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Kautilya's Arthasastra (Set of 2 Volumes)

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Item Code: NAP908
Author: Rudrapatna Samasastri - Edited by Dr. Ashok Kumar Shukla
Publisher: Parimal Publication Pvt. Ltd.
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translations
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9788171106417
Pages: 1030
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0 inch x 6.0 inch
Weight 1.40 kg
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Book Description
About the Book

The Arthasastra summarizes the political thoughts of Kautilya. The book contains detailed information about specific topics that are relevant for rulers who wish to run an effective government. Diplomacy and war (including military tactics) are the two points treated in most detail but the work also includes recommendations on law, prisons, taxation, irrigation, agriculture, mining, fortifications, coinage, manufacturing, trade, administrations, diplomacy, and spies.

The Arthasastra explores issues of social welfare, the collective ethics that hold a society together, advising the king that in times and in areas devastated by famine, epidemic and such acts of nature, or by war, he should initiate public projects such as creating irrigation waterways and building forts around major strategic holdings and towns and exempt taxes on those affected. The text was influential on other Hindu texts that followed, such as the sections on king, governance and legal procedures included in Manusmrti.

Likely to be the work of several authors over centuries, Kautilya, also identified as Visnugupta and Canakya, is traditionally credited as the author of the text. The Arthasastra was influential until the 12th century, when it disappeared. It was rediscovered in 1905 by R. Samasastri, who published it in 1909. The first English translation was published in 1915.

The present book contains Original Sanskrit text, verse by verse English translation and notes of R. Samasasti along with an exhaustive Introduction by Dr. Ashok Kumar Shukla.


The Kautilya-Arthasastra, of which Mr. Samasastri gives us here his translation, is a work of exceptional interest and value. In the first place, it ascribes itself in unmistakable terms to the famous Brahmin Kautilya, also named Visnugupta and known from other sources by the patronymic Canakya who tradition tells us, overthrew the last king of the N anda dynasty, and placed the great Maurya Candragupta on the throne: thus, the two verses with which the work ends recite that it was written by Visnugupta, who from intolerance of misrule rescued the scriptures, the science of weapons, and the earth which had passed to Nanda King and that he wrote it because he had seen many discrepancies on the part of previous commentators; and, in conformity with a common practice of Indian writers the name Kautilya figures constantly through the book, especially in places where the author lays down his own views as differing from others which he cites. The work accordingly claims to date from the period 321-296 B.C.: and its archaic style is well in agreement with the claim. Secondly, as regard its nature and value, Kautilya is renowned, not only as a kingmaker, but also for being the greatest Indian exponent of the art of government, the duties of kings, ministers and officials, and the methods of diplomacy. That a work dealing with such matters was written by him is testified to by various more or less early Indian writers, who have given quotations from it. But the work itself remained hidden from modem eyes until it was found in the text of which this is the translation. The topic of this text is precisely that which has been indicated above, in all its branches, internal and foreign, civil, military, commercial, fiscal, judicial and so on including even tables of weights, measures of length and divisions of time. And it seems to be agreed to by competent judges that, though the existing text is, perhaps, not absolutely word for word that which was written by Kautilya, still we have essentially a work that he did compose in the period stated above. The value of it is unmistakable: it not only endorses and extends much of what we learn in some of its lines from the Greek writer Megasthenes, who, as is well known, spent a long time in India as the representative of the Syrian king, Seleucus I at the Court of Candragupta, but also fills out what we gather from the epics, from other early writings, and from the inscriptions, and explains statements and allusions in those last-mentioned sources of information which are otherwise obscure: in short, it throws quite a flood of light on many problems in the branch of Indian studies to which it belongs.

For our introduction to this work we are greatly indebted to Mr. Samasastri. A manuscript of the text, and with it one of commentary on a small part of it by a writer named Bhattasvamin, was handed over by a Pandita of the Tanjore District to the Mysore Government Oriental Library. From these materials Mr. Samasastrt, who was then the Librarian of that Library, gave a tentative translation in the pages of the Indian Antiquary and elsewhere, in 1905 and following years. By the enlightened encouragement of the Mysore Durbar, he was enabled to publish the text itself in 1909, as Vol. 37 of the Biblothecea Sanskrita of Mysore. And under the same appreciative patronage he now lays before us a translation which has been improved in various details, in addition to being brought together in a connected and convenient form. His task has been no easy one. For the formation of his text, as for this translation of it, he has had only the one manuscript and the partial commentary which have been mentioned above: and the text is by no means a simple one: it is laconic and difficult to a degree. In these circumstances, it could hardly be the case that anyone should be able to give us a final treatment of the work straightaway. It seems that as a result of the attention which Mr. Samasastri's labours attracted at once, two or three other manuscripts of the work have now been traced. So it may be hoped that eventually another step may be made, by giving us a revised text, based on a collation of materials, which will remove certain obscurities that still exist. Meanwhile, it is impossible to speak in too - high terms of the service rendered by Mr. Samasastri, in the first place by practically discovering the work, and then by laying the contents of it before us so satisfactorily, in spite of the difficulties confronting him, which can only be appreciated by anyone who tries to understand the text without the help of his translation. We are, and shall always remain, under a great obligation to him for a most important addition to our means of studying the general history of ancient India.


