Science of Governance by Swami Dayanand Saraswati

  • By Swami Dayanand Saraswati
  • March 2001

The Qualifications of a Friend    

Manu - “A king does not gain in power so much by the acquisition of gold and territory as by securing a friend who is firm, loving and far-seeing. Such a friend is valuable no matter whether he is powerful enough to help him in the attainment of his wishes or is even weak. It is laud-able for a king to secure a friend-feeble though he be-who knows what is right, remembers gratefully any kindness shown to him, is cheerful in temper, affectionate and persevering. Let him bear in mind that is not proper to make a foe of a man who is eminently wise, comes from an excellent family, and is brave, courageous, clever, liberal-minded, grateful, firm, and patient. Whosoever makes such a man his foe is sure to suffer.

 He called neutral (i.e., neither an avowed friends nor a declared foe) who is possessed of good qualities, knowledge of mankind, valor, kindness of heart, and who never discloses the secret of his heart.

 Let a king get up early in the morning, attend to his toilet, worship God, perform Homa himself or have it done by his chaplain, consult with his ministers, inspect and review his troops, cheer their spirits, inspect stables of horses and elephants, cow houses, etc., stores of arms and ammunition, hospitals and the treasury, in short, inspect everything with his own eyes and point out shortcoming. Let him then go to the gymnasium, take physical exercise and, thereafter, in the middle of the day enter his private apartments to dine with his wife. His food should be well tested and be such as will promote health, strength, energy and intellect. It should consist of various kinds of eatables, drink, and sweets, juicy and fragrant dishes as well as condiments, sauce, etc., that may keep him free from disease.”

 Let him thus promote the welfare of his people.


Manu - “Let the king take from trades-people and artisans one-fiftieth part of their profits in silver and gold, and one-sixth, one-eighth, or one-twelfth of agricultural produce such as rich.” If he takes it in cash instead of in kind, then too let him take it in such a way that the farmers and others would not suffer from poverty or from want of necessaries of life such as, food, drink and so on. Because when the people are rich, healthy and have abundance of necessaries of life, the king flourishes. Let him therefore make his subject happy as he would his own children, and let the people regard the king, his ministers and other officials as their natural protectors, since it is a fact that the farmers and other wealth producers are the real source of kingly power. The king is their guardian. If there were no subjects whose king would he be? Or on the other hand if there were no king whose subjects will they be called? Let both-the rulers and the ruled-be independent of each other in the performance of their respective duties, but let them subordinate themselves to each other in all those matters that require mutual harmony and co-operation. Let not the rulers go against the voice of the people, nor let the people and ministers do anything against the wish of the sovereign.

The political duties of kings have thus been briefly described. Let those who want to study this subjects in detail consult the four Vedas, the Manu Smriti, the Shukraniti, the Mahabhat and other books. The method of administering justice may be studied from the eighth and ninth chapters of Manu, but they are also described below: -

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