Monday, October 31, 2016




Prajasukhe sukham rajnah, Prajanam ca hite hitam
Natmapriyam hitam rajanah, Prajanam tu priyam hitam
( Chankya )

" The monarch should seek happiness in the happiness of his
citizens, his welfare is in their welfare, his good is not in what pleases
him but in what pleases the citizens ".

Assessing  Chankaya (350 BC-283 BC)  by reading simply a portion  of his   “Neeti Shastra”  or Some “ Sutras “   is   a disservice to this Genius.  Those amongst  us ,  who read him in bits and pieces may tend to believe him to be a scheming Manipulator .   One needs to read his  “ Arathshastra “ in Totality   to understand the complex nature of his Philosophy as also  the nature of the turbulent period    he lived in . Let me say a few lines.

His was the time when India was coming out  of  a dark age with old value system changing and new  values trying to get a foothold .  Factionalism and fundamentalism were emerging and influencing Society and the state . Indian society  was   divided  and so were many rulers of that time . A real confusion prevailed in all  spheres. And then came the massive  Attack  from Alexander  an Outsider . Chankya Witnessed this all and also analyzed reasons for the shocking  shake given by this attack.

Chankya was the first thinker of the ancient times who gave an idea of the STATE  to the world  and  spoke about Nationalism. He is the first thinker to speak about the basic commitment to  RAJYA ( STATE )   and not   DHARMA  ( SACRED LAWS )  by a ruler and his subjects . For him,   state comes first and  Religion next. This was a total contrast to earlier beliefs and traditionally  pursued Policy of the Kings. According to him,  State enables the citizens to follow their respective Dharma ( sacred Law )   and to enjoy private property rights. King is viewed as a protector of DHARMA  ( sacred law   ), but not the  interpreter of it. For Chankya  There is division between worldly and religious power. He made the concept of STATE clear and overriding all  beliefs for  a ruler .

Chankya was the first Philosopher  who   enumerated seven prakritis or  organs of the state whereas in western conception of state only four elements find mention.  According to Chankya, Seen   state organs are :-

(i) Swami (The Ruler)
(ii) Amatya (The Minister)
(iii) Janapada (The Population)
(iv) Durga (The Fortified Capital)
(v) Kosha (The Treasury)
(vi) Danda (The Army)
(vii) Mitra (Ally and Friend)

For sure Chankya’s work has  elements of universality. And History has made his role amply clear. He  created  a massive empire for his pet disciple  Chandragupta Maurya  . Chankya’s policy ensured no Major Invasions  for many centuries after him.

Taxila was considered to be amongst the earliest universities in the world. Chankya or Vishnu Gupta or kautaliya is reported to have taught Economics and Political Science at this university during Maurian Empire .

 Reading Enjoying a  book on  "Chanakya Sutras"   gifted to me by a friend . I have also  liked  the simple  explanations of the Sutras  by Sri B K Chaturvedi  .

I quote some Sutras  ….

KaantaViyog Suajanaapmaano
Rinasyaasheshah Kunripasya Sevaa.
Daridraa Bhaavo Vishayaa Sabhaa Cha
Vinaagnimete Pradahanti Kaayam
( sutras  39 )


Yo Dhruvaani Parityajjya Hyadhruvam Parisevate
Dhruvaani Tassya mashyanti Chaadhruvam nashtamev Hi
(  sutras 215 )

Doorasthoapi Nadoorasthayoyasya manasi Sthitaah
Yoyassya Hridaya Naasti Sameepasthoapi-Doorataah

( 317  Sutras In sanskrit )

Netray Eva Dhannye ye Andhaanaam maarg-Darshake
Rakshatah kantakaakeerhaat maargaattaan vishmaattathaa..
(Sutra 325 in Sanskrit)
Utsave Vyasane Praapte Durbhkishe shatru-sankate
Rajdwaare shamshaane cha yastish'thati as
(Original Sutra 91 in Sanskrit)

Explanation in English by Sri B K Chaturvedi ..


Separation from the Beloved ,Insult by close relation ,
A debt that remains Unpaid, serving a wicked king , Poverty
And association with Crooked persons be treated as some thing that shall incinerate the body even without fire.
( Sutra 39 )


He who forgoes the certain for the uncertain has his certain also destroyed. The uncertain even otherwise would be destroyed on its own.
( Sutra 215)

He who is inside one's heart ( Figuratively ) is not far away despite being distant. He who is not in One's Heart is very far off despite being close by.
( Sutra 317 )


Blessed are those eyes that guide the way of the blind and protect them from their straying on the thorn ridden Path..
(Sutra 325  )


Who is your real friend?
He who is together with you in festivities, Distress, Drought, in a crisis caused by your enemies, in royal courts and also at the Cremation ground...

(Sutra 91)

And something from Arthashastra ..

"It is power and power alone which, only when exercised by the king with impartiality and in proportion to guilt either over his son or his enemy, maintains both this world and the next.The just and victorious king administers justice in accordance with Dharma (established law), Sanstha (customary law), Nyaya (edicts, announced law) and Vyavahara (evidence, conduct)."

"One can lose a war as easily as one can win. War is inherently unpredictable. War is also expensive. Avoid war.Try Upaya (four strategies)Then Sadgunya (six forms of non-war pressure).Understand the opponent and seek to outwit him. When everything fails, resort to military force."
" The king should grant exemption from taxes to a region devastated by an enemy king or tribe,to a region beleaguered by sickness or famine. He should safeguard agriculture when it is stressed by the hardships of fines, forced labor, taxes, and animal herds when they are harassed by thieves, vicious animals, poison, crocodiles or sickness. He should keep trade routes/ roads clear when they are oppressed by anyone, including his officers, robbers or frontier commanders when they are worn out by farm animals .The king should protect produce, forests, elephants ,reservoirs and mines established in the past and also set up new ones. '

"Without government, rises disorder as in the Matsya nyayamud bhavayati (proverb on law of fishes). In the absence of governance, the strong will swallow the weak. In the presence of governance, the weak resists the strong."
( Arthashastra)

"For cutting off the tender sprouts of fruit-trees, flower-trees or shady trees in the parks near a city, a fine of 6 panas shall be imposed; for cutting off the minor branches of the same trees, 12 panas; and for cutting off the big branches of these trees , 24 panas shall be levied. Cutting off the trunks of the same shall be punished with the first amercement; and felling the same shall be punished with the middle-most amercement."
( laws for Harm to Plant Life .. Arthashahastra )

( Autar Mota )

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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