Chapter VII - The Counselors to  King Dasaratha

Lava and Kuśī continued the story. 

The King had appointed eight renowned ministers.  Each one was capable, learned, pure in heart and devoted to the King.  Each had the ability to read the King’s mind and perform royal duties to benefit the people.  The ministers were: Dhrishti, Jayanta, Vijaya, Surashtra, Rashtravardhna, Akopa, Dharmapala, Arthavit and Sumantra.  The great Rishis Vashishtha and Vamadeva served as family priests.  The royal counselors included: Suyajna, Jabali, Kashyapa, Gautama, the elderly Markendeya and the Brahmana Katyayana.  The family priests joined these six as counselors, in another group of eight.

The ministers exhibited knowledge and humility.   They were reserved, skillful, and were in full control of their senses.  They were blessed with wealth and nobility. They were experts in weapons, and were resolute in their goal.  Endowed with character, integrity, forthrightness and forgiveness, they always spoke with a smile and always kept their word.  They never lied, and they never did solicit.  Nothing was unknown to them within their domain or in other domains.  They kept track of all activities of people using their spies.  They were tactful in their dealings.  They exhibited high character in treatment to their family and friends.  When a punishment was due, they prescribed punishment even to their own children.  They were engaged in building up the exchequer and building up defenses.  They refrained from persecuting anyone who was not guilty.

They were heroic, enthusiastic and well-versed in the royal codes of administration.  They protected law-abiding citizens who were engaged in their professions and cared for their families.  They could fill the treasury without being harsh on the Brahmanas or the Kshatriyas.  They inflicted strict punishment on people only after examining the pros and cons of their conduct.  Knowing that the ministers were truthful and discriminating, not a single person in the city or kingdom lied.  No one was known to venture into a relationship with another’s wife.  The city and the kingdom were utterly peaceful.

The ministers were well-dressed and well-ornamented. They were alert and vigilant, and were fully resolute in their service to the king.  They were respected by the King because of their talents.  They gained reputation for their valor.  Their skills were recognized abroad.  Everyone respected their way of judicious thinking and decision-making.  They were qualified all around and no quality escaped them.  They knew the principles of war and peace well. They were endowed with divine qualities.  Capable of keeping secrets and capable of fine reasoning, they were the repository of knowledge and the royal secrets. To top it all, they always spoke kindly. 

Righteous King Daśaratha ruled the kingdom with the help of these very talented ministers.  Assisted by spies, the King was engaged in protecting the people with righteousness.  He did his utmost to restrain them from acts of unrighteousness.  Known as a generous person who always kept his word, the king’s fame had spread to all the three worlds.[1]  No adversary could excel over him, nor be equal to him.  Friendly and respected by the rulers of the neighboring states, he had eliminated all his enemies through his valor.  Empowered by his able, skilled and loyal ministers, the king was radiant as the morning sun.  He ruled the kingdom as did Lord Indra ruled in the heaven!”

[1] The Indian tradition considered a three tier universe: the earth, the sky and the heaven.