parts of the world were steeped in intellectual
traditionally included at the end of the work) destroyed the Nanda dynasty
and installed Chandragupta Maurya on the throne of Magadha. The name
‘Kautilya’ denotes that he is of the kutila gotra; ‘Chanakya’ shows him to be
the son of Chanaka and ‘Vishnugupta’ was his personal name.
Kautilya’s Arthasastra had never been forgotten in India and is often
mentioned in later literature. But the text itself was not available in modern
times until, dramatically, a full text on palm leaf in the grantha script, along
with a fragment of an old commentary by Bhattasvamin, came into the hands
of Dr. R. Shamasastry of Mysore in 1904. He published the text (1909) and
an English translation (1915). Subsequently another original manuscript and
some fragments, in a variety of scripts, were discovered as well as old
commentaries of the text. Dr. R. P. Kangle of the University of Bombay
devoted many years to comparing the various texts and translations.
The text contains fifteen adhikaranas or books. The first chapter of Book
1 is a detailed table of contents and in one verse, states that the text has 150
chapters, 180 prakaranas and six thousand verses in all. A prakarana is a
section devoted to a specific topic; the number of chapters is not the same as
the number of sections because sometimes a chapter deals with more than
one topic and sometimes a topic is spread over more than one chapter. The
Arthasastra is mainly in prose of the sutra form, with only 380 shlokas. It
may be useful to have a brief indication of the contents of the different books.
Book 1 begins with a brief introduction, setting the Arthasastra in the
context of other sciences, it then goes on to deal with the King—his training,
the appointment of ministers and other officers of the state, the daily routine
to be followed by the ruler and his safety and security.
Book 2 describes the duties of the various executive officers of the state
and gives a full picture of state activities in agriculture, mining, leisure
activities and so on.
Book 3, which is concerned with law and the administration of justice,
reproduces a complete code of law.
Book 4 deals with the suppression of crime and includes sections on
detection of crime, control over merchants and artisans, torture and capital