  Foreword v
  Preface ix
  Introduction xxvii
  Book I : Concerning Discipline 1-94
1 The Life of a King 1
2 Determination of the Place of Anvik~aki 10
3 Determinations of the Place of Triple Vedas 13
4 Vam and Dandaniti 16
5 Association with the Aged 19
6 The sharing off of the Aggregate of the Six Enemies 22
7 The life of a Saintly King , 25
8 Creation of Ministers 27
9 The creation of Councilors and Priests 31
10 Ascertaining by Temptations, Purity or Impurity in the Character of Ministers 34
11 The Institution of Spies 39
12 Creation of Wandering Spies 43
13 Protection of Parties for or against one's own cause in one's Own State 49
14 Winning over factions for or against an Enemy's Cause in an Enemy's State 53
15 The Business of Council Meeting 58
16 The Mission of envoys 65
17 Protection of Princes 70
18 The conduct of a Prince kept Under Restraint and the Treatment of a Restrained Prince 76
19 The duties of a king 79
20 Duty towards the harem 84
21 Personal Safety 89
  Book II : The Duties of Government Superintendents  
1 Formation of Villages 97
2 Division of Land 104
3 Consturction of Forts 108
4 Building within the Fort 114
5 The Duties of the Chamberlain 119
6 The Business of Collection of Revenue by the Collector-General 124
7 The Business of keeping up Accounts in the Office of Accountants 131
8 Detection of what is Embezzled by Government Servants out of State Revenue 138
9 Examination of the conduct of government servant 145
10 The procedure of forming Royal writs 151
11 Examination of Gems that are to be entered into treasury 161
12 Conducting Mining Operations and Manufacture 177
13 The Superintendent of Gold in the Goldsmiths' office 188
14 The Duties of the State Goldsmith in the high Road 198
15 The Superintendent of Store-House 207
16 The Superintendent of Commerce 218
17 The Superintendent of Forest produce 223
18 The Superintendent of the Armoury 228
19 The Superintendent of Weights and Measures 235
20 Measurement of Space and Time 243
21 The Superintendent of Tolls 251
22 Regulation of Toll-Dues 257
23 The Superintendent of Weaving 260
24 The Superintendent of Agriculture 264
25 The Superintdent of Liquor 272
26 The Superintendent of Slaughter-House 280
27 The Superintendent of Prostitutes 283
28 The Superintendent of Ships 290
29 The Superintendent of Cows 296
30 The Superintendent of Horses 304
31 The Superintendent of Elephants 313
32 The training of Elephants 318
33 The Superintendent of Chariots; the Superintendent of infantry and the Duties of the Commander-in- Chief 323
34 The Superintendent of passports and the Super- intendent of Pasture Lands 327
35 The Duty of Revenue-Collectors; Spies under the guise of Householders, Merchants and Ascetics 329
36 The Duty of a City Superintendent 334
  Book III : Concerning Law  
1 Determination of Forms of agreement; Determination of legal disputes 345
2 The duty of marriage, the property of a woman, and compensation for re-marriage 355
3 The Duty of a wife, maintenance of a Woman, Cruelty to Women, enmity between Husband andWife; a Wife's Transgression; her kindness to another, and forbidden Trasactions 363
4 Vagrancy, Elopement and short and long Sojournments 369
5 Procedure of portioning inheritance 376
6 Special shares in inheritance 382
7 Distinction between sons Buildings 387
8 House-Building 392
9 Sale of Buildings, Boundary Disputes, Determination of Boundaries, and Miscellaneous Hinderances 397
10 Destruction of Pasture Lands, fields and roads, and non-performance of Agreements 404
11 Recovery of Debts 412
12 Concerning Deposits 421
13 Rules regarding Slaves and Labourers 430
14 Rules Regarding Labourers and Cooperative Undertaking 437
15 Rescisssion of Purchase and Sale 443
16 Resumption of Gifts, Sale without Ownership, and Ownership 447
17 Robbery 454
18 Defamation 457
19 Assault 461
20 Gambling and Betting And Miscellaneous offences 468




