THE ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY
The Art of Government
(7-99 to 112)
The verse (99) contains the chief direction given by politico-economic constitutions, Arthasastras, to the heads of state and to all individuals. Jha translates it as He shall strive to obtain what has not been obtained; what he has gained he shall preserve with care; he shall augment what has been preserved and what has been augmented he shall bestow (nikshipet) upon suitable recipients (patras). Dandaniti, the science of polity, used the term, tirthas, bureaus of the state, instead ofpatras. [Later writers interpreted tirthapatra as vessel containing potable water.]
The commentators of the medieval times thought that the above directive was to the Kshatriya. They held that unlike the Brahman the Kshatriya should not remain contented but should make attempts to procure what he did not possess. He should not spend all he had got as it had been said that ones expenditure should be less than his income. These commentators did not have adequate acquaintance with the functions of an economic state.
The editors of Dharmasastra insisted on the duty of being benevolent to those who deserved being helped. They did not develop the pragmatic theory of enrichment through investment and the distribution of the dividends rather than savings to the different bureaus of the state and sectors of the society through those bureaus. This theory belonged to the school of Arthasastra that welded together the sciences of economics and politics (varta and dandaniti).Dharmasastra stood for a stable society and a liberal government.
He shall recognize the four kinds of the means for accomplishing the purposes of man (purusharthas); and he shall always diligently and properly carry them into execution. The four purposes are dharma, artha, kama and moksha, ones socio-cultural development, economic progress, satisfaction of the need for sex (within the fold of marriage) and salvation (through spiritual awakening and self-realization). The four kinds are the four steps, acquiring, saving, augmenting and giving, the commentators point out. (100) But the editors of Manusmrti would not encourage immoral and unethical means to enrich oneself or the state.
Yet they do not rule out use of force to acquire what may be acquired justly. What has not been gained he shall seek to obtain by means of force (danda); what has been gained he shall save with careful attention; what has been saved he shall augment by adding to it; and what has been augmented he shall bestow on suitable recipients. (101) The reference is to using methods prescribed by the science of polity, Dandaniti, rather than to use of raw force or by employing the army or police and military strength.
The king was advised to always keep raised the rod (danda) that signified the sovereign power of the state and its coercive power. He should always display his leadership traits (paurusham, often wrongly interpreted as manliness). He should not display but should keep secret what he had collected as wealth (of information too). He should always explore to know the secrets of his foe. (102) This was necessary to thwart the evil intentions of the opponent.
Jha translates the next verse (103) as: Of him who has his force (danda) constantly operative (udyat), the whole world (jagat) stands in awe. He shall, therefore, subdue all men (sarva bhutas) by means of force (danda). Buhler translates it as: Of him who is always ready to strike, the whole world stands in awe; let him therefore make all creatures subject to himself even by the employment of force. Jones read it as: By a king whose forces are always ready for action the whole world may be kept in awe; let him then by a force always ready make all creatures living his own. While describing the social polity of the Vedic times and the early post-Vedic social polity it is imperative to recognize the implications of the sociological concepts behind the terms then in vogue. It is regretted that both western and modern Indian scholars have failed to interpret the above political theorem and counsel correctly.
The social worlds (lokas) that comprised organized and close-knit clans (kulas) and settled communities (jatis) were under formal and informal social control that set at naught all efforts by individual kings to discipline them or dominate them through measures recommended in the science of polity, dandaniti. The State did not and could not and was not eligible to use coercive power against the organized social worlds, communities and clans.On the other hand the social universes (jagats) that were cross-regional populations lacking this cohesion could be and needed to be brought under this discipline and for this political control and threat of use of coercive power as signified by the raised (udyat) rod (danda) were necessary.
It was necessary that all the discrete individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery were similarly brought under the orbit of the state. They could be disciplined only by the threat to use coercive power against those who were recalcitrant. These individuals were aware of their rights and limits of their ability to stand apart and guard them. It is not sound to proceed under the impression that the state as visualized by Manusmrti was a feudal one that resorted to force against all its subjects. The power of the state came into play where that of the society ended. Political control and discipline enforced by the state could be and were required to be in operation only where formal and informal social control was absent or was weak.
Jha translates the verse (104) as: He shall always behave without guile and never with guile (maya); well protected himself, he shall fathom the guiles employed by his enemies. Buhler reads it as: Let him ever act without guile and on no account treacherously; carefully guarding himself, let him always fathom the treachery which his foes employ. The king is not to use deception as a means of scoring over his opponents. The editors of Manusmrti are for open and honest governance despite the opponents resorting to guile. But they do not conceive a king who is too nave and credulous. As Medhatithi points out, the king has to use different methods to discover the modus operandi of his opponents and take steps to defeat them and even win over their supporters.
His enemy should not know his weak points but he must know the weak points of his enemy; he should hide the departments (of government) as the tortoise does its limbs; and he should guard his own weak points. Manusmrti drew these lessons for the king from the conventional Dandaniti and Arthasastra. It did not take a totally puritanical stand on affairs of the state though it would not advocate resort to immorality and unethical means even to defeat the moves of the opponents.Manusmrti would not advocate immoral means to weaken the enemy but would recommend resort to secret services to know the moves of the opponent, to take defensive steps to defeat them and to take counter-steps in self-defence. The king is not to be a crook but he has to be clever and shrewd. (105)
He shall ponder over his plans like the heron, and like the lion he shall exert his power; he shall snatch like the wolf and like the hare he shall double in retreat. (106)While he is thus engaged in conquest, if there should be any opponents for him, all these he shall bring under subjugation by means of conciliation and other (sama adi) expedients (upakarma). (107)The term, paripantha, refers to those who obstruct his march of conquest rather than opponents. Sama, dana, bheda and danda, conciliation, gifts, creation of rift in the ranks of the opponent and use of force are the four means of dealing with those who are not friends. Exercise of brute force or of blind valour alone is not enough to succeed.
If however they should not be stopped by means of the first three expedients, then he shall gradually bring them under subjugation by use of force.Resort to force has to be the last one and it has to be gradual and not total whether he dealt with internal opponents or external foes.(108) For the prosperity (abhivrddhi) of the country (rashtram), the experts (panditas) always recommend conciliation (sama) and use of coercive power (danda) from among the four expedients, conciliation and the rest. (109)
The editors of Manusmrti refused to go along with the school of Dandaniti that advocated coercive power as the best and most effective means and were for a strong political state. They also did not go along with the school of Arthasastra that would permit bribing those who were not friends and creating rift among the friends of the enemy. They were for honesty in all dealings and for use of coercive power against those who did not respond to moves for conciliation.
The term, panditas, referred to the experts not associated with the formal schools of polity or political economy. They did not belong to the rural hinterland (rashtra) whose commonalty was free from guile. They were stationed closer to the technologically advanced frontier society that was ready to use any tool or method to get a work accomplished. But here the experts seem to echo the stand taken (peace or war) by Vatavyadhi, which did not find favour with Kautilya as a mature approach.
Just as the reaper plucks out the weed and preserves the corn, so shall the administrator (nrpa) protect the rural hinterland (rashtram) in his charge, from those who obstructed his paths, moves. Medhatithi comments that with due discrimination between the good and the wicked, the former shall be preserved and the latter punished. (110)
It may be remarked here that a distinction has to be made between the raja who had an army at his disposal and the chief of the free men, nrpati, who was a civil administrator of the rural hinterland. The king, raja, who through folly, thoughtlessly (moham) oppresses (karshayanti, collects agricultural taxes by force) his own rural areas (svarashtram) becomes along with his kinsmen (sabandhu) deprived without delay of his state (rajyam) and life (jivitam, livelihood) (111). The advice must have been a reference to the agrarian revolt against rulers like Vena and Kartavirya.
Jha translates the next verse (112) as: As the lives of living beings (pranis) perish (kshiya) by the emaciation (karshanat) of their bodies (sarira), so do the lives (prana) of kings (raja) perish (kshiya) by harassment (karshanat) of the rural hinterland (rashtram). It may be noted that the king (raja) who was the head of state (rajya) was warned against encroaching on the autonomy of the rural areas (rashtra) that was under the jurisdiction of the chief of the free men (nrpati). Both medieval commentators and the modern scholars lost sight of this aspect, as they had no correct appreciation of the concepts used here.
The agriculturist ruler (parthiva) was asked to always follow the rules (vidhanam) codified while keeping together (samgraha) the rural hinterland (rashtram). Only a well-held (susamgrha) homeland, rashtram would prosper easily. (113) The latter was not to be treated as a distant or outlying area visited only occasionally by the ruler. The parthiva was resident there and was to keep it together without dissension. In order to keep together (samgraha) the rashtram, he is asked to appoint officials stationed in the midst of two or three or five or hundred villages. There were to be different levels of village officers. (114) [Samgraha has been wrongly interpreted by some as revenue collector.]
The parthiva who was in charge of the agro-pastoral plains (prthvi) was asked to appoint chiefs (adhipati) in charge of one, ten, twenty, hundred and thousand villages. (115) The village-chief shall himself report to the chief of ten villages the troubles arising in his village. The chief of ten villages will convey these reports to that of twenty villages. The latter reported these to the chief of hundred villages and the latter to that of a thousand villages. The rural areas had a pyramidal structure of bureaucracy whose officials were all appointed by the parthiva. (116,117)
These village chiefs had to report to the king (raja) directly and also forward to him the collections from the villagers in the form of food, water, fuel etc. (118) Though the pyramidal channel might be availed of for purposes of keeping records it was not allowed to stand in the way of direct revenue collection. The pyramid of bureaucracy was intended to maintain law and order and records and to settle disputes.
