Arthashastra/Book VIII

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Arthashastra by Kautilya, translated by R. Shamasastry
Book VIII, "Concerning Vices and Calamities"
Kautilya. Arthashastra. Translated by R. Shamasastry. Bangalore: Government Press, 1915. Pages 391-409.


Kautilya's Arthasastra: Book VIII, "Concerning Vices and Calamities"

CHAPTER I. THE AGGREGATE OF THE CALAMITIES OF THE ELEMENTS OF SOVEREIGNTY.

WHEN calamities happen together, the form of consideration should be whether it is easier to take an offensive or defensive attitude. National calamities, coming from Providence or from man happen from one's misfortune or bad policy. The word vyasana (vices or calamities), means the reverse or absence of virtue, the preponderance of vices, and occasional troubles. That which deprives (vyasyati) a person of his happiness is termed vyasana (vices or calamities).

My teacher says that of the calamities, viz., the king in distress, the minister in distress, the people in distress, distress due to bad fortifications, financial distress, the army in distress, and an ally in distress,--that which is first mentioned is more serious than the one, coming later in the order of enumeration.

No, says Bháradvája, of the distress of the king and of his minister, ministerial distress is more serious; deliberations in council, the attainment of results as anticipated while deliberating in council, the accomplishment of works, the business of revenue-collection and its expenditure, recruiting the army, the driving out of the enemy and of wild tribes, the protection of the kingdom, taking remedial measures against calamities, the protection of the heir-apparent, and the installation of princes constitute the duties of ministers. In the absence of ministers; the above works are ill-done; and like a bird, deprived of its feathers, the king loses his active capacity. In such calamities, the intrigues of the enemy find a ready scope. In ministerial distress, the king's life itself comes into danger, for a minister is the mainstay of the security of the king's life.

No, says Kautilya, it is verily the king who attends to the business of appointing ministers, priests, and other servants, including the superintendents of several departments, the application of remedies against the troubles of his people, and of his kingdom, and the adoption of progressive measures; when his ministers fall into troubles, he employs others; he is ever ready to bestow rewards on the worthy and inflict punishments on the wicked; when the king is well off, by his welfare and prosperity, he pleases the people; of what kind the king's character is, of the same kind will be the character of his people; for their progress or downfall, the people depend upon the king; the king is, as it were, the aggregate of the people.

Visáláksha says that of the troubles of the minister and of the people; the troubles of the people are more serious; finance, army, raw products, free labour, carriage of things, and collection (of necessaries) are all secured from the people. There will be no such things in the absence of people, next to the king and his minister.

No, says Kautilya, all activities proceed from the minister, activities such as the successful accomplishment of the works of the people, security of person and property from internal and external enemies, remedial measures against calamities, colonization and improvement of wild tracts of land, recruiting the army, collection of revenue, and bestowal of favour.

The school of Parásara say that of the distress of the people and distress due to bad fortifications, the latter is a more serious evil; for it is in fortified towns that the treasury and the army are secured; they (fortified towns) are a secure place for the people; they are a stronger power than the citizens or country people; and they are a powerful defensive instrument in times of danger for the king. As to the people, they are common both to the king and his enemy.

No, says Kautilya, for forts, finance, and the army depend upon the people; likewise buildings, trade, agricu1ture, cattle-rearing, bravery, stability, power, and abundance (of things). In countries inhabited by people, there are mountains and islands (as natural forts); in the absence of an expansive country, forts are resorted to. When a country consists purely of cultivators, troubles due to the absence of fortifications (are apparent); while in a country which consists purely of warlike people, troubles that may appear are due to the absence of (an expansive and cultivated) territory.

Pisuna says that of the troubles due to the absence of forts and to want of finance, troubles due to want of finance are more serious; the repair of fortifications and their maintenance depend upon finance; by means of wealth, intrigue to capture an enemy's fort may be carried on; by means of wealth, the people, friends, and enemies can be kept under control; by means of it, outsiders can be encouraged and the establishment of the army and its operations conducted. It is possible to remove the treasure in times of danger, but not the fort.

