1(TEACHERS) say that (the word) sásana, command, (is applicable only to) royal writs (sásana).
2Writs are of great importance to kings inasmuch as treaties and ultimate leading to war depend upon writs.
3Hence one who is possessed of ministerial qualifications, acquainted with all kinds of customs, smart in composition, good in legible writing, and sharp in reading shall be appointed as a writer (lékhaka).
4Such a writer, having attentively listened to the king’s order and having well thought out the matter under consideration, shall reduce the order to writing.
5As to a writ addressed to a lord (ísvara), it shall contain a polite mention of his country, his possessions, his family and his name, and as to that addressed to a common man (anisvara), it shall make a polite mention of his country and name.
6Having paid sufficient attention to the caste, family, social rank, age, learning (sruta), occupation, property, character (síla), blood-relationship (yaunánubandha) of the addressee, as well as to the place and time (of writing), the writer shall form a writ befitting the position of the person addressed.
7Arrangement of subject-matter (arthakrama), relevancy (sambandha), completeness, sweetness, dignity, and lucidity are the necessary qualities of a writ.
8The act of mentioning facts in the order of their importance is arrangement.
9When subsequent facts are not contradictory to facts just or previously mentioned, and so on till the completion of the letter, it is termed relevancy.
10Avoidance of redundancy or deficiency in words or letters; impressive description of subject matter by citing reasons, examples, and illustrations; and the use of appropriate and suitably strong words (asrántapada) is completeness.
11The description in exquisite style of a good purport with a pleasing effect is sweetness.
12The use of words other than colloquial (agrámya) is dignity.
13The use of well-known words is lucidity.
14The alphabetical letters beginning with Akára are sixty-three.
15The combination of letters is a word (pada). The word is of four kinds—nouns, verbs, prefixes of verbs, and particles (nipáta).
16A noun is that which signifies an essence (satva).
17A verb is that which has no definite gender and signifies an action.
18‘Pra’ and other words are the prefixes of verbs.
19‘Cha’ and other indeclinable words are particles.
20A group of words conveying a complete sense is a sentence (vákya).
21Combination of words (varga) consisting of not more than three words and not less than one word shall be so formed as to harmonise with the meaning of immediately following words.
22The word, ‘iti,’ is used to indicate the completion of a writ; and also to indicate an oral message as in the phrase ‘váchikamasyeti,’ an oral message along with this (writ).
23Calumniation (nindá), commendation, inquiry, narration request, refusal, censure, prohibition, command, conciliation, promise of help, threat, and persuasion are the thirteen purposes for which writs are issued.
24Calumniation (nindá) consists in speaking ill of one’s family, body and acts.
25Commendation (prasamsá) consists in praising one’s family, person, and acts.
26To inquire ‘how is this?’ is inquiry.
27To point out the way as ‘thus,’ is narration (ákhyána).
28To entreat as ‘give,’ is request.
29To say that ‘I do not give,’ is refusal.
30To say that ‘it is not worthy of thee,’ is censure (upálambhah).
31To say as ‘do not do so,’ is prohibition (pratishedha).
32To say that ‘this should be done,’ is command (chódaná).
33To say ‘what I am, thou art that; whichever article is mine is thine also, is conciliation (sántvam).
34To hold out help in trouble is promise of help (abhyavapattih).
35Pointing out the evil consequences that may occur in future is threat (abhibartsanam).
36Persuasion is of three kinds: that made for the purpose of money, that made in case of one’s failure to fulfill a promise, and that made on occasion of any trouble.
37Also writs of information, of command, and of gift; likewise writs of remission, of licence, of guidance, of reply, and of general proclamation are other varieties.
38Thus says (the messenger); so says (the king); if there is any truth in this (statement of the messenger), then the thing (agreed to) should at once be surrendered; (the messenger) has informed the king of all the deeds of the enemy. (Parakára);—this is the writ of information which is held to be of various forms.
39Wherever and especially regarding Government servants the king’s order either for punishment or for rewards is issued, it is called writ of command (ájnálékha).
40Where the bestowal of honour for deserving merit is contemplated either as help to alleviate affliction (ádhi) or as gift (paridána), there are issued writs of gift (upagrahalekha).
41Whatever favour (anugraha) to special castes, cities, villages, or countries of various description is announced in obedience to the king’s order, it is called writ of remission (pariháralékha) by those who know it.
42Likewise licence or permission (nisrishti) shall be enjoined either in word or deed; accordingly it is styled verbal order or writ of licence.
43Various kinds of providential visitations or well ascertained evils of human make are believed to be the cause for issuing writs of guidance (pravrittilékha) to attempt remedies against them.
44When having read a letter and discussed as to the form of reply thereto, a reply in accordance with the king’s order is made, it is called a writ of reply (pratilékha).
45When the king directs his viceroys (isvara) and other officers to protect and give material help to travellers either on roads or in the interior of the country, it is termed writ of general proclamation (sarvatraga lekha)
46Negotiation, bribery, causing dissension, and open attack are forms of stratagem (upáya).
47Negotiation is of five kinds: Praising the qualities (of an enemy), narrating the mutual relationship, pointing out mutual benefit, showing vast future prospects, and identity of interests.
48When the family, person, occupation, conduct, learning, properties, etc. (of an enemy) are commended with due attention to their worth, it is termed praising the qualities (gunasankírthana).
49When the fact of having agnates, blood-relations, teachers (maukha), priestly heirarchy (srauva), family, and friends in common is pointed out, it is known as narration of mutual relationship (sambandhópakhyána).
50When both parties, the party of a king and that of his enemy are shown to be helpful to each other, it is known as pointing out mutual benefit (parasparópakárasamdarsanam).
51Inducement such as ‘this being done thus, such result will accrue to both of us,’ is showing vast future prospects (Ayátipradarsanam).
52To say ‘what I am, that thou art; thou mayest utilize in thy works whatever is mine,’ is identity of interests (átmópanidhánam).
53Offering money is bribery (upapradána).
54Causing fears and suspicion as well as threatening is known as sowing dissension.
55Killing, harassing, and plundering is attack (danda).
56Clumsiness, contradiction, repetition, bad grammar, and misarrangement are the faults of a writ.
57Black and ugly leaf, (kálapatrakamacháru) and uneven and uncoloured (virága) writing cause clumsiness (akánti).
58Subsequent portion disagreeing with previous portion of a letter, causes contradiction (vyágháta).
59Stating for a second time what has already been said above is repetition.
60Wrong use of words in gender, number, time and case is bad grammar (apasabda).
61Division of paragraphs (varga) in unsuitable places, omission of necessary division of paragraphs, and violation of any other necessary qualities of a writ constitute misarrangement (samplava).
62Having followed all sciences and having fully observed forms of writing in vogue, these rules of writing royal writs have been laid down by Kautilya in the interest of kings.