Kautiliya Arthasastra Revisited

By Surendra Nath Mital
September 2004
Reprint of 2000 Edition
Centre for Studies in Civilizations
ISBN: 8187586036
159 pages, 5 " x 9"
$25.00 Hardcover

In this book the author examines in detail and refutes the views held by many scholars that the text of Kautiliya Arthasastra was not written by a single author and that the date of its composition cannot be attributed to a single century.

The book has been primarily written as a reply to T.R. Trautmann's Kautiliya and the Arthasastra, in which he tried to prove, with the help of statistics, that the Arthasastra was a compilation of writings by three or four authors, edited by Kautiliya.

This view was based on an analysis of the frequency of the use of ca (and) and va (or) in different portions of the Arthasastra. Trautmann also seems to have used this argument to maintain that the Arthasastra was composed sometime after the second century.

The author tried to show, through his own collection of statistics, that Trautmann's thesis is misconceived and that va was more frequently used in those portions of the text where the subject treated is primarily political, and ca was more frequently used where the discussion is primarily theoretical, and so this difference in the frequency of use of va and ca does not indicate different authors.

This author asserts that the Arthasastra was written by Kautiliya in the fourth century BC, as is generally supposed, and not in the third century AD, a view propounded by some Western as also some Indian scholars who wrote in the 1920s and 1930s.

PHISPC Monograph Series on History of Philosophy, Science & Culture in India, No. 11

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