No, says Kautilya, for it is in the fort that the treasury and the army are safely kept, and it is from the fort that secret war (intrigue), control over one's partisans, the upkeep of the army, the reception of allies and the driving out of enemies and of wild tribes are successfully practised. In the absence of forts, the treasury is to the enemy, for it seems that for those who own forts, there is no destruction.

Kaunapadanta says that of distress due to want of finance or to an inefficient army, that which is due to the want of an efficient army is more serious; for control over one's own friends and enemies, the winning over the army of an enemy, and the business of administration are all dependent upon the army. In the absence of the army, it is certain that the treasury will be lost, whereas lack of finance can be made up by procuring raw products and lands or by seizing an enemy's territory.

The army may go to the enemy, or murder the king himself, and bring about all kinds of troubles. But finance is the chief means of observing virtuous acts and of enjoying desires. Owing to a change in place, time, and policy, either finance or the army may be a superior power; for the army is (sometimes) the means of securing the wealth acquired; but wealth is (always) the means of securing both the treasury and the army. Since all activities are dependent upon finance, financial troubles are more serious.

Vátavyádhi says that of the distress of the army and of an ally, the distress of an ally is more serious--an ally, though he is not fed and is far off, is still serviceable; he drives off not only the rear-enemy and the friends of the rear-enemy, but also the frontal enemy and wild tribes; he also helps his friend with money, army, and lands on occasions of troubles.

No, says Kautilya, the ally of him who has a powerful army keeps the alliance; and even the enemy assumes a friendly attitude; when there is a work that can be equally accomplished either by the army or by an ally, then preference to the army or to the ally should depend on the advantages of securing the appropriate place and time for war and the expected profit. In times of sudden expedition and on occasions of troubles from an enemy, a wild tribe, or local rebels, no friend can be trusted. When calamities happen together, or when an enemy has grown strong, a friend keeps up his friendship as long as money is forthcoming. Thus the determination of the comparative seriousness of the calamities of the various elements of sovereignty.

  • When a part of one of the elements of sovereignty is under troubles, the extent, affection, and strength of the serviceable part can be the means of accomplishing a work.
  • When any two elements of sovereignty are equally under troubles, they should be distinguished in respect of their progressive or declining tendency, provided that the good condition of the rest of the elements needs no description.
  • When the calamities of a single element tend to destroy the rest of the elements, those calamities, whether they be of the fundamental or any other element, are verily serious.

[Thus ends Chapter I, “The Aggregate of the Calamities of the Elements of Sovereignty,” in Book VIII, “Concerning Vices and Calamities” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and seventeenth chapter from the beginning.]


CHAPTER II. CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT THE TROUBLES OF THE KING AND OF HIS KINGDOM.

THE king and his kingdom are the primary elements of the state.

The troubles of the king may be either internal or external. Internal troubles are more serious than external troubles which are like the danger arising from a lurking snake. Troubles due to a minister are more serious than other kinds of internal troubles. Hence, the king should keep under his own control the powers of finance and the army.

Of divided rule and foreign rule, divided rule or rule of a country by two kings, perishes owing to mutual hatred, partiality and rivalry. Foreign rule which comes into existence by seizing the country from its king still alive, thinks that the country is not its own, impoverishes it, and carries off its wealth, or treats it as a commercial article; and when the country ceases to love it, it retires abandoning the country.

Which is better, a blind king, or a king erring against the science?

My teacher says that a blind king, i.e., a king who is not possessed of an eye in sciences, is indiscriminate in doing works, very obstinate, and is led by others; such a king destroys the kingdom by his own maladministration. But an erring king can be easily brought round when and where his mind goes astray from the procedure laid down in sciences.

No, says Kautilya, a blind king can be made by his supporters to adhere to whatever line of policy he ought to. But an erring king who is bent upon doing what is against the science, brings about destruction to himself and his kingdom by maladministration.

Which is better, a diseased or a new king ?

My teacher says that a diseased king loses his kingdom owing to the intrigue of his ministers, or loses his life on account of the kingdom; but a new king pleases the people by such popular deeds as the observance of his own duties and the act of bestowing favours, remissions (of taxes), gifts, and presents upon others.

