Monday, June 20, 2011

"Chanakya"- Greatest Politician and Economist ever born

Chānakya (c. 350–283 BCE) was an adviser of the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta (c. 340–293 BCE), and was the chief architect of his rise to power. Kautilya and Vishnugupta, the names by which the ancient Indian political treatise called the Arthasastra identifies its author, are traditionally identified with Chanakya.It is important to identify Chanakya as a great Indian because his cultural significance has reached far and wide, and his words are just as internalised in other parts of South Asia. Chanakya has been considered as the pioneer of the field of economics and political science.In the Western world, he has been referred to as The Indian Machiavelli, although Chanakya's works predate Machiavelli's by about 1,800 years.Chanakya was a teacher in Taksasila, an ancient centre of learning, and was responsible for the creation of Mauryan empire, the first of its kind on the Indian subcontinent. His works were lost near the end of the Gupta Dynasty and not rediscovered until 1915.


Rishi Canak named his son as "Chanakya". Being a teacher himself, he knew the importance of education. Taxila was one of the world centers for education. At a very early age little Chanakya started studying Vedas. The Vedas; considered to be the toughest scriptures to study were completely studied and memorized by Chanakya in his infancy. He was attracted to studies in politics. In politics Chanakya’s acumen and shrewdness was visible right from childhood. He was a student of politics right from child hood. Known as a masterful political strategist, He knew how to put his own people in the opposite camp and spy the enemy without his knowledge before destroying him forever. Chanakya was an ace in turning tables in his favor irrespective of the circumstances. He never budged to pressure tactics by the ruthless politicians. In this way after studying religion and politics, he turned his attention to economics, which remained his lifelong friend. "Nitishastra", a treatise on the ideal way of life shows his in depth study of the Indian way of life

Life as a student

Takshashila, (later corrupted as Taxila),one of the topmost centers of education at that time in India became Chanakya’s breeding ground of acquiring knowledge in the practical and theoretical aspect. The teachers were highly knowledgeable who used to teach sons of kings. It is said that a certain teacher had 101 students and all of them were princes! The university at Taxila was well versed in teaching the subjects using the best of practical knowledge acquired by the teachers. The age of entering the university was sixteen. The branches of studies most sought after in around India ranged from law, medicine, warfare and other indigenous forms of learning. The four Vedas, archery, hunting, elephant-lore and 18 arts were taught at the university of Taxila. So prominent was the place where Chanakya received his education that it goes to show the making of the genius. The very requirements of admission filtered out the outlawed and people with lesser credentials.

After acquiring vast knowledge in various branches of study he wanted everybody to get benefited. He believed in the broadcasting of knowledge and not in the storage of it. So famous was Chanakya in the vicinity of the university that he had many nicknames. He was called variously by different people, namely – Vishnugupta, Kautilya and Chanakya. The whole nation was bewildered by the cleverness and wit of this seemingly small boy who went on to single handedly unify the country with the sheer power of his character. He lived his life working to his capacity in pursuit of his vision of a happy strong and prosperous India.

Taxila University

At a time when the Dark Ages were looming large, the existence of a university of Taxila’s grandeur really makes India stand apart way ahead of the European countries who struggled with ignorance and total information blackout. For the Indian subcontinent Taxila stood as a light house of higher knowledge and pride of India. In the present day world, Taxila is situated in Pakistan at a place called Rawalpindi. The university accommodated more than 10,000 students at a time. The university offered courses spanning a period of more than eight years. The students were admitted after graduating from their own countries. Aspiring students opted for elective subjects going for in depth studies in specialized branches of learning. After graduating from the university, the students are recognized as the best scholars in the subcontinent. It became a cultural heritage as time passed. Taxila was the junction where people of different origins mingled with each other and exchanged knowledge of their countries. The university was famous as "Taxila" university, named after the city where it was situated. The king and rich people of the region used to donate lavishly for the development of the university. In the religious scriptures also, Taxila is mentioned as the place where the king of snakes, Vasuki selected Taxila for the dissemination of knowledge on earth.

Here it would be essential to mention briefly the range of subjects taught in the university of Taxila.

(1) Science,

(2) Philosophy,

(3) Ayurveda,

(4) Grammar of various languages,

(5) Mathematics,

(6) Economics,

(7) Astrology,

(8) Geography,

(9) Astronomy,

(10) Surgical science,

(11) Agricultural sciences,

(12) Archery and Ancient and Modern Sciences.

The university also used to conduct researches on various subjects.

Commotion in Taxila

Gandhar Republic was not able to come out of the shock of the comprehensive defeat at the hands of the province of Porus, when a new contingency starred in the eyes of Taxila. Thousands of refugees poured in Taxila as a result of the widespread attacks of the armies of Alexander. These people were not productive for the state as they didn’t come to Taxila to acquire knowledge or in search of jobs. They didn’t have money or any kind of assets to buy themselves the essential commodities. To resolve the problem, a meeting was convened by the rulers of the neighboring countries and the king of Taxila. The knowledgeable people who gathered to give their opinions on the problem faced by Taxila, gave out their suggestions. At the end of the meeting, it was decided that the refugees must be given cover under humanitarian grounds. So, in line with the decision taken, a stretch of land outside Taxila was allotted for the refugees. They were allowed to enter Taxila after proving their identity with the sentry. In this way what appeared to be a calamity was appeased without much ado. The incident was just a precursor to a series of events which reverberated across India as a result of the attacks of Alexander.

Move towards Patliputra

Though Chanakya was just a professor in the Taxila University which seemed to be far away from the happenings in the country, he actually was able to influence the governments in a big way. His students looked at him as an ideal teacher who inspired and exemplified great knowledge. His students respected him and were ready to fight at any moment at his orders. Two of his students who have been mentioned at various instances were Bhadrabhatt and Purushdutt. In the events that unfolded in the life of Chanakya, these two played a pivotal role in the achievement of his goals. It is rumored that they acted as spies for Chanakya, collecting information about his enemies.

Somehow, Chanakya came to know that there was a chance of foreign invasion. Europe’s great warrior Salukes was readying his armies to attack the weakened republics of India. There were grave designs threatening the unity and integrity of the nation. In such a scenario the ruler of Patliputra, Mahanand was squeezing the common man of his wealth with an object of enriching his own exchequer. Chanakya was aware of the internal and external threats of the country. On the one hand, the rulers of the neighboring countries were looking for the slightest of chance to annex the prosperous regions of the country and on the other hand, foreign invaders started moving towards the country with an expectation of easily smothering the country. These thoughts gave Chanakya sleepless nights. He envisioned his country clutched in the chains of slavery and defeated because of internal squabbles and differences. So he decided on the historical day, thus saying,

"Now the time has come to leave the university. The scrupulous rulers of the country must be uprooted and there is a need to strengthen the country politically and economically. My first and foremost duty is to save the country of the foreign invaders and salvage this dangerous proposition."

With these thoughts in mind, he left Taxila University for Patliputra which paved the way for watershed changes in the politics of India and Patliputra.

Patliputra – The city of fortunes

Patliputra, (presently known as Patna) has been historically a very important city politically and strategically. Like Delhi, Patliputra has seen the ups and downs of development and great reversals. The well known Chinese traveler Fahian, who visited the city in 399 BC described it as prosperous city endowed with rich natural resources. At the same time, another Chinese traveler Huen sang described it as a city of rubbles and ruins.

Shishunagvanshi established the city on the southern bank of the Ganges. It was addressed with different names at different times. To. illustrate a few names, Pushpapur, Pushpanagar, Patliputra and Patna.

The city was industrious in producing essential commodities and luxurious goods for the rich. When Chanakya entered the city, it was known for respecting knowledgeable people and scholars. The intellectuals from across the country were warmly invited for the intercourse of new ideas and development of the state. It was virtually the city of fortunes as it recognized the true talent and rewarded richly for the work done by an individual. No wonder Chanakya decided to start his glorious campaign from Patliputra.

