Trivarga and Human Rights (त्रिवर्गाधारिताः मानवीयाधिकाराः)

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Trivarga and Human Rights (Samskrit: त्रिवर्गाधारिताः मानवीयाधिकाराः) discusses the Bharatiya values regarding human rights that evolved on the basis of the Trivarga doctrine.[1]

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

Fundamental rights represent the basic values cherished by the people of Bharata since the Vedic times and are intended to protect the dignity of the individual and create conditions in which every human being can develop his/her personality to the fullest extent. These bharatiya values regarding human rights perhaps, have the oldest ancestry. The Rigveda which is regarded as the ancient most source of knowledge, declares that all human beings are brothers and equal. While the Atharvanaveda declared that all human beings have equal right over water and food (ie. natural resources). Thus, Vedas including the Upanishads (Shruti) were the primordial source of ‘Dharma’ which is a compendious term for all the human rights and duties. The observance of Dharma was regarded as essential for securing peace and happiness to individuals as well as the society. And the duty to conform to Dharma in acquisition of wealth and fulfillment of desires that intended to protect the basic human rights of all, was the injunction of Trivarga.[1]

कर्तव्याधारिताः अधिकाराः ॥ Duty based Rights

The unique method evolved by the great thinkers who moulded the civilization and culture of Bharata was to secure the rights to every individual by creating a corresponding duty in other individuals. Because, they considered that sense of right always emanates from selfishness whereas the sense of duty always generates selflessness. Therefore, every kind of right evolved which became a value in Bharatiya culture was based on the duty of every individual towards other individuals. Accordingly, duties like the following were all created to protect basic human rights. For example,

  • duty of parents towards their children and the duty of children to maintain their parents in old age
  • duty of teachers towards their students and the duty of students towards their teachers
  • duty of every individual in a family towards other individuals in the family as well as towards other members of the society
  • duty of the State towards citizens and the duty of the citizens towards the State

This revealed that the creation of a duty in one individual necessarily resulted in the creation of right in another individual and the protection of such right. Therefore, instead of making right as the foundation of social life and establishing a right based society, the ancient philosophers of Bharata preferred to establish a duty-based society where the right given to an individual is the right to perform his duty. This is the basic value of life evolved through Vedic times that is incorporated in the most popular and significant declaration of the Bhagavad Gita that reads,

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते ॥२.४७॥[2] karmaṇyevādhikāraste ॥2.47॥

Meaning: Your right is to perform your duty.

It meant that everyone owes a duty towards others and has the right to perform his duty. And it is by this process that the human rights were sought to be created and protected.[1] The rights that evolved as part of the duty-based Bharatiya value system, recognised and bestowed on every individual, are as follows:

Right to Happiness

The natural desire of all human beings is to be happy at every stage and in every aspect of life. Happiness is a natural human right without which life becomes meaningless. Therefore, the right of every individual human being to happiness has been recognised in the Bharatiya culture since ancient times. It was incorporated in the most ancient of prayers as follows,

सर्वेऽपि सुखिनः सन्तु सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः । सर्वे भद्राणी पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ॥

sarve'pi sukhinaḥ santu sarve santu nirāmayāḥ । sarve bhadrāṇī paśyantu mā kaścidduḥkhabhāgbhavet ॥

Meaning: Let all be happy, let all be free from diseases, let all see auspicious things, let no body suffer from grief.

An individual has the capacity to secure happiness for himself, for members of his family and for fellow human beings by fulfilling his desires with his efforts. However, life is a mixture both of happiness and sorrow. Sorrow that is caused either by factors beyond the control of human beings like natural calamities, etc. which being unavoidable have to be suffered by man and can at the most be soothed by sharing of the sorrow with fellow human beings and by the support rendered by the State and the society; or by those inflicted by human beings, against fellow human beings by their inhuman behaviour such as murder, kidnapping, theft, etc. that destroy happiness of the latter. Thus, non-fulfillment of desires, mistakes and misdeeds cause unhappiness to an individual as well as to fellow human beings. And hence, how to avoid man-made miseries and secure the right to happiness has been an important question for all since ages.

