king’s favour as well as whatever debts were incurred by it for the common
purpose. On the other hand, members were prohibited from mutual
combination and unlawful bearing of arms, as well as mutual conflicts. A
member who injured the common interest or insulted those who were learned
in the Vedas was to be awarded the extreme penalty of banishment.
Weights and Measures
Scope and Nature
The tulamana or ‘measure’ is one of the philosophical categories
encompassing under it quantity, mass, number (rasi), size, and weight. It
pertains to gross elements in aggregate and conglomerate mass.
We know from the Arthasastra and from Panini that attempts were made
from time to time in ancient India to ensure a standard of uniformity for
weights and measures in certain states.
Items were weighed in a tula or balance, against commonplace objects
like seeds, grains of barley, berries, shells, and so on, and a system of
weights, often hypothetical, worked out. Many of the weights were
descriptively named after the seed, shell or berry in question. Weights were
also closely linked with coinage, and several coins were named after the
weights used. Measures of capacity, including liquid measures, were gauged
by the cupped hands, by jars, buckets and baskets, and used interchangeably
with weights. Measures of capacity were also related to measures of area, for
example the drona, ‘bucketful’, a measure of dry and liquid capacity, was
also a square measure, the latter determined by the acreage that could be
sown with one bucketful of corn.
A similar flexibility existed in the systems of linear measures. The result
was that a given system of weights and measures was only valid in a
particular period and a particular area. A kakini or a kishku in fifth century
Ujjain differed appreciably from the same weight and measure in Pataliputra.
The details below give a very rough scale covering the most important of all