Science of Governance by Swami Dayanand Saraswati

  • By Swami Dayanand Saraswati
  • March 2001


Manu - “Let the king collect his revenue through honorable, trust worthy and accomplished men possessed of excellent character. Let him, who is the President of the Assembly, his ministers and other officials, and the Assembly observe the eternal principles taught by the Vedas, and let them act like fathers to the people.

 Let the Assembly appoint officials of various kinds whose sole duty it should be to see that the State officials in all departments do their duties faithfully according to the regulations. Let them, who discharge their duties satisfactorily, be honored, whilst those who do not, be punished properly.

 In order to disseminate the knowledge of the Veda which is truly called the imperishable treasure of the kings, let the king and the Assembly show due respect to students, who return from their seminaries after having studied the Vedas and Shastras in the Order of Brahmacharya as well as their teachers. This helps forward the spread of education and the progress of a country.

 If a king, devoted to the welfare of his people, be defied by an enemy of equal, greater, or less strength, let him remember the duty of a Kshatriya and never shrink from going to battle. Let him fight with such skill as may ensure his victory.

 Those kings who, with the object of defeating their enemies, fight fearlessly to their utmost and never turn away from the field of battle shall obtain happiness. They must never turn backs upon the field of battle, it is sometimes necessary to hide away from the enemy in order to obtain victory over him. Let them employ all kinds of tactics to ensure their success in battle, but let them not perish foolishly like a tiger who, when his temper is roused, exposes himself foolishly to the fire and is thereby killed.

In the field of battle let soldiers bear in mind the duty of men of honor, and, therefore, never strike a man who is standing near the field of battle-a non-combatant-nor one who is a eunuch, nor one who with folded palms begs for peace, nor one whose hair is disheveled or scattered (over his eyes), nor one who is sitting at ease, nor one who says ‘I am at your mercy’, nor one who is asleep, nor one who is unconscious or in a fit, nor one who is disarmed, nor one who is naked, nor one who is a mere spectator, nor one who is only a camp-follower, nor one who is in agony of pain from his wounds, nor one who is an invalid, nor one who is seriously wounded, nor one who is terrified, nor one who is running away (from the field of battle).

 They should make them prisoners and provide them with food, drink and other necessaries of life. The wounded should be medically attended to. They should never be teased or made to suffer in any way. They should be employed in the kind of work that suits their station, etc. The king should especially see that no one strikes a woman, a child, an old man, a wounded man and one who is diseased or afflicted with sorrow. Let him protect and bring up their children as if they were his own, and let their women be also well looked after. He should look upon them as he would upon his own daughter or sisters. Nor should he never look upon them with the eye of lust. After the country has settled down, let him send all those, from whom he does not fear a fresh revolt, away to their own homes; but let him keep in prison all others who, he fears, may possibly raise the standard of revolt.

My Comments - (Interesting thoughts. Now lets compare how the Hindus and Muslims fight. Lets take the last war Kargil. Every time Indians came across dead Pakistanis we buried them if they were alive they were taken prisoner and released later. The Pakis either killed our soldiers  or cut their organs and sent them back. The same is the case with Bangladesh when they killed 16 BSF jawans. Muslim invaders raped our women and destroyed our temples. How many times have we heard Hindu rulers raping women or destroying a place of worship as a sign of conquest? The award winning movie Gladiator shows how gruesome the Greeks of 2000 years ago were, they had no scruples, killed mercilessly. On the other hand lets go back further in India to the Mahabharat war. War stopped at sunset, a person who was injured or on the ground was never attacked, in short, there were certain rules that governed war.

The question that you need to ask yourself is that must we become ruthless, have the killer instinct and kill our enemies without mercy or like Nehru and Vajpayee walk around with this badge of being magnanimous, international statesmen, restraint allowing our jawans to die in the process).

 The soldier, who cowardly turns his back on a field of battle and is slain (by the enemy), is thus rightly punished for his disloyalty to his master who shall take unto himself all the honor due to the deceased on account of his past good conduct which begets happiness in this world and in the next. The soldier, who is killed whilst running away from the field of battle, shall never obtain happiness. All his good work is nullified by this act of cowardice. He alone wins laurels who fights faithfully.

 Let the king never violate this law that carriages, horses, elephants, tents, umbrellas, grains silver and gold, cattle such as cows, women cases of oil and butter, and various other articles are lawful prize of the soldier or of the officer who take them in war. The captors should give the sixteen part of their loot to the king, and so should the latter distribute among the whole army the sixteen part of what was taken by them collectively.”

 Let his wife and children have the share of the man who is killed in war. The wife and children of that man should be well looked after till the children are grown up when the king should offer them suitable state appointments.

 Let no one, who is desirous of augmenting the prosperity of his State and of gaining fame, victory, and happiness, transgress this law.

