Upayas (diplomacy)

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Upayas is a Sanskrit word that means "approaches", "to come into any state or condition" and "to come near or towards".[1] It also refers to methods of diplomacy found in Hinduism and Jainism texts.[2][3][4]

Kautilya mentioned four Upayas - Sama, Dana or Dama, Danda and Bheda as ways to reach to a solution in state politics to avoid conflicts and war situations.[2] This phrase is also commonly used when you need to find a solution to a problem anyhow. 1.Sama, the first step, means conciliation or alliances.When the situation of conflict arises between states, the firsts step is to talk.[2] 2.Dana, the second, means gifts or compensation. Sometimes it is referred to as Dama, price, it means to pay the value. [2] 3.Bheda, the third, means rupture or divide and rule. To create conflict within the opposite state [2] 4.Danda refers to the last step, that is force or armaments. To take up war with the opposite state.[2] An article on Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses website states that the 20th-century power-politics theoretician Hans J. Morgenthau suggests similar four methods in a struggle for balance of power: Divide and Rule; Compensation; Armaments; and Alliances.[2]

These four approaches are found in the Hindu Itihasa (epics) and the Dharmasastras, as well as the Jain text Nitivakyamitra.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Monier Monier-Williams (1899), Sanskrit English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Reprinted by Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120831056, Article on Upaya
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Understanding Kautilya’s Four Upayas
  3. ^ The Eastern Journal of International Law: Quarterly Organ of the Eastern Centre of International Studies. Publication Department. 1978-01-01. 
  4. ^ Goswami, Namrata (2014-11-27). Indian National Security and Counter-Insurgency: The Use of Force Vs Non-violent Response. Routledge. ISBN 9781134514311.