"I will destroy you"

Dhanananda, the ruler of Patliputra was unscrupulous and cruel by nature. He was always busy gathering money without thinking about consequences. He was always dissatisfied with the amount of money he had. Collecting taxes exorbitantly, he was a villain in the public eye. There was public outrage on the taxes which were collected on unwanted things. The main aim of collecting taxes was to serve the selfish interests of the king. There were taxes on hides, tax on wood and tax even on stone! The amount of money which Dhanananda had was unimaginable.
When Chanakya arrived at Patliputra, there was a change in the way he ran his kingdom. He gave gifts to the poor and was on the way of becoming lenient in administration. He had formed a trust or committee to administer his gifts and charities. The committee was headed by scholars and influential people of the society. It is said that the president had the powers to make up to ten million gold coins.

Since Chanakya was a great scholar from Taxila, he was included in the committee for charity. Chanakya later on became the president of the ‘Sungha’ (Trust). The Sungha used to help the king in the distribution of the money allotted for charity to the different sections of the society. In the process of delegation of the funds for charity, the president of the trust had to meet the king frequently. When Chanakya met the king for the first time, he was disgusted at the ugly appearance of Chanakya. As time passed he developed contempt for Chanakya. There was no refinement in words and conduct. To increase the fire between Dhanananda and Chanakya, the courtiers dissuaded the king from having a cordial relationship with Chanakya. Chanakya acted like a thorough professional and avoided praising the king. He always spoke bluntly and tersely. The king did not like the way Chanakya behaved with him. The king removed Chanakya from the post of president without any reasons. Chanakya was enraged at the proposition of being exploited by the less knowledgeable king. So, he erupted like a volcano on the king, and said, "Arrogance in you has eroded the respect which I had for you. You have removed me from the presidentship for no fault of mine. You can’t act in a way detrimental to the demeanor of a king. You think there is none to question you? You have removed me from my rightful place and I will dethrone you !"

Chanakya meets Chandragupta

Just after getting humiliated from the king, Chanakya scampered through the streets of Patliputra. In a hurried walk, he stumbled upon a stump of grass and was about to fall. Chanakya the great scholar had his own style of handling things. He looked at the roots of the grass and quickly got into action. Though he was angry, he never let his anger to get out of control. He directed the anger in the right direction. Calmly, he sat down in the burning sun, removed that grass from the roots from the earth. After making sure that not even a single strand of grass is left, he resumed his journey.

While Chanakya was engrossed in removing the grass from the ground, a young man was closely watching the act of Chanakya. The young man was Chandragupta, the would be emperor of the Mauryan Empire. He looked bright. Looking at the determination of Chanakya, he was impressed and wanted to talk to the knowledgeable man.

He went to Chanakya, addressed him respectfully, and took him into the choultry. Chanakya asked him about his family background beginning his talk by asking, "Who are you? You seem to be worried."

The young man stepped forward with great reverence and said, "Sir, my name is Chandragupta. Yes, you are correct I am in great trouble but should I trouble you with my worries?"

Chanakya calmed down the young man by saying, "You can tell me about your troubles with freewill and without any ambiguities. If I am capable enough, I’ll definitely help you."

"I am the grandson of king Sarvarthasiddhi, He had two wives, Sunandadevi and Muradevi. Sunanda got nine sons called the Navanandas. Mura, had only one which was my father. The Nandas tried to kill my father time and again. We were more than hundred brothers. The Nandas out of jealousy, tried to kill all of us. Somehow I survived and I am totally disgusted with my life. I want to take revenge on the Nandas who are ruling over the country presently."

Chanakya who was freshly wounded by the Nandas found a companion to destroy the distraught king. Chanakya was greatly moved by the tale of woe. He was emotionally charged listening to the story of Chandragupta and vowed to destroy the Nandas and get Chandragupta his rightful place as a king of Patliputra. Chanakya said "I will get you the kingship, Chandragupta. From that day on Chanakya and Chandragupta worked in tandem to destroy the corrupt and unscrupulous rule of the Nandas."

Chandragupta has not been well documented. The place of birth, family background and several details regarding his life are not available. Several things have been said and written about his family and parents. Probably, he belonged to the Moria community. He might have got the name Chandragupta Maurya afterwards and his royal lineage was known as the Maurya dynasty. His mother was perhaps the daughter of a village headman. His father was the king of a forest area called Pippatavana, who died in a war. Chandragupta came to Patliputra along with his mother.
As a boy Chandragupta was a born leader. Even as a boy, he was accepted as a leader by all. As a boy he used to mimic the king’ court. His bravery and shrewdness were visible right from childhood. As Chanakya was moving along the streets of Patliputra, he saw little Chandragupta enacting the king. Sitting on the large throne, the little boy shouted against injustice and corrupt practices of the kings and people in general. Looking at the bright face of Chandragupta, he was impressed at the intellect and wisdom in the boy’s voice. For seven or eight years Chandragupta had his education there, and that too with selected teachers shortlisted by Chanakya himself. The art of warfare and the art of governance were mastered by Chandragupta with equal expertise.

The Greek invader

The relationship between Chandragupta and Chanakya bloomed through the years developing into a strong force for their enemies. Most of the historical events took place right under the eyes of Chanakya and Chandragupta. The troops of Alexander and the umpteen number of invaders who ravaged the subcontinent for decades around India. It is said that Chandragupta met Alexander. The bold and arrogant talk by Chandragupta enraged Alexander as a result of which Chandragupta was arrested. Chanakya’s training to Chandragupta was over by now and he thought it to be the right occasion to let Chandragupta taste the practical aspect of warfare. Chanakya closely observed the movement and strategies employed by Alexander. He also became aware of the weaknesses of the Indian rulers.

Freedom from the Greeks

The rustic boy that Chandragupta was, now had matured into a sound military commander. The source of strength for Chandragupta and his army was the power of mind and the towering personality of Chanakya. In that war of independence for northern India, Chandragupta was the physical instrument, while its thinking brain was Chanakya.

The deterioration of the prowess of Alexander happened because of the weakening of Satraps or the commanding officers. Niccosar, a Satrap was killed even when Alexander was alive. Another formidable Satrap called Philip, was killed weakening Alexander like never before. After Alexander’s death in Babylon, all his Satraps were either killed or dislodged , one by one. Alexander’s lieutenants divided his empire among themselves in 321 BC. No realm east of the Indus – the River Sindhu was mentioned in that settlement. It meant that the Greeks themselves had accepted that this region had gone out of their rule.

Defeat of the Nanda king

Before defeating the Nandas, Chanakya had to employ various strategies before victory. Chanakya firstly tested the policy of attacking the core of the city. The policy met with defeats again and again. With the change in strategy, Chanakya and Chandragupta began the attack on the borders of the Magadha Empire. Again there were mistakes. The troops were not stationed in the areas conquered. So when they marched forward, the people of the conquered areas joined together again and encircled their army. Thus those who had been defeated had to be fought again and again

Chandragupta and Chanakya learnt lessons from these mistakes. They now stationed troops in the conquered regions. So those enemies would not raise and cause any trouble. Chanakya with his cleverness had earlier won the friendship of king Parvataka (or Porus Second). Now Parvataka, his brother Vairochaka and son Malayeketu came with their armies to help them. The Nanda king had the support of a big army. The other equally important support was the guidance of his very able minister, Amatya Rakshasa. This minister was very intelligent and had unlimited loyalty to the king. Chanakya knew that getting Amatya out of his way was the only way of defeating King Nanda. Chanakya devised a plan which involved planting of spies in the enemy camp. In a very short span of time, the weaknesses of the Nandas became visible. Parallely, the Nandas and Amatya Rakshasa made plans to counter any attacks by Chanakya.

