While discussing the situations in which a king may attack another king’s land, Matsyapurāṇa (Matsyapurana) says that when the king learns that the enemy or pārṣnigrāha (parshnigraha; one who occupies the backside) has been attacked by a more powerful Ākranda (Akranda), he may proceed to fight —
yadā manyeta nṛipatirākrandena valīyasā
pārṣnigrāhabhibhuto’ristada yātrāṁ prayojayet.
However, this version of the śloka (sloka; verse) is not very clear. In this version, the conjoined phrase “pārṣnigrā hābhibhutorih” may mean that “the ari (enemy) who has been overpowered by the pārṣnigrāha“(parshigraha). In that case, there should have been no point of the war between the king who seeks to win, and the king who is under attack. But when this śloka is mentioned in Agnipurāṇa (Agnipurana), in a different version, the meaning becomes fully clear; and for this understanding, one needs to know the definitions of such technical terms as ākranda (akranda) and pārṣnigrāha (parshnigraha).
In Arthaśastra, Kautilya has regarded the king of a land as constant, and gave him a name – Vijigīṣu (Bijigishu; one who seeks to win). The rājamaṇdala (rajamandala; royal circle) is built with the friends and enemies around the Vijigīṣu king’s land. Kautilya seeks to give the idea of a pattern, according to the positions of these friends and enemies in the royal circle.
He maintains that a neighbouring country generally becomes an enemy. In this conception, the state in front of the vijigīṣu king’s land is an arirāṣtra (arirastra; the enemy-state). Next to the enemy-state, is situated a mitrarāṣtra (mitrarastra; a friendly state). After this, stands a state that is friendly with the arirāṣtra. This is called arimitra ( friend of the enemy). The state located next to it, is known as mitramitra (friend’s friend). And the next one obviously is arimitramitra (the friend’s friend of the enemy).
After describing the states in front of the vijigīṣu king’s country, Kautilya comes to the states behind it. According to him, the country immediately behind, is called pārṣnigrāha (parshnigraha). This land’s king is the well-wisher of the vijigīṣu king’s enemy, and that is why remains at the pārṣni (parshni; the backside) of the vijigīṣu king, to attack him from behind. In fact , if the vijigīṣu is busy in handling the enemy in front of him, the pārṣnigrāha gets an opportunity to attack him. So at least the state behind the pārṣnigrāha should be a friend of the vijigīṣu king.
Ākranda remains behind the pārṣnigrāha (parshnigraha). He is friendly with the vijigīṣuking. The meaning of this definitive nomenclature is, as if, the vijigiṣu king makes ākrandana ( akrandana; a cry) to the friendly state behind him, so that he can tackle the enemy at his back (pārṣnigrāha). That is why, this friendly state of the vijigīṣu king is called ākranda(akranda). The state next to the ākranda is obviously a friend of the vijigīṣu king’s enemy, so he is also a friend of the pārṣnigrāha. He is called pārṣnigrāhāsāra (parshnigrahasara; one who shifts position at the back of parshnigraha), because he shifts his position (saraṇa; shifting) to help the pārsnigrāha. Similarly, the state next to pārṣngrāhāsāra is a friend of the ākranda, that is called ākrandāsāra ( akrandasara ; one who shifts on to help the ākranda). So with the five states in front and four at the back of the vijigiṣu king, there are ten components in the rājamaṇdala including himself.
Now, considering the geographical position of the ākranda and the pārṣnigrāha, we may cite the similar śloka in Agnipurāṇa to get a clearer meaning of the śloka in Matsyapurāṇa. Agnipurāṇa clearly states that when the king finds that his own pārṣnigrāha is overpowered by a mightier friendly state, i.e., ākranda, he may start the expedition against the enemy.
yadā manyeta nṛpatirākranden valīysā
pārṣnigrāho’bhibhuta me tadā yātrāṃ prayojayet.
The vijigīṣu king’s politics of war thus makes his expedition successful through the defeat of the pārṣnigraha at the hand of a powerful ākranda.