaign against the confederation (chakra) of feudal lords (asuras), led by Sambara. Vishnu was as Prabhu head of the larger society and ranked higher than Vivasvan who was a Prajapati and Vaivasvata who was a Manu. Indra headed the nobility and led the army and controlled the treasury while Brhaspati looked after the interests of the commonalty. Sakra Indra granted the successful commander (Sudeva) a rank equal to that of Brhaspati. In the Vedic polity, Indra was superior to Brhaspati and Prajapati was superior to both of them.
Sakra said one who scored victory over the chief (nayaka) of the forces of the enemy or his son (kumara) deserved to be honoured. If he brought as prisoner any leader he might be assigned a place in the social world of nobles. No warrior who died on the battlefield was to be wept over as he had by that death gained a place in svargaloka.
One who always followed the rules of war was deemed to have followed the provisions of sanatana dharma, like strenuous endeavour (tapas) to reach a higher status by a feat which others considered to be impossible. He was declared to have gone through all the four stages of life (asramas) whenever he might have died (98-43 to 47). In war, the aged and the children and the women were not to be harmed and so too those who had surrendered(48).Sakra himself had killed several powerful warlords, daityas and danavas, and was installed as head of the nobles (devas). (98-49, 50)
BHISHMA ON RAJAPUROHITA
THE KING'S POLITICAL GUIDE
Yudhishtira wanted to know what traits a Brahman jurist who was competent to enquire into the kings acts of omission and commission, into what he had done in pursuit of his duty (karya) and what he had done that were not within the ambit of his duties (akarya). He should not only examine those acts but also get those prescribed duties carried out and the projects completed. The political guide selected and appointed by the king should have the ability to protect the gentle and pious (sadhu) and to keep at a distance those who were not so.
In this connection, Bhishma recalled the conversation between Pururavas, son of Ila, and Vayu, the Vedic official in charge of the open terrains. Pururavas belonged to a period when the scheme of four classes (varnas) had not yet been finalized. He was a Gandharva. His mother, Ila, was an Apsaras and his father, Budha, was a Vidyadhara. His wife, Urvasi, too was an Apsaras. They belonged to a period when the institutions of marriage, family and home had not yet been crystallized. Pururavas wanted to know from where the cadre of Brahmans emerged and from where the other three classes emerged. In other words, he wanted to be told which cadres would be admitted to the new class of Brahmans and which cadres would be required to join one of the other three classes.
The Vedic official, Vayu, referred to the stand that Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas were created from the face, the arms and the thighs of Brahma and that to serve those classes, he created the Shudras from his feet. This picture is a considerably later interpolation and needs to be overlooked and even repudiated. Pururavas was a ruler of the later Vedic period. Nahusha and Yayati were his successors.
The Rgveda refers to these four classes in only one of its hundreds of hymns. Even that sole reference in the Purushasukta is a later interpolation and is not related to the main theme of that hymn. There has been a systematic interpolation of the above picture where the four classes were envisaged as having emerged from the different parts of Purusha or Brahma in several places in the two epics (itihasas) and the numerous legends (puranas) and in the socio-cultural codes (dharmasastras). This picture which has played havoc in social relations among the different sections of the population of this sub-continent during the last few centuries needs to be set at naught.
I have pointed out that before the scheme of four socio-economic classes (varnas) was finalized, during the later Vedic period, there were four classes in the core societynobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras), the free middle class (gandharvas) and the commoners (manushyas). Modern scholars, both Indian and western have erred seriously in describing them as gods, demons, celestial musicians and men respectively. They were all human beings.
According to Bhishma, the Vedic official, Matarisvan (Vayu), Brahma created the Brahmana from his face for wielding political power (rajasattam) and the Kshatriya from his hands and the Vaisya from his thighs and to render ancillary service (paricharya) to these three classes he created the fourth class, the Shudra, from his feet. (72-4,5) The Brahmana from the time he was born, that is, was identified as a separate authority to be followed by the agro-pastoral commonalty (prthvi) was the charismatic benevolent chief (isvara) of all discrete individuals (bhutas) (especially of the social periphery who were not protected by any social group and were hence economically and politically weak persons). He was the protector (gupta) of the encyclopedia of social and state laws (dharmakosa). (72-6) This statement does not clarify whether the Brahmana (jurist) who was vested with the authority to interpret and implement social and state laws (dharma) was originally a member of the commonalty (prthvi) or not.