No, says Kautilya, a diseased king continues to observe his duties as usual. But a new king begins to act as he pleases under the impression that the country, acquired by his own might, belongs to himself; when pressed by combined kings (for plunder), he tolerates their oppression of the country. Or having no firm control over the elements of the state, he is easily removed. There is this difference among diseased kings: a king who is morally diseased, and a king who is suffering from physical disease; there is also this difference among new kings: a high-born king and a base-born king.

Which is better, a weak but high-born king, or a strong but low-born king?

My teacher says that a people, even if interested in having a weak king, hardly allow room for the intrigues of a weak but high-born person to be their king; but that if they desire power, they will easily yield themselves to the intrigues of a strong but base-born person to be their king.

No, says Kautilya, a people will naturally obey a high-born king though he is weak, for the tendency of a prosperous people is to follow a high-born king. Also they render the intrigues of a strong but base-born person, unavailing, as the saying is, that possession of virtues makes for friendship.

The destruction of crops is worse than the destruction of handfuls (of grains), since it is the labour that is destroyed thereby; absence of rain is worse than too much rain.

  • The comparative seriousness or insignificance of any two kinds of troubles affecting the elements of sovereignty, in the order of enumeration of the several kinds of distress, is the cause of adopting offensive or defensive operations.

[Thus ends Chapter II, "Considerations about the Troubles of the King and of his Kingdom,” in Book VIII, “Concerning Vices and Calamities,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and eighteenth chapter from the beginning.]


CHAPTER III. THE AGGREGATE OF THE TROUBLE OF MEN.

IGNORANCE and absence of discipline are the causes of a man's troubles. An untrained man does not perceive the injuries arising from vices. We are going to treat of them (vices):--

Vice's due to anger form a triad; and those due to desire are fourfold. Of these two, anger is worse, for anger proceeds against all. In a majority of cases, kings given to anger are said to have fallen a prey to popular fury. But kings addicted to pleasures have perished in consequence of serious diseases brought about by deterioration and improverishment.

No, says Bháradvája, anger is the characteristic of a righteous man. It is the foundation of bravery; it puts an end to despicable (persons); and it keeps the people under fear. Anger is always a necessary quality for the prevention of sin. But desire (accompanies) the enjoyment of results, reconciliation, generosity, and the act of endearing oneself to all. Possession of desire is always necessary for him who is inclined to enjoy the fruits of what he has accomplished.

No, says Kautilya, anger brings about enmity with, and troubles from, an enemy, and is always associated with pain. Addiction to pleasure (káma) occasions contempt and loss of wealth, and throws the addicted person into the company of thieves, gamblers, hunters, singers, players on musical instruments, and other undesirable persons. Of these, enmity is more serious than contempt, for a despised person is caught hold of by his own people and by his enemies, whereas a hated person is destroyed. Troubles from an enemy are more serious than loss of wealth, for loss of wealth causes financial troubles, whereas troubles from an enemy are injurious to life. Suffering on account of vices is more serious than keeping company with undesirable persons, for the company of undesirable persons can be got rid of in a moment, whereas suffering from vices causes injury for a long time. Hence, anger is a more serious evil.

Which is worse: abuse of language, or of money, or oppressive punishment?

Visáláksha says that of abuse of language and of money, abuse of language is worse; for when harshly spoken to, a brave man retaliates; and bad language, like a nail piercing the heart, excites anger and gives pain to the senses.

No, says Kautilya, gift of money palliates the fury occasioned by abusive language, whereas abuse of money causes the loss of livelihood itself. Abuse of money means gifts, exaction, loss or abandonment of money.

The School of Parásara say that of abuse of money and oppressive punishment, abuse of money is worse; for good deeds and enjoyments depend upon wealth; the world itself is bound by wealth. Hence, its abuse is a more serious evil.

No, says Kautilya, in preference to a large amount of wealth, no man desires the loss of his own life. Owing to oppressive punishment, one is liable to the same punishment at the hands of one's enemies.

Such is the nature of the triad of evils due to anger.

The fourfold vices due to desire are hunting, gambling, women and drinking.

