An analysis of allies

Ninth chapter of seventh book of artha SAstra deals with agreements related to allies – mitra sandhi

In joint efforts if the gain is allies, wealth, land/territory then latter is beneficial than the former. i.e., if we gain territory it will eventually give the wealth and allies; if the wealth is gained, allies can be gained automatically.

An agreement that is made to gain allies is called mitra sandhi. Lets now take a look at allies.

Is it better to have a permanent allay who is not amenable or a temporary allay who is amenable? Earlier teacher’s opinion is to have a permanent allay but “No” says kauTilya it is better to have a temporary allay who is helping. Helping verily the nature of a friend. is it not?

Is it better to have a temporary allay who is giving a big benefit or one who is permanent but gives continuous small benefit? Earlier teachers opted the first one. But kauTilya prefers the one who is permanent and provides continuous small help.

Is it better to have a powerful but slow to respond allay or not so powerful but quick responding allay? Earlier teachers felt the powerful even slow responding is better. But, kauTilya opts for the second as the help needed should come quickly when needed.

Is it better to have an allay who gives support in the form of army or one who provides help in the form of money? It is better to have one who help in the form of money.

Is it better to have one who provides money or one who provides his territory? It is better to have one who lets us use his territory – it is the opinion of kauTilya.


nityam, vaSyam, laghUtthAnam, pitRpaitAmaham mahat
advyadhyam, ca iti sampannam mitram shaDguNam ucyatE 

permanent, amenable, quickly responding, acquainted by father and forefathers, powerful, unsplittable are the six qualities that are required in a best friend. 

Of the allies, one who is friendly only with the vijigIshu is true friend. One who neither helps vijigIshu nor the opponent is the neutral friend. One who helps both vijigIshu and the opponent is a dual friend.


kAraNAkAraNadhvastam karaNAkAraNAgatam
yO mitram samapEkshEta sa mRtyumupagUhati 

An allay who distanced himself for some small reason or for no reason and comes back for some reason or with no reason – allowing such an allay into the circle is inviting death for a vijigIshu

Finally  consider the greater benefit even after a wait of long time which is certain is better than the small benefit that comes quickly even though it is certain. But if greater benefit is uncertain one should consider looking for a small benefit that is certain and quick.

Hence, understanding the “friends”, one should consider the one’s own fulfillment of needs and then enter into the agreements with friends.


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