Acharya Chanakya was one such great figure who, on the strength of his abilities, changed the course of Indian history through his Chanakya Niti.
The founder of the Maurya Empire, Chanakya, became a renowned politician, clever diplomatist, ecclesiastical economist. Even after passing so many centuries, even if the principles and policies laid down by Chanakya are relevant, it is only because he expressed the invaluable knowledge gained from his deep study, contemplation and life experiences, completely selflessly with the objective of human welfare.
The policies and formulas presented in the current era of social structure, globalized economy and governance have proved to be very effective.
Chanakya, also called Kautilya or Vishnugupta, (flourished 300 BCE), Hindu statesman and philosopher who wrote a classic treatise on polity, Artha-Shastra (“The Science of Material Gain”), a compilation of almost everything (property, economics, or material success) that had been written in India up to his time regarding artha.
He was born into a Brahman family and received his education at Taxila (now in Pakistan). He is known to have knowledge about medicine and astrology. Some authorities believe that was strongly influenced by that religion. or he was a Zoroastrian.
Chanakya became a counselor and advisor to Chandragupta (reigned c. 321–c. 297), founder of the Mauryan empire of northern India, but lived by himself. He helped Chandragupta Maurya to take over Magadha Region ruled by the powerful Nanda dynasty at Pataliputra.
Chanakya’s book came to be Chandragupta’s guide. Each of its 15 sections deals with a phase of government, which Chanakya sums up as “the science of punishment.” Lost for centuries, the book was discovered in 1905.
Here are some excerpts from the second chapter of the Chanakya Niti
1. Just as a gem is not found on all mountains, the pearl is not produced in the head of all elephants, sandalwood tree is not present in all forests, similarly, gentlemen are not found in all places.
2. Lying, rash, daring, deception, foolish act, greed, profanity, and cruelty – these are the natural faults of women. Chanakya considers the above-mentioned doshas as the natural qualities of women. However, these defects cannot be rightly said in the educated women of the present era.
3. The availability of good food for food, the power to digest them, the workforce to bond with a beautiful woman, the desire to give abundant wealth as well as wealth. Human beings get all these pleasures with great difficulty.
4. Chanakya says that the person whose son is under his control, whose wife conducts according to the command and the person who is fully satisfied with his earned money. For such a person, this world is like heaven.
5. Chanakya believes that the same householder is happy, whose child obeys his command. The father also has a duty to raise the sons well. In the same way, such a person cannot be called a friend, who cannot be trusted and such a wife is meaningless who do not get any kind of pleasure.
6. It is good to abandon the friend who talks smooth in front of you and spoils your work behind your back. Chanakya says that it is like a vessel with milk on top of it, but inside it is full of poison.
7. Chanakya says that a person who is not a good friend should not believe in it, but at the same time, one should not have full faith in the relation of a good friend, because if he is angry, he can open all your secrets. Therefore, caution is very important.
8. Chanakya believes that a person should never open his mind. Whatever work he has to do, keep it in his mind and he should complete it with full patience when the time comes.
9. Chanakya says that like foolishness, youth is also painful because, in youth, one can do any foolish act in the impulse of sex. But even more painful than these is to depend on others.
10. Chanakya says that in the form of education to children in their childhood, they develop in the same way. Therefore, it is the duty of the parents to lead them on such a path that they develop the best character because only the virtues of the family grow from virtuous people.
11. Those parents are like enemies to their children, who did not give good education to the children. Because the illiterate child is insulted in the group of scholars in the same way as the heron in the herd of swans. A person without education is like an animal without a tail, so it is the duty of parents to give such education to children so that they can beautify the society.
12. Chanakya says that due to being pampered, many defects arise in children. So if they do something wrong then it is not appropriate to ignore and be pampered. It is also necessary to scold the child.
13. Explaining the importance of education and study, Chanakya says that man is born very fortunate, so we should use more and more of our time in the study of Vedadi scriptures and good works like charity.
14. Just as the grief of the wife’s separation, the sorrow of the humiliation received from her siblings is unbearable, similarly the debt-ridden person remains unhappy at all times. The servant who is in the service of the evil king also remains unhappy. Man can never forget the curse of poverty. With this, the soul of a person keeps on burning inside.
15. According to Chanakya, the life of trees situated on the banks of the river is uncertain, because the rivers devastate the trees along the banks at the time of the flood. Similarly, a woman living in other homes can also go on the path of decline at some time. Similarly, a king who does not have a minister to give good advice, he cannot remain safe for a long time. There should be no doubt about this.
16. The power of Brahmins is knowledge, the power of kings is their army, the power of Vaishyas is their wealth and the power of Shudras is to serve others. It is the duty of Brahmins to take knowledge. It is the duty of the king to keep increasing his force by the soldiers. The duty of the Vaishyas is to increase wealth through trade, the duty of the Shudras is to serve the noble.
17. Chanakya says that the way the prostitute turns away from the man at the end of the money. In the same way when the king becomes powerless.