Jha translates the next verse (119) as: The lord of ten villages shall enjoy one kula and the lord of twenty villages twenty kulas; the lord of hundred villages one whole village and the lord of thousand villages one town.He interprets Medhatithi as that dashi and vimshi implied the person in charge of ten villages and as terms used in Vedas. Kula was part of a village and was known in some places as hatta and in others as ushta. Five times this land appertains to the lord of ten villages; and an entire village to the lord of hundred villages; and the town (puram), city, to the lord of a thousand villages. The system is that the living (vrtti) should be determined in accordance with the position (sthanam) and duties (karma) of the officers.
Buhler translates this verse as: The ruler of ten villages shall enjoy one kula (as much land as suffices for one family), the ruler of twenty, five kulas, the superintendent of a hundred villages (the revenues of one village), the lord of a thousand (the revenues of) a town. Jones translated it as: Let the lord of ten towns enjoy the produce of two plough-lands or as much ground as can be tilled by two ploughs, each drawn by six bulls; the lord of twenty, that of ten plough-lands; the lord of a hundred, that of a village or small towns; the lord of a thousand, that of a large town.
It is obvious that the shares in the revenue that these village officers could take as their wages varied from time to time but the system had become a permanent one. This practice must have begun during the Vedic era and continued for many millennia and must have led to the fleecing of the agriculturists by this rural bureaucracy.It may however be noted that a chief in charge of a thousand villages was treated on par with the chief of a town. He was allowed to retain produce equivalent to the salary of the latter, who was directly under the king and had a status equal to that of a minister. Kula, clan, was larger than a family and the land required for it was larger than that for the latter. The officer, whether at the level of a group of villages or of a county or a district, could not himself be engaged in agriculture. His share in the revenue was determined depending on his status and duties.
Though these village officers who were in charge of collection of revenue in kind were selected and appointed by the civil administrator, nrpati, and the activities of the chiefs of villages were controlled by the governor of the agro-pastoral plains, parthiva, they were to be supervised by the king, raja, who had provided for their livelihood by assigning them a portion of the revenue.
This work was assigned by him to one of the secretaries, sachivas, who was loyal and never idle. He supervised their performance of their duties with respect to the villages and other specific duties pertaining to measurement of lands (prtha karya). (120) This cabinet secretary was in charge of the administration of all urban areas. Kautilya referred to this officer as sannidhata, as he was ever present before the king and was in charge of grants. The rural administrator, samaharta, had to report to him and the two were often at loggerheads.
Jha translates the next verse (121) as: In each town he shall appoint one superintendent of all works, of high status and awe-inspiring appearance, he being like a planet (graham) among stars (nakshatram). Buhler translates it as: And in each town let him appoint one superintendent of all affairs, elevated in rank, formidable, (resembling) a planet among stars. Every city was to have an administrator who was empowered to regulate all affairs, revenue, vocations, education, health, police, control of crime, jails, courts, municipal council, trade, guest-houses, brothels, casinos, temples etc.
It would appear that the king of Manusmrti had delegated all his powers to these secretaries, sachivas, even as he had parted with most of his powers to parthiva who was in charge of agricultural revenue and to nrpati, the civil administrator. This devolution or delegation of powers cannot be described as recognition of the right to autonomy. It was quasi-feudal bureaucracy.
Medhatithi notes that the city administrator resembled Angaraka who modern commentators equate with Mars. Angaraka was an official belonging to the school of Angiras and was empowered to implement the provisions of the constitution with an iron hand and was dreaded. He was almost a military governor of the city. However he was surrounded by non-kshatriyas (nakshatras). A council of intellectuals and traders must have assisted him in the governance of the city on behalf of the king who was seated in his garrison perhaps on an adjoining hillock.
Buhler translates the next verse (122) as: Let that (man) always personally visit by turns all those (other officials); let him properly explore their behaviour in their districts through spies (appointed to) each. Jha translates it as: This officer shall always personally supervise in turn all those officers, and thoroughly acquaint himself, through the kings spies, with their behaviour in their respective jurisdictions. Jones reads it as: Let that governor from time to time survey all the rest in person, and by means of his emissaries, let him perfectly know their conduct in their several districts.
It was an expanded state with several cities each located in the midst of a rural hinterland, rashtra. Every rashtra had a rural governor, parthiva, and a civil administrator, nrpati. All these officials were directly under the king. Each city had a superintendent appointed by the secretary (sachiva) for urban affairs. The king who had to be constantly on tour visiting the cities and their districts and learning about the conduct of these officials through his scouts (chara). These scouts were not required to report to any governor. They were surveying the conduct of the governors and administrators.
Buhler translates the next verse (123) as: For the servants of the king who are appointed to protect (the people) generally become knaves who seize the property of others; let him protect his subjects against such (men). Jones was off the mark when he translated this verse as: Since the servants of the king whom he has appointed guardians of districts are generally knaves who seize what belongs to other men, let him defend his people.
Such imprecise translations came to be arrived at as these western Indologists tried to find similarity between either classical Greece and Rome or the later medieval Western Europe on the one hand and the Indian polity of the intervening centuries on the other. Indian scholars of early 20th century accepted this distorted picture as the authentic version of works like Manusmrti and Kautilyan Arthasastra. Scholars like Jones were in search of a version of Manusmrti that would accord with their own plan for an administration by the company free from British government.
The officials who were posted to the rural areas exploited the masses and could do so freely because kings who were stationed in the fortified towns rarely visited the districts. The cities too remained under the control of the officials appointed by the minister and the king rarely visited them too. He had to depend on his spies to know what was happening in his realm. These officials, ministers and governors were smothering local autonomy. Buhler translates the next verse (124) as:Let the king confiscate the whole property of those (officials) who, evil-minded, may take money from suitors, and banish them. Corruption is not only a global phenomenon but is also an eternal problem.
The weak and the innocent have always suffered at the hands of the mighty and the crooked. Jha following Medhatithi translates this verse as: Those evil-minded persons (papacetasa) who would take money from men engaged in business (trade), of these the king shall confiscate the whole property and ordain banishment. Jones read it as: Of such evil-minded servants, as wring wealth from subjects attending on business, let the king confiscate all the possessions and banish them from his realm.
The king might have ordered the banishment from his palace of the officials who took bribe from the traders calling on him. But was he able to clean the rural bureaucracy and the urban administration, which were guilty of high-handed behaviour and unrestricted exploitation of the subjects? For the women employed in the service of the king and the household servants including couriers (preshyajana), the king was asked to fix daily wages, in proportion to their status and work. This would keep them from sponging on the suitors and traders who visited the king. (125) The daily wages of the inferior servant were fixed as one pana; the superior servant got six times that. In addition they got clothing every six months and grain every month. (126)
Jha translates the verse (127) as: He should make the traders (vanija) pay duties (kara), after due investigation of the details of buying and selling, the journey involved, fooding along with its accessories and the measures of safety (yogakshema). The concept of tax seems to have been confused by some with that of duties including fines. Buhler translates it as: Having well considered the rates of purchase and of sale, the length of the road, the expense for food and condiments, the charges of securing the goods, let the king make the traders pay their duty. Jones reads it as: Having ascertained the rates of purchase and sale, the length of the way, the expense of food and condiments, the charge of securing the goods carried, and the net profits of trade, let the king oblige the traders to pay taxes on their salable commodities. Taxes levied should be neither harsh nor lenient nor arbitrary.
Jha reads the next verse (128) as:As the water-insect, the calf and the bee eat their food little by little, so little by little should the king draw from his kingdom and the annual taxes. This was a reference to agricultural taxes collected from the rural hinterland (rashtra). Jha translates the next verse (129) as: After due investigation the king (raja) shall always levy taxes in his kingdom in such a way that he himself and the man who carries on the business shall both receive the reward.This translation is imprecise.
It was the nrpa, the civil administrator who fixed the rate (kalpa) of tariff (kara) with respect to the rural areas (rashtra). He had to fix the tax in such a manner that both the executives (karta) who executed the work (karma) of collection of tax and the king (raja) got benefit (phala). [Vide Foundations of Hindu Economic State for a critique on the dispute between the Director of Internal revenue, Samaharta, and the Chancellor of the Central Exchequer, Sannidhata on this account. Medhatithi is seen to have read it as profit being shared by the trader and the king.]
Both Jha and Buhler fail to distinguish between the king (raja)and the civil administrator (nrpa) and between their respective roles. Jones was off the mark when he translated this verse as: After full consideration, let a king so levy those taxes continually in his dominions that both he and the merchant may receive a just compensation for their several acts. The trader does not feature in this verse.
It was an issue pertaining to the machinery set up for collection of taxes in the rural areas and the anxiety of the civil administrator caused by the kings tendency to demand and receive most of the agricultural taxes leading to the local officials being constrained to collect more than the prescribed taxes as personal compensation.The civil administrators were from among the respected and gentle personages of the rural areas. Manusmrti was for providing a beneficial and gentle rural bureaucracy.
