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Five Kinds Of Power As Per Vidur Niti

According to Vidur Niti (law of Vidura or Viduraniti) there are five kinds of power.

  1. Power of intellect (prajna bala)
  2. Power of the innate abilities of the ruler (abhijata bala)
  3. Economic power (dhana bala)
  4. Power of good counsel (amatya bala also known as mantra shakti)
  5. Physical power (bahu bala)

As per the list physical power is at the bottom and intellectual power is at the top. The power of intellect is invincible and according to Vidura, “No doctor and no medicine, neither incantations nor propitiatory rites, nor atharvana magic, nor supernatural powers can cure a person who is hit by an arrow of intellect. (Viduraniti 58).

There is a prayer in Atharva Veda (2:15) for fearlessness and strength. Chandogya Upanishad (7.8.1) states that the stability of the whole universe from heaven to earth, from God and man to the tiniest insect, depends on power and exhorts people to secure power (balam upasva).

The Mahabharata echoes this view when it says that everything is amenable to the powerful (sarvam balvato vase).

However, power can be used for evil as well as good. It can create anarchy with the larger fish swallowing the smaller or replace anarchy with the rule of law (dharma). So dharma rests on power (Shanti Parva 134:6). The power serves the moral purpose of promoting good and restraining evil. It is thus legitimized and called “regulatory authority” (dandashakti). It upholds dharma and therefore, can be identified with dharma itself.

All Hindu gods and goddesses bear arms, symbolizing the importance of power for sustaining society. All ancient lawgivers as well as modern saints such as Ramdas and Swami Vivekananda have stressed the importance of power in human life.

 According to the Mahabharata, the question of what is violence and what is non-violence depends on the circumstances in which and the purpose for which it is used (Shanti Parva 36:11). Thus there is no contradiction between the Hindu concept of power and non-violence. Power, in fact, is the condition of peace. This is so because state of power, even according to Chanakya, is to be used for a moral purpose. Ultimately, it is under the overall control of dharma wherein alone sovereignty rests.