After an indepth study of human nature, an attempt was made in Bharata to find solution to this eternal problem confronting human race. And Trivarga with Dharma as controlling factor was evolved to secure Right to happiness for all without any exception. In fact, Arthashastra written by Kautilya which is an authoritative work on Raja Dharma or the constitutional law of ancient Bharata, evolved on the basis of the rules of Dharma, emphatically declares the right to happiness for all individuals and emphasizes on the duty of the Raja (Ruler) to protect this Right. It says,

प्रजासुखे सुखं राज्ञः प्रजानां च हिते हितम् । नात्मप्रियं हितं राज्ञः प्रजानां तु प्रियं हितम् ॥[3]

prajāsukhē sukhaṁ rājñaḥ prajānāṁ ca hitē hitam | nātmapriyaṁ hitaṁ rājñaḥ prajānāṁ tu priyaṁ hitaṁ ||

Meaning: In the happiness of the citizens lies the happiness of the ruler, in their welfare his welfare; Whatever is in his own interest, the ruler shall not consider as good and whatever is in the interest of his people, the ruler shall consider as good.[4]

The State was required to conform to this rule of Raja Dharma and secure happiness of the people. Moreover, being the most important and comprehensive human right, the Right to Happiness included every kind of right the fulfillment of which leads to happiness. And therefore, declaration of this Right as a basic human right is rather, a mark of distinction of the Bharatiya values of human rights.[1]

Right to Equality

Right to equality (Samanata) is perhaps the most valuable right, without which happiness is impossible. Because, unjust discrimination always results in misery and unhappiness to those discriminated against. Hence, the Vedas which constitute the primordial source of Dharma declared the charter of equality. It is found incorporated in the Rigveda, the most ancient of the Vedas, and also in the Atharvanaveda as follows:

The Rigveda says that no one is superior or inferior. All are brothers. All should strive for the interests of all and should progress collectively.

अज्येष्ठासो अकनिष्ठास एते सं भ्रातरो वावृधुः सौभगाय ॥५॥[5] ajyeṣṭhāso akaniṣṭhāsa ete saṁ bhrātaro vāvr̥dhuḥ saubhagāya ॥5॥

It emphasized that all human beings should live together with mutual cooperation, converse with each other in a friendly manner and acquire knowledge having common ideals of life.

सङ्गच्छध्वं सं वदध्वं सं वो मनांसि जानताम् । saṅgacchadhvaṁ saṁ vadadhvaṁ saṁ vo manāṁsi jānatām ।

It declared that all prayers and desires be similar and for common good, all get-togethers be without separatist feeling. That, all should be united in thought, word and deed.

समानो मन्त्रः समितिः समानी समानं मनः सह चित्तमेषाम् । saṅgacchadhvaṁ saṁ vadadhvaṁ saṁ vo manāṁsi jānatām ।

The prayer was for oneness in resolutions, hearts and minds; for firm strength to live with mutual cooperation.

समानी व आकूतिः समाना हृदयानि वः । समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा वः सुसहासति ॥४॥[6]

samānī va ākūtiḥ samānā hr̥dayāni vaḥ । samānamastu vō manō yathā vaḥ susahāsati ॥4॥

Similarly, the verse in Atharvanaveda declared that all have equal rights over natural resources like food and water and all were equally important like the spokes in a wheel and should live together with harmony supporting one another.

समानी प्रपा सह वोन्नभागः | समाने योक्त्रे सह वो युनज्मि | अराः नाभिमिवाभितः || (Atharvanaveda – Samjnana Sukta)

samānī prapā saha vonnabhāgaḥ | samāne yoktre saha vo yunajmi | arāḥ nābhimivābhitaḥ ||

Thus, the right to equality of all human beings has been declared in the Vedas, which were regarded as unalterable. It is seen that both the Rigveda and the Atharvanaveda declared cooperation between individuals as necessary for happiness and progress. It is equally interesting to refer to the contents of Article 1 and Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that says,

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reasons and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." 
"All are equal before law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”

Evidently, this declaration made in 1948 is similar to the declaration of equality made in Rigveda from times immemorial. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to note that right to equality was made a part of “Dharma” long before even the State came to be established.[1]

Right to Education

The importance given to education in ancient Bharata is reflected in the verse composed by the great Sanskrit poet Bhartrhari. He says,

विद्या नाम नरस्य रूपमधिकं प्रच्छन्नगुप्तं धनं विद्या भोगकरी यशः सुखकरी विद्या गुरूणां गुरुः ।