Brahma, the head of the academy of jurisprudence and other studies, then empowered the Kshatriya to wield coercive power (dandadhara) to control the commonalty (prthvi). This second class (varna) was appointed to protect (anugupta) the subjects (prajas) of the state even as the Brahmana jurist protected the laws (dharma). The Vaisya was required to keep apart for these three classes, necessary wealth (dhana) and grains (dhanya). The system of social administration introduced by Brahma required the Shudras render the three classes ancillary service (paricharya). (72-7,8) It may be noted here that this statement by Vayu did not envisage the Brahmans as a class of teachers or priests and the Kshatriyas as a class of warriors. It envisaged the Vaisyas as a rich bourgeoisie owning agricultural lands.
It may be remarked here that the later pictures and interpretations that presented Brahmans as sacerdotal class, Kshatriyas as military class, Vaisyas as mercantile class and Shudras as servile class were not accurate ones. Pururavas wanted to know from Vayu whether the agro-pastoral lands and their commonalty (prthvi) which followed economic activities and had wealth (vitta) belonged to the dvijas, the twice-born as translated often (that is, to the class of scholars or to the initiated) Kshatriya associates (Kshattra-bandhu) according to the social and state laws (dharma). (9)
Vayu said that the learned who knew the social laws (dharma) well held that as the cadre of scholars (vipras) were senior (jyeshta) to other cadres moving in the social universe (jagat) and were born among its higher ranks (were abhijana) everything belonged to them. Hence whatever the Brahmana ate or wore or gave belonged to him. He was the teacher (guru) of all the classes (varnas) and was the senior (jyeshta) and the best (sreshta) among them, Vayu claimed. Even as a woman in the absence of her husband accepted her brother-in-law as her husband, the commonalty (prthvi) accepted the kshatras as its protector in the absence of the Brahmans. This was the practice in the earliest times and this order of precedence might undergo changes during times of emergency, he said. (72-10 to 12)
Pururavas belonged to the class of gandharvas who were above the commoners (manushyas, prthvi) and below the aristocrats (devas, svarga). The classes of Brahmans and Kshatriyas were formed by assigning the members of the different cadres included in the social universe of gandharvas to one of them on the basis of their aptitudes. The classes of Vaisyas and Shudras were formed by assigning the employers and educated and wealthy amongst the commoners (manushyas) to the former and the rest to the latter.
Only by performing his duties (svadharma) Pururavas could obtain a place in the nobility, Vayu pointed out. He had to also score victory over the commonalty (bhumi). He should surrender all that he had gained to the Brahmanajurist who was well-versed in the ways of life (vrtta) prescribed by the Vedas and their ancillaries and knew the social and state laws (dharma) and was engaged in strenuous endeavour (tapas) to know new ways and means and was satisfied with staying within the ambit of his personal duty (svadharma) and was not interested in pursuing the economic occupations (vitta) of others. (72-13, 14)
The Brahmana was to be a complete and trained intellectual and one born in a noble clan and modest and be capable of guiding the king through his unusual (vicitra) rhetoric in the best (sreya) policy (naya). The king (raja) should go along the path of dharma shown by the Brahmana jurist. The king was expected to stand by kshatra dharma and attend (susrushu) on the guide without being an egotist. He would be then well-trained scholar and be for ever successful.
His political guide (rajapurohita) too would have a share in the credit for all his dharma activities. Besides, all the subjects (prajas) of the state would take high shelter under their king (raja) and be disciplined in their vocations (vrtta) and their respective duties (svadharma) and could live without fear (bhaya) from any quarter. In a country (rashtra) where the people followed the path of the pious (sadhu) who were protected by the king (raja), the king was entitled to one-fourth of the credit for upholding the social laws, Vayu said. (72-15 to 18)
The later Vedic core society had four classes, nobles (devas), commoners (manushyas), elders who were mostly retired and reformed feudal lords (pitaras) and the vast free middle class of intellectuals (gandharvas) and also the mobile technocrats (uragas) and the militants (rakshasas). All these cadres survived on what was offered in the sacrifices (yajnas) performed by the king (raja) and the people, especially the rich. But where there was no king these sacrifices were not performed and all these cadres suffered as a result. The nobles (devatas) of the other society of the forests who were plutocrats and technocrats and the erstwhile feudal lords who were recognized as elders (pitaras) lived on what was offered to them at the sacrifices and other rites. This duty to ensure the performance of this welfare (yogakshema) activity prescribed by the social and state laws (dharma) was invested (pratishthita) in the king (raja).
