Written by London swaminathan

Date: 27 JANUARY 2019
GMT Time uploaded in London –18-00
Post No. 5995
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On 30-12-2018 I covered up to160 slokas of seventh chapter of Manu Smrti. Today we will deal with the rest of the slokas in seventh chapter.

Though the concluding part deals mainly with waging wars, making alliances and maintaining personal safety there are some interesting points (see below):


1.In the beginning he divided everything into Twos.

Two kinds of wars, two kinds of all; alliances and two kinds of marching and camping.

2.Sloka 7-180 is an advice; A quotation on Political Wisdom

3. Sloka 7-182 specifies good months for an attack or invasion; commentators say that the Indian weather would be good and there would be plenty of food supply.

4.Sloka 7-185 talks about three kinds of roads.

Army Formations

5.Sloka 7-187 says about army formations; We see the importance of several Vyuhas/ formations in the Mahabharata war as well.

6.Sloka 7-193 says which country people must be placed in the front. Commentators say those soldiers are taller than others.

7.Sloka 7-210 describes the worst enemy.

8.Sloka 7-218 is about wearing jewels to nullify poison. He also deals with personal safety. Everything must be examined.

9.Sloka 7-223 is about Spy Report.

10.Last part is about the day to day schedule of a king.

11.Sloka 7-206 lists the Three Fruits of War.

7-161. Having carefully considered the business (in hand), let him resort to sitting quiet or marching, alliance or war, dividing his forces or seeking protection (as the case may require).

162. But the king must know that there are two kinds of alliances and of wars, (likewise two) of both marching and sitting quiet, and two (occasions for) seeking protection.)

163. An alliance which yields present and future advantages, one must know to be of two descriptions, (viz.) that when one marches together (with an ally) and the contrary (when the allies act separately).

164. War is declared to be of two kinds, (viz.) that which is undertaken in season or out of season, by oneself and for one’s own purposes, and (that waged to avenge) an injury done to a friend.

165. Marching (to attack) is said to be two fold, (viz. that undertaken) by one alone when an urgent matter has suddenly arisen, and (that undertaken) by one allied with a friend.

166. Sitting quiet is stated to be of two kinds, (viz. that incumbent) on one who has gradually been weakened by fate or in consequence of former acts, and (that) in favour of a friend.

167. If the army stops (in one place) and its master (in another) in order to effect some purpose, that is called by those acquainted with the virtues of the measures of royal policy, the twofold division of the forces.

168. Seeking refuge is declared to be of two kinds, (first) for the purpose of attaining an advantage when one is harassed by enemies, (secondly) in order to become known among the virtuous (as the protege of a powerful king).

169. When (the king) knows (that) at some future time his superiority (is) certain, and (that) at the time present (he will suffer) little injury, then let him have recourse to peaceful measures.

170. But when he thinks all his subjects to be exceedingly contented, and (that he) himself (is) most exalted (in power), then let him make war.

171. When he knows his own army to be cheerful in disposition and strong, and (that) of his enemy the reverse, then let him march against his foe.

172. But if he is very weak in chariots and beasts of burden and in troops, then let him carefully sit quiet, gradually conciliating his foes.

173. When the king knows the enemy to be stronger in every respect, then let him divide his army and thus achieve his purpose.

174. But when he is very easily assailable by the forces of the enemy, then let him quickly seek refuge with a righteous, powerful king.

175. That (prince) who will coerce both his (disloyal) subjects and the army of the foe, let him ever serve with every effort like a Guru.

176. When, even in that (condition), he sees (that) evil is caused by (such) protection, let him without hesitation have recourse to war.

177. By all (the four) expedients a politic prince must arrange (matters so) that neither friends, nor neutrals, nor foes are superior to himself.

178. Let him fully consider the future and the immediate results of all undertakings, and the good and bad sides of all past (actions).

179. He who knows the good and the evil (which will result from his acts) in the future, is quick in forming resolutions for the present, and understands the consequences of past (actions), will not be conquered.

Gist of Political Wisdom

7-180. Let him arrange everything in such a manner that no ally, no neutral or foe may injure him; that is the sum of political wisdom.

181. But if the king undertakes an expedition against a hostile kingdom, then let him gradually advance, in the following manner, against his foe’s capital.

7-182. Let the king undertake his march in the fine month Margasirsha, or towards the months of Phalguna and Caitra, according to the (condition of his) army.

183. Even at other times, when he has a certain prospect of victory, or when a disaster has befallen his foe, he may advance to attack him.

184. But having duly arranged (all affairs) in his original (kingdom) and what relates to the expedition, having secured a basis (for his operations) and having duly dispatched his spies;

185. Having cleared the three kinds of roads, and (having made) his six fold army (efficient), let him leisurely proceed in the manner prescribed for warfare against the enemy’s capital.

186. Let him be very much on his guard against a friend who secretly serves the enemy and against (deserters) who return (from the enemy’s camp); for such (men are) the most dangerous foes.

Army Formations

7-187. Let him march on his road, arraying (his troops) like a staff (i.e. in an oblong), or like a waggon (i.e. in a wedge), or like a boar (i.e. in a rhombus), or like a Makara (i.e. in two triangles, with the apices joined), or like a pin (i.e. in a long line), or like a Garuda (i.e. in a rhomboid with far-extended wings).

188. From whatever (side) he apprehends danger, in that (direction) let him extend his troops, and let him always himself encamp in an array, shaped like a lotus.

189. Let him allot to the commander-in-chief, to the (subordinate) general, (and to the superior officers) places in all directions, and let him turn his front in that direction whence he fears danger.

