Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The wisdom of Arthasastra by Chanakya

The birth of Chanakya (Kautilya), and his intellectual abilities are mentioned in the great Sri Vishnu Purana, which is one of the Sattvic Puranas. Chanakya, one of the earliest political thinkers lived during the period 350-275 Be. At a very early age, Chanakya started studying Vedas. The Vedas, which are considered to be the toughest scriptures to study, were completely studied and mastered by Chanakya at a very young age. University of Takshashila (now Taxila), one of the topmost centres of education at that time in India became Chanakya's school of knowledge in the practical and in the theoretical aspects. He was attracted to studies in politics. Chanakya's acumen and shrewdness in politics were visible right from his childhood. In this way after studying religion and politics, he turned his attention to economics, which remained his lifelong friend. After acquiring vast knowledge in various branches of
studies, he wanted everybody to get benefited. He believed in sharing knowledge and not in hoarding of it and so he later became a professor of Political Science at the University.

Though Chanakya was just a professor in the Taxila University, which seemed to be far away from the happenings in the country, heacrually was able to influence the governments in a big way. His students looked up to him as an ideal teacher who inspired and exemplified great knowledge. They respected him and were ready to fight at any moment at his orders. Chanakya went from Takshashila to Pataliputra, which was famous as a centre of learning and was known to honour scholars. Chanakya's extraordinary scholarship and genius gained recognition among the scholars of Pataliputra, who honoured him. Later Chanakya became the president of the 'Sangha' (Trust).

He took a promising young boy of ten (Chandragupta Maurya), from the streets and 
brought him up to become one of the greatest emperors of India. In the War of Independence for Northern India, the source of strength for Chandragupta and his army was the power of mind and the towering personality of Chanakya. 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 B.C. No realm east of the Indus was mentioned in that settlement. It meant that the Greeks themselves had accepted that this region had gone out of their rule.

Seeking revenge for being insulted in the court of the ruler of Magadha, Chanakya
vowed to dethrone the haughty Nanda king, who was harassing the people of the land. The Nanda kings' reign was marked with cruelty and imposition of heavy taxes on their subjects. Therefore, they earned the wrath of the people. With determination Chanakya as a single person stood opposed to the might of the Nandas and Amatya Rakshasa. He dethroned the Nandas, put Chandragupta on the throne, and also installed Amatya Rakshasa, who was trying his utmost to destroy Chandragupta, as the minister and created the great Maurya dynasty.

Chanakya was a very brilliant person. He was full of determination in achieving objectives. He was well-versed in all the 'Vedic Shastras' or branches of knowledge, an expert economist; a statesman par excellence. He was a master in the four methods of persuasion, enticement, sowing dissension, and punishment or war.: He was mature in the strategy of war, and very intelligent. one could make out what was going on his mind. So secretive was he in his method, and far-sighted. In any endeavour, his calculations never went wrong and he never missed his aim. He was at the same time very religious and given to strict renunciation. Apparently of this strict nature, he employed various methods carefully at the right time to destroy enemies. There was no branch of knowledge, which he had not mastered. He was widely experienced in the world. There seemed to be nothing, which he did not know. He was, in other words,
a personification of all things that make a genius. Considered in any way, people equal to Chanakya are very rare in the world. An expression "like the strategy of Chanakya", has become proverbial.

The whole nation was bewildered by the cleverness and wit of this seemingly benign
personality who went on to single-handedly unify the country with the sheer power of his character. Probably the most accurate description of Chanakya can be found in Nehru's words in the Discovery of India, "Chanakya has been called the Indian Machiavelli and to some extent the comparison is justified. But he was a much bigger person in every way, greater in intellect and reason."

Chanakya dreamt of a country reaching the zenith of development in terms of ideologies and social and economic development. A self-sufficient economy, which does not depend 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 annexed colonies. His imperialistic views can be interpreted as the development of natural and man made resources. He lived his life working to his optimum capacity in pursuit of vision of a happy, strong and prosperous India.

