What is that Arthashastra

Arthashastra - Arthashastra

The Arthaśāstra (Sanskrit: अर्थशास्त्र, IAST: Arthaśāstra ) is an ancient Indian Sanskrit treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy. Kautilya, also identified as Vishnugupta and Chanakya, is traditionally recognized as the author of the text. The latter was a scholar in Takshashila, the teacher and custodian of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya. Some scientists believe they are the same person while most have questioned that identification. The text is likely to have been written by several authors over the centuries. The Arthashastra was established between the 2nd century BC. Composed, expanded, and edited by the 3rd century AD and was influential until the 12th century when it disappeared. It was rediscovered in 1905 by R. Shamasastry who published it in 1909. The first English translation was published in 1915.

The title Arthashastra is often translated to "the science of wealth" (अर्थ), but the book has a broader scope. It contains books on the nature of government, law, civil and criminal justice systems, ethics, economics, markets and trade, the methods of reviewing ministers, diplomacy, theories of war, the nature of peace, and the duties and obligations of a king. The text incorporates Hindu philosophy and includes ancient economic and cultural details related to agriculture, mineralogy, mining and metals, animal husbandry, medicine, forests and wildlife.

The Arthashastra deals with issues of social welfare, the collective ethics that hold a society together, and advises the king to use public projects like the in times and in areas devastated by famine, epidemics and such natural events or by war Initiate creation of irrigation should build waterways and fortresses around important strategic holdings and cities and exempt taxes for those affected. The text influenced other Hindu texts, such as those in Manusmriti sections on kings, governance, and legal process.

History of the manuscripts

The text was considered lost by colonial scholars until a manuscript was discovered in 1905. A copy of Arthashastra in Sanskrit, written on palm leaves, was given to the newly opened Mysore Oriental Library under the direction of Benjamin Lewis by a Tamil Brahmin from Tanjore. The text was published by the librarian Rudrapatna Shamasastry as Arthashastra identified. In 1905–1909, Shamasastry published English translations of the text in installments in the magazines Indian Antiquary and Mysore Review .

Between 1923 and 1924 Julius Jolly and Richard Schmidt published a new edition of the text based on a Malayalam manuscript in the Bavarian State Library. In the 1950s, fragmented sections of a North Indian version of Arthashastra discovered in the form of a Devanagari manuscript in a Jain library in Patan, Gujarat. A new edition based on this manuscript was published in 1959 by Muni Jina Vijay. In 1960 RP Kangle published a critical edition of the text based on all available manuscripts. Since then, numerous translations and interpretations of the text have been published.

The text is an old treatise written in Sanskrit from the 1st millennium BC. Was written. It is coded, dense, and can be interpreted in many ways, with English and Sanskrit being grammatically and syntactically different languages. It has been described by Patrick Olivelle - whose translation was published by Oxford University Press in 2013 - as "the hardest translation project I have ever done". Parts of the text are still opaque after a century of modern science and translation of Kautilya's masterpiece Intrigue and Political Text remains unsatisfactory.

Authorship, date of writing and structure

The authorship and date of writing are unknown, and there is evidence that the surviving manuscripts are not original and have been altered in their history, but most likely in the form available between the 2nd century BC. And the 3rd century AD were completed. Olivelle states that the surviving manuscripts of Arthashastra are the product of a transcription that includes at least three overlapping main divisions or layers, which together consist of 15 books, 150 chapters, and 180 subjects. The first chapter of the first book is an old table of contents, while the last chapter of the last book is a short 73-verse epilogue claiming that all thirty-two Yukti - Elements of correct argumentation methods - were used to create the text.

Avoid War

You can lose a war as easily as you can win.
War is inherently unpredictable.
War is also expensive. Avoid War.
Try it Upaya (four strategies).
Then Sadgunya (six forms of Non-war pressures ).
Understand the opponent and try to outsmart him.
When all fails, resort to military force.

- Arthashastra Books 2.10, 6-7, 10

One notable structure of the treatise is that, while all of the chapters are primarily prose, each one merges into a poetic verse towards the end, as a marker, a style found in many ancient Hindu Sanskrit texts in which the poetic is found Time signature or writing style changes Used as syntax code to silently signal that the chapter or section ends. All 150 chapters of the text also end with a colophon indicating the title of the book to which it belongs, the topics included in that book (such as an index), the total number of titles in the book, and the books in the text. Finally, the numbered Arthashastra- Text 180 topics in a row and doesn't start over from one when a new chapter or book begins.