Buhler reads the verse (130) as: A fiftieth part of the increments on cattle and gold may be taken by the king, and the eighth or sixth or twelfth part of the crops. The different rates with respect to agriculture must have been linked to irrigation facilities made available to the lands and type of labour put in. [Kautilyan Arthasastra is more thorough and more rational in fixing the rates of taxes and rebates.]
In the case of trees, meat, honey and ghee, perfumes, medicinal herbs, serum, flowers, roots and fruits, leaves, vegetables, grasses, skins, cane, earthen pots and stone articles, one sixth was taken by the king. (131,132) It would appear that the flat rate of one sixth of the produce was objected to by the agriculturists and they had to be permitted to pay less. So too, the cattle owners and the traders could squeeze concessions but not the artisans, hunters and horticulturists.
The Vedic scholars were not to be taxed even if the king was dying from want. They were never to be allowed to die even under conditions of famine (133).The hinterland (rashtra) of the king (raja) where the Vedic scholars suffered from hunger would soon pine with hunger, he was warned (134). It would appear that while they were able to flourish when there was plenty, the rural masses and the ruling elite neglected them when the country faced famine. The editors of Manusmrti exhort the king to provide for the Vedic scholar a fair living after ascertaining his learning and character and to protect him against all calamities even as a father protects his son. (135)
Protected by the king he performs meritorious acts day after day; and by that the kings life, wealth and country (rashtram) prosper. The king is induced to help. (136) Only the Vedic scholars who were engaged only in performing noble socio-religious duties without earning anything from them and had no property or income from any source were exempt from taxes. All the other different peoples (prthak jana) living in the hinterland (rashtram) and engaged in civil affairs that were of an economic nature (vyavahara) were required to pay some amount as tax to the king. This covered those who were not engaged in production of goods or grains or rearing of cattle or in trade (artha) or in free socio-religious service (dharma). (137)
The smiths and artisans and labourers (Shudras) who earned their livelihood by personal labour (atmaupajivina) were each required to contribute one days labour every month to the purposes of the chief of the agricultural terrain (mahipati). It was labour in lieu of taxes and amounted to about three percent of ones earnings. (138)
The king was advisednot to cut off his own root or that of others through excessive greed; by cutting off his own root he causes suffering to himself as well as to others. (139)Taxes had to be moderate. The king (raja) shall be severe or mild, after having duly examined the work (of each man); it is only the king who is both severe and gentle who is respected. (140) Though the administrative machinery was quasi-feudal in structure and mode of operation, the king was not allowed to change into an autocrat. The state was a continuing entity and its fate did not depend on the king only. Medhatithi points out that cutting off ones root consists in not realizing taxes and duties and excessive taxation constitutes the cutting off of the root of others.
Jha translates the next verse (141) as: When tired with looking after the affairs of men, he shall place in that place his chief minister, who is conversant with the law, wise, self-controlled, and born of a noble family. Buhler reads it as: When he is tired with the inspection of men, let him place on that seat (of justice) his chief minister (who must be) acquainted with the law, wise, self-controlled, and descended from a noble family. Jones read it as: When tired of overlooking the affairs of men, let him assign the station of such an inspector to a principal minister, who well knows his duty, who is eminently learned, whose passions are subdued, and whose birth is exalted.
The king as the head of the state was expected to supervise the activities of those men who were not bound by the codes of their respective clans and communities and work-groups. These organized groups were able to discipline their respective members and the state was not required to supervise them after their loyalty was once won over. In the absence of the king the (prime) minister was required to supervise the work of the executives. The king could not delegate this power to any one else. (It is implied that the practice of delegating powers to the crown prince or to the queen is not envisaged in Manusmrti.)
The free men (nrs or naras) were placed under the charge of the civil administrator, nrpati, who was one of them.They were appointed to different posts and drafted for various purposes including war and to the institution of spies. The king found it difficult to pay them as much continual attention as was needed. Even as he allowed a secretary (sachiva), to appoint administrators of the cities, he could delegate his powers and duties with respect to these vast cadres of free men, nrs, to a trusted chief amatya. These amatyas belonged to the executive and ministers, mantris, were selected from their ranks. Such a senior executive should be well versed in Dharmasastra and be a learned person. He should be patient and liberal and was not to deal with them in a harsh way lest they should walk out of the kings service.Some amatyas were attached to the departments connected with economic activities (artha) and some others dealt with socio-religious activities (dharma).
The former were known for their rigidity in collection of taxes and extraction of work. The latter were gentle and just. The king could trust the latter to supervise the conduct of the free men in the service of the state or functioning on their own. These free men (naras) were not a threat to the king or to the state but were not willing to function under social codes.
The editors of Manusmrti seem to have concluded that these free men might be better placed under the care of a liberal, senior amatya of the social sector than under the direct care of the king who had too many jobs on his hands to coordinate their activities.A systemic approach is needed to appreciate the intents of Manusmrti. Of course, Kautilyan Arthasastra is more thorough in its plan for the creation of an effective bureaucracy. Manusmrti was not unaware of the principles on which it was built.
Buhler translates the next verse (142) as: Having thus arranged all the affairs of his government, he shall zealously and carefully protect all his subjects(prajas). The free men, naras, had not accepted the sovereignty of the king in full. They had only placed their services at the disposal of the king for specific works and could walk out whenever they wished. But the citizens, prajas, and the king, raja, had a contract between them. This contract was not to be breached by either.
The king had to pay personal attention to the contract he had entered into with those persons who were allowed to reside in his territory and pursue vocations that would be mutually beneficial to him and to them. He was bound to protect them and in return they had to be totally loyal to him. The king and his men could not violate the citizenship rights that the prajas enjoyed. This arduous task could not be delegated to any official even of the judiciary.
Jha, following Medhatithi, presents the next verse as: He, from whose territories (rashtra) people (prajas) are carried off, screaming, by robbers, while he himself, along with his servants (bhrtu) is looking on is dead, not alive. (143)The king had to remember that the protection and governance (palanam) of the citizens (prajas) was the highest duty (dharma) of a Kshatriya.
For, the king (raja) who enjoys the rewards (taxes etc.), just mentioned, is bound to discharge that duty and would be treated as one connected to (the principles of) Dharmasastra. (144) It is implied that one who fails in this duty will be treated as a sinner. It may be noted that we prefer to use the term, citizens, rather than subjects, to refer to prajas. The latter covered all domiciles and all the native population. The term, jana, referred to the natives.
Having risen during the last watch of the night and performed his ablutions, with a collected mind, having poured oblations into the fire and honoured the Brahmans, he shall enter the auspicious hall of audience. (145) [There is no mention of worship of gods. Deism was a comparatively later development.] Staying there, he shall welcome all his citizens (prajas) and then send them away. It is inferred that he would hear and receive their applications there. Then he shall take the counsel of his ministers (on their applications and other matters). (146)
Jha notes that counsel had to be taken on (a) the means of undertaking a project, (b) the supply of men and material, (c) due apportionment of place and time, (d) remedy for miscarriage and (e) successful completion of the project. The cabinet of ministers would meet not in the hall, but on the top of a hill or a house and in solitude or in a desolate forest (that kept out visitors and intruders). (147)
That ruler of the agro-pastoral plains(parthiva)whose (secret) plans are not known to diverse (prthak) peoples (jana) enjoys the (newly) formed agro-pastoral commonalty and its region (prthvi), even though his treasury is depleted (for want of support from the industrial frontier society and the aristocrats of the core society). (148)
The parthiva who rose to become a king under the Prthu constitution and was assisted by a consultative and executive ministry that was entitled to embark on new ventures was advised not to allow his peoples to learn about these lest they should fear that their lives and rights would be upset by these ventures.
Jones was off the mark when he translated this verse as: That prince, of whose weighty secrets all assemblies of men are ignorant, shall attain dominion over the whole earth. Western Indologists and their Indian followers have not grasped the concept of three social worlds or arrived at a rational outline of the social polity of Ancient India. The king, raja, was advised to hold his meetings with his cabinet ministers in a secure fort that was inaccessible to prying eyes. He had as his prajas those persons who were born in his territory and consented to pay taxes on their earnings in return for protection accorded to them by him. Not all the natives (jana) were the subjects (prajas) of the king.
The king could wield authority only over those persons who had consented to be his subjects, even if they were natives.Similarly from among the other peoples who were normally residents of the forests and mountains and took part in their industrial economy (itara jana) only some consented to be his subjects (prajas) in return for economic and political protection.
There were some intellectuals and individuals who were constantly on the move and they did not pose any threat to his authority but were helpful to him at times. They enjoyed certain immunities and were known as punya jana, the blessed people. They too were accepted as his subjects and extended protection.
Thus he had as prajas not only natives but also the residents of the nearby forests and the natives of his country who preferred to wander over all territories without pursuing any vocation but in search of new experiences and new knowledge.
The three groups were known as jana, itara jana and punya jana, sons of the soil, other peoples and blessed peoples. The parthiva who conducted his secret deliberations in places where the (three) different sections of the people had no access would be able to protect his sovereignty over the agro-pastoral plains from infringement by others. The new ruler was presiding over an expanded janapada. The features of this new janapada with different types of lands are brought out in my analysis of the reforms launched by Kautilya.
