As the King, so are the People: Yatha Raja Thatha Praja!


Compiled  by London swaminathan
Date: 26 September 2015
Post No: 2191
Time uploaded in London :– 18-38
(Thanks  for the pictures) 

There is a proverb in Sanskrit ‘yatha raja, thatha praja’. Like the king, people are. If the king is corrupt, ministers become more corrupt and people become the most corrupt. There are two anecdotes to illustrate this proverb:

Nausherva of Persia was reputed to be a just king. Once he went on a hunting expedition. He hunted any animals in the forest and the lunch time came. Everyone was hungry. Suddenly the king and his retinue realised that they forgot to bring salt for eating the meat. When the food was cooked the king also came to know about it. He, therefore, asked one of his servants to go into the village nearby and get the salt. But he added, “Don’t forget to pay for it. Otherwise the whole village will be ruined.”

Hearing this the servant was greatly surprised. So he said, “Your Majesty, how could a pinch of salt, obtained without payment, cause the devastation of the whole village?”

Naushervan answered, “If the king, exercising his authority, plucks and eats even only one fruit from the garden of any of his subjects, then his servants, following his example, will destroy the whole garden, root and branch.”


Following  story proved this correct:

A revenue officer was camping near a village for collection of tax. He called his servant and told him, “My wife and children like fresh rice. So go to the fields and pluck some and bring here. Make sure no one sees you.” So the servant went during night time and entered a field illegally and plucked some paddy and brought it to the officer. Other servants came to know about it from the man who went into the field.

Taking the hint from the officer servants started collecting rice from each and every field. When the officer went for tax collection, the harvest shown on records were lower than the usual quantity. Then he started questioning his servants. What happened? Why the harvest is very much lower this season? Who was stealing the crops?

The servant who went into the field for the first time answered, “Sir, it is the secret permission you gave me the other day. I took some rice for my family. My colleagues also took some rice for their families. That is all.”

The officer said nothing. He was like a thief stung by a scorpion. He can’t cry aloud.

“Yatha raja ,thatha praja”. If the officers are themselves corrupt, they have no moral authority to question anyone! Even if he says something, it would not have any effect. All will laugh at him, behind his back.