Trivarga and Human Rights (त्रिवर्गाधारिताः मानवीयाधिकाराः)

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मानवीयाधिकाराणाम् आधारः ॥ Basis of Human Rights

Bharatiya values regarding human rights evolved on the basis of Trivarga perhaps have the oldest pedigree. Rigveda which is regarded as the oldest document, declares that all human beings are equal and they are brothers. The Atharvana Veda declared that all human beings have equal right over water and food [natural resources]. The Vedas including Upanishads [Shruti] were the primordial source of ‘Dharma’ which is a compendious term for all the human rights and duties, the observance of which was regarded as essential for securing peace and happiness to individuals and the society as well. The duty to conform to Dharma in acquisition of wealth and fulfillment of desires, has been the injunction of Trivarga to all, which was intended to protect the basic human rights of all.

This aspect is pointed out by the Supreme Court of India thus:

“These fundamental rights represent the basic values cherished by the people of this Country since the Vedic times and they are calculated to protect the dignity of the individual and create conditions in which every human being can develop his personality to the fullest extent.”

Duty based rights

The unique method evolved by the great thinkers who moulded the civilization and culture of India was to secure the rights to every individual by creating a corresponding duty in other individuals. This was, for the reason that 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 the value of Bharatiya culture was based on the duty of every individual towards other — individuals. For example,

  • the duty of parents towards their children, and the duty of sons and/or daughters as the case may be to maintain their parents in old age, and
  • duty of teachers towards their students, duty of students towards their teachers,
  • duty of every individual in a family towards other individuals in the family and other members of the concerned human society,
  • duty of the State towards citizens, duty of the citizens towards the State,

were all created to protect the basic human rights. The creation of a duty in one individual necessarily resulted in the creation of right in other individual and the protection of such right.

Therefore, instead of making right as the foundation of social life and establish a right based society, the ancient philosophers of this land preferred to establish a duty-based society where the right given to an individual is the right to perform his duty.

This Right is worthy of being included in the universal declaration of human rights. This is the basic value of life evolved through Vedic and other literature, which is incorporated in the most popular and significant declaration in Bhagvadgeetha [Ch-II] which reads:-

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते ॥२.४७॥[1] karmaṇyevādhikāraste ॥2.47॥

“Your right is to perform your duty”

The great message of this verse is that every one Owes a duty towards others and he has the right to perform his duty. It is by this process the human rights were sought to be created and protected.

This basic attitude should be ingrained in all individual human beings since childhood and this attitude is sure to reduce conflicts quarrals and confrontation substantially.[2]

Right to Happiness

The natural desire of all human beings is to be happy at every stage and in every aspect of life. It is a natural human right, for without happiness life becomes meaningless. Therefore, the right of every individual human being to happiness has been recognised in the Bharatiya culture since ancient times. This being the most important and comprehensive human right, it includes every kind of right the fulfillment of which leads to happiness. An individual has the capacity to fulfill his desires by his efforts and thereby — secure happiness for himself, for members of his family and for fellow human beings.

However, non-fulfillment of desires causes unhappiness to an individual. He can also cause unhappiness to himself and to — his fellow human beings by his mistakes and misdeeds. The hard fact is that life is a mixture both of happiness and sorrow or misery. There are two types of miseries. One, beyond the control of human beings arising out of natural calamities or acts of God, which in la sharing of sorrow by relatives, friends and other fellow human beings and by rendering the required help and support by the State or Society. The second type of miseries are those which are inflicted by human beings, againstw is called Vis major, such as untimely death of parents, children, relatives and friends owing to diseases, accidents, and havoc or damages to life and property caused by floods, earthquakes, etc., being unavoidable, man has to suffer them. Such miseries could only be mitigated by the fellow human beings by their inhuman behaviour, by acts such as murder, kidnapping, robbery, theft, rape, hijacking of aeroplanes, terrorist activities, etc., which destroy happiness of the latter.

How to secure the right to happiness and avoid man- made miseries has been an important question for all right -thinking persons in the world since ages. After an indepth study of human nature, an attempt was made in Bharat to find solution to the eternal problem confronting human race.

Trivarga with Dharma as controlling factor was evolved to secure Right to happiness for all without any exception. This was incorporated in the following most ancient prayers.

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

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

“Let all be happy, Let all be free from diseases, Let all see auspicious things, Let no body suffer from grief”.

