Narain rightly points out that concrete information about government in early India is embedded in religious contexts, and difficult to disentangle. This makes our task of unravelling the role that government played in this period difficult, but not insuperable, if we preface it by framing some useful questions. For instance, how, in historical reality, did the systems of values as propounded within the Sanskrit texts mesh with the political preoccupations of rulers? In matters of religious policy, how did they perceive their real interests and purposes? Of course, our treatment of such questions across centuries must necessarily deal in very broad brush-strokes. The present chapter and the following two, which deal with the whole of what might be called ‘ancient India’, cannot altogether avoid risks of oversimplification, of blurring important distinctions and of attributing questionable solidity and universality to trends, periods or movements that actually mask a plethora of disordered and contradictory phenomena. But a ‘big picture’ approach can also reveal larger, informative patterns.