Amatya

Ministers of Ashoka The Great Were Known As Amatya
According to Kautilya, there are seven elements of a state, Swami, Amatya, Janapada, Durga, Kosha, Danda, and Mitrani Prakritayan. They were together for the well functioning of the state. Amatya is the second element of the state. In literal sense, Amatya means one who lives with you till eternity. The first use of the word 'Amatya' has been found in Attreya Brahman. Later, the word is used by Kautilya, Manu and authors of Matsyapurana.

Though, Amatya actually means the Minister, but Kautilya has defined Amatya as the council of ministers. The council which constitutes chief priest, prime ministers, collectors, officers, envoys and the  superintendents of various department. The ministers of Ashoka the Great were used to be called Amatya. Later, Maratha Rulers used to call their finance ministers, Amatya.

Kautilya argues a kingship is only possible with assistance of ministers. Kautilya has used three different words for the ministers, Amatya, Mantri and Sachiva. Amatya is used for highest class of ministers. The king discusses the state policy with these three or four highest ministers. The council is largely responsible for shaping the policy of the government.

According to Kautilya, the rank of minister is as the purohita is the highest of highest, followed by the senapati and the Yuvraj. The ministers should be chosen on the basis of merit, bravery, and loyalty. However, the king occupies the central stage.

Kautilya also says, the strength of the council should not be fixed, but it should depend upon the number of offices required.

A special mention of the qualities and abilities required for Amatya has been discussed in the Dhramasutra and Smritis.