Book IX, “The Work of an Invader”
THE conqueror should know the comparative strength and weakness of himself and of his enemy; and having ascertained the power, place, time, the time of marching and of recruiting the army, the consequences, the loss of men and money, and profits and danger, he should march with his full force; otherwise, he should keep quiet.
My teacher says that of enthusiasm and power, enthusiasm is better: a king, himself energetic, brave, strong, free from disease, skilful in wielding weapons, is able with his army as a secondary power to subdue a powerful king; his army, though small, will, when led by him, be, capable of turning out any work. But a king who has no enthusiasm in himself, will perish though possessed of a strong army.
No, says Kautilya, he who is possessed of power overreaches, by the sheer force of his power, another who is merely enthusiastic. Having acquired, captured, or bought another enthusiastic king as well as brave soldiers, he can make his enthusiastic army of horses, elephants, chariots, and others to move anywhere without obstruction. Powerful kings, whether women, young men, lame or blind, conquered the earth by winning over or purchasing the aid of enthusiastic persons.
My teacher says that of power (money and army) and skill in intrigue, power is better; for a king, though possessed of skill for
intrigue (mantrasakti) becomes a man of barren mind if he has no power; for the work of intrigue is well defined. He who has no power loses his kingdom as sprouts of seeds in drought vomit their sap.
No, says Kautilya, skill for intrigue is better; he who has the eye of knowledge and is acquainted with the science of polity can with little effort make use of his skill for intrigue and can succeed by means of conciliation and other strategic means and by spies and chemical appliances in over-reaching even those kings who are possessed of enthusiasm and power. Thus of the three acquirements, viz., enthusiasm, power and skill for intrigue, he who posesses more of the quality mentioned later than the one mentioned first in the order of enumeration will be successful in over- reaching others.
Country (space) means the earth; in it the thousand yojanas of the northern portion of the country that stretches between the Himalayas and the ocean form the dominion of no insignificant emperor; in it there are such varieties of land, as forests, villages, waterfalls, level plains, and uneven grounds. In such lands, he should undertake such works as he considers to be conducive to his power and prosperity. That part of the country, in which his army finds a convenient place for its manœuvre and which proves unfavourable to his enemy, is the best; that part of the country which is of the reverse nature, is the worst; and that which partakes of both the characteristics, is a country of middling quality.
Time consists of cold, hot, and rainy periods. The divisions of time are: the night, the day, the fortnight, the month, the season, solstices, the year, and the Yuga (cycle of five years). In these divisions of time he should undertake such works as are conducive to the growth of his power and prosperity. That time which is congenial for the manœuvre of his Army, but which is of the
reverse nature for his enemy is the best; that which is of the reverse nature is the worst; and that which possesses both the characteristics is of middling quality.
My teacher says that of strength, place, and time, strength is the best; for a man who is possessed of strength can overcome the difficulties due either to the unevenness of the ground or to the cold, hot, or rainy periods of time. Some say that place is the best for the reason that a dog, seated in a convenient place, can drag a crocodile and that a crocodile in low ground can drag a dog.
Others say that time is the best for the reason that during the day-time the crow kills the owl, and that at night the owl the crow.
No, says Kautilya, of strength, place, and time, each is helpful to the other; whoever is possessed of these three things should, after having placed one-third or one fourth of his army to protect his base of operations against his rear-enemy and wild tribes in his vicinity and after having taken with him as much army and treasure as is sufficient to accomplish his work, march during the month of Márgásírsha (December) against his enemy whose collection of food-stuffs is old and insipid and who has not only not gathered fresh food-stuffs, but also not repaired his fortifications, in order to destroy the enemy’s rainy crops and autumnal handfuls (mushti). He should march during the month of Chaitra (March), if he means to destroy the enemy’s autumnal crops and vernal handfuls. He should march during the month of Jyestha (May-June) against one whose storage of fodder, firewood and water has diminished and who has not repaired his fortifications, if he means to destroy the enemy’s vernal crops and handfuls of the rainy season. Or he may march during the dewy season against a country which is of hot climate and in which fodder and water are obtained in little quantities. Or he may march during the summer against a country in which the sun is enshrouded by mist and which is full of deep
valleys and thickets of trees and grass, or he may march during the rains against a country which is suitable for the manœuvre of his own army and which is of the reverse nature for his enemy’s army. He has to undertake a long march between the months of Márgasírsha (December) and Taisha (January), a march of mean length between March and April, and a short march between May and June; and one, afflicted with troubles, should keep quiet.
Marching against an enemy under troubles has been explained in connection with “March after declaring war.”
My teacher says that one should almost invariably march against an enemy in troubles.
But Kautilya says: that when one’s resources are sufficient one should march, since the troubles of an enemy cannot be properly recognised; or whenever one finds it possible to reduce or destroy an enemy by marching against him, then one may undertake a march.
