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Nitisara of Acarya Kamandaki - Sanskrit Text With The Commentary Jayamangla Nitisarapancika of Sankararya (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAO657
Author: Sujatha Reddy
Publisher: Pratibha Prakashan
Language: Sanskrit Text With English Translation
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9788177024256
Pages: 584
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Weight 960 gm
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About the Book

Nitisara of Kamandaki has seen the light for more than ten centuries but even to-day the authorship of the text is debated. Here in this translation and in this edition of the text it is an attempt to correct its authorship. Nitisara of Kamandaki is a ancient political text. It is borrowed heavily from Arthaastra of Kautilya. It has State and its elements, Bureaucracy and its divisions, inter - state relations and foreign policy including the secret services. It deals elaborately about the inter-state relations and situations related to foreign policy. This text is mainly meant to teach the children of royal families.

The present edition although has followed its precursors, and the manuscripts used are mainly from Tanjore library considering all seven manuscripts, this edition has been prepared. Authorship, date of the text has all been discussed in the Introduction.

The entire text is flourished with the Jayamarigala commentary by Sankaraya & Eng Translation.

At the end an exhaustive glossary and bibliography has been present for the benefit of the general reader as well as the scholar of Polity.

About the Author

Dr. Sujatha Reddy holds Doctor¬ate in Sanskrit from Delhi University. Apart from Sanskrit she also works on Indian Studies especially with Kannada and Telugu Languages. She has comfortable knowledge of Tamil and Chinese Languages too. With her language skills she has translated several texts to English. She has taught for undergrad-uates in Bangalore University and worked as a researcher at Project of History, Indian Science, Philosophy and culture and also at Indira Gandhi National Center for arts at New Delhi.

Her Interest is in Sanskrit and Indian Studies including Buddhism & Jainism. She is the author of Laws of Kautilya's Arthasastra and other books and articles.


The present edition of Kamandaki Nitisara is a long felt need of the text specially to interpret its authorship. In modern era the text is printed five times from the year 1892, 1912, 1923, and its revised edition of Rajendra lal Mitra edited from the single Banaras Manuscript in 1986. The other edition published from in 2001 with new revision. But none of the editions payed attention to the question of its authorship.

To bringing out the present edition is to full fill this lacuna of the text and most importantly to interpret its authorship. According to the earlier editors and translators of the text its author is a male and named as `kamandaka'but here in the text I have argued that the author of the text is a lady named as `Kamandaki'. Earlier scholars mis-interpreted and mis¬pronounced the name, the observation from the colophon of the text itself it confirms that the name to be pronounced as `Karnandaki"not as `Kamandaka'and throught the text I have used the name `Kamandaki'.

Here for this edition I have referred the Manuscripts of Tanjavur Sarasvathi Mahal Library and followed earlier edition of T. Ganapathi Sastri.However I did not find Banaras edition and had to refer to Rajendralal Mitra and Poona Anandashrarna edition. The present edition also carries the commentary jayamangala' manuscripts of the other commentary `upadyayanirapeksanusarini" is with the Asiatic Society of Bengal is unavailable for me and I have not seen the manuscript.

However this commentary is not complete.An Comprehensive Glossary have been added for the understanding of the terms of Nitisara and Arthagastra as well.

Throughout the text I have used the name `Karnandaki' not `Kamandaka' which is a wrong pronunciation.

Thanks to friends and scholars who helped me to translate Kamandaki Nitisara. As usual there were difficulties in locating extant copies of earlier printed editions of the text. I am grateful to the early editors for their introduction and notes. Translation of this political text of Kamandaki of early seventh century is in schedule, from my student days which I could finish now.

My initial thanks for teachers of Bangalore University and Delhi University. My thanks to the direct and indirect contribution of Prof Ramesh Bharadvaj and Prof. Sharada Gandhi of Delhi University for their support both gave the permission to consult the Delhi university library and giving me affiliation to the department for ICHR senior Academic Fellowship. I am also thankful to, Tanjavur Sarasvathi Mahal Library and Oriental research Institutes of Mysore and Thirupathi.Prof Shashi Prabha Kumar, Prof Purushothama Bilimale and Prof. H.S Shivaprakash of Jawaharlal Nehru University for their Constant support and encouragement, and all others who supported me in Carrying out this work. My Special thanks to Dr.Radhey Shayam Shukla for bringing out it through Prathibha Prakashana.