The division of books, chapters, and topics into 15, 150, and 180 was probably no coincidence, explains Olivelle, as ancient writers of important Hindu texts preferred certain numbers, such as 18 Parvas in the epic Mahabharata. The largest book is the second with 1,285 sentences, while the smallest is the eleventh with 56 sentences. The entire book contains approximately 5,300 sentences on politics, governance, welfare, economics, protecting important officials and kings, gathering information on enemy states, forming strategic alliances and waging war, excluding the table of contents and the final epilogue-style book.


Stylistic differences in some sections of the surviving manuscripts suggest that it is likely the work of several authors over the centuries. Olivelle is in no doubt that Arthashastra has had "revisions, errors, additions, and perhaps even subtractions" since it was finalized in AD 300 or earlier.

Three names for the author of the text are used in various historical sources:

Kauṭilya or Kauṭalya
The text identifies its author with the name "Kauṭilya" or its variant "Kauṭalya": both spellings appear in manuscripts, comments and references in other ancient texts; It is not certain which of these is the original spelling of the author. This person was likely the author of the original review of Arthashastra : This review must be based on works by previous authors, as can be seen from the opening verse of Arthashastra, which states that its author consulted the so-called "Arthashastras" to compose a new treatise.
Vishakhadatta's Mudrarakshasa refers to Kautilya as Kutila-mati ('Crafty think'), which has led to suggestions that the word 'Kautilya' is derived from Kutila , the Sanskrit word for 'crafty'. However, such a derivation is grammatically impossible, and Vishkhadatta's use is simply a play on words. The word "Kauṭilya" or "Kauṭalya" seems to be the name of a Gotra (lineage) and is used in this sense in later literature and in inscriptions.
A verse at the end of the text identifies its author as "Vishnugupta" ( Viṣṇugupta ) and states that Vishnugupta himself wrote both the text and his commentary after "noting many errors made by commentators on treatises". RP Kangle suggested that Vishnugupta was the author's personal name, while Chanakya ( Cāṇakya ) was the name of his Gotra. Others, such as Thomas Burrow and Patrick Olivelle, point out that none of the earliest sources referring to Chanakya mentions the name "Vishnugupta". According to these scholars, "Vishnugupta" may have been the personal name of the author whose Gotra name was "Kautilya": however, this person was different from Chanakya. Historian KC Ojha suspects that Vishnugupta was the editor of the final review of the text.
The penultimate paragraph of the Arthashastra states that the treatise was written by the person who saved the land from the Nanda kings, although that person is not specifically named. The Prime Minister of Maurya, Chanakya, played a crucial role in the overthrow of the Nanda dynasty. Several later texts identify Chanakya with Kautilya or Vishnugupta: among the earliest sources is Mudrarakshasa the only one to use all three names - Kauṭilya, Vishnugupta, and Chanakya - to refer to the same person. Other early sources use the name Chanakya (e.g. Panchatantra ), Vishnugupta (e.g. Kamandaka's Nitisara ), both Chanakya and Vishnugupta (Dandin 's Dashakumaracharita ) or Kautilya (e.g. Bana 's Kadambari ). The Puranas ( Vishnu , Vayu and Matsya ) are the only ones among the ancient texts that use the name "Kautilya" (instead of the more general "Chanakya") to describe the Prime Minister of Maurya.
Scholars like RP Kangle theorize that the text was written by the Prime Minister of Maurya, Chanakya. Others, such as Olivelle and Thomas Trautmann, argue that this verse is a later addition and that the identification of Chanakya and Kautilya is a relatively later development that took place during the Gupta period. Trautmann points out that none of the earlier sources referring to Chanakya endorse his authorship for the Arthashastra mentioned . Olivelle suggests that in an attempt to present the Guptas as legitimate successors of the Mauryas, the author of the political treatise, followed by the Guptas, has been identified with the Prime Minister of Maurya.


Olivelle states that the oldest text layer, the "Sources of the Kauṭilya", dates from 150 BC. BC - 50 AD. The next phase in the development of the work, the "Kauṭilya Review", can be dated to the period 50–125 AD. Finally, the "Śāstrian editorial" (ie the text as we have it today) is dated to the period AD 175-300.