When the weather is free from heat, one should march with an army mostly composed of elephants. Elephants with profuse sweat in hot weather are attacked by leprosy; and when they have no water for bathing and drinking, they lose their quickness and become obstinate. Hence, against a country containing plenty of water and during the rainy season, one should march with an army mostly composed of elephants. Against a country of the reverse description, i.e., which as little rain and muddy water, one should march with an army mostly composed of asses, camels, and horses.
Against a desert, one should march during the rainy season with all the four constituents of the army (elephants, horses, chariots, and men). One should prepare a programme of short and long distances to be marched in accordance with the nature of the ground to be traversed, viz., even ground, uneven ground, valleys
When the work to be accomplished is small, march against all kinds of enemies should be of short duration; and when it is great, it should also be of long duration; during the rains, encampment should be made abroad.
[Thus ends Chapter I, “The Knowledge of Power, Place, Time, Strength and Weakness, the Time of Invasion,” in Book IX, “The Work of an Invader,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and twenty-second chapter from the beginning.]
THE time of recruiting troops, such as hereditary troops (maula), hired troops, corporation of soldiers (srení), troops belonging to a friend or to an enemy, and wild tribes.
When he (a king) thinks that his hereditary army is more than he requires for the defence of his own possessions or when he thinks that as his hereditary army consists of more men than he requires, some of them may be disaffected; or when he thinks that his enemy has a strong hereditary army famous for its attachment, and is, therefore, to be fought out with much skill on his part; or when he thinks that though the roads are good and the weather favourable, it is still the hereditary army that can endure wear and tear; or when he thinks that though they are famous for their attachment, hired soldiers and other kinds of troops cannot be relied upon lest they might lend their ears to the intrigues of the
enemy to be invaded; or when he thinks that other kinds of force
are wanting in strength, then is the time for taking the hereditary army.
When he thinks that the army he has hired is greater than his hereditary army; that his enemy’s hereditary army is small and disaffected, while the army his enemy has hired is insignificant and weak; that actual fight is less than treacherous fight; that the place to be traversed and the time required do not entail much loss; that his own army is little given to stupor, is beyond the fear of intrigue, and is reliable; or that little is the enemy’s power which he has to put down, then is the time for leading the hired army.
When he thinks that the immense corporation of soldiers he possesses can be trusted both to defend his country and to march against his enemy; that he has to be absent only for a short time; or that his enemy’s army consists mostly of soldiers of corporations, and consequently the enemy is desirous of carrying on treacherous fight rather than an actual war, then is the time for the enlistment of corporations of soldiers (srení).
When he thinks that the strong help he has in his friend can be made use of both in his own country and in his marches; that he has to be absent only for a short time, and actual fight is more than treacherous fight; that having made his friend’s army to occupy wild tracts, cities, or plains and to fight with the enemy’s ally, he, himself, would lead his own army to fight with the enemy’s army; that his work can be accomplished by his friend as well; that his success depends on his friend; that he has a friend near and deserving of obligation; or that he has to utilize the excessive force of his friend, then is the time for the enlistment of a friend’s army.
When he thinks that he will have to make his strong enemy to fight against another enemy on account of a city, a plain, or a wild
tract of land, and that in that fight he will achieve one or the other
of his objects, just like an outcast person in the fight between a dog and a pig; that through the battle, he will have the mischievous power of his enemy’s allies or of wild tribes destroyed; that he will have to make his immediate and powerful enemy to march elsewhere and thus get rid of internal rebellion which his enemy might have occasioned; and that the time of battle between enemies or between inferior kings has arrived, then is the time for the exercise of an enemy’s forces.
This explains the time for the engagement of wild tribes.
When he thinks that the army of wild tribes is living by the same road (that his enemy has to traverse); that the road is unfavourable for the march of his enemy’s army; that his enemy’s army consists mostly of wild tribes; that just as a wood-apple (bilva) is broken by means of another wood-apple, the small army of his enemy is to be destroyed, then is the time for engaging the army of wild tribes.
That army which is vast and is composed of various kinds of men and is so enthusiastic as to rise even without provision and wages for plunder when told or untold; that which is capable of applying its own remedies against unfavourable rains; that which can be disbanded and which is invincible for enemies; and that, of which all the men are of the same country, same caste, and same training, is (to be considered as) a compact body of vast power.
Such are the periods of time for recruiting the army.
Of these armies, one has to pay the army of wild tribes either with raw produce or with allowance for plunder.
When the time for the march of one’s enemy’s army has approached, one has to obstruct the enemy or send him far away, or
make his movements fruitless, or, by false promise, cause him to
delay the march, and then deceive him after the time for his march has passed away. One should ever be vigilant to increase one’s own resources and frustrate the attempts of one’s enemy to gain in strength.
Of these armies, that which is mentioned first is better than the one subsequently mentioned in the order of enumeration.
Hereditary army is better than hired army inasmuch as the former has its existence dependent on that of its master, and is constantly drilled.
That kind of hired army which is ever near, ready to rise quickly, and obedient, is better than a corporation of soldiers.
That corporation of soldiers which is native, which has the same end in view (as the king), and which is actuated with similar feelings of rivalry, anger, and expectation of success and gain, is better than the army of a friend. Even that corporation of soldiers which is further removed in place and time is, in virtue of its having the same end in view, better than the army of a friend.