Introducing the text Kamandakiya Nitisara was one such source to establish that political thought and ideas were examined, analyzed and practiced in India since the historical period. Kamandaki is the author of Nitisara. She introduces herself as an honest pupil of Kautilya, otherwise known as Vishnu Gupta. Her writing Nitisara approximately belongs to the post Gupta period or A.D. 7th century.

Kamandaki Nitisara is text available in twenty sargas and 36 Prakaranas. The text is written in Dvipada meter like any other Nitisara text like Pancatantra.Every sarga is divided to include various topics of polity ranging from king ship to War or Foreign Policy. The twenty Topics are as follows—Control of the sense organs, Branches of learning, Rules of code of conduct, The importance of State elements, Relation between King and his dependents, Removal of Thorns, Protection Of Princes, The interstate relations, Types Of Alliance, Varieties of War; Varieties of constitution of Army; Varieties of Policy; Ambassadors or envoys; In Praise of Initiative; Lapses of State; Expeditions; Encampments; Expedients; Strength and weakness of Army; Functions of Elephant, and Horse forces. Although written in verse its style is markedly not poetical, and in it natural flow of the techniques of the political texts in Sanskrit are available.

The purpose of the translation of the Nitisara of Kamandaki is to interpret the authorship of this text. The 19th century scholarship has recognized and interpreted the author of the Nitisara, Kamandaki as a male but it is a misinterpretation, and to certain extent it is a gender bias. Here it is discussed elaborately along with the translation that the text is written by women author and not by male author and her gender is been misinterpreted from its inception.

The Manuscripts are many available in Tanjore Sarasvathi Mahal Library, and another the only copy available is contained in the Library of the Asiatic Society, No. 168 of the Sanskrit Catalogue. This is a copy of the manuscript obtained in Varanasi also. According to the Earlier Editor of this Manuscript Rajendralal Mitra in 1849 as the part of the publication of The Asiatic Society this manuscript is not an appropriate one and he has edited it from the copy provided by the Library of the college of Fort William in Calcutta. He Says—"like most' works of that collection, abounds in errors and lacunae which render it utterly unreliable as an authority. It has, however, one redeeming merit, —Sanskrit commentary, not to be met with in the Benares MS., which has been of great use in settling the reading and meaning of a great number of technical terms. In this respect they have utilized the Panchatantra and the Hitopadesa of Vishnusarma.

Another manuscript is available from the report submitted by Dr. Frederic to the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences on the Sanskrit literature of Bali, mentions a Balinese edition of the manuscripts of Kamandakiya Nitisara, and this considered as the most popular document of the polity in that region.

Apart from the above manuscripts there are about seven manuscripts available from Tanjore palace library, and the last manuscript is available from the library of Govinda pisharodi of Kailasapuram near Kaduturutti Tamilnadu.These manuscripts contain the commentary 7ayamangala" which is been edited by T.Ganapathi Sastri which is been repeated here. Even Poona Andashrama publications have brought out its revised edition in 2001 with the same commentary, which was earlier published in 1923. Another commentary "upadyayanirapaekshanusarini" is available along with the Bengal Manuscript it is been used by Mitra's who have edited the text in 1849 by using Bengal Manuscript.

Kamandakiya Nitisara the contents have been analyzed with collaboration from the contemporary literary sources of the period. Nitisara has already stated is a work in Sanskrit language. It was composed with 20 cantos (sargas) and 36 sections (Prakarana. $) which includes 1165 maxims. It is a classical work in which the author adopted the condensed and concise style. In the early state of literary development, there were concise rules, where in the writers used a variety of meters and numerous political similes and metaphors. The work is entirely in divipada style meaning verse of a two lines. In the text we do not find the original notes of Kamandaki and what is available is the translation of the work only. Therefore there is no final conclusion about the work's style. M.N.Dutt while discussing the style stated that the essential characteristics of Nitisara are its magnitude .The work did influence the later writings. Testimony to its subsequent influence on the later writings is borne out by the number of its commentaries and wholesale in-corporation of its verses in later works as well as its being quoted as an authority in the later digests on polity and sacred law not to speak of its abstracts or counterparts in the literature of Indo-China and Indonesia. As mentioned above the First edition of Nitisara was available to Nineteenth century scholars in the year 1849 to 1884 in a series of Asiatic society publications in parts in the bibliotheca indicia by Rajendralal Mitra as Kamandaki Nitisara, since then there are several editions of it the first translation of it appeared in 1896 by M.N. Dutt in English.

