CHAPTER XXIV – THE SUPERINTENDENT OF AGRICULTURE
1POSSESSED of the knowledge of the science of agriculture dealing with the plantation of bushes and trees (krishitantragulmavrikshsháyurvedajñah), or assisted by those who are trained in such sciences, the superintendent of agriculture shall in time collect the seeds of all kinds of grains, flowers, fruits, vegetables, bulbous roots, roots, pállikya (?), fibre-producing plants, and cotton.
2He shall employ slaves, labourers, and prisoners (dandapratikartri) to sow the seeds on crown-lands which have been often and satisfactorily ploughed.
3The work of the above men shall not suffer on account of any want in ploughs (karshanayantra) and other necessary instruments or of bullocks. Nor shall there be any delay in procuring to them the assistence of blacksmiths, carpenters, borers (medaka), ropemakers, as well as those who catch snakes, and similar persons.
4Any loss due to the above persons shall be punished with a fine equal to the loss.
5The quantity of rain that falls in the country of jángala is 16 dronas; half as much more in moist countries (anúpánám); as to the countries which are fit for agriculture (désavápánam);–13½ dronas in the country of asmakas; 23 dronas in avantí; and an immense quantity in western countries (aparántánám), the borders of the Himalayas, and the countries where water channels are made use of in agriculture (kulyávápánám).
6When one-third of the requisite quantity of rain falls both during the commencement and closing months of the rainy season and two-thirds in the middle, then the rainfall is (considered) very even (sushumárúpam).
7A forecast of such rainfall can be made by observing the position, motion, and pregnancy (garbhádána) of the Jupiter (Brihaspati), the rise and set and motion of the Venus, and the natural or unnatural aspect of the sun.
8From the sun, the sprouting of the seeds can be inferred; from (the position of) the Jupiter, the formation of grains (stambakarita) can be inferred; and from the movements of the Venus, rainfall can be inferred.
9Three are the clouds that continuously rain for seven days; eighty are they that pour minute drops; and sixty are they that appear with the sunshine–this is termed rainfall. Where rain, free from wind and unmingled with sunshine, falls so as to render three turns of ploughing possible, there the reaping of good harvest is certain.
10Hence, i.e., according as the rainfall is more or less, the superintendent shall sow the seeds which require either more or less water.
11Sáli (a kind of rice), vríhi (rice), kodrava (Paspalum Scrobiculatum), tila (sesamum), priyangu (panic seeds), dáraka (?), and varaka (Phraseolus Trilobus) are to be sown at the commencement (púrvávápah) of the rainy season.
12Mudga (Phraseolus Mungo), másha (Phraseolus Radiatus), and saibya (?) are to be sown in the middle of the season.
13Kusumbha (safflower), masúra (Ervum Hirsutum), kuluttha (Dolichos Uniflorus), yava (barley), godhúma (wheat), kaláya (leguminus seeds), atasi (linseed), and sarshapa (mustard) are to be sown last.
14Or seeds may be sown according to the changes of the season.
15Fields that are left unsown (vápátiriktam, i.e., owing to the inadequacy of hands) may be brought under cultivation by employing those who cultivate for half the share in the produce (ardhasítiká); or those who live by their own physical exertion (svavíryopajívinah) may cultivate such fields for ¼th or 1/5th of the produce grown; or they may pay (to the king) as much as they can without entailing any hardship upon themselves (anavasitam bhágam), with the exception of their own private lands that are difficult to cultivate.
16Those who cultivate irrigating by manual labour (hastaprávartimam) shall pay 1/5th of the produce as water-rate (udakabhágam); by carrying water on shoulders (skandhaprávartimam) ¼th of the produce; by water-lifts (srotoyantraprávartimam), ⅓rd of the produce; and by raising water from rivers, lakes, tanks, and wells (nadisarastatákakúpodghátam),⅓rd or ¼th of the produce.
17The superintendent shall grow wet crops (kedára), winter-crops (haimana), or summer crops (graishmika) according to the supply of workmen and water.
18Rice-crops and the like are the best (jyáshtha, i.e., to grow); vegetables (shanda) are of intermediate nature; and sugarcane crops (ikshu) are the worst (pratyavarah, i.e., very difficult to grow), for they are subject to various evils and require much care and expenditure to reap.
19Lands that are beaten by foam (phenághátah, i.e., banks of rivers, etc.) are suitable for growing vallíphala (pumpkin, gourd and the like); lands that are frequently overflown by water (paríváhánta) for long pepper, grapes (mridvíká), and sugarcane; the vicinity of wells for vegetables and roots; low grounds (hariníparyantáh) for green crops; and marginal furrows between any two rows of crops are suitable for the plantation of fragrant plants, medicinal herbs, cascus roots (usínara), híra (?), beraka (?), and pindáluka (lac) and the like.
20Such medicinal herbs as grow in marshy grounds are to be grown not only in grounds suitable for them, but also in pots (sthályam).
21The seeds of grains are to be exposed to mist and heat (tushárapáyanamushnam cha) for seven nights; the seeds of kosi are treated similarly for three nights; the seeds of sugarcane and the like (kándabíjánam) are plastered at the cut end with the mixture of honey, clarified butter, the fat of hogs, and cowdung; the seeds of bulbous roots (kanda) with honey and clarified butter; cotton seeds (asthibíja) with cow-dung; and water pits at the root of trees are to be burnt and manured with the bones and dung of cows on proper occasions.
22The sprouts of seeds, when grown, are to be manured with a fresh haul of minute fishes and irrigated with the milk of snuhi (Euphorbia Antiquorum).
23Where there is the smoke caused by burning the essence of cotton seeds and the slough of a snake, there snakes will not stay.
24Always while sowing seeds, a handful of seeds bathed in water with a piece of gold shall be sown first and the following mantra recited:
25“Salutation to God Prajápati Kasyapa. Agriculture may always flourish and the Goddess (may reside) in seeds and wealth. Channdavata he.”
26Provisions shall be supplied to watchmen, slaves and labourers in proportion to the amount of work done by them.
27They shall be paid a pana-and-a-quarter per mensem. Artisans shall be provided with wages and provision in proportion to the amount of work done by them.
28Those that are learned in the Vedas and those that are engaged in making penance may take from the fields ripe flowers and fruits for the purpose of worshipping their gods, and rice and barley for the purpose of performing ágrayana, a sacrificial performance at the commencement of harvest season, also those who live by gleaning grains in fields may gather grains where grains had been accumulated and removed from.
29Grains and other crops shall be collected as often as they are harvested. No wise man shall leave anything in the fields, nor even chaff. Crops, when reaped, shall be heaped up in high piles or in the form of turrets. The piles of crops shall not be kept close, nor shall their tops be small or low. The threshing floors of different fields shall be situated close to each other. Workmen in the fields shall always have water but no fire.