The army of an enemy under the leadership of an Arya is better than the army of wild tribes. Both of them (the army of an enemy and of wild tribes) are anxious for plunder. In the absence of plunder and under troubles, they prove as dangerous as a lurking snake.
My teacher says that of the armies composed of Bráhmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, or Súdras, that which is mentioned first is, on account of bravery, better to be enlisted than the one subsequently mentioned in the order of enumeration.
No, says Kautilya, the enemy may win over to himself the
army of Bráhmans by means of prostration. Hence, the army of Kshatriyas trained in the art of wielding weapons is better; or the army of Vaisyas or Súdras having great numerical strength (is better).
Hence one should recruit one‟s army, reflecting that “such is the army of my enemy; and this is my army to oppose it.”
The army which possesses elephants, machines, sakatagarbha (?), Kunta (a wooden rod), prása (a weapon, 24 inches long, with two handles), Kharvataka (?), bamboo sticks, and iron sticks is the army to oppose an army of elephants.
The same possessed of stones, clubs, armour, hooks, and spears in plenty is the army to oppose an army of chariots.
The same is the army to oppose cavalry. Men, clad in armour, can oppose elephants. Horses can oppose men, clad in armour.
Men , clad in armour, chariots, men possessing defensive weapons, and infantry can oppose an army consisting of all the four constituents (elephants, chariots, cavalry and infantry).
* Thusconsidering the strength of the constituents of one‟s own quadripartite army, one should recruit men to it so as to oppose an enemy‟s army successfully.
[Thus ends Chapter II, “The Time of Recruiting the Army, the Form of Equipment, and the Work of Arraying a Rival Force,” in Book IX, “The Work of an Invader,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and twenty-third chapter from the
OF the two things, slight annoyance in the rear, and considerable profit in the front, slight annoyance in the rear is more serious; for traitors, enemies, and wild tribes augment on all sides the slight annoyance which one may have in the rear. The members of one’s own state may be provoked about the acquisition of considerable profit in the front.
When one under the protection of another has come to such a condition (i.e., slight annoyance in the rear and considerable profit in the front), then one should endeavour so as to cause to the rear enemy the loss and impoverishment of his servants and friends; and in order to fetch the profit in the front, one should also employ the commander of the army or the heir-apparent to lead the army.
Or the king himself may go in person to receive the profit in the front, if he is able to ward off the annoyance in the rear. If he is apprehensive of internal troubles, he may take with him the suspected leaders. If he is apprehensive of external troubles, he should march after keeping inside his capital as hostages the sons and wives of suspected enemies and after having split into a number of divisions the troops of the officer in charge of waste lands (súnyapála) and having placed those divisions under the command of several chiefs, or he may abandon his march, for it has been already stated that internal troubles are more serious than external troubles.
The provocation of any one of the minister, the priest, the
commander-in-chief, and the heir-apparent is what is termed internal trouble. The king should get rid of such an internal enemy either by giving up his own fault or by pointing out the danger arising from an external enemy. When the priest is guilty of the gravest treason, relief should be found either by confining him or by banishing him; when the heir-apparent is so, confinement or death (nigraha), provided that there is another son of good character. From these, the case of the minister and the commander-in-chief is explained.
When a son, or a brother, or any other person of the royal family attempts to seize the kingdom, he should be won over by holding out hopes; when this is not possible, he should be conciliated by allowing him to enjoy what he has already seized, or by making an agreement with him, or by means of intrigue through an enemy, or by securing to him land from an enemy, or any other person of inimical character. Or he may be sent out on a mission with an inimical force to receive the only punishment he deserves; or a conspiracy may be made with a frontier king or wild tribes whose displeasure he has incurred; or the same policy that is employed in securing an imprisoned prince or in seizing an enemy’s villages may be resorted to.
The provocation of ministers other than the prime minister is what is called the internal ministerial troubles. Even in this case, necessary strategic means should be employed.
The provocation of the chief of a district (ráshramukhya), the officer in charge of the boundary, the chief of wild tribes, and a conquered king is what is termed external trouble. This should be overcome by setting one against the other. Whoever among these has strongly fortified himself should be caught hold of through the agency of a frontier king, or the chief of wild tribes, or a scion of
his family, or an imprisoned prince; or he may be captured through
the agency of a friend, so that he may not combine with an enemy; or a spy may prevent him from combining with an enemy by saying: “This enemy makes a cat’s-paw of you and causes you to fall upon your own lord; When his aim is realised, he makes you to lead an army against enemies or wild tribes, or to sojourn in a troublesome place; or he causes you to reside at a frontier station far from the company of your sons and wife. When you have lost all your strength, he sells you to your own lord; or having made peace with you, he will please your own lord. Hence it is advisable for you to go to the best friend of your lord.” When he agrees to the proposal, he is to be honoured; but when he refuses to listen, he is to be told: “I am specially sent to separate you from the enemy.” The spy should however appoint some persons to murder him; or he may be killed by some concealed persons; or some persons pretending to be brave soldiers may be made to accompany him and may be told by a spy (to murder him). Thus the end of troubles. One should cause such troubles to one’s enemy and ward off those of one’s own.
