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Why is it said that only a Brahman is capable of creating an ideal king?


1. Day-to-day duties of a king (anhik)

Koutilya has elaborated on the day-to-day duties of a king in detail. Koutilya has included 1-19 days, dividing each day and night into 8 parts and has advised which acts have to be performed in each part as given below.

1st part of the day: Plan his security measures and contemplate on savings and expenditure
2nd part: Contemplate on the reasons behind disputes of the city dwellers and villagers
3rd part: Bath, recitation or study of the Vedas and lunch are the acts to be performed during this period.
4th part: Acceptance of state revenue in the form of gold and appointment of officials
5th part: Consultation with ministers and hearing the secret news brought by spies
6th part: Participation in favourite entertainment and games
7th part: Inspection of elephants, horses, chariots and soldiers
8th part: Planning the strategy of invasion in consultation with the commander-in-chief of the army and undertaking prayers (sandhyopasana) after sunset

1st part of the night: Meeting spies
2nd part: Bath, revision of the Vedas and dinner constitute the acts during this part of the night.
3rd part: Retiring for the night after the sounding of the bugle
4th and 5th parts: Sleep
6th part: He should be awakened with the sound of the bugle and should contemplate on the dictums prescribed by the scriptures and the means of putting them into practice.
7th part: Secret discussions with spies and despatching them
8th part: After seeking the blessings of sages, teachers and priests and visiting his personal physician, chief cook and astrologer he should circumambulate an ox and a cow having a calf and then proceed towards the royal court.

2. The advisor of the king

2.1 The ideal king and advisor

सुलभा: पुरुषा राजन्‍सततं प्रियवादिन: ।
अप्रियस्य च पथ्यस्य वक्ता श्रोता च दुर्लभ: ।। - रामायण ३.३७.२

Meaning: (Marich says to Ravan) O king, men who always speak pleasantly (without thinking about welfare or harm) are found in plenty but one who speaks what is in your interest though harshly and one who listens to him are rarely found. - Ramayan 3.37.2

2.2 A minister

परस्य वीर्यं स्वबलं च बुद्‌ध्‍वा । स्थानं क्षयं चैव तथैव वृद्धिम्‌ ।
तथा स्वपक्षेऽप्‍यनुमृश्‍य बुद्ध्‌या । वदेत्क्षमं स्वामिहितं स मन्त्री ।।
                                                                         - रामायण ६.१४.२२

Meaning: The one who judges the strength of the enemy and that of his own state, who contemplates intelligently on the present status, growth and destruction of his army and that of the enemy’s army and suggests the required measures for the welfare of his master can truly be called a minister. - Ramayan 6.14.22

‘Ministers should be experts in the Vedas, the code of Righteousness (Dharma), politics, social ethics, economics, etc. Only then will a nation prosper. No matter how clever and skillful he is, a king should never take any decision on his own without consulting his ministers. A king who behaves according to his own whims and fancies invites disaster.’(1)

2.3 The royal priest

‘It was the duty of the king to fight during a war and that of the royal priest to perform religious rites to the accompaniment of mantras for him to emerge victorious.

Though the main task of a priest was performing rites like fire sacrifices which bestow victory, prosperity, etc. yet the king would consider it important to seek his counsel in other circumstances too. In the ensuing period due to the necessity of appointment of various officials such as ministers, chairmen, etc. to run the state, the purview of the priest became limited to his sphere. However this did not lower his status.’(2)

2.4 Brahmans (priests) undertaking penance

Their control was of a moral nature.