His works have been faithfully preserved through word of mouth for well over two thousand years. Nitishastra, a treatise on the ideal way of life shows his in-depth study of the Indian way of life. Many of his nitis or policies have been compiled in the book, Chanakya Niti.


Uhanakya's Arthashastra also known as Kautiliya Arthashastra, is a classic statecraft. 
It deals with the politics (Raja Dharma), leadership, qualities and disciplines required for a Rajarishi - a wise and virtuous king.

According to Kautilya, a Rajarishi is one who has self-control, having conquered
the inimical temptations of the senses; cultivates the intellect by association with elders; keeps his eyes open through spies; is ever active in promoting the security and welfare of the people; ensures the observance (by the people) of their dharma by authority and example; improves his own discipline by (continuing his) learning in all branches of knowledge; and endears himself to his people by enriching them and doing good to them.
Arthashastra is divided into 15 books:

  1. Concerning Discipline
  2.  Concerning Law
  3.  The Conduct of Courtiers
  4.  The End of the Six-Fold Policy
  5.  The Work of an Invader
  6.  The Conduct of Corporations
  7.  Strategic Means to Capture a Fortress
  8.  The Plan of a Treatise
  9. The Duties of Government Superintendents
  10. The Removal of Thoms
  11. The Source of Sovereign States
  12. Concerning Vices and Calamities
  13. Relating to War
  14. Concerning a Powerful Enemy
  15. Secret Means
This site contains quotes from the Kautiliya Arthashastra and we have interpreted the work of Kautilya's Arthashastra in a new form for the benefit of management people. It will also suit the needs of modem world.

1.       One should go beyond his boundaries

2.       One should avoid association with persons who are unrighteous

3.       Avoid injuring others

4.       Avoid persons who are harmful and falsehood by nature

5.       Enjoy your sensual pleasure without harming your spiritual qualities

6.       Excess of sensual pleasure will bind you to material miseries

7.       Material are said to be supreme when its used for spiritual purposes

8.       Rulership can be successfully carried out of associates

9.       Own decisions can be misguided so ask for second opinion

10.   Do not appoint your mates they can mistreat you

11.   Secrets should not be discussed in conference even with your team mates

12.   If secrets are communicated with many you will become subservient to them

13.   By knowing your secrets, people influence your opinion

14.   Whoever helped you in difficult situations know them as truthful and loyal

15.   Appoint your teammates by knowing their loyalty

16.   Calculate the income and qualities before appointing a staff

17.   If you know that one is having good conduct never make him leave

18.   Behave like master when you are in position

19.   Appointments of staffs should be done by well-versed authorities

20.   Appoint the person who is more conversant with work

21.   Integrity of staffs must be proved by secret tests

22.   Rank your staffs according to their ability

23.   Hire a person who bear troubles and endowed with energy and power

24.   Employment should be offered to those who are firmly devoted and having quality of uprightness and friendliness etc

25.   Never recruit a person who is not endowed with good character

26.   An employee should have the qualities of eloquence, boldness and should be trained in arts (in respected fields)

27.   An employee should always be eager to work

28.   Inquire one about his abilities by tracking his old friends and colleagues

29.   By making conversation with one candidate test his eloquence and boldness

30.   Test employees in handling situation associated with the difficult tasks

31.   By organizing the test ascertain friendliness and firmness of the candidate

32.   Check the character along with other qualities of a trainee

33.   Mostly personal observations will give clear results of a candidate

34.   Know the physical fitness before appointing a person

35.   It is good to administer psychometric tests before employing a person

36.   Employ a person who has knowledge of auxiliary sciences

37.   Test the integrity of the candidate by administering secret tests

38.   The secret tests on piety will show loyalty of the candidate

39.   A person’s uprightness can be judged by his disinterest over the material gains

40.   Person who is not addicted to recreation can be appointed

41.   Purity of a person can be identified by a test on lust

42.   Loyal person should be employed in judicial department

43.   Pious persons should be employed in stores and administration department

44.   Loyal and fearless person can be employed as a guardian/overtaker of a concern/company (arbitrator)

45.   Those who are not loyal and pious but are stickers for cleanliness can be employed in housekeeping

46.   Person who is loyal, piety and pure can be appointed as chief/manager etc

47.   All the secret tests for employing a candidate should be outsourced to an external agency

48.   By means of secret tests one who has proved uprightness before the board of directors, should be appointed as a person of secret service

