Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्रम्)

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History has seen and read several authors of the ancient period but none like Kautalya. A mastermind behind the great work called 'Arthashastra' (अर्थशास्त्रम्) Kautilya, has the recognition of being the most influential political philosopher and guide for Chandragupta Maurya during the 326 B.C., Mauryan era. Kautalya's work is an enema written originally in Sanskrit and he is considered the greatest political thinker and state craftsman Indian civilization has ever produced. The veracity of application to Kautilya's Arthashastra ranges to limitless boundaries of knowledge and learning from medicine to education to philosophy and even to contemporary management sciences. Arthashastra is a moolamantra not only for political governance but also a guptamantra for corporate management governance.The preaching of अर्थशास्त्रम् elevate human thinking to work with sixth sense engaging cognitive, affective and connative domains to keep control over mind, body and self so that institutions can prosper.

While there may be doubts from the very fact as to how his name should be spelt (as Kautalya or Kautilya) to his native place of birth and origin ('Taksasila' in Punjab or Dravidian from South, or a Nampudiri of Kerala or Magadha in South Bihar) to whether he truly scripted the Arthashastram, the world still believes with credible evidences provided by exponents that he is the architect of this monumental work. He was called Kautila because he belonged to Kautalyagotra. Born at 'Canaka' in Punjab as it is believed, he was called Canakya but later baptized to Visnugupts by his parents. Hence the names Kautalya, Canakya and Visnugupta are the resounding names in literature. The Chanakya Neeti is nothing but a political strategy suggesting ways and means to combat any administrative and political eventuality. When the Nanada dynasty was weaning to self destruction there was void in the political climate for a strong administrator to manage the reigns.The political doldrums, foreign invasions, social unrest and mis-governance presented fertile opportunity to Kautalya and he immediately seized it. Not interested in power, position and authority, he found and fermented Chandragupta Maurya to lead the Mauryan empire teaching him all tricks of the trade codified in his treatise Arthashastram, to the extent that the Mauryan dynasty become the uncontested power for several years in history. The treatise covers all social , political. warfare, welfare, law, policy making, economics, finance, and disciplinary aspects of administration that led the Mauryan dynasty to claim a unique political fabric of its own. Kautalya's Arthashasta is a work justifying every type of tactic played craftily so as to offer real life solution to every conceivable hypothetical situation. Single and brahmin, simple yet bold, austere yet opportunist, never forgetting a slight yet scheming, Chanakya was known to achieve his ultimate purpose regardless of the means (referred also as Indian Machiavelli) as he never admitted defeat of purpose due to means unsuited to the end.

Importance of ArthaShastra[1]

When Arthashastra was discovered by Rudrapatnam Shamashastry, he could not have anticipated the revolution in Indian self-image his discovery would bring about. The text became a focal point with which to contest every cliché that had been used to define India:

  • A society that allegedly never had a rational state suddenly acquired one
  • A society defined by a dreamy moralism suddenly acquired a narrative of steely realism
  • A society without a history of political thought acquired a master text in political theory
  • A society without sophisticated economic thinking acquired insight into the foundations of wealth
  • A society without a strategic culture acquired a veritable theory of international relations
  • A nation with ostensibly no political identity acquired a prehistory of political unity.


Please see this link to access the samskrita moolam for Kautilya's Arthashastra

Written nearly 1500 years ago, the relevance of Arthshastra is often re-validated in the present century, one can always say that human beings have always remained the same over generations and their attitude, desire, thinking and behaviour is governed by their surroundings, challenges and opportunities open to them. Some of their native instincts may be nature and ancestoral but lot of it is nurture and environment. States may have been divided, reconfigured, and re-defined but the tenets of maintaining internal peace, managing external attacks, maintaining international relations among states continues to be the same. The statecraft of managing administration, governance and polity (social, economic and political structure) of the current times still borrows its foundation from the ancient tenets. So long as humans and societies are significant Arthashastram will be found relevant to creating ideal states.

The Purusharthas follow dharma, artha, kama and moksha to be the 4 tenets human beings are expected to follow that is moral behaviour, wealth, worldly pleasure, and salvation. The Arthashastra follows Dharmashastra, which signifies duty, universal order, righteousness of the individual towards oneself, society and ancestors. Similarly the state comprising of the society, ministers ruler, priests and people are governed by morality, ethics, conventional and adhyatmik law; another manifestation of dharma. Kautilya himself assumed his dharmic responsibility by wandering in disguise for years only to find the boy 'Chandragupta' in the village grounds among cowherd and friends, to fit the royal line. Kautalya was so impressed with the boy that he purchased him for thousand panas immediately and thereon gave him all the dikshas to fit into the role of a perfect king. It was Kautilya's orientation to Rajadharma that until he made Chandragupta the ruler of Magadha, and made it the most powerful dynasty he had sleepless nights, Artha meaning wealth, follows dharma. however in Arthashastram it signifies more than wealth. It talks of wealth of nations, territories, and well being of the individual inhabitants doing various occupations. The state plays a major role in appraising and elevating the material status and well being of its people. Therefore Artha is not as simple to mean money, worldly possession or capital. Rather it means the 'scientific economics' of a state stressing on treasury, revenue, expenditures, state taxes, budgets, accounts and productive output of enterprises which in turn enhance the material status of human society and individuals within it.