3. Control over the king by the reign of righteous power

Formerly the regime of a king was controlled and restrained by the reign of Righteousness (Dharma). Even during the period of the Ramayan, Lord Ramachandra Himself would accept the advice of Sage Vasishtha, Vishvamitra, etc. In those days every king had a royal priest or a royal Guru in his court. The king would govern his kingdom in accordance with their advice, acting as a trustee. Rulers could not behave according to their whims and fancies because of the constraints of Righteousness. It is due to this restraint that the people in a state lived peacefully and were happy. In India, saints never ascended seats of power. Similarly the evolved never utilised power to fulfill Their own aspirations or for the sake of enjoyment. Despite Shivaji Maharaj’s offering his entire kingdom to Samarth, the latter did not derive any benefit from it. Thus a main feature of the reign of Righteousness is limitless sacrifice and selflessness only for the welfare of the subjects.

4. Dynastic rule

‘Before the post-Vedic period sovereignty had become hereditary. If the family lineage of several generations of ancestors and descendants of Rama is traced, then heredity in royalty is evident. Monarchy by heredity also included some constitutional measures. Generally amongst Hindu families ancestral property was equally divided between brothers; however a kingdom remained undivided. The eldest son of a king became the heir to the throne unless he was blind, deaf, mentally retarded or sick.

During Koutilya’s times the king’s powers were not limited by any kind of external control. Nevertheless various provisions were devised to prevent him from becoming a tyrant. Of all these measures the foremost was imparting education to the future king, rather to the crown prince.’(3)

5. Anarchy

यथा ह्यनुदका नद्यो यथा वाप्‍यवणं वनम्‌ ।
अगोपाला यथा गावस्तथा राष्‍ट्रमराजकम्‌ ।। - रामायण २.६७.२९

Meaning: A kingdom without administration is like rivers without water, forests without trees and cattle without a cowherd. - Ramayan 2.67.29

Anarchy is a state without a king or an ideal ruler. At present intense anarchy prevails in our country. ‘The Shantiparva of the Mahabharat describes what happens if anarchy prevails in a state as follows - The property of the feeble will forcefully be snatched by the powerful. They will even abduct others’ wives. This will destroy marital and family ties. Relationships like the wife, son, etc. will become obsolete. The institution of fire sacrifices will disappear and consequently the Vedas will become extinct. There will be chaos in agriculture, business, etc. followed by total misery. All kinds of unrighteousness and evil practices will become rampant.’(4)

The Ramayan also conveys the same about anarchy through the following verses (shlokas).

A. नाराजके जनपदे धनवन्‍त: सुरक्षिता: ।
     शेरते विवृतव्‍दारा: कृषिगोरक्षजीविन: ।। - रामायण २.६७.१८

     Meaning: In a state without a king the wealthy are insecure. Even farmers and cowherds cannot sleep peacefully with their doors open. - Ramayan 2.67.18

B. नाराजके जनपदे तूद्यानानि समागता: ।
     सायान्‍हे क्रीडितुं यान्‍ति कुमार्यो हेमभूषिता: ।। - रामायण २.६७.१७

     Meaning: In a state where anarchy prevails a group of young women embellished with gold ornaments do not go to the garden in the evening for recreation. - Ramayan 2.67.17

C. नाराजके जनपदे स्वकं भवति कस्‍यचित्‌ ।
     मत्‍स्‍या इव जना नित्‍यं भक्षयन्‍ति परस्पराम्‌ ।। - रामायण २.६७.३१

     Meaning: No soul is peaceful in a state without a ruler. In such a state men exploit each other like fish who swallow each other. - Ramayan 2.67.31

6. An unsuitable king

6.1 What happens to a king?

A. प्रसादो निष्‍फलो यस्य क्रोधश्चापि निरर्थक: ।
     न तं भर्तारमिच्‍छन्‍ति षण्‍ढं पतिमिव स्त्रिय: ।। - महाभारत ५.३४.२१

     Meaning: The subjects do not want a ruler whose grace is of no use and rage too is inconsequential, just as a woman does not want an impotent husband. - Mahabharat 5.34.21