At the time of taking counsel, he shall send away the idiot, the dumb and the deaf, animals (and their keepers), very aged persons, women, foreigners (mlecchas), the sick and the maimed. (149) The ladies (stri) of the household were not to be made a party to his acts. These were not free from expediency and often bordered immorality.Persons who have been disgraced, animals and particularly women betray secret plans; hence he shall be careful with regard to them. (150) At mid-day or at midnight, free from fatigue and dullness, he shall deliberate on matters relating to dharma, kama and artha, either along with them or by himself.There was no restriction on what issues fell within the ambit of deliberations by the cabinet. Of course, what was purely spiritual and pertained to the field of salvation (moksha) of the soul of the individual did not come under its purview. (151)
Buhler translates the next verse (152) as: On (reconciling) the attainment of these (aims) which are opposed to each other, on bestowing his daughters in marriage, and on keeping his sons (from harm). Jones read it as: On the means of reconciling the acquisition of them, when they oppose each other; on bestowing his daughters in marriage, and on preserving his sons from evil by the best education. Jha reads it as:Also on the attainment of these, mutually irreconcilable as they are, on the giving away of daughters and on the guardianship of sons.
The cabinet had to ensure that the three pursuits, of the king (dharma, artha and kama) did not conflict with one another. He had no privacy. It could and had to deliberate on who was to become his ally by marrying his daughter. His sons were to be protected from their detractors and his enemies.
The cabinet deliberated also on the sending of ambassadors, the work yet to be accomplished (besides determining the commencement of new projects), on the occurrences in the inner palace (of the harem) and on the doings of the scouts (pranidhi). (153) The life of the king had to be protected from the conspirators inside the palace. Even queens and sons were not to be trusted in full. The cabinet discussed their activities, as he was the head of the state and he had to be protected from internal enemies. Kautilyan Arthasastra deals with this aspect in detail. It is not fair to state that Kautilya did not hesitate to resort to immoral methods to capture and retain power.
PEACE AND WAR AND LEADERSHIP
Inter-state Relations and
(7-154 to 180)
The cabinet discussed also the entire eight-fold business and on the five-fold group in its real character, on affection and disaffection and on the conduct of his circle. (154) Following Medhatithi, Jha presents three sets of eight-fold business. The first set reflects a polity that sought security and progress. 1. Undertaking of what has not been done. 2. Doing of what has not been done 3. Refining of what has been done 4. Acquiring fruits of the act done 5.Conciliating (sama) 6. Alienating the opponents from each other (bheda). 7. Giving (dana) 8. Employing force (danda). The second set is more economy-oriented but is bent on enterprise, expansion and defence. 1.Trade 2.Building of embankments and bridges 3.Fortification 4. Repair of the fortifications 5. Catching elephants 6.Digging mines 7.Colonizing uninhabited places 8. Clearing of forests. The third one attributed to the political philosophy of Usanas (Shukra) dealt with internal polity. 1.Acquiring 2.Spending 3.Dismissing 4.Forbidding 5.Propounding the right code of conduct 6.Investigating cases (vyavahara) 7.Inflicting punishment (danda) 8.Imposing purificatory penance.
It is explained that acquiring referred to receiving revenue. [Sukra does not envisage an expanding state.] Expenditure stands for gifts made to the servants.Dismissing referred to giving up the company and services of the wicked.Forbidding referred to checking the improper activities of the officers.The fifth, anuvacana referred to rules pronounced that were to be followed. Vyavahara covered the vocation of the individual (svakarma) in accordance with the code of varnasrama. Danda came into play to decide what was to be done in the case of disputes among his subjects. Purificatory penances were to be prescribed for mistakes committed due to carelessness.
The five-fold group referred to the five sections of the Institution of Spies: 1.Kapatika who discovered the hypocrites. They were scholars who paraded themselves as knowing the highest law (parama dharma). 2.Pravraja was a fallen ascetic. He was in fact intelligent and pure. He would be present at places where food and wages were distributed to the workers. He would keep out mendicants. Pravraja was later considered to be a heretic, as he did not practice the code for sanyasis, ascetics, prescribed by Manusmrti. 3. The householder (grhapati) in distress was an agriculturist reduced to poverty but who was clever and pure. 4. Vaidehika was a merchant in trouble.
These two were to operate from places assigned to them. 5. The disguised ascetic (tapasa) either completely shaven or with matted hair took up lodgings close by the city and was accompanied by a large number of disciples appearing to be living on very little food and claiming supernatural powers as a prophet.[The structure of this Institution of Spies and its method of work are immature compared to the systematic one built up in Kautilyan Arthasastra. Vide my earlier work, Foundations of Hindu Economic State for an in-depth analysis of the Kautilyan Institution of Spies.]
Having appointed this five-fold group, the king shall, through these, learn all about affection (anuraga) and disaffection (aparaga) among the people of the other king, as also among his own priests (purohitas) and ministers (mantris). [Purohita was a political guide and not a mere domestic priest.] He shall also ponder over the conduct of his circle (mandala) of states (the five kings, svami, mitra, ari, madhyasta and udasina, self, friend, foe, neutral and indifferent). He has to discuss about the strength and plans of all these rulers with his cabinet. Manusmrti did not however envisage the ruler of its ideal state as a conqueror. The cabinet takes into account the presence of the madhyasta (intermediate, neutral king), the udasina (indifferent distant king), the satru (neighbour and enemy) and the conqueror (vijigishu) and asks the ruler to take note of their movements. (155) [This structure of the circle of states is different from the one given by the highly systematic politico-economic code of Kautilya. Kautilyas ideal ruler was a charismatic leader and conqueror.]
These (four) constituents (prakrtis) are the foundation (mula, root) of the circle (mandala) of states. There are eight others and the total is declared to be twelve. (156) It appears that the medieval commentators were unable to explain how the editors of Manusmrti arrived at this picture. The state was visualized as having a ruler, five internal constituents(ministry, city, rural areas, treasury and army)and two external constituents(mitra and amitra, friend and non-friend). Even as this ruler has to be alert about the movements of the rulers of the other four states(madhyasta, vijigishu, udasina and satru)in his circle,the friend (mitra) and non-friend (amitra) too had to be alert about those in their respective circles.
These twelve rulers have each five internal constituents (a) amatya, bureaucracy, often loosely described as ministry, (b) rashtram, rural hinterland, often wrongly translated as nation or kingdom or state, (c) durga, fort, often identified as city (pura), (d) artha, treasury and (e) danda, army. (Kautilya refers to them as amatya, janapada, durga, kosa and danda.)There are sixty internal constituents and twelve rulers, making the total number of relevant constituents (prakrtis) seventy-two. All these seventy-two constituents are to be watched. (157)
Jha translates the next verse (158) as: He shall regard as enemy (ari), his immediate neighbour, as also the person who helps his enemy; the immediate neighbour of his enemy he shall regard as his friend (mitra); and as neutral (udasina), the king who is beyond these. [This picture differs from that of Kautilyan Arthasastra.] Buhler translates it as: Let the king consider as hostile his immediate neighbour and the partisan of (such a) foe, as friendly the immediate neighbour of his foe, and as neutral (the king) beyond these two. Jones read it as:
Let the king consider as hostile to him, the power immediately beyond him, and the favourer of that power; as amicable, the power next beyond his natural foe; and as natural, the powers beyond that circle. Jones and his guides of the later 18th century and so too their successors of the 19th and early 20th centuries did not have a correct grasp of the interstate political structure presented by Manusmrti, which was pre-Arthasastra.All these (seventy-two) constituents (of the different states), he shall win over by means of the four expedients (conciliation, gift, rift and threat), severally and collectively, as also by his leadership traits (paurusham) and policy (naya). (159) He has to constantly ponder over the adoption of the six-fold policy, alliance (samdhi), war (vigraha), march (yana), halt (asana), dual policy (dvaidhibhava) and shelter (samsraya). (160)
Medhatithi was unable to comprehend correctly the niceties of the six-fold policy dealt with in detail by the Arthasastra .He states that from among these the ruler shall have recourse to that by means of which he would be enabled to erect fortifications, capture elephants, dig mines, carry on trade, cut down trees, raise embankments round fields in tracts not irrigated by rain, win the wealth of other people etc. He could not envisage the ruler emerging as an emperor by resorting to this policy. He envisaged only a stable expanded state. He shall have recourse to halting, to marching, to alliance, to war, to dual policy or to seeking shelter after having considered his business. (161) Jha translated the term, dvaidhibhava imprecisely as bifurcation.
But the king should know that alliance and war are of two kinds; so also both marching and halting; and seeking shelter has been declared to be of two kinds. (162)(163) War has been declared to be of two kinds, that which is waged in season or out of season, for his own purpose, and that which is waged on some wrong done to an ally. (164)
These have failed to take note that war was the sequel to an agreement between the two allies to defend each other against a common enemy. This agreement permitted the two allies to individually pursue their own campaigns uninterrupted by the other. Kautilyan Arthasastra gives an exhaustive picture of the different aspects of the political scenario in international relations. Manusmrti is sketchy in its approach confusing the later commentators. Alliance, endowed with future possibilities is of two kinds, that in which the act of marching is undertaken in common (by the allies) and that in which it is otherwise. The first is prompted by ones own prosperity and the other to help an ally. There have been variations in the texts.