Details are not available regarding the war between the Nandas on the one hand and Chandragupta and Chanakya on the other. But it was a keen and bitter fight. The Nanda king died. His sons and relatives also died. Even Amatya Rakshasa was helpless. Chandragupta was victorious proving the foresight of Chanakya regarding his abilities. The old king and his wife retired to the forest. It is said that after sometime Chanakya had the old king and his wife killed , because he thought that if Amatya Rakshasa made them take a son by the rights of adoption, there would be claimants to the throne. He wanted the lineage of the Nandas should be totally eliminated.

The true aspect of Chanakya

The momentous life of Chanakya reminds us of a revengeful saga where the individual is obsessed by the idea of taking revenge. But personal revenge was not the aim of Chanakya. He wanted that the kingdom should be secure and that the administration should go on smoothly, bringing happiness to the people. He thought that there were two ways of ensuring the happiness of the people. Firstly, Amatya Rakshasa had to be made Chandragupta’s minister; Secondly, a book must be written, laying down how a king should conduct himself, how he should protect himself and the kingdom from the enemies, how to ensure law and order, and so on.

By writing "Arthashastra" and "Nitishastra", Chanakya has become a never ending phenomena. He has truly guided the generations with his wisdom . It would ideally suit the closing of the life of Chanakya with a couple of quotations by Chanakya:-

1) "The secret task of a king is to strive for the welfare of his people incessantly."

2) The administration of the kingdom is his religious duty. His greatest gift would be to treat all as equals."

3) "The happiness of the commoners is the happiness of the king. Their welfare is his welfare. A king should never think of his personal interest or welfare, but should try to find his joy in the joy of his subjects."

These words were written 2300 years ago by Chanakya, the expert statesman and wise sage. And Chanakya is also another name for courage and perseverance.

For centuries to come and the centuries that went by, which recorded in history talking of the great men and legendary characters who shaped time through their vision and exemplary actions. Chanakya, perhaps is the only personality who has been accepted and revered as a genius both by Indian and Western scholars. He is a historical milestone in the making of India amidst tremendous upheavals and myriad’s of reversals. Celebrated as a shrewd statesman and a ruthless administrator, he comes across as the greatest of diplomats of the world. He had the guts to speak his heart out even in front of the rulers, which shows his strong inclination to democratic values and the audacity to put his views through. Although, he lived around the third century BC, his ideas and principles show concurrence and validity in the present day world. Politics was his forte. Diplomacy in a politically charged environment shows his self-confidence and the ability to stay calm in trying situations.

His foresight and wide knowledge coupled with politics of expediency founded the mighty Mauryan Empire in India. He was a great laureate of economics with a glittering intellect to perceive the intricate dynamics of the various economic activities and principles.

The centuries that succeeded him show distinct effects of his thoughts on the way a kingdom is managed and other facets of economic administration. Even today, one of his maxims on taxation is very much alive and calls for adherence by the governments of the world. According to Chanakya, "Taxation should not be a painful process for the people. There should be leniency and caution while deciding the tax structure. Ideally, governments should collect taxes like a honeybee, which sucks just the right amount of honey from the flower so that both can survive. Taxes should be collected in small and not in large proportions".

Chanakya, apart from being a man of wisdom and unfailing strategies, propounded Nitishastra, the ideal way of living for every individual of the society. He looked at the country like a person surrounded by problems. He worked at the total annihilation of problems by the roots. The re-appearance of troubles only shows its growth. His contribution to foreign policy in the present day world is immense. Universities teach his principles to aspiring foreign policy experts showing the infallability of his principles. Chanakya’s art of diplomacy is well known across India and practiced in the areas of defence, strategy formation and foreign relations.

Quite remarkably, long before Clausewitz came up with the quote, which said "War is only the continuance of state policy by other means", Chanakya had already written it in his book ‘Chanakyaniti’. Most of his views were so farsighted that they appeared to be prophesies. Talking on diverse subjects such as corruption, he commented very rightly, "It’s just as difficult to detect an official’s dishonesty as it is to discover how much water is drunk by the swimming fish".

As a person, Chanakya has been described variously, as a saint, as a ‘ruthless administrator’, as the ‘king maker’, a devoted nationalist, a selfless ascetic and a person devoid of all morals. He created controversy by saying "The ends justify the means’ and the ruler should use any means to attain his goals and his actions required no moral sanctions". All his written works namely, ‘Arthashastra’, ‘Nitishastra’ and ‘Chanakyaniti’ were unique because of their rational approach and an unabashed advocacy of real politic. His views were dimensionally novel. He recommended even espionage and the liberal use of provocative agents as machineries of the state. In politics, he even attested the use of false accusations and killings by a king’s secret agent without any ambiguities. The observance of morals and ethics was secondary to the interests of the ruler. Some of his stark views made him into an ambivalent personality for the world. 

This great statesman and philosopher has been often compared to Machiavelli, Aristotle and Plato, exemplifying his potentiality and influential status. He has been criticized for his ruthlessness and trickery and praised for his profound political wisdom. Chanakya, the timeless man, was in pursuit of truth fearlessly 2000 years ago and was proved right with Vivekanand’s words, "Arise, Awake, Sleep not till the goal is reached".


Chanakya envisioned India as a nation which would place itself as the forerunner – politically, economically and socially. His magnum opus, "Arthashatra", depicts in many ways the India of His dreams. When he wrote this volume of epic proportion, the country was ridden in feudalism and closed and self-sufficient economy. The economy based on indigenous ways of production; was in a transitional phase, moving towards the advanced aspects of distribution and production. Culture and regional politics directed the way in which trade was done. The main activities of the economy were agriculture, cattle rearing and commerce. Among the three, Chanakya considered agriculture to be the most important constituent of the economy. It’s a fact today that the Indian economy of today is an agro based one. Covering various topics on administration, politics and economy, it is a book of law and a treatise on running a country which is relevant even today. 
People who think that the society in which we live will remain the same; are dissuading themselves of the truth. Society is a complex and dynamic system changing constantly leaving those people behind who say no to change. Broadly speaking, Chanakya dreamt of a country reaching the following levels of development in terms of ideologies and social and economic development:

• A self sufficient economy which is not dependent on foreign trade.

• An egalitarian society where there are equal opportunities for all.

• Establishment of new colonies for the augmentation of resources. He also advocated the development of the already annexed colonies. His imperialistic views can be interpreted as the development of natural and man made resources.

• According to Chanakya, the efficient management of land is essential for the development of resources. It is essential that the state keeps an eye on the occupation of excess land by the landlords and unauthorized use of land. Ideally the state should monitor the most important and vital resource – Land.

• The state should take care of agriculture at all times. Government machinery should be directed towards the implementation of projects aimed at supporting and nurturing the various processes; beginning from sowing of seeds to harvest.

• The nation should envisage to construct forts and cities. These complexes would protect the country from invasions and provide internal security. The cities would act as giant markets increasing the revenue of the state.

• Internal trade was more important to Chanakya than external trade. At each point of the entry of goods, a minimal amount of tax should be collected. The state should collect taxes at a bare minimum level, so that there is no chance of tax evasion.

• Laws of the state should be the same for all, irrespective of the person who is involved in the case. Destitute women should be protected by the society because they are the result of social exploitation and the uncouth behavior of men.

• Security of the citizens at peace time is very important because state is the only savior of the men and women who get affected only because of the negligence of the state. Antisocial elements should be kept under check along with the spies who may enter the country at any time.

• Chanakya envisioned a society where the people are not running behind material pleasures. Control over the sense organs is essential for success in any endeavor. Spiritual development is essential for the internal strength and character of the individual. Material pleasures and achievements are always secondary to the spiritual development of the society and country at large.