विद्या बन्धुजनो विदेशगमने विद्या परं दैवतं विद्या राजसु पूज्यते न तु धनं विद्याविहीनः पशुः ॥

vidyā nāma narasya rūpamadhikaṁ pracchannaguptaṁ dhanaṁ vidyā bhogakarī yaśaḥ sukhakarī vidyā gurūṇāṁ guruḥ ।

vidyā bandhujano videśagamane vidyā paraṁ daivataṁ vidyā rājasu pūjyate na tu dhanaṁ vidyāvihīnaḥ paśuḥ ॥

Meaning: Education is the special manifestation of man; Education is the treasure which can be preserved without the fear of loss; Education secures material pleasure, happiness and fame; Education is the teacher of teachers; Education is the friend one holds onto in a foreign land; Education is indeed the Supreme being incarnate; it is Education that secures honour at the hands of the State, not money; thus, a man without education is as good as an animal.

Here, not only is the importance of education to life highlighted, but also a man without education is equated to an animal. This impresses upon everyone the significance of acquiring and disseminating knowledge to the next generation. In fact, the Indian civilisation recognises education as one of the pious obligations of the human society where establishing and administering educational institutions is considered a religious and charitable object rather than a commodity for sale.

The Mahabharata ordains that every individual should discharge four pious obligations ie. towards the Creator, (Deva Rna), ancestors (Pitru Rna), teachers (Rishi Rna) and the Humanity (Manava Rna). Among them, according to the pious obligation of ‘Rishi Rna’ every individual was duty-bound to acquire knowledge and give it back to the society by making useful addition to it and by using it for securing happiness to fellow human beings. Thus, it is by way of creating the pious obligation of Rishi Rna that emphasized on acquisition and dissemination of knowledge that the human right to education of every individual was sought to be created and protected.

In fact, this obligation had to be discharged by every individual towards his children not only in pre-primary level but also throughout at every stage and age of his children. However, greater burden lay on teachers from primary level to the highest level. They were required not only to impart knowledge, but also mould the character of an individual so that the knowledge acquired is utilised according to ethics and for the benefit of the society. And this has been discharged by Rishis in ancient Bharata by establishing Gurukulas while, the State supported, respected and honoured them for discharging such an important pious obligation. There are innumerable texts in Samskrit as also other languages which stressed on this duty of parents and teachers to impart education to the younger generation, pointing out that it would be a neglect of duty on their part if they failed to do so.

Moreover, the “Hitopadesha” says that education imparts politeness, intellectual politeness secures capacity and suitability, capacity and suitability enable to secure wealth and wealth so secured enables to conform to Dharma which in turn secures Happiness.

विद्या ददाति विनयं विनयाद्याति पात्रताम् । पात्राद्धनमाप्नोति धनाद्धर्मं ततः सुखम् ॥

vidyā dadāti vinayaṁ vinayādyāti pātratām । pātrāddhanamāpnoti dhanāddharmaṁ tataḥ sukham ॥

Thus, the human right to education is also aimed at securing happiness. Therefore, it should not be confined to literacy. The aim of education should be all-round development of personality inclusive of intellectual, mental, moral and physical so as to make an individual an asset to the human society. This aspect is highlighted in the Chapter on Education ie. Shikshavalli (Lesson eight) of the Taittiriyopanishad. It says,

युवा स्यात्साधु युवाऽध्यायकः । आशिष्ठो द्रढिष्ठो बलिष्ठः । तस्येयं पृथिवी सर्वा वित्तस्य पूर्णा स्यात् । स एको मानुष आनन्दः ।

yuvā syātsādhu yuvā'dhyāyakaḥ । āśiṣṭho draḍhiṣṭho baliṣṭhaḥ । tasyeyaṁ pr̥thivī sarvā vittasya pūrṇā syāt । sa eko mānuṣa ānandaḥ ।

Meaning: Happiness is that the youth should be of good character, learned, resolute and strong (morally and physically). Only then will the earth be full of prosperity and wealth. This is the measure of human happiness.

This highly enlightening lesson declares that education means and includes intellectual, moral and physical education and adds that the real happiness and prosperity of any Nation is directly proportional to the number of men of such description it has produced through proper education which secures all round development and personality of all its individuals.