Marching is said to be of two kinds that undertaken by the king by himself alone on the sudden approach of an emergent condition and that undertaken by him accompanied by his ally. (165) Medhatithi notes that when some trouble befalls the enemy he may be attacked immediately lest he should recover and become strong. The two kinds of halting are that which is necessary for one who has gradually become weakened either by chance or through previous acts and that which is necessitated by considerations for his ally. (166) [The term, daivat, has been translated here as by chance. To be precise, the king must have got the permission of the house of nobles for his attack against the inimical country. The failure to get this permission would have brought the movement of troops to a halt.]
When for the accomplishment of some purpose the master (svami, leader with a personal charisma who is not ordained as a king) takes up one position from the point of view of military strength (bala) and is required to take up another from that of his charisma (kirti), this is called dvaidhibhava, dual policy by those conversant with the details of the six measures of policy (shadguna). (167) This definition does not accord with that given by Kautilyan Arthasastra.
Medhatithi reads that this policy involves two kinds, one being done for ones sake and the other for the sake of others. The explanation, when different positions are taken up by the master and his army, the master with a small force stays in the fort and the commander proceeds elsewhere with a larger force, is untenable though it too indicates two divergent approaches. The svami does not have rational legitimacy as indicated by his march being halted for want of permission of the house of nobles, devas. He proceeds on conquest, sometimes leading the state army and at other times on his own with his personal guards.
Jha translates the next verse (168) as: Seeking shelter with noble people has been declared to be of two kinds: that which is done for the sake of accomplishing a useful purpose, when harassed by enemies and that in the form of a status. Buhler translates it as: Seeking refuge is declared to be of two kinds, (first) for the purpose of attaining an advantage when one is harassed by enemies, (secondly) in order to become known among the virtuous (sadhu) (as the protg of a powerful king). Jones read it as: The two modes of seeking protection, that his powerful support may be proclaimed in all countries, are, first, when he wishes to be sure from apprehended injury, and, next, when his enemies actually assail him.
When the enemies harass the adventurous ruler he seeks protection under a powerful ruler, in order to regularize his economic condition (arthasampadanartham). He needs financial assistance with the house of nobles having refused assistance and his state army kept back. But he does not want his charisma to dwindle by accepting defeat or by accepting a subordinate position under a ruler who could help him with men and money. He should hence seek the protection of pious men who would help him if his cause were just and his venture justified. Manusmrti did not encourage adventurous war and unbridled ambition.
When the ruler who wishes to dominate the circles of states is unable to do so, he should abide for the time when his superiority would be certain and when little harm would be done to his position. Till then he should enter into protective alliance with another stronger ruler. (169)(170) as:But when he thinks all his subjects to be exceedingly contented and that he himself is most exalted in power, then let him make war. He would be advised to be realistic and not rash. The translation by Buhler, When the king knows that at some future time his superiority is certain, and at the time present (he will suffer) little injury, then let him have recourse to peaceful measures, is not to the mark. Buhler translates the next verse
The king may launch war only when all the constituents (prakrti) of his state are highly contented and he himself is in an exalted position. He should not be kept back by the representative bodies of his state and refused military and financial assistance by them. When he thinks that his personal army (svabalam) is happy and well-nourished and that of his opponent is the reverse, then he shall march against him. (171) The charismatic leader, svami, is not to depend on the state army except for defence of his state.But when he happens to be weak in conveyances and forces, then he shall sit quiet (asita), gradually conciliating his enemies with special care. (172)
Buhler was not to the mark when he translated the next verse (173) as: When the king knows the enemy to be stronger in every respect, then let him divide his army and thus achieve his purpose. Medhatithi comments that this was a subterfuge as only the stronger king is bold enough to divide his forces and send them in different directions. The king (raja) is now leading his state army. He is aware that the enemy is stronger in every respect. The king is able to accomplish his purpose by resorting to the tactic of pincer deployment of his forces.
This king enjoys rational legitimacy and is supported by his house of nobles and assembly of peoples representatives. The svami enjoyed charismatic legitimacy but not rational legitimacy. Neither of them enjoyed traditional legitimacy, that is, neither was born in a lineage of rulers of that country.
When he happens to be very much open to attack by external forces, he shall take shelter (samsraya) with a just (dharmika) and strong (balinam) chief of the free men (nrpati). When his personal troops (svabala) are weak and the state army is not made available to him even when he is being harassed by a strong external force(parabala) (which is not necessarily that of his inimical neighbour) the depleted king is advised to fall back on a chief of free men in the rural hinterland of any state who is a pious leader and is also militarily strong and who would give him asylum and not take undue advantage of the predicament of the refugee. The nrpa is not a recognized king (raja). Still he may be influential and powerful. (174)
[It is unsound to presume that all kings were born in royal families. Most of them rose from humble families and were able to rise because of their personal calibre and assertiveness, rajas.] The king who is stationed in the fort that has become vulnerable is advised to forget his pride and fame and accept asylum in the rural areas administered by a nrpati who can protect him as he has a volunteer force at his command. Most nrpatis were pious and respected leaders.
The harassed king may seek refuge under a chieftain who could put down the non-cooperative constituents (prakrtis) of his state and the army of the enemy. He shall ever serve (upaseva) in all ways as he would serve his teacher (guru). (175)
In interstate relations as described by Kautilya, the charismatic ruler (svami) who tried to become a conqueror (vijigishu) but suffered a serious setback was advised to seek asylum under the distant and indifferent but highly powerful king who was called udasina.
Manusmrti, on the other hand, visualizes a situation where the svami who aspired to be a conqueror has been emaciated and is unable to function as a sovereign ruler, raja. He is required to seek the protection and counsel of the leader, nrpati, a pious civil administrator who is not a member of any organised social group like a clan (kula) or community (jati) and is a leader of free men and who is in a position to regain for him the support of his people, ministers and government and keep at bay the inimical external forces even as a Rajaguru (political counsellor) would do under the Rajarshi scheme.
It is likely that this move may not help him. If even there he should perceive something wrong on the part of the person who shelters him, then, even in that (emaciated) condition he shall without hesitation resort to war. (176) Buhler translates this verse as: When even in that condition, he sees that evil is caused by such protection let him without hesitation seek resort to war. Jones interpreted it as: But, if even in that situation, he find such protection a cause of evil, let him alone, though weak, wage vigorous war without hesitation.
Seeking refuge even under a sincere and strong chieftain may have its defects (dosham). The latter would protect but not encourage the adventures of the svami who thereupon is impelled to discard that protection and resort to other means of winning the war. A ruler who is denied sovereign rights and support of the house of nobles and of the army is reduced to the level of the chief of the commonalty (prthvi). He is but a prthvipati, a position superior to that of nrpati but not necessarily so intimately connected with the free men (naras) from among whom the troops were raised.
This commoner-king deprived of riches and army should adopt all the expedients (sama, bheda, dana and danda) and act in such a manner that his ally (mitra), the indifferent ruler (udasina) and enemy (satru) do not become superior to him. (177) [The term, udasina, is not to be translated as neutral.]He shall fully think over the future and the present condition of all undertakings, as also the good and bad points of all past ones (before resorting to war). (178)
He, who is alive to both the good and bad points in regard to the future, is quick in his decisions relating to the present and understands the consequences of his acts in the past, is never overpowered by his enemies (satru). (179) Jha points out: As a matter of fact, it is not possible for the six measures of policy to be dealt with in detail in a work dealing with Dharma; hence the subject has been treated of only briefly.
Manusmrti is a socio-cultural code, Dharmasastra, though it deals also with economy and polity. But it gives more importance to morality than the Arthasastra that permits expediency to override morality does in some contexts. (Arthasastra does not do so in all cases.)
The charismatic leader, svami, who belongs to the organized commonalty, prthvi, and cannot do anything not desirable to or is not desired by the clans and the communities engaged in economic activities is yet free to embark on conquests. But he shall arrange everything in such a manner that his allies (mitra) or the indifferent ruler (udasina) or the enemy (satru) may not get the better of him; this is the sum-total of state policy (naya). (180) Following Medhatithi, Jha says: In the manner shown above there is no inconsistency in the employment of the six measures (shadguna). It has to be borne in mind that if a king succeeds in keeping his plans secret, in adopting remedial measures at the advent of troubles, in keeping his own circle contented and in duly employing the measures and expedients, then he attains success in his affairs.
When the head of the society (prabhu) undertakes a march (yanam) against the rashtra, hinterland, of the enemy, he shall advance slowly towards the capital, pura, of the enemy (ari). He would lead his peoples troops towards the capital of his enemy. He would not make the people of the inimical state flee their villages and hamlets in panic. But the capital would be targeted. (181)
The Prabhu is an overlord who claims authority over a group of nations some of which might have been induced by their kings to disown his authority. The Prabhu thereupon proceeds with the peoples army to put down those kings stationed in their garrisons and regain the loyalty of these rashtras. The Prabhu did not have a personal army (svabala) or a state army (dandabala) at his disposal.