  • Chanakya was born with a complete set of teeth, a sign that he would become king, which is inappropriate for a Brahmin like Chanakya. Chāṇakya's teeth were therefore broken and it was prophesied that he will rule through another.
  • The Nanda King throws Chānakya out of his court, prompting Chānakya to swear revenge.
  • Chānakya searches for one worthy for him to rule through. Chānakya encounters a young Chandragupta Maurya who is a born leader even as a child.
  • Chānakya's initial attempt to overthrow Nanda fails, whereupon he comes across a mother scolding her child for burning himself by eating from the middle of a bun or bowl of porridge rather than the cooler edge. Chāṇakya realizes his initial strategic error and, instead of attacking the heart of Nanda territory, slowly chips away at its edges.
  • Chānakya changed his alliance with the mountain king Parvata due to his obstinacy and non-adherence to the principles of the treaty as agreed.
  • Chānakya enlists the services of a fanatical weaver to rid the kingdom of rebels.
  • Chānakya adds poison to the food eaten by Chandragupt Maurya, now king, in order to make him immune.Unaware, Chandragupta feeds some of his food to his queen, who is in her ninth month of pregnancy. In order to save the heir to the throne, Chānakya cuts the queen open and extracts the foetus, who is named Bindusara because he was touched by a drop (bindu) of blood having poison
  • Chānakya's political rivalry with Subandhu leads to his death.

Silver punch mark coin of the Mauryan empire, with symbols of wheel and elephant. 3rd century BCE.
Chanakya Lyrics:

What is History Generally / By Chanakya

धर्मार्थ काममोक्षाणामुपदेश समान्वितं । पुरावृत्तं कथायुत्तरूपमितिहासं प्रचक्षते ।। “Dharmaartha-kaama-moskshanaam upadesa-samanvitam | Puraa-vrttam, kathaa-yuttarupam Ithihaasah prachakshate ||”

History will be the narration of events as they happened, in the form of a story, which will be an advice to the reader to be followed in life, to gain the purusaarthas namely
1. Kama the satiation of desires
2. through Artha the tool,
3. by following the path of Dharma the human code of conduct
4. to gain Moksha or liberation.

धर्मार्थ काममोक्षाणामुपदेश समान्वितं । पुरावृत्तं कथायुत्तरूपमितिहासं प्रचक्षते ।। “Dharmaartha-kaama-moskshanaam upadesa-samanvitam | Puraa-vrttam, kathaa-yuttarupam Ithihaasah prachakshate ||”

पुराणमितिव्रुत्तमाख्यायिकोदाहरणं धर्मशास्त्रं चेतीतिहासः
1. Puraana (the chronicles of the ancients),
2. Itivrtta (history),
3. Akhyayika (tales),
4. Udaaharana (illustrative stories),
5. Dharmashastra (the canon of Righteous conduct), and
6. Arthashastra (the science of Government)
are known by (comprise the corpus of Itihaasah, ) History Kautilya’s Arthashastra, Book 1, Chapter 5

Broadly speaking, Chanakya dreamt of a country reaching the following levels of development in terms of ideologies and social and economic development:

• A self sufficient economy which is not dependent on foreign trade.
• An egalitarian society where there are equal opportunities for all.
• Establishment of new colonies for the augmentation of resources. He also advocated the development of the already annexed colonies. His imperialistic views can be interpreted as the development of natural and man made resources.
• According to Chanakya, the efficient management of land is essential for the development of resources. It is essential that the state keeps an eye on the occupation of excess land by the landlords and unauthorized use of land. Ideally the state should monitor the most important and vital resource – Land.
• The state should take care of agriculture at all times. Government machinery should be directed towards the implementation of projects aimed at supporting and nurturing the various processes; beginning from sowing of seeds to harvest.
• The nation should envisage to construct forts and cities. These complexes would protect the country from invasions and provide internal security. The cities would act as giant markets increasing the revenue of the state.
• Internal trade was more important to Chanakya than external trade. At each point of the entry of goods, a minimal amount of tax should be collected. The state should collect taxes at a bare minimum level, so that there is no chance of tax evasion.
• Laws of the state should be the same for all, irrespective of the person who is involved in the case. Destitute women should be protected by the society because they are the result of social exploitation and the uncouth behavior of men.
• Security of the citizens at peace time is very important because state is the only savior of the men and women who get affected only because of the negligence of the state. Antisocial elements should be kept under check along with the spies who may enter the country at any time.
• Chanakya envisioned a society where the people are not running behind material pleasures. Control over the sense organs is essential for success in any endeavor. Spiritual development is essential for the internal strength and character of the individual. Material pleasures and achievements are always secondary to the spiritual development of the society and country at large.

One of the oldest management books available to the world and covers a wide range of topics, including statecraft, politics, military warfare,strategy, selection and training of employees leadership skills, legal systems, accounting systems,taxation, fiscal policies, civil rules, domestic and foreign trade,and more.
Through the centuries, scholars have repeatedly described Chanakya as a rare mastermind who was an expert in so many varied and specialized fields. Chanakya applied the principles and techniques of Arthashastra to help create India’s Mauryan Empire, which spanned over one hundred years and is considered to be one of the brightest periods of Indian history.




(The money- less man is quit cold by friends, wife, and well wishers and dependents, on his becoming rich, they hang on to him again. In this world, money is only the true ally of man.


(Unjustly earned money stays only for ten years. In the eleventh year, it disappears along with the Principal)



(Everyone experiences birth and death alone, he also faces the consequences of good and bad actions, and he faces the hell and heaven alone)



(It is not the fault of spring season, if leaves don’t grow on a KARIRA tree. It is not the fault of the sun if the owl can’t see during the day. Cloud is not to be blamed if no raindrops fall into the mouth of the cuckoo. One is powerless to wipe off the destiny inscribed on one’s forehead)


(Life-span, occupation, wealth, education and ‘How death will occur, these five things are determined while a person is in the womb of the mother)


(The beggar becomes a king and the king becomes miserly. Destiny makes the rich poor and the poor are made rich by destiny)



(Brahmin (Dvija) believes God to be in fire. Sage believes God to be in the heart itself. A person with little knowledge thinks that God resides only in the Idol. But a man with just knowledge knows that God is omnipresent)


(The deity not only dwells in a piece of wood or in a stone or clay model He dwells in one’s faith)



(MOTHER, FATHER, TEACHER AND GUEST are perceivable Deities)


(As the moon illuminates up in the night, in the same way only one good son who is well educated and upright is a delight to the whole family)


(One virtuous son is enough than a hundred duds for only one moon can dispel the darkness and not the stars though they are in thousands)


(A wicked son causes distress to the whole family, in the same way as one dried up burning tree makes the whole forest to burn)



(A child should be given all the love and affection for the first five years. The next ten years, discipline should be taught to him strictly. A son should be treated as a friend after the age of sixteen).



(Wife is she who is chaste and deft, she swears only by her husband and she takes delight in her husband and she is soft spoken).



(The human mind is the cause of bondage and deliverance. The love for pleasure enslaves us but indifference towards it, liberate us).


(Passion causes distraction of the mind, the delusion is the biggest enemy of the mind, and Anger burns the mind the most. One who possesses the enlightened mind is the happiest)



(Anger is the king of death, greed is the river of hell, knowledge is the wish granting cow and contentment is the celestial garden)



(Man is unsatisfied with life, women and food because it does not have permanence. Man has to leave all his belongings one day)



(Attachment is the root cause of fear and suffering by giving up attachment one gains happiness)


Ruler should take a decision on the strength of the majority of opinion submitted by his counsellors after deep and deliberate consideration of the issues involved.A ruler should adopt his foreign policy by deploying the well established four-fold policy of Sama (persuasion, conciliation), Dhana (monetary and other gainful incentives), Bedha (divide and rule policy) and Dhanda (punishment).

Foreign Policy / Political Ethics

A ruler should adopt his foreign policy by deploying the well established four-fold policy of Sama (persuasion, conciliation), Dhana (monetary and other gainful incentives), Bedha (divide and rule policy) and Dhanda (punishment).


