Dibya Upadesh also known as Divya Upadesh means the collection of teachings or life experiences expressed by Prithvi Narayan Shah when he neared death after the Unification of Nepal.

Dibya Upadesh in its literal meaning stands for “celestial counsel or divine teachings”. It was imparted by Prithvi Narayan Shah around December 1774 A.D.

The most prevalent Edition of Dibya Upadesh in circulation in Nepal was edited by Yogi Naraharinath and Baburam Acharya.

Features of Dibya Upadesh

Dibya Upadesh is characterized by the life lessons learned by Prithvi Narayan Shah and the guidelines he established while unifying and governing Nepal through decades of observation, analysis, and interpretation.

On His Childhood

According to the text, Prithvi Narayan Shah was born along with five siblings and three mothers. When he attained 14 years of age, his Father declared that he would be married to Princess Indra Kumari who was the daughter of Hemkarna Sen, the King of Makwanpur.

However, P.N. Shah was denied the princess because of the low economic standards of Gorkha.

It was then Prithvi Narayan Shah dreamt of uniting various small kingdoms into one. He envisioned being the ruler of Bhaktapur, Patan, and Kathmandu.

He was also assured by an astrologer that his ambition to become the King of Nepal would come true. Then, he returned to Gorkha with the determination to expand his territories.

On Treaty with Lamjung

When Prithvi Narayan Shah expressed his interest in attacking Makwanpur, his maternal brother advised him to quickly deal with the Kingdom of Lamjung. He put forward the analogy that if Kathmandu was the Frog and Gorkha was the Snake then Lamjung was the Eagle.

Then, he met King Ripumardan Shah of Lamjung and attempted to conduct a Treaty of Mutual Peace and Friendship alongside Kalu Pandey.

On Diplomacy and Marriage

Prithvi Narayan Shah favoured Biraj Bhakti to serve as Kazi of Gorkha but the People desired Kalu Pandey and hence, he chose Kalu Pande in the position of Kazi according to the text.

He also initiated a diplomatic marriage between the daughter of Kalu Pandey and the son of Shiva Ram Singh Basnet. He termed the union to symbolize the Shield of Pandey and the Sword of Basnet.

On Foreign Relations

The Father of Modern Nepal has envisioned Nepal as a gourd or yam caught between two stones. He outlined his approach to Foreign Relations as guided by Mutual Friendship and Equitable Balance of Power.

He stated the need to maintain a strong friendship with the Emperor of China in the north meanwhile being cautious and prepared against the British Company Government.

Prithvi Narayan Shah understood the threat faced by Nepal in the Chure Hills and the invaders it could lure. Therefore, he suggests securing the strongholds of Chure and identifying the weak defense lines of Nepal.

He also suggested using Natural Forts such as Shivapuri, Mahadevpokhari, Chandragiri, etc. to defend against external threats.

On Laws and Regulations

Prithvi Narayan Shah acknowledged the rules and regulations propounded by King Ram Shah of Gorkha, King Jayastithi Malla of Nepal, and King Mahendra Malla of Kathmandu.

He proposed establishing laws with Caste Hierarchy as its basis and a strategic regulation to close western and eastern routes.

On Nationalism

Prithvi Narayan Shah propounded that Nepal was a garden of people from all castes and backgrounds living with a shared identity. He proposed that Nepal was united under 4 Main Castes and 36 Ethnic Groups. Moreover, he considered Nepal to be the True Hindusthan.

Additionally, he promoted honesty within Nepal while advocating against the Death Penalty or harsh execution against his subjects.

He also propounded that giving and receiving bribes are the primary enemy of the Nation and when caught doing so must have their property confiscated or even executed.

On Kathmandu Valley

He duly notes some observations on the people of the Kathmandu Valley whom he believed to be more centered on activities of enjoyment, and leisure and lacking in wisdom and bravery.

The King was surprised by the differences in lifestyle of the People of Gorkha and the Kathmandu Valley. Therefore, he planned to build houses and shelters for the personnel from Gorkha in Dahachowk, a hill in Thankot Kathmandu.

