The Eyes of Power and Dharma: Conceptions of the Advisor in Early India Open Access

Crothers, Lisa Wessman (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/h415p9660?locale=en
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Abstract

The Indian social context challenges assumptions that sources of power and authority must be absolute, mutually exclusive, and universal. Early Brahmanical and Buddhist texts that imagine royal governance share an understanding that advisors possess powers a king cannot do without. By considering the advisor, this study provides a more expansive view of the contributions of other actors in creating royal power and dharma. Through a comparative consideration of early Brahmanical and Buddhist sources, an integral relationship between advice, trust (and its predicates, emotion and intimacy) and kingship emerges. While the advisor is idealized as the mediator of a king's dharma and power, ultimately, it is the relationship between the advisor and the advised--between the king and his counselor--that is the nexus of royal power and dharma. Thus, royal power--while centered on the king--is not exclusively within the king's grasp. Power is collaborative, relational, and fragile, as is the dharma imagined to sustain it.


This study works comparatively on multiple levels. Advisors, ministers and advising others are examined as ideals, and the idealized methods and media which they employ to influence, advise, and otherwise relate to and with kings are explained. The history of how dharmic communities (Brahmanical and Buddhist) imagine the ideal advisor, and how they imagine dharma should be engaged in royal contexts through the literary experiences of a larger ruling context--the rajanya experience is also traced. Through this analysis, I demonstrate that dharma in Brahmanical and Buddhist advisory contexts exists on a spectrum of uses and demonstrations. The ends of the spectrum are called "deliberative dharma" and "talismanic dharma," respectively. I argue that dharma shifts toward one or the other end of the spectrum by the ways that bonds of kinship, trust and emotion converge on royal relationships. Thus, royal power is reliant on such dharmic intimacies, and not simply on dharmic regulations.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1
CHAPTER OUTLINE 11
METHODOLOGY 17
CRITICAL CONTRIBUTION 22


CHAPTER 2: A SURVEY OF IMAGES AND ROLES OF THE ADVISOR 25
ARTICULATING TERMS AND LIMITS FOR "BRAHMANICAL" AND "BUDDHIST" IN THIS CONTEXT 26
FOUNDATIONAL COMMENTS ON ADVISORS AND COUNSEL 32
NAME OF THE ROLE 32
Intimacy 34
Qualities for Dependence 37
Failures in Relationships 41
SECONDARY SOURCES ON THE ADVISOR 42
Advisors Unperceived: Advisors in Studies of Kings, Polity and Politics 44
Brahmanas at the Forefront 45
Kings, Queens, and Characters In-Between 49
Buddhists at the Margins 54
ADVISORS IN STUDIES OF MINISTERS, ADVISORS, AND COUNSEL 56
Political Mediator as Advisor 56
Religious Figure as Advisor 61
A GRAMMAR OF THE ADVISOR: TOWARD COMPLEXITY AND INTIMACY IN RELATIONSHIPS 64
Texts as Instructions for Advisors 66
SUMMARY REMARKS 71
Reading Texts for Both King and Advisor Roles 71


CHAPTER 3: TEXTUAL GENRES AND THE SHAPING OF IDEA(L)S OF THE ADVISOR 76
MINISTERS, ADVISORS, AND ADVISING OTHERS 77
Terms as Ideas: Amatya (Amacca), Mantrin, and Sacivan 77
General Depictions of the Advisor across Brahmanical and Buddhist Traditions 83
TECHNICAL, DRAMATIC, AND DHARMIC GENRES OF LITERATURE ON ADVISORS 88
EPIGRAPHIC EXAMPLES OF ADVISORS AND MINISTERS 92
ADVISORS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS IN BRAHMANICAL TEXTUAL GENRES 97
Sastra 97
Artha, Niti and Dharmasastra 103
Nitisastra 105
Arthasastra 118
Dharma Genres and their Idealizations of Advisors and Advising Relations 126
Dharma as Sutra 130
Dharma--Ideologies of Treatise (Sastra) and Tradition (Smrti) 134
The "Sastric" Mode 137
Itihasa Narratives 138
Itihasa as Mahabharata 144
Ramayana as Itihasa 149
Kavya, Mahakavya and Natya: Dramatic Court Literatures 152
ADVISORS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS IN BUDDHIST TEXTUAL GENRES 157
Sutta or Sutra 160
The Five Nikayas 163
Jataka and Avadana: Past Lives in Action 169
Buddhist Kavya 173
Panha: The Questions of Kings 175
SUMMARY REMARKS 176

