Decoding the Importance of Power, Enthusiasm, Place, and Time in Conquering Enemies

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Summary of Kautilya’s Arthashastra Book 9 Chapter 1

Acquirement Problem Solution
Enthusiasm A king without enthusiasm will perish A king who is enthusiastic himself can lead a small army to victory
Power A king who has no power will lose his kingdom A king who is powerful can overreach another who is merely enthusiastic
Skill for Intrigue A king who has no power loses his kingdom A king who is skilled in intrigue can overreach kings who are more powerful
Country (Space) Some parts of the country are more favorable for the army than others A king should undertake works that are conducive to his power and prosperity in a part of the country where his army finds a convenient place for its maneuver
Time The time of marching should be conducive to the growth of power and prosperity A king should march during a time that is favorable for his army’s maneuver and unfavorable for his enemy
Strength Uneven ground or adverse weather can be difficult to overcome A king who is possessed of strength can overcome these difficulties

Kautilya recommends that a conqueror should know the comparative strength and weakness of himself and his enemy. Once he has ascertained the power, place, time, and other factors, he should march with his full force; otherwise, he should keep quiet. Of the three acquirements – enthusiasm, power, and skill for intrigue – the one who possesses more of the latter than the former will be successful in overreaching others. Additionally, each of strength, place, and time is helpful to the other, and a conqueror who possesses these three things should march during a time that is favorable for his army’s maneuver and unfavorable for his enemy.

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