सह नाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु । सह वीर्यं करवावहै । तेजस्विनावधीतमस्तु । मा विद्विषावहै । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ।

saha nāvavatu । saha nau bhunaktu । saha vīryaṁ karavāvahai । tejasvināvadhītamastu । mā vidviṣāvahai । oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ।

“May He [God] protect us together, May we share the food together, May we work conjointly with great energy; May our study be vigorous and effective; May we not hate anyone. Let there be peace, peace and peace?’ [Taittireeya Upanishad] “Rajadharma’, the constitutional law of ancient Bharat was evolved on the basis of rules of Dharma. Artha Sastra written around 300 BC by Kautilya, who was the Prime Minister of Mauryan Empire is an authoritative work on Rajadharma. It emphatically declared the right to happiness of all individuals and the duty of the King (Ruler) to protect that Right. The said verse reads:-

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 ||

“In the happiness of the citizens lies the king’s happiness. In their welfare his welfare; Whatever is in his own interest, the king shall not consider as good and; Whatever is in the interest of his people, the king shall consider as good”[4]

The King [the State] was required to conform to the above rule of Rajadharma and secure happiness to the people.

The “right to happiness” is a compendious expression which covers all specific human rights, which are intended to secure happiness. Declaration of this Right as a basic human right is a mark of distinction of Bharatiya values of human rights.

Right to Equality

Right to equality [Samanta] is perhaps the most valuable right, without which happiness is impossible. Unjust discrimination always results in misery and unhappiness to those discriminated against. The Vedas which constitute the primordial source of Dharma declared charter of equality (Samanata).

It is found incorporated in the Rigveda, the most ancient of the Vedas, and also in the Atharvanaveda. They are worth quoting.

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

“No one is superior (ajyestasa) or inferior (akanishtasa). All are brothers (ete bhrataraha). All should strive for the interests of all and should progress collectively.” (sowbhagaya sam va vridhuhu). (Rigveda- Mandala-5, Sukta-60, Mantra-5).

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

“Oh human beings, all of you should, Live together with mutual cooperation, Converse with each other in a friendly manner, Acquire knowledge having common ideals of life.”

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

“All your prayer and desires be similar and for common good, All your get-togethers be without separatist feeling. All of you be united in thought, word and deed.”

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॥

“Let there be oneness in your resolutions, hearts and minds. Let the strength to live with mutual cooperation be firm in you all.” [Rigveda-Mandala- 10, Sukta-191, Mantra-4] Atharvanaveda - Samajnana Sukta

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

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

“All have equal rights in articles of food and water. The yoke of the chariot of life is placed equally on the shoulders of all. All should live together with harmony supporting one another like the spokes of a wheel of the chariot connecting its rim and hub.”

Thus, the right to equality of all human beings has been declared in the Vedas, which were regarded as inviolable. In order to emphasise the dignity of individual, it was declared that all are brothers, which meant that all are children of God. Therefore, it was declared that no one is inferior or superior. Similarly, the verse in Atharvanaveda declared that all have equal right over natural resources and all were equally important as spokes in a wheel. Both the Rigveda and Atharvanaveda declared that cooperation between individuals is necessary for happiness and progress It. is also of utmost importance to note that right to equality was made = of “Dharma” long before the State came to be established.

It is equally interesting to refer to the contents of Article I and Article 7 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They read: _

“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.”

(This declaration made in 1948 is similar to the declaration of equality made in Rigveda from times immemorial.)

Right to Education

Mahabharata ordains that every individual should discharge four pious obligations. They were towards the Creator, (Devaruna), the Parents (Pritraruna), the Teachers (Rishiruna) and Humanity (Manava Runa).

Among the four the third one namely ‘Rishiruna’ is relevant to the present topic. According to this pious obligation {every individual was in duty-bound to acquire knowledge, and give it back to the society by making useful addition to it and by using for securing happiness to fellow human beings. )

This obligation had to be discharged by every individual owards his children not only in pre-primary level but also throughout at every stage and age of his or her 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.

As to the importance given to education in ancient Bharat, it is sufficient to quote the following verse composed by the great Sanskrit poet Bhartruhari of the First Century B.C:

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 ॥

“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 the teacher; Education is the friend when one goes abroad; Education is God incarnate; Education secures honour at the hands of the State, not money; : (A man without education is equal to animal.)