CHAPTER 4: IDEALS OF THE KING IN NEED OF ADVICE 178
THE UBIQUITOUS ADVISOR PROBLEMATIC: THE PARADOXICAL TENDENCIES OF THE KING 180
BRAHMANICAL IDEALS OF THE KING IN NEED 181
Advisory Peril: King as Fire 182
Advisory Peril: King as Snake 190
Advising the Warrior King 195
Advising the King under the Sway of Emotion 204
BUDDHIST IDEALS OF THE KING IN NEED 208
Advising the King with Misconstrued Aims 210
Advising the King Allied to False Doctrines 216
SUMMARY REMARKS 222


CHAPTER 5: INTO THE DARKNESS OF KINGS AND RULE: THE IDEAL ADVISOR 224
SETTING THE SCENARIO: THE SAGE, THE MINISTER, AND A DEAD CROW 228
EPIGRAPHY--MATERIAL IDEALS OF ADVISORS AND MINISTERS 234
BRAHMANICAL CONTEXTS AND THE IDEAL ADVISOR 239
Titles and the Title-Less--Teachers, Advisors, Family and Other Ideals 239
Jewels of Reliance (Ratnin) 240
Upanisadic Ideals of Dialogue 247
Dharma Literatures 255
Sutras of Gautama, Baudhayana and Vasistha 255
Manu's Dharmasastra 261
The Sista Brahmana of Manu--Advisor Most fit for a King 268
Kautilya Arthasastra 272
Pancatantra 282
Mahabharata Idealizations, Intimate and Abstract 290
Women as Advisors 308
BUDDHIST CONTEXTS AND THE IDEAL ADVISOR 310
Jewels of Mediation and Transformation 311
Ideal Director of Attha and Dhamma, Masters of Sweet Words 313
Asokavadana 316
Jatakas: Ideal Advisor and Minister Transformed 318
SUMMARY REMARKS 320


CHAPTER 6: BEYOND THE IDEAL: THE PRAGMATICS OF LIES, TRICKS, AND ILLUSION 324
INTERLUDE ON STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIPS AND ALLIANCES 327
BRAHMANICAL PRAGMATICS 335
Lies and Illusions 335
Salience of Trust and Persons Who Use Trust 338
Extreme Measures and Other Yogavamana 349
Deception as a Test of Trustworthiness 360
BUDDHIST ANTITHESES TO ROYAL PRAGMATICS 369
Contending with Lies and Other Advisory Illusions 369
Buddhist Anxieties of Identity with False Ascetics 375
Bodhisattva Maya in the Mahabodhi-Jataka 380
SUMMARY REMARKS 385


CHAPTER 7 ADVISORY IDEALS AND MODES OF DHARMA--DELIBERATIVE AND TALISMANIC 391
THE DHARMIC SPECTRUM 394
DELIBERATIVE DHARMA IN BRAHMANICAL DISCOURSES 402
Variables in Moments of Advice 404
Enemies and Friends 406
Sakuni and Duryodhana 407
Family Advice--Gandhari and Dhrtarastra 410
The Limits of Advice--Vidura and Dhrtarastra 413
Resistance to Counsel--Duryodhana 416
Advisory Affections--Vyasa and Dhrtarastra 420
Vidura and Yudhisthira 422
Reflections on Deliberative Dharma 428
TALISMANIC DHARMA IN BUDDHIST DISCOURSES 433
SUMMARY REMARKS: DELIBERATIVE AND TALISMANIC DHARMA 448


CHAPTER 8: CONCLUSION: THE AIMS OF COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY AND THE MODES OF MEDIATING DHARMIC POWER 451
DHARMIC RHETORIC AND TOTALIZING HISTORIES 455
REFLECTIONS ON GENRE 458
DIALOGIC NATURE OF DHARMAS 461
IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE WORK 463
POWER AND DHARMA IN RELATIONAL NETWORKS 465


SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 470
SELECTED PRIMARY SOURCES 470
SELECTED SECONDARY SOURCES 473
CHAPTER NOTES 487

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