dharmasthIyam – An introduction

At the end of the last post, we have completed two adhikaraNas of artha SAstra. The first one is vinayAdhikaraNam dealing with the coaching needed to the King / Leader and the second one is adhyaksha-pracAraH dealing with the establishment of governance structure in the territory.

The third adhikaraNa is called dharmasthIyam which roughly means “the subject relating to the dharmastha i.e., enforcer of the dharma i.e, righteousness or Law” – A judge.

This book is divided into 20 adhyayas and deals with several intricate subjects relating to the administration of justice.

धर्मस्थाः त्रयस्त्रयोऽमात्याः जनपदसंधि संग्रहण द्रोणमुख स्थानीयेशु व्यवहारिकार्थान् कुर्युः

Three dharmasthas of the rank of amAtyas should look after the vyavahAras of janapada, sangrahaNa, drONamukha and sthAnIyas.

We have seen the divisions of territory here – http://sastra-artha.blogspot.in/2013/06/janapadas-on-forming-self-contained.html

The enforcers of Law are at the same rank as an amAtya. The primary responsibility is to take care of the vyavahAra i.e., transactions happening in the administrative unit.

The Leader/King is the chief of dharmasthas as well and the primary objective of the judiciary system in my opinion in the words of cANakya is:

चतुर्वर्णाश्रमस्यायं लोकस्याचार रक्षणात्
नश्यतां सर्वधर्माणां राजधर्मः प्रवर्तकः

This world’s AcAra (orderly progress) is based on four fold varNa and Ashramas. Without protection from the king this AcAra will perish. So all the dharma is promulgated by the rAja dharma or kings order which is propagation of right order in the society living in the territory.

More on trivarga (the goal of artha SAstra) – http://sastra-artha.blogspot.in/2013/04/tri-varga-and-its-opposite.html

I will try to summarize each of the adhyayas of dharmasthIyam in future posts.

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