The agriculturist chieftain, mahipati, would commence his expedition in winter (in the auspicious month of Margasirsha) or early in spring (the months of Phalguna and Chaitra) depending on the condition of his forces. (182) He would avoid the months of sowing seeds and harvesting crops and also the rains and the heat. Most troops were drawn from agricultural workers.He might march at other times also, if he perceived certain victory. Then he should pick up a quarrel and march forward. He might march also when some trouble (vyasana) had risen from the enemy. (183)
Jha translates the next two verses (184,185) as: Having duly made arrangements at the base (mula), as also those pertaining to the expedition (yatra), having secured (upagrhana) a foothold (padam) and having duly deputed his spies (charas, scouts), having cleared the three kinds of roads and having equipped his own (svakam) six-fold (shadvidham) force (balam), he shall advance against the capital (pura) of the enemy (ari) in the order and manner prescribed (kalpa) for warfare (samparayika). This chieftain who marches against his enemy, is not an aristocrat, deva or sva. The deva was not subordinate to any king. The status of this chieftain is described as svaka, lower than that of an independent landlord who claimed to be an aristocrat. Themahipati, the agriculturist chieftain, as directed by the prabhu, the head of the society, leads his own troops drawn mainly from the agricultural workers against the city of the enemy.
Medhatithi points out that the leader who thus marched against his enemy should first establish a rear-guard and supply the fort with grains and fit it with machines, moats etc. The three kinds of roads are those passing through the open country, the marshy ground and the forest respectively. These had to be levelled for free movement of the six types of troops, elephants, horses, chariots, infantry, stores (treasury) and mechanics.Some have traced the six types as the original standing army (maula), the mercenaries, the troops of the military corporations (sreni), the troops of the ally, the troops surrendered by the enemy or who have deserted the enemy, and the forestmen.Though this ruler was leading a peoples army, it too had to be organized in the manner prescribed so that it did not land itself in trouble through lack of discipline. There have been changes from time to time in the enumeration of the types of troops used.
Manusmrti warns the chieftain to be on guard against the ally who might be secretly serving the enemy and also against one who had gone away and returned. The latter is the more troublesome (kashtatara) enemy. (186) Medhatithi traces four types among the renegades who have returned.(a) Some had gone away for some reason but have come back for some reason contrary to the above. These men are not totally trustworthy. (b) Some have come back for some reason but not contrary to the reason given for going away. These are fickle-minded. (c) Some have come back for the same reason for which they had gone away. These may be taken back. (d) If they are found to have been deputed by the enemy they are not to be taken back.
The next verse (187) reads: He shall march on the road arraying his army in the form of a staff or in that of a cart, or a boar or an alligator or a needle or the garuda-bird. The rod (danda), needle (soochi) and vulture (garuda) arrays were recommended for plain roads and the others for hilly or marshy tracts, the commentators say.From where he apprehends danger there he shall extend his forces (bala). And he himself shall always encamp in the lotus array (padmavyuha). (188)
The leader (svami) would be surrounded in all directions by his men. The commander-in-chief of the state army (senapati) and the chief of the rulers force (balaadhyaksha) would be stationed in all (the four) directions; the direction from which the ruler apprehends danger, he shall stipulate (kalpa) as the chief (isa) (which he would personally look after). (189) [It is not sound to translate the term isa as front or as east.] On all sides he shall station reliable pickets, with whom signals have been arranged, who are experts in standing firm as also in charging, fearless and loyal. (190) The commentators draw attention to the kings address to his soldiers giving them promises and inspiring them and winning their loyalty. But more important was the organizational skill of the ruler who led them personally.
He shall make a small number of men fight in close formation; but a large number he may spread out as he likes. He shall make them fight, arraying them in the form of the needle (soochi) or the spine (vajra). The commentator says: If the king thinks that when ordered to fight in small detachments they may be struck with fear on seeing the large numbers of the enemy, then he shall array his men in the form of a needle (the bravest being in the forefront). In the vajra array the men are divided into three parts, one in the front, and another in the rear and the rest on the two sides of the king.
The commentators have also noted that the king rarely led the troops and only directed them from his fortress. Here the ruler himself leads his men. On even ground he shall fight with chariots and horses; on marshy grounds with boats and elephants; on grounds covered with trees and thickets with bows; and on firm ground with swords and shield and other weapons. (191,192) The commentators of the medieval times and their adherents of the modern times have overlooked significant aspects of the wars of ancient times.
Manusmrti was first drafted when the region between Ganga and Yamuna was the centre of learning and valour. It was a period before the eastern Ganga basin with Kasi and Mithila emerged as great centres of learning noted for the composition of the great Upanishads and after the Sarasvati-Drshadvati basin lost its central place as the cradle of Vedic civilization and culture. The editors of Manusmrti say:The (free) men, naras, born in the countries of Kurukshetra, Matsya, Panchala and Surasena, he shall make these fight in the vanguard; as also those that are tall and agile. (193)
It was a period when the four-fold classification of the society as Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras was newly introduced. The people of this region during the Vedic times followed of the Gandharva and Apsara cultures. The lower ranks of the Gandharvas who were not bound to householder discipline (grhasthasrama) were known as naraloka, the social world of free men. Most of the troops were recruited from their ranks and given the orientation meant for the class of Kshatriyas, warriors and guards. These naras were to be placed in the vanguard. .
The leader, having arrayed his forces, shall encourage them and thoroughly, test them. Even while they are engaging the enemy (ari) he shall mark their behaviour.The commentator notes that some men are likely to be half-hearted while others go to battle whole-heartedly. After having besieged the foe, he shall halt, and proceed to harass his rural hinterland, rashtra, and continually vitiate his supply of food, water and fuel. The villagers were not attacked by the invading troops that laid siege to the fortified capital but were only demoralized.He shall destroy the tanks as also walls and moats; he shall assail the enemy and shall frighten him during the night. (194-196) The editors of Manusmrti could recommend such inhuman steps as they were pragmatic and not idealistic.
Jha translates the verse (197) as:He shall alienate (upajapya, secretly instigate to rebel) all who are alienable, keep himself informed of the enemys designs and when fate (daiva) is propitious (yukta), he should fight, devoid of fear and determined to conquer. Jones translated it as: Let him secretly bring over to his party all such leaders as he can safely bring over; let him be informed of all that his enemies are doing; and when a fortunate moment is offered by heaven, let him give battle, pushing on to conquest and abandoning fear. The editors of Manusmrti were not so irrational as to ask the conqueror to wait for good omens and for permission of the gods.
The conqueror had marched to lay siege to the fort of another ruler but was not able to go beyond his brief. He was required to obtain the permission of the house of nobles (devas) of his own state before launching the attack. He could not commit his state on his own for he was taking state stores and wealth along with him to meet the needs of his personal troops and those of the state army under the commander-in-chief. No king was a sovereign free to do as he decided. It was not enough to get the approval of his ministry for it was his creature.The sober elite, devas, of his country retained the authority to pull him back from the final fringe before the actual war began.They formed the sabha or assembly, upper house of the legislature.
By conciliation (sama), by gifts (dana) and by driving wedge among the men of his opponent (bheda), either severally or collectively, he shall try to conquer his enemy, never by war (yuddha). (198) This blanket ban on war proper must have been imposed by the (later) editors of Manusmrti who despaired of the harm it did to the people at large by sanctifying Kshatriya dharma and by instituting the class of Kshatriyas. The latter was a recognized means of externalizing the aggressive tendencies of the rulers so that the peoples of their countries might breathe freely.
Since between two combatants victory is found to be uncertain, as also defeat, he shall avoid fighting. War was a gamble and gambling was to be deplored. (199) But in the event of the three aforesaid expedients failing, he shall fight in such a manner as to conquer his enemies completely. (200) In actual war, there is no place for scruples and mercy. The battle is fought to win. The commentators seem to be upset by this reality. They say: He shall not create imaginary difficulties, and he shall also eschew all treacherous ways of fighting, as also all such operations as would bring about either the utter annihilation of the enemy or too much harassment.
Consolidation of Conquered Territories (7-201 to 226)
Leadership: A note on Daiva, Manushya and Purusha
Having gained victory, he shall worship the devas (gods, as wrongly understood), the nobles of his country who permitted him to launch the war and the Brahmans, the scholars and jurists who stood by dharma (the code of conduct, especially of a ruler, rajadharma), grant remissions and cause promises of safety (amnesty) to be proclaimed. (201) The conqueror is advised to grant remissions on taxes instead of resorting to looting the conquered territory. He must aim at winning over the commoners and not do anything that would increase their bitterness. He should not be revengeful but offer amnesty to all who surrendered to him. This was a pragmatic move rather than idealism and taking a high moral ground.
If even after bestowing such favours, he finds that the people of the city and the rural areas and their representatives (paurajanapada) are still loyal to their former chief (svami) and that any government of his own in that occupied territory, will not last long, he shall do as recommended in the next verses. Having briefly ascertained the wishes of all the people, he shall set up there a member of his lineage (vamsa) he shall conclude a treaty (with the representative body of that area). (202)
The new head of the state should enjoy the confidence of all the people of the conquered area. It was not to be annexed by the conqueror. There can be no treaty only with a puppet as the successor. It has to be with the paurajanapada bodies and the ministers. Jha presents the commentators as stipulating that the new ruler must be mild and happy in his family-surroundings. In other words, a renegade is not to be appointed as the new ruler or a fanatical partisan of the dethroned family.
