Chapter 22, The Duties of the Ruler and the Ruled

The following verses lay down the duties of a king.

“As the two kings, the sun and the moon, shed luster on all corporeal objects, so just and enlightened acts of sunlike and moonlike qualities adorn the three assemblies. By these assemblies men gain many joys such as those

of victory, etc. By these State assemblies men adorn all things of world and render all living beings happy. One of them is executive and administrative assembly (Rajarya Sabha) for carrying on the government of the country; the second is the assembly of the learned (Arya Vidya Sabha) charged particularly to spread learning and advance it, and the third is the religious assembly (Arya-Dharma Sabha) concerned especially with the promotion of virtue and morality and the prevention of unrighteousness by means of preaching, etc.

All these assemblies should, in ordinary matters, co-operate with one another for promulgation of all good measures among the subjects. Wherever the learned and the righteous persons, in these assemblies, after a consideration of what is useful and of what is harmful, encourage people to do their duties and restrain them from doing what they ought not to do, there the subjects always remain happy and contented. Where there is an absolute monarch the subjects always remain happy and contented. Where there is an absolute monarch the subjects are oppressed. It is certain. God says that the common weal is promoted only in those States in which the governments is in the hand of an assembly.

Those men only, and, none but they, are eligible for membership of the State Assemblies who are of truthful conduct and know fully what is true and just. It is a divine ordinance which all should obey, that only such persons, and none but they, ought to be allowed to sit in these assemblies as are well versed in the business of land administration and the government of the country, are capable of knowing all events by employing secret agents who are able to have access everywhere like air, are righteous and are inspired by a desire to do good to all by shedding the light of truth and justice like the rays of the sun.” Rig. III, 2.24.6

[The word Keshah means solar rays.]

“O God Thou art the source of kingly functions and the promulgator of the laws of government. Be gracious unto us and make us instrumental in the protection of the State

and the administration of its affairs. May there be not atheists among us guilty of contumely towards Thee, and mayest Thou also be never indifferent towards us so that we may be always qualified to govern in Thy creation.” Yaju. XX.1

“That country, in which there is not opposition between Brahma i.e. God, Veda and the God-knowing Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas possessed of such qualities as valor, fortitude, is to be considered holy and endowed with a desire for performing the yajnas. The subjects can be happy in that country alone in which the learned walk with God and perform the yajnas such as agnihotra, etc.” Yaju XX 25.

God says:-

“O President of the Assembly! Among the creatures of God, the self-refulgent and the 

creator of the world, thou art endued with the arms of the sun and the moon i.e. with strength and vigor, with the hands of Pushan i.e. with the possession and the gift of the nourishing pranas, and with the disease-destroying mass of medicines of the earth and the upper regions.

I sprinkle fragrant waters on thy head in order that thou mayest display such virtues a justice etc., and disseminate deepest learning. I appoint thee for obtaining excellent strength with the help of the highest glory of God and full and complete knowledge for attainment of the glories of universal empire, for acquiring most excellent renown and for performing the kingly functions.”

“O God! Thou art all bliss, render us also happy by granting us the blessings of good government. Thou art possessed of supreme happiness, make us also perfectly happy by bestowing upon us the boon of parliamentary government. We seek Thy protection for abiding happiness. We adore Thee to give us benign rule. O God of true renown! Lord of bliss and Giver of welfare and happiness! The 

Revealer of truth and the Bestower of true government! We acknowledge Thee the paramount Lord of our State Assemblies.”

“Let the President of the Assemblies, and also their members, believe that the kingly glory is like is head, noble renown like his mouth, the luster of truth and justice like His beard and hair, God and the air residing with in his body, the cause of life, like his King, the bliss of emancipation, the Veda, like his suzerain and overlord, and the display and dissemination in various ways of such qualities as truth and learning like his eyes and ears. Let all men know that these are the limbs of the president and the members of the assemblies. Yaju XX. 3,1. and 5.

“Noble strength is like my arms, a mind

stocked with knowledge and pure and the organs of hearing etc. are like my hands i.e., the instruments for grasping, the possession of noble prowess is like my activity and the kingly duties are my very self and heart.”.

