Mahabharata

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Contents
Section-I. Introduction
Section-II. Divine Origin of the King
Section-III. Virtues of the Ideal King
Section-IV. Duties of the King
Section-V. Recruitment of Government Officials
Section-VI. Revenue Administration
Section-VII. Caste System & Division of Labor
Notes
References
The Author

Section-I. Introduction
As regards the answer to the question, ‘which is the greatest literary creation in human history’, my unequivocal answer is: the great Indian Epic Mahabharata composed according to ancient Indian texts by the great sage and scholar Vyasadeva. The epic touches upon all aspects of human life, the complexities of human relations embracing all the conceivable strata of the society, the multifarious dimensions of clashes and contradictions & intricacies of the economic and political issues, the objectives and modus operandi of a welfare oriented state ensuring growth, equity and justice - in a nutshell, the essence of human knowledge embedded in all the ancient Indian texts on religion, laws, statecraft, economics and extra-mundane philosophy. In Santi Parva of the epic, most of the knowledge on statecraft, economics and moral philosophy are disseminated to the King Yudhisthira by their grand father Bhishma lying on deathbed of the arrows of Arjuna. He had to go through this ordeal as a punishment for a crime committed in the Heaven.1 About the origin of the vast body of knowledge, Bhishma states that in the Krita age2 people were righteous and honest. But soon greed, lust and other vices corrupted human society and it was at the point of losing all moral and ethical teachings learnt in course of millennia. The great thinkers and the gods approached the creator praying for the way out and in response the creator wrote a book covering hundred thousand chapters for salvation of human society. To quote: “The Grandsire then composed by his own intelligence a treatise consisting of a hundred thousand chapters. In it were treated the subject of Virtue, Profit, and Pleasure, which the Self-born designated as the triple aggregate. He treated of a fourth subject called Emancipation with opposite meaning and attributes. The triple aggregate in respect of emancipation, viz., to the attributes of Goodness, Passion, and Darkness, and another, (a fourth, viz., the practice of duty without hope of bliss or reward in this or the other world), were treated in it. Another triple aggregate connected with Chastisement, viz., Conversation, Growth, and Destruction, was treated in it. Another aggregate of six consisting of the hearts of men, place, time, means, overt acts, and alliances, and causes, were treated in it.” (Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Section-59, Ganguli, p.123). The book being too bulky and unmanageable by human beings with a short span of life, Lord Shiva, other gods and sages abridged the book with a view to facilitating human comprehension. To quote: “In view, however, of the gradual decrease of the period of life of human beings, the divine Siva abridged that science of grave import compiled by Brahman. The abridgment, called Vaisalaksha, consisting of ten thousand lessons, was then received by Indra. The divine Indra also abridged it into a treatise consisting of five thousand lessons and called it Vahudantaka. Afterwards the puissant Vrihaspati, by his intelligence, further abridged the work into a treatise consisting of three thousand lessons and called it Varhaspatya. Next, that preceptor of Yoga, of great celebrity, viz., Kavi of immeasurable wisdom, reduced it further into a work of a thousand lessons. In view of the period of men's lives and the general decrease (of everything), great Rishis did thus, for benefiting the world, abridge that science.” (Ibid. pp.125-26). According to ancient Indian belief, all the sastras embracing various aspects of human life had their sources in the magnum opus composed by the creator. From the above description of the origin of knowledge on all conceivable aspects...
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