upatha – Testing integrity

In the 6th topic, cANakya touches the method of “Secret Testing” of integrity and loyalty of ministers.

Having appointed the amAtyas in less important portfolios, King should secretly test them before promoting to key positions. There are 4 types of upathas provided by past teachers of artha SAstra.

1. dharmOpatha (Testing in the name of dharma i.e, righteousness) – King creates situation where he disrespects the purOhita. Later purOhita approaches each of the amAtyas to rebel on the King. If the amAtya disagrees to do so, he is proved to be pure in the name of righteousness.

2. arthOpatha (Testing the integrity from the greed for power!) – King creates a situation so that one of the powerful military commander is removed from his job. This commander approaches each of the amAtyas provoking them to help him over-power the King. Ministers disagreeing to do so are proven pure in this test.

3. kAmOpatha (Testing the purity from seduction) – A sannyasini close to the Queen approaches each of the amAtyas and makes them believe the Queen is interested in them. (Rest of the story is well known!)

4. bhayOpatha (Testing uprightness when threatened) – King causes certain situations and puts the tested amAtya(s) in the jail for some silly mistakes! One of the appointed inmate of the jail tries to provoke the jailed amAtyas to retaliate against the King.

One who has proven pure in all 4 upathas can be placed in most trustworthy positions. 

But, kauTilya differs with this view…..

Applying such harsh tests have a great danger of corrupting a pure soul. One should not pollute the minds of good amAtyas by showing them the short-cuts to get the power. This is like mixing the poison in the pure water!

Once seeded with the poisonous thoughts of above 4 types of secret tests in the capable people like amAtyas, those seeds grow till complete destruction of the King/Leader. 

So, these four secret tests (dharma, artha, kAma & bhaya upathas)  should *NOT* bring the purOhita, King and Queen into the picture. Tests have to be conducted gently without causing the seed of corruption sets in the minds of those being tested. (That is the opinion of the great AcArya of artha SAstra.)
 

This brings us to the end of 10th chapter of artha SAstra called testing the purity using secret tests!

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