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Kshatriya Dharma – What is Kshatriya Dharma in Hinduism?

Kshatriya Dharma, as per Hinduism, is the obligations of a ruler in ancient India. The norms of conduct for a Kshatriya King are laid down in Manusmriti in Hindu religion.

According to Manusmriti, the king should protect subjects of country by following the principle of justice. The ruler has to accomplish perfection in dharma (duty). Whatever laws the ruler promulgates for the good of the country shall not be disobeyed.

The ruler should award punishment befitting the criminal acts committed by a person, after fully considering the place, time and capacity ad fully looking into scriptures.
As per Kshatriya Dharma, only a self restrained king can have subjects under his control. The king must shun, lust, anger and greed. The ruler should conquer greed by all means.
The rulers must discuss diplomatic affairs with competent ministers. He must have efficient emissaries and commanders.

A fort erected on a mountain, not easily accessible, should be chosen by him for living. He must follow the rules of dharma while striking at his enemies. Force is to be used only as the final resort. He must have a set of honest officers and spies to help him in administration.

Taxes must be so fixed that both the taxpayer and the king are benefited. He should always be alert, be it in eating, relaxing, or carrying on his administration. As far as possible, he should avoid battles to prevent destruction. He must follow a prescribed daily routine. When sick, he may seek the assistance of officials to run the administration.

The strength of a Kshatriya king is based on people’s power and state power. 

Ramachandra (Bhagavan Sri Ram), Harischandra and Mandhata were illustrious Kshatriya kings who followed the Kshatriya Dharma.

A king who follows Kshatriya Dharma gives prime importance to state and its subjects. Family and personal relationships often suffer when Kshatriya Dharma is implemented in true spirit by a king.

Bibliography
Manusmriti (1999) by Ganganath Jha published by Motilal Banarsidass New Delhi
History of Dharmasastra (1962) by P V Kane – Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute Pune
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VI page 145 - IHRF