CHAPTER IV –  VARTA AND DANDANITI

1AGRICULTURE, cattle-breeding and trade constitute Varta. It is most useful in that it brings in grains, cattle, gold, forest produce (kupya), and free labour (vishti). It is by means of the treasury and the army obtained solely through Varta that the king can hold under his control both his and his enemy’s party.
2That sceptre on which the well-being and progress of the sciences of Anvikshaki, the triple Vedas, and Varta depend is known as Danda (punishment). That which treats of Danda is the law of punishment or science of government (dandaniti).
3It is a means to make acquisitions, to keep them secure, to improve them, and to distribute among the deserved the profits of. improvement. It is on this science of government that the course of the progress of the world depends.
4“Hence,” says my teacher, “whoever is desirous of the progress of the world shall ever hold the sceptre raised (udyatadanda). Never can there be a better instrument than the sceptre to bring people under control.”
5“No,” says Kautilya; for whoever imposes severe punishment becomes repulsive to the people; while he who awards mild punishment becomes contemptible. 6But whoever imposes punishment as deserved becomes respectable. For punishment (danda) when awarded with due consideration, makes the people devoted to righteousness and to works productive of wealth and enjoyment; while punishment, when ill-awarded under the influence of greed and anger or owing to ignorance, excites fury even among hermits and ascetics dwelling in forests, not to speak of householders.
7But when the law of punishment is kept in abeyance, it gives rise to such disorder as is implied in the proverb of fishes (matsyanyayamudbhavayati); for in the absence of a magistrate (dandadharabhave), the strong will swallow the weak; but under his protection, the weak resist the strong.
8This people (loka) consisting of four castes and four orders of religious life, when governed by the king with his sceptre, will keep to their respective paths, ever devotedly adhering to their respective duties and occupations.
9Thus ends Chapter IV, “Determination of the Place of Varta and of Dandaniti” among Sciences in Book I, “Concerning Discipline” of the Arthasástra of Kautilya. “The End of Sciences” is completed.