WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 


Date: 20 April 2018


Time uploaded in London –  8-47 am (British Summer Time)


Post No. 4933


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Chanakya adds more details in his work Arthasastra; let us look at them in bullet points:


Chanakya says that greed, lust and other follies will destroy a king. He gives the following examples: Bhoja Dandakya perished with his state and relations for making lascivious attempt on a Brahmana girl. Karaala Viadeha perished because of lust Various other kings paid the penalty for different vices (Artha Sastra 13-2)


Kautilya’s Tricks

Kautilya/Chanakya suggested that the spy should spin out a story of the queen’s love for the minister. That the fabrications are likely to be believed suggests the probability of such incidents. Conversely, when, according to Kautilya the minister’s wife is likely to have liaison with the king, who might send her love letters and presents to invite her into the harem, the luckless husband will merely fret and await his opportunity to take revenge (AS 12-2).


A story of confidence trick is suggested by Kautilya. Dressed as a merchant, a spy is to pick up friendship with a beautiful servant maid of the queen, feign love with the new sweetheart, give her presents and jilt her with an ulterior motive. Another spy is to give her love charm to regain her lover who in turn purports to yield to the woman. Prompted by the immediate success of the love charm, the maid naturally conveys its efficacy to the queen. The queen in turn seeks to repeat the performance on the king. This the poisoned charm kills the king.

The Divyaavadaana narrates the legend of Prince Kunala and his step mother queen Tisyaraksitaa, which indicates palace intrigues. A similar legend finds place in the Jain Parisistaparvan. Here the step mother wanted to sponsor the claim of her own son to the throne. Both ‘Parisistaparvan’ and ‘Mudrarakshasa’ record the tradition of the death of Chandragupta’s ally Parvataka through his contact with poison maid.


Chanakya ‘poisoned’ Chandragupta

As a safeguard against a poison, Parisistaparvan states: On Chanakya’s order, the food of Chandra Gupta was mixed with a gradual dose of poison, so that in the end even the strongest poison had no effect upon him. Once the Queen Durdhara who was big with child was dining with the king, when Chanakya came upon them. Observing that the poison almost immediately killed the queen, he ripped upon her womb and extracted the child.  He had been nearly too late ; for already a drop (bindu) of the poison had reached the boy’s head, who, from his circumstance, was called Bindusara.


Manu also adds how the bad rulers were thrown out in his Manu Smrti:

“Many kings have been destroyed, together with their entourages, through lack f humility, while even forest dwellers have gained kingdoms through humility.

Vena was destroyed through lack of humility, and so was King nahusa, Sudas, the son of Pijavana, Sumukha and Nimi.

But through humility Prthu won a kingdom, and so did Manu and Kubra become Lord of Wealth and Visvamitra, son of Gadhi, became a priest.

Manu 7-40/42

Manu’s Gem Therapy


Manu also warns the king against oisoning. “The king should partake of food that is well examined and prepared by servants that are trust worthy, that know the proper times for dining, that cannot be won over, and over the food spells/mantras destroying poison should have been muttered. He should fix in all that he partakes medicines that are antidotes against poison and should always wear gems that work against poison”.

Manu- 7-217/218


Megasthanes says,

King cannot even sleep in peace, for Megasthenes states: “By night he is obliged to change his couch from time to time with a view to defeat plots against his life”.


Safety First was the code advised by Chanakya and Manu. We did not read any such incidents except one or two in Mahabharata where Duryodana tried to kill the Pandavas in an arson attack by setting fire to the lac palace.


But after the contact with Persians and Greeks from the sixth century BCE, the political scene in India changed completely.




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