Manu - “What the king and the Assembly have not let them strive hard to get, what they have acquired, let them preserve with care, what they have preserved let them augment, and let them spend the augmented wealth in the diffusion of the knowledge of the Vedas, the spread of the principles of true religion, in helping scholars and preachers of the Vedas religion, and bringing up orphans. Having learnt the fourfold object of activity let him shun sloth and live an active life. Let him obtain what he has not got by the observance of the law, and what he has acquired let him protect with diligent attention, what he has protected let him augment by investing profitably, and let him always spend his augmented wealth in the furtherance of the aforesaid cause.

 Let him on all occasions act without guile never without sincerity, but, keeping himself well on his guard let him discover and ward off the evil designs of his enemy.

 Let him ponder over the acquisition of wealth like a heron that pretends to be as if in meditative attitude just before catching fish. Having obtained the necessary material and augmented his power, let him put forth his strength like a lion to vanquish his foe; like a tiger let him stealthily creep towards his enemy and catch him When a powerful enemy has come close by, let him run away from him like a hare and then overtake him by stratagem.

 Let not his foe discover his weak points but the vulnerable points of his foe let him himself well discern. Let him hide his vulnerable points from his enemy just as a tortoise draws in his limbs and keeps them concealed from view.

 Let such a victorious sovereign reduce all dacoits, robbers and the like to submission by conciliating them, by giving them presents or by turning them against each other. If he fails to restrain them by those means let him do so by inflicting heavy punishment on them.

 As a farmer separates the husk from the corn without injuring the latter, so should a king exterminate dacoits and burglars, and thus protect his people.

 The king, who through neglect of duty and lack of understanding oppresses his people, soon loses his kingdom and perishes with his family before his time.

 Just as living beings lose their lives through the failure of their bodily strength, so do kings as well as their families lose their power, and even their lives by oppressing their subjects.

 Therefore, in order to conduct the government properly let the king and the assembly so strives as to fully accomplish this object. The king who is always devoted to the welfare of his people obtains perpetual happiness.

 Let him, therefore, have an administrative office in the midst of two, three, five and a hundred villages, wherein he should keep the required number of officials to carry on government business. Let him appoint an official at the head of one village, a second one over ten such village, a third one over twenty, a fourth one over one hundred village, and a fifth one over a thousand such villages.

 Let the Lord (i.e., Administrator) of one town daily apprise the Lord of Ten Towns privately of all crimes committed within his jurisdiction and the Lord of Ten submit his report to the Lord of Twenty. Let the Lord of Twenty notify all such matters to the Lord of one Hundred every day and the Lord of one Hundred, to the Lord of one Thousand, in other words, five Lords of Twenty, to a Lord of one Hundred, ten Lords of a Hundred, to a lord of Ten Thousand, and the Lord of Ten Thousand to an Assembly which governs the affairs of a hundred thousand townships and all such Assemblies, to the Supreme International Assembly representing the whole world.

Over every ten thousand villages let him appoint two presiding officials, one of whom should preside over the Assembly, whilst the other should tour all over the country and diligently inspect the work and conduct of all the magistrates and other officials.

 For the purpose of holding the meetings of town councils let him erect a Town Hall in every big town. It should be lofty, capacious and beautiful like the moon, wherein left the members of the town council, who should be men of vast learning and experience, deliberate over the affairs of their town, and make such laws as will promote the welfare of the people and advance the cause of education and enlightenment.

 Let the inspecting governor have detectives under him-who should come from Kshatriya as well as other Classes-and through hem let him secretly know perfectly the conduct-good or bad-of the Government servants as well as that of the people. Let him punish those who do not faithfully discharge their duties, and honor those whose conduct is praiseworthy.

 Let the king appoint such men guardians of his people as are virtuous, well-experienced, learned and of good lineage; under such learned officials let him also place men who are very wicked as burglars and robbers, i.e., who live by seizing what belongs to others. It will help to keep those men from the pursuit of their wicked ways, as well as, to protect the people properly.

 Let the king punish properly the magistrate who accepts bribe either from the plaintiff or the defendant in a case and, therefore, gives an unjust decision, confiscate all his possessions, and banish him to a place from which he can never return. Were that man to go unpunished, it would encourage other officials to commit similar wicked crimes, whilst the infliction of punishment would serve to check them. But let those officials be paid handsomely for their services-either by gifts of land or in lump sums of money, paid annually or monthly-enough to keep them in comfort and even to make them rich. Let an old official in consideration of his services be granted a pension equal to half his pay. This pension must last only so long as he lives, not after. But let his children be properly honored or given Government appointments according to their qualifications. Let his wife and children be given an allowance their qualifications. Let his wife and children be given an allowance by the State enough for their subsistence which should be stopped if they turn wicked. Let the king constantly follow this policy.”

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