In the case of a person who is capable of causing or alleviating troubles, intrigue should be made use of; and in the case of a person who is of reliable character, able to undertake works, and to favour his ally in his success, and to afford protection against calamities, counter-intrigue (pratijápa) should be made use of (to keep his friendship secure). It should also be considered whether the person is of good disposition or of obstinate temper (satha).
The intrigue carried on by a foreigner of obstinate temper with local persons is of the following form:–“If after killing his own master, he comes to me, then I will secure these two objects, the destruction of my enemy and the acquisition of the enemy’s lands; or else my enemy kills him, with the consequence that the
partisans of the relations killed, and other persons who are equally
guilty and are therefore apprehensive of similar punishment to themselves will perturb my enemy’s peace when my enemy has no friends to count; or when my enemy falls to suspect any other person who is equally guilty, I shall be able to cause the death of this or that officer under my enemy’s own command.”
The intrigue carried on by a local person of obstinate temper with a foreigner is of the following form:–“I shall either plunder the treasury of this king or destroy his army; I shall murder my master by employing this man; if my master consents, I shall cause him to march against an external enemy or a wild tribe; let his Circle of States be brought to confusion, let him incur enmity with them; then it is easy to keep him under my power, and conciliate him; or I myself shall seize the kingdom; or, having bound him in chains, I shall obtain both my master’s land and outside land; or having caused the enemy (of my master) to march out, I shall cause the enemy to be murdered in good faith; or I shall seize the enemy’s capital when it is empty (of soldiers).
When a person of good disposition makes a conspiracy for the purpose of acquiring what is to be enjoyed by both then an agreement should be made with him. But when a person of obstinate temper so conspires, he should be allowed to have his own way and then deceived. Thus the form of policy to be adopted should be considered.
* Enemies from enemies, subjects from subjects, subjects from enemies, and enemies from subjects should ever be guarded; and both from his subjects and enemies, a learned man should ever guard his own person.
[Thus ends Chapter III, “Consideration of Annoyance in the Rear, and Remedies Against Internal and External Troubles,” in Book
IX, “The Work of an Invader,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End
of the hundred and twenty-fourth chapter from the beginning.]
Loss of trained men is what is called kshaya, loss of men. Diminution of gold and grains is loss of wealth.
When the expected profit overweighs both these; then one should march (against an enemy).
The characteristics of an expected profit are: that which is receivable, that which is to be returned, that which pleases all, that which excites hatred, that which is realised in a short time, that which entails little loss of men to earn, that which entails little loss of wealth to earn, that which is vast, that which is productive, that which is harmless, that which is just, and that which comes first.
When a profit is easily acquired and secured without the necessity of returning it to others, it is termed „receivable‟; that which is of the reverse nature is „repayable‟; whoever goes to receive a repayable profit or is enjoying it gets destruction.
When he, however, thinks that “by taking a repayable profit I shall cause my enemy‟s treasury, army, and other defensive resources to dwindle; I shall exploit to impoverishment the mines, timber and elephant forests, irrigational works and roads of traffic of my enemy; I shall impoverish his subjects, or cause them to migrate, or conspire against him; when they are reduced to this condition, my enemy inflames their hatred (by punishing them); or I shall set my enemy against another enemy; my enemy will give up his hopes and run away to one who has some blood-relationship
with him; or having improved his lands, I shall return them to him,
and when he is thus brought to ascendancy, he will be a lasting friend of mine,”–then he may take even a repayable profit. Thus receivable and repayable profits are explained.
That profit which a virtuous king receives from a wicked king pleases both his own and other people; that which is of the reverse nature excites hatred; that profit which is received at the advice of ministers excites hatred, for they think: „This king has reduced our party and impoverished us.” That profit which is received without caring for the opinion of treacherous ministers excites hatred, for they think: “Having made the profit, this king destroys us.” But that which is of the reverse nature pleases. Thus pleasing and provoking profits are explained.
That which is acquired by mere marching is what is acquired soon.
That which is to be realised by negotiation (mantrasáddhya) entails little loss of men.
That which requires merely the expenditure of provisions (for servants employed to earn it) entails little loss of wealth.
That which is immediately of considerable value is vast. That which is the source of wealth is productive.
That which is attained with no troubles is harmless. That which is acquired best is just.
That which is acquired without any hindrance from allies is profit coming first.
When profits (from two sources) are equal, he should
consider the place and time, the strength and means (required to acquire it), affection and disaffection (caused by it), intrigue and absence of intrigue (involving it), its nearness and distance, its present and future effects, its constant worth or worthlessness, and its plentifulness and usefulness; and he should accept only that profit which is possessed of most of the above good characteristics.