When it is hot men take refuge in shade or water or wind and when it is cold in front of fire or under the sun. But in an anarchist area they have no shelter. Hence one who gives asylum gains great happiness as a result of that act for in the three social worlds there is no greater gift that can be offered than protection to the lives (prana) of others. The king played the roles of Indra (the protector and benefactor) and Yama (the magistrate who enforced the prohibitory orders) and hence was described as Dharmaraja. He functioned in different ways and kept aloft everything in the social world of commonalty, Vayu, the academician and spokesman of the open society, explained. (72-19 to 25)
Bhishma told Yudhishtira that the king (raja) should appoint as his political guide (purohita) a scholar who knew many disciplines of study and could critically evaluate the trends in the fields of social welfare (dharma) and economy (artha) and the common features among them as well as the gaps between them. Where the king (raja) had a political guide (purohita) who was committed to social and state laws (was a dharmatma) and knew what counsel should be given to the king and others and the king too had the same traits, all (the people) would be happy. The political guide was expected to give definite directions on matters pertaining to political economy (artha), socio-cultural affairs (dharma) and personal emotions (kama). In this connection Bhishma drew Yudhishtiras attention to a statement of Usanas that a king (raja) who had no political guide (purohita) was to be spit out (ucchishta).
A king who had no political guide (purohita) would easily be captured by militants (rakshas), feudal lords (asuras), counter-intelligentsia (paisacas), vicious technocrats (uragas) and groups that behaved like vultures (pakshis). All these groups had their posts in the forests just outside the borders of the state and could pounce on the subjects of the state easily. The guide had to remind the king of the important duties he had to perform, acquaint him with the major developments and the auspicious deeds he had to perform in pursuit of his personal desires (ishta) and about the needs of his wives. He had to arrange for music and dances that would keep the mahipati (ruler of the agrarian tracts who unlike a rajan lived in a village rather than in the city) in good mood. The purohita had to select what pleasurable activities he might be engaged in. He had to also arrange for the ruler and his subjects paying tributes (bali) to the Visvedeva representing that area.
The Visvedevas belonged to the upper stratum of the landed gentry and formed the electoral college from which the thirty-three members of the governing elite (devas) were selected. The mahipati had to ensure that the visvedevas were maintained through such compulsory offerings (bali). The purohita was required to guide the agrarian ruler on the relations of the latter with the influential Visvedevas. (It is not sound to interpret that the king was required to offer animal sacrifice to placate the mysterious forces of nature.)
The political guide (purohita) had to be superior to the king who was well-versed in political science (rajasastra) and give helpful suggestions to the ruler who was a charismatic and benevolent leader of free men (naresvara) but did not belong to the cadre of warriors (na-kshatra). [It is not sound to interpret that the purohita should be the kings astrologer and know the movements of the favourable stars.] The political guide (purohita) should know the hidden causes of the various developments in the states and how to frustrate the moves made on behalf of the enemy, Usanas said.
If the two, the king and his political guide both stood by social and state laws (dharma) and were highly respected personages and were engaged in strenuous endeavour (tapas) for noble causes, the subjects of the state flourished (prajas) and also the foster-sons (sutas) of the nobles (devas) and the elders (pitrs). The two officials of the state were required to be large-hearted and be equal in intelligence (cetas) and respect each other. By honouring both the purohita who was a Brahma jurist and the King was a Kshatra the subjects (prajas) would obtain happiness (sukham), Bhishma said. By disrespecting them the subjects (prajas) would be only ruined, he warned. For, the two, Brahman jurist and Kshatriya king were the root (mulam) of all classes (varnas) it was said. In this connection he cited the conversation between Pururavas, son of Ila, and Kashyapa.
