Chanakya (also Kautilya) who managed to make a young lad a Emperor (Chandra Gupta Maurya, who ruled the first archaeologically recorded history, was not an ordinary man but a scholar of economics and political science. While most of the ancient texts, including some Holy Books have materials which have become obsolete in today’s world, Chanakya’s book Arthashatra is still relevant.
Though the book concentrates on various things, including ethics of economy, the duties and obligations of a ruler and how to rule a kingdom effectively, here we shall discuss the strict regime which the Mauryan Kings followed, starting from Chandra Gupta Maurya, Bindusara, Ashoka the Great and his successors.
According to Chanakya, if a king is active and energetic, only then his subjects will be spirited and lively. If the ruler is lazy and has a lax attitude, then his subjects too would be negligent, and will have a laid-back approach. Besides, a lazy king will be easily defeated by enemies – making ‘discipline” a must trait for a king during Mauryan Era.
According to Kautaliya’s a King had very exhausting schedule where they slept only for four and a half hours. So, a Mauryan King divided his 24 hours into 16 periods of one and a half hours each, and would perform his duties as mentioned in the Time Table below:
A Mauryan King would Get Up at 1.30 am
Life of the Mauryan King was not as easy as other kings, perhaps that is why they could rule the Kingdom so well. A Mauryan king would get up at 1.30 am in the morning, and meditate for around one and a half hours wrt the day’s work.
From 3 am to 4.30 am, The King Would Strategize Political Matters
The work of Ashoka Samrat, his father Bindusara and Grandfather Chandra Gupta Maurya would start at 3 am. The Mauryan King then would examine various political matters, discuss the daily important matters with his councilors, and would then send his spies to various corners. This activity would last for one and a half hours that is till 4.30 am.
4.30 am to 6.00 am was Dedicated to Meetings
The next one and a half hour was strictly dedicated to meeting. A religious hour, the King made sure he carried out his duties including household, religious and personal duties effectively. During this period, he met advisors, teachers and priests to discuss matters on rituals. He also met his personal doctor, the royal astrologer along with the royal cook.
6.00 am to 7.30 am Is Spent in the Court Hall
This one and a hour hour after sunrise is quite vital as during this period the King receives all the reports regarding revenue, and expenditure of the previous day. This is also a period where the King discusses the matter of defense.
7.30 am to 9.00 am is Hearing Time
During This one and a half hour the king hears the petition of his people who come from his own town as well as other cities in his kingdom. He hears their petition and listens calmly to the public grievances.
9.00 to 10.30 am is King’s Personal Time
During this period, A Mauryan King would take bath, pray and then eat breakfast. This one and a half hour is purely his time where nobody disturbs him.
From 10.30am to Noon is The time of Allotment
During this time Samrat Chandra Gupta Maurya, Bindusara and Samrat Ashoka along with other Mauryan Kings would appoint officials, ministers and even allot different types of task to them.
From 12.00pm to 1.30pm is the time of Council of Ministers
This is conference time with the King and his Council of Ministers. Back in those days, if a king wanted to change anything he would consult his council of ministers. Things would only be implemented if the council of Ministers approved it. So, this was an hour of talking, writing letters and discussions of laws.
1.30pm to 3pm is King’s Recreation Time!
3pm to 4.30 pm is Defense Time
In This one and a half hour, Mauryan Kings would inspect the forces, talk to the Senapati, the Chief of the Defense and review everything related to the matters of Defense.
Later, during the time of sunset, the Mauryan King would spend his time in Prayers. From 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm he would meet his spies, who would come from various areas. From 7.30 pm to 9.00 pm he would spend time in having a bath, eating dinner and studying. At 9.00pm he would retire for the night and would get up at 1.30 am to meditate.
This is how, well organized the schedule of the Maurya King was – From Chandra Gupta, Bindusara to SAMRAT Ashoka and other later Kings! Wonder, if similar schedule is practiced by students, bureaucrats, professionals, and politicians, India will be as disciplined and successful as the MAURYAN Empire was – Don’t you think so?
Yes, we can increase the sleeping time, maybe from four and a half hour to 6 or even 7 and a half hour because even then our time table would be disciplined – What do you think?
Source and Reference:
Arthashashtra, by Kautilya, Edited by L.N. Rangarajan
Arthashastra by , translated by R. Shamasastry