Obstructions to profit are: passion, anger, timidity, mercy, bashfulness, living like one who is not an Arya, haughtiness, pity, desire for the other world, strict adherence to virtuous life, deception, neediness, envy, negligence of what is at hand, generosity, want of faith, fear, inability to endure cold, heat, and rain, and faith in the auspiciousness of lunar days and stars.
*Wealth will pass away from that childish man who inquires most after the stars; for wealth is the star for wealth; what will the stars do?
*Capable men will certainly secure wealth at least after a hundred trials; and wealth is bound by wealth just as elephants are bound by counter-elephants.
[Thus ends Chapter IV, “Consideration about Loss of Men, Wealth and Profit,‟ in Book IX, “The Work of an Invader,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and twenty-fifth chapter from the beginning.]
THE formation of a treaty and other settlements otherwise
than they ought to have been made is impolicy. From it arise dangers.
The various kinds of dangers are: that which is of external origin and of internal abetment; that which is of internal origin and of external abetment; that which is of external origin and of external abetment; and that which is of internal origin and of internal abetment.
Where foreigners carry on an intrigue with local men or local men with foreigners, there the consequence of the intrigue carried on by the combination of local and foreign persons will be very serious. Abettors of an intrigue have a better chance of success than its originators; for when the originators of an intrigue are put down, others will hardly succeed in undertaking any other intrigue. Foreigners can hardly win over local persons by intrigue; nor can local men seduce foreigners. Foreigners will find their vast efforts after all unavailing, and only conducive, to the prosperity of the king (against whom they want to conspire).
When local persons are abetting (with foreigners), the means to be employed to suppress them are conciliation (sáma) and gifts (dána).
The act of pleasing a man with a high rank and honour is conciliation; favour and remission of taxes or employment to conduct state-works is what is termed gifts.
When foreigners are abetting, the king should employ the policy of dissension and coercion. Spies under the guise of friends may inform foreigners: “Mind, this man is desirous of deceiving you with the help of his own spies who are disguised as traitors.” Spies under the garb of traitors may mix with traitors and separate them from foreigners, or foreigners from local traitors. Fiery spies may make friendship with traitors and kill them with weapons or
poison; or having invited the plotting foreigners, they may murder the latter.
Where foreigners carry on an intrigue with foreigners, or local men with local men, there the consequences of the intrigue, unanimously carried on with a set purpose, will be very serious. When guilt is got rid of, there will be no guilty persons; but when a guilty person is got rid of, the guilt will contaminate others. Hence, when foreigners carry on an intrigue, the king should employ the policy of dissension and coercion. Spies under the guise of friends may inform foreign conspirators: “Mind, this your king, with the desire of enriching himself, is naturally provoked against you all.” Then fiery spies may mix with the servants and soldiers of the abettor (of foreign conspirators) and kill them with weapons, poison, and other means. Other spies may then expose or betray the abettor.
When local men carry on an intrigue with local men, the king should employ necessary strategic means to put it down. He may employ the policy of conciliation with regard to those who keep the appearance of contentment, or who are naturally discontented or otherwise. Gifts may be given under the pretext of having been satisfied with a favoured man’s steadfastness in maintaining the purity of his character, or under the plea of anxious care about his weal or woe. A spy under the garb of a friend may tell the local persons: „Your king is attempting to find your heart; you should tell him the truth.” Or local men may be separated from each other, by telling them: “This man carries such a tale to the king against you.” And coercive measures may be employed as described in the Chapter on “Awards of Punishments.”
Of these four kinds of danger, internal danger should first be got rid of; for it has been already stated that internal troubles like the fear from a lurking snake are more serious than external troubles.
* One must consider that of these four kinds of danger, that
which is mentioned first is less grave than the one subsequently mentioned, whether or not it is caused by powerful persons; otherwise (i.e., when the danger is caused by insignificant persons), simple means may be used to get rid of it.
[Thus ends Chapter V, “External and Internal Dangers” in Book IX, “The Work of an Invader,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and twenty-sixth chapter from the beginning.]
THERE are two kinds of innocent persons, those who have disassociated themselves from traitors and those who have kept themselves away from enemies.
In order to separate citizens and country-people from traitors, the king should employ all the strategic means, except coercion. It is very difficult to inflict punishment on an assembly of influential men; and if inflicted at all, it may not produce the desired effect, but may give rise to undesirable consequences. He may, however, take steps against the leaders of the seditious as shown in the chapter on “Awards of Punishments.”
In order to separate his people from an enemy, he should employ conciliation and other strategic means to frustrate the attempt of those who are the enemy’s principal agents or by whom the enemy’s work is to be carried out.
Success in securing the services of capable agents depends
upon the king; success of efforts depends upon ministers; and
success to be achieved through capable agents is, therefore, dependent both upon the king and his ministers.
When, in spite of the combination of traitors and loyal persons, success is achieved, it is mixed success; when people are thus mixed, success is to be achieved through the agency of loyal persons; for in the absence of a support, nothing that requires a support for its existence can exist. When success is involved in the union of friends and enemies it is termed a success contaminated by an enemy; when success is contaminated by an enemy, it is to be achieved through the agency of a friend; for it is easy to attain success through a friend, but not through an enemy.
