CHAPTER XVII – PROTECTION OF PRINCES

1HAVING secured his own personal safety first from his wives and sons, the king can be in a position to maintain the security of his kingdom against immediate enemies as well as foreign kings.
2We shall treat of “Protection of Wives” in connection with “Duties toward’s the Harem.”
3Ever since the birth of princes, the king shall take special care of them.
4“For,” says Bháradvája, “princes like crabs have a notorious tendency of eating up their begetter. When they are wanting in filial affection, they shall better be punished in secret (upámsudandah).”
5“This is,” says Visáláksha, “cruelty, destruction of fortune, and extirpation of the seed of the race of Kshattriyas. Hence it is better to keep them under guard in a definite place.”
6“This,” say the school of Parásara, “is akin to the fear from a lurking snake (ahibhayam); for a prince may think that apprehensive of danger, his father has locked him up, and may attempt to put his own father on his lap. Hence it is better to keep a prince under the custody of boundary guards or inside a fort.”
7“This,” says Pisuna, “is akin to the fear (from a wolf in the midst) of a flock of sheep (aurabhrakam bhayam); for after understanding the cause of his rustication, he may avail himself of the opportunity to, make an alliance with the boundary guards (against his father). Hence it is better to throw him inside a fort belonging to a foreign king far away from his own state.”
8“This,” says Kaunapadanta, “is akin to the position of a calf (vatsasthánam); for just as a man milks a cow with the help of its calf, so the foreign king may milk (reduce) the prince’s father. Hence it is better to make a prince live with his maternal relations.”
9“This,” says Vátavyádhi “is akin to the position of a flag (dhvajasthánamétat): for as in the case of Aditi and Kausika, the prince’s maternal relations may, unfurling this flag, go on begging. Hence princes may be suffered to dissipate their lives by sensual excesses (grámyadharma) inasmuch as revelling sons do not dislike their indulgent father.”
10“This,” says Kautilya, “is death in life; for no sooner is a royal family with a prince or princes given to dissipation attacked, than it perishes like a worm-eaten piece of wood. Hence when the queen attains the age favourable for procreation, priests shall offer to Indra and Brihaspati the requisite oblations. When she is big with a child, the king shall observe the instructions of midwifery with regard to gestation and delivery. After delivery, the priests shall perform the prescribed purificatory ceremonials. When the prince attains the necessary age, adepts shall train him under proper discipline.”
11“Any one of the classmate spies,” say (politicians known as) Ambhíyas, “may allure the prince towards hunting, gambling, liquor, and women, and instigate him to attack his own father and snatch the reins of government in his own hands. Another spy shall prevent him from such acts.”
12“There can be,” says Kautilya, “no greater crime or sin than making wicked impressions on an innocent mind; just as a fresh object is stained with whatever it is brought in close association, so a prince with fresh mind is apt to regard as scientific injunctions all that he is told of. Hence he shall be taught only of righteousness and of wealth (artha), but not of unrighteousness and of non-wealth. Classmate spies shall be so courteous towards him as to say “thine are we.” When under the temptation of youth, he turns his eye towards women, impure women under the disguise of Aryas shall, at night and in lonely places, terrify him; when fond of liquor, he shall be terrified by making him drink such liquor as is adulterated with narcotics (yógapána); when fond of gambling, he shall be terrified by spies under the disguise of fraudulent persons; when fond of hunting, he shall be terrified by spies under the disguise of highway robbers; and when desirous of attacking his own father, he shall, under the pretence of compliance, be gradually persuaded of the evil consequences of such attempts, by telling: a king is not made by a mere wish; failure of thy attempt will bring about thy own death; success makes thee fall into hell and causes the people to lament (for thy father) and destroy the only clod (ekalóshtavadhascha, i.e., thyself).”
13When a king has an only son who is either devoid of worldly pleasures or is a favourite child, the king may keep him under chains. If a king has many sons, he may send some of them to where there is no heir apparent, nor a child either just born or in the embryo.
14When a prince is possessed of good and amicable qualities, he may be made the commander-in-chief or installed as heir apparent.
15Sons are of three kinds: those of sharp intelligence; those of stagnant intelligence; and those of perverted mind.
16Whoever carries into practice whatever he is taught concerning righteousness and wealth is one of sharp intelligence; whoever never carries into practice the good instructions he has imbibed is one of stagnant intelligence; and whoever entangles himself in dangers and hates righteousness and wealth is one of perverted mind.
17If a king has an only son (of the last type), attempts shall be made to procreating a son to him; or sons may be begotten on his daughters.
18When a king is too old or diseased (to beget sons), he may appoint a maternal relation or a blood relation (kulya) of his or any one of his neighbouring kings possessed of good and amicable qualities to sow the seed in his own field (kshétrebíjam, i.e., to beget a son on his wife.)
19But never shall a wicked and an only son be installed on the royal throne.
20A royal father who is the only prop for many (people) shall be favourably disposed towards his son. Except in dangers, sovereignty falling to the lot of the eldest (son) is always respected. Sovereignty may (sometimes) be the property of a clan; for the corporation of clans is invincible in its nature and being free from the calamities of anarchy, can have a permanent existence on earth.