The Aḫlāq-e Moḥsenī is divided into forty chapters (bāb), each dedicated to a capacity of the ideal ruler or quality of statesmanship, e.g. justice (ʿadl), or a moral quality such as patience (ṣabr). The Vīraratnaśekharaśikhā is likewise divided into forty chapters, some of the titles closely correspond to its Persian counterpart (marked = in the following), some can be considered a transliteration (such as chapter 2, śuklīkaraṇa for šokr) or adaption, e.g. Sanskrit daivaprasannatā meaning “acceptance of fate” for the Persian tavakkol meaning “resignation (to the divine will)”.
||Sanskrit title according to uddeśa-prakaraṇa
||submissive obedience (to God); religious practice
||consent (to the divine will)
||resignation (to the divine will)
||courtesy, propriety of conduct
In the preamble to the Aḫlāq-e Moḥsenī, Kāšefī makes a distinction between duties owed by the ruler to god (e.g. obedience to the divine will and thanksgiving) and to the population (e.g. establishing social justice). The chapter on justice is the longest section of Kāšefī’s mirror. The theories of state and society expressed therein are mainly based on Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsīs Aḫlāq-e Nāṣerī which itself draws upon Aristotelian concepts of state and society.
||compassion and kindness
||charity and good works
Promoting donations and charitable deeds is another important feature of the late medieval mirror for princes as well as the development of character traits such as generosity. Chapter 21 includes an anecdote of the semi-legendary Hatim al-Tayy, who was hailed for his munificence.
||humility and respectfulness
||ātithyaucityataḥ svasya mārdavam
||placing in trust and integrity
||vafāʾ be ʿahd
||fulfilling (others’) needs
||thoughtfulness and consideration
||guidance and counsel
The last chapters of the mirror are mainly devoted to advise concerning observance of laws, court life and civil service and is addressing questions such as with whom should the ruler surround himself, who should he avoid, how to deal with servants and retinue.
||sense of honour
||alertness and experience
||eġtenām-e forṣat-o ṭalab-e nīknāmī
||seizing the opportunity and
||observing the law
||associating with fine people
||eliminating the vicious
||tarbiyat-e ḫadam-o ḥašam
||handling servants and retinue
Multiple synonyms of the main topic appear in every chapter of the Vīraratnaekharasikhā, some of them are semantically clearly not synonyms, but the commentary makes it clear, that the author uses those phrases in the same sense. The following examples are taken from chapter four “on Thanksgiving” which is defined by Kāšefī as “offering thanks and being grateful for the favour bestowed by the benefactor (i.e. God) (sepās-o setāyeš bāšad monʿem rā bar enʿām-e ū). Thanksgiving is referred to by Sāhib Rām as:
- kṛtajñatvam: gratefulness
- tatprāpitānumoda: pleasure about what has been granted by him
- śuklakarman/śuklīkaraṇa “bright” action (cf. transliteration of the Persian šokr “thanksgiving”)
- bhagavaccharaṇāgati: taking refuge with the venerable
- tadekaviṣayāgati: the state of having him as the only goal