Dr. Radhakrishnan said that artha takes note of the economic and political life of a person, the craving for power and property. While the pursuit of wealth and happiness is a legitimate human aspiration, they should be gained through righteousness (Dharma), if they are to lead to spiritual freedom of a person (Moksha)[2].


The Arthashastra is a compilation of 15 Adhikaranas (Books), with each adhikararana divided further into 150 Adhyayas (Chapters) which are further subdivided into 180 Prakaranas (Sections), 380 karikas with 6000 shlokas (verses) and 32 syllabic units in all.. The following is a brief account of the composition within various Adhikaranas, Adhyayas and Prakaranas. Arthashastram begins with veneration to two great political thinkers Sukra and Brhaspati and Kautalya makes an honest submission of this so as not to take the credit all unto himself. He also refers to theories of other authors and well known schools in the field of economics and politics and sastras of the Pre-Kautilyan era which have formed the foundation for the compendium Arthashastram. However all the previous works were not so exhaustive, authoritative or deep in content hence were superseded by the Arthashastram. The chapters reveal the classified and distilled mind which Kautalya had while scripting such an instructive manual suited to every need of an aggressively disposed monarchy. The entire thesis focusses on two aspects Tantra : the protection and welfare of the people and Avapa : the security and consolidation of the realm. Book I to V comprises of 95 Prakaranas dealing only with the Tantra. Book VI to XIV comprise 84 Prakaranas dealing with Avapa. Adhikarana I deals with discipline, training, daily routine of duties and dissemination of Danda by the king and qualifications of the various levels of ministers and their spies. Adhikarana II deals with the bureaucratic set up of the administrative block, heirarchy of officials, the duties and responsibilities of various heads of departments , planning of forts and fortified towns and layout of the settlements. Estimation and collection of revenue, maintaining accounts, industrial establishments including state monopoly concerns, regulation of promotion of internal and foreign trade and commerce. Adhikarana III deals with civil laws and administration of Justice. Adhikarana IV deals with criminal laws and suppression of antisocial elements. Adhikarana V deals with action against sedition and treason, pay scales of officals and mechanisms to combat financial crisis.

Adhikarana VI- VII deals with essential characterisitcs of the state described as Saptasangas, the six-fold political expedients in the field of diplomacy among states called as Sadgunya. Adhikarana VIII deals with dangers and calamities arising both within or externally due to natural or man-made attempts befalling the king or body politic. Adhikarana IX-X deals with military campaigns and ancillary problems. Adhikarana XI deals with measures to control economic guilds and political corporations. Adhikarana XII-XIII deals with methods of intrigue and the employment of secret agencies against enemies and during military expeditions and ameliorative measures to be taken in a conquered country. Adhikarana XIV deals with secret recipes designed to remedy afflictions caused by enemy action. Adhikarana XV consists of just one prakarana in the form of a glossary of 32 technical terms and verbal contractions used in the text. This is of special significance as the author gives the intended import of the words that can be mis-construed or misinterpreted by later commentators.

The full contents of the books and its chapters and sub sections have been listed below as in the original text of Arthashastram.

Adhikarana I : Vinayadhikarika

Book I - On Discipline

Chapter 1

The contents of the book

Chapter 2

2.1 Prakaranam (Section) 1 : Indication of Sciences, Place of Anviksiki determined

Chapter 3

3.1 Indication of Sciences (Contd.)

Place of Three Vedas Determined

Chapter 4

4.1 Indication of Sciences (Contd.)

Varta and Dandaniti Established

Chapter 5

5.2 Association with the Aged

Chapter 6

6.3 Control of Sense Organs

Abandoning of the Aggregate of Six Enemies

Chapter 7

7.3 Control of Sense Organs (Contd.)

Life of a Saintly King

Chapter 8

8.4 Employment of Ministers

Chapter 9

9.5 Selection of Councillors and Priests

Chapter 10

10.6 Purity and Impurity of Ministers Tested

Chapter 11

11.7 Constitution of Spies

Chapter 12

12.8 Duties Assigned to the Spies

Chapter 13

13.9 Engaging Spies Against One's Officers

Chapter 14

14.10 Winning Over Faction in an Enemy's State

Chapter 15

15.11 Counselling

Chapter 16

16.12 Employment of Messengers

Chapter 17

17.13 Protection of Princes

Chapter 18

18.14 & 18.15 Prince put under Restraint and Treatment of a Restrained Prince

Chapter 19

19. 16 The Royal Duties

Chapter 20

20.17 Duty towards the Harem

Chapter 21

21.18 Self Protection

Adhikaram II  : 'Adhyakshapracharaha'

Book II : ''Authorities"

Chapter 22

22.19 Arrangement of Villages

Chapter 23

23.20 Division of Land

Chapter 24.