1) A person shouldn't be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are scrwed first

2) Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretent to be venomous

3) The biggest guru mantra is : never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you

4) There is some self interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without any self interest. This is a bitter truth

5) Before you start some work, always ask yourself three things- Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead

6) As soon as fear approaches near, attack it and destroy it

7) The world's biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman

8) Once you start working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest

9) The fragrance of a flower always spreads in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all the directions

10) A man is great by deeds. Not by birth

11) Never make friendship with people who are above or below your status. That friendship will never give you any happiness

12) Treat you kid like a darling for first five years. For the next five years, scold him. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown up children are your best friends

13) Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person

14) Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth

15) Do not be very upright in your deal­ings for you would see by going to the for­est that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing.

16) He who gives up shy­ness in mon­e­tary deal­ings, in acquir­ing knowl­edge, in eat­ing and in busi­ness, becomes happy.

17) The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accom­plish his pur­pose with due knowl­edge of his place, time and ability.

18) These five are your fathers; he who gave you birth, gir­dled you with sacred thread, teaches you, pro­vides you with food, and pro­tects you from fear­ful situations

19) The fol­low­ing qual­i­ties of the denizens of hell may char­ac­terise men on earth; extreme wrath, harsh speech, enmity with one’s rela­tions, the com­pany with the base, and ser­vice to men of low extraction.

20) No mes­sen­ger can travel about in the sky and no tid­ings come from there. The voice of its inhab­i­tants is never heard, nor can any con­tact be estab­lished with them. There­fore the brah­mana who pre­dicts the eclipse of the sun and moon, which occur in the sky, must be con­sid­ered as avid­wan (man of great learning).

21) The stu­dent, the ser­vant, the trav­eller, the hun­gry per­son, the fright­ened man, the trea­sury guard, and the stew­ard: these seven ought to be awak­ened if they fall asleep.

22) The stu­dent (brah­macari) should com­pletely renounce the fol­low­ing eight things — his lust, anger, greed, desire for sweets, sense of dec­o­rat­ing the body, exces­sive curios­ity, exces­sive sleep, and exces­sive endeav­our for bod­ily maintenance.

23) He alone is a true brah­mana (dvija or “twice-born”) who is sat­is­fied with one meal a day, who has the six sam­skaras (or acts of purifi­ca­tion such as garb­had­hana, etc.) per­formed for him, and who cohab­its with his wife only once in a month on an aus­pi­cious day after her menses.

24) Those men who are happy in this world, who are gen­er­ous towards their rel­a­tives, kind to strangers, indif­fer­ent to the wicked, lov­ing to the good, shrewd in their deal­ings with the base, frank with the learned, coura­geous with ene­mies, hum­ble with elders and stern with the wife.

25) What fault of spring that the bam­boo shoot has no leaves? What fault of the sun if the owl can­not see dur­ing the day­time? Is it the fault of the clouds if no rain­drops fall into the mouth of the chatak bird? Who can erase what Lord Brahma has inscribed upon our fore­heads at the time of birth?

26) Cour­tesy should be learned from princes, the art of con­ver­sa­tion from pan­dits, lying should be learned from gam­blers and deceit­ful ways should be learned from women.

27) He who is not shy in the acqui­si­tion of wealth, grain and knowl­edge, and in tak­ing his meals, will be happy

28) He who is overly attached to his fam­ily mem­bers expe­ri­ences fear and sor­row, for the root of all grief is attach­ment. Thus one should dis­card attach­ment to be happy.

29) Exces­sive attach­ment to sense plea­sures leads to bondage, and detach­ment from sense plea­sures leads to lib­er­a­tion; there­fore it is the mind alone that is respon­si­ble for bondage or liberation

30) There are three gems upon this earth; food, water, and pleas­ing words — fools (mud­has) con­sider pieces of rocks as gems.

31) We should always speak what would please the man of whom we expect a favour, like the hunter who sings sweetly when he desires to shoot a deer.

32) It is ruinous to be famil­iar with the king, fire, the reli­gious pre­cep­tor, and a woman. To be alto­gether indif­fer­ent to them is to be deprived of the oppor­tu­nity to ben­e­fit our­selves, hence our asso­ci­a­tion with them must be from a safe distance.

33) If you wish to gain con­trol of the world by the per­for­mance of a sin­gle deed, then keep the fol­low­ing fif­teen, which are prone to wan­der here and there, from get­ting the upper hand of you: the five sense objects (objects of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch); the five sense organs (ears, eyes, nose, tongue and skin) and organs of activ­ity (hands, legs, mouth, gen­i­tals and anus).

34) A wise man should not divulge the for­mula of a med­i­cine which he has well pre­pared; an act of char­ity which he has per­formed; domes­tic con­flicts; pri­vate affairs with his wife; poorly pre­pared food he may have been offered; or slang he may have heard.

35) Sas­tric (scrip­tural) knowl­edge is unlim­ited, and the arts to be learned are many; the time we have is short, and our oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn are beset with obsta­cles. There­fore select for learn­ing that which is most impor­tant, just as the swan drinks only the milk in water.

36) The heart of a woman is not united; it is divided. While she is talk­ing with one man, she looks lust­fully at another and thinks fondly of a third in her heart. (Con­tro­ver­sial — Disagreement)

37) The fool (mudha) who fan­cies that a charm­ing young lady loves him, becomes her slave and he dances like a shakun­tal bird tied to a string.

38) A king, a pros­ti­tute, Lord Yama­raja, fire, a thief, a young boy, and a beg­gar can­not under­stand the suf­fer­ing of oth­ers. The eighth of this cat­e­gory is the tax collector.

Management lessons from Chanakya

Throughout history, wars have left an indelible mark on human psyche. Serious debates have been held on the morality of and the strategic necessity for war. And yet, like every dark cloud that has a silver lining, wars too at times leave a society wiser.India is no stranger to wars. And there are many lessons to be learnt from each of those battles -- management lessons, to be precise. Here we present the third in a series of articles on management lessons drawn from Indian history. This one picks out management gems from the role of the redoubtable Chanakya in the rise of the Mauyra empire.

Rise of the Maurya empire: Role of Chanakya (circa 320 BC)

Chanakya was also known as Kautilya and Vishnugupta. He wrote Arthashastra, the ancient Indian political thesis. There are several stories on Chanakya. One of them goes like this: Alexander's invasion of western India, circa 326 BC, led to political turmoil that provoked Chanakya, a renowned teacher of Takshila, to sew up a coalition to take on the Greek forces.He tried to convince many kings, but none agreed to his plans. Finally, he came to Patliputra, the capital of Magadha, ruled by the powerful Nanda dynasty. He went to their palace and found ten golden thrones. Nine were for the Nanda princes and their father, and the tenth was for the most learned person. Chanakya quietly occupied it.

When the princes came back, they asked him to vacate the seat, but Chanakya didn't and demanded a debate to prove his supremacy. The Nandas rejected the debate demand and did not give him any position.

Lesson: Even though Chanakya was reputed and famous in Takshila, it does not mean he would be famous in Patliputra too. So his asking for the debate is justified to prove his worth. Similarly, a high performer' in one team or company needs to prove his worth in a new environment to gain the same tag. Chanakya was prepared to face it. But he could try a different approach for the desired result. In the corporate world, referral plays a major role in hiring key senior employees. If any of the key ministers of the Nandas had referred or introduced him, he might have got the position.

Image: Alexander the Great

Chanakya did not vacate the golden seat, and the Nanda princes physically pulled him down. During this process, a lock of his hair got ruffled up. At this moment, Chanakya took a vow to redo the hair only after defeating the Nandas.
They were about to punish him with the death sentence, but one of the ministers prevailed upon the princes to forgive him. Chanakya went out of Magadha and met Chandragupta, who was waiting for him.There are many stories on how Chanakya first met Chandragupta, but one thing was clear: Chanakya could sense the inherent qualities in Chandragupta and trained him as he wanted to build an empire by making him the king who could protect India from the Greek invasion.

