THE ANCIENT LAWS OF RULERSHIP AS IN MANU DHARMA SASTRA
The sapta Rishis revealed many rules and procedures on various subjects and topics based on the Vedas to Manu, the first ruler of the world, who was meditating on how to rule the world. Manu, while he was ruling the world, by the request of some Rishis he revealed the same to them and it is later coded as the Manu dharma sastra. Among many topics discussed, Manu dharma sastra also describes certain rules and procedures for a leader
shouldto rule the n.Some of the important points from it are given in this article.
The king is the ruler of the nation; the ruling king should decide the next king to rule his nation. It may be his own children or relative or the one who is capable to rule. The king must be trained in Raja dharma, just as how a Brahmana is trained in Vedas.
The king can have all the luxuries and facilities of the land, not for him to enjoy the luxuries, but use them to help the people and to protect them by any means. The king must have self-control and must not have anger, greed or lust. These three will destroy him and his nation.
A true and dedicated king is like a father to the nation. The subjects must feel comfortable with the king. They must feel free to meet the king at any time and at any place.
As soon as a king is coronated, he implements a dhanda (rod of power). The dhanda is also coronated along with the king. The king must impart laws to the dhanda, and do abhishekam for the dhanda. Any mistake done in administering the dhanda will result in corruption of the varnas and the downfall of his empire. The dhanda is the power of the king. This dhanda is referred to as shenkol in the modern day. Even when the king sleeps, the dhanda will be awake to implement justice. The king always has the dhanda with him. Even if he fails to follow dharma, the dhanda will instigate him. Even though dhanda is a rod like structure made of gold or silver, it is treated and respected like a king.
The king must treat all the varnas equally, and protect them all without any discrimination. If dharma is not followed by the king, then the king as well as his subjects will be destroyed. The king has the power to appoint the ministers equal to him in all ways. The ministers also should be well trained in the sastras, Vedas and must be free from anger, greed or lust. If the king has any doubt in administration, then he can get the advice of the ministers. The king must discuss protection, prosperity of the kingdom and the distribution of the revenue with the ministers on the day-to-day basis.
The king can appoint officials and with their help collect dhana (money) from the people as annual tax and it forms the dhana (revenue) of the nation. The king as well as the officials should not demand money but collect it following rules and vedic principles. The tax charged must not burden the giver, but must be like a contribution to help the nation. Revenue can also be collected from the business done with the other nations, and when the king conquers a nation their dhana can be added to the dhana of the nation. The revenue must be spent carefully for protection of the subjects and the nation, for free education, for the poor and needy. If any of the official misuse power or money or become corrupt then the king should protect the subjects and confiscate the money from the officials.
When the king of another nation is captured, the king as well as their people must be treated with respect; the captured king must be given place, all comforts and money to live the rest of the life in peace. If a soldier of his nation is killed in a battle, then the king should support the family of the soldier till the children becomes self-reliant. The king should not think even twice to kill the enemy whether he is outside or inside the nation.
The king must appoint a person well capable to deal with business, loyal, honest, good memory, fearless nature, good communication skill, patience, dignity and personality to deal with the other nations in all matters. He is called dhoota (ambassador). The success of a kingdom’s relationship with other kingdoms to a large extend depend on the dhoota.
The king has the power to form the law of the nation but that should benefit all the subjects. While punishing a subject he must consider the place, time, strength of the offence, the level of knowledge of the offender etc, then apply the law who has transgressed the law.
Each village will have a head and group of villages will also have a head and they report to the higher officials about the happenings in each village and thus the king is always well informed. Apart from it the king will personally go for rounds in the villages to know about the administration and the welfare of the people.
The king must be a very responsible, efficient and learned person.
These are the rules and the laws given in the dharma sastra of Manu as the seventh chapter – Raja dharma.