Pururavas wanted to know why when the two officials could succeed only by functioning together the Brahman jurists at times struck down (prajaha, killing the progeny) the Kshatriya lineages and the Kshatriyas rulers similarly struck down the Brahman lineages. He also wanted to know under whom of the two the other classes (varnas) should take shelter and of the two who gave shelter to all. It may be noted here both Brahmans and Kshatriyas had belonged to the gandharva cadres while the Vaisyas and the Shudras to the commonalty (manushyas). The latter two classes were not entitled to hold political power. Kashyapa pointed out that the scholars considered the people of the country (rashtra) as belonging to the Kshatriyas (who were rulers).
If there was a conflict between the Brahman jurists and the Kshatriya executive the country would be overrun by the brigands (dasyus) who were on the social periphery outside the state and they would bring all the classes (varnas) under their tutelage, Kashyapa warned. If the Kshatriya ruler ignored the Brahman guide, he and his sons would cease to be taught the Vedas and this would be a big loss to the Kshatriya lineage. It would not flourish economically and would become exposed to attacks by the brigands (dasyus).
If the Brahman guide and the Kshatriya ruler worked together they would be able to protect each other and both lineages would flourish. This was indicated by the statement that the Kshatriyas were born to Brahman women (yoni) and Brahmans to Kshatriya women. If the two officials of the state, the Kshatriya ruler and his Brahman guide always supported each other they would obtain great respect. If this traditional agreement between the two broke down everything would come to a standstill and all would be perplexed over what should be done and who should be followed.
The subjects (prajas) of the state belonging to the four classes (varnas) would get perplexed like the passengers of a ship wrecked in the ocean and would begin to decay. If the cadre of Brahmans (jurists) was protected like a tree, it would yield sweet and valuable guidance; if not it would ever lead to sorrow and sin. Where a Brahman student was unable to follow the path of study of jurisprudence and sought protection for himself it would not be a surprise if the nobles (devas) withheld their support and the country suffered from calamities, Kashyapa said.
If any sinner killed a woman or a Brahman and got supporters for his deed in the court (sabha) and felt no sense of fear even in the proximity of the king (raja), it would be a threat to that Kshatriya ruler, Kashyapa warned. He told Pururavas that when many became sinners, the nobles (devas) would approach Rudra and the latter would destroy all whether they were pious (sadhu) or impious. Pururavas wanted to know from Kashyapa more about Rudra and where he came from for it was seen that gentle beings (sattva) were seen to kill other gentle beings. He did not find all sinners to be aggressive or ignorant.
Kashyapa said that Rudra might be described as the atma in the heart of the manavas, that is, as reflecting the social conscience of the new classes (varnas) who followed Manava Dharmasastra and the Arthasastra of Pracetas Manu. When necessary the members upholding this conscience would destroy their own social body (or class) and also other social bodies (classes). Scholars compared Rudra, the outraged social conscience, to a typhoon or to a dark cloud that might burst any time. Pururavas was not impressed by this comparison of Rudra with a typhoon and a dark cloud. Even as these two appear together, the commonalty (manushas) was seen to act together under the influence of lust and rage and delusion (moha) while killing. He implied that the commonalty was moved not by social conscience but by outrage.
Pururavas could not accept the interpretation that it was a sense of outrage that led to the pious as well as the impious being destroyed indiscriminately and that it should be defended as genuine anger of Rudra. Kashyapa said that even as the severe step of searing one individual taken by the Vedic civil judge (Jatavedas,Agni) to discipline him led to all in the village being similarly disciplined, the step taken by the noble, Rudra, to rid one person oh his distraction (vimoham) led to all whether sinners or not being influenced similarly.
Pururavas could not appreciate the stand that an offender was punished for his offence under the concept of danda while both sinners and virtuous needed to be disciplined by the deterrent steps taken by the Rudras whether what they were doing were bad or good. If this policy were to be justified why any one should do good deeds, he asked. Kashyapa said that non-sinners were in contact with sinners and had both virtue and vice in their traits. One should not have both traits and should not do even a bit of sins. Hence deterrent measures were necessary, he explained.
Pururavas was not satisfied with the defence of danda as a deterrent social measure to which all were to be submitted whether they were offenders or not. He pointed out that in the commonalty (bhumi) there were both pious (sadhu) and impious who were being supported (dharaya) by its laws and that it was so in the nobility (devas) that was under the jurisdiction of Surya (Aditya) and in the vast free class (of gandharvas and others) that was under the jurisdiction of Vayu. The laws of the class dependent on water (apa), that is, varuna, purified every one, both impious and impious. He recommended measures that would be reformatory rather than punitive or deterrent.
