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Arthashastra

The Arthashastra (IAST: Arthaśāstra) is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy which identifies its author by the names Kautilya[1] and Viṣhṇugupta,[2] who are traditionally identified with Chāṇakya (c. 350–-283 BC),[3] who was a professor at Takshashila University and later the prime minister of the Maurya Empire..

[edit] Date and authorship
The original identification of Kautilya or Vishnugupta with the Mauryan minister Chānakya would date the Arthaśāstra to the 4th century BC.[4] However, certain affinities with smrtis and references that would be anachronistic for the 4th century BC suggest assigning the Arthaśāstra to the 2nd through 4th centuries CE.[5] Thomas R. Trautmann and I.W. Mabbett concur that the Arthaśāstra is a composition from no earlier than the 2nd century AD, but based on earlier material.[6] K.C. Ojha puts forward the view that the traditional identification of Vishnugupta with Kautilya was caused by a confusion of editor and originator and suggests that Vishnugupta is in fact a redactor of the original work of Kautilya.[4] Thomas Burrow goes even further and says that Chānakya and Kautilya are actually two different people.[7] The end of this treatise Arthaśāstra, however, says: "This Sástra has been made by him who from intolerance (of misrule) quickly rescued the scriptures and the science of weapons and the earth which had passed to the Nanda king." More recently, Mital[8] concluded that the methods used by Trautmann were inadequate to prove his claims, and therefore "there exists no direct evidence against Kautilya being the sole author of The Arthashastra, nor evidence that it was not written during the 4th century BCE."[9]

The text was influential until the 12th century, when it disappeared. It was discovered in 1904 by R. Shamasastry, who published it in 1909 and the first English translation in 1915.[10]

[edit] Translation of the title
Different scholars have translated the word "arthaśāstra" in different ways.

R.P. Kangle – "science of politics," a treatise to help a king in "the acquisition and protection of the earth."[11]
A.L. Basham – a "treatise on polity"[12]
D.D. Kosambi – "science of material gain"[12]
G.P. Singh – "science of polity"[12]
Roger Boesche – "science of political economy"[12]
Roger Boesche describes the Arthaśāstra as "a book of political realism, a book analysing how the political world does work and not very often stating how it ought to work, a book that frequently discloses to a king what calculating and sometimes brutal measures he must carry out to preserve the state and the common good."[13]

Centrally, Arthaśāstra argues for an autocracy managing an efficient and solid economy. It discusses the ethics of economics and the duties and obligations of a king.[14] The scope of Arthaśāstra is, however, far wider than statecraft, and it offers an outline of the entire legal and bureaucratic framework for administering a kingdom, with a wealth of descriptive cultural detail on topics such as mineralogy, mining and metals, agriculture, animal husbandry, medicine and the use of wildlife.[15] The Arthaśāstra also focuses on issues of welfare (for instance, redistribution of wealth during a famine) and the collective ethics that hold a society together.

[edit] Comparison to Machiavelli
Because of its harsh political pragmatism, the Arthashastra has often been compared to Machiavelli's The Prince.

Is there any other book that talks so openly about when using violence is justified? When assassinating an enemy is useful? When killing domestic opponents is wise? How one uses secret agents? When one needs to sacrifice one's own secret agent? How the king can use women and children as spies and even assassins? When a nation should violate a treaty and invade its neighbor? Kautilya — and to my knowledge only Kautilya — addresses all those questions. In what cases must a king spy on his own people? How should a king test his ministers, even his own family members, to see if they are worthy of trust? When must a king kill a prince, his own son, who is heir to the throne? How does one protect a king from poison? What precautions must a king take against assassination by one's own wife? When is it appropriate to arrest a troublemaker on suspicion alone? When is torture justified? At some point, every reader wonders: Is there not one question that Kautilya found immoral, too terrible to ask in a book? No, not one. And this is what brings a frightful chill. But this is also why Kautilya was the first great, unrelenting political realist.
—Boesche (2002, p. 1)
Thus, Max Weber observed

Truly radical 'Machiavellianism', in the popular sense of that word, is classically expressed in Indian literature in the Arthasastra of Kautilya (written long before the birth of Christ, ostensibly in the time of Chandragupta): compared to it, Machiavelli’s The Prince is harmless.
—Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation (1919)
However, the scope of the work is broader than usual accounts indicate, and in it can also be found compassion for the poor, for slaves, and for women. For instance he advocates what is now known as land reform, and elsewhere ensures the protection of the chastity of female slaves.[16]

[edit] Books of Arthashastra
Arthashastra is divided into 15 books:

I Concerning Discipline
II The Duties of Government Superintendents
III Concerning Law
IV The Removal of Thorns
V The Conduct of Courtiers
VI The Source of Sovereign States
VII The End of the Six-Fold Policy
VIII Concerning Vices and Calamities
IX The Work of an Invader
X Relating to War
XI The Conduct of Corporations
XII Concerning a Powerful Enemy
XIII Strategic Means to Capture a Fortress
XIV Secret Means
XV The Plan of a Treatise
[edit] The Rajarshi
Arthashastra deals in detail with the qualities and disciplines required for a Rajarshi - a wise and virtuous king.