When a friend does not come to terms, intrigue should be frequently resorted to. Through the agency of spies, the friend should be won over after separating him from the enemy. Or attempts may be made to win him over who is the last among combined friends; for when he who is the last among combined friends is secured, those who occupy the middle rank will be separated from each other; or attempts may be made to win over a friend who occupies middle rank; for when a friend occupying middle rank among combined kings is secured, friends, occupying the extreme ranks cannot keep the union. (In brief) all those measures which tend to break their combination should be employed.
A virtuous king may be conciliated by praising his birth, family, learning and character, and by pointing out the relationship which his ancestors had (with the proposer of peace), or by describing the benefits and absence of enmity shown to him.
Or a king who is of good intentions, or who has lost his enthusiastic spirits, or whose strategic means are all exhausted and
thwarted in a number of wars, or who has lost his men and wealth,
or who has suffered from sojourning abroad, or who is desirous of gaining a friend in good faith, or who is apprehensive of danger from another, or who cares more for friendship than anything else, may be won over by conciliation.
Or a king who is greedy or who has lost his men may be won over by giving gifts through the medium of ascetics and chiefs who have been previously kept with him for the purpose.
Gifts are of five kinds: abandonment of what is to be paid; continuance of what is being given; repayment of what is received; payment of one’s own wealth; and help for a voluntary raid on the property of others.
When any two kings are apprehensive of enmity and seizure of land from each other, seeds of dissension may be sown between them. The timid of the two may be threatened with destruction and may be told: “Having made peace with you, this king works against you; the friend of this other king is permitted to make an open peace.”
When from one’s own country or from another’s country merchandise or commodities for manufacture in a manufactory are going to an enemy’s country, spies may spread the information that those commodities are obtained from one whom the enemy wanted to march against. When commodities are thus gathered in abundance (the owner of the articles) may send a message to the enemy: “These commodities and merchandise are sent by me to you; please declare war against the combined kings or desert them; you will then get the rest of the tribute.” Then spies may inform the other kings of the combination; “These articles are given to him by your enemy.”
The conqueror may gather some merchandise peculiar to his
enemy’s country and unknown elsewhere. Spies, under the garb of merchants, may sell that merchandise to other important enemies and tell them that that merchandise was given (to the conqueror) by the enemy (whose country’s product it is).
Or having pleased with wealth and honour those who are highly treacherous (among an enemy’s people), the conqueror may cause them to live with the enemy, armed with weapons, poison and fire. One of the ministers of the enemy may be killed. His sons and wife may be induced to say that the minister was killed at night (by such and such a person). Then the enemy’s minister may ask every one of the family of the murdered minister (as to the cause of the death). If they say in reply as they are told, they may be caused to be set free; if they do not do so, they may be caused to be caught hold of. Whoever has gained the confidence of the king may tell the king (the enemy) that he (the enemy) has to guard his own person from such and such a minister. Then the recipient of salaries from the two states (the conqueror’s and the enemy’s state) may inform the suspected minister to destroy (the king).
Or such kings as are possessed of enthusiasm and power may be told: “Seize the country of this king, our treaty of peace standing as before.” Then spies should inform the particular king of the attempt of these kings and cause the destruction of the commissariat and of the followers of one of these kings. Other spies, pretending to be friends, should inform these kings of the necessity of destroying the particular king.
When an enemy’s brave soldier, elephant, or horse dies, or is killed, or carried off by spies, other spies may tell the enemy that the death is due to mutual conflict among his followers. The man who is employed to commit such murders may be asked to repeat his work again on the condition of his receiving the balance due to
him. He should receive the amount from the recipient of salaries
from two states; when the king’s party is thus divided, some may be won over (to the side of the conqueror).
This explains the case of the commander-in-chief, the prince, and the officers of the army (of the enemy).
Likewise seeds of dissension may be sown among combined states. Thus the work of sowing the seeds of dissension.
Spies under concealment may, without the help of a fiery spy, murder by means of weapons, poison or other things a fortified enemy who is of mean character or who is under troubles; any one of hidden spies may do the work when it is found easy; or a fiery spy alone may do the work by means of weapons, poison or fire; for a fiery spy can do what others require all the necessary aids to do.
Thus the four forms of strategic means.
Of these means, that which comes first in the order of enumeration is, as stated in connection with “invaders,” easier than the rest. Conciliation is of single quality; gift is two-fold, since conciliation precedes it; dissension is threefold, since conciliation and gift precede it; and conciliatory coercion is fourfold, since conciliation, gift, and dissension precede it.