The Arthasastra is mentioned and dozens of his verses have been found on fragments of manuscript treatises buried in ancient Buddhist monasteries in northwest China, Afghanistan, and northwest Pakistan. These include the Spitzer manuscript (c. 200 AD), which was discovered near Kizil in China, and the birch bark scrolls that are now part of the Bajaur collection (1st-2nd centuries AD) Are, which was discovered in 1999 in the ruins of a Buddhist site by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to Harry Falk and Ingo Strauch.


The author of Arthashastra uses the term Gramakuta to get one Village officials or to describe chief, which, according to Thomas Burrow, indicates that he came from the region that includes present-day Gujarat and northern Maharashtra. Other evidence supports this theory as well: the text mentions that the shadow of a sundial disappears at noon in the month of Ashadha (June-July) and that day and night are the same in the months of Chaitra (March-April) and Ashvayuja (September-October). This is only possible in the areas that lie along the Tropic of Cancer, which runs through central India from Gujarat in the west to Bengal in the east.

The author of the text seems to be most familiar with the historical regions of Avanti and Ashmaka, which included parts of what is now Gujarat and Maharashtra. In the text it provides precise annual precipitation figures for these historical regions. He is also familiar with maritime trade, which can be explained by the existence of ancient seaports such as Sopara in the Gujarat-Maharashtra region. After all, the Gotra name Kauṭilya can still be found in Maharashtra.

Translation of the title

Different scholars have translated the word "Arthashastra" in different ways.

  • RP Kangle: "Artha is the livelihood or livelihood of people, and Arthaśāstra is the science of means to Artha "" science of politics ";
  • AL Basham: A "Treatise on the Commonwealth"
  • DD Kosambi: "Science of Material Gain"
  • GP Singh: "Science of Politics"
  • Roger Boesche: "Science of Political Economy"
  • Patrick Olivelle: "Science of Politics"

Artha (prosperity, wealth, purpose, meaning, economic security) is one of the four goals of human life in Hinduism (Puruṣārtha), the others are Dharma (laws, duties, rights, virtues, right way of life), Kama (pleasure), emotions , Sex) and moksha (spiritual liberation). Śāstra is the Sanskrit word for "rules" or "science".


Arthashastra is divided into 15 book titles, 150 chapters and 180 topics as follows:

title English title English
Raja king Yuvaraja Crown Prince
Senapati Chief, armed forces Parishad advice
Nagarika City Administrator Pauravya vaharika City Overseer
Mantri minister Karmica Operations manager
Samnidhatr Treasurer Karmantika Director, factories
Antapala Border commander Antar vimsaka Head, guards
Dauvarika Hauptwache Gopa Revenue Officer
Purohita Chaplain Karanika Accounting officer
Prasastr Administrator Nayaka commander
Upayukta Junior officer Pradeshtri magistrate
Sunyapala regent Adhyaksha Superintendent
  1. On the subject of training, 21 chapters, topics 1-18
  2. About the activities of superintendents,
    36 Chapters, Topics 19-56 (Biggest Book)
  3. On Judges, 20 chapters, topics 57-75
  4. Extinction of Thorns, 13 chapters, topics 76-88
  5. On Secret Conduct, 6 Chapters, Topics 89-95
  6. Basis of the circle, 2 chapters, topics 96-97
  7. On the sixfold strategy, 18 chapters, topics 98-126
  8. On the topic of disasters, 5 chapters, topics 127-134
  9. Activity of a king preparing to march into battle,
    7 chapters, topics 135-146
  10. About the war, 6 chapters, topics 147-159
  11. Behavior Towards Confederations, 1 Chapter, Topics 160-161
  12. On the Weaker King, 5 chapters, topics 162-170
  13. Means of Conquering a Fort, 5 Chapters, Topics 171-176
  14. On Esoteric Practices, 4 Chapters, Topics 177-179
  15. Organization of an academic paper, 1 chapter, topic 180


The need for law, business and government

The ancient Sanskrit text begins in Chapter 2 of Book 1 (the first chapter is a table of contents) by acknowledging that there are a number of schools in existence with differing theories on the correct and necessary number of areas of knowledge, and claims that they all agree that government science is one of those areas. The school of Brihaspati , the school of Usanas , the school of Manu and itself as the school of Kautilya listed .