Since the term, svami, rather than raja is visualized as the conqueror it is inadvisable to talk in terms of continuance of a royal dynasty as an imperative. The officials of the British East India Company and of the Crown were eager to find out what procedure should be followed while putting into place their puppets in the Indian states overrun by them. The people of the conquered areas were for continuance of the ruling dynasty though they did not insist that the successor should be invariably the eldest son of the deceased or dethroned ruler.
The Indologists, historians and jurists (Both British and Indian) consulted by them advocated continuance of the ruling dynasty and entering into agreement with one of its members. They did not hesitate to introduce in Manusmrti clauses (or highlight the clauses that were already in force) to satisfy the conquered people that they would continue to be ruled in accordance with their own laws and constitutions and win over the local chieftains and intellectuals.
The conqueror shall make authoritative (pramana) all that is declared to have been in accordance with constitutional law (dharma) (of that country). He could not impose a new constitution on the conquered country. Every country had a right to frame its own law but whatever law or constitution was adopted had to meet certain basic conditions. He shall honour the new head and the major social leaders (pradhana purushas) with precious gifts. It was not bribery. It was to assure them that they were not his enemies. (203) The later commentators say: All the customs relating to the property of Brahmans or temples and to the duties of the people that may have been prevalent in the kingdom before, all those he shall confirm, make authoritative.
The Brahmans (the Brahmans of later times who helped the British to edit Manusmrti as the law binding all Hindus) are seen to have adopted a narrow sectarian stand and been ready to accept the conquest and the defeat suffered without murmur if their interests were safe. On why the new king and the new leaders are to be given precious gems, the (later) editors of Manusmrti say:The seizing of desirable property is productive of displeasure and the giving of it is productive of pleasure; each is commended if done at the proper time. (204)
Jha translates the next verse (205) as: All this undertaking (karma) is dependent upon the ordering of destiny and of human exertion; of these two, destiny is incomprehensible, and action is possible only in regard to human exertion. Buhler translated it as: All undertakings in this (world) depend both on the ordering of fate and on human exertion; but among these two the ways of fate are unfathomable; in the case of mans work action is possible. Jones read it as: All this conduct of human affairs is considered as dependent on acts ascribed to the deity, and on acts ascribed to men; now the operations of the deity can not be known by any intenseness of thought, but those of men can be clearly discovered. It needs to be stated here that the medieval commentators and also the modern writers had lost sight of the structure and functioning of the Vedic social polity.
Devas and manushyas, nobles and commoners, were the two strata of the core society of the Vedic times. When it was brought under an organized state, it was agreed upon that the commoners would govern themselves but before any new venture was undertaken they would consult the nobles and secure their permission. While the nobles made finance available for these ventures, the commonalty provided human resources. There was no question of consulting gods or praying for their blessings.
Deva meant a noble and not a deity. It is also wrong to interpret that the term, daiva, meant fate or destiny. Let us keep aside both religion and superstition while discussing the roles of these two strata in decision-making. Daivadharma is not to be treated as fate. It consists in merit resulting from previous acts, in the form of what are prescribed, and what are forbidden. But the issue here is a specific political endeavour undertaken by the adventurous and ambitious ruler who did not get the fulsome support of the house of nobles, devas, for his move.
The charismatic leader, svami, who was essentially a commoner ruler with limited rational legitimacy, was not able to get the approval and support of the nobles easily. What they wanted him to do he could not gauge correctly for want of access to their deliberations. The term, destiny, implying predestining does not convey the note correctly. The interpretation that between destiny and human exertion, the latter becomes after ones death, the cause of the former, appears to be convincing to those who believe in the theory of rebirth.
Manusmrti was drafted soon after the Vedic period and when the sages too had expressed the desire to keep away from the mundane activities of the commoners and their leaders. Medhatithi summarizes the stand of the Smrti: Daivam should be understood as what is done by one personally in his earlier body (deham). The work of a social leader, purusha, is what he does during this life. This is unsatisfactory. Let us keep aside the concept of rebirth while interpreting this verse.
The assessment made by the nobles about ones activities was with respect to his deeds in his previous positions and not with respect to his current deeds. As a commoner, manushya, he might have exhibited little dynamism but as a social leader, purusha, he has been continually exhibiting both valour and awareness of his limitations. This latter aspect has to be taken into account before extending assistance and unless he acts first and proves his merit and eligibility for assistance the nobles would sit back.Would a leader, purusha, be able to push ahead without unflinching support from the nobles?This debate underlies the enigma here. This verse has thrown up certain basic issues on this matter and these have to be re-examined.
According to the Sruti (Veda), vidhi, vidhanam, niyati, svabhava, kala, brahma, isvara, karma, daiva, bhagya, punya and bhutantaryoga are related to previous acts (?). The Vedic times witnessed the determination of what acts done were to be assessed on the basis of the paradigm mentioned above. Rules of procedure (vidhi), legislation (vidhana), self-regulation and self-restraint (niyati) and personal aptitude (svabhava) were to be taken into account and also the socio-political constitution (Brahma) and the direction given by the charismatic leader (isvara) in the case of the social periphery who worked (yoga) in the areas away (antar) from the agrarian plains (bhu) and were known as bhutas.
The vocation normally pursued (karma) and the directions given by the noble (daiva) in the case of the core society are relevant factors. In the case of the free lancers Gandharvas etc. the positive contribution (punya) of the act to the society at large has to be noted. In the case of individuals (bhutas) of the unorganized social periphery the issue of how far they are able to work together (bhutantaryoga) was the relevant issue.
In the new organized society, it became difficult for the commoners (manushyas) and even for the social leaders (purushas) to visualize how their acts were assessed and further directions given by the nobles (devas) who functioned from the backstage. The medieval commentators had lost sight of this panorama that lit the Vedic horizon.
The medieval commentator argues that Daivam, the will of the nobles, devas, does not get translated into action, into reality, does not fructify without endeavour by the social leader, purusha. As pointed out, a manushya, a commoner may rise to become a leader, a purusha, and a purusha, may become a noble (deva), on fulfillment of certain social duties. While there is a noticeable hiatus between the status of manushya and that of deva, the gap between purusha and deva is considerably less. The role and status of a noble (deva) need the help of the efforts of the purusha. And the effort put in by the purusha needs the backing of the deva. The two are interdependent. [We refrain from translating the term, daivam, as chance or as destiny.] Else the will of the deva, noble, will get accomplished without the endeavour of the purusha, the leader, even when the latter is just born. But it is not so.
Similarly if there is no relationship between the will of the nobles, devas, and the acts engaged in by the leaders, purushas, then there would be no uniformity in results achieved. Causal efficiency requires the operation of both the factors.The commentator quotes Vyasa: All human (manushya) undertakings (arabha) are the effects of two types of work (karma), daiva and purusha. Apart from these two there is nothing else. There is no role for chance or for the will of any supernatural or preternatural power in this social act, the enterprise of the commoners, determined by the will of the house of the nobles, devas, and inspired and directed by the leadership of the dynamic purushas. [This is not to deny the existence of God.]
The wills of the nobles, daivam, and the needs of the commoners, the manushyas, define the policy (naya) to be followed and what is to be avoided as impolicy (anaya) while administering (palaya) the social world of workers including executives of the state (karmalokam). Kautilya, an expert in Samkhya dialectics posits the presence of four factors. Aya implied a policy found by the nobles, devas, to be beneficial, and anaya, a policy found by them to be harmful. Naya and apanaya are the policies found beneficial or harmful according to the commoners, manushyas.
Some advocated that all actions of the commoners be determined solely by the purposes had by the nobles, devas. This was beneficial especially for the physically handicapped who were rewarded for their past good deeds. On the other hand, persons with enough means at their command, able-bodied, brave and clever and versed in the sciences were unhappy despite their efforts. Liberalism of the nobles benefited the weak while it neglected the meritorious. The nobles have not contributed to social progress though they have looked after the needs of the weak. This approach of the liberal nobles, which does not reward work, is deplored. It is complained that people go on experiencing gains and losses brought about by the nobles (devas) alone independent of the leadership traits (purushakara) of the meritorious.
But the popular theory is: We are experiencing in this world the results of past deeds and in the other social world (paraloka, loosely defined as heaven) we shall experience those of our present deeds. When commoners (manushyas) know this they would engage themselves in social duties (dharma). These scholars cite the verse: I know what is righteous, dharma, and yet I do not act up to it; and I know what is sin and yet I do not desist from it; I come out with things (nisrshta) as I am prompted by the giver (dhata, the liberal noble); I have no other director (sasayita) than him. [Deists would identify Dhata as God.] Though the commoners may know what is right and what is wrong they do not try to decide their course of action by themselves but prefer to act as directed by the liberal governors.
But those persons who would recommend dependence entirely on the leadership provided by the purushas say: The work of the leader (purushakara) is the only cause of all activities. It is only when an agriculturist exerts laboriously towards agricultural operations that he obtains the fruits of cultivation in the form of good harvest. To this end it has been declared: In this world, it is only a purusha who resorts to activity and does work who enjoys their results. It is an active social leader (purusha) who participates in the socio-economic activities of the agrarian population (manushyas) who will benefit and be able to rise to the higher social stratum, that of the nobles. This school would say: The silent sage (muni) sometimes sets aside even the views of the nobles (daivam), just as he keeps off heat and cold and brings on as well as drives off rain.
