rAjaputra rakshaNam – Taking care of successor

In the 17th chapter cANakya deals with the 13th topic of artha SAstra which is called rAjaputra rakshaNam. Protecting the heirs or successors.

Past teachers have given multiple formulae to keep the heirs / successors / sons of the King in control. It is important that the successor who is not yet ready to take over can forcefully topple the government in a coup.

“बुद्धिमान् आहार्यबुद्धिः दुर्बुद्धिः इति पुत्रविशेषाः” says cANakya. There are three types of sons. They are:

1. buddhimAn :- One who learns and follows / practices dharma and artha is the wise son.
2. AhAryabuddhi :- One who learns and fails to follow the instruction is cleaver son.
3. durbuddhi :- One who causes danger and thinks and acts against dharma and artha is the foolish son.

When the King has only one son who is “avinIta” and durbuddhi (category 3 above), King should NOT leave the administration with him. Instead, he should look for a successor elsewhere (e.g,. a daughter’s son, or a son of a sAmanta etc.,)

To avoid a such a situation of not having a proper Heir, King’s son should be bought up with all needed discipline and kept away from bad habits like gambling, wine and women. While growing up, as he gets attracted to any bad habits, he should be naturally diverted away from them.

बहूनामेकसंरोधः पिता पुत्रहितो भवेत् ।
अन्यत्रापद ऐश्वर्यं ज्येष्ठभागि तु पूज्यते ॥

When there are multiple successors and one of them is bad, he need to be kept away from the leadership. Father should make sons virtuous. As long as there is no major defect with the eldest son, the leadership should be handed over to the eldest son.

So, once the territory is established, a Leader / King should consider having a succession plan in place. And the eldest and most suited successor from the next generation should be carefully prepared to continue the administration of the state.


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