  Book IV : Removal of Thorns  
1 Protection against Artisans 475
2 Protection against Merchants 485
3 Remedies against National Calamities 491
4 Suppression of the Wicked Living by Foul Means 498
5 Detection of Youths of Criminal Tendency by Ascetic Spies 502
6 Seizure of Criminals on suspicion or in the very Act 506 513
7 Examination of Sudden Death 519
8 Trial and Torture to Elicit Confession 525
9 Protection of all kinds of Government Departments 533
10 Fines in Lieu of Multilation of Limbs 538
11 Death with or without Torture 543
12 Sexual Intercourse with Immature Girls n Punishment for Violating Justice 550
  Book V : Conduct of Courtiers  
1 Concerning the awards of Punishment 559
2 Replenishment of the Treasury 568
3 Concerning subsistence to Government Servants 578
4 The Conduct of a Courtier 585
5 Time-serving 589
6 Consolidation of the Kingdom and Absolute Sovereignty 594
  Book VI : The Source of Sovereign States  
1 The Elements of Sovereignty 603
2 Concerning Peace and Exertion 608
  Book VII : The End of Six-Fold Policy  
1 The Six-Fold Policy, and Determination of Deterioration, Stagnation and Progress 617
2 The Nature of Alliance 624
3 The Character of Equal, Inferior and Superior Kings; and Forms of Agreement made by an Inferior King 628
4 Neutrality after Proclaiming war or after concluding a treaty of Peace; Marching after Proclaiming war or after making Peace; and the march of combined Powers 635
5 Consideration about Marching against an Assailable Snemy and a Strong Enemy; causes leading to the Dwindling, Greed, and Disloyalty of the Army; and Considerations about the Combination of Powers 641
6 The march of Combined Powers; Agreement of Peace with or without definite terms; and Peace with Renegades 649
7 Peace and war by Adopting the Double Policy 668
8 The attitude of an Assailable agreement Enemy and Friends that Deserve help 664
9 Agreement for the Acquistion of a Friend or Gold 670
10 Agreement of Peace for the Acquisition of Land 678
11 Interminable Agreement 682
12 Agreement for undertaking a work 689
13 Considerations about an Enemy in the Rear 695
14 Recruitment of Lost Power 703
15 Measures Conducive to Peace with a Strong and Provoked Enemy; and the Attitude of a Conquered Enemy 709
16 The attitude of a Conquered King 715
17 Making Peace and breaking it 720
18 The Conduct of a Madhyama King, a Neutral King, and of a Circle of States  
  Book VIII: Concerning Vices and Valamities  
1 The Aggregate of the Calamities of the Elements of Sovereignty 739
2 Considerations about the Troubles of the King and of his Kingdom 746
3 The aggregate of the Troubles of Men 750
4 The group of Molestations, the Group of Obstructions, and the group of Financial Troubles 757
5 The Group of Troubles of the Army, and the Group of Troubles of a Friend 765
  Book IX : The Work of an Invader  
1 The Knowledge of Power, Place, Time, Strength, and Weakness; the Time of Invasion 775
2 The Time of recruiting the Army; the form of equipment; and the work of Arraying a Rival Force 782
3 Consideration of Annoyance in the Rear; and remedies against internal and External Troubles 789
4 Consideration about Loss of Men, Wealth, and Profit 796  
5 External and Internal Dangers 801
6 Persons Associated with Traitors and Enemies 805
7 Doubts about Wealth and Harm; and Success to be Ebtained by the Employment of Alternative Strategic means 813
  Book X : Relating to War  
1 Encampment 827
2 March of the Camp and Protection of the Army in Times of Distress and Attack 830
3 Forms of Treacherous Fights, Encouragement to one's own Army and Fight between One's Own and Enemy's Armies 834
4 Battlefields: the work of Infantry, Cavalry, Chariots and Elephants 842
5  The Distinctive Array of Troops in respect of wings, Flanks and Front; distinction between Strong and Weak Troops; and Battle with Infantry, Cavalry, Chariots and Elephants 846
6  The Array of the Army like a Staff, a Snake, a Circle, or in Detached order; the array of the Army against that of an Enemy 853
  Book XI : The Conduct of Corporations  
1 Causes of dissension; and Secret Punishment 861
  Book XII : Concerning a Powerful Enemy  
1 The Duties of a Messenger 871
2 Battle of Intrigue 875
3 Slaying the Commander-in-Chief and Inciting a Circle of States 881
4 Spies with Weapons, Fire and Poison; and Destruction of supply Stores and Granaries 885
5 Capture of the Enemy by means of secret Contrivances or by means of the Army; and Complete Victory 890
  Book XIII: Strategic Means to Capture Fortress  
1 Sowing the Seeds of Dissension 899
2 Enticementof Kings by Secret Contrivances 904
3 The work of Spies in a Siege 912
4 The Operation of a Siege and Storming a Fort 919
5 Restoration of Peace in a Conquered Country 929
  Book XIV : Secret Means  
1 Means to Injure an Enemy 935
2 Wonderful and Delusive Contrivances 944
3 The Application of Medicines and Mantras 953
4 Remedies against the Injuries of One's Own Army 965
  Book XV : The Plan of a Treatise  
1 Paragraphical divisions of the treatise Index 971


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