"In the happiness of his subjects lies the king's happiness, in their welfare his welfare. He shall not consider as good only that which pleases him but treat as beneficial to him whatever pleases his subjects" - Kautilya.
According to Kautilya, a Rajarshi is one who:

Has self-control, having conquered the inimical temptations of the senses;
Cultivates the intellect by association with elders;
Keeps his eyes open through spies;
Is ever active in promoting the security & welfare of the people;
Ensures the observance (by the people) of their dharma by authority & example;
Improves his own discipline by (continuing his) learning in all branches of knowledge; and
Endears himself to his people by enriching them & doing good to them.
Such a disciplined king should: -

Keep away from another's wife;
Not covet another's property;
Practice ahinsa (non-violence towards all living things);
Avoid day dreaming, capriciousness, falsehood & extravagance; and
Avoid association with harmful persons and indulging in (harmful) activities.
Kautilya says that artha (Sound Economies) is the most important; dharma & kama are both dependent on it. A Rajarishi shall always respect those councillors and purohitas who warn him of the dangers of transgressing the limits of good conduct, reminding him sharply (as with a goad) of the times prescribed for various duties and caution him even when he errs in private.

[edit] Duties of the King
If the king is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is slack (and lazy in performing his duties), the subjects will also be lax and thereby eat into his wealth. Besides, a lazy king will easily fall into the hands of enemies. Hence the Rajarishi should himself always be energetic. He shall divide the day and the night, each into eight periods of one and half hours, and perform his duties as follows:

First 1 1/2 hrs. after sunrise Receive reports on defence, revenue, expenditure
Second 1 1/2 hrs. after sunrise Public audiences, to hear petitions of city & country people
Third 1 1/2 hrs. after sunrise & Last 1 1/2 hrs. before noon Receive revenues & tributes; appoint ministers and other high officials & allot tasks to them
First 1 1/2 hrs. after noon Write letters & dispatches, confer with councillors, receive secret information from spies
Second 1 1/2 hrs. after noon Personal: recreation, time for contemplation
Third 1 1/2 hrs. after noon & Last 1 1/2 hrs. before sunset Inspect & review forces; Consult with Chief of Defence

The day shall end with evening prayers.

First 1 1/2 hrs. after sunset Interview with secret agents
Second 1 1/2 hrs. after sunset Personal: bath, meals, study
Third & Fourth 1 1/2 hrs. after sunset & First 1 1/2 hrs. after midnight Retire to the bed chamber to the sound of music, sleep
Second 1 1/2 hrs. after midnight After waking to the sound of music, meditate on political matters & on work to be done
Third 1 1/2 hrs. after midnight Consult with councilors, send out spies
Last 1 1/2 hrs. before sunrise Religious, household & personal duties, meetings with his teacher, adviser on rituals, purohitas, personal physician, chief cooks & astrologer

Or some other time table which suits the king.

Hence the king shall be ever active in the management of the economy. The root of wealth is (economic) activity and lack of it (brings) material distress. In the absence of (fruitful economic) activity, both current prosperity and future growth will be destroyed. A king can achieve the desired objectives & abundance of riches by undertaking (productive) economic activity.

An ideal king is one who has the highest qualities of leadership, intellect, energy & personal attributes.

The qualities of leadership (which attracts followers) are: birth in a noble family, good fortune, intellect & prowess, association with elders, being righteous, truthful, resolute, enthusiastic & disciplined, not breaking his promises, showing gratitude (to those who help him), having lofty aims, not being dilatory, being stronger than neighbouring kings & having ministers of high quality.

The qualities of intellect are: desire to learn, listening (to others), grasping, retaining, understanding thoroughly and reflecting on knowledge, rejecting false views and adhering to the true ones. An energetic king is one who is valorous, determined, quick, and dexterous. As regards personal attributes, an ideal king should be eloquent, bold and endowed with sharp intellect, a strong memory and a keen mind. He should be amenable to guidance. He should be well trained in all the arts and be able to lead the army. He should be just in rewarding and punishing. He should have the foresight to avail himself of the opportunities (by choosing) the right time, place and type of action. He should know how to govern in normal times and in times of crisis. He should know when to fight and when to make peace, when to lie in wait, when to observe treaties and when to strike at an enemy's weakness. He should preserve his dignity at all times and not laugh in an undignified manner. He should be sweet in speech, look straight at people and avoid frowning. He should eschew passion, anger, greed, obstinacy, ...
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