24.21 Construction of Fort

Chapter 25

25.22 Buildings within the Fort

Chapter 26

26.23 Duties of Treasury Officer

Chapter 27

27.24 Collection of Wealth by the collector

Chapter 28

28.25 Counting of Coins and Maintenance of Accounts

Chapter 29

29.26 Detection of Embezzled Revenue

Chapter 30

30.27 Test of the Conduct of Employees

Chapter 31

31.28 Procedure for Issuing Writs

Chapter 32

32.29 Examination of Gems to be deposited in the Treasury

Chapter 33

33.30 Mining Operations

Chapter 34

34.31 Superintendent in the Office of Goldsmith

Chapter 35

35.32 Goldsmith in the High Road

Chapter 36

36.33 Chief of Store House

Chapter 37

37.34 Authority of Commerce

Chapter 38

38.35 Authority of Forest Producers

Chapter 39

39.36 Authority of the Armoury

Chapter 40

40.37 Authority of Weights and Measures

Chapter 41

41. 38 Measurement of Space and Time

Chapter 42

42.39 Superintendent of Tolls

Chapter 43

43.39 Regulation of Toll Dues

Chapter 44

44.40 Superintendent of Weaving

Chapter 45

45. 41 Superintendent of Agriculture

Chapter 46

46.42 Superintendent of Liquor

Chapter 47

47. 43 Authority of the Slaughter House

Chapter 48

48.44 The Superintendent of Prostitutes

Chapter 49

49.45 The Superintendent of Ships

Chapter 50

50.46 The Superintendent of Cows

Chapter 51

51. 47 The Superintendent of Horses

Chapter 52

52.48 The Superintendent of Elephants

Chapter 53

53.48 The Superintendent of Elephants; Training

Chapter 54

54.49 The Superintendent of Chariots

54.50 The Superintendent of Infantry

54.51 Duties of the Commander-in-chief

Chapter 55

55.52 The Superintendent of Passports

55.53 The Superintendent of Pastures

Chapter 56

54.54 The Administrator's Activity

54.55 Activity of the Secret Agents

Chapter 57

557.56 The Duty of a City Superintendent

Adhikaranam III  : 'Dharmastheeyam'

Book III : On Laws

Chapter 58

58.57 Forms of Agreement

58.58 Legal Disputes

Chapter 59

59. 59 Concerning the Marriage

Chapter 60

60.59 Concerning the Marriage; Duty of a Wife

Chapter 61

61.59 Concerning the Marriage

Chapter 62

62. 60 Division on Inheritance

Chapter 63

63. 60 Division on Inheritance :Sharing

Chapter 64

64.60 Inheritance :Types of Sons

Chapter 65

65.61 On Building Residences

Chapter 66

61.61 Concerning Houses; Sale of House

Chapter 67

67.61, 67.62 Destruction of Pastures and Infringement of Agreements

Chapter 68

68.63 Recovery of Debts

Chapter 69

69. 64 Concerning Deposits

Chapter 70

70.65 Slaves and Labourers

Chapter 71

71.66 On Slavery; Cooperative Undertaking

Chapter 72

72.67 Rescission of Purchase and Sale

Chapter 73

73. 68 Rescission from Promised Sale

73. 69 Sale from Ownership

73. 70 Ownership of Properties

Chapter 74

74.71 Robbery

Chapter 75

75.72 Defamation

Chapter 76

76. 73 Assault

Chapter 77

77.74 Gambling and Betting

77.75 Miscellaneous Offences

Adhikaram IV 'Kantakashodhanam'

Book IV  : Removal of Thorns

Chapter 78

78.76 Protection against Artisans

Chapter 79

79. 77 Protection against Merchants

Chapter 80

80.78 Remedies against Calamities

Chapter 81

81.79 Protection from Spies

Chapter 82

82.80 Exposition of Youths by Ascetic Spies

Chapter  83

83, 81 Arrest of Criminals on Suspicion

Chapter 84

84.82 Examination of Sudden Death

Chapter 85

85.83 Trial and Torture to Obtain Confession

Chapter  86

86.84 Protection of all Government Departments

Chapter 87

87.85 Fine in Leiu of Mutilation of Limbs

Chapter  88

88.86 Death with or without Torture

Chapter  89

89.87 Defilement of Maidens

Chapter  90

90.88 Punishment for Violation of Justice

Adhikaram V 'Yogavrittam'

Book V The Conduct of Courtiers

Chapter  91

91.89 Awards of Punishment

Chapter  92

92.90 Replenishment of Treasury

Chapter  93

93.91 Maintenance of Servants

Chapter  94

94.92 Conduct of Courtiers

Chapter  95

95.93 Conventional Practices

Chapter 96

96.94 Consolidation of Kingdom

96.95 Absolute Sovereignty

Adhikaranam VI 'The Source of Sovereign States'

Book VI : Mandalayonihi

Chapter  97

97.96 Elements of Sovereignty

Chapter  98

98.97 Concerning Peace and Effort

Adhikaranam VII 'Shaadgunyam'

Book VII: The Six Fold Policy

Chapter  99

99.98 The Six Fold Policy

99. 99 Deterioration , Stagnation and Progression

Chapter 100

100.100 Nature of Alliance

Chapter 101

100.101 Qualities of Equal, Inferior and Superior Kings

100.102 Alliance by an Inferior King

Chapter 102

102.103 Neutrality after Proclaiming War

102.104 Neutrality after Concluding Peace

102.105 Marching after Proclaiming War

102.106 Marching after Making Peace

102. 107 The March of Combined Powers

Chapter 103

103. 108 March against an Assailable Enemy

103.109 Causing of Dwindling Greed and Disloyalty of Army

103. 110 Considerations in combining Forces

Chapter 104

104.111 March of Combined Powers

104,112 Treaties with or without Definite Terms and Peace with Renegades

Chapter 105

105.113 Peace and War Employing Double Policy

Chapter 106

106.114 Attitude of Assailable Enemy

106.115 Friends that Deserve Help

Chapter 107

107.116 Agreements for Friend, Gold, Territory and Forts

Chapter 108

108.116 Agreements for Peace for Acquisition of Land

Chapter 109

109.116 Agreements for Interminable Agreement

Chapter 110

110.116 Agreements for Undertaking a Work

Chapter 111

111.117 Consideration of an Enemy in the Rear

Chapter 112

112. 118 Recruitment of Lost Power

Chapter 113

113. 119 Peace with a Strong and Provoked Enemy

113. 120 Attitude of a Conquered Enemy

Chapter 114

114.121 Attitude of a Conquered King

Chapter 115

115.122 Making Peace

115.123 Breaking Peace

Chapter 116

116.124 Conduct of Madhyama King

116. 124 Conduct of a Neutral King

116.126 Conduct of Circle of States

Adhikaranam VIII 'Vyasanadhikarikam'