B. अयुक्‍तचारं दुर्दर्शमस्वाधीनं नराधिपम्‌ ।
     वर्जयन्‍ति नरा दूरान्‍नदीपङ्कमिव व्‍दिपा: ।। - रामायण ३.३३.५

     Meaning: The king who does not organise a network of spies (to get news from the kingdom), does not grant the subjects an opportunity to express their woes to him, who is controlled by others (that is in the control of women, etc.) is rejected by people just as elephants abandon a river seeing the mud in it. - Ramayan 3.33.5

C. अप्राप्‍तकारिणं भूपं रोधयन्‍ति च वै प्रजा: ।। -योगवासिष्‍ठ ६.८४.२७

     Meaning: The subjects reject a king whose administration is faulty. - Yogavasishtha 6.84.27

D. तीक्ष्‍णमल्‍पप्रदातारं प्रमत्तं गर्वितं शठम्‌ ।
     व्‍यसने सर्वभूतानि नाभिधावन्‍ति पार्थिवम्‌ ।। - रामायण ३.३३.१५

     Meaning: None, not even his kith and kin rush to the rescue of a king who behaves cruelly (with his ministers, etc.), pays them very low emoluments, behaves arrogantly, is conceited and secretly harms people in times of a calamity. - Ramayan 3.33.15

E. अतिमानिनमग्राह्यमात्‍मसंभावितं नाम्‌ ।
    क्रोधनं व्‍यसने हन्‍ति स्‍वजनोऽपि नराधिपम्‌ ।। - रामायण ३.३३.१६

     Meaning: An obstinate, rigid, haughty and bad tempered person even if he be the king is destroyed by his own people when he is trapped in a calamity. - Ramayan 3.33.16

F. उव्‍देजनीयो भूतानां नृशंस: पापकर्मकृत्‌ ।
     त्रयाणामपि लोकानामीश्वरोऽपि न तिष्‍ठति ।। - रामायण ३.२९.३

     Meaning: Even if the one who harasses living beings, is cruel and a sinner becomes the master of all the three regions he does not remain in power for long. - Ramayan 3.29.3

G. यस्य राष्‍ट्रे प्रजा: सर्वास्त्रस्यन्ते साध्व्यसाधुभि: ।
     तस्य मत्तस्य नश्यन्ति कीर्तिरायुर्भगो गति: ।। - श्री भागवत १.१७.१०

     Meaning: (King Parikshit says to the earth in the form of a cow) O chaste lady (sadhvi), an arrogant king in whose kingdom innocent people are tormented by evildoers loses his fame, longevity, fortune and a meritorious place after death. - Shri Bhagvat 1.17.10

H. पौरकार्याणि यो राजा न करोति दिने दिने ।
     संवृते नरके घोरे पतितो नात्र संशय: ।। - रामायण ७.५३.६ 

     Meaning: Undoubtedly a king who does not perform his duties towards his subjects regularly, goes to hell (narak), a place which is devoid of air. - Ramayan 7.53.6

7. Causes of crises afflicting a state

7.1 An unrighteous king

राजा राष्‍ट्रकृतं पापं राज्ञा पापं पुरोहित: ।
भर्ता च स्त्रीकृतं पापं शिष्यपापं गुरुस्तथा ।

Meaning: A king has to suffer for the sins of his subjects. In the same way the family Guru (kulaguru) has to suffer for the sins of the king, a man for those of his wife and a Guru for those of His disciple.

Literal and implied meaning: ‘A king has to face the consequences of sins committed by his subjects. That is why it is said that “A king ends up in hell”. A king remains free of sin only if he is righteous. The subjects are righteous only if the king is righteous. Righteous subjects do not commit sins; therefore the king is said to be “the cause of time”. Such subjects love their king dearly and the king reciprocates it. Either of them is ever willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of the other, rather they consider that the ultimate accomplishment of life. From this it becomes obvious that the main objective of the constitution is not protecting the state but propagating Righteousness (Dharma) among the subjects, thus making their attitude sattvik (sattva predominant). Defence of the state is merely its result.