Kashyapa pointed out that what was seen in the social world of commonalty was not the way of life noticed among the other two classes. Every social world had its special features. If both the virtuous and the sinners were to go to the other region after their present career in the present social world of commonalty there would be a difference in the type of welcome that they would receive there.
The social world of the nobility offered permanent happiness to its members. An intellectual who was a student of jurisprudence (brahma) after his training could be admitted to the aristocracy on a permanent basis and granted all its immunities and privileges. But a sinner expelled from the commonalty as a punitive measure would suffer in the ghettoes (naraka) for ever. Even there he would be tossed about from one type of suffering to another.
Kashyapa said that the subjects (prajas) of the state would suffer if there were sharp differences between the Brahman (jurist and political guide) and the Kshatriya (ruler). Knowing this the chief of the free men and civil administrator (nrpa) should be always guided in his projects (karya) by a purohita who had a vast learning. He should not be a mere specialist in a particular field (naekavidya). A ruler should first select a political guide (Brahmana) and then get anointed. This was the best method for fulfilling all his obligations under social and state laws (dharma), Kashyapa said. The Brahmana, especially the jurist and political guide (purohita) had to be given precedence, according to the laws.
It was imperative for the king (raja) to carry out this duty of honouring the purohita first on all occasionsand acting with his permission and under his direction. The political guide and jurist (brahmam) and the ruler (kshatram) helped each other to flourish. The king (raja) should always worship the Brahmana guide with special attention. Bhishma interpreted that the above recommendation was meant by the stand that the Rajapurohita was the master (svami) of the king (raja) and all others. (including social gatherings for charitable purposes)
Yudhishtira had wanted to know to which social class (varna) the jurist invited by the king to be his political guide should belong. It was a period when persons with similar traits (gunas) could be found in all the four social classes and the efforts to ensure that all members of a particular class had similar traits had not yet proved successful. One who was an intellectual entitled to interpret the rules and laws was revered as a Brahmana irrespective of the family in which he was born and his vocation. Bhishma suggested that the king should realize that it was difficult to gain both benefits, socio-cultural (dharma) and politico-economic (artha) and hence he should accept a scholar who was healthy and free from rage and desires and had conquered his senses in every respect. He would insist only on the ability of that guide to give proper counsel.
In all sacrifices (yajnas) performed by the king, the role of an expert in constitution (Brahma) should be performed only by one who was an expert in Atharvaveda (Brahma). Bhishma was ruling out those who had studied only the three Vedas, Rg, Yajur and Sama, which were open to all the three higher classes, Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas. The Rajapurohitawas not a religious post. He did not belong to the ecclesiastical order. He should advise the king on the rites in honour of Rudra, the noble who inspired the intellectuals of the forest. The schools of thought known after Pracetas, Rshabha, Soma, Mahadeva, Samkara, Visalaksha and Kumara were all inspired by the Rudra school of thought. Bhishma belonged to this school.
The political guide (purohita) took upon himself the onus for the shortcomings in the administration of the state by the king (raja). The wrongdoings of the amatyas who headed the bureaus, indifference of the cabinet ministers (mantris), corruption of the officials connected with the economic affairs (vyavahara), punishing the innocent, failure to punish the guilty, harassing the peoples of the areas where there was no revolt and harassment of the weaker sections by the officers and employees of the state were the seven major shortcomings. The political guide should use methods suggested in Atharvaveda (which incorporated the socio-political constitution of the Vedic times) to ensure that the king made amends and was exonerated of the charges. A king who was eager to govern the subjects properly and was exonerated of the above seven shortcomings would be admitted to the nobility along with his amatyas and purohita.
Bhishma then cited Brhaspatis counsel to Indra, the head of the house of nobles. Brhaspati, an Atharva-Angiras ideologue-cum-activist (Brahmavadi), had the status of a noble and was the teacher (guru) of the nobles as well as the commoners. He held that the three Vedas, Rg, Yajur and Sama, did not deal with the issues of pacification, energising and retaliation, the three methods that the kings had to know.