Lists include scholars like R.Shamsastri. R.P. Kangle. S.C. Mishra and S.N. Mittal. Mention in this. Regard can be made to the work of K.K. Mishra, KM. agrawal and Bhasker Anand Sale tore. Most of these works have highlighted the similarities between the Arthasastra and the Nitisara. In this context, Jha gave a greater prominence on the policies and personality of Kamandaki in his book which is a Comparative study between Kautilya's Arthasastra and the Kamandaki Niti Sara. Kamandaki's work has also been studied by scholars writing on the security and defence system in ancient India One of the most comprehensive work on Kamandaki treaties is by U.N. Ghoshal in his book a history of political ideas. He has discussed not only the style of the Nitisara but also taken into account his ideas on kingship, state structure and governance and questions related to morality as put forward by Kamandaki. R.Shamsastri while attempting to settle the issue of its chronology did discuss the qualities of the king as advocated by Kamandaki. Devahuti has also taken note of Kamandaki's writing while writing about the r plity of Harshas rule while Parmatma Sharan is the only one to have brought out a comparative discussion between Shukra Niti and Kamandakiya Nitisara. In the fight of the above, it can be held that the work has been exclusively used for the study of political ideas and governance. No significant attempt has been made to relate it to the social system and ideas as portrayed in this text.

Writing on ideas of political institution in early India on Nitisara began from the post 1849 period. However, serious evidential writings started only in early 20th century. Compulsions of the time necessitated locating sources to establish the existence of political institutions in India in ancient dines.

There is not only a controversy regarding Kamandaki but assigned different time frame for this work M.Winternitz. Assigned the work to the 7th century A.D.and the same has been accepted by R.C.Majumdar. Other scholars including D.Devahuti, D.D.Kosambi, R.P Kangle, S.K Maity, P.L Gupta, Bimal Kant IVIajumdar, A. Vigasin, S.0 Mishra, R.S.Sharma, Saletore.B.Anand, K.K.Mishra, Beniprasad Birendranath, M.N Dutt and A.L Basham are all in agreement with this date of A.D 7th century. K.P Jayasawal however holds the work to be a composition of A.D 4th or 5th century while R. Shamshastri takes the period of A.D 400 to 600 to be the period of its composition. A.B .Keith too has supported this conclusion P.V Kane however prefers to place it in an earlier period on the basis of the Kavyalankara sutra.

A version of Kamandakiya Nitisara is available in South East Asia. An Bali Edition of the Manuscript is very popular in Indonesia as a work on polity. This text has travelled to South East Asia along with the Buddhist travelers, which shows Buddhist influence of the text. Some scholars therefore support an earlier date of composition of the Nitisara. J.Jolly extends two reasons for accepting 7th century A.D. as the period of its composition. These include that the work was not referred by the author of the earliest version of the panchatantra, nor by the ancient commentators of Manu and that Vamana was once quoted by Kamandaki to A.D. 800, Kamandaki is taken as the author of Nitisara which is based on the Arthasastra of Chanakya/Kautilya. Kamandaki proclaimed herself to be a pupil of Kautilya or Vishnu Gupta. There is a controversy about the identity of Kamandaki as also of his work both amongst her contemporary writer and the present day scholars writing on early India . She has been a pupil of Kautilya while other holds different opinion. Kamandaki herself does not give any reference regarding herself or of her religious learning and presents herself only as an obedient pupil of Kautilya or Vishnu Gupta. Dandin and Bhavabhuti have described, Kamandaki who is portrayed in their works. Fuleshwar Jha and GanapatiShastri are also agreed in accepting the writer of the Nitisara Kamandaki as a woman. Aggarwal and other have identified Kamandaki with Sikhara Swamin, a minister of Chandragupta Vikramaditya.



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