A GREAT POLITICIAN AHEAD OF TIME- Part I.
If you know Indian politics, you must have heard the name of Chanakya. Chanakya or Kautilya[master of astuteness] is the author of famous Arthasahastra, Chanakya Neeti and Neetishastra. If you are wondering about the utility of these texts in today’s era you must know that his teaching that dates to almost 350-275 BC holds exceptionally beneficially for even today’s rulers. He has written ChanakyaNeeti keeping in mind the traits of a good ruler so going through it you can find hundreds of sayings that will be very much beneficial for you to lead a practical life.
Chanakya was the son of muni[sage] Chanakya. His full name was Vishnugupt Chanakya. He is believed to be born in Takshilla [Now in Pakistan] or in Southern India. He was born with a full set of teeth, a sign that he would become a king or emperor. Since he was born in a Brahmin family, this couldn’t have been possible, so it is believed that his teeth were broken.**In India at that time only person born in a Ksatriya caste could be the king and the Brahmin caste use to hold priest position in their courts**
It is said that by the time his fellow mates started reading and writing, he was well versed with all Vedic literature. He later became a teacher in Takshila university. He was a sheer observer of national and international politics. The turning point in his life came when he went to Patliputra [which is now Patna in India]. At that time India was ruled by King Ghananand and there was a growing danger of the attack from Great emperor of Greece, Seleucus. Chanakya was appointed as the head of the committee [known as Sunga] under the rule of Ghanananda .As per the committee rules,Chanakya was to meet the King everyday and propose solutions to existing problems.
One fine day Chanakya being a straightforward man mentioned to the the King of all the injustice that he was overlooking for a long time. He also told him all his weak points that could easily let Seleucus win. The arrogant King was not used to such boldness or contempt. He got furious by listening to Chanakya’s words. He insulted him on his looks and poor knowledge of his subject. He also ordered to throw him out of his court.
This made Chanakya excessively mad and he took a pledge: that he won’t tie his hair into a ponytail till he overthrows King Ghananand from this throne.** earlier Indian priests used to have a pious tied ponytail as the status symbol of a learned man like shown in the picture**. He in the court of Ghanananda announced his pledge and announced, “the open hair of my ponytail would curl up like a snake and bite you to death”.
After thinking for days, it is said that he encountered a very young boy named Chandragupta. The exact birth history of Chandragupta stays a mystery. Some believe that he was from a lower caste family while some believe that he was related to the ruling Nanda clan. In Chandragupta he saw all the qualities of a successful ruler. Since Ghanananda knew that he was now turned into an enemy, many times he tried to kill Chanakya but he with his shrewdness escaped every time. By staying undercover, he prepared an army and made Chandragupta the commander. It is said that they made many strategies to defeat the ruling King. Finally, they were able to take over the throne but still they had to face the Great Greek Leader Alexander and his successor Seleucus I necator. With the help of Chanakya, he defeated both. He later married the daughter of Seleucus to set up a policy of friendship with the Hellenistic Kingdoms. Chandragupta was only 20 years of age when he conquered a vast empire.
After overthrowing the Nandas Chanakya compiled ChanakyaNeeti for common good. It is not possible to provide all the teachings in a single blog. Therefore, I will share few teachings that I like, and rest is on you to read.
By preaching foolish pupils, looking after a wicked woman or keeping company of a worried persons, even scholars will suffer. Therefore, foolish persons should never be encouraged to undertake any good deed. One must stay away from a characterless woman, otherwise his image will be tarnished. Similarly, an unhappy person can never give happiness, so stay away from him.
A person who keeps company of a sharp-tongued women, a sinful friend, also retains a traitorous and selfish servant, is playing with his life. Such a person can be consumed by death anytime.
Any person, who save for hard times or crises, is an intelligent person. All efforts must be made to protect such savings. A woman is also like your wealth, so she must also be protected. But before, this he must ensure his own security, for only if he is secure, he will be capable to secure his wealth and woman.
People must save for crises. But he should never think he will be able to avert the crises by his wealth. Lakshmi: the goddess of wealth, is mobile; it is never permanent at any place. While accumulation of wealth is an indication of intelligence, but it does not mean that crisis can be averted.
Any place, where man does not have respect- honor, no sources of income/employment, suitable well-wishing friends/ relations, facilities for learning-education, such a place is most unsuitable. It should be left without any delay.
Servants are tested by fulfillment of their responsibilities, friends are tested in times of crises, relations are tested in times sorrow or incurable sickness and a woman is tested when you have no money.
According to Chanakya, a man’s true well-wisher is the one who extends supports in sickness, famine, being bothered by an enemy, in a difficult situation or in a crisis and after death, partakes in your cremation. In other words, a true friend is the one who shares both, your happiness and sorrow.
Some of the other teachings will be shared be in the next post. Hope you find it useful. Happy Reading!!!