Book VIII : Concerning Vices and Calamities

Chapter 117

117.127 Calamities of the Elements of Sovereignty

Chapter 118

118. 128 Troubles of the King and his Kingdom

Chapter 119

119.129 The Troubles of Men

Chapter 120

120.130 Molestation

120.131 Obstructions

120.132 Financial Troubles

Chapter 121

121. 133 Troubles of the Army

121. 134 Troubles of a Friend

Adhikaranam IX ' Abhiyaasyatkarma'

Book IX  : Actions of an Invader

Chapter 122

122.135 Knowledge of Power, Place, Time, Strength and Weakness

122. 136 The Time of Invasion

Chapter 123

123. 137 The Time of Recruiting the Army

123.138 The Form of Equipment

123. 139 Work of Arraying a Rival Force

Chapter 124

124. 140 Annoyance in the Rear

124.141 Remedies against Internal and External Trouble

Chapter 125

125. 142 Loss of Men, Wealth and Profit

Chapter 126

126.143 External and Internal Dangers

Chapter 127

127.144 Persons Associated with Traitors and Enemies

Chapter 128

128. 145 Doubts about Wealth and Harm

128.146 Success by Alternative Strategic Means

Adhikaranam X ' Sangramikam'

Book X  : Relating to War

Chapter 129

129.147 Encampment

Chapter 130

130.148 March of the Camp

130. 149 Protection of the Army in Troubles

Chapter 131

131.150 Treacherous Fights

131. 151 Encouragement of One's own Army

131.152 Fight between One's own Army and that of the Enemy

Chapter 132

132.153 Battle Fields

132.154 Actions of Infantry, Cavalry, Chariots and Elephants

Chapter 133

133.155 Array of Troupes in Wings, Flanks and Front

133.156 Strong and Weak Troops

133. 157 Battle with Infantry, Cavalry, Chariots and Elephants

Chapter 134

134.158 Array of Army like a Staff, Snake, a Circle or in Detached Order

134.159 Array of Army against that of an Enemy

Adhikaranam XI 'Sangavrittam'

Book XI "The Conduct of Corporations"

Chapter 135

135.160 Causes of Dissension

135.161 Secret Punishment

Adhikaranam XII 'Aabaleeyasam'

Book XII : "Concerning a Powerful Army"

Chapter 136

136.162 Duties of a Messenger

Chapter 137

137.163 Battle of Intrigue

Chapter 138

138.164 Killing of Commander-in-Chief

138.165 Inciting a Circle of States

Chapter 139

139.166 Spies with Weapons, Fire and Poison

139. 167 Destruction of Supply, Stores and Granaries

Chapter 140

140.158 Capture by Secret Means

140.169 Capture by Means of Army

140.170 Complete Victory

Adhikaranam XIII 'Durgalabhopaayaha'

Book XIII 'Means to Capture a Fortress'

Chapter 141

141.171 Sowing the Seeds of Dissension

Chapter 142

142.172 Enticement by Secret Contrivances

Chapter 143

143.173 Spies at Work

Chapter 144

144.174 Operation of Siege

144.175 Storming a Fort

Chapter 145

145.176 Restoration of Peace in a Conquered Country

Adhikaranam XIV 'Aupanishadhikam'

Book XIV : "Secret Means"

Chapter 146

146.177 Means to Injure an Enemy

Chapter 147

147.178 Delusion with Wonderous Contrivances

Chapter 148

148.178 Delusion with Medicines and Mantras

Chapter 149

149.179 Remedies against the Injuries of One's own Army

Adhikaranam XV ' Tantrayuktihi'

Book XV "The Plan of a Treatise"

Chapter 150

150.180 Division of the Treatise

Adhikarana 1 : Vinayadhikarika

Book 1 is a treatise on "On Discipline".

The Adhikarana begins with salutations to Sukra and Brhaspati.

The book deals with all overall political and social discipline which can assist in good governance for the country and its people. This adhikarana is one of the most extensive description of the discipline to be cultivated by a Raja. There is explicit mention of various duties of a raja towards his own country, education, vriddhas, learned persons, ministers, and the restraint and controls over self and children while managing his conduct and character in the book. Rules regarding varta and dandaniti (punishments) have been codified.

