These four methods  Catura Upaya are in all ancient texts such as Mahabaratha,Amarakosa, Manu etc these  are enumerated in Kautalaya’s Arthsastra.  Chapter 57 verse 76 states that Vijeyabahu

who was extraordinarily skilled in the use of many expedients such as kindness and the like has feed the whole of the Rohana from briers of the Foe

A well known concept in Indian tradition which King Vijeyabahu  is said to have used, is the set of four methods used in dealing with situations of potential or actual conflict:- sama,dana, bheda and danda (i.e., adopting a conciliatory attitude,  placating with rewards and gifts, sowing dissension among enemies and using force. These are referred to in many different places in the text. A detailed consideration of the use of the appropriate method is found mainly in Book 9 which deals with the planning and preparation needed before undertaking a military campaign. {9.5.3-291 in III.v and {9.6.21-73) in on tackling revolts and rebellions are particularly important. Other references are: against confederacies {7.14.11} in X.ix; a strong King controlling his circle of kings {7.16.3-8} in X.iv; a recaptured hostage{7.17.59} in X.iii; sowing dissension or using force among the chiefs of an Oligarchy {11.1.6-8} in X.ix and a weak king threatened by’ an aggressor {12.1.18} in X.x.

In the case of conciliation, the first five methods are mentioned in the chapter on edicts and the last in connection with revolts within the Country. Placating with gifts is elaborated in {9.6.24\. Many of the techniques for sowing dissension involve the use of clandestine agents and methods, details of which will be found in this translation in Part IX.

The methods can be used singly or in combination; Kautilya correctly calculates in {9.7.77-78} that there are fifteen possible ways of choosing one, two, three or all four, from a set of four objects. T’he order of employing the methods could be in easier one first or a harder one first. There are thus thirty possible combinations from which to choose.

The four [standard] methods [for dealing with conflict are: conciliation, placating with gifts, sowing dissension and use of force. It is easier to employ a method earlier in the order than a later, Placating with gifts is twice as hard as conciliation. sowing dissension is three times as hard and use of force four times. { 2.10.47,9.6.56-61}


  1. There are six kinds.

(i)                  Praising the merits [of someone who is, or likely to be, inimical]. Appreciating the merits of the person’s pedigree, personal qualities, occupation, good nature, learning or wealth, either personally or to third parties.

(ii) Mutual connections: Extolling common relationships (such as blood relations  by marriage, a common teacher, a common ritual system, common friends or family connections).

(iii) Mutual benefits Explaining the advantages that will accrue to each of the two parties (one’s own side as well as the side addressed).

. (iv) Inducement: Raising the hopes [of the other  by pointing out the beneficial results that will accrue to both, if a particular course of action  is adopted.

(v) Identity of interest: shown by placing oneself at the others  disposal. ( saying;” What  art thou,the wealth that is mine is thine.use as it pleases thee.) {2.10.48-S5}

(ui) Awards and honours: Giving a high rank or awarding an honour; is also a methods of conciliating a potential [ internal ] enemy.{9.5.10}


Rewarding with money, granting  favours  exempting from taxes and giving employment. {2.10.54, 9.5.11}

Gifts are of five kinds: relinquishing what is owed; continuing .payment already being made; return of something received; giving some-thing new out of one’s own wealth; permission to take something from the enemy. {9.6.24) 3.


{Between two enemies  is done by creating mutual suspicion between them or by threatening one of them. {2.10.55}


Force can be used to deprive a person of his property, liberty or life( Plunder, harassment and death).

War, particularly the use of force for capturing the enemy by open deceptive or secret war and the  methods for capturing a fort are mentioned in {7.16,3-B} in  X.iv and elaborated in appropriate places.


The  methods can be used singly or in combination depending on the seriousness of the situation . There are four ways of using any one method, six ways of using two at a time, four ways of using three at a time and one way of using ail four simultaneously. Thus there are fifteen  ways of using the methods singly or in any of the possible  combinations in the anuloma [natural] order. Likewise, there are fifteen ways of using them in the pratiloma [unnatural] order.

If only one method is recommended, it is defined as .placing a restriction, if a choice is suggested, it is an option, and if two or more are to be used together, it is a ‘combination’. {9.7.73-79}


In the case of a son, a brother or a kinsman, the appropriate methods : conciliation and placating with gifts. In the case of citizens of the  people of the countryside or the army, placating with gifts or sowing  dissension among them are the right -methods. In the case of  neighboring princes or forest chiefs, one  should show dissension or ; force. This order is anuloma [natural] and, therefore, recommend]; if the methods are used in reverse order [dana before sama , danda before bheda] it is pratiloma. {9.7.65=69}

In the case of allies and enemies, a combination of methods ensures success because the different methods mutually reinforce each other.

Some methods are ideal in some cases and render the others is unnecessary. For example, conciliation is adequate for dealing with -: enemy’s ministers whose loyalty is uncertain, placating with gifts for Traitorous ministers of the enemy, dissension in case of confederacies and force against the powerful. {9.7.72}

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