CHAPTER XVI – THE MISSION OF ENVOYS

1WHOEVER has succeeded as a councillor is an envoy.
2Whoever possesses ministerial qualifications is a chargé-d’affaires (nisrishtárthah).
3Whoever possesses the same qualifications less by one-quarter is an agent entrusted with a definite mission (parimitárthah).
4Whoever possesses the same qualifications less by one-half is a conveyer of royal writs (sásanaharah).
5Having made excellent arrangements for carriage, conveyance, servants and subsistence, he (an envoy) shall start on his mission, thinking that “the enemy shall be told thus: the enemy (para) will say, thus; this shall be the reply to him; and thus he shall be imposed upon.”
6The envoy shall make friendship with the enemy’s officers such as those in charge of wild tracts, of boundaries, of cities, and of country parts. He shall also contrast the military stations, sinews of war, and strong-holds of the enemy with those of his own master. He shall ascertain the size and area of forts and of the state, as well as strongholds of precious things and assailable and unassailable points.
7Having obtained permission, he shall enter into the capital of the enemy and state the object of the mission as exactly as entrusted to him even at the cost of his own life.
8Brightness in the tone, face, and eyes of the enemy; respectful reception of the mission; enquiry about the health of friends; taking part in the narration of virtues; giving a seat close to the throne; respectful treatment of the envoy; remembrance of friends; closing the mission with satisfaction;–all these shall be noted as indicating the good graces of the enemy and the reverse his displeasure.
9A displeased enemy maybe told: “Messengers are the mouth-pieces of kings, not only of thyself, but of all; hence messengers who, in the face of weapons raised against them, have to express their mission as exactly as they are entrusted with do not, though outcasts, deserve death; where is then reason to put messengers of Bráhman caste to death? This is another’s speech. This (i.e., delivery of that speech verbatim) is the duty of messengers.”
10Not puffed up with the respects shown to him, he shall stay there till he is allowed to depart. He shall not care for the mightiness of the enemy; shall strictly avoid women and liquor; shall take bed single; for it is well-known that the intentions of envoys are ascertained while they are asleep or under the influence of liquor.
11He shall, through the agency of ascetic and merchant spies or through their disciples or through spies under the disguise of physicians, and heretics, or through recipients of salaries from two states (ubhayavétana), ascertain the nature of the intrigue prevalent among parties favourably disposed to his own master, as well as the conspiracy of hostile factions, and understand the loyalty or disloyalty of the people to the enemy besides any assailable points.
12If there is no possibility of carrying on any such conversation (conversation with the people regarding their loyalty), he may try to gather such information by observing the talk of beggars, intoxicated and insane persons or of persons babbling in sleep, or by observing the signs made in places of pilgrimage and temples or by deciphering paintings and secret writings (chitra-gúdha-lékhya-samjñá-bhih).
13Whatever information he thus gathers he shall try to test by intrigues.
14He shall not check the estimate which the enemy makes of the elements of sovereignty of his own master; but he shall only say in reply, ‘All is known to thee.’ Nor shall he disclose the means employed (by his master) to achieve an end in view.
15If he has not succeeded in his mission, but is still detained, he shall proceed to infer thus:
16Whether seeing the imminent danger into which my master is likely to fall and desirous of averting his own danger; whether in view of inciting against my master an enemy threatening in the rear or a king whose dominion in the rear is separated by other intervening states; whether in view of causing internal rebellion in my master’s state, or of inciting a wild chief (átavika) against my master; whether in view of destroying my master by employing a friend or a king whose dominion stretches out in the rear of my master’s state (ákranda); whether with the intention of averting the internal trouble in his own state or of preventing a foreign invasion or the inroads of a wild chief; whether in view of causing the approaching time of my master’s expedition to lapse; whether with the desire of collecting raw materials and merchandise, or of repairing his fortifications, or of recruiting a strong army capable to fight; whether waiting for the time and opportunity necessary for the complete training of his own army; or whether in view of making a desirable alliance in order to avert the present contempt brought about by his own carelessness, this king detains me thus?
17Then he may stay or get out as he deems it desirable; or he may demand a speedy settlement of his mission.
18Or having intimated an unfavourable order (sásana) to the enemy, and pretending apprehension of imprisonment or death, he may return even without permission; otherwise he may be punished.
19Transmission of missions, maintenance of treaties, issue of ultimatum (pratápa), gaining of friends, intrigue, sowing dissension among friends, fetching secret force; carrying away by stealth relatives and gems, gathering information about the movements of spies, bravery, breaking of treaties of peace, winning over the favour of the envoy and government officers of the enemy,—these are the duties of an envoy (dúta).
20The king shall employ his own envoys to carry on works of the above description, and guard himself against (the mischief of) foreign envoys by employing counter envoys, spies, and visible and invisible watchmen.