“The kingdom is like my backbone, he army and the treasury are like my shoulders (lit. the roots of the arms) and the abdomen respectively, to adorn the subjects with happiness and make them enterprising are like my buttockto make the subjects proficient s, in the trade and commerce and in the mathematical sciences is like my thighs an to maintain complete harmony between the subjects and the State Assemblies is like my knees.

these aforesaid acts are like my different limbs. As a man feels affection for his bodily organs and is deeply interested in protecting an strengthening them even so should all consider the protection and prosperity of the people the objects of their love and concern.” Yaju. XX. 7 and 8. 

God says:-
” I reside in the kingdom that is governed righteously, in the country in which knowledge and virtue are widespread, in every horse and in every cow and in every part of the universe do I dwell. In every soul, in every prana, in every earth and in every shining firmament and in every Yajna I make my habitation.

I alone pervade everywhere. Those who carry on the duties of Government depending on Me as the Lord of their desire are always victorious and prosperous. All officers of the Government should always govern the people according to the light of justice and knowledge, so that justice and ignorance may be destroyed.”

“For achieving victory is every battle I seek the protection of Indra (God), the protector of the universe, the most glorious, the fighter of noble battles, the most valiant, the mightiest, the king of the universe, the strong and brave soldiers and governing His kingdom with justice. May Indra (God), the giver of

the highest riches, the Almighty Lord grant us the uninterrupted joy of triumph in all acts of government.” Yaju XX, 10 and 50.

“O learned members of the State Assemblies! Discharge with the glory, the noble functions of government in your present kingdom which is free from the enemy and the thorns (disturbances) with the object of making its government matchless, establishing all business on the basis of the highest knowledge, exercising sovereign authority among the learned, shedding the light of justice and dispelling the darkness of injustice like the sunlight and rendering this people as happy as possible. You should also know that among the members versed in the Vedas such a person alone can be the king after his election to the president-ship of the

assemblies who is endowed with gentle qualities versed in all the sciences. O members! Promulgate this order among the common people that such a member as well the laws passed by the administrative assembly of the State (the Rajasabha) is the king, yours as well as ours. We, therefore, anointed and elect as the president of the State assemblies such and such person the son of such and such well know father and mother.

May (Indra) God or the Parliamentary government ever achieve the highest victory and may He or it never come by defeat. May the king of kings, the Ruler of the Universe be always celebrated with His truth, justice and splendor among us whether we may happen to live in great empires or smaller kingdoms. The Ruler of the universe, alone who is worthy to be worshipped by all men again and again, is fit to be adored, praised, saluted and depended upon by us Mayest thou O Lord the emperor of emperors be duly honored in this kingdom; (for, by honoring thee we shall always be honored in this great empire). 

“O Lord, Indra! Thou art the king of the universe. Thou hearest all; be gracious into me and make me also such (a listener). Thou art, O Lord! Ever-existent, and the fulfiller of the wished for glories of all men, do Thou give me all glories through Thy grace. O Lord of the universe! Thou protectest by Thy truth and justice the people who possess bright qualities and who are living under the protection of various good governments, do Thou protect me also. O king of kings! The world is Thy eternal, imperishable and well governed empire. May it be ours as a gift from Thee. When God is prayed to in this manner He gives His blessing and says; ‘Let this kingdom, names the earth, which has been made by Me, by yours.” Yaju IX 40, & Atharva VI 10. 98.1 and 2. 

The following verse, viz., Rig 1.3, 18-2 has been explained in the chapter on the subject of prayer.

“Let the State assembly and the people acknowledge God, the King of all kings and the President of the State Assemblies, after anointing him, as their king and let them fight under his orders and let the army of brave soldiers fight, having regard to the commands of God and in obedience to the orders of the President in Council and of their own commander.” Atharva XV, 2, 9, 2.

God says to al men:-

“O friends! Propitiate the glorious God and please your commander who is the killer of foes, skilled in war, fearless and illustrious. In this way commence your battles for 

vanquishing the wicked enemy. Following you leader who won the host of foes before, who conquered (the countries of) the world and his senses, whose strength is his arm, who is victorious and who is the annihilator of his foes with his valor and prowess, be always victorious.” Atharva VI, 10.97, 3.