प्रथिव्या लाभे पालने च यावन्त्यर्थपूर्वाचार्यैः प्रस्थापितानि प्रा यशस्तानि संहृत्यैकमिदमर्थ शास्त्रं कृतम [3]

This is a single treatise on the science of politics prepared by amalgamating the teachings of many treatises on the Science of Politics as have been composed by ancient teachers for the acquisition and protection of the earth. Of that treatise, this is an enumeration of Sections and Books:-

Indication of Sciences, Association with the aged, Subjugation of the sense organs ( life of a saintly king and abandoning the aggregate of six enemies), Engagement of Councillors and preceptors, Ascertainment of nobility and purity of ministers, Institution of Spies, Maintenance of proper and improper factions in one's own state, Winning over of proper and improper factions from enemy state, Sections on counselling, Employment of messengers, Protection of one-self from the sons of kings, Keeping the prince under restraint, Treatment of one under such restraints, Messenger of kings, Arrangement of the harem, Concern for self protection, ; and these are the brief contents of the first chapter dealing with the life of a king concerning discipline.

आन्वीक्षिकि त्रयी वार्ता दण्डनीति श्रेतिविद्याः [4]

Anvikshiki, the three vedas and varta (agriculture, cattle breeding, and trade) and Dandaniti (Science of government or political science) are called the four sciences.

Kautalya is of the opinion that these four sciences help man to understand righteousness :dharma and wealth : artha and consequently attain wisdom. While Anvikshiki comprises of the philosophy of Sankhya (arithmetic and numbers), Yoga (physical and mental agility and peace) and Lokayata (materialistic or atheistic); the three vedas would illuminate him of the Dharmic and Adharmic acts. From Varta one can understand Artha and Anartha i.e. wealth and non-wealth as the science is related to commerce, trade and commercial activities, while knowledge of Naya and Apanaya (expedient and inexpedient) can be gained from Dandaniti. Anvikshiki, has been assigned the highest pedestal as it is the beacon of light to all sciences, means for all action and perennial source of strength to all righteous activities. In order to achieve clarity in thought, action, and intellect and attain calm in prosperity, Anvikshika would be the force to recon with. The vedas give knowledge on academic and social aspects of life. The Sama, Rg and Yajus are the 3 popular form of vedas but the Atharvaveda and Ithihasa veda are also integral components of vedas. The other ancillary academic subjects of vedas extend to Siksa (phonetics) Kalpa (rules for ceremonial acts) Vyakarana (grammar), Nirukta (etymological interpretation), Cchandoviciti (prosody) and Jyotisa (Astrology).

From the vedas also emerges learning for social life. The duties of the brahmin, Ksatriya, Vaisya and sudra (the ancient varna system of the society based on caste system determined by birth) is mentioned herein. At the miniature level, a man goes through four phases in life: Early childhood phase (learning, acquiring craft, knowledge, skill), Family life (sex, marriage, children, living, earning and prosperity and enjoyment), Forester (practicing celibacy), Old age conduct (Abstinence from attachment, control over sense organs, sacrificing worldly comforts) are the four phases of human life (duties) which man should religiously practice.

The over-arching framework of vedas, anviksiki or varta is Dandaniti (Law of Administration) . All the progress and prosperity in personal, social, professional or worldly affairs can be best achieved only through the law of punishment pronounced by the government. This explains why students in their Bramhacharya phase underwent rigorous academic training, physical strain and conditioned daily life only to emphasize to them , the importance of discipline should they desire for prosperity through rest of their life. For the protection, enhancement, distribution and obtaining the unobtainable, the course of administration by law has no substitute. Hence Authorities maintain that for universal progress, gain and prosperity there is no substitute for Danda the instrument of strict administration to control people at large. However Kautlaya is neither in favour of too harsh a punishment nor too mild; in fact punishments are recommended in proportion to the intensity of the crime. Such a proportionate punishment would protect the oppressed and weak from the strong, discourages mendicants in the forests and encourage people to observe righteousness, earn wealth and enjoy life.

विद्याविनय हेतुरिन्द्र्यजयः कामक्रोधलोभ मानम दहर्ष त्या गात् कार्यः [5]

The success of imbibing the learning from sciences and discipline is established only if one can gain control over his sense organs. The control over ear, skin, eyes, tongue and nose is said to be achieved when man shakes away feelings like lust, anger, greed, vanity, haughtiness and excessive joy. It is maintained that a king may have control over the entire bhooloka but on failing to control his senses will eventually meet destruction and history knows of many such kings to have perished with their relatives and kingdom.

In addition to this there is a strong format of discipline to be followed while engaging ministers, counsellors, priests, secret spies and messengers in the cabinet of the royal house and treatment meted to a prince kept under restraint. The royal duties, self protection actions and control of enemy faction also goes by prescribed rules of discipline. From qualifications of the employed servicemen to their routine of performing duties, all the set of activities are governed by set of rules.

Adhikaram II : 'Adhyakshapracharaha'

The Book II is a treatise on 'Authorities' . There is an elaborate description of almost every authority vested within a state and the modalities of its effective regulation. The village, land area and forts are the ground assets of a state and their division for the purpose of construction of forts, buildings and village settlements in the backdrop of an overall layout of the fortified city have been described through the chapters. The space for a centralized granary under the responsibility of director of stores clearly stating his duties have been further elucidated. Finance is the backbone of the economy. Wealth creation, revenue collection, bullion market and central exchequer have been greatly emphasized as they are the pillars that uplift the economic growth and social status of the state. The duties and responsibilities of the revenue officers in terms of collection, counting, depositing, maintaining perfect financial discipline of records, frequent audits of different types of income and expenditure accounts including coins, gems, jewels, precious stones and recovery of revenue misappropriated by state officers is dealt in the formative chapters of the book. Other crucial authorities forming the backbone of the economy other than finance mentioned in the text are trade and commerce to include mining, bullion, trade, forestry, armory (defence), scales weights standards and measures of time and space, tolls, weaving, agriculture, liquor, prostitutes, ships, cows , horses, elephants, chariots and infantry. The duties and engagements of all the state officers in the hierarchy belonging to each of these avenues like superintendents, supervisors, controllers and directors have been mentioned systematically. Commandments are mentioned even for passports, pastures, secret services, administration, city and army which are executed through individual superintendents handling each domain. This book is complete encyclopedia on departments that existed then and their functional aspects. These constitute the second book ' The Activity of the Heads of Departments"