Yajnavalkya who wanted the system of yajnas to be effective and who was the best among those who knew the institution of Brahma (the socio-political constitution as outlined by Atharvaveda) had said that according to the chief justice (Brahma), the three Vedas were of no use. [The editors of Mahabharata who were inspired by Krshna Dvaipayana refrained from condemning KrshnaYajurveda.] Dependence on a Rgveda scholar would ruin the state (rajyam), on a Samaveda scholar would affect the king (raja) adversely and on a Yajurveda guide would weaken the army (sena), it was said.
For the three purposes, administration of the predominantly rural areas (rajyam), protecting the interests of the king (raja) andthe departments directly under him and for strengthening the army, the methods mentioned in the Shukla Yajurveda were not to be used, Bhishma said. This work must have been in his view influenced by principles of anarchism and stateless and demilitarised society. Those methods were meant for persons other than jurists (Brahmans). Bhishma was against methods that subordinated the judiciary to the executive, even if the latter was deprived of its teeth, that is, of coercive power and the strength of the army behind it.According to the jurists, the Brahmans (jurists) and theKshatriyas (executives and warriors) might study all the four Vedas. Yet only a Brahman (Atharvan) who had studied all the four Vedas should be appointed as aRajapurohita, Bhishma said.
One who protected (raksha) the people from sufferings (kshata) was a Kshatriya even if he kept away from the system of four classes. Bhishma hinted that a Vratya should be treated as a Kshatriya if he fulfilled this requirement. The duties connected with the Atharvan formulae (mantras) were to be performed by the guide, purohita. Bhishma clarified that the rites that were to be performed in the presence of the third party adjudicator or tribunal (tretagni) and the domestic court (grahyagni) were common to all the three initiated classes,Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas.
Any member of these three classes could preside over that court. But only an Atharvan jurist could guide the king in his duties, Rajadharma. The traits needed in the political guide who was required to obtain for the incumbent to the post of a king (raja) the entitlement necessary for performing his royal duties, Rajadharma,could not be eased. The ban imposed by Yajnavalkya on unqualified persons, whether Brahmans or Kshatriyas or Vaisyas, to hold the post of Rajapurohita could not be altered.
The guide should be an expert in Atharvaveda and know all the six ancillaries to the Vedas and know the rules regarding the yajna rites. He should know the rules which made the king energetic (paushtika) and silenced (santika) the murmurs among the eighteen departments (tirthas) of the state and be free from diseases and have his senses restrained. He would not be an ornamental or weak king and would also not be arbitrary and arrogant. Only an experienced person who had proved his merit should be appointed as a Rajapurohita. A guide (purohita) who was himself eligible to be a king (raja) and who was well-trained in the science (sastra) of political policy (rajaniti) was the best guide for a king. He should know the weaknesses of the enemy. If such a guide was not available the king might appoint one who knew the other three Vedas (trayi) provided he was acquainted with the Atharvaveda also.
But a king should not follow the Brahmans who were against Kshatriya dharma and advocated non-violence (ahimsa). The traits of the guide (purohita) and those of the subjects (prajas) should be mutually complaisant,Bhishma counselled. Similarly the king and his guide should be able to think alike, be friendly with each other and trust each other and should endeavour hard and be resolute in their commitment to dharma. Then they would be able to work together for the progress of the subjects (prajas), the nobles (devas), the elders (pitrs) and their offspring (santana). If they did not respect each other the subjects would suffer. It is not apt to interpret that the Kshatriya class emerged from the Brahmana class. (Santiparva Ch.73)
Yudhishtira noted that the Brahman (head of the judiciary that upheld the Atharvan socio-political constitution) and the Kshatriya (the ruler who protected and governed the subjects) were the two officials mainly responsible for keeping the three social worlds (lokas) (urban patriciate, rural commonalty and the industrial frontier society) apart from one another and yet work together. He asked whether the welfare and security of the efforts (yogakshema) of the people of the rural areas (rashtra, rajya, desa, janapada) depended only on these two authorities. The Rajapurohita as an Atharvan upholding the constitution and the Rajan, the head of the state executive, together had been required to ensure the welfare and security of the commoners of the state. Bhishma explained that the security and welfare of the rural population of the state (rajyam) was the responsibility of the king (rajan) and that of the king, the responsibility of the Rajapurohita. The latter was superior to the king, but was not directly responsible for the security and welfare of the people of the state.
