(Last Updated on : 18-12-2010)
Calamities of Sovereignty which is mentioned in chapter I of Book VIII in Arthashastra
, draws the attention of the king towards the vices which can come in due course and affect not only the king but also his kingdom and deprive his people of all kinds of virtuous living. The calamities also known as national calamities which comes due to bad policies of the state or man's misdeeds basically indicates the types of vices or 'vyasnas' to which a man as well as a society falls a pray and looses his confidence to live a virtuous life. This strikes the beginning of decadence of a society which alarms Kautilya who lays down the methodology to overcome the situation of decadence which engulfs the king, his ministers, his army, his people, his ally as well as the financial condition of his kingdom.
Calamities of Sovereignty as such claims that it is the true duty of the king who attends to the business of appointing the ministers, priests and others to provide safety to all these and the common man in case they confront some natural troubles which occur in the form of vices. Kautilya specifies that a true and confident king should always be ready to apply all kinds of remedies against the troubles of his people and his kingdom; should adopt for progressive measures when his ministers fall in trouble; should always be ready to bestow rewards to the worthy and inflict punishment to the wicked; and should play a role of ideal king as he with prosperity, character, virtue and appearance impresses his people to be something like him. This shall according to Kautilya restore the level of virtue of the state to some extend as the people usually depend upon the king to for their downfall as well as growth.
Calamities of Sovereignty further stresses that all the activities which proceeds from the minister and of the people; or the activities like the successful accomplishment of the works of the people; security of the persons and property from the external as well as internal enemies; remedial methods for all calamities; colonisation and improvement of wild tracts of land, recruiting the army, collection of revenue and bestowal of favours are some of the vital responsibilities of the state which attract calamities. Likewise Kautilya
stresses that among other elements of sovereignty which include the forts, finance and the army, these depend on the people who can provide maximum utilization of these resources; also in case of buildings, trade agriculture, bravery, stability and power, such items should remain in abundance to avoid national calamities; in a country which is inhabited with people and which consists of mountains and islands as natural forts and when such a country consists of purely cultivators, troubles due to absence of fortification are apparent; while in a country which consists of purely warlike people, troubles that appear are due to the absence of an expansive and cultivable land. In case of calamities in the army, it can go to the enemy or kill the king. The financial kings can also go beyond a virtuous life and lead a life of vices.
Thus Calamities of Sovereignty mentions that whenever the Elements of Sovereignty
are in trouble the extent, affection, and strength of the serviceable-part can be the means of accomplishing a work; when any two elements of sovereignty are equally under troubles, they should be distinguished in respect of their progressive or declining tendency, provided that the good condition of the rest of the elements needs no description; when the calamities of a single element tend to destroy the rest of the elements, those calamities, whether they be of the fundamental or any other element, are verily serious. As such the king should be conscious enough to secure the elements of sovereignty to maintain the virtue of his people.