Adhikaranam III  : 'Dharmastheeyam'

Book III is a treatise 'On Laws'

One cannot deny that the over-archaic structure needed to regulate any authority within a state is its legal system. Adhikaranam III is a treatise on the laws that existed in the Mauryan empire with respect to its societal concerns varying over marriage, inheritance, property purchase, sale, destruction and infringements of agreements, debts and deposits, slavery, labour, robbery defamation, assault, gambling, betting and other miscellaneous offences. Indulging in cruel activities, like killing cows and Brahmans inflicting pain and injury or the use of harsh words are punishable crimes as the text say. Legal disputes and resolution mechanisms relating to these matters have been elucidated for peace and harmony to prevail in the society. The forms of punishment are of the nature of monetary fine or physical as the offence may be. The modes of payment of fine with interest rates have been described in various prakaranas. These constitute the third book 'Concerning Judges'.

Adhikaram IV: 'Kantakashodhanam'

Book IV is a treatise on 'Removal of Thorns'.

The removal of thorns refers to suppression of criminal activities within the state at an individual level or collective level. It also refers to protection of common man from evil minds and corrupt actions. The book thrusts on those situations or conditions that may be created by man or nature for which the state must be prepared to tackle with an alert mind. Planning and foresight of such sudden occurrences can reduce the impact of damage for individuals and state. It deals with कारुकरक्षणम् [6]that is the protection of artisans, spies, keeping a watch on traders, protection and remedial measures that need to be taken before and during natural calamities. It talks of secret agents who need to detect criminals disguised as holy men and the arrest of those who are found suspicious of possessing stolen articles and secret means of income and prescribes a watch on officers of all departments to protect the wealth of various authorities of the state. There are also sections that look at आशुमृतकपरीक्षा ( interrogation in the case of an untimely or sudden death), involving torture or cross examination during a trial, to elicit the truth or in certain cases capital punishments if required. Hence punitive action of varying degrees is a consequence as the nature of crime heightens. Other punishments are prescribed such as mutilation of limbs or fine in lieu. Severe punishments have been codified in the text for transgression, कन्याप्रकर्म (atrocities committed on girls through sexual intercourse with who have yet to reach puberty), and any other violation of virtues or improper food for maidens. These are the constituents of the fourth book '' The Suppression of Criminals".

Adhikaram V ' Yogavrittam'

Book V is a treatise on 'The Conduct of Courtiers'.

The book mentions punishment for courtiers moving against the state or the king. Confidants are liable to be punished (दण्डकर्मिकम् ) if found resorting to three means : secrecy, openness, and treachery. Courtiers are expected to maintain traditional rules, help the king to retain absolute sovereignty and control over his kingdom by subjugating vassals and allow sustainability of his rule. Courtiers are expected to keep employees well motivated with gifts to earn their confidence. It specifies the proper behaviour and (अनुजीविवृत्तं ) conduct of courtiers, their conduct towards a dependent, and concerns replenishment of the treasury (कोशाभिसंहरणम् ) and salaries of state employees. This forms the fifth book concerning with the conduct of courtiers.

Adhikaranam VI ''Mandalayonihi"

Book VI is a treatise on "Sovereignty of States", its sources and elements. It deals with excellence of the constituent elements concerning peace and (प्रकृतिसम्पदः) prosperity of the people in all respects, by engaging in fruitful actions/efforts towards its attainment.

Adhikaranam VII 'Shaadgunyam'

Book VII is a treatise on the enumeration of ''The Six Fold Policy" of the state (षाडगुण्यसमुध्येशः). This book is especially important and a lengthy one detailing alliances, treaties, conquer, enemy states, power, peace and precautions. It can be treated as a foreign policy for the state. The policies address measures to determine deterioration, stable condition, stagnation and progression of the state and to recruit lost or decreased power (हीनशक्तिपूरणम्). The components of the book talks of the nature of alliances and adherence to policies with equal , superior and inferior kings and their qualities. It talks about permanent and immediate enemy and the march against an assailable enemy and combined forces. The causing of dwindling greed and disloyalty among people in the context of studying characteristics of a well founded state is analysed. The neutrality and marching after proclaiming war and concluding peace alongside the march of combined powers has been scripted in depth. There may be treaties reached with or without definite terms, such have been discussed. There are provisions relating to peace and war employing double policy. It provides precautions on having provoked a powerful enemy and process to buy peace with such a force. The sections indicate attitude of the king towards assailable conquered enemy, towards the victor if he is conquered, consideration of an enemy in the rear. There are agreements pertaining to gold, territory and forts, peace for acquisition of land, interminable agreement, undertaking a work and for those friends that deserve help and proviso for upkeep of the agreement at all costs. The conduct of madhyama king, neutral king and circle of states also been discussed.