The same means are employed in the case of local enemies, too; the difference is this: the chief messengers known to the manufactories may be sent to any one of the local enemies in order to employ him for the purpose of making a treaty or for the purpose of destroying another person. When he agrees to the proposal, the messengers should inform (their master) of their success. Then recipients of salaries from two states should inform the people or
enemies concerned in the local enemy’s work: “This person (the
local enemy) is your wicked king.” When a person has reason to fear or hate another, spies may augment dissension between them by telling one of them: “This man is making an agreement with your enemy, and will soon deceive you; hence make peace (with the king) soon and attempt to put down this man.” Or by bringing about friendship or marriage connection between persons who have not been hitherto connected, spies may separate them from others; or through the aid of a neighbouring king, a wild chief, a scion of an enemy‟s family, or an imprisoned prince, local enemies may be destroyed outside the kingdom; or through the agency of a caravan or wild tribes, a local enemy may be killed along with his army; or persons, pretending to be the supporters of a local enemy and who are of the same caste, may under favourable opportunities kill him; or spies under concealment may kill local enemies with fire, poison, and weapons.
* Whenthe country is full of local enemies, they may be got rid of by making them drink poisonous (liquids); an obstinate (clever) enemy may be destroyed by spies or by means of (poisoned) flesh given to him in good faith.
[Thus ends Chapter VI, “Persons Associated with Traitors and Enemies,” in Book IX, “The Work of an Invader,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and twenty-seventh chapter from the beginning,]
INTENSITY of desire and other passions provoke one’s own
people; impolicy provokes external enemies. Both these are the characteristics of demoniac life. Anger disturbs the feelings of one’s own men. Those causes which are conducive to the prosperity of one’s enemy are dangerous wealth, provocative wealth, and wealth of doubtful consequences.
Wealth which, when obtained, increases the enemy’s prosperity, or which, though obtained, is repayable to the enemy, or which causes loss of men and money, is dangerous wealth; for example, wealth which is enjoyed in common by neighbouring kings and which is acquired at their expense; or wealth which is asked for by an enemy; or wealth which is seized like one’s own property; or wealth which is acquired in the front and which causes future troubles or provokes an enemy in the rear; or wealth which is obtained by destroying a friend or by breaking a treaty and which is therefore detested by the Circle of States–all these are the varieties of dangerous wealth.
Wealth which causes fear from one’s own people or from an enemy is provocative wealth.
When, in connection with these two kinds of wealth, there arise doubts, such as: “Is it provocative wealth or not? Harmless wealth or provocative wealth? First provocative and then harmless? Is it profitable to encourage an enemy or a friend? Would the bestowal of wealth and honour on an enemy’s army excite hatred or not?”–of these doubts, doubt regarding the acquirement of wealth is preferable to (doubts regarding harm or provocation).
Wealth productive of wealth; wealth productive of nothing; wealth productive of harm; loss or harm productive of wealth; sustenance of harm for no profit; harm productive of harm–these are the six varieties of harmful wealth.
Destruction of an enemy in the front resulting in the
destruction of an enemy in the rear is what is termed “wealth productive of wealth.”
Wealth acquired by helping a neutral king with the army is what is called “wealth productive of nothing.”
The reduction of the internal strength of an enemy is “wealth productive of harm.”
Helping the neighbouring king of an enemy with men and money is “harm productive of wealth.”
Withdrawal after encouraging or setting a king of poor resources (against another) is “harm productive of nothing.”
Inactivity after causing excitement to a superior king is “harm productive of harm.”
Of these, it is better to pursue that which is mentioned first in the order of enumeration than that which is subsequently mentioned. Thus the procedure of setting to work.
When the surrounding circumstances are conducive to wealth, it is known as wealth from all sides.
When the acquirement of wealth from all sides is obstructed by an enemy in the rear, it takes the form of dangerous wealth involved in doubts.
In these two cases, success can be achieved by securing the help of a friend and the enemy of the rear-enemy.
When there is reason to apprehend fear from enemies on all
sides, it is a dangerous trouble; when a friend comes forward to
avert this fear, that trouble becomes involved in doubt. In these two cases, success can be achieved by securing the support of a nomadic enemy and the enemy of the rear-enemy.
When the prospect of acquiring profit from one or the other side is irremediably obstructed by enemies, it is called “dangerous wealth.” In this case as well as in the case of profit from all sides, one should undertake to march for acquiring profitable wealth. When the prospects of getting wealth (from two sides) are equal, one should march to secure that which is important, near, unfailing, and obtainable by easy means.
When there is the apprehension of harm from one quarter as well as from another, it is wealth beset with danger from two sides. In this case as well as in the case of wealth involved in danger from all sides, success is to be desired with the help of friends. In the absence of friends, he should attempt to ward off harm from one side with the help of an ally who can be easily won over; he should ward off harm from two sides with help of an ally of superior power; and he should ward off harm from all sides with all the resources he can command. When it is impossible to do this, he should run away, leaving all that belongs to him; for if he lives, his return to power is certain as in the case of Suyátra and Udayana.
When there is the prospect of wealth from one side and the apprehension of an attack from another, it is termed a situation beset with wealth and harm. In this case, he should march to acquire that wealth which will enable him to ward off the attack; otherwise he should attempt to avert the attack. This explains the situation which is beset with wealth and harm on all sides.