“O God! Thou art (the element of) good in the assembly, protect my assembly. [The word me means our and refers to all men]. May the members who sit in our assemblies and who are well versed in their business protect our threefold assembly mentioned before.

O universally adorable God! May those presidents and the members obtain happiness who acquire knowledge of State-craft with Thee (i.e., who remember thee in the administration of the state). May we, duly protected by parliamentary government, live up to a happy (old) age of hundred years.” 

So far we have briefly described the functions of Government according to the Vedas, now we shall give a brief resume of them according to the Shatapatha and the Aitareya Brahmanas.

“Let the learned and the righteous men of the State assemblies always conduce to the happiness of the good men among the subjects and deal gently by them and adopt a stern attitude towards the wicked. The duties of a king have a twofold aspect, i.e., mild and forbearing and stern and terrible.

Sometimes, owing to the exigencies of time, place and the subject in hand, they have to be tolerant; at others, they have to be otherwise and have to visit the wicked persons with severe punishment. The Kshatra or Statecraft consists in the bringing happiness to the doers of good deeds, and in inflicting pain on the wicked and in the possession

of an army of the most valiant soldiers and other similar objects.”

“The act of Government (Kshatra) is the greatest of all. By protecting the weak it conduces to the best kind of happiness. By following the principles of Government described above men can improve the administration of the State, but not otherwise. For this reason art of government is the most important of all. It gives happiness to the people, unto the officers of the State, like their ownself and is the source of uninterrupted happiness and peace to the whole world. For this reason, the art of government exceeds in importance all other acts.”

[Here by the word Brahma is to be understood the Brahmana Varna well versed in all sciences.] The duties of governing a State are established in it, because the improvement and preservation of State administration are not possible without true knowledge. And true knowledge is established in the Kshatriyas; for, without them its preservation and progress cannot be possible. For 

this reason, the amelioration and welfare of a State can result only from co-operation between knowledge and political power.”

“The officers of State should always keep from harm their senses (and passions) which are so powerful and indomitable i.e. they should always keep them under control; for, it has been said that moral courage and strength are (Kshatra Rajanya) kingly power. Hence a man makes the government prosperous and promotes its happiness in every way my moral courage and strength. The art of government requires constant solicitude and is the greatest of all acts.”

“Let all men being actuated by such desires as the following put forth their manly exertions. May I rise with all good qualifications and enjoyments in the assembly in which are the most excellent learned men, for attaining, through God’s favor, the position of the president of the assemblies or for obtaining sovereign power over lesser kings, for exercising the authority of the ruler of worldwide empire, for ruling over and protecting the kingdom

according to law and justice, forgetting the best enjoyment, for obtaining self-government, for shining with greatness among various kings, for establishing a mighty empire, for wielding supreme and sovereign power, and for bringing the people under my control.”

“The business of the State should be commenced after saluting God three or four times. That country or State, which places itself under the divine control, prospers and grows rich the becomes full of valiant persons. Valiant persons are born in such a state only and nowhere else. Such is the divine commandment.” Aitareya VIII 2, 3. 6 and 9. 

“Let the members of the assemblies and the subjects always live with God, the Lord and Master, the most adorable and desirable. All of them should meet together and make such deliberations as are calculated to prevent the loss of happiness and defeat. Let all or them desire to anoint as their king such person from among the learned as possesses the greatest power of forbearance, the most noble on account of the possession of all qualities, most
of all able to take them safely through all sufferings such as war, etc., the most victorious and the noblest among them. Let all the subjects also say ‘Let this be so’ to such a noble person brings all glory, it is called Indra.

We anoint as our king and universal ruler this most noble person who is fit to fill the position of the ruler of a worldwide empire, able to protect and achieve the best enjoyments, a brilliant statesman, shining with the light of such qualities as true knowledge in his heart, able to protect the self-governing State, the light-giver of various kings, fit to be appointed ruler of the best state, and elected to preside over this great kingdom.

