The king was the suo preme head of the state. He was assisted by a council of eight ministers known as the ashta pradhan. The chief minister or mukhya pradhan was called the peshwa. All the ministers, except the nyayadhisha (chief justice) and pandit rao (Almoner), usually held military commands besides their civil duties. The council of ministers could not initiate policy; its functions were purely advisory. Shivaji did not allow the high offices to become hereditary. He thus defeudalised his administration and thereby checked the prevailing tendency towards disintegration.
Shivaji divided the territory directly under his rule (Swaraj) into three provinces, each under a viceroy. He further divided the provinces into prants each of which was subdivided into pl1rganas and tarafs. The lowest unit was the village, and each village had its headman or patel.