Kanika’s lesson in diplomacy - a forgotten chapter from Mahabharata

Kanika’s lesson in diplomacy - a forgotten chapter from Mahabharata

Kanika’s lesson in diplomacy - a forgotten chapter from Mahabharata

After Yudhishthira was appointed as the heir to the Hastinapura throne, Arjuna and Bhima brought Kingdoms like Souvira and Yavan under their subjugation. Pandava's popularity among people was increasing and this made Dhritarashtra worried. 

Because of jealousy and worry, Dhritarashtra could not sleep at night. Eventually he invited one of his advisors Kanika to advise him on the matter concerning his nephews. Kanika was an expert on statecraft who advised the king on putting self-preservation at the center. 

The whole point of Kanika's advice was that a king must always act in the interest of self-preservation irrespective of the cost. Here are some of the snippets of Kanika's advice.  

A King should always use fear of punishment to establish his dominance and always be on the lookout for his enemy's weaknesses. 

A king should eliminate his enemies, strong or weak. Always be on the lookout for an opportunity to strike a strong enemy and don't ignore a weak enemy. Even a weak enemy can cause harm when the situation is unfavorable to you.  

One must not show mercy on his enemies because such an enemy will always remain a threat to you. 

If it requires you to bow down to your enemy to exploit favour from him, one must not hesitate; however, once the objective is accomplished, such an enemy must be eliminated. 

One must try to control his enemies through whichever means necessary and should not hesitate in eliminating them even if they are your relatives. 

A King must never express his true nature to anyone. He should always appear pleasant even if he is angry inside. 

One must always show good behaviour towards enemies and strike them as soon as the right opportunity presents itself. 

A king must never trust anyone completely. Blind trust can result into threat that can be life threatening. 

A king must always use spies to know what is happening in enemy kingdoms and his own kingdom. 

A King must always keep a pleasant appearance and treat everyone nicely while inside he must always be on the look-out to strike his enemies. 

A King cannot prosper without being cruel. 

A King must not publicly discuss the weaknesses of his enemies but should always keep preparing himself to strike. 

A king must always act after careful planning and deliberation while keeping his self interest in mind all the time. 

In the end Kanika told Dhritarashtra that Pandavas are very brave and powerful and he must do whatever is needed to protect himself from them. 

After this session with Kanika. Dhritarashtra agreed to Duryodhana's plan of sending Kunti and Pandava to Varanavrat and burn them inside the house of lac.