The Rajapurohita who was an expert in Atharvaveda (Brahma) was responsible for removing the sufferings of the subjects caused by unexpected disaster like famine and by their having offended the nobility (devas). [It is imperative that the term, devas, is not translated as gods.] The nobles might have withdrawn their support to the king and his subjects. [Often they did so when the king embarked on foolish ventures.] The Rajapurohita was expected to intervene and get that aid restored whether the error was that of the king or his subjects, the two parties to the compact on taxes and other aspects of governance of the state.
Though the nobles had withdrawn from governance by the end of the Vedic era, they had not withdrawn their aid to the state and the commoners. The king (rajan) had to bear the responsibility for the sufferings of the (newly admitted) subjects (prajas, domiciles) caused by the mistakes of the commoners (manushyas), for he was in direct contact with them. He had to use the coercive power (danda) vested in him to make them adhere to the rules and obey the laws.
The Rajapurohita who was a representative of the high judiciary (Brahma) and had access to the nobility (devas) would not interfere in a field of administration that was exclusively that of the king (rajan). A state which provided for these two posts and authorities would not suffer, Bhishma said. In this connection, he cited the conversation between King Mucukunda and Kubera who was the representative of the plutocrats (yakshas) and controlled the treasury in the Vedic polity before the times of Prthu, who headed a predominantly agro-pastoral economy.
Mucukunda, after establishing his authority over the agro-pastoral plains (bhumi, prthvi) of the commonalty (manushyas) marched against the capital of Kubera who controlled the frontier industrial society. Kubera (which post was then held by a son of Visravas) directed his troops (rakshas) who guarded the areas between the plains and the deep forests to beat back the troops of Mucukunda. Mucukunda who was defeated held his political guide, Vasishta, responsible for his defeat. Then Vasishta himself struggled hard to defeat the rakshasKuberas capital. Kubera took Mucukunda to task for breaking the traditions of kings of not depending on Brahmans for their battles and depending on their own prowess. who were controlling the peripheral areas and cleared the way for Mucukundas troops to reach
Mucukunda told him calmly the new policy introduced byBrahma, the chief of the constitution bench. He had created the two cadres, Brahmans (political guides) and Kshatriyas (rulers), in pursuit of a common purpose. Though they had different powers and authority both were entrusted with the task of administering the social world (loka) of commonalty (which included the rich (Vaisyas and the poor workers, Shudras). The task of strenuous endeavour and search for new means (tapas) and the duty to give counsel (mantra) on how to use the means available were kept permanently in the exclusive domain of the Brahmans (Atharvan political guides and ideologues).
The new policy outlined in the constitution (Brahma) authorized the Kshatriya ruler to use physical strength and missiles in war. The Brahmans were not allowed to use them. They could make the weapons and make the techniques available to the king but could not themselves use them. But in the governance of the subjects (prajas), the Rajapurohita (the Atharvan Brahman) and the Raja (a Kshatriya) had to work together.
Mucukunda hence should not be teased for seeking the help of Vasishta to overcome the Rakshasa militants. Kubera (who as a plutocrat, yaksha, controlled the rakshasas, the counterpart of the Kshatriyas of the core society) had to agree that the king was not wrong in egging Vasishta to find out new means to keep the militants at bay. Kubera told them that he would not give or take away from a commoner any land unless he was directed to do so by the charismatic benevolent authority (Isa) (who controlled the social periphery). Since the territory that Mucukunda sought was not given to Kubera for mining and other purposes but fell within his overlord-ship, Kubera was willing to give it gratis to Mucukunda, a ruler of the plains (prthvi). But Mucukunda, a Kshatriya, would not accept gift (dana). He would rule only the land that he had won by his prowess. He consented not to use the assistance of his Rajapurohita (in tapas and mantra, trying to find new means and formula for using them) for his venture and to follow Kshatriya dharma instead.
Bhishma said that a king who was guided by the Brahman (Rajapurohita) would conquer the (agro-pastoral) lands (bhumi) and would also become famous. The rule was that always the Brahman (the Atharvan scholar) should be in charge of the academy (teertha) where instructions were given and the Kshatriya alone should use the weapons. All objectives (artha) were stabilized by this system. Bhishma counselled Yudhishtira that the King should never give up his dharma and the dharma gains, that is, one-fourth of the produce offered by the subjects (prajas) as gift, as dharma. (Santiparva Ch.74)