scales of officials.
Book 6 is very short, containing only two chapters, but both are
important, since they set out the theoretical basis for the whole work. The
first chapter sets out the theory of the constituent elements of a state and the
second the theory of foreign policy.
Book 7 contains an exhaustive discussion on the way in which each of
the six methods of foreign policy may be used in various situations that are
likely to arise in the conduct of foreign policy.
Book 8 is concerned with vyasanas, usually translated as calamities,
which may adversely affect the efficient functioning of the various
Book 9 deals with preparations for war and includes topics such as:
different kinds of troops that could be mobilized, proper conditions for
starting an expedition and dangers to be guarded against before starting.
Book 10 is concerned with fighting and describes the main battle camp,
types of battle arrays and different modes of fighting.
Book 11 has only one chapter and describes how a conqueror should
tackle oligarchies governed by a group of chiefs instead of a single king.
Book 12 shows how a weak king, when threatened by a stronger king,
should frustrate the latter’s designs and ultimately overcome him.
Book 13 is concerned with the conquest of the enemy’s fort by
subterfuge or by fighting. It also describes how the conquered territories
should be ruled.
Book 14 deals with secret and occult practices.
Book 15 describes the methodology and the logical techniques used in
Though the placement of some books and some chapters may not seem
strictly logical, it can be said that, by and large, the first five books deal with
internal administration and the last eight on a state’s relations with its
Nature and Significance
Kautilya’s precepts are of universal applicability. His counsels on the
relationship between the ruler and the ruled, on the role of the state in