Science of Governance by Swami Dayanand Saraswati

  • By Swami Dayanand Saraswati
  • March 2001

Qualifications of True King    

Qualifications of the Head of the State

Manu - “He should be as powerful as electricity: as dear to his people’s hearts as their very breath, able to read the inmost thoughts of others, and just in his dealings as a judge. He should enlighten people’s minds by the spread of knowledge, justice, and righteousness, and dispel ignorance and injustice as the sun illuminates the world. He should be like one who consumes wickedness like fire, keeps the wicked and the criminal under control like a jailer, gladdens the hearts of the good like the moon; makes the country rich and prosperous, as a treasurer keeps his treasury full; it powerful and majestic like the sun, keeps the people in fear and awe; and on whom no one in the whole world dares to look with a stern eye. He alone is then fit to be the Head of the State who is like fire, air the sun, the moon, a judge, a treasurer, a gaoler in keeping the wicked under control, and like electricity in power.”


Manu - “The law alone is the real king, the dispenser of justice, the disciplinarian. The Law is considered as the surety for the four Classes and Orders to discharge properly their respective duties. The Law alone is the true Governor that maintains order among the people. The Law alone is their Protector. The Law keeps awake whilst all the people are fast asleep. The wise. Therefore, look upon the Law alone as Dharma or Right. When rightly administered the Law makes all men happy but when administered wrongly, i.e., without due regard to the requirement of justice, it ruins the king. All the four Classes would become corrupt, all order would come to an end, there would be nothing but chaos and corruption if the Law were not properly enforced. Where the Law-which is likened unto a fear-inspiring man, black in color and with red eyes-striking fear into the hearts of the people and preventing them from committing crimes rules supreme, there the people never go astray, and consequently live in happiness if it be administered by a just and learned man. He alone is considered a fit person to administer the Law by the wise, who invariably speaks the truth, is thoughtful, highly intellectual and very clever in the attainment of virtue, wealth and righteous desires. The Law rightly administered by the king greatly promotes the practice of virtue, acquisition of wealth and secures the attainment of the heart-felt desires of his people. But the same Law destroys the king who is sensual, indolent, crafty, malevolent, mean and low-minded.

 Great is the power and majesty of the Law. It cannot be administered by a man who is ignorant and unjust. It surely brings the downfall of the king who deviates from the path of rectitude.

 The Law can never be justly administered by a man who is destitute of learning and culture, has no wise and good men to assist him, and is sunk in sensualism. He alone is fit to administer the Law-which is another name for justice-who is wise, pure in heart, of truthful character, associates with the good, conducts himself according to the law and is assisted by the truly good and great men in the discharge of his duties.”


Manu - “The four chief Offices-Commander-in-Chief of the forces, Head Of the Civil Government, Minister of Justice, and the Supreme Head of all-the king-should be held only by those person who are well-versed in all the four Vedas and the Shastras, are conversant with all the sciences and philosophies, devout, and have perfect control over their desires passions, and posses a noble character.

Let no man transgress that law which has been passed by an assembly of ten men learned and wise, or at the very least of three such men. This Assembly must consist of members who are well versed in the four Vedas, keen logicians, masters of language, and men conversant with the science of religion; they must belong to the first three Orders-Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Vanaprastha.

Let no man transgress what has been decided by even an Assembly of three men who are scholars of the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Sama veda respectively.

Even the decision of one Sanyasi, who is fully conversant with all the four Vedas and is superior to all the twice-born (Dwiyas) should be considered of the highest authority. But let no man abide by the decision of myriads of ignorant men.

Even a meeting of thousands of men cannot be designated an Assembly, if they destitute of such high virtues as self-control or truthful character, be ignorant of the Vedas and be men of no under standing like the Shudras.

Let no man abide by the law laid down by men who are altogether ignorants, and destitute of the knowledge of the Veda, for whosoever obeys the law propounded by ignorant fools into hundreds of kinds of sin and vice. Therefore, let not ignorant fools be ever made members of the aforesaid three Assemblies-Political, Education and Religious. On the other hand let learned and devout persons only be elected to such high offices.

My comments - (Note the importance given to Law and its implementation. It was one of the foundations on which society worked. In India today, we continue to follow a legal system that is British in substance. I understand that some laws being followed were passed between 1860 and 1900 i.e. over 125 years ago. Now take this concept of giving Bail. Most criminals manage to get bail and are back to business.

Also please note the importance given to the quality of LawMakers. Take one example, we had Shri Ram Jethmalani as our Law Minister recently. An outstanding criminal lawyer he used his brilliance to protect Mumbai’s underworld who have joined hands with Pakistan’s ISI to destroy India. I admire Shri Jethmalani for having publicly admitted this at the Signing Ceremony of India’s Extradition Treaty with the U.A.E. He said that the Treaty would force all people who were his clients to be sent to India).

Receive Site Updates