Lesson: Fearlessness, perseverance and patience are the key attributes of any leader. This helps in setting lofty goals and fuels the determination to achieve them by executing against the well-laid-out plan.
Another great quality exhibited by the leader is in spotting talents and grooming them to take bigger challenges.

Image: Chandragupta Maurya Empire

Chanakya's first step was to sneak in a spy to keep a watch on the Nandas' inner circle. He knew one Jeevasiddhi, who was intelligent and could do the job. Chanakya told Jeevasidhi about some of the secrets of the palace learnt from Chandragupta who had heard about these from his father.They sent Jeevasiddhi to the palace. Jeevasiddhi convinced the Nandas that he possessed supernatural powers by narrating the secrets hidden in the palace. The Nandas started leaning on him and consulting him before making any major decision. Slowly, he became a part of their coterie.

Lesson: A background check is required for most hires, but a detailed one is a must for senior positions to ensure right fit. At a very senior level, where information regarding tender, bid, intellectual property and other trade secrets is involved, company must take steps to protect it.
Many companies ask people to sign the non-disclosure agreement and, at times, activate special clauses restraining them from joining rival or competing companies for a few years.

Image: Nanda Dynasty Empire

Meanwhile, Chandragupta started helping the people of Magadha. His popularity started soaring. This acted as a threat to Nandas. The Nandas had an intelligent minister in Amatya Rakshasa. He advised the Nandas to kill Chandragupta. Jeevasidhi learnt of the plan and helped Chandragupta escape.Chanakya encouraged Chandragupta to take over the Magadha throne. Chandragupta networked with people and built the Mauryan army. Most of them were people disillusioned and unhappy with the Nanda rule. Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya announced a battle plan and ensured that the Nanda army could be diverted to reach a distant battlefield to fight the Mauryan army. In the meantime, a civil war erupted in Magadha. Chanakya manoeuvered popular support for Chandragupta and the Nandas were uprooted without any fight.

Lesson: A peaceful handover to the new management is desirable as it saves the company from infighting that could weaken it. It would be faster and fruitful to scale new heights from a stable company rather than a wrecked one. It helped Maurya kings to reach new heights faster not only due to their great leadership skills, but also due to peaceful transition.

Image: Chandragupta Maurya

It was a monumental task to build an efficient government for Chandragupta Maurya. Chanakya convinced Rakshasa to continue to be the minister of Chandragupta by sharing his grand vision of fighting against the invasion.Chandragupta was able to leverage Rakshasa's excellent skills in administering the kingdom. Chanakya assumed the position of an elder statesman.

Lesson: One needs to perform and show results to be considered as a key resource. Key people are always in demand, but more so during organisation's transformation.People are the main asset. Their knowledge and expertise can provide a big leap to any activity. They should be retained. Managers should not be biased in working with high performers' even if they used to work with their adversaries in the past, provided the person maintains loyalty and confidentiality.Top performers are attracted by lofty visions/goals and are willing to face difficult challenges.

Image: A Magadha dynasty period sculpture

While serving Chandragupta Maurya, Chanakya started adding small amounts of poison in his food so that he could get immune to it and would survive any attempts at poisoning.One day, his queen, Durdha, shared the food with the Emperor while she was pregnant. She died and Chanakya extricated the baby from the womb. A drop (bindu in Sanskrit) of poison had got into the foetus, and hence Chanakya named him Bindusara.
Bindusara would go on to become a great king, and his son, Ashoka, would emerge as one of the greatest emperors. Chanakya had a political adversary called Subandhu, who was in the court of Bindusara. He kept looking for opportunity to defame Chanakya in the eyes on Bindusara. On finding the right occasion, he mentioned to the king that Chankaya had killed his mother. However, the bigger question that remains is: why did the Maurya kings keep Subandhu when his envy towards Chanakya was well known?

Lesson: In a healthy organisation, diversified and divergent views can exist. One needs to have people with great skills who can deliver better results by having a good team work and right division of work.Peer pressure helps in extracting best from the people, but it should be managed well to avoid destructive peer relationship. If team work is becoming difficult, the leader should clearly identify roles based on strengths and in such a way that there is minimal overlap to avoid conflict. Team with high performers helps in better results and also cushions attrition.

Image: Teh Sanchi Stupa I which was built by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, son of Bindusara

Bindusara became angry with Chankaya. On knowing this, Chanakya walked out of the city, donated all his wealth and sat on a fast. When Bindusara learnt the truth, he felt ashamed and asked Subandhu to apologise to Chanakya.Subandhu hatched a plan to meet him and asked him to forgive him. But secretly, he set Chanakya's abode on fire. Chanakya was killed in the fire.

Lesson: The important lesson here is a long-standing ally and staunch supporter of the Maurya empire was mistrusted by the king without understanding the complete picture. A vital resource like Chanakya was lost due to this lack of trust.Managers should demonstrate maturity by having an honest one-on-one with the employee and listening to the other side of the story with an open mind before taking any drastic step. It takes time to build the trust, but it takes a moment to destroy it.

The Life of a Noble Leader
By casting out the group of six enemies (craving, anger, petty
mindedness, delusion, intoxication and aggression), a noble leader
should acquire control over his senses, cultivate his intellect by
association with elders, keep watchful eye by means of system and
information management, bring about security and well being by
energetic activity, maintain the observance of duties of team members
by carrying out his own duties, acquire discipline by receiving
instruction in the sciences, attain popularity by association with what
is of material advantage and maintain proper behaviour by doing what
is beneficial.

santosha trishu kartavyah
svadaare bhojane dhane
santosha trishu na kartavyah
svaadhyaaya japa dhaanayoh

"One should be always satisfied with these three things - their spouse, theier food, and the amount of wealth they obtain. One should never be satisfied with these three things - the amount of scriptural study, the amount of chanting (japa) and the amount of charity they performed." -Chanakya Pandit

One of the oldest management books available to the world and
covers a wide range of topics, including statecraft, politics,
military warfare,strategy, selection and training of employees,
leadership skills, legal systems, accounting systems,taxation,
fiscal policies, civil rules, domestic and foreign trade,and more.
Through the centuries, scholars have repeatedly described
Chanakya as a rare mastermind who was an expert in so many
varied and specialized fields. Chanakya applied the principles
and techniques of Arthashastra to help create India’s Mauryan
Empire, which spanned over one hundred years and is considered
to be one of the brightest periods of Indian history.


Managing an enterprise can be carried out with the help of senior
leader-manager-thinkers. One wheel does not transport. Therefore, he
should appoint seniors, managers and listen to their opinion.

Selection of Team Members
The leader should judge the ability of a person from his capacity of
doing work, distribute rank and position according to the ability of
persons and assign the place, time and work to them accordingly.

Find (By surveillance, local intelligence etc),
Fix (Ensure contact is maintained),
Surround (This is imperative, otherwise they will melt away),
Close in and finally,

the wife when the money is gone, the friend in the time of need, the relatives in times of crises and the servants when they are assigned a mission. In such times, they show their true faces.

Wise men spend their mornings in discussing gambling, the afternoon discussing the activities of women, and the night hearing about the activities of theft. (The first item above refers to the gambling of King Yudhisthira, the great devotee of Krsna. The second item refers to the glorious deeds of mother Sita, the consort of Lord Ramachandra. The third item hints at the adorable childhood pastimes of Sri Krsna who stole butter from the elderly cowherd ladies of Gokula. Hence Chanakya Pandita advises wise persons to spend the morning absorbed in Mahabharata, the afternoon studying Ramayana, and the evening devotedly hearing the Srimad-Bhagvatam

Women have hunger two-fold, shyness four-fold, daring six-fold, and lust eight-fold as compared to men

Arthashastra, the treatise on Economic Administration was written by Kautilya in the 4th century before Christ. It consists of 15 chapters, 380 Shlokas and 4968 Sutras. In all probability, this treatise is the first ever book written on Practice of Management. It is essentially on the art of governance and has an instructional tone.