सुखस्य मूलं धर्मः। धर्मस्य मूलं अर्थः। अर्थस्य मूलं राज्यं। राज्यस्य मूलं इन्द्रिय जयः। इन्द्रियाजयस्य मूलं विनयः। विनयस्य मूलं वृद्धोपसेवा॥

The root of happiness is Dharma (ethics, justice), the root of the Dharma is Artha (economy, politics), the root of Artha is proper governance, the root of proper governance is victorious internal restraint, the root of victorious internal restraint is humility, the root of humility serves the elderly.

- Kautilya, Chanakya Sutra 1-6

The school of Usanas claims, the text goes, that there is only one necessary knowledge, the science of government, because no other science can begin or survive without it. The school of Brihaspati claims, according to Arthashastra, that there are only two areas of knowledge, the science of government and the science of business ( Varta agriculture, livestock and trade), because all other sciences are intellectual and represent only a prime of the temporal life of man. The school of Manu Arthashastra claims that there are three areas of knowledge, the Vedas, the science of government, and the science of business ( Varta agriculture, livestock and trade) because these three are mutually supportive and all other sciences are a special branch of the Vedas.

The Arthashastra then sets up its own theory that there are four necessary fields of knowledge, the Vedas, that Anvikshaki (Philosophy of Samkhya , yoga and Lokayata ), the science of government, and the science of business ( Varta agriculture, livestock and trade). From these four all other knowledge, wealth and human prosperity are derived. The Kautilya text then claims that it is the Vedas that discuss what is Dharma (right, moral, ethical) and what is Adharma (wrong, immoral, unethical). It is that Varta that explains what creates prosperity and what destroys prosperity the science of government that illuminates what Nyaya (Justice, expediency, Peculiarity ) and Anyaya (Injustice, inappropriateness, inappropriateness) is, and that Anvishaki (Philosophy) is the light of these sciences as well as the source of all knowledge, the guide to virtues and the means to all kinds of action. He says about the government in general:

Without a government, disorder increases like in the Matsya nyayamud bhavayati (Proverb to the law of fish). Without governance, the strong will swallow the weak. In the presence of government, the weak oppose the strong.

Raja (king)

The best king is that Rajarishi , the wise king.

The Raja Rishi has self-control and does not fall for the temptations of the senses, he continuously learns and cultivates his thoughts, he avoids false and flattering advisors and instead connects with the true and consummate elders, he sincerely promotes the safety and well-being of his people, he enriches and strengthens his people, he practices ahimsa (non-violence against all living beings), he leads a simple life and avoids harmful people or activities, he stays away from someone else's wife and does not long for other people's property. The greatest enemies of a king are not others, but these six: lust, anger, greed, imagination, arrogance and folly. A righteous king wins the loyalty of his people not because he is king, but because he is righteous.

Government officials, advisers and controls

Book 1 and Book 2 of the text explain how the crown prince should be trained and how the king himself should continue to learn by making his most important ones Mantri (Ministers), civil servants, administrators, court staff, judges and judges.

Theme 2 of Arthashastra, or Chapter 5 of Book 1, is devoted to the king's continuous formation and development, with the text indicating that he maintains a council of elders from every field of various sciences whose achievements he knows and respects. Theme 4 of the text describes the process of selecting ministers and key officials, which must be based on the king's personal knowledge of their honesty and ability. Kautilya first lists various alternative opinions among existing scholars about how important government officials should be selected, whereby Bharadvaja Honesty and knowledge as the basis for the selection suggests. Kaunapadanta suggests that inheritance should be preferred, and Visalaksha suggests that the king should hire those whose weaknesses he can exploit, Parasara warns against setting people at risk because they try to find the king of vulnerability instead of using it and yet another who persists this experience and does not be the theoretical qualification primary selection criterion.

After describing the conflicting views on the selection of officials, Kautilya claims that a king is his Amatyah (Ministers and senior officials) should select based on the proficiency they have demonstrated in their previous work, the character and their values ​​that are consistent with the role. The Amatyah , according to Arthashastra, must be those who Amatya-sampat follow: well educated, forward-looking, with a strong memory, bold, well-spoken, enthusiastic, excellent in their field, learned in theoretical and practical knowledge, full of character, in good health, kind and philanthropic, free from delay, free from impermanence, free from Hate, free from enmity, free from anger and devoted to the Dharma. Those lacking one or some of these characteristics must be considered for middle or lower positions in administration working under the supervision of senior civil servants. The text describes tests used to screen for the various Amatya sampat .

