16 Virtues of Great Kings


Dasaratha in painting

Research paper written by London Swaminathan

Research article No.1517; Dated  25  December 2014.

Kalidasa, the greatest Indian poet of classical age, begins his Raghuvamsa, with bombastic words in Sanskrit. But he was so humble that he compared himself to a dwarf trying to reach fruits on a tall tree with his tiny arms.

But in the very next verse he said that he can do it because the old poets had already pierced the diamond through their verses. Now his job is like sending a thread through that hole.

But those who knew Sanskrit felt that he excelled all other poets in the choice of words as well as the description of sixteen great virtues of the Raghukula, the clan of Lord Rama (Rama’s forefather was Raghu).

This is not only for those who look for literary gems but also for those who want to study what Hinduism stood for.


1.Pure from their birth- Aajanma Sudhhaanaam

The kings were pure from their birth. No bad name for the family, all their forefathers were embodiments of great virtues

2.Who till they won success worked on – Aafalodaya karmaanaam

They worked very hard till they won the task.

Perseverance was one of their virtues, never stopped in the middle.

They tried like Bhageeratha, who brought Ganges from the heaven ( actually he was a great engineer and planned to divert Ganges towards Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal for irrigation. With great and long effort  he succeeded in the Himalayan engineering work)

3.Ruled Earth to the Sea – Aasamudra Kshithisaanaam

They did not rule small areas. From shore to shore they ruled. Kalidasa , who lived in the first century BCE, during the reign of Vikramaditya, knew what he was talking about. He routed all the foreign forces and drove them out of the vast Indian sub continent.


4.Their Car track reached to heaven —  Aanaaka ratha varthmanaam

Their chariots had direct route to heaven; that meant they were so pure they go to heaven when the leave their bodies at will.

5.The altar fire they tended – Yathaavidhi Huthaagniinaam

They were very pious and did great Yagnas like Asvamedha, Rajasuya etc.

6.Suppliants all Most fully satisfied – Archithaarthinaam

All were satisfied; their needs were met.

7.Ill deeds they punished – Yathaaparaatha Dandaanaam

They punished according to the gravity of the crimes; neither too much nor too less.


8.Nor were slothful in their rule –Yathaakaala Prabhodhinaam

They were never lazy.

9.Wealth they amassed to scatter – Thyaagaaya sambruthaarthaanaam

They accumulated wealth only to give it back to the poor

10.Sparing words they never spoke falsely- Sathyaaya Mithbahaasinaam

They spoke a few words fearing that they may tell something wrong by the slip of the tongue.


11.Fame in war they sought- not gain – Yasasee Vijigishuunaam

They fought wars indeed, but all Dharma Yuddha, not for the booty, but for fame. This is a great concept seen nowhere in the world. Sangam Tamil literature and Sanskrit literature were crystal clear that innocents should not suffer during wars. All the old people, invalids, women, Brahmins, sick people, children were asked to vacate the place and the wars were fought outside the town.

When the king was killed or defeated they accepted the verdict. But after the foreign invasions, the picture changed completely. Since they did all the illegal and immoral things, Hindu rulers also fell in that grew.

12.Wedded  for noble seed – Prajaayai Gruhamedhinaam

They married and led a family life not for sexual pleasure, but for progeny.

13.Their children studied—Saisave abhyasthavidhyaanaam

They studied all through their life from childhood. They were lifelong students. They updated their knowledge now and then.


  1. Youth pursued its decent pleasures – Yauvane Vishayaishinaam

They followed only decent pleasures even when they were young.

15.And in ripe old age they lived as ascetics – Vardhakee Munivriththinaam

They lead ascetic life when they became old

16.Relinquished their bodies in meditation- Ante Yogena Thanuthyajaam

They did not die without any purpose. They left the body at will meditating upon God like the great Bhishma Pitamaha.

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