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The Rajamandala (or Raja-mandala meaning "circle of kings";[1] मण्डल, mandala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle") was formulated by the Indian author Kautilya in his work on politics, the Arthashastra (written between 4th century BC and 2nd century AD). It describes circles of friendly and enemy states surrounding the king's (raja) state.[2][3]


The term draws a comparison with the mandala of the Hindu and Buddhist worldview; the comparison emphasises the radiation of power from each power center, as well as the non-physical basis of the system.

The terminology was revived two millenniums later as a result of Twentieth Century efforts to comprehend patterns of diffuse but coherent political power. Metaphors such as social anthropologist Tambiah's idea of a "galactic polity",[4] describe such political patterns as the mandala. Historian Victor Lieberman preferred the metaphor of a "solar polity,"[5] as in the solar system, where there is one central body, the sun, and the components or planets of the solar system.[6] The "Rajamandala" concept of ancient India was the prototype for the Mandala model of South East Asian political systems in later centuries, established by British historian O. W. Wolters.[7][8]

See also


  1. Torkel Brekke (2006), "Between Prudence and Heroism: Ethics of war in the Hindu tradition", The Ethics of War in Ancient Asia, Routledge, p. 124<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    Kulke; Rothermund (2004), A History of India, p. 350<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    Upinder Singh (2008), A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Pearson Longman, p. 349<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Avari, Burjor (2007). India, the Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Sub-continent from C. 7000 BC to AD 1200 Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0415356156. pp. 188-189.
  3. Singh (2011), Kautilya: Theory of State, pp. 11–13<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  4. Tambiah, Stanley Jeyaraja. World Conqueror and World Renouncer : A Study of Buddhism and Polity in Thailand against a Historical Background. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976. ISBN 0-521-29290-5. Chapter 7, cited in Lieberman, Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context c. 800-1830. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003-2009 ISBN 978-0521804967. P. 33
  5. "Victor B. Lieberman" (Biography). Professor of History, Department of History, appointed 1984. University of Michigan. February 4, 2005. Retrieved August 17, 2011. Center for Southeast Asian Studies<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Lieberman, 2003, p. 33
  7. Craig J. Reynolds (2006), Seditious Histories: Contesting Thai and Southeast Asian Pasts, University of Washington Press, p. 40<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Dougald JW O'Reilly (2007), Early Civilizations of Southeast Asia, AltaMira Press, p. 194<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • King, Governance, and Law in Ancient India: Kauṭilya's Arthaśāstra, translated and annotated by Patrick Olivelle, Oxford University Press, 2013
  • M. B. Chande (2004), Kautilyan Arthasastra, Atlantic, ISBN 81-7156-733-9<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, especially Book Six: Circle of Kings as the Basis, pp. 305–312
  • John Keay (2000), India: A History, HarperCollins, pp. 170–172<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Hermann Kulke; Dietmar Rothermund (2004), A History of India (fourth ed.), Routledge<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Vikas Kumar (2010), "Strategy in the Kautilya Arthasastra", Homo Oeconomicus, 27 (2): 289–320<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Mahendra Prasad Singh (2011), "Kautilya: Theory of State", Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers, Pearson, pp. 1–17, ISBN 978-81-317-5851-9<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>