The Arthashastra in Theme 6 describes secretly controls and continuous measurements of the integrity and lack of integrity of all ministers and senior officials in the kingdom. Those officers who lack integrity must be arrested. Those who are unjust should not work in civil and criminal courts. Those who lack integrity in financial matters or who fall for the lure of money are not allowed to be in the revenue collection or in the treasury, the text says, and those who lack integrity in sexual relationships are allowed to not to Vihara- Services (amusement reasons). The ministers at the highest level must have been tested and demonstrated integrity in all situations and in all kinds of temptations.

Chapter 9 of Book 1 suggests that the king have a council and a Purohit (Chaplain, spiritual leader) for personal advice. The Purohit the text asserts, must be one that is in the Vedas and their six Angas is well trained.

Causes of impoverishment, lack of motivation and dissatisfaction among people

Chanakya portrait in 1915 Shamasastry's Arthashastra translation.

The Arthashastra in Topic 109, Book 7 lists the causes of dissatisfaction, lack of motivation and increasing economic hardship among people. It begins with the observation that wherever "good people are insulted and bad people are hugged", the need increases. Wherever officials or people trigger unprecedented violence in actions or words, wherever there are unjust acts of violence, dissatisfaction grows. When the king rejects the Dharma, that is, "do what should not be done, do not do what should be done, do not give what should be given and give what should not be given," the king causes people to worry do and not like him.

Everywhere says Arthashastra in verse 7.5.22, where people are punished or punished or molested if they are not to be molested, where those who are to be punished are not punished, where these people are arrested when they should not be, where those who are are not arrested when they should, causing distress and dissatisfaction to the king and his officials. When officials steal instead of offering protection from robbers, people become impoverished, disrespected and dissatisfied.

A state, claims Arthashastra- Text in verses 7.5.24 - 7.5.25, where courageous action is vilified, the quality of services is degraded, pioneers are harmed, honorable men are dishonored, where deserving people are not rewarded, but favoritism and falsehood There is a lack of people Motivation, they are desperate, upset and disloyal.

In verse 7.5.33, the ancient text notes that general impoverishment in terms of food and survival money destroys everything, while other types of impoverishment can be addressed with grants of grain and money.

Civil, criminal and judicial systems

Crime and Punishment

It is power and power alone which, only when exercised by the king impartially and in proportion to guilt, either over his son or his enemy, will maintain both this world and the next.
The righteous and victorious king administers justice according to Dharma (established law), Sanstha (Common law), Nyaya ( Decrees , announced law) and Vyavahara (Evidence, behavior).

- Arthashastra 3.1

The third book of Arthashastra, according to Trautmann, is devoted to civil law, including sections on the economic relationships between employers and employees, partnerships, sellers and buyers. Book 4 is a treatise on criminal law in which the king or officials acting on his behalf take the initiative and initiate legal proceedings against criminal offenses as the crime is believed to be wrong against the people of the state. As Trautmann points out, this system is more similar to the European criminal justice system than other historical legal systems, since in the European (and Arthashastra) system it is the state that initiates legal proceedings in cases that fall under the criminal law.In the latter systems, the person concerned is in charge including a lawsuit for murder, rape and assault.

The old text provides that the courts have a body of three Pradeshtri (Judges) for dealing with criminal cases. This body is different, separate and independent from the body of judges of the civil justice system that it establishes for a Hindu kingdom. The text states that just punishment is related to crime in many of the sections beginning with Chapter 4 of Book 1, and uses this principle repeatedly to determine punishments, for example in Item 79, i.e. Chapter 2 of Book 4. Economic Crimes such as the conspiracy of a group of traders or artisans, Arthashastra says, should be punished with a much higher and punishable collective fine than the individual, since conspiracy systematically harms people's well-being.

Marriage laws

The text covers the marriage and consent laws in Books 3 and 4. Chapter 4.2 claims that three years after her first menstruation a girl may marry any man she wishes, provided she does not take his property or jewelry Parents who received it before marriage. However, if she marries a man whom her father arranges or approves, she has the right to take the ornaments with her.