Pisuna says that of hunting and gambling, hunting is a worse vice; for falling into the hand of robbers, enemies and elephants, getting into wild fire, fear, inability to distinguish between the cardinal points, hunger, thirst and loss of life are evils consequent upon hunting, whereas in gambling, the expert gambler wins a victory like Jayatsena and Duryodhana.

No, says Kautilya, of the two parties, one has to suffer from defeat, as is well known from the history of Nala and Yudhishthira; the same wealth that is won like a piece of flesh in gambling, causes enmity. Lack of recognition of wealth properly acquired, acquisition of ill-gotten wealth, loss of wealth without enjoyment, staying away from answering the calls of nature, and contracting diseases from not taking timely meals, are the evils of gambling, whereas in hunting, exercise, the disappearance of phlegm, bile, fat, and sweat, the acquisition of skill in aiming at stationary and moving bodies, the ascertainment of the appearance of beasts when provoked, and occasional march (are its good characteristics).

Kaunapadanta says that of addiction to gambling and to women, gambling is a more serious evil; for gamblers always play, even at night by lamp light, and even when the mother (of one of the players) is dead; the gambler exhibits anger when spoken to in times of trouble; whereas in the case of addiction to women, it is possible to hold conversation about virtue and wealth, at the time of bathing, dressing and eating. Also it is possible to make, by means of secret punishment, a woman to be so good as to secure the welfare of the king, or to get rid of her, or drive her out, under the plea of disease.

No, says Kautilya, it is possible to divert the attention from gambling, but not so from women. (The evils of the latter are) failure to see (what ought to be seen), violation of duty, the evil of postponing works that are to be immediately done, incapacity to deal with politics, and contracting the evil of drinking.

Vátavyádhi says that of addiction to women and to drinking, addiction to women is a more serious evil: there are various kinds of childishness among women, as explained in the chapter on ‘The Harem,’ whereas in drinking, the enjoyment of sound and other objects of the senses, pleasing other people, honouring the followers, and relaxation from the fatigue of work (are the advantages).

No, says Kautilya, in the case of addiction to women, the consequences are the birth of children, self-protection, change of wives in the harem, and absence of such consequences in the case of unworthy outside women. Both the above consequences follow from drinking. The auspicious effects of drinking are loss of money, lunacy in a sensate man, corpselike appearance while living, nakedness, the loss of the knowledge of the Vedas, loss of life, wealth, and friends, disassociation with the good, suffering from pain, and indulgence in playing on musical instruments and in singing at the expense of wealth.

Of gambling and drinking, gambling causes gain or loss of the stakes to one party or other. Even among dumb animals, it splits them into factions and causes provocation. It is specially due to gambling that assemblies and royal confederacies possessing the characteristics of assemblies are split into factions, and are consequently destroyed. The reception of what is condemned is the worst of all evils since it causes incapacity to deal with politics.

  • The reception of what is condemned is (due to) desire; and anger consists in oppressing the good; since both these are productive of many evils, both of them are held to be the worst evils.
  • Hence be who is possessed of discretion should associate with the aged, and, after controlling his passions, abandon both anger and desire which are productive of other evils and destructive of the very basis (of life).

[Thus ends Chapter III, "The Aggregate of the Troubles of Men," in Book VIII. "Concerning Vices and Calamities” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and nineteenth chapter from the beginning.]


CHAPTER IV. THE GROUP OF MOLESTATIONS, THE GROUP OF OBSTRUCTIONS, AND THE GROUP OF FINANCIAL TROUBLES.

PROVIDENTIAL calamities are fire, floods, pestilence, famine, and (the epidemic disease called) maraka.

My teacher says that of fire and floods, destruction due to fire is irremediable; all kinds of troubles, except those due to fire, can be alleviated, and troubles due to floods can be passed over.

No, says Kautilya, fire destroys a village, or part of a village whereas floods carry off hundreds of villages.

My teacher says that of pestilence and famine, pestilence brings all kinds of business to a stop by causing obstruction to work on account of disease and death among men and owing to the flight of servants, whereas famine stops no work, but is productive of gold, cattle and taxes.

No, says Kautilya, pestilence devastates only a part (of the country) and can be remedied, whereas famine causes troubles to the whole (of the country) and occasions dearth of livelihood to all creatures.

