By Swami Harshananda
Vyasana literally means ‘that which deprives a person from great good’.
The position of the king or the ruler of a country involves a heavy responsibility. The life and property of its people, their religion and culture, the natural resources in fact, every aspect of the nation’s life depends upon him. If he is good and great king, the country will prosper. If not, it will suffer a lot.
Personal Vyasanas of King
Religious works list a number of vyasanas or vices of a king that lead to his fall and ruin his country. The vices in his personal life are mainly four:
- Pāna - drinking
- Akṣa or dyuta - gambling
- Stri - sexual excesses
- Mṛgayā - hunting
Some of the other defects are:
- Wrong policy decisions
- Harshness of speech
- Excessive use of force
- Mismanagement of financial resources
- Neglecting his duties and responsibilities
Vyasanas as per Kautilya
Kauṭilya in his monumental work, the Arthaśāstra discusses the topic of vyasana in great detail. Some of the natural disasters like agni, durbhikṣa and ativṛṣṭi have also been listed as vyasanas.
There can be vyasanas or defects in other fields of the kingdom also such as:
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore