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By Betsy Price

This booklet explores the interrelationship among monetary perform and faith, ethics and social constitution in a couple of historical cultures, together with historical East Indian, Hebraic, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman and rising ecu cultures.

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The greater part of the soil is under irrigation, and consequently bears two crops in the course of the year…. It is accordingly affirmed that famine has never visited India, and that there has never been a general scarcity in the supply of nourishing food. (Durant 1954:441) According to Durant, in the regime of King Candragupta, The actual direction of government was in the hands of the crafty vizier. Kautilya was a brahman who knew the value of religion, but took no more guidance from it; like our modern dictators he believed that every means was justifiable if used in the service of the state.

The duties were clearly demarcated, although some exceptions (apadharma) were allowed under extraordinary circumstances. For example, the Parasara Smriti declares that even Brahmanas could take up agriculture or trade if the circumstances dictate. 25 The duties themselves are given in terms of acara (rites), Vyavahara. (dealings) and Prayaschitta (expiation). The law codes (Dharmasutras and Dharmasastras) describe the duties of the four castes, four stages of human existence, the different religious ceremonies (Samskaras) individuals have to go through, rules about food, women, property, levirate, sins, penances, and many more matters.

While the lawgivers have explained and specified the nature of Dharma in abundant and excruciating detail, it was understood that one should not depend upon them alone over and above the individual’s conscience. Rangaswamy Aiyangar pointed out, Dharma is “Whatever is enjoined by authority or the inward promptings of conscience” (1941:26). From the point of good behavior—although not in terms of philosophy, history or eschatology—there is a similarity to the codes of behaviour devised by Greek philosophers, Christian theologians or Indian lawgivers.

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