This explains the consequences of maraka.

My teacher says that of the loss of chief and vulgar men, the loss of vulgar men causes obstruction to work.

No, says Kautilya, it is possible to recruit vulgar men, since they form the majority of people; for the sake of vulgar men, nobles should not be allowed to perish; one in a thousand may or may not be a noble man; he it is who is possessed of excessive courage and wisdom and is the refuge of vulgar people.

My teacher says that of the troubles arising from one's own or one’s enemy's Circle of States, those due to one's own Circle are doubly injurious and are irremediable, whereas an inimical Circle of States can be fought out or kept away by the intervention of an ally or by making peace.

No, says Kautilya, troubles due to one's own Circle can be got rid of by arresting or destroying the leaders among the subjective people; or they may be injurious to a part of the country, whereas troubles due to an enemy's Circle of States cause oppression by inflicting loss and destruction and by burning, devastation, and plunder.

My teacher says that of the quarrels among the people and among kings, quarrel among the people brings about disunion and thereby enables an enemy to invade the country, whereas quarrel among kings is productive of double pay and wages and of remission of taxes to the people.

No, says Kautilya, it is possible to end the quarrel among the people by arresting the leaders, or by removing the cause of quarrel; and people quarrelling among themselves vie with each other and thereby help the country, whereas quarrel among kings causes trouble and destruction to the people and requires double the energy for its settlement.

My teacher says that of a sportive king and a sportive country, a sportive country is always ruinous to the results of work, whereas a sportive king is beneficial to artisans, carpenters, musicians, buffoons and traders.

No, says Kautilya, a sportive country, taking to sports for relaxation from labour, causes only a trifling loss; and after enjoyment, it resumes work, whereas a sportive king causes oppression by showing indulgence to his courtiers, by seizing and begging, and by obstructing work in the manufactories.

My teacher says that of a favourite wife and a prince, the prince causes oppression by showing indulgence to his followers, by seizing and begging, and by obstructing the work in manufactories whereas the favourite wife is addicted to her amorous sports.

No, says Kautilya, it is possible to prevent through the minister and the priest, the oppression caused by the prince, but not the oppression caused by the favourite wife, since she is usually stubborn and keeps company with wicked persons.

My teacher says that of the troubles due to a corporation of people and to a leader (a chief), the corporation of people people cannot be put down since it consists of a number of men and causes oppression by theft and violence, whereas a leader causes troubles by obstruction to, and destruction of, work.

No, says Kautilya, it is very easy to get rid of (the troubles from) a corporation; since it has to rise or fall with the king; or it can be put down by arresting its leader or a part of the corporation itself, whereas a leader backed up with support causes oppression by injuring the life and property of others.

My teacher says that of the chamberlain and the collector of revenue, the chamberlain causes oppression by spoiling works and by inflicting fines, whereas the collector of revenue makes use of the ascertained revenue in the department over which he presides.

No, says Kautilya, the chamberlain takes to himself what is presented by others to be entered into the treasury whereas the collector makes his own revenue first and then the kings'; or he destroys the kings' revenue and proceeds as he pleases to seize the property of others.

My teacher says that of the superintendent of the boundary and a trader, the superintendent of the boundary destroys traffic by allowing thieves and taking taxes more than he ought to, whereas a trader renders the country prosperous by a favourable barter of commercial articles.

No, says Kautilya, the superintendent of the boundary increases commercial traffic by welcoming the arrival of merchandise, whereas traders unite in causing rise and fall in the value of articles, and live by making profits cent per cent in panas or kumbhas (measures of grain).

Which is more desirable, land occupied by a high-born person or land reserved for grazing a flock of cattle?

My teacher says that the land occupied by a high-born person is very productive; and it supplies men to the army; hence it does not deserve to be confiscated lest the owner might cause troubles, whereas the land occupied for grazing a flock of cattle is cultivable and deserves therefore to be freed, for cultivable land is preferred to pasture land.

No, says Kautilya, though immensely useful, the land occupied by a high-born person deserves to be freed, lest he might cause troubles (otherwise), whereas the land held for grazing a flock of cattle is productive of money and beasts, and does not therefore deserve to be confiscated unless cultivation of crops is impeded thereby.