On Trade

The King has also advised Foreign Traders to be restricted from entering Nepal. He promoted the wearing of simple handmade clothes and trained local weavers to promote domestic products and make Nepal capable as well as wealthy.

He devised exporting Nepalese Products and Herbs internationally to earn income and limit the accumulation of excessive wealth among all Public Officials.

National Security

Prithvi Narayan Shah repeatedly mentioned the dedication, passion, and sacrifice of soldiers and the army during his Unification campaign in the text. He argued that Soldiers must be provided with Houses and Paddy Fields so that they could focus on their duties without stress.

He also recommends organizing the Army where a Subedar would command 100 Soldiers.

Moreover, while selecting the armies, caste, and ethnic diversity must be maintained. He proposed recruiting Khas, Magar, Gurung, and Thakuri castes for effective and brave military practice. While selecting the soldiers, they must be ready and willing to sacrifice for the nation.

Civil Service

Finally, Prithvi Narayan Shah devised an administrative Governance where honesty and regulations are the pillars of Civil Service. He advanced the practice of holding senior employees accountable regularly while creating rules and regulations for managing the Government.

He suggested hiring individuals from the Thakuri community in the role of Dittha and the Magar Community in the role of Bichari. For Dharmadhikari, he suggests selecting a knowledgeable Pandit with an understanding of laws and principles of Justice i.e. Dharmashastras.

Political Context of Dibya Upadesh

Dibya Upadesh, according to most historical accounts was written around 1774 A.D. five years after the unification of Nepal. The text itself is the collection of the final thoughts of the King, his reminiscence on Unification, his observation, and his hierarchy of importance for Nepal.

It was written to provide counsel to his future generation of Shah Kings of Nepal to identify the valuable aspects of administering Nepal.

The First half of Dibya Upadesh is mostly dedicated to events, experiences, and observations. First, he states the rejection from the Kingdom of Makwanpur to marry Indra Kumari as the primary source of his ambition to conquer Nepal.

His further discussion with his Maternal Brother and request advice from important individuals set the basis for the Unification campaign whereas putting Kalu Pandey in the position of Kazi was quite an effective decision.

He also visited Bhaktapur for a year and understood the fundamental aspects of the Kathmandu Valley. When he returned he immediately set his eyes on Nuwakot but failed twice before succeeding the third time.

His desire to conquer and defeat the Kathmandu Valley was deeply impacted by his humiliation at the Makwapur Kingdom twice. By 1769 A.D. Shah captured Makwapur, Kirtipur, and the three Kingdoms of Kathmandu Valley technically unifying Nepal.

After dedicating himself to decades of unification campaigns, Prithvi Narayan Shah was insecure about the future of Nepal, the threats of Britishers, and the fragility of the Nepali Army along with the nature of the Nepalese People.

Therefore, Dibya Upadesh revolves around advising the future King (Pratap Singh Shah and Bahadur Shah) to ascertain their priorities for the National Prosperity of Nepal.

Importance of Dibya Upadesh

Dibya Upadesh has been considered a pioneering text for Governance in Nepal, often becoming subject to Glorification and Poeticization. Nonetheless, Dibya Upadesh has imparted strategies, techniques, and plans when effectively mobilized could lead Nepal to prosperity and progress.

Its major area of significance has been considered the domain of Diplomacy and International Relations where the Father of Modern Nepal has propounded balancing the two Super-Power while maintaining isolation from Foreign Trade. He has cleverly hinted at increasing exports while decreasing imports.

National Security is another aspect of significance in the Dibya Upadesh. He has hinted at appeasing soldiers to prevent mutiny meanwhile assuring absolute faith and deviation from the Soldiers through appropriate renumeration.

Civil and Judicial Service and Governance have been sufficiently addressed by the Dibya Upadesh. Here, it has been propounded that excess money can harm the honesty and integrity of civil servants. He also detests corruption, a common source of impediment to Modern Day Governance.


Dibya Upadesh, despite its short length, encompasses the key features of Nepali Governance, Foreign Policy, Administration, and National Security in a sui-generic manner through Experience and Observation.