The constitution should be written only after a minute study of holy texts such as the Ramayan, Mahabharat, Shrimadbhagvat, etc. “Chanakyaniti”, a text written by Chanakya also seems to be the result of an indepth study of these three texts. Only if such a constitution is created will there be a possibility of fulfillment of the dream of Rama’s rule of Righteousness (Ramarajya), never otherwise ! All the powerful states on the face of this earth are certainly righteous administrations. Not one of them is devoid of Righteousness (Dharma). No state can be devoid of Righteousness and certainly not India because Righteousness is the very life of a nation. Righteousness being the very life of a state, a state devoid of Righteousness is lifeless. Is not a person who has lost his life called a corpse? When any constitution is based on Righteousness and not merely on psychology, the chances of deterioration of Righteousness are low. As a result, the probability of society and a state being affected by calamities is reduced markedly.

Sanatan culture (sanskruti) focusses on psychological development, that is upon the enhancement of the sattva component more than scientific progress because the latter is only a byproduct of the former. Scientific progress achieved consequent to psychological growth prevents man from becoming a beast. When this tradition of psychological upliftment of the sattva component declines and that patience gets converted into impatience, deterioration of human society and the nation occurs. The subjects have to face calamities because of shirking of his responsibilities by the king.’ - H.H. Kane Maharaj, Narayangaon, Maharashtra

7.2 The curse of a Brahman

स्त्रिय: कामेन नश्‍यंति । ब्राह्मणो हीन सेवया ।
राजानो ब्रह्मदंडेन । यतयो भोगसंग्रहात्‌ ।

Meaning: A woman is destroyed by desire, a Brahman by accepting inferior service, a king by the curse of a Brahman and an ascetic (yati) by accumulating objects.

In this verse (shloka) the implied meaning of the line that ‘a king is destroyed by the curse of a Brahman’ is as follows: Since a Brahman is the Guru of the universe (Jagadguru) the responsibility of protecting him lies with the king. Under the king’s protection he can carry out his study smoothly and acquire knowledge. It is on the pure intellect of a Brahman that the health, rather prosperity of a king and his state and the happiness of all the subjects depends. That is why if such a Brahman is insulted by the king then due to destruction of that knowledge, the state too is destroyed. The above discussion will illustrate how a Brahman is capable of destroying an evil king and his state with a curse. It also implies that only a Brahman can create an ideal king and an ideal state. Illustrations of several such pairs of a Brahman and a king like Arya Chanakya and King Chandragupta and Samarth Ramdas and King Shivaji can be cited. Chanakya destroyed Nanda, a cruel king and instated Chandragupta a righteous king on the throne. Samarth undertook a similar mission.

How the curse of a Brahman is capable of devastating an unrighteous king and his state is given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 1 C A - The four classes (chaturvarnya)’ under the point ‘Special features of the classes - Brahman (priest)’.

7.3 Non-observance of Righteousness by subjects

If people belonging to the four classes do not follow Righteousness (Dharma) meticulously, that is do not undertake spiritual practice then the oblations (naivedya) offered in the fire do not reach the deities. Consequently They get enraged and induce seven types of calamities on the earth.

अतिवृष्‍टि: अनावृष्‍टि: मूषका: शलभा: शुका: ।
स्वचक्रं परचक्रं च सप्‍तैते इतय: स्मृता: ।

Meaning: 1. Excessive rainfall, 2. Drought, 3. Infestation by rats, 4. Infestation by grasshoppers, 5. Infestation by parrots as a scourge, 6. Civil wars and 7. Foreign invasions are the seven calamities described by the scriptures.

8. Class, duration and yug (era) of a state

Kshatriyas ruled in the Tretayug, Vaishyas in the Dvaparyug and then came the Shudras in the Kaliyug. Only if these three governances are regulated by Righteousness, that is are according to the system of classes (varnashram) then this deterioration can be said to be in accordance with the Vedas.’ - H.H. Kane Maharaj, Narayangaon, Maharashtra

Over a span of 100 years the duration of rule by Brahmans (priests) is 64 years, that by Kshatriyas (warriors) is 30 years, that by Vaishyas (businessmen) is 5 years and by Shudras (labourers) is 1 year. At any given time different classes rule different parts of the earth.