My teacher says that of robbers and wild tribes, robbers are ever bent on carrying off women at night, make assaults on persons, and take away hundreds and thousands of panas, whereas wild tribes, living under a leader and moving in the neighbouring forests can be seen here and there causing destruction only to a part.

No, says Kautilya, robbers carry off the property of the careless and can be put down as they are easily recognized and caught hold of, whereas wild tribes have their own strongholds, being numerous and brave, ready to fight in broad daylight, and seizing and destroying countries like kings.

Of the forests of beasts and of elephants, beasts are numerous and productive of plenty of flesh and skins; they arrest the growth of the grass and are easily controlled, whereas elephants are of the reverse nature and are seen to be destructive of countries even when they are captured and tamed.

Of benefits derived from one's own or a foreign country, benefits derived from one's own country consists of grains, cattle, gold, and raw products and are useful for the maintenance of the people in calamities, whereas benefits derived from a foreign country are of the reverse nature.

Such is the group of molestations.

Obstruction to movements caused by a chief is internal obstruction; and obstruction to movements caused by an enemy or a wild tribe is external obstruction.

Such is the group of obstructions.

Financial troubles due to the two kinds of obstruction and to the molestations described above are stagnation of financial position, loss of wealth due to the allowance of remission of taxes in favour of leaders, scattered revenue, false account of revenue collected, and revenue left in the custody of a neighbouring king or of a wild tribe.

Thus the group of financial troubles.

  • In the interests of the prosperity of the country, one should attempt to avoid the cause of troubles, remedy them when they happen, and avert obstructions and financial troubles.

[Thus ends Chapter IV, "The Group of Molestations, the Group of Obstructions, and the Group of Financial Troubles" in BookVIII, "Concerning Vices and Calamities," of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and twentieth chapter from the beginning.]


CHAPTER V. THE GROUP OF TROUBLES OF THE ARMY, AND THE GROUP OF TROUBLES OF A FRIEND.

The troubles of the army are--That which is disrespected; that which is mortified; that which is not paid for; that which is diseased; that which has freshly arrived; that which has made a long journey; that which is tired; that which has sustained loss; that which has been repelled; that of which the front portion is destroyed; that which is suffering from inclemency of weather; that which has found itself in an unsuitable ground; that which is displeased from disappointment; that which has run away; that of which the men are fond of their wives; that which contains traitors; that of which the prime portion is provoked; that which has dissensions; that which has come from a foreign state; that which has served in many states; that which is specially trained to a particular kind of manœuvre and encampment; that which is trained to a particular movement in a particular place; that which is obstructed; that which is surrounded; that which has its supply of grains cut off; that which has its men and stores cut off; that which is kept in one's own country; that which is under the protection of an ally; that which contains inimical persons; that which is afraid of an enemy in the rear; that which has lost its communication; that which has lost its commander; that which has lost its leader; and that which is blind (i.e., untrained).

Of the disrespected and the mortified among these, that which is disrespected may be taken to fight after being honoured, but not that which is suffering from its own mortification.

Of unpaid and diseased armies, the unpaid may be taken to fight after making full payment but not the diseased, which is unfit for work.

Of freshly arrived and long-travelled armies, that which has freshly arrived may be taken to fight after it has taken its position without mingling with any other new army, but not that which is tired from its long journey.

Of tired and reduced armies, the army that is tired may be taken to fight after it has refreshed itself from bathing, eating, and sleeping, but not the reduced army, i.e., the army, the leaders of which have been killed.

Of armies which have either been repelled or have their front destroyed, that which has been repelled may be taken to fight together with fresh men attached to it, but not the army which has lost many of its brave men in its frontal attack.

Of armies, either suffering from inclemency of weather or driven to an unsuitable ground, that which is suffering from inclemency of weather may be taken to fight after providing it with weapons and dress appropriate for the season, but not the army on an unfavourable ground obstructing its movements.

Of disappointed and renegade armies, that which is disappointed may be taken to fight after satisfying it but not the army which has (once) run away.

Of soldiers who are either fond of their wives or are under an enemy, those who are fond of their wives may be taken to fight after separating them from their wives; but not those who are under an enemy, and are, therefore, like internal enemies.

