Science of Governance by Swami Dayanand Saraswati

  • By Swami Dayanand Saraswati
  • March 2001

Questions and Answers on Governance     

Q. - Who shall punish the king or the queen, the Lord Chief Justice or his wife, if any one of them commits such wicked crimes as adultery?
A.- The Assembly (or the court of justice). They should be punished even more severely than other people.

Q.- Why will the king and other high personages suffer the Assembly (or the court of justice) to punish them?
A. - What is a king but a man endowed with virtue and favored by fortune. Where he to go unpunished, why would others obey the law? Besides if the people and other persons in authority and the Assembly would deem it just and necessary to punish the king, how can he single-handed refuse to suffer punishment? Was king and other high personages to go free, the king, ministers, and other men of influence and power would simply set justice and righteousness at naught, sink into the depths of injustice and ruin the people as well as themselves.

Remember ye the teaching of the Vedic text that says “Verily the just Law alone is the true king, yes; the just Law is the true religion.” Whosoever violates it is lowest of the low.

Q.- How can it be right to inflict such severe punishments, since man has no power to make a limb or bring the dead to life again?
A. - Whosoever calls it severe punishment is ignorant of the true principles of Right Government. The infliction of a heavy punishment on one man prevents others from committing similar crimes, and tends to keep them steadfast in righteousness. Truly speaking this so-called heavy punishment is no heavier than the weight of a mustard seed when distributed among all the members of a community, whilst so-called light punishment, by its failure to check crime, is really a thousand times heavier than the first, as it is multiplied a thousand times by the proportional increase of crime Now take for an illustration a community of one thousand persons. If every one of them be punished, say, one pound each, the total punishment will be one thousand pounds, whilst if one man in this community of one thousand persons be punished, say, one hundred pounds and should that punishment succeed in preventing the repetition of similar crimes, the total punishment will not be more than a hundred pounds, which is ten times less than one thousand pounds. Thus the seemingly light punishment in the long run turns out to be the heavier one.

Manu -“Let the king impose toll on all the ships and boats passing up and down sea-canals (or bays) and rivers-big and small-proportionate to the length of the country that they traverse; at sea no settled duty can be imposed, hence let him do what best suits the occasion. Let him in such cases make laws that my prove beneficial both to the state and the proprietors of ships.

 Let him always protect his subjects, who go to different foreign lands by means of these ships, wherever they are. Let them never suffer in any way.

 “Let the king daily watch the results of various measures (adopted for the good of the state, etc.) inspect elephants, horses and other conveyances, inquire into his income and expenditure, inspect his mines of precious gems, and his treasury.

 A king who discharges all these duties most faithfully is freed from all taint of sin, and shall attain to the Supreme State.”

Q.- Is the ancient Aryan system of Government perfect or imperfect?
A. - Perfect; because all other systems of Government, that prevail at person or shall prevail, have and will have for their basis the Aryan system of Government. The laws that have not been declared expressly have been provided for by the text. “Let the Parliament composed of scholars, frame such laws as are just and beneficial to the rulers and the ruled”

Let the king as well as his advisers bear in mind that early marriage must not, be allowed, nor the marriage of grown us people without mutual consent. Let the king encourage the practice of Brahmacharya; let him put a stop to prostitution and the custom of plurality of wives (as polygamy, etc.) so that both body and soul may attain perfect strength and power. For if only mental powers and knowledge be developed, but not physical strength, one man of great physical strength may vanquish hundreds of scholars. On the other hand if physical strength alone be sought after and not mental, the high duties of Government can never be rightly discharged. Without proper training and requisite knowledge and without the proper discharge of these duties, there can be harmony. All will the discord, division, mutual disputes, quarrels and feuds that ultimately all. Let, therefore both mind and body be developed. There is nothing more prejudicial to the growth of physical and mental powers than prostitution and excessive sexual indulgence. Kshatriyas should, in particular, be physically strong and possess well-developed bodies, because if they be lascivious, the government of the country is irrevocably ruined. The proverb "As is the king, so shall the people be” should never be lost sight of. It, therefore behoves the king and other high personages never to misconduct themselves. Instead, let them always set a good example to others in the matter of just and righteous living.

 Thus have the duties of Rulers been briefly described. Those, who want to study them in detail, are referred to the Vedas, the seventh, eighth and ninth chapters of Manu, the Shukraniti, Vidurprajagar, Rajadharma, and Apatadharma, chapters of Shantiparva of the Mahabharata. They should perfectly master the science and art of government, and rule one country or Empire or the whole earth.

Yajur Veda - Let all understand “We are the subjects of the Lord of the Universe-the king of kings, He is true king and we are all His humble servants,” May we in this world, through His mercy, be privileged to occupy kingly and other high offices and may He make us the means of advancing His Eternal Justice

And so ends this discourse by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. It is brief and gives us an insight into governance in Bharat. As referred to above, we would need to study a lot more for exhaustive knowledge on the governance.

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