9. Political Science

9.1 Meaning

Promotion of business or economics and political science or the code of punishment are the two pillars in the worldly life of man. Anything in the world is dependent on finance which in turn depends on the code of Righteousness of rulers. ‘Discussion on the administration of a kingdom is termed as the code of Righteousness of rulers (rajadharma) or political science in ancient literature.

9.2 Synonyms

A. Nitishastra (ethics):Ni” means to take away, to guide, etc. Ethics is showing the right path and making people follow that path is its implication. Subjects will be guided appropriately only if the king is fully acquainted with what is right and wrong, what is the mission and what is ethical and unethical. That science which teaches all these is called nitishastra by scholars.

B. Code of punishment: Indian scholars of political science believed that the chief support of ruling a kingdom was punishment or use of might. That is why they named this ruling system dependent on punishment, the code of punishment.

C. Arthashastra (political science): Koutilya named it so. He has used this word with an expansive meaning. He says (15.1) -

मनुष्‍याणां भूमिरर्थ: मनुष्‍यवती भूमिरर्थ: ।
तस्या: पृथिव्या लाभपालनोपाय: शास्त्रमर्थशास्त्रमिति ।

Implied meaning: Just as the word artha suggests business transactions of man, so also it signifies the earth on which man carries out these transactions. Hence it shall be appropriate to call the science associated with the acquisition of land and its nurture arthashastra.’(5)

9.3 Holy texts

Separate literature on political science from the period 500 B.C. is not available.

The Manusmruti: The principle of same punishment for anyone committing the same offence does not exist in the Manusmruti. It states that a king committing the same offence as a common man should get thousand times, a minister should receive eight hundred times and a soldier and others should receive tenfold the punishment received by the common man.

The Mahabharat: ‘The holy text Mahabharat mainly consists of political affairs. It helps one to understand the administrative system prevailing in those days to a large extent. Politics too is independently described in it. An upaparva (sub-part) of the Shantiparva in the Mahabharat is named the code of Righteousness of rulers (rajadharma). The basic outline of the code of Righteousness of rulers is incorporated in the Shantiparva while the Sabhaparva describes the basic tenets of ideal administration.

Koutilya’s Arthashastra: Koutilya’s Arthashastra is a text which is a jewel in the crown among all the texts available on political science. It was written in the 4th century B.C. It is a text solely dedicated to politics. In all it has been classified into 15 sections according to the subjects and 180 chapters in 150 sub-sections. Grossly the discussion in the text is divided into two sections, one regarding the internal administrative system and the other regarding external affairs. The description in both these sections is in detail and complete in all respects. Koutilya was not merely an astute statesman but also the founder of a sect. Assuming a king as one desirous of gaining victory and as the centre of an assembly he created the Arthashastra. According to Koutilya the objectives of Arthashastra are to provide remedies on how to conquer the world and retain that authority. It is believed that Koutilya was the first one who attempted to separate Righteousness (Dharma) and politics in political science. Several centuries later that text has stood the test of time. Koutilya is accorded the same position in politics as Panini in grammar. The texts created in the period thereafter were mostly influenced by Koutilya.’(6)

Main Subjects:

1. The king, ministers, priests, ambassadors in the courts of other kings, spies
2. Administration of the state, officers in various departments, taxes, accounts, salaries of state employees, trade organisations, means of replenishing the treasury in times of crisis
3. Laws associated with marriage, dowry, meting out justice, etc.
4. Punishing an evildoer according to his crime. Koutilya has also enumerated 13 antisocial elements adopting the unrighteous path.
5. Coup against the king
6. Various defects in administration, calamities befalling a king and the state
7. With regard to the policy on foreign affairs Koutilya does not advocate any moral or righteous principles rather he expresses entirely realistic and worldly concepts.
8. Diplomatic strategies to deal with foreign states
9. Methods to deal with a powerful enemy
10. Various constituents of military formations (vyuha) of the armed forces
11. War and truce with neighbouring states
12. Secret operations and methods to eliminate the enemy
13. Koutilya has also elaborated upon the method of post-mortem