Adhikaranam VIII 'Vyasanadhikarikam'

Book VIII is a treatise on the 'Vices and Calamities' emerging in a state from various quarters. The king and his kingdom may be facing an overall challenge or the elements of sovereignty may be running risk. The common men (molestation), the army (बलव्यसनवर्गः), ally (मित्रव्यसनवर्गः) and finances (refusal to pay to the treasury) (कोशसङ्गवर्गः) may aggregate in the form of group obstruction. Such group vices and hindrances have been discussed. A group obstruction is always more risky and damaging than an individual impediment.

Adhikaranam IX ' Abhiyaasyatkarma'

Book IX is a treatise on the "Actions of an Invader''. This book stresses on revolts and enemy invasion and the associated preparations and preparedness required to mitigate or combat such dangers and uncertainty. It is crucial for the state and king to have शक्तिदेशकालबलाबलज्ञानं i.e. the knowledge of one's power, place, time, strength and weakness. This is to be complemented with other infrastructure such as arrangement of armoury and equipment keeping , the strength of the enemy force in mind. A prepared mind is half battle won as it is said is aptly described in the book. It is important to ascertain internal and external dangers and guard against people associated with traitors and enemies. There is also a parallel need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of income, expenditures, losses and gains while combating such situations (success by alternative strategic means). There are means and mechanisms to deal with such dangers, uncertainties, and risks. It involves the work of employing appropriate and adequate troops against enemy troops, employing counter measures against risings of constituents in the rear, outer or interior regions and ascertaining the merits of equipping different kinds of troops for the war. The different means to ascertain, assess, avoid, and combat such risings, revolts and dangers constitute this book ' The activity of the king about the march'.

Adhikaranam X ' Sangramikam'

Book X is a treatise on ‘Acts relating to the War’.  The book is more on war strategy. It details the positioning strategy of the troops, elephants, chariots and cantonment as such. The book emphasizes on the positioning strategy which can greatly assist in winning wars over enemies. There is a clear cut description of the array of troops (पक्षकक्षोर स्यानां बलाग्रुतो व्यूहविभागः) while encounter in wings, flanks and front depending on the strength of the troops, and the arrangement pattern (दण्डभोगमण्डलासंहतव्यूहव्यूहनम् of the army like a staff, snake, circle or in diffused form. It depicts the complete look and feel of the battle field and also the modes of fighting. It describes strategies (covert and overt ) related to treacherous fights, fight between one's own army and that of the enemy, encouragement and protection of it while in trouble including actions of and battle with infantry, cavalry, chariots and elephants.

Adhikaranam XI 'Sangavrittam'

Book XI is a treatise on "The Conduct of Corporations". The book deals with ways of resorting to the policy of sowing dissensions and forms of (उपान्षुदण्डः) secret punishment. This book is dedicated to dissensions ( भेदो पदानानि ) .

Adhikaranam XII 'Aabaleeyasam'

Book XII is a treatise "Concerning a Powerful Army". The complete victory over the enemy is the ultimate aim of a battle. However if the enemy is strong and powerful conquering him is not easy. It involves fights with weapons of diplomacy मन्त्रयुद्धम् or with शस्त्राग्निनरसप्र णिधयः, secret use of weapons like fire or poison, or engagement with spies and messengers दूतकर्म or secret contrivances or victory over enemy using force or torture. Other strategies to conquering include destruction of the granaries, stores and supply of the enemy, killing of the commander-in-chief of the enemy forces or through incitement of a circle of states.

Adhikaranam XIII 'Durgalabhopaayaha'

Book XIII is a treatise on 'Means to Capture a Fortress'. The capture of a fortress means capturing one's kingdom and hence the king is taken into custody to ensure his inaction in future. In this there can be योगवामनम् employment of stratagems to draw out the enemy to come out of the fort. This book again talks on उपजापःdissension like instigation to sedition and employing secret agents to work in the enemy camp. The work of laying siege to a fort पुर्युपासनकर्म , storming a fort to imply a successful siege operation अवमर्दः and pacification of the conquered territory by restoring peace within it are logical steps of action necessary to take over a country.

Adhikaranam XIV 'Aupanishadhikam'

Book XIV is a treatise on "Secret Means". This piece is an extension of war strategies specifically focusing on secret means used to destroy, kill or capture enemies. It describes occult practices to deceive the enemy troops (medicine or mantra).and counter measures to protect one's own army against injuries while injuring the enemy through secret practices (परघातप्रयोगः) .

Adhikaranam XV ' Tantrayuktihi'

Book XV is "The Plan of a Treatise" तन्त्रयुक्तयः dividing the contents under various chapters and sections. The enumeration of the contents of the science amounts to 15 Adhikaranas, 150 Adhyayas, 180 Prakaranas, and 6000 shlokas while each shloka stands for 32 syllabic units in verse or prose. This treatise is easy to comprehend, precise in doctrine, sense and word, free from prolixity of text , thus has this work on science been composed by Kautilya.

Arthashastra and Contemporary Management Theories

Glimpses of Health and Medicine in the Mauryan Empire [7]

Thus human personality (maharaja) must manifest multi-dimensional adaptive roles at different times by demonstrating extraordinary intuition, self control, vision, accurate prediction, confidence in decisions taken, combating venom attacks etc. Such qualities are no differently to be enumerated by a successful management expert.

