Background Essay:

Seven Ways to Greet a Neighbor

Excerpts from Arthasatra


This excerpt comes from Arthasastra, a fourth century B.C.E. Indian treatise on government. It offers advice on how a ruler should handle neighboring states.


1. Saman: Appeasement, sweet talk, soothing words, conciliatory conduct, such things as non-aggression pacts;

2. Danda: Power, military might, punishment, violence, being well-armed, aggression of whatever kind;

3. Dana: a bribe or gift, a donation, an agreement to share the spoils;

4. Bheda: Divide and opposition so as to defeat them, splitting, cause a breach in the opposition, sow dissension in the enemy's party, use treachery, treason;

5. Maya: Deceit, illusion, fraud, a diplomatic feat (for example the Japanese mission to Washington offering appeasement as their bombers were readying for the attack on Pearl Harbor);

6. Upeksa: Overlooking, taking no notice, ignoring the enemy until you have decided on the proper course of action;

7. Indrajala: Military maya, creating an appearance of power when you have none.


History and social studies,

Time Required

one hour