Thursday, October 15, 2009

|| Satyameva Jayate || - Understanding Raj-Dharma

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    • My first note is from a site curiously called Indian Officer. The excerpt below is a precis of Chapter XIX, “The Duties of a King” in Book I of ArthaShastra by Chanakya (emphasis added).

      *** Excerpts from The Duties of a King (Raj-Dharma) ***

    • IF a king is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is reckless, they will not only be reckless likewise, but also eat into his works. Besides, a reckless king will easily fall into the hands of his enemies. Hence the king shall ever be wakeful.
    • When in the court, he shall never cause his petitioners to wait at the door, for when a king makes himself inaccessible to his people and entrusts his work to his immediate officers, he may be sure to engender confusion in business, and to cause thereby public disaffection, and himself a prey to his enemies.
    • He shall, therefore, personally attend to the business of gods, of heretics, of Bráhmans learned in the Vedas, of cattle, of sacred places, of minors, the aged, the afflicted, and the helpless, and of women;—all this in order (of enumeration) or according to the urgency or pressure of those works.
    • In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness; in their welfare his welfare; whatever pleases himself he shall not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subjects he shall consider as good.
    • Even then, sensing that Yudhishthir could still go astray, Shri Krishna prevailed upon him to meet Bhishma Pitamah to learn lessons of good governance. Here are a few gems from the mouth of Bhishma Pitamah –

      O, King, just as the foot of an elephant covers every other foot, so does Rajdharma cover every aspect of Dharma, in all conditions, (chap.63/25).

      Among all Dharmas, Rajdharma is supreme, as it provides nourishment to people of all Varnas (professions). Rajdharma encompasses all sacrifices. The sages, since ancient period, praise sacrifice as the best form of Dharma, (63/27).

      The Sanatan Dharma got destroyed hundreds of time, but (each time) it was redeemed and spread again by Kshatra-dharma. In every age, Kshatra-dharma has to be active. Therefore, Kshatra-dharma is the best in the world, (64/26).

    • Vasudeva: Tell them something about Dharma and Rajdharma too Pitamah.

      Bheeshma Pitamah: Dharma is not confined to rites and rituals. It is a balance of your duties and others’ rights. Thus, you must follow Dharma.

      Raj Dharma (Dharma towards your nation) is the same. But a king’s duties are more than that of a citizen’s. If a situation calls for the partition of a nation, then call for war, but never partition the nation. Can you five brothers cut your mother into five and distribute amongst yourselves? If not, then how can you divide the motherland? I have committed this sin. Which is why I’m telling this. To delay war, I even agreed to the partition of the nation. Do not fall for this move Yudhisthir. Now I’m tired Vasudeva and won’t say anything more…