rAjarShi vRttam – The profession of a “Saintly King”

In the 7th chapter of artha SAstra, cANakya gives a view of life of a rAjaRShi i.e, a King-saint.

An aspiring king should first conquer indriyas (as per the last post). Then get trained by the elders by serving them. By being alert, he should focus on yoga (acquiring new things) and kshema (protecting already acquired). By delegating work, he should engage others following him in their own duties. Gain practical knowledge (vinayam) by learning vidyas. By properly distributing the money in welfare activities liked by the people. By making long term beneficial plans to the people run the government.

He should make himself and people fulfill desires that are not against dharma and artha. (dharmArtha-avirudhaH kAmam sEveta) All the tri-varga (dharma, artha & kAma) should be attended with equal importance as they are closely inter-related. By giving any one of them higher importance leads to diminishing impact on the other two and finally leads to imbalance and destruction of individual self.

But cANakya feels the artha is the glue which keeps dharma and kAma in limits. So additional focus to be given to artha.

King should request an AcArya (a wise teacher) to monitor his activities and warn him when something is about to go wrong.

Why an emperor has to impose restrictions on him in this manner? 

cANakya answers:

सहायसाध्यं राजत्वं चक्रमेकम् न वर्तते ।
कुर्वीत सचिवान् तस्मात् तेषां च श्रुणुयान्मतम् ॥

“The kingship is only possible by help from the well wishers. A single wheel can’t run (the chariot). So, have sacivAs i.e, wise well wishers and listen to their opinions!”

(I hope this 11th post has captured the description of a saintly king’s profession…. )

This ends the 7th chapter and third topic called indriya vijaya in the first adhikaraNa of kautilya’s artha SAstra.


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