The empire of the person who is so anointed is happy. In it are born brave soldiers (Kshatriyas), the president of the assemblies fit to rule over all livings beings, the destroyer of the wicked subjects, the demolisher of the cities of the enemy, the killer of the evil doers and the unrighteous, 

the protector of the Vedas and the defender or Dharma. [In ajani past tense is used for the present, past and future tenses are used for one another.] The President of the assemblies and other men should make such kingly function and God their object of desire. No object other than God should be made the object of desire. For this reason all men should become worshippers of God.

When a man who desires to rule over a state is anointed and elected King in the aforesaid manner which leads to the attainment of all glories, he becomes invested with the kingly state and becomes victorious in all battles. He is everywhere triumphant and acquires all good worlds (states). He obtains the most exalted rank and nobility and commands (the greatest) respect, as mentioned above, among the kings. He obtains that highest state which results from the joy of victory over the enemies and from the humbling of the foes, [or here the “highest state” may be taken to signify the highest position in the State assembly and then

the meaning would be; ‘He having obtained the satisfaction of defeating and subduing the enemy rises to the highest position in the State assembly.] By the favor of the State assembly he obtains the authority of the universal ruler, the best enjoyments, autonomous rule and authority over various kings, the most exalted rank, imperial authority and sovereignty which have been referred to above. He becomes the suzerain and universal ruler and the king of kings in this world and after leaving this body goes to the abode of bliss, the Supreme Brahman, where he becomes free and self-illumined, obtains the bliss of emancipation, obtains all desires, is free from old age and death and all of his aspirations are fulfilled. No misfortune can befall a State in which members of the State assemblies, having made him to take the vow of all the aforesaid glories, anoint a kshatriya distinguished above all by his qualifications and elect him as king in the State assemblies. 

Aitareya VIII. 12, 14 and 19.

They call that government the best wherein people are properly governed by means of parliamentary institutions, which obtain desired happiness, put and end to the evil doers and endeavor to make people contented.

He alone is fit to be called a Brahmana who knows God and the Veda. He alone is 

fit to be called a Rajanya i.e., Kshatriya who has conquered his senses, is learned, is endowed with the qualities of valor, etc., possesses great heroism and takes upon himself the duties of government. The glory of the empire and prosperity are enhanced in the highest degree and they never fade and never become otherwise when the Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas co-operate in the administration of the country.

The strength of a Kshatriya lies in war. Great wealth and happiness are never secured without fighting. In Nighantu II. 17, Mahadhana, ‘great wealth’ is given as a synonym for war, because, by it or through it are obtained great riches. High respect and great wealth are never obtained without it.

The Ashwamedha of a Kshatriya is the government of the kingdom and not the killing and burning in homa fire of a horse.

When a Kshatriya endowed with the qualities mentioned above puts forth his glory and greatness and valor he becomes able to govern a worldwide empire. AKshatriya should, 

therefore, be brave, eager to fight, fearless and skilled in the use of weapons and missiles. He should have (an army of) warriors able to destroy the enemy and should possess big cars for traveling on land, water and in the air. Fear and misery never visit that kingdom in which Kshatriyas of this type are born.

Shat.XII. 8-2; XIII. 1-5; XIII. 1-6; XIII. 1-9.

State policy enlightened by knowledge and other good qualities is the empire itself. The glory of the empire is also its burden and it is its central part (the heart). Protection of the subjects is the sleep of the empire i.e., as refreshing and undisturbed as sleep. The subjects

are called its gabha (splendor) and the Government is called pasa (rod). The act of governing affects the subjects because by imposing taxes it takes away their good things. The subjects are always oppressed in a country, which is ruled over by a monarch unassisted by the State assemblies. One man should not, therefore, be made (an absolute) monarch. An individual can never have the power to discharge the duties of government single-handed.

Consequently, the administration of the State should be vested in the assemblies. In those countries in which there is (an absolute) monarch, he things the subjects as his food, fit to be devoured and oppresses them. (An absolute) monarch is said to eat his subjects because he seizes upon their valuable possessions for his selfish purposes and thus oppresses them.

As a meat-eater seeing a fat animal desires to kill it (for food) so an absolute monarch being jealous of his subjects outshining and surpassing him cannot bear the prosperity of any man. For this reason, administration of the State by means of the assemblies is the only form of good government. Shat. XIII. 2.3.

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