In chapter 3.4 the text gives a woman the right to marry anyone if she wants, if she has been abandoned by the man she was betrothed to, if she has not heard from him for three menstrual periods, or if she hears back and has waited for seven menstruations.

In Chapter 2 of Book 3 of Arthashastra, eight types of marriages are legally recognized. The bride receives the maximum inheritance right if the parents select the groom and the girl agrees to the selection (Brahma marriage), and the minimum if the bride and groom secretly marry as lovers without the consent of their father and mother (Gandharva marriage). However, in cases of a Gandharva (love) marriage, she is given more rights than in a Brahma (arranged) marriage, if the husband uses the property she owns or has created and the husband must repay them with interest on demand.

Wildlife and forests

Arthashastra states that forests should be protected and recommends using the state treasury to feed animals such as horses and elephants that are too old, sick or injured to work. However, Kautilya also recommends using government funds to stop wild animals that are damaging crops. In Theme 19, Chapter 2, the text suggests:

The king should
one destroyed by an enemy king or tribe
Grant an exemption [from taxes] to a region, a region threatened by disease or starvation.
He should protect agriculture
if she is burdened by the rigors of fines, forced labor, taxes and herding animals,
when harassed by thieves, vicious animals, poison, crocodiles or diseases.
He should keep trade routes clear,
when oppressed by anyone, including their officers, robbers or border commanders,
when they are worn out by farm animals
The king should produce products, forests, elephant forests, reservoirs and mines,
protect those built in the past and also build new ones.

Topic 35 recommends that the state appointed Superintendent of Forest Produce for the conservation of each forest zone Forest health , protecting forests in support of wildlife such as elephants ( Hastivana ), but is also responsible for the production of forest products.To meet the economic needs, products such as Teak, Palmyra, Mimosa, Sissu, Kauki, Sirisha, Catechu, Latifolia, Arjuna, Tilaka, Tinisa, Sal, Robesta, Pinus, Somavalka are used , Dhava, birch, bamboo, hemp, Balbaja (used for) ropes), Munja, fodder, firewood, tuber roots and fruits for medicine, flowers. The Arthashastra also reveals that the Mauryas designated certain forests to protect the supply of wood to hides, as well as lions and tigers.

Mines, factories and superintendents

Arthashastra is devoted to topics 30 to 47, in which the role of the government in building mines and factories, gold and gem workshops, goods, forest products, weapons, standards for scales and weights, standards for length and time, customs, Agriculture, alcohol, slaughterhouses and courtesans, shipping, domesticated animals such as cattle, horses, and elephants, as well as animal welfare when injured or too old, pasture land, military readiness, and state intelligence operations.

About espionage, propaganda and information

Femme Fatale as a secret agent

To undermine a ruling oligarchy, turn the heads of the [enemy] government council into women obsessed with great beauty and youth. When passion is awakened in them, they should start quarreling by creating faith (about their love) in one and going to another.

- Arthashastra 11.1

The Arthashastra devotes many chapters to the necessity, methods and goals of the secret service and the establishment of a network of spies who work for the state. The spies should be trained to take on roles and shapes, to use coded language to convey information, and to be rewarded for their performance and results, the text says.

About the roles and figures Arthashastra for Vyanjana- Agents (apparition agents) recommended include ascetics, forest hermits, beggars, cooks, merchants, doctors, astrologers, consumer households, entertainers, dancers, female agents, and others. It is suggested that members from these professions should be sought to serve in the secret service. A prudent state, the text says, must expect its enemies to seek information, spy and spread propaganda within its territory, and therefore train and reward double agents to gain identity through such hostile intelligence operations.

The aim of the secret service in Arthashastra was to test the integrity of government officials, to spy on cartels and the population for conspiracies, to monitor enemy kingdoms suspected of preparing for a war or a war against the state, to conduct espionage and propaganda wars control enemy states to destabilize enemy states to get rid of pesky powerful people who could not be openly challenged. The espionage operations and their aims, according to verse 5.2.69 of Arthashastra, should be pursued "in relation to traitors and unjust people, not in relation to others".

