Content of Book I
The content of Book I includes the life of the king and the life sciences. Kautilya mentions Anvikshaki which mentions the three forms of life namely, Vedas, Vartas and Danda-Niti where Vedas concern with the philosophies, Varta comprises of cattle -breeding, agriculture and trade while Dandaniti includes the science of statecraft. All these together form the core of a State run by an ethical ruler. Further Anvikshaki comprises the philosophies of Shankhya, Yoga and Lokayata. While the schools of Manu say there are only three schools of life, Brihaspaty says two and Usana says one, Kautilya assumes there are four life sciences, alongwith the existing three which defines the righteousness and non righteousness of a moral life. The third chapter describes the role of the Vedas in describing the role of the community. While describing the sources of the Vedas it at same time describes the role of a Brahmin, Shatriya, Vaishkya and Sudra. It at the same time describes the role played during Brahmacharin, Parivarajaka, Vanyapraswtha and Anantya Jeevan. The other part includes the role of Varta which includes the pastoral life, cattle breeding animals and their production, agriculture and trade. It also takes into consideration the role played by the forest life and income earned from them and their role to save the boundaries of the state which is followed by the chapter on the aged people.
The aged group of the society is the responsibility of the king who along with all his possessions takes special care for the dependents. Chapter Six describes the six enemies from which the king is supposed to restrain himself in case of avoiding lust and treachery. As a saintly king he is instructed to be away from certain vices which will help him to run a better administration. Chapter VIII and IX advises the king to form ministers with councillors and priests who hold significant place in the court. The following chapters lay down the norms for the kin g to avoid temptation and remain righteous as well as virtuous. It further describes the relevance of the spy system and creation of the spies all over the country to intercept the in build enmity. It further gives detailed descriptions of protection of parties and winning over factions of enemies. A major party of the book concerns itself with the business of council of ministers and their working .the rest of the chapter describes the mission of the envoys, the duty of a King towards the princes , security of the princes and their life of restrains from vices as well as the protection of the king himself. Overall the king is supposed to look after all these subjects who are living under his protection .Along with his remaining ethical and morally responsible he is supposed to administer his duties with utmost loyalty.
Thus, the first book of Arthashastra provides a moral preaching to the king according to which the kin g is supposed to live. Briefly then it includes the end of sciences; association with the aged ; restraint of the organs of sense; the creation of ministers; the creation of councillors and priests; ascertaining by temptations purity or impurity in the character of ministers; the institution of spies; protection of parties for or against one's own cause in one's own state ; winning over the factions for or against an enemy's cause in an enemy's state; the business of council meeting; the mission of envoys; protection of princes; the conduct of a prince kept under restraint; treatment of a prince kept under restraint; the duties of a king; duty towards the harem and personal safety.