The Rajamandala (or "Raja-mandala" meaning "circle of states"; मण्डल, mandala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle") was formulated by the Indian author Kautilya in his work on politics, the Arthashastra (written between 4th century BC and 2nd century AD). It describes circles of friendly and enemy states surrounding the king's (raja) state.
The term draws a comparison with the mandala of the Hindu and Buddhist worldview; the comparison emphasises the radiation of power from each power center, as well as the non-physical basis of the system.
The terminology was revived two millenniums later as a result of Twentieth Century efforts to comprehend patterns of diffuse but coherent political power. Metaphors such as social anthropologist Tambiah's idea of a "galactic polity", describe such political patterns as the mandala. Historian Victor Lieberman preferred the metaphor of a "solar polity," as in the solar system, where there is one central body, the sun, and the components or planets of the solar system.
- Economic anthropology
- Palace economy
- Social anthropology
- Southeast Asian political model
- Zomia (geography)
- Avari, Burjor (2007). India, the Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Sub-continent from C. 7000 BC to AD 1200 Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0415356156. pp. 188-189.
- Singh, Prof. Mahendra Prasad (2011). Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers. Pearson Education India. ISBN 8131758516. pp. 11-13.
- Tambiah, Stanley Jeyaraja. World Conqueror and World Renouncer : A Study of Buddhism and Polity in Thailand against a Historical Background. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976. ISBN 0-521-29290-5. Chapter 7, cited in Lieberman, Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context c. 800-1830. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003-2009 ISBN 9786610160440. P. 33
- "Victor B. Lieberman" (Biography). Professor of History, Department of History, appointed 1984. University of Michigan. February 4, 2005. Retrieved August 17, 2011. "Center for Southeast Asian Studies"
- Lieberman, 2003, p. 33