Therefore, not only has the Supreme Court of India, emphasizing the importance of education, held right to education as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, but right to education is also one of the Human rights as per Article 26 of the Universal declaration.[1]

Right to Protection

The right to protection of the people was sought to be secured by creating duties for Rulers as part of Raja Dharma or the Constitutional Law of Ancient Bharata that applied to all the Rulers who might be ruling in any part of the territory of Bharata. It says,

क्षत्रियस्य परो धर्मः प्राजानां एव पालनम् । निर्दिष्टफलभोक्ता हि राजा धर्मेण युज्यते । । ७.१४४ । ।[7]

kṣatriyasya paro dharmaḥ prājānāṁ eva pālanam । nirdiṣṭaphalabhoktā hi rājā dharmeṇa yujyate । । 7.144 । ।

Meaning: The highest duty of a Raja is to protect his people. The Raja who receives the prescribed taxes (from his subjects) and protects them alone acts according to Dharma. In Kamandakiya Nitisara, an important authority on Raja Dharma, there has been a specific provision which gave paramount importance to the duty of the rulers to afford full protection against injustice to individual, whoever the person it may be, who inflicted injury or was attempting to inflict injury. It says,

आयुक्तकेभ्यश्चौरेभ्यः परेभ्यो राजवल्लभात् | पृथिवीपतिलोभाच्च प्रजानां पञ्चधा भयम् ||5.8.81|| पञ्चप्रकारमप्येतदपोह्य नृपतिर्भयम् |[8]

āyuktakebhyaścaurebhyaḥ parebhyo rājavallabhāt | pr̥thivīpatilobhācca prajānāṁ pañcadhā bhayam ||5.8.81|| pañcaprakāramapyetadapohya nr̥patirbhayam |

Meaning: The subjects require protection against wicked officers of the ruler, thieves, enemies of the ruler, royal favourites (such as the queen, princes etc.), and more than all, against the greed of the ruler himself. The Raja should ensure that the people are free from these fears.

In this context, there is an illuminating case recorded in Rajatarangini as to how Raja Chandrapida of Kashmir upheld the rule of law and protected the interest of a Charmakara (cobbler) against the proposed actions of his own officers.

According to the story, the officers of the Raja undertook construction of a temple of Lord Tribhuvanaswami on a certain site. On a portion of that site there was a hut belonging to a charmakara (cobbler). He refused to remove his hut in spite of being asked to do so by the Raja's officers. Thereupon, the officers complained to the Raja about the stubbornness of the charmakara. However, to their surprise, the officers got a rebuff from the Raja, who censured them for lack of foresight in encroaching upon the site belonging to the charmakara and starting construction without taking his consent. And ordered[4] thus,

नियम्यतां विनिर्माणं यद्वान्यत्र विधीयताम् | परभूम्यपहारेण सुकृतं कः कलङ्कयेत् ||4.59||

ये द्रष्टारः सदसतां ते धर्मविगुणाः क्रियाः | वयमेव विदध्मश्चेत् यातु न्यायेन कोऽध्वना ||4.60||[9]

niyamyatāṁ vinirmāṇaṁ yadvānyatra vidhīyatām | parabhūmyapahāreṇa sukr̥taṁ kaḥ kalaṅkayet ||

ye draṣṭāraḥ sadasatāṁ te dharmaviguṇāḥ kriyāḥ | vayameva vidadhmaścet yātu nyāyena ko'dhvanā ||

Meaning: Stop construction or build (the temple) somewhere else. Who would tarnish such a pious act by illegally depriving a man of his land ? If we who are the judges of what is right and what is not right, act unlawfully, who then will abide by the law ?

Overwhelmed by this act of the Raja, the Charmakara sought an audience with the him and said, “Just as the palace is to Your Majesty, the hut is to me. I could not bear to see its demolition. You can very well appreciate the plight of a man who is deprived of his dwelling. However, if Your Majesty were to ask for it, I shall give it up having due regard to the code of good manners.”

And thus, the Raja purchased the hut by paying a price to the satisfaction of the Charmakara who then with folded hands said to the Raja,

राजधर्मानुरोधेन परवत्ता तवोचिता ||4.75||... स्वस्ति तुभ्यं चिरं स्थेया धर्म्या वृत्तान्तपद्धतीः | दर्शयन्नीदृशीः शुद्धाः श्रद्धेया धर्मचारिणाम् ||4.77||[9]

rājadharmānurodhena paravattā tavocitā ||4.75||... svasti tubhyaṁ ciraṁ stheyā dharmyā vr̥ttāntapaddhatīḥ | darśayannīdr̥śīḥ śuddhāḥ śraddheyā dharmacāriṇām ||4.77||

