Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 June 2019
This chapter explores the political philosophy of the original text, which was probably called the Daṇḍanīti. It shows that the original composition was characterized by a thoroughly empirical and pragmatic approach to politics. The statecraft tradition was devoted entirely to the political success of the king, and the only constraints recognized on his sovereign power are those arising from material conditions and practical circumstances. There is no conception in the original text that unseen mechanisms, such as the sacred law of dharma, had any effect on the development of successful state policy. Nor is the statecraft tradition guided by any "secular values" such as liberty, rights, or justice. Its focus is on discrete strategies that lead to the success of the king.