Of provoked and disunited armies, that, of which a part is provoked, may be taken to fight after pacifying it by conciliation and other strategic means but not the disunited army, the members of which are estranged from each other.

Of armies which have left service either in one state or in many states, that whose resignation of service in a foreign state is not due to instigation or conspiracy may be taken to fight under the leadership of spies and friends, but not the army which has resigned its service in many states and is, therefore, dangerous.

Of armies which are trained either to a particular kind of manœuvre and encampment or to a particular movement in a particular place, that which is taught a special kind of manœuvre and encampment may be taken to fight, but not the army whose way of making encampments and marches is only suited for a particular place.

Of obstructed and surrounded armies, that which is prevented from its movements in one direction may be taken to fight against the obstructor in another direction, but not the army whose movements are obstructed on all sides.

Of troops whose supply of grain is cut off or whose supply of men and stores is cut off, that which has lost its supply of grain may be taken to fight after providing it with grain brought from another quarter or after supplying to it moveable and immoveable food-stuffs (animal and vegetable food-stuffs) but not the army to which men and provisions cannot be supplied.

Of armies kept in one's own country or under the protection of an ally, that which is kept in one's own country can possibly be disbanded in time of danger, but not the army under the protection of an ally, as it is far removed in place and time.

Of armies either filled with traitors, or frightened by an enemy in the rear, that which is full of traitors may be taken to fight apart under the leadership of a trusted commander, but not the army which is afraid of an attack from the rear.

Of armies without communication or without leaders, that which has lost its communication with the base of operations may be taken to fight after restoring the communication and placing it under the protection of citizens and country people, but not the army which is without a leader such as the king or any other persons.

Of troops which have lost their leader or which are not trained, those that have lost their leader may be taken to fight under the leadership of a different person but not the troops which are not trained.

  • Removal of vices and troubles, recruitment (of new men), keeping away from places of an enemy's ambush, and harmony among the officers of the army, are the means of protecting the army from troubles.
  • He (the king) should ever carefully guard his army from the troubles caused by an enemy, and should ever be ready to strike his enemy's army when the latter is under troubles;
  • Whatever he may come to know as the source of trouble to his people, he should quickly and carefully apply antidotes against that cause.
  • A friend who, by himself, or in combination with others or under the influence of another king, has marched against his own ally, a friend who is abandoned owing to inability to retain his friendship, or owing to greediness or indifference;
  • A friend who is bought by another and who has withdrawn himself from fighting;
  • A friend who, following the policy of making peace with one and marching against another, has contracted friendship with one, who is going to march either singly or in combination with others against an ally;
  • A friend who is not relieved from his troubles owing to fear, contempt, or indifference; a friend who is surrounded in his own place or who has run away owing to fear;
  • A friend who is displeased owing to his having to pay much, or owing to his not having received his due or owing to his dissatisfaction even after the receipt of his due;
  • A friend who has voluntarily paid much or who is made by another to pay much (to his ally); a friend who is kept under pressure, or who, having broken the bond of friendship, sought friendship with another;
  • A friend who is neglected owing to inability to retain his friendship; and a friend who has become an enemy in spite of his ally's entreaties to the contrary;--such friends are hardly acquired; and if acquired at all, they turn away.
  • A friend who has realised the responsibilities of friendship, or who is honourable; or whose disappointment is due to want of information, or who, though excited, is unequal (to the task), or who is made to turn back owing to fear from another;
  • Or who is frightened at the destruction of another friend, or who is apprehensive of danger from the combination of enemies, or who is made by traitors to give up his friendship,--it is possible to acquire such a friend; and if acquired, he keeps up his friendship.
  • Hence one should not give rise to those causes which are destructive of friendship; and when they arise, one should get rid of them by adopting such friendly attitude as can remove those causes.

[Thus ends Chapter V, "The Group of Troubles of the Army, and the Group of Troubles of a Friend," in Book VIII "Concerning Vices and Calamities," of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and twenty-first chapter from the beginning. With this ends the eighth Book "Concerning Vices and Calamities" of the Arthasástra of Kautilya.]