190. On all sides let him place troops of soldiers, on whom he can rely, with whom signals have been arranged, who are expert both in sustaining a charge and in charging, fearless and loyal.

191. Let him make a small number of soldiers fight in close order, at his pleasure let him extend a large number in loose ranks; or let him make them fight, arranging (a small number) in the needle-array, (and a large number) in the thunderbolt-array.

192. On even ground let him fight with chariots and horses, in water-bound places with boats and elephants, on (ground) covered with trees and shrubs with bows, on hilly ground with swords, targets, (and other) weapons.

Soldiers from Four Countries

7-193. (Men born in) Kurukshetra, Matsyas, Pankalas, and those born in Surasena, let him cause to fight in the van of the battle, as well as (others who are) tall and light.

194. After arranging his troops, he should encourage them (by an address) and carefully inspect them; he should also mark the behaviour (of the soldiers) when they engage the enemy.

195. When he has shut up his foe (in a town), let him sit encamped, harass his kingdom, and continually spoil his grass, food, fuel, and water.

196. Likewise let him destroy the tanks, ramparts, and ditches, and let him assail the (foe unawares) and alarm him at night.

197. Let him instigate to rebellion those who are open to such instigations, let him be informed of his (foe’s) doings, and, when fate is propitious, let him fight without fear, trying to conquer.

198. He should (however) try to conquer his foes by conciliation, by (well-applied) gifts, and by creating dissension, used either separately or conjointly, never by fighting, (if it can be avoided.)

199. For when two (princes) fight, victory and defeat in the battle are, as experience teaches, uncertain; let him therefore avoid an engagement.

200. (But) if even those three before-mentioned expedients fail, then let him, duly exerting himself, fight in such a manner that he may completely conquer his enemies.

Worship god, honour brahmins

7-201. When he has gained victory, let him duly worship the gods and honour righteous Brahmanas, let him grant exemptions, and let him cause promises of safety to be proclaimed.

202. But having fully ascertained the wishes of all the (conquered), let him place there a relative of the (vanquished ruler on the throne), and let him impose his conditions.

203. Let him make authoritative the lawful (customs) of the (inhabitants), just as they are stated (to be), and let him honour the (new king) and his chief servants with precious gifts.

204. The seizure of desirable property which causes displeasure, and its distribution which causes pleasure, are both recommendable, (if they are) resorted to at the proper time.

205. All undertakings (in) this world depend both on the ordering of fate and on human exertion; but among these two (the ways of) fate are unfathomable; in the case of man’s work action is possible.

Triple Fruits of War

206. Or the king, bent on conquest, considering a friend (ally), gold, and land to be the triple result of an expedition, may, using diligent care, make peace with his foe and return to his realm.

207. Having paid due attention to any king in the circle (of neighbouring states) who might attack him in the rear, and to his supporter who opposes the latter, let (the conqueror) secure the fruit of the expedition from (the prince whom he attacks), whether (he may have become) friendly or (remained) hostile.

208. By gaining gold and land a king grows not so much in strength as by obtaining a firm friend, (who), though weak, (may become) powerful in the future.

209. A weak friend (even) is greatly commended, who is righteous (and) grateful, whose people are contented, who is attached and persevering in his undertakings.

210. The wise declare him (to be) a most dangerous foe, who is wise, of noble race, brave, clever, liberal, grateful, and firm.

211. Behaviour worthy of an Aryan, knowledge of men, bravery, a compassionate disposition, and great liberality are the virtues of a neutral (who may be courted).

212. Let the king, without hesitation, quit for his own sake even a country (which is) salubrious, fertile, and causing an increase of cattle.

213. For times of need let him preserve his wealth; at the expense of his wealth let him preserve his wife; let him at all events preserve himself even by (giving up) his wife and his wealth.

214. A wise (king), seeing that all kinds of misfortunes violently assail him at the same time, should try all (the four) expedients, be it together or separately, (in order to save himself.)

215. On the person who employs the expedients, on the business to be accomplished, and on all the expedients collectively, on these three let him ponder and strive to accomplish his ends.

216. Having thus consulted with his ministers on all these (matters), having taken exercise, and having bathed afterwards, the king may enter the harem at midday in order to dine.

217. There he may eat food, (which has been prepared) by faithful, incorruptible (servants) who know the (proper) time (for dining), which has been well examined (and hallowed) by sacred texts that destroy poison.

Every day schedule

Wear gems, Test food for poison

218. Let him mix all his food with medicines (that are) antidotes against poison, and let him always be careful to wear gems which destroy poison.

219. Well-tried females whose toilet and ornaments have been examined, shall attentively serve him with fans, water, and perfumes.

220. In like manner let him be careful about his carriages, bed, seat, bath, toilet, and all his ornaments.

221. When he has dined, he may divert himself with his wives in the harem; but when he has diverted himself, he must, in due time, again think of the affairs of state.

222. Adorned (with his robes of state), let him again inspect his fighting men, all his chariots and beasts of burden, the weapons and accoutrements.

223. Having performed his twilight-devotions, let him, well armed, hear in an inner apartment the doings of those who make secret reports and of his spies.

224. But going to another secret apartment and dismissing those people, he may enter the harem, surrounded by female (servants), in order to dine again.

225. Having eaten there something for the second time, and having been recreated by the sound of music, let him go to rest and rise at the proper time free from fatigue.

226. A king who is in good health must observe these rules; but, if he is indisposed, he may entrust all this (business) to his servants.