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Fundamentals of Rajaneeti: Vedic approach to Politics

To understand fundamentals of Vedic approach to politics – Rajaneeti – it’s important to understand five words in Sanskrit vis-à-vis Artha Sutras found in Kautilya’s Arthashastra, namely: Sukham, Dharma, Artha, Rajyam, and Indriya-Vijayi. This is because these words are often hastily (or bluntly) mistranslated thereby making understanding the greater wisdom – almost, impossible.

Sukham is translated as Happiness. Dharma is mistranslated as Religion. Artha is translated as Economy. Rashtra is taught as ‘Nation’ or ‘Nation-state’ and Rajyam is translated as ‘State’. As you’d see these translations are only partially correct – at best. The moment you truly understand these five words you’d verily know the core fundamentals of Rajaneeti – which also represents ideas and ideals of good politics.

In his Arthashastra, Kautilya enlists a series of Sutras. The first five of the sutras, mentioned below, forms the foundation of Rajaneeti:

  1. Objective of life is Sukham

  2. Dharma is foundation of Sukham

  3. Artha is foundation of Dharma

  4. Dharma’s foundation is Rajyam

  5. Rajyam’s are well administered by those who are Indriya Vijayi

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