About war and peace

Arthashastra dedicates books 7 and 10 to war and takes into account numerous scenarios and reasons for war. It classifies war into three broad types - open war, covert war, and silent war. Then the individual types of war are defined in the chapters, how one takes part in these wars and how one recognizes that one is a target of covert or silent types of war. The text warns that the king should know the progress he expects when considering the choice between war and peace. The text claims:

If progress in the pursuit of peace and war is equal, peace is preferable. Because in war there are disadvantages like losses, costs and being away from home.

Kautilya in Arthashastra suggests that the state must always be sufficiently fortified, its armed forces must be prepared and equipped with resources to defend itself against acts of war. Kautilya prefers peace over war because he claims that in most situations peace is more conducive to the creation of prosperity, prosperity and security for the people. Arthashastra defines the value of peace and the term peace, according to Brekke, as "efforts to achieve the results of the work well done are industries, and the failure to interfere with the enjoyment of the results of the work is peace".

All means to win a war are appropriate in Arthashastra, including the assassination of enemy leaders, the sowing of discord in their leadership, the engagement of covert men and women in the pursuit of military objectives and weapons of war, the use of superstitions and the accepted Propaganda to strengthen your own troops or demoralize enemy soldiers, as well as open hostilities through the use of the armed forces of the kingdom. After the success of a victorious, just and noble state in a war, the text advocates humane treatment of captured soldiers and subjects.

The Arthashastra theories are similar to some and contrast with other alternative theories of war and peace in the ancient Indian tradition. For example, according to Brekke, the legends in Hindu epics preach heroism as heroism, which is contrary to Kautilya's suggestion of prudence and never forgets the four Hindu goals of human life during Kamandakis Nitisara , the Kautilyas Arthashastra is similar, among other Hindus is classics of statecraft and foreign policy, suggesting cleverness, engagement and diplomacy, peace is preferable and must be sought and yet be ready to surpass the war and win if one is forced to.

Regulations and taxes

The Arthashastra discusses a mixed economy in which private and state-owned companies often competed side-by-side in agriculture, animal husbandry, forest products, mining, manufacturing and trade. However, royal laws and officials regulated private economic activities, some economic activities were the state monopoly, and a superintendent oversaw that both private and state-owned companies followed the same rules. The private companies were taxed. The mines were owned by the state but leased to private parties for operations in accordance with Chapter 2.12 of the text. The Arthashastra states that protecting the consumer must be a major priority for Kingdom officials.

Tax collection and ripe fruit

As one picks one ripe fruit after another from a garden, so should the king from his kingdom. Fearing for his own destruction, he should avoid immaturities that lead to revolt.

- inventory of the treasury, Arthashastra 5.2.70

Arthashastra sets out the limitation on taxes imposed, fairness, amounts and the manner in which tax increases are to be implemented. Further, according to Waldauer et al., The text suggests that the tax "should be convenient to pay, easy to calculate, inexpensive to manage, fair, non-distorting, and not stifling growth" The text and some manufacturers and craftsmen like those of textiles were subject to a flat tax. Arthashastra states that taxes should only be levied on mature economic activities and not on early, immature stages of economic activity. The historian of economic thought Joseph Spengler observes:

Kautilya's discussion of taxes and spending expressed three Indian principles: Tax sovereignty [of the state] is limited; Taxation should not be seen as heavy or exclusively [discriminatory]. Tax increases should be phased.

Agriculture on private land was taxed at a tax rate of 16.67%, but the tax was exempt in cases of famine, epidemic and settlement on new pastures that had not previously been cultivated and were damaged during war. New public projects such as irrigation and waterworks were tax-free for five years, and major renovations to destroyed or disused waterworks were tax-exempt for four years. Temple and Gurukul Countries were exempt from taxes, fines, or penalties. Trade within and outside the borders of the kingdom was subject to tolls or customs duties. Taxes for industrialists and businesspeople varied between 10% and 25% and could be paid in kind (products), labor, or cash.

Translations and grants

The text was translated and interpreted by Shamashastry, Kangle, Trautmann and many others. Recent translations or interpretations include those by Patrick Olivelle and McClish.

Influence and reception

Maurya Empire in Kautilya's time

Scholars claim that Arthashastra had an impact on Asian history. His ideas helped create one of the largest empires in South Asia, stretching from the borders of Persia to Bengal on the other side of the Indian subcontinent, and whose capital, Pataliputra, under Emperor Marcus Aurelius, is twice the size of Rome.

