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The packed schedule of a Rajan

We read news arti­cles on how lead­ers have a tight sched­ule packed with activ­i­ties with no time for sleep or rest. While we know about con­tem­po­rary lead­ers, we know very lit­tle about the sched­ule of rajan’s of those times. The pop­u­lar por­tray­al is that kings lived a lav­ish life where every aspect was auto­mat­i­cal­ly tak­en care of and spent their time in enter­tain­ment and enjoy­ment. Kau­tilya’s arthashas­tra gives us insights on the dai­ly sched­ule of a Rajan and how the Rajan was trained from child­hood to take up this huge respon­si­bil­i­ty. We have used “Aspects of Ancient Indi­an Poli­ty” by Shri. Naren­dranath Law as ref­er­ence.

Dai­ly Sched­ule of a Rajan

6 a.m. to 7.30 a.m. is devot­ed to look­ing after the defence of the coun­try and the super­vi­sion of the finances 7.30 to 9 to the super­vi­sion of the affairs of the towns­peo­ple and provin­cials ; 9 to 10–30 to ablu­tion, din­ing, and study 10.30 to 12 to the col­lec­tion of State dues from the heads of the depart­ments (Adhyak­sas) ; 12 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. to cor­re­spon­dence with absent min­is­ters 1.30 to 3 to amuse­ments or self-delib­er­a­tion ; 3 to 4.30 to the inspec­tion of ele­phants, hors­es, char­i­ots, and infantry ; 4.30 to 6 to con­sul­ta­tion with the com­man­der-in chief and evening prayers at night­fall 6 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. to inter­view with the secret agents ; 7.30 to 9 to ablu­tion, sup­per, and study 9 to 1.30 a.m. to enter­ing the bed­cham­ber amid sounds of trum­pets, and sleep ; 1.30 to 3 to wak­ing amid trum­pet-sounds and call­ing to mind the Sas­tric injunc­tions and the duties of the ensu­ing day ; 3 to 4.30 to con­ven­ing the coun­cil and send­ing out secret agents on their errands ; 4.30 to 6 to receiv­ing bene­dic­tions in the com­pa­ny of his tutors, and domes­tic and sac­ri­fi­cial priests, inter­view with the physi­cian, head­cook, and astrologer, and enter­ing the court after per­am­bu­lat­ing a cow with her calf, and a bull.

Edu­ca­tion of the Rajan

There was strong empha­sis on com­pe­tence and hence train­ing began right from the womb. Prince’s took charge of the king­dom at a very young age and hence every­day of their child­hood and youth was extreme­ly reg­u­lat­ed. The edu­ca­tion­al process and the elders at home took care that the prince learnt all the nuances of gov­er­nance yet did not miss out on the fun of child­hood. So what was their edu­ca­tion like?

  1. At age 3, they were taught writ­ing and arith­metic

  2. After the sacred thread cer­e­mo­ny, at the age of 11, they were taught the four branch­es of knowl­edge name­ly: anviksi­ki, trayi, var­ta, and dan­dan­i­ti.: Log­ic, Vedic The­ol­o­gy, Eco­nom­ics and Pol­i­tics

  3. Emi­nent schol­ars vis­it­ed the king­dom and taught var­i­ous sub­jects of the­o­ry and prac­tice

  4. Cours­es on Mil­i­tary: Horse rid­ing, Ele­phant Rid­ing, Han­dling var­i­ous weapons

  5. Dur­ing Brah­macharya: Forenoon was spent on mil­i­tary exer­cis­es and after­noons on lis­ten­ing to Ithi­hasas (His­to­ry). The rest of the day was spent on revis­ing old por­tions and learn­ing new ones

His edu­ca­tion last­ed for 16 years after which he enters into next phase of life name­ly mar­riage. He is then crowned and takes care of the oper­a­tional aspects of the king­dom where he comes in con­tact with var­i­ous peo­ple in gov­er­nance. He is first an appren­tice, then the com­man­der of the army and then he becomes the Rajan.

The suc­cess of a well-edu­cat­ed and self-con­trolled sov­er­eign is thus indi­cat­ed by Kau­tilya:

Vidyavinl­to raja hi pra­janam vinaye ratah,

Ananyam prthivim bhui­ik­te sarv­ab­hutahite ratah.

(A king, well dis­ci­plined by edu­ca­tion and bent on his sub­jects’ gov­ern­ment and the good of all liv­ing beings, can enjoy the whole earth with­out a rival.

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