In the above verse, Bartruhari, king of Ujjain turned philosopher apart from highlighting the importance of education to life, equated man without education to an animal. By saying so, he wanted to impress upon everyone about his pious obligation tgacquire and disseminate knowledge to the next generation) This aspect of our civilization is alluded to by the Supreme Court in the case of Mohini Jain [1992 (3) S.C.C. 666 at 682] in which while holding that right to education must be regarded as a fundamental right, the Court said thus:

‘Indian civilisation recognises education as one of the pious obligations of the human society. To establish and administer educational institutions is considered a religious and charitable object. (Education in India has never been a commodity for sale). {Para-18]

The Supreme Court referred to the importance of education as emphasised in the ‘Neethishatakam’ by Bhartruhari and held that right to education is therefore part of fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Thus, it is by way of creating the pious obligation of Rishiruna through acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, the human right to education of every individual was sought to be created and protected.(This has been discharged in ancient India by Rishis by establishing Gurukulas? The State used to support, respect and honour Rishis who discharged such an important pious obligation. There are innumerable texts in Samskrit as also other languages which stressed the duty of parents and teachers to impart education to the younger generation and pointing out that it would be a dereliction of duty on their part if they failed to do so.

There is a verse in “Hitopadesha” [wise advice] which eulogises education:

विद्या ददाति विनयं विनयाद्याति पात्रताम् । पात्राद्धनमाप्नोति धनाद्धर्मं ततः सुखम् ॥

vidyā dadāti vinayaṁ vinayādyāti pātratām । pātrāddhanamāpnoti dhanāddharmaṁ tataḥ sukham ॥

“Education imparts politeness, intellectual politeness secures capacity and suitability. Capacity and suitability enable to secure wealth; Wealth so secured enables to conform to Dharma which in turn secures Happiness.” The human right to education is aimed at securing happiness. Therefore, it should not be confined to literacy. The aim of education should be allround development of personality, intellectual, mental, moral and physical and to make an individual an asset to the human society. This aspect is highlighted in Shikshavalli [Chapter on Education] Lesson eight in Taithireeyopanishad, which reads:

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 ।

“Happiness is this, youth should be of good character. learned, resolute and strong [morally and physically]. Then only earth will be full of prosperity and wealth. This is the measure of human happiness.”

This lesson is highly enlightening. It 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 discription it has produced, through proper education which secures all round development and personality of all its individuals.

Right to protection

The right to protection of the people was sought to be secured by creating the duties in the Rulers as part of ( (Rajadharma, the Constitutional Law of Ancient Bharat-It “applied to all the Rulers who might be ruling in any part of the territory of Bharat.

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 । ।

“The highest duty of a king is to protect his people. The king, who receives the prescribed taxes [from his subjects] and protects them alone acts according to Dharma” [Manu, Ch. VI, Vs. 143-144]. In Kamandaka, an important authority on Rajadharma, there has been a specific provision which gave paramount importance to the duty of the kings to afford full protection against injustice to individual, whoever the person it may be, who inflicted injury or was attempting to inflict injury as is obvious from the following verse:

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 Raja, thieves, enemies of the Raja, royal favourites (such as the queen, princes etc.), and more than all, against the greed of the Raja himself. The Raja should ensure that the people are free from these fears.[9]

It shows that law is supreme. No one is an exception, not even the king himself. The doctrine “king can do no wrong” was not at all accepted in Rajadharma. He was in duty-bound to give full protection to his people. While this is a general provision, there were also certain specific provisions which would throw considerable light on the importance given to the human right to protection.

Duty to restore stolen property or to pay its value

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 ।।

“The king 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 king himself must pay it.” [Katyayana, pp. 816-817]

Exemplary Conduct of a Kashmir King — In giving protection to the weakest

There is an illuminating case recorded in Rajatarangini as to how Chandrapida, the king of Kashmir [680-688 AD] upheld the rule of law and protected the interest of a Charmakara [cobbler] against the proposed actions of his own officers. The instance is as follows:

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. The Raja ordered[11] thus,

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

ये द्रष्टारः सदसतां ते धर्मविगुणाः क्रियाः | वयमेव विदध्मश्चेत् यातु न्यायेन कोऽध्वना ||4.60||[12]

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 ?

Later the Charmakara overwhelmed by the suo motu relief granted by the king sought an audience with the king: He represented before the king; “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.”

Subsequently, the king purchased the hut by paying a price to his satisfaction. The Charmakara then told the king with folded hands thus:

राजधर्मानुरोधेन परवत्ता तवोचिता ||4.75||... स्वस्ति तुभ्यं चिरं स्थेया धर्म्या वृत्तान्तपद्धतीः | दर्शयन्नीदृशीः शुद्धाः श्रद्धेया धर्मचारिणाम् ||4.77||[13]

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 Dharrna, 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]

Truly, the supremacy of law [Dharma] prevailed. With the aid of law, a ‘weak’ Charmakara prevailed over the strong; the officers of the king and the king himself.

