Kautilya On Love And Morals

The Arthasastra of Kautilya reveals a spirit of happy moderation. Extremism in any form is generally avoided. Whether in the exercise of governmental power or in the enjoyment of sensual pleasures, Kautilya seeks to strike a middle course. Discoursing the use of state power, Kautilya observes: whoever imposes severe punishment becomes repulsive to the people; while he who awards mild punishment becomes contemptible. But whoever imposes punishment as deserved becomes respectable.

Applying this idea to the field of social morality, Kautilya proposes to penalize extreme addiction to sensual pleasures on the one hand and untimely abstinence or asceticism on the other.

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