From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

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[edit]

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:

  1. Pāna - drinking
  2. Akṣa or dyuta - gambling
  3. Stri - sexual excesses
  4. Mṛgayā - hunting

Other Vyasanas[edit]

Some of the other defects are:

  1. Wrong policy decisions
  2. Harshness of speech
  3. Excessive use of force
  4. Mismanagement of financial resources
  5. Neglecting his duties and responsibilities

Vyasanas as per Kautilya[edit]

Kauṭilya[1] in his monumental work, the Arthaśāstra[2] discusses the topic of vyasana in great detail. Some of the natural disasters like agni,[3] durbhikṣa[4] and ativṛṣṭi[5] have also been listed as vyasanas.

There can be vyasanas or defects in other fields of the kingdom also such as:

  1. Amātyas - ministers
  2. Jana - people of the country
  3. Durga - fort
  4. Bala - armed forces
  5. Etc.


  1. He lived in 321 B. C.
  2. Arthaśāstra Chapter 8
  3. Agni means fire.
  4. Durbhikṣa means famine.
  5. Ativṛṣṭi means floods.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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