Right to practice any Religion

For those who believed in God, they had the liberty to believe in any God by any name and to follow any religion of their choice and to adopt any method of worship. Though basically every one among Bharatiya believe that the God is one, on account of the aforesaid liberal approach, several names were given to God, according to the desires and choice of individuals and their need, such as God for protection, Goddess of knowledge, Goddess of Shakti [strength], Goddess of wealth, God of remover of obstacles, God of nature in the form of elements, God in the form of air, water, earth, light and tree etc. (As a result, the number of Gods swelled, but without disturbing the belief that God is one)

This probably is the mark of distinction of Bharatiya culture and civilization in the whole world. This broad outlook is found expressed in the following popular verse:

आकाशात्पतितं तोयं यथा गच्छति सागरम् । सर्वदेवनमस्कारः केशवं प्रति गच्छति ॥

ākāśātpatitaṁ toyaṁ yathā gacchati sāgaram । sarvadevanamaskāraḥ keśavaṁ prati gacchati ॥

“Just as the rain water coming down to the earth from the sky reaches the same Ocean, obeisance to God may be in any name, but destination is same, the God by whatever name called.” This basic human right was sought to be protected by incorporating a specific rule in Rajadharma to the effect that the State was under a duty to protect every religion without discrimination. It reads:

पाषण्डनैगमश्रेणी पूगव्रातगणादिषु । संरक्षेत्समयं राजा दुर्गे जनपदे तथा ॥१०.२॥[14]

pāṣāṇḍanaigamaśrēṇīpūgavrātagaṇādiṣu | saṁrakṣētsamayaṁ rājā durgē janapadē tathā ||

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

(Dharmakosha p. 870)

The above rule of Dharma is unique. It required the State to give equal protection not only to believers in God or Vedas, but also disbelievers. That is’ the width of freedom of thought, belief and faith recognised as the basic human right in Bharat, as part of Rajadharma which is secularism par excellence.

These principles of Rajadharma guided all the kings in the Bharat from most ancient times and, therefore, throughout the history of India, 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. As a result, there was no scope for a Theocratic State in Bharatiya polity. It is for this reason that our Constitution confers the Fundamental Right to all to practice any religion of their choice.

Article 25 reads

“25. 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.”

Similar is Article 18 of the Declaration of Human Rights.[2]

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. Mahabharata verse which declared rules of “Dharma” included the duty of an individual to maintain his dependents.

अक्रोधः सत्यवचनं संविभागः क्षमा तथा । प्रजनः स्वेषु दारेषु शौचमद्रोह एव च ॥१२.५९.९॥ आर्जवं भृत्यभरणं नवैते सार्ववर्णिकः ।[15]

akrodhaḥ satyavacanaṁ saṁvibhāgaḥ kṣamā tathā । prajanaḥ sveṣu dāreṣu śaucamadroha eva ca ॥12.59.9॥ ārjavaṁ bhr̥tyabharaṇaṁ navaite sārvavarṇikaḥ ।

“Truthfulness, to be free from anger, sharing wealth with others, (Samvibhaga) forgiveness, procreation of children from one’s wife alone [sexual morality] purity, absence of enmity, straightforwardness, maintaining persons dependent on oneself are the nine rules of Dharma of persons belonging to all the varnas. [M.B. Shantiparva, Ch, 60-7-8]

It may be noticed that the duty to share the wealth. with others [Samvibhaga] as also the duty to maintain one’s dependents [Brithya bharanam] are declared as the rules of Dharma. This perhaps is the best form of social security provided in Bharatiya civilization and culture, without throwing any burden on the State. This duty was rooted in the two basic values of life namely selflessness and sacrifice. Swamy Vivekananda declared that these are our National values in the following words:

“The national ideals of India are renunciation and service. ____ Intensify her in those channels, and the rest will take care of itself’. [India and her Problems, p.10]

It is a matter of pride that in Indian civilization this duty or pious obligation has been discharged in an exemplary manner. An individual earning member never thought of himself or his wife and children alone and considered others as burden. He always considered that it was his sacred duty to maintain 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. He never considered it as a burden.

The provision on this aspect in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is Article 22, which reads:

“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 to the entire — humanity. But, the special feature was instead of throwing the entire burden of social security on the exchequer (royal or national treasury), it has to be borne by the earning member of a family.[2]

Right to humane treatment in custody and in prison

Protection of human rights even when a person was —apprehended by public servants for offences alleged to havebeen committed by him or even after conviction and sentenced to undergo imprisonment was also envisaged. One of the provisions set out hereinafter throw considerable light on this topic.

Causing obstruction to the prisoners

धर्मस्थीयाशरकान्निसारयतो बन्धगाराच्छ्ययासनभेजनोच्चार सञ्चारं रोधबन्धनेषु त्रिपणोत्तरादण्डाः कर्तुः कारयितृषु बन्ध नागारात्सर्वस्व बधश्च ।

bandhagārācchyayāsanabhejanoccāra sañcāraṁ rodhabandhaneṣu tripaṇottarādaṇḍāḥ kartuḥ kārayitr̥ṣu bandha nāgārātsarvasva badhaśca ।

“An officer who obstructs or causes to obstruct prisoners in their daily routine such as sleeping, sitting, eating, etc., shall be liable to be punished with fines ranging from 3 panas and upwards.” [Kautilya, p. 255, p. 235-S]

Protection of human rights even during and after war

Human rights were regarded as sacrosanct in this land, since times immemorial, is evidenced by the rules which prescribed that even during and after winning wars, certain human rights were required to be respected and protected. Some of them are:

Rules of warfare

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 । ।

“Let not the king strike with concealed weapons, nor weapons which are barbed, poisoned or the points of which are blazed with fire.

He should not strike, when he is on his chariot, one who is on the ground.

He should not strike a person who is an eunuch, or who has surrendered or is fleeing from the battlefield or one who is sitting or accepts defeat.

Nor one who is sleeping, nor one who has lost his Armour, nor one who is naked, nor one who is only a spectator, nor one who is engaged in fighting with another;

Nor one whose weapons are broken, nor one who is afflicted with sorrow, nor one who is grievously wounded, nor one who is in fear”. (Manu-VII, 90-93-98).

These are the restrictions” on an honourable warrior, which every soldier must remember during war.

This is the declared law for warriors, which a Kshatriya must not transgress, if he were to remain unblemished, when he is fighting with his foes in the battlefield. He should fight only in accordance with Dharma, which is, hence, called Dharmayudha. (Manusmriti, Ch. VII, Vs. 90-93 and 98).

Treatment of conquered people

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 । ।

(i) Having fully ascertained the wishes of all the conquered people, let him place a relative of the vanquished ruler on the throne, imposing necessary conditions.

(ii) Let him give recognition to the lawful customs of the inhabitants just as they state them (to be) and let him honour the new king (so appointed) and his personal attendants with precious gifts. (Manu, Ch. VII, 202-21 Vs.03).

Protection of conquered people

दुष्टस्यापि नरेन्द्रस्य तद्राष्ट्रं न विनाशयेत् । न प्रजानुमतो यस्मादन्यायेषु प्रवर्तते ।। ०२१ ।।[16]

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

“Even when the conquered king has acted wrongly, the conqueror should not ruin his Country, since he would not have had the concurrence of his people for his misdeeds.” (Katyayana-21)

Laying down of such humane rules to be observed during and after war is the high watermark of the development and respect for human rights.

The observance of this Dharma is evidenced in Ramayana, by coronating Vibhishana the brother of Ravana after the latter was killed for his misdeed and in Mahabharata in coronating Sahadeva son of Jarasandha after the latter was killed for his misdeeds.[2]

In conclusion, it is indisputable that restoration of doctrine of trivarga alone is the panacea for all social and political maladies with which the Nation is afflicted.

In this important aspect, all should strive for the interest of all with full cooperation and dedication.

Let all be happy.[2]


  1. Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 (Sankhya Yoga)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 M.Rama Jois (2004), Trivarga, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
  3. Arthashastra, Adhikarana 1, Adhyaya 19.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Justice M.Rama Jois, Dharma The Global Ethic.
  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. Justice Mandagadde Rama Jois (1997), Dharma: The Global Ethic, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
  10. Katyayana Smrti, Steyam
  11. Justice Mandagadde Rama Jois (1997), Dharma: The Global Ethic, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
  12. Durgaprasada (1892), The Rajatarangini of Kalhana, Vol. I (Tarangas I to VII), Bombay: Government Central Book Depot.
  13. Durgaprasada (1892), The Rajatarangini of Kalhana, Vol. I (Tarangas I to VII), Bombay: Government Central Book Depot.
  14. Narada Smrti, Vyavahara Padani, Samasyanapakarma.
  15. Mahabharata, Shanti Parva, Adhyaya 59
  16. Katyayana Smrti, Raja Dharma