Influence of Philosophy on Ancient Indian States - Informative & researched article on Influence of Philosophy on Ancient Indian States
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Home > Reference > Indian Administration > History of Indian Administrative System > Indian Administrative System in Ancient Period > Influence of Philosophy on Ancient Indian States
Influence of Philosophy on Ancient Indian States
Philosophical concepts did influence the state of ancient India. The king was regarded as the protector and enforcer of Dharma.
 The king despite having faith on religious and political concepts did not make the state theocratic. It was the king's duty to promote goodness and religiousness by extending equal patronage to all religions. The customary laws that were enforced were approved by the social conscience. These functions were discharged through officers like the dharmamahamatras and the vinayasthitisthapakas. He was not an agent of a particular religion or working to promote its interests or in quest to carry out its commands. The influence of theological, religious and philosophical concepts on state in ancient India was moderate.

The concept of Dharma was considered as the ultimate and supreme power. It was responsible for the king being struck by Dharmadanda three times in the coronation ceremony. Dharma was also responsible to make him lead his whole life as dedicated to duty, dhritavrata. King's duties were conceived as Rajadharma. Its violation was ultimately punishable by God. King was accountable to God, who was to punish him in a suitable manner. This concept of the supremacy of Dharma prevented the development of a reasoned philosophy of the rights of the people.

The doctrine of Karma has influenced the polity. At one stage of its development this doctrine believed in the possibility of an individual's karma being transferable to another. The theory of the supremacy of the moral order is suggestive of a moral state which should have no sinners or thieves. It was responsible for the articulation of the code of righteous war which was followed to some extent. The state was to struggle for the realisation of the moral, religious, social and economic life.

The king has also been considered as Divine Guardian. When theory of incarnation became popular, the king was regarded as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Some of the rulers considered their kingdoms as God gifted. Some regarded themselves being presided over by their deity Kartikeya. Aparigraha gospel is responsible for the ideal of self-denial placed before the king. Those who practised aparigraha should not be imposed any economic burden.

The logic that every thing here is Brahman was counterpoised by the gospel of the caste system which allowed social and economic inequalities. It can be concluded that religious and philosophical concepts did not deeply influence the state.

(Last Updated on : 17/11/2011)
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