Meaning: Yielding to another (however low), adhering to the principles of Raja Dharma, is the appropriate course for a Raja. I wish you well. May you live long, establishing the supremacy of the law (Dharma). Seeing in you, such faith in Dharma, others will also act accordingly.[4] This shows that law is supreme. No one is an exception, not even the ruler himself. He was in duty-bound to give full protection to his people. Moreover, there were also certain specific provisions which throw considerable light on the importance given to the human right to protection. For example, the Katyayana Smrti declares that the Ruler should cause restoration of stolen property to the owner. If it is not possible to restore the same property he must pay the owner the price of the stolen property. If the thief is caught, but the stolen property is not recovered from him, either the thief must be made to pay the price, if possible, or the ruler himself must pay it.

चौरैर्हृतं प्रयत्नेन स्वरूपं प्रतिपादयेत् । तदभावे तु मूल्यं स्यादन्यथा किल्विषी नृपः ।। ८१६ ।।

लब्धेऽपि चौरे यदि तु मोषस्तस्मान्न लभ्यते । दद्यात्तं अथ वा चौरं दापयेत्तु यथेष्टतः ।। ८१७ ।।[10]

caurairhr̥taṁ prayatnena svarūpaṁ pratipādayet । tadabhāve tu mūlyaṁ syādanyathā kilviṣī nr̥paḥ ।। 816 ।।

labdhe'pi caure yadi tu moṣastasmānna labhyate । dadyāttaṁ atha vā cauraṁ dāpayettu yatheṣṭataḥ ।। 817 ।।

Thus, truly, it is the supremacy of law (Dharma) that prevailed that in turn secured the right to protection of people.[1]

Right to Practice any Religion

This basic human right was sought to be protected by incorporating a specific rule in Raja Dharma to the effect that the State was under a duty to protect every religion without discrimination. It says,

पाषण्डनैगमश्रेणी पूगव्रातगणादिषु । संरक्षेत्समयं राजा दुर्गे जनपदे तथा ॥१०.२॥[11]

pāṣāṇḍanaigamaśrēṇīpūgavrātagaṇādiṣu | saṁrakṣētsamayaṁ rājā durgē janapadē tathā ||

Meaning : The Raja should afford protection to associations of believers of Veda (Naigamas) as also of disbelievers in Veda (Pashandis) and others.

This rule of Dharma is unique as it required the State to give equal protection not only to believers in the Supreme being or the Vedas, but also to disbelievers. That is the width of freedom of thought, belief and faith recognised as a basic human right in Bharata as part of Raja Dharma, the principles of which guided all the rulers in Bharata from the most ancient times.

According to the desires and choice of individuals and their need, the Supreme being was given different names like the remover of obstacles, deity for protection, deity of knowledge, of strength, wealth, nature in the form of elements like air, water, earth, light and tree etc. And people had the liberty to believe in any of these deities and adopt any method of worship of their choice. This probably is the mark of distinction of Bharatiya culture and civilization and is found expressed in the following verse that says,

आकाशात्पतितं तोयं यथा गच्छति सागरम् । सर्वदेवनमस्कारः केशवं प्रति गच्छति ॥

ākāśātpatitaṁ toyaṁ yathā gacchati sāgaram । sarvadevanamaskāraḥ keśavaṁ prati gacchati ॥

Meaning: Just as the all the droplets of rain water coming down to the earth from the sky reach the same Ocean, obeisance in the name of any deity reaches the same Supreme being.

This is nothing but secularism par excellence. As a result, throughout the history of Bharata spreading over thousands of years, there has been no persecution by the State of any section of the people on grounds of religion or faith. Such was the force of Dharma. It is for this reason that the Constitution of India confers to all the Fundamental Right to practice any religion of their choice in Article 25 that says,

“Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion: Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.”

And similar sentiment is echoed by Article 18 of the Declaration of Human Rights.[1]

Right to Social Security

All individuals do not possess the capacity or resources to lead a happy life. Many individuals suffer from abject poverty, want of education or earning capacity, physical or mental deformity, disease, old age, loss of earning member of the family etc. But all such individuals have the basic human right to happiness. This right is sought to be protected by creating duty in individuals on whom they depend as also on the State.