The commentators point out that it often happens that leadership influence (purushakara) though exercised is laid flat when overpowered by the will of the high individuals of the aristocracy (daivam). But even if the aristocracy is weak if strong leadership helps it, it succeeds in producing results. To this end there is a saying: The will of the aristocracy (daivam), when weak, is set aside by the leadership (purushakara); even the intelligent (cetana) work (karma) is baffled by the more powerful will of the aristocracy (daivam). This would treat the aristocracy to be superior to the intelligentsia but inferior to the class of constructive and participant social leaders who are with the masses (manushyas).
Hence the editors of Manusmrti say that the will and power of the nobles is incomprehensible. We cannot fathom in what way it comes about and how it operates. As it is futile to discuss the role of the will of the aristocracy(daivam) among the commoners (manushyas) it is the role of leadership (purushakara) that is going to be described as forming the subject matter of the treatise. The work that the purusha, socio-economic leader, does is creative (prakrtatva).What a common man, manushya, does is work (kriya). This can be noticed in agricultural operations. In fact people undertake only that operation of which the beginning, the middle and the end can be perceived. As regards daivam, (unfathomed) intent of the noble, it is not concerned with how men in trouble should act. Hence it need not be given much importance, some say. Hence only the work of the common man we can think over and then do what has to be done. The unsystematic worker comes to grief. He must be saved from it.
When the ruler is equipped with all the three powers (sakti) (prabhu, utsaha and mantra,human and material resources, tempo of the troops and strategy as explained by the Arthasastra) and endowed with due efforts (yoga) by those who have the traits of social leadership (purushakara) there arises in his mind a keen desire to conquer other countries (pararashtra). Then the nobles (devas) and the commoners (manushyas) come together and all purposes are accomplished. In that accomplishment, talent and direction of the nobles (daivam) contribute to excellence. The rest are made possible by the calibre of the leaders (purushakara).
When the conqueror is aided by the counsel (mantra) given by the nobles (devas), the enemy is afflicted in terms of both nobles (devas) and commoners (manushyas). Talented leadership (paurusham) and mature counsel of nobles (daivam) are on par in efficacy, the conqueror has to note. It has been said that when the commonalty (manushyam) function (pravarta) without being duly united with the nobility (daivam) it is with great difficulty that it leads to completion (of the project).
It implies that if the leadership (purushakara) of the core society of devas and manushyas, nobles and commoners functions in defiance of the will of the aristocracy, in regard to all the eight forms of activity, (Ref. Verse 154) either it succeeds with great difficulty or all its effort is futile. Hence even though there may be difficulties yet no one shall rest satisfied with resigning himself to the will of the nobles (daivam).On the other hand, when leadership (purushartha) works along with the aristocracy (daivam) then the effort put in by the leader (purushakara) leads to the fulfilment of the purpose of that leadership (purushartha) with the help of their counsel. For, it would be in line with the objects and methods set forth in the counsel given by the nobles. [Social leadership cannot afford to ignore or reject the counsel given by the enlightened and experienced aristocracy that has no axes to grind.] (It is misleading to interpret mantra as a reference to the Vedic texts.)
When the five sectors of spies (Ref. Verse 154) function in accordance with the objective and impartial direction given by the nobles and their reports are taken into account there will be no difficulty in reaching all the goals.The commentator draws attention to two sayings. In some cases when the leader puts forth his effort (purushakarma) in the field (kshetra) even though the nobles are unable to extend support (daivahina), it brings its due reward. Sometimes the field is as if it were dead and then all his effort is futile.
It has often been found that though one tries repeatedly the result does not accrue if the necessary aid from the nobles does not come to his rescue. [It is irrational to translate daivam as destiny or as god.] Even though, the will of the aristocracy (daiva) is favourable to exercise of leadership and guidance (purushakara), without the latter the field of work (kshetra) will not bear fruits.
Only when the result has been obtained it can be inferred that the will of the nobles was favourable. If the expected result is not there despite the effort put in by the leader it has to be presumed that there was no support from the nobles to that effort. Others have argued that it is not for want of support from the nobles but because of inaction (by those who were required to work) and want of leadership that the crops fail and the seeds sown are wasted.
The will of the nobility (devas) was represented in the Vedic polity through the officials designated as Indra, Chandra, Arka and named after the planets and as Vayu, Agni and Apa. It was fulfilled by the leadership (paurusham). Leaders are present in all fields. As the aristocracy does not favour annexation of the conquered territory, the conqueror has to install a member of the ruling lineage of that country, restore its constitution and return. Or having made peace with his enemy, he may return accompanied by him. This would give the conqueror the three-fold reward of obtaining an ally, gold and (ceded) land (bhumi). (206)
In his circle (mandala), having paid due attention to the ally who forms his rear-guard and also to the ally who occupies the position next to the said ally, the conqueror shall obtain the result of his expedition (yatra) either from his friend (mitra) or from the non-friend (amitra). (207)
It was pointed out that the parthiva, ruler of the agrarian plains does not prosper so much by gaining gold and land as he does by obtaining a firm ally, even though the latter be weak, if fraught with future possibilities. (208) Even a weak ally is highly commended if he is righteous, dharmya, functions according to the principles of (rajadharma) and grateful, has the constituents of his state (prakrti, people) content and is loyal and persevering in his undertakings. (209)
The unattached intellectuals (budhas of the social periphery) describe that enemy to be most troublesome who is intelligent (prajna, has wide knowledge), belongs to a high clan (kula), is brave, alert, liberal, grateful (to his own supporters) and firm (in his commitments to them). (210) [The term, budhas, is used in a restrictive and precise sense and is not to be loosely translated as the wise ones.]
The editors of Manusmrti then describe how an indifferent ruler (udasina, a stoic) is to be identified. He has the dignity of a free citizen with his own property (rights of an Arya). He knows the traits of leadershippurushajnanam) (required to guard that independence). He has valour and compassion and constant robust objectives (sthaulalakshya). [Sthaulalakshya has been translated by some wrongly as liberality. Similarly it is wrong to translate udasina as neutral. He is indifferent to the moves of others and knows how to guard himself and can help others. He has yet high goals in front of him.]
This stoical chieftain is in fact a civil administrator and chief of free men (nrpa). Even though the land (occupied by him) is safe, fertile, and conducive to rearing of cattle he shall give it up without thinking about his personal interests. He is not an agriculturist who is deeply attached to his land. He is an udasina, an indifferent stoic. It appears that the medieval and later commentators had failed to note that this nrpati was bold enough to give asylum to a ruler who had been denied support by the nobles and also by his ministers.The nrpa, a pious civil administrator, was an Arya owning fertile pastoral lands but was ready to relinquish his rights and his interests rather than lose his freedom (to a conqueror). (211,212)
One shall protect his wealth for times of need. At the expense of his wealth he shall protect his wife. He shall at all events protect himself even by giving up his wife and his wealth.This may sound realistic to some and reprehensible to others (213). But the rulers often did not have even these simple options to save their own skin. An unattached intellectual of the social periphery (budha) who sees all kinds of troubles frequently cropping up simultaneously shall build up (srja) for use all means (upayas) (sama, dana, bheda and danda) collectively as well as severally. (214)
He tries to be pragmatic and is not bound by the orientations imparted by any clan or community. He shall strive for the accomplishment of his purpose by taking his stand on all the three: (a) the employer of the expedients (b) the end to be attained by the expedients and (c) (the merits of) the expedients themselves. (215). Without this positive training in policy one would get dubbed as a thief. The commentators draw attention to the saying: The properly trained person enters peace. Another may use his prowess. Both these should be equipped with a knowledge of policy (naya) (that would be advantage for the purpose on hand).
Having discussed all this with his ministers (mantris) and having done physical exercise at midday and having bathed afterwards, the king shall enter the inner palace for dinner. (216) There he shall eat the food that has been thoroughly tested by faithful, incorruptible servants who know the proper time and that has been sanctified by chants (mantra). (217) He shall mix his food with medicines that are antidotes against poison. He shall be careful to wear gems that are antidote against poison. (218) Well-trained ladies (stri) whose toilet and ornaments have been examined shall serve him attentively with fans, water and perfumes. (219)
Similarly he shall be careful about his carriages, bed, seat, bath, toilet and ornaments. (220) Having dined, he shall amuse himself in the inner apartment in the company of ladies; and having amused himself he shall in due time attend to his business. (221) Duly robed, he shall again inspect the armed soldiers as also all the vehicles, weapons and accoutrements. (222)
Having performed his twilight devotions, he shall, well armed, listen, in an inner room, to the doings of persons making secret reports and also of his spies. (223) He had to be on guard against his own men too. Then moving to another room and having (heard and) dismissed (the representatives of) the local people (jana) (who had been invited), he shall again enter the inner apartment, surrounded by the ladies for food. (224) Having eaten a little and having been entertained by the sound of musical instruments, he shall sleep at the proper time, freed from fatigue. (225) The ruler of the agro-pastoral plains (prthvipati) who is free from diseases (as he abjures all vices) shall function according to the rules prescribed in the constitution (vidhanam). But when indisposed he shall entrust all this (work) to his subordinates. (226)
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