49.   Secret agents should be encouraged with money and honor

50.   Secret agents should report only to higher authorities

51.   By proving truthfulness a housekeeper may also be appointed as a spy

52.   Secret agents can appoint other secret agents by identifying their honesty

53.   Art of association with the people is an important criteria for a spy

54.   The management should employ spy in a profession which shows dignity and royalty

55.   Spy who makes consequent mistakes in their part should be terminated silently

56.   If leader is carefree then the followers will be negligent

57.   Employees are more important because they do the work for the leader

58.   By being active, leader is beyond the reach off competitors

59.   The leader should always be energetic

60.   The complete work chart of a day is to be maintained by the leader

61.   The work chart of a day is to be divided into eight parts (task per hour)

62.   On the opening hour / day income and expenditure works or financial strategies should be discussed

63.   On the second hour, the leader should meet the marketing people and representatives

64.   The third hour will be study hour for a leader

65.   Distribution of tasks to the respective department will be done on the fourth hour.

66.   Reading official mails and consultation with secret agents will be done at the fifth hour.

67.   On the sixth hour, the leader can relax with some recreations or their may be a consultant meet

68.   On the seventh hour, the leader should go through/verify the works of administration and housekeeping

69.   The upcoming product review can be discussed with senior officers during the eighth hour

70.   The day can be ended by saluting the almighty for the works finished

71.   When the leader is in his room or in his place restrictions should be avoided so that employees can meet him liberally

72.   A leader should work according to the needs of emergency

73.   A leader should deal urgent matters in person

74.   Procrastination of the work can make it harder or even impossible

75.   Leaders should always respect the people who have the knowledge

76.   Anger is a self-destructing weapon of a leader

77.   For  a leader, benefits to the company always translate as benefits to him; and not vice-versa

78.   The basic of material wellbeing is being active and material misery is vice versa

79.   Activity leads only to benefits and inactive surely to destruction

80.   The company should build its building only by renowned and expert builders

81.   The company should be able to escort the employees even in natural calamities

82.   Precautionary measures should be taken against fire etc

83.   Every person should have a cabin and they should not leave nor move to others unnecessary

84.   Contact with outsider inside the premises should be avoided

85.   Attendance and movement of employees should be carefully examined

86.   Incoming and out going counters / parcels should be written and checked with proper records along with the authentic seal

87.   Company proprietor should keep a trained and well-known person as his personal assistant

88.   Loyally proved and hereditarily known person can be a personal assistant to the owner of the company

89.   Company should appoint leaders for each and every department

90.   Manager of the company should lead the heads of the department

91.   Benefits given to the HOD by the company should not be misused

92.   Avoid the benefits and exemptions to the HOD which cause loss to the company

93.   According to the needs of the HOD, facilities should be made for their work environment

94.   The benefits attained by the projects by HOD should reach the owner of the company

95.   HOD should be impartial to the kinsman, staff and other workers

96.   HOD can terminate any employee due to their incapability with the permission from higher authorities

97.   Company should not provide any recreation facilities, which obstruct the work

98.   HOD should take care of system maintenance and housekeeping for increasing the profits of the company

99.   HOD should have clear knowledge of future obstacles and should take decision to overcome from that

100.                        HOD should guard the existing projects and should create new and innovative projects

101.                        HOD’s has the power to lay off the staffs for misusing company items/products

102.                        Unused place in the office should be utilized without affecting the office work

103.                        The vacant place can be used as areas offering recreation

104.                        Vacant place in the centre of the office can be used as a park

105.                        Grow trees and create pools for beauty and cleanliness in the vacant place at work

106.                        Company should appoint a security for guarding the premises

107.                        Rewards can be granted to security staff for carrying out their work with devotion and sincerity