It may be noticed that the Mahabharata verse (Shanti Parva, Adhyaya 59.9)[12] which declared rules of “Dharma” included in itself saṁvibhāga (the duty to share wealth with others) and bhr̥tyabharaṇa (the duty of an individual to maintain his dependents). It is a matter of pride that in the Bharatiya civilization, an individual earning member never thought only of himself, his wife and children. He always considered it his sacred duty or pious obligation to maintain his aged parents, unemployed or minor brothers and sisters, widowed sisters if any or any other member of the family or those members who are physically or mentally handicapped. He used to provide shelter, food, clothing, medicine, education, perform marriage etc. and never considered it as a burden. For, this duty was rooted in two basic values of life namely selflessness and sacrifice which were declared as the National values of Bharata by Swami Vivekananda when he said,

“The national ideals of India are renunciation and service. Intensify her in those channels, and the rest will take care of itself."

This is perhaps the best form of social security provided in Bharatiya civilization and culture, without throwing any burden on the State. In fact, the provision on this aspect in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is Article 22 which reads as,

“Every one as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international cooperation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”

Thus, right to social security as a human right recognised in Bharatiya Culture holds good for all times and for the entire humanity. However, what is exceptional here is that instead of throwing the entire burden of social security on the exchequer (ie. the royal or national treasury), it is delineated to be borne by the earning member of a family.[1]

मानवीयाधिकाराणां रक्षणम् ॥ Protection of human rights

Human rights were regarded as sacrosanct in the land of Bharata since times immemorial. This is evidenced by the provisions envisaged for the protection of human rights under various circumstances. For example, human rights were secured even when a person was apprehended by public servants for offences alleged to have been committed by him or even after conviction and sentenced to undergo imprisonment. The Kautiliya Arthashastra says,

धर्मस्थीयाशरकान्निसारयतो बन्धगाराच्छ्ययासनभेजनोच्चार सञ्चारं रोधबन्धनेषु त्रिपणोत्तरादण्डाः कर्तुः कारयितृषु बन्ध नागारात्सर्वस्व बधश्च ।

bandhagārācchyayāsanabhejanoccāra sañcāraṁ rodhabandhaneṣu tripaṇottarādaṇḍāḥ kartuḥ kārayitr̥ṣu bandha nāgārātsarvasva badhaśca ।

Meaning: An officer who obstructs or causes to obstruct prisoners in their daily routine such as sleeping, sitting, eating, etc., shall be liable for punishment with fines ranging from 3 panas and upwards.

Even during and after winning wars, certain human rights were required to be respected and protected. These were enumerated in the form of rules of warfare and rules regarding the treatment and protection of the conquered people.

Manusmrti clearly declared the law for warriors which a Kshatriya must not transgress, if he were to remain unblemished, while fighting with his foes in the battlefield. They are as follows:

न कूटैरायुधैर्हन्याद्युध्यमानो रणे रिपून् । न कर्णिभिर्नापि दिग्धैर्नाग्निज्वलिततेजनैः । । ७.९० । ।

न च हन्यात्स्थलारूढं न क्लीबं न कृताञ्जलिम् । न मुक्तकेशं नासीनं न तवास्मीति वादिनम् । । ७.९१ । ।

न सुप्तं न विसंनाहं न नग्नं न निरायुधम् । नायुध्यमानं पश्यन्तं न परेण समागतम् । । ७.९२ । ।

नायुधव्यसनप्राप्तं नार्तं नातिपरिक्षतम् । न भीतं न परावृत्तं सतां धर्मं अनुस्मरन् । । ७.९३ । ।

एषोऽनुपस्कृतः प्रोक्तो योधधर्मः सनातनः । अस्माद्धर्मान्न च्यवेत क्षत्रियो घ्नन्रणे रिपून् । । ७.९८ । ।[7]

na kūṭairāyudhairhanyādyudhyamāno raṇe ripūn । na karṇibhirnāpi digdhairnāgnijvalitatejanaiḥ । । 7.90 । ।

na ca hanyātsthalārūḍhaṁ na klībaṁ na kr̥tāñjalim । na muktakeśaṁ nāsīnaṁ na tavāsmīti vādinam । । 7.91 । ।

na suptaṁ na visaṁnāhaṁ na nagnaṁ na nirāyudham । nāyudhyamānaṁ paśyantaṁ na pareṇa samāgatam । । 7.92 । ।

nāyudhavyasanaprāptaṁ nārtaṁ nātiparikṣatam । na bhītaṁ na parāvr̥ttaṁ satāṁ dharmaṁ anusmaran । । 7.93 । ।

eṣo'nupaskr̥taḥ prokto yodhadharmaḥ sanātanaḥ । asmāddharmānna cyaveta kṣatriyo ghnanraṇe ripūn । । 7.98 । ।


