Faith

Duties of a king

Narada asks Yudhishthira many questions about how he is functioning as a ruler, and those questions are relevant even today, said Kidambi Narayanan, in a discourse. Narada asks if Yudhishthira’s ministers are consulted before he makes a decision. Ministers should preferably be older than the king, for then they will have the requisite experience. It is better if educated men are made ministers. They must be men of good conduct.

Does the kingdom face threats? Obviously, for a country to be protected, the army must be in perfect condition. So Narada asks if the soldiers get their pay on time, if they are provided good food, and if they are paid adequately. Are scholars honoured by him? Are people safe in his kingdom, without any threat to their belongings? Are farmers happy? Are there enough big lakes? Is the water in these lakes of good quality? Agriculture cannot be dependent on rains alone, and so Narada asks if Yudhishthira’s kingdom has a proper irrigation system. It is trade that keeps a kingdom prosperous, and so Narada asks if traders and merchants are ethical. Are people being given very harsh punishments? Is the king surrounded by trustworthy people? Does he make sure that there are no internal disturbances in his country?

Narada gives a list of serious flaws, and says that if a king has even a few of these, then he will lose his kingdom. Included in the list are dishonesty, anger, carelessness, atheism, not implementing decisions, always thinking of acquiring wealth, not consulting ministers, opposing things just for the sake of opposing, and consulting those without scruples. If a king has any of these flaws, then his dynasty will come to an end, says Narada. He says a king must eat good food, and take the right medicines when he falls sick.


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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 8:35:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/duties-of-a-king/article65749674.ece