Kautilya wrote this treatise for his Swami (the king) Chandragupta Maurya and stated in its preface that it has been written as a guide for "those who govern". Kautilya was interested in establishment and operation of the machinery through which the king preserves the integrity and solidarity of the State and generates power.

It is astonishing to observe that several concepts of present day management theories have been explicitly explained by Kautilya in his work. As in the present day management, the importance of vision, mission and motivation was captured in Arthashastra. Kautilya advise his Swami to rule through Prabhu Shakti (vision), Mantra Shakti (mission) and Utsah Sahkti (motivation). Kautilya's concept of the objectives of a king seem to be virtually adopted by Peter Drucker in his book, Managing For Results. Drucker proposed Economic Performance as corporate objective and highlighted the constituents of Economic Performance as:

• Making present business effective;

• Identifying the potential and realizing it; and

• Making it a different business for a different future.

Kautilya reminds his Swami that his objectives for his rule are:

• Acquire power; (Making present business effective)

• Consolidate what has been acquired; (Making present business effective)

• Expand what has been acquired; and (Identify potential and realize it)

• Enjoy what has been acquired. (Making it a different business for a different future)

Kautilya is aware that for efficient running of the State, elaborate machinery has to be established. He is equally clear on the organizational aspects, human dimensions of an organization as well as the leadership requirement of an organization.

On the organizational aspects, Kautilya evolves an elaborate hierarchy under the king. The king appoints Amatya, the Prime Minister. Amatya operates the day-to-day machinery of the State through a council of officials consisting of Mantris, the Ministers, Senapati, the warlord or the Defence Minister, Purohit, the Chief Justice and Yuvaraj, the Heir Apparent or identified successor to the throne. Kautilya weaves a design of a tall hierarchy for governance going down to the level of village through his concept of Mandalas. Gram Panchayats and Panchayati Raj set up that was adopted by the Government of India can be considered as a logical derivative of Kautilya's attempt to bring administration to the lowest appropriate level in the machinery of State.

It is indeed interesting to note that Kautilya, having woven an elaborate organization, moves to set up policies and procedures i.e. business processes. Arthashashtra has detailed policies for the society, individual industries, labor and employment, calamities and control of vices. At this stage, he shows the depth of his knowledge of the major element of effective and efficient implementation of business processes, namely, the human aspect of management. He observes that the State, as an organization, is a social organization with economic aim. Here again, Peter Drucker and Kautilya go hand in hand as Drucker defines an organization as having 'social dimension and economic objective'. Kautilya at this stage, reminds his Swami that sound knowledge of complex human nature is essential in effective, efficient and honest running of the State machinery. He warns of two undesirable attitudes of human nature, Pramada, meaning excess and Alasya, meaning inactivity, to be watched for and avoided. This is where, according to Kautilya, the leadership counts.

The essence of leadership, he stresses, lies in its acceptance by the subjects. He therefore, advises the Swami never to forget the two pillars of the art of governance: Nyay, the justice and Dharma, the ethics. He also decries autocratic behavior as a leader is visible and people follow the leader. Hence he advises the Swami to introspect to identify his atma doshas, i.e. deficiencies to improve or develop himself. He further advises his Swami to study deficiencies of his cabinet members and take steps to improve upon them. He states that Mantris could be incompetent, Senapati could be over ambitious, Purohit may not consider the present day practices or traditions while enacting laws or justice, which might lead to injustice. As regards Yuvaraj, he advises specific training to prepare him for the eventual succession. He states that the Yuvaraj should be trained in three specific areas: Arthashastra (economic administration), Nitishastra (foreign affairs) and Dandaniti (political science).

Kautilya seems to have given a lot of thought to human resource development for the government machinery. He is specific about the qualities Mantris must possess. He writes about these qualities as qualifying standards for appointment as a Mantri. These qualities are: Drudhachitta (power of concentration), Shilavan (character), Pragna (thinking capability), Vangmi (communication skills) and Daksha (observation / vigilance). In addition, he highlights the competencies that a Mantri must possess. These competencies are the same as the competencies advocated by the management gurus of the present times, namely, Knowledge, Skills and Attitude.

Kautilya's knowledge about human behavior is really astounding. He advises his Swami about six emotional devils which he should avoid and ensure that his cabinet members also avoid. He makes it amply clear that times six emotional devils do not allow appropriate decision making in any operation. The emotional devils identified by Kautilya are: Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Mana (vanity), Mada haughtiness) and Harsh (overjoy).

Having looked at the key areas of an efficient and effective organization, Kautilya looks at external realities that the government machinery would face. He starts systematically studying what he calls 'the essentials' of an organized State. He identifies the essentials as the territory of the kingdom, the population of the kingdom, the organization through which the kingdom is being run and last but not the least, the unity

within the kingdom. According to Kautilya, the essentials of the State should be taken care of through 'constituents of the State' identified by him. These constituents are: Swami (King), Amatya (Prime Minister), Janapada (populated territory), Durga (fort), Ksha (treasury), Bala (force / army) and Mitra (ally). His choice of Mitra as a constituent of the State is interesting. He thinks of a network of allies to fortify a kingdom.

Mitra is a king who would come to the support of Swami, if Swami's kingdom is attacked by another king. It will also be the duty of the Swami to extend all help if the Mitra is attacked by another king. In today's world of globalization, the same concept is applied when corporates form alliances to fortify their territories from external dangers such as cheap imports and the entry of strong competitors.

At this stage, Kautilya refers to diplomacy as an important element in Nitishastra (foreign affairs). His clarity of thought is evident from the identification off six attributes of diplomacy. The attributes he talks about are: intelligence, Memory, Cleverness of Speech, Knowledge of Politics, Morals and Readiness to Provide resources. Though he is not shy of launching an attack as an external strategy, he also advises the use of diplomacy as a useful strategy to be explored showing his pragmatic approach to the external realities. He identifies the external threats as the superiority of strengths of other kingdoms as well as ambitions of other kingdoms. If one replaces the word 'kingdom' with 'corporate', Kautilya's advice makes sense in today's corporate turf battles.

It is interesting to note the advice Kautilya provides to handle a strong king who has evil designs as well as a weak king who has catapulted easily. To defeat designs of a strong king, Kautilya advise networking with other kings defeated or threatened by the strong king on one hand and develop nuisance value through 'nibbling by the sides'. He also advocates the concept of Upeksha, the studied indifference, in the face of strength as a diplomatic move. To a weak king who easily catapults or surrenders, Kautilya advise his Swami to give the king his dignity and not to rub his nose in the defeat. This way, he suggests, Swami will have a useful friend who will never forget the treatment received and will remain ever so grateful.

Finally, from the point of view of management of the kingdom, Kautilya's advice to his Swami is indeed introspective and valid to the corporate world of the 21st century. His advice is as under:

Swami should run a diversified economy actively, efficiently, profitably and prudently.
Diversified economy should consist of productive forests, water reservoirs, mines, productive activities, trade, markets, roads, ports, and storages.

Efficient management means setting up of realistic targets and meeting targets without using over zealous methods.

Wealth lies in economic activities. Proper direction and guidance from Swami will ensure current prosperity and future gains. Inactivity of Swami in economic sphere will bring the kingdom close to destruction.

Swami must bear in his mind that a king with depleted treasury is a weak king and the easiest target for a take over.

Swami should ensure enactment of prudent policies. Prudence should be based on Dharma and Nyay that will ensure equal opportunity for all to earn a decent living.

Profitability should not only mean surplus over costs. It should also mean provision of investment for future growth.

Availability of water is important. It is practical to acquire a small tract of land with flowing water than a large tract that is dry and would need substantial investment to generate water.

An ideal Swami is the one who has the highest qualities of leadership, intellect, energy and personal attributes.

Swami can reign only with the help of others. He should appoint not more than four advisors and sufficient number of Mantris to look after the governance of the State machinery. While limiting the span of control for the Swami, Kautilya warns against centralization of power in the hands of the Swami by stating "one wheel alone does not move a chariot".