The king is a ruler of the kingdom (a corporate leader) and as a decision maker has to be secretive about his war strategies (incubating new product developments) at the same time be offensive and defensive with enemies (corporate rivalry and competition) as the threat perception may be ensuring his survival despite enemy attacks (presence of substitutes and complementary products and disruptive technologies). Such preaching are of the nature of Gupta Mantra.

In economics, industrial organization or industrial economy is a field that builds on the theory of the firm by examining the structure of (and, therefore, the boundaries between) firms and markets. Industrial organization is not a perfectly competitive model, due to real-world complications such as transaction costs, information asymmetry and inaccessibility (limited), and barriers to entry of new firms which obviously make it an imperfect competition. It analyzes determinants of firm and market organization and behavior as between competition and monopoly, including that of government actions. Government actions are governed by a legal system of the country. Extending the Arthashastra philosophy, be it a nation or modern age business entity, the framework of industry, market or firms is governed by an over-arching legal system.

The central force of a political architecture is its legal system and the king is a protector and preserver of the law but most definitely not its creator which means his power is sanctioned and limited by law. Be the powers vested, the actions of CEOs of companies are governed by the Companies Act , Income Tax Act, SEBI Regulations, and the likes of these. When no confidence motions (equivalent to dethroning a king) are passed against CEOs in the U.S, his kingship is challenged, by the board of directors, for non-performance. These consists of forces that affect the company, customers and profitability much against how it was envisioned. This establishes the temporal sovereignty of the CEO where the Varjasva Takat (Ultimate power) of the power owner is called into question resulting in dethroning the leader. Recent real-life corporate citations are available to corroborate this. This proves the temporal sovereign status of the corporate leader.

Corporate Competition, Competitive Forces and Rivalry While Arthashastra can be considered a bible describing the methodology of supreme governance in a political architecture, such tenets can be applied to corporate governance too. Michael .E. Porter has suggested competition from rival firms to be the biggest force attacking business as much as rival forces have the ability to ruin kingdoms cited in portions of the Arthashastra dossier.(Shamashastry 7/614). In 1979 a professor from Harvard, Michael E. Porter was the first to study Organizational Economics in the context of competition and published his maiden framework ' Porter's Five Forces of Competition' in Harvard Business Review. According to Porter these 5 forces affect the competition within an industry which makes it either attractive or unattractive (vulnerability) in terms of its profitability. The bargaining power of buyers, bargaining power of suppliers, the threat of new entrants and the threat of substitutes are 4 environmental factors that effect competitive rivalry in business. Hence industry attractiveness according to Porter is a function of competing rivalry among firms (Causation) and profitability (Effectuating). Porter's five-forces framework is based on the structure–conduct–performance paradigm in industrial organizational economics. It can be applied to address a diverse range of business challenges such as helping non-profitable businesses become more profitable to helping governments stabilize industries that are in a state of disequilibrium.

The structure–conduct–performance (SCP) paradigm, first published by economists Edward Chamberlin and Joan Robinson in 1933, and developed by Joe S. Bain is a model in Industrial Organization Economics which offers a causal explanation for firm performance through economic conduct on incomplete markets.

According to the structure–conduct–performance paradigm, the market environment has a direct, short-term impact on the market structure. The market structure then has a direct influence on the firm's economic conduct, which in turn affects its market performance. Hence a cause and effect relationship may occur or a reverse effect may occur such that market performance may impact conduct and structure, or conduct may affect the market structure. Also, the external legal or political interventions affect the market framework and by extension, the structure, conduct and performance of the market.

Creating a B-Line Leader/ Corporate Succession Plan /Successor Most corporate houses lack a sound legacy in leadership though the forefathers may have given birth to a legacy. The newer generation and their thought process do not sync with the value systems and organization culture resulting in conflicting views while decision making on matters relating to policy creation, execution, employee-employer relationship, administrative inefficiency and ultimately financial losses. The new blood introduced in the corporate vein obviously lacks expertise, competence and wisdom to learn and earn on whatever has been created, protected and preserved thus far. To enable successive generations to carry out the responsibilities of running a business empire with the same grit, ingenuity, and crafty intelligence demands i. Identifying such a capable body and mind ii. Constant training of such a body and mind, iii Finally creating emotional and psychological immunity to business and personal adversaries so that the mind and body of the individual (SS pp 89/108) is well prepared to take up the associated challenges during one's corporate engagements.

Corporate Vision

Offensive and Defensive Strategies Corporate aggressive strategies are sometimes surgical and this mostly happens during a disruptive innovation.

Covert and Overt strategies

Brand Building and Immortality A few corporate brands are immortal especially the ones like Lifebuoy, Lipitor, Digene antacid, Dettol, Colgate and likewise. The creation of such brands give a competitive edge to companies irrespective of the new arrival of substitutes or complementary products or new technologies. Such products due to their credible and stable performance, dethrone the status of any competing brand attempting to fragment the consumer base.

New Product Development and Incubation


  1. Lecture Notes of Prof C. D. Sebastian, IIT Bombay
  2. Radhakrishnan, S. (1926). Hindu view of life. George Allen And Unwin Ltd, London.
  3. Kautilya Arthashastra Book I Chapter 1 verse 1
  4. Book I, Chapter II section 1 The Arthasastra of Kautilya, Edited by T. Ganapati Sastri, ed. 2012, New Bharatiya Book Corporation, Delhi
  5. Book I Chapter VI section 3 verse 1
  6. Book I Chapter I Arthashastra of Kautilya T. Ganapati Sastri
  7. Dr. D. V. Subba Reddy