When there is the apprehension of harm from one side and when the prospect of acquiring wealth from another side is involved in doubt, it is termed doubt of harm and wealth from two
sides. In this, he should ward off the harm first; when this is done,
he should attempt to acquire the doubtful wealth. This explains the doubtful situation of harm and wealth from all sides.
When there is the prospect of wealth from one side and the apprehension of doubtful harm from another, it is a doubtful situation of harm and wealth from two sides. This explains the situation of doubtful harm and wealth from all sides. In this, he should attempt to ward off the doubts of harm against each of the elements of his sovereignty in order; for it is better to leave a friend under circumstances of doubtful harm, than the army; also the army may be left under circumstances of doubtful harm, but not the treasury. When all the elements of his sovereignty cannot be relieved from harm, he should attempt to relieve some of them at least. Among the elements, he should attempt to relieve first those animate elements which are most loyal, and free from firebrands and greedy men; of inanimate elements (he should relieve) that which is most precious and useful. Such elements as are capable of easy relief may be relieved by such means as an agreement of peace, observance of neutrality, and making peace with one and waging war with another. Those which require greater efforts may be relieved by other means.
Of deterioration, stagnation and progress, he should attempt to secure that which is mentioned later in the order of enumeration; or in the reverse order, if he finds that deterioration and other stages are conducive to future prosperity. Thus the determination of situations. This explains the situation of doubtful harm and wealth in the middle or at the close of a march.
Since doubts of wealth and harm are constantly associated with all expeditions, it is better to secure wealth by which it is easy to destroy an enemy in the rear and his allies, to recoup the loss of men and money, to make provisions during the time of sojourning
abroad, to make good what is repayable, and to defend the state.
Also harm or doubtful prospects of wealth in one’s own state are always intolerable.
This explains the situation of doubtful harm in the middle of an expedition. But at the close of an expedition, it is better to acquire wealth either by reducing or destroying a reducible or assailable enemy than to get into a situation of doubtful harm, lest enemies might cause troubles. But, for one who is not the leader of combination of states, it is better to risk the situation of doubtful wealth or harm in the middle or at the close of an expedition, since one is not obliged to continue the expedition.
Wealth, virtue, and enjoyment form the aggregate of the three kinds of wealth. Of these, it is better to secure that which is mentioned first than that which is subsequently mentioned in the order of enumeration.
Harm, sin and grief form the aggregate, of the three kinds of harm. Of these, it is better to provide against that which is mentioned first, than that which is subsequently mentioned.
Wealth or harm, virtue or sin, and enjoyment or grief, are the aggregate of the three kinds of doubts. Of these, it is better to try that which is mentioned first than that which is mentioned later in the order of enumeration, and which it is certain to shake off. Thus the determination of opportunities. Thus ends the discourse on danger.
Regarding success in these dangerous situations and times: in the case of troubles from sons, brothers or relatives, it is better to secure relief by means of conciliation and gifts; in the case of troubles from citizens, country people, or chiefs of the army, it is by means of gifts and sowing the seeds of dissension; in the case of
troubles from a neighbouring king or wild tribes, it is by means of
sowing the seeds of dissension and coercion. This is following the order of the means. In other kinds of situations, the same means may be employed in the reverse order.
Success against friends and enemies is always achieved by complicated means; for strategic means help each other. In the case of suspected ministers of an enemy, the employment of conciliation does not need the use of the other means; in the case of treacherous ministers it is by means of gifts; in the case of combination of states, it is by means of sowing the seeds of dissension; and in the case of the powerful, it is by means of coercion.
When grave and light dangers are together apprehended, a particular means, or alternative means or all the means may be employed.
By this alone, but not by any other means, is what is meant by a particular means.
By this or that, is what is meant by alternative means.
By this as well as by that, is what is meant by all the means.
Of these, the single means as well as the combination of any three means are four; the combinations of any two means are six; and the combination of all the four is one. Thus there are fifteen kinds of strategic means. Of the same number are the means in the reverse order.
When a king attains success by only one means among these various means, he is called one of single success; when by two, one of double success; when by three, one of treble success; and when by four, one of four-fold success.
As virtue is the basis of wealth and as enjoyment is the end of
wealth, success in achieving that kind of wealth which promotes virtue, wealth and enjoyment is termed success in all (sarvárthasiddhi). Thus varieties of success.
Such providential visitations as fire, floods, disease, pestilence (pramara), fever (vidrava), famine, and demoniac troubles are dangerous.
Success in averting these is to be sought by worshipping gods and Bráhmans.
* Whether demoniacal troubles are absent, or are too many, or normal, the rites prescribed in the Atharvaveda as well as the rites undertaken by accomplished ascetics are to be performed for success.
[Thus ends Chapter VII, “Doubts about Wealth and Harm; and Success to be Obtained by the Employment of Alternative Strategic Means” in Book IX, “The Work of an Invader,” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. End of the hundred and twenty-eighth chapter from the beginning. With this, ends the ninth Book “The Work of an Invader” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya.]
From: Kautilya. Arthashastra. Translated by R. Shamasastry. Bangalore: Government Press, 1915, 411-436.