Swami should take proper care in appointing advisors. He should have clarity in terms of qualities an advisor should possess. Most important being practical experience, thinking prowess, sound judgement and ability to differ while keeping total devotion to the Swami.

Throughout Arthashstra, Kautilya makes some really thought-provoking observations. I list them below as Pearls of wisdom from Arthashastra:


Small difference in ability can lead to enormous differences in results. Main aim throughout one's career is to identify, acquire and develop these differences, which yield superior results.

Knowledge is important. Knowledge is cumulative. Once it exists, it grows. Every new piece of knowledge reveals connections with other areas of knowledge. Each breakthrough in knowledge creates new opportunities that expand and multiply.

Thinking is creative. You can create your world by the way you think. Situation and people have the meaning you give them. When you change your thinking, you change your life. To take control of your life, you must take control of your mind.


By failing to plan, you are planning to fail. Every effective performance is based on thorough preparation. You should be firm about your goal, but flexible about the process of reaching the goal.


A great leader shows ability to make decision and act boldly in the face of setbacks and adversity.

Power goes to the person who uses it most effectively.

Leaders are sensitive to and are aware of the needs, feelings and motivation of those they lead.

Foundation of leadership consists of honesty, truthfulness and straight dealing.

Leaders develop ability to predict and anticipate the future.

Self-discipline is the most important personal quality of a leader.


Most important basis of success in any venture is pragmatism. Do not ask where the new idea came from or who thought of it first. Ask only one question: does it work?
There are certain basic universal laws. They do not change. Ignorance of these laws is no excuse. Violation of these laws forces one to pay full penalty through underachievement, frustration and failure.

Success needs action. Action needs initiative.

For sustaining success, initiative to collect feedback is important. Feedback allows you to take corrective action, which sustains success.

For every effect, there is a specific cause. Success is not an accident. Success is not based on chance. Success is not a matter of luck.

Success is the result of well thought out action.


Arthashstra written in the 4th century before Christ, is a work whose relevance has not faded even after 24 centuries have gone by.

Arthashastra is the evidence of the intellectual capital India possessed in its glorious past. We have the tradition of the past. We need the attitude for resurrecting and recreating the intellectual capital for the future.

In his groundbreaking Arthashastra, Chanakya a.k.a. Kautilya (c. 350 - 283 BCE) lists seven pillars for an organisation.

"The king, the minister, the country, the fortified city, the treasury, the army and the ally are the constituent elements of the state" (6.1.1)

Let us now take a closer look at each of them:

1. THE KING (The leader/CEO/CMD)
All great organisations have great leaders. The leader is the visionary, the captain, the man who guides the organisation. In today's corporate world we call him

2. THE MINISTER (The Director/Manager)
The person who runs the show - the second-in-command of an organisation. He is also the person whom you can depend upon in the absence of the leader. He is the man who is always in action. An extra ordinary leader and an efficient manager together bring into existence a remarkable organisation.

3. THE COUNTRY (Your market - Segmentation,Targeting and Positioning)
No business can exist without its market capitalisation. It is the area of your operation. The place from where you get your revenue and cash flow. You basically dominate this territory and would like to keep your monopoly in this segment.

4. THE FORTIFID CITY (Head office)
You need a control tower - a place from where all planning and strategies are made. It's from here that your central administrative work is done. It's the nucleus and the center of any organisation.

5. THE TREASURY(Finance/Budgeting)
Finance is an extremely important resource. It is the backbone of any business. A strong and well-managed treasury is the heart of any organisation. Your treasury is also your financial hub.

6. THE ARMY (Your Team/Security)
When we go to war, we need a well-equipped and trained army. The army consists of your team members. Those who are ready to fight for the organisation. The salesmen, the accountant, the driver, the peon - all of them add to your team.

7. THE ALLY (friend / consultant)
Being, in the same boat, he can identify with you and stay close. He is the one whom you can depend upon when problems arise.

Look at these seven pillars. Only when these are built into firm and strong sections can the organisation shoulder any responsibility and face all challenges.

Competitors and Collaborators

 With whom there is unending confrontation is enemy.·
 Competitors and opponents do wish to become collaborators.
 Friends and enemies become because of some reason.
 With strong opponent treaty is to be done.
 With weak and ineligible opponent treaty is not to be done.
 Brightness of opponent is sufficient reason for concluding
agreement keeping own self respect intact.
 Unheated metals do not join together.
 Only when opponent is weak, strong can attack the weak.
 Never fight with equally strong one.
 When equals fight, both will perish.
 Carefully watch activities of adversaries.
 Let there be unity in agreement.
 It is essential to safe guard own enterprise from harmful
activities of adversaries.
 Joining the weak is cause for grief.

Six Strategies to deal with Competition / Collaboration

1. Sandhi – (Treaty – Agreement – Peace )
2. Vigraham – (Confrontation, Competition, War)
3. Asanam – (Staying put, Stand off, Status quo, Waiting for
proper time)
4. Sharanam – (Seeking shelter)
5. Yaanam – (Moving, Marching, Acquiring new territories )
6. Dwaidhi bhaava – (Dual policy)

Chanakya says these are six measures, because of difference in
situations.Among them:

1. Entering into treaty is peace.
2. Doing injury is war
3. Remaining indifferent is staying quiet.
4. Augmentation of powers is marching.
5. Submitting to other is seeking shelter
6. Resorting to peace with one and war with another is dual policy.

Chanakya applied, practiced and succeeded in each of these strategies
in dealing with Alexander, Nandas, Cellucus, Parvataka (Porus),
Malayakethu, Vaircohana, Rakshasha and many other leaders. With
the help of these strategies he assured victory.

Money, life, soul, youth; all leave one day. The only thing that stays firm is true faith.


According to the Jain texts, Chanakya lived to a ripe old age and died around 275 BC and was cremated by his disciple Radhagupta who succeeded Rakshasa Katyayan (great-grand son of Prabuddha Katyayan, who attained Nirvana during the same period as Gautam Budhha as Prime Minister of the Maurya Empire and was instrumental in backing Ashoka to the throne.

According to a Jaina tradition, while Chanakya served as the chief administrator of Chandragupta Maurya, he started adding small amounts of poison in Chandragupta's food so that he would get used to it.The aim of this was to prevent the Emperor from being poisoned by enemies. One day the queen, Durdha, shared the food with the Emperor while she was pregnant. Since she was not used to eating poisoned food, she died.

Chanakya decided that the baby should not die; hence he cut open the belly of the queen and took out the baby.A drop (bindu in Sanskrit) of poison had passed to the baby's head, and hence Chanakya named him Bindusara. Bindusara would go on to become a great king and to father the greatest Mauryan Emperor since Chandragupt - Asoka.

When Bindusara became a youth, Chandragupta gave up the throne and followed the Jain saint Bhadrabahu to present day Karnataka and settled in a place known as Shravana Belagola. He lived as an ascetic for some years and died of voluntary starvation according to Jain tradition.

Chanakya meanwhile stayed as the administrator of Bindusara. Bindusara also had a minister named Subandhu who did not like Chanakya. One day he told Bindusara that Chanakya was responsible for the murder of his mother. Bindusara asked the nurses who confirmed this story and he became very angry with Chanakya.

It is said that Chanakya, on hearing that the Emperor was angry with him, thought that anyway he was at the end of his life. He donated all his wealth to the poor, widows and orphans and sat on a dung heap, prepared to die by total abstinence from food and drink. Bindusara meanwhile heard the full story of his birth from the nurses and rushed to beg forgiveness of Chanakya. But Chanakya would not change his mind. Bindusara went back and vented his fury on Subandhu, and killed him.

Chanakya after this incident, renounced food and shortly died thereafter. Bindusara revered Chanakya and the loss of his advisor was a considerable blow to him.


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