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Nitisara, or the Nitisara of Kamandaki, is an ancient Indian treatise, narrating the elements of polity and statecraft. It was authored by Kamandaka, also known as Kamandaki or Kamandakiya, who was a disciple of Chanakya. It is traditionally dated to the 4th-3rd century BCE,[1] though modern scholarship variously dates it to between the 3rd and 8th centuries CE between Gupta and Harsha period and its in fact a recension based on Sukra Nitisara of 4th century BCE.[2] It contains 19 sections.[1] The work has been dedicated to Chandragupta of Pataliputra.[1] Scholars presume that the work was modelled after the Hitopadesha.[1]

Nitisara remains the most popular work on polity of all the Sanskrit literature of the Island of Bali.[1]

The book

Nitisara contains 20 sargas (chapters) and 36 prakarans. It is based on the Arthasastra of Kautilya and deals with various social elements such as theories of social order, structure of the state, obligations of the ruler, governmental organization, principles and policies of the government, interstate relationships, ethics of envoys and spies, application of different political expedients, varieties of battle arrays, attitude towards morality, and so forth.[3]

Similarities with Arthasastra

Nitisara shares several common aspects with Arthasastra including mastering of control over the senses including practicing of ahimsa; maintaining balance among dharma, artha and kama; emphasizing the importance of knowledge and intelligence; the seven prakrits and twelve vijigisus in a circle of kings or mandala theory; six measures of foreign policy; the upayas in which there is no war mongering and use of force as the last resort; issues of disasters (vysanas) that may afflict the constituent elements (prakrits) and how to overcome them prior to the execution of a policy; duties of diplomats and intelligence gathering; and aspects of war and use of power by sticking to the priorities of mantra-shakti (counsel or diplomacy), prabhav-shakti (economic and military power), and utsah-shakti (leadership).[4]

Nitisara differs from Arthasastra in that the former focuses on valour and the military qualities of the ruler, whereas the latter was dependent on deliverance of kingly duties.[4]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Dutt, Manmatha Nath (Ed.). (1896). Kamandakiya Nitisara or The Elements of Polity (PDF). Calcutta: Elysium Press. pp. i–.
  2. Kaushik Roy (2012). Hinduism and the Ethics of Warfare in South Asia: From Antiquity to the Present. Cambridge University Press. p. 137.
  3. Mitra, Raja Rajendra Lala (Ed.). (2008). The Nitisara by Kamandaki. The Asiatic Society.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gautam, P. K. (19 January 2018). "The Nitisara or the Elements of Polity by Kamandaka: Continuity and Change from Kautilya's Arthashastra". Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Retrieved 13 July 2019.

Further reading

  • Manmatha Nath Dutt (Ed.). (1896). Kamandakiya Nitisara or The Elements of Polity (in English). Calcutta, India: Elysium Press. (276 p.)
  • Raja Rajendra Lala Mitra (Ed.). (2008). The Nitisara by Kamandaki (Sisir Kumar Mitra, Trans.). The Asiatic Society. (472 p.)