Kautilya's patron, Chandragupta Maurya, consolidated an empire that was inherited from his son Bindusara and then his grandson Ashoka. With the advancing secularization of society and that of Arthashastra in Governance-related innovations considered, India was "prepared for the reception of the great moral transformation initiated by Ashoka" and the spread of Buddhist, Hindu and other ideas throughout South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Compare with Machiavelli

In 1919, a few years after the translation of the newly discovered Arthashastra manuscript was first published, Max Weber stated:

Truly radical "Machiavellianism", in the popular sense of the word, classical is expressed in Indian literature in the Arthashastra of Kautilya (written long before the birth of Christ, supposedly in the time of Chandragupta): Compared to him, Machiavellis The Prince is harmless.

Recent research has been the characterization of Arthashastra contradicted as "Machiavellian". In Machiavellis The prince if the king and his coterie are determined to preserve the monarch's power for their own sake, says Paul Brians for example, but in the Arthashastra the king must "benefit and protect his citizens, including citizens." Peasants ". Kautilya argues in Arthashastra that" the ultimate source of the kingdom's prosperity is its security and the prosperity of its people, "a view never mentioned in Machiavelli's text. The text advocates" land reform, "Brians said of landowners and peasants who own land but have not grown for a long time, land is taken away and given to poorer peasants who want to grow grain but do not own land.

Arthashastra explains on numerous occasions the need to strengthen the weak and poor in one's kingdom, a feeling not found in Machiavelli; Arthashastra, according to Brians, advises: "The king should provide for the orphans, the elderly, the infirm, the affected and the helpless with maintenance. He should also secure a livelihood for helpless women and children." they give birth. ”Elsewhere, the text evaluates not only powerless human life, but also animal life and, in Book 2, suggests feeding horses and elephants when they are incapacitated due to old age, illness or after the war become.

Views on the role of the state

Roger Boesche, who based his analysis of Arthashastra entirely on the translation of Kangle from 1969 and criticized an alternative translation by Rangarajan from 1992, has described Arthashastra as "a great political book of antiquity". He interprets that the text of the 1st millennium BC Rather based on the Soviet Union and China, where the state sees itself as driven by the common good, but operates a comprehensive spy state and a surveillance system. This view has been challenged by Thomas Trautmann, who claims that Arthashastra proposes a free market and individual rights, albeit a regulated system. Boesche is not critical in summary and adds:

Kautilya's Arthashastra depicts a bureaucratic welfare state, indeed a kind of socialized monarchy in which the central government manages the details of the economy for the common good ... In addition, Kautilya does an ingenious work on matters of foreign policy and welfare that includes important principles of international Relationships from a realistic perspective and a discussion of when an army should use cruel force and when it is more beneficial to be human.

Scientists disagree on how to interpret the document. Kumud Mookerji states that the text could be a picture of the real situation in Kautilya's time. In contrast, Sastri, as well as Romila, quotes Thapar Brians, pointing out that whatever translation is considered, the text must, in various circumstances, be viewed as a normative document of strategy and general administration, but not as a description of the existing conditions. Other scholars like Burton Stein agree with Thapar and Sastri. However, Bhargava notes that given that Kautilya was the prime minister, it is to be expected that he implemented the ideas in the book.

Views of real estate and markets

Thomas Trautmann explains that Arthashastra in chapter 3.9 recognizes the concept of land tenure rights and other private property and calls on the king to protect this right from confiscation or abuse. This makes it different from the Soviet or Chinese model of citizens' private property rights. There is no question, says Trautmann, that people had the power to buy and sell land. However, Trautmann adds that this does not mean that Kautilya advocated a capitalist free market economy. Kautilya requires land sales to be staggered and gives certain buyers automatic "termination rights", which is not a free market. The Arthashastra states that if someone wants to sell land, the owner's relatives, neighbors, and creditors have the first right to buy in that order, and only if they do not want to buy the land at a fair competitive price can others and strangers offer to buy . In addition, the price must be announced, recorded, and tax paid in front of witnesses for the purchase / sale agreement to be deemed recognized by the state. The "call rights" and the staggered purchase of offers are not really a free market, as Trautmann emphasizes.