Appointment of officers: ‘Koutilya has put forth some tests for appointment of ministers (the present day secretaries). They include enticement in the four areas 1. Realising God, 2. Finance, 3. Love and 4. Fear. He has also suggested where they should be appointed depending upon their area of success, e.g. those who are successful in resisting such temptation to realise God should be appointed in the legal section, those who will not get lured with riches should be appointed in the finance section, etc.

It has also been suggested that if it is not possible to sack those who will be lured by such baits then they should be transferred to distant places. When selecting the chief and other officials for government administration care should be taken to see that there is neither too much closeness nor too much of a rift between them because the former will lead to their unified corruption and the latter will generate chaos in the administration.

The Shukraniti (philosophy of Shukra): This important text came into existence in the later period. Since at that time democratic kingdoms had become extinct this text describes only royal administration. According to the Shukraniti the class to which one belongs depends not solely on the birth but also on actions. This text also includes a symbolic representation of the various organs of the body with respect to the formation of a kingdom. According to this concept a king, a minister, a friend, a treasury, an army, a fort and a kingdom represent the head, eye, ear, face, mind, hand and leg respectively.

Compositions of Samarth: It is seen that in the following period of the Middle Ages Samarth Ramdas had realised the importance of administration and independence. Since in Samarth’s literature administration refers to “formation of a kingdom” it emphasises the principles of life, formation and development of a state. “Reinstatement of the kingdom” is the working principle behind it. From this point of view study of the Dasbodh (a holy book authored by Him) proves essential. Samas (chapters) on commentaries on politics, rationalism, features on discriminative property (upadhilakshan nirupan), etc. are important in this regard. Ramdas has recommended the importance of strength and unity of society with regard to politics. The one indulging in politics should give equal importance to thought as well as action. He opposed unilateral tendencies like merely remaining engrossed in contemplation of principles or in expanse of social work. He has discussed a king and the code of Righteousness of rulers explicitly and also described what a royal servitor should be like, his duties and forbidden acts from his point of view. In short, it can be said that the concepts put forth by Him in His poetry “Anandavanabhuvan” are with respect to “a spiritually dominant kingdom”. Unfortunately after Shivaji Maharaj the conduct, thought or development of the principles behind these concepts was arrested.’(7)

9.4 Science of Righteousness and administration

‘The difference between the ancient texts on Righteousness (Dharma) and the recent arthashastra (political science) can be grossly explained as follows - in texts on Righteousness emphasis was laid on the purity of means utilised to attain the goals; however in the texts on arthashastra no place is accorded to the purity of means. The purpose of the present day political science (arthashastra) is fulfillment of one’s political aspirations by all means.’ (8)


‘Protecting seekers and destroying evildoers and code of righteousness of rulers’, published by Sanatan Sanstha.

Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410, Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition: Vol. 3 to 10, Second edition: Vol. 1 and 2
[1]. Vol. 8, Pg. 35,36      [2]. Vol .8, Pg. 30
[3]. Vol. 8, Pg. 29,31      [4]. Vol .8, Pg. 27
[5]. Vol. 8, Pg. 22,23      [6]. Vol. 8, Pg. 23
[8]. Vol. 1, Pg. 255

[7]. Rashtrarachana, issue number 6, 21.2.1993, Mr. Gajananrav Gokhale.

Related Articles

» Why is correct timing necessary to undertake spiritual practice of Kshatriya class?
» Why was there no need for an administrative system in Satyayug?
» Why are rewards and punishments necessary to enforce the rule of righteousness?
» How should a king devise his defense strategy?
» What are the attributes of an ideal king?

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