108.                        Company should appoint leaders for each and every department

109.                        Manager of the company should lead the heads of the department

110.                        Rewards should be given to employees for identifying or informing the misuse of the company

111.                        Finance manager should make provision for storing receipts even older than hundred years so that he does not falter in respect of expenditure

112.                        A wise manager should show an increase of income and decrease of expenditure

113.                        Special allowances should be given to the employees for sudden calamities

114.                        Officers who regularly report late to work must be fined

115.                        Fine must be imposed on senior officers who delay work

116.                        Twice the stipulated fine must be levied on junior officers who do not complete their assignments

117.                        Company can cut or reduce the incentive for officers who delay work

118.                        The company can excuse procrastination of work by a few weeks

119.                        An officer of the finance department must check daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly the annual income and expenditure reports

120.                        Company should check the source of income with the reference of place and time

121.                        The officer of accounts can be warned against the imperfect and improper maintenance of entry books of accounts

122.                        Any finance officer who reports loss of accounts records must be fined

123.                        The false statement in the entry book is considered to be a theft and the responding officer should be punished under law.

124.                        Officers can be excused when they admit the mistakes committed by them

125.                        Company should give incentive to the officers according to the benefit and expenditure on accounts made by them

126.                        Each and every single work of the company depends on the income of the company

127.                        Clean activities, curtailing of theft and steady cash reserve are some of the things which increase the income of a company.

128.                        Obstruction, lending, loss, damage, misuse, trading are the causes of downfall of the industry

129.                        Not attending to faults, ignorance of growth, improper delivery etc lead economy to the path of disaster

130.                        Fines must be levied on officers who fail to conceal confidential records.

131.                        If an officer ordered a consignment which gave loss previously he should be warned and should be avoided in future.

132.                        The usage of MD’s rom by other person without permission is equivalent to jewel theft and he should be punished

133.                        Misappropriation of income by officers should be fined.

134.                        Late payment, curtailing of dues and denial of payment amounts to misappropriation of income

135.                        Leaders should regularly inspect and interrogate the person who pays, receives and records the payments

136.                        False statement made by any one in the finance department should be punished

137.                        If an officer denies all charges against him but is proved guilty, he will be liable for punishment

138.                        An officer who misappropriates large amount and is proved guilty is liable for punishment

139.                        Incentive can be given to informers of accounts misappropriation

140.                        Informers of the misappropriation should be motivated with large incentives

141.                        Company should punish informers for faulty statements

142.                        Manager should inspect the works of heads regularly

143.                        Quarrelling among employees of the company should be avoided by strict practices

144.                        Quarrels swallow the fruits of labor

145.                        An officers should be fined for negligence on his part

146.                        One who does work in an orderly and even manner should be honored with high position

147.                        Spies are responsible to identify bribery

148.                        Expenditure done by staffs beyond their limits should be examined carefully

149.                        One who causes loss or damage to the products is a liability to the company

150.                        If the loss or damage occurs due to ignorance the respective individual should pay for that

151.                        If an officer uses his staffs for his personal benefits, he should be punished according to the loss of working hours

152.                        “The Science of Politics is the only Science”, which is connected with all sciences (1.2.6)

153.                        By learning science one can learn about spiritual and material well-being (1.2.9)

154.                        Keep the mind steady in adversity and in prosperity (1.2.11)

155.                        Our common duties are, not to hurt living creatures, Truthfulness, Uprightness, Freedom from animosity, being affectionate to others, benevolence etc, (1.3.13)

156.                        One should observe his regular dutities and it will lead him to Heaven and supremeness (1.3.14)

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