Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chanakya Neeti in Today's World

Chanakya Neeti in Today’s World

Chanakya (c. 350-283 BCE) was an adviser and prime minister to 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 Arthasastraidentifies its author, are traditionally identified with Chanakya. Chanakya has been considered as the pioneer of the field of economics and political science, having first written about the subject a millennium and a half before Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah. 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 Tak?asila, an ancient centre of learning, and was responsible for the creation of Mauryan empire, the first of its kind on the Indian subcontinent. Two books are attributed to Chanakya: Arthashastra and Neetishastra which is also known as Chanakya Niti. The Arthashastra discusses monetary and fiscal policies, welfare, international relations, and war strategies in detail. Neetishastra is a treatise on the ideal way of life, and shows Chanakya's in-depth study of the Indian way of life. Chanakya also developed Neeti-Sutras (aphorisms - pithy sentences) that tell people how they should behave. Of these well-known 455 sutras, about 216 refer to raaja-neeti (the do's and don'ts of running a kingdom). Apparently, Chanakya used these sutras to groom Chandragupta and other selected disciples in the art of ruling a kingdom. Chanakya Neeti in Today's World Chanakya was proclaimed by detractors to be ugly but deep down was a solid mass of intellect, originality, statesmanship and diplomacy----all rolled in one. Chanakya was insulted in the court of King Dhanananda of Pataliputra when he had gone there to seek a chance to serve the kingdom in the capacity befitting his education and wisdom, by saying that he was ugly. Chanakya, infuriated and humiliated, vowed to destroy the Nanda dynasty. He selected a promising child from the forest and trained him, himself, who later became the Emperor Chandragupta and annihilated the Nanda kings. Chanakya Neeti is a vast source of guidelines which can mediate a person to achieve goals of life and attain new pinnacles of success. It is not possible to surmise the whole book here but a small effort is being made here to present a few vital guidelines of Chanakya for success.
According to the great master:

The testing times of the following are as; 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.

What plan you have thought of in your mind should not come on your tongue. Contemplate and rethink over it, keeping it guarded. Put the idea or plan into action without voicing it.

A man must read and study a shloka (wise words) everyday. If it is not possible, read half of it or a part of it or at least a word. Never let any day go without some study of a written word. One should make his day fruitful by doing good work and study.

One who befriends a person of bad character, a person of bad intentions, a person who is sinner or a person who lives at an evil place, gets destroyed in no time.
If you were to choose between an evil person and a snake to keep company with, opt for the snake because a snake will bite only in self-defense but an evil person can put a bite for any reason and any time or always.

Infatuation is the most sickening disease. Greed is the worst enemy. Anger is the worst fire whereas knowledge is the most comforting passion.
Skill is a man's friend in a foreign land. A good natured wife is the man's best friend. Medicine is a sick man's friend and charitable deeds are one's only friend after death.

In this world nothing lasts forever. Money, life, soul, youth; all leave one day. The only thing that stays firm is true faith.

You can win over a greedy person by offering him money, a proud person by cowering before him, a fool by agreeing with him and a scholar by speaking the truth.

Do not be too simple and too straight. Go to the jungle and see how the smooth and straight trees have been cut down mercilessly but the crooked ones stand unharmed.

A wise person must not reveal to others the loss of money, the deep wound of heart, scandal of the family and the incidents of getting cheated or insulted.

Be content with what you have already got as wife, food and income. But don't ever be content with your knowledge, self-improvement and charity.

A mightier enemy can be appeased by humbly obeying his orders, a lesser enemy should be ordered to do as dictated but in case of an enemy who is equal in power, appeasement or dictation, any of the policy can be adopted as the situation demands.

In the above mentioned simplified couplets an effort has been made to retain the originality and meaning. Chanakya has surely been a great personality of his times, as is evident from his exceptional work, 'Kautilya's Arthshastra', and so is his Chanakya Neeti. Chanakya made a common boy into a grand Emperor Chandragupta. I am very sure, if not an emperor, we can certainly benefit from his most valuable wise words and have a successful life