  • May the ruler not strike with concealed weapons, nor with weapons which are spiked, poisoned or the points of which are blazed with fire.
  • When he is on a chariot, he should not strike the one who is on ground. Nor should he strike a person who is an eunuch, who has surrendered, is fleeing from the battlefield, is sitting or accepts defeat.
  • Similarly, he should not strike the one who is sleeping, who has lost his armour, is naked, is only a spectator or who is engaged in fighting with another.
  • Nor should he strike the one whose weapons are broken, who is afflicted with sorrow, is grievously wounded, or the one who is in fear.

These are the restrictions on an honourable warrior which every soldier is required to remember during war and fight only in accordance with Dharma. That is why war is referred to by the term Dharma Yuddha in the Bharatiya Civilisation.

As for the treatment of conquered people, the Manusmrti says,

सर्वेषां तु विदित्वैषां समासेन चिकीर्षितम् । स्थापयेत्तत्र तद्वंश्यं कुर्याच्च समयक्रियाम् । । ७.२०२ । ।

प्रमाणानि च कुर्वीत तेषां धर्मान्यथोदितान् । रत्नैश्च पूजयेदेनं प्रधानपुरुषैः सह । । ७.२०३ । ।[7]

sarveṣāṁ tu viditvaiṣāṁ samāsena cikīrṣitam । sthāpayettatra tadvaṁśyaṁ kuryācca samayakriyām । । 7.202 । ।

pramāṇāni ca kurvīta teṣāṁ dharmānyathoditān । ratnaiśca pūjayedenaṁ pradhānapuruṣaiḥ saha । । 7.203 । ।


  • Having fully ascertained the wishes of all the conquered people, let him (conqueror) place a relative of the vanquished ruler on the throne, imposing necessary conditions.
  • Let him (conqueror) give recognition to the lawful customs of the inhabitants just as they state them (to be) and let him honour the new ruler (so appointed) and his personal attendants with precious gifts.

The observance of this Dharma is evidenced in Ramayana by the coronation of Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana, and in Mahabharata by the coronation Sahadeva, the son of Jarasandha, after both Ravana and Jarasandha were killed for their misdeeds.

Not only that, the Katyayana Smrti also makes provisions for the protection of the conquered people. It says,

दुष्टस्यापि नरेन्द्रस्य तद्राष्ट्रं न विनाशयेत् । न प्रजानुमतो यस्मादन्यायेषु प्रवर्तते ।। ०२१ ।।[13]

duṣṭasyāpi narendrasya tadrāṣṭraṁ na vināśayet । na prajānumato yasmādanyāyeṣu pravartate ।। 021 ।।

Meaning: Even when the conquered ruler has acted wrongly, the conqueror should not ruin his Country, since he would not have had the concurrence of his people for his misdeeds.

Laying down of such humane rules to be observed during and after war is the best proof for the level of development and respect for human rights that has evolved out of the doctrine of Trivarga. Thus, it is indisputable that restoration of the Trivarga doctrine reflecting the basic values of life cherished in Bharata since ancient times is the solution to all social and political maladies that any Nation could be afflicted with.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 M.Rama Jois (2004), Trivarga, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
  2. Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 (Sankhya Yoga)
  3. Arthashastra, Adhikarana 1, Adhyaya 19.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Justice Mandagadde Rama Jois (1997), Dharma: The Global Ethic, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
  5. Rgveda, Mandala 5, Sukta 60
  6. Rigveda, Mandala 10, Sukta 191.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Manusmrti, Adhyaya 7
  8. T. Ganapati Sastri (1912), Nitisara of Kamandaka, Trivandrum Sanskrit Series no.14, Trivandrum.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Durgaprasada (1892), The Rajatarangini of Kalhana, Vol. I (Tarangas I to VII), Bombay: Government Central Book Depot.
  10. Katyayana Smrti, Steyam
  11. Narada Smrti, Vyavahara Padani, Samasyanapakarma.
  12. Mahabharata, Shanti Parva, Adhyaya 59
  13. Katyayana Smrti, Raja Dharma