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A person becomes great not be sitting on some high seat, but through higher qualities. Can a crow become an eagle by simply sitting on the top of a palatial building?

Chanakya (also known as Kautilya or Vishnu Gupta (c. 370–283 BC) was an Indian teacher, philosopher, and royal adviser. He was initially a professor of economics and political science at the ancient Takshashila University in Takshashila (in present day Pakistan. He managed the first Maurya emperor Chandragupta's rise to power at a young age. He played an important role in the establishment of the Maurya Empire, which was the first empire in archaeologically recorded history to rule most of the Indian subcontinent. Chanakya served as the chief advisor to both Chandragupta and his son Bindusara (whose son was Emperor Ashoka. Chanakya is credited with authoring two treatises said to be the first of its genre in the world – the Arthasastra (Economics), the ancient Indian political treatise; the Nitishastra, the Chanakya Niti, a treatise on the ideal way of life and his policies. His works predate Niccolò Machiavelli's by about 1,800 years. He is compared to Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher who taught Alexander as both had identical views on the republican forms of governance. His works which were lost towards the end of the Gupta dynasty could be discovered only in 1915.


A reckless king will easily fall into the hands of his enemies. Hence the king shall ever be wakeful.


  • Whoever imposes severe punishment becomes repulsive to the people; while he who awards mild punishment becomes contemptible. But whoever imposes punishment as deserved becomes respectable. For punishment when awarded with due consideration, makes the people devoted to righteousness and to works productive of wealth and enjoyment; while punishment, when ill-awarded under the influence of greed and anger or owing to ignorance, excites fury even among hermits and ascetics dwelling in forests, not to speak of householders.
    • Book I : "Concerning Discipline" Chapter 4 "Determination of the Place of Varta and of Dandaniti"
  • If a king is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is reckless, they will not only be reckless likewise, but also eat into his works. Besides, a reckless king will easily fall into the hands of his enemies. Hence the king shall ever be wakeful.
    • Book I : "Concerning Discipline" Chapter 19 "The Duties of a King"
  • All urgent calls he shall hear at once, but never put off; for when postponed, they will prove too hard or impossible to accomplish.
    • Book I : "Concerning Discipline" Chapter 19

Section II Chanakya Niti[edit]

Rule The World The Way I Did. Pustak Mahal. 1 January 2008. ISBN 978-81-223-1010-8. 
  • Even a wise man comes to grief and feels depressions if he imparts instructions to a foolish disciple or when maintains a wicked wife or when comes in close contact with the miserable.
  • A wicked wife, a foolish friend, an ill tongued servant and a house infested with serpents will undoubtedly bring death.
  • One should save money against hard times, save his wife against spending or sacrificing the money and one should save self at the cost of the wife and the riches.
  • Save your wealth against unforeseen calamities without thinking that a rich man has no fear of calamity. Wealth has supple legs. Even saved riches are destroyed.
  • One should not inhabit a country where one gets no respect, no opportunity to earn once’s livelihood, where one has no friends or relatives, or from where one can not acquire knowledge.
  • Test a servant while on his duty, and a relative in difficulty, test a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.
  • He is a true friend and sincere relative who cooperates and stands by in time of need, depression, misfortune, famine, a war, in a king’s court, or at he crematorium (the place of last rituals where the dead are put on a pyre).
  • He who opts out for an uncertain thing leaving behind the certain things, loses that which is in possession and fails to get what is already perishable.
  • If there is nectar in poison, it should be extracted; if gold is fallen in filth it should be taken out, washed and kept; if a low-born person possesses knowledge, he should be treated respectfully; in the same way a girl in the family of evil-doers be accepted, if she possess virtuous qualities.
  • Women eat double than men. They have four times more wisdom than men, they have six times more courage, and eight times more sensual urge than men.
  • Untruthfulness, rashness, guile, stupidity, avarice, unseemliness, and cruelty are a women’s natural flaws.
  • It is a boon of extraordinary austerities to get healthy and delicious dishes, to eat them and to have a strong system to digest them, to have a beautiful socially accepted wife and to be virile in her company, and to have a longing and mental set up for charity in prosperity. All these are boons.

In Essays[edit]

Steven J. Rosen (June 2012). The Agni and the Ecstasy: Collected Essays of Steven J. Rosen. Arktos. pp. 201–. ISBN 978-1-907166-79-2. 
  • Virtuous persons and fruit-laden trees bow, but fools and dry sticks break because they do not bend.
  • A person becomes great not be sitting on some high seat, but through higher qualities. Can a crow become an eagle by simply sitting on the top of a palatial building? (page 201
  • The sounding of the mridanga (drum) in the kirtana (Devotional singing) is proclaiming loudly that those who have no devotion to Lord Krishna are very shameful and reprehensible. This is so because the mridanga sound diktum diktum, which means Oh! great shame! Oh! great shame!

Other quotes[edit]

Maxims of Chanakya collected by V.K. Subramanian[edit]

Righteousness is the root of happiness.
Wealth is the root of righteousness.
The state is the root of wealth.
Victory over senses is the root of the state.
Humility is the root of sense control.
Worship of elders is the root of humility.
Wisdom results from the worship of elders.
With wisdom one can prosper.
The prosperous one becomes the victorious one.
The victorious one attains all riches.
Economic prosperity creates prosperity for the people.
If the people are prosperous, even a leaderless state can be governed.
Peoples fury is the greatest of fury.
To be without a master is better than having an arrogant master.
After equipping oneself fully, one should seek an ally. (aide.)
One without an adviser has no certainty of counsel.
One wheel does not move (the vehicle).
The true aide serves alike is prosperity and adversity.
A self-respecting ruler should appoint as counselor, one who is inferior to him and respect hims.
He should not take into counsel out of love, one who is impertinent.
One who is learned and free from fraud should be made a minister.
All things begin with counsel.
Accomplishment of the task depends on guarding the secret of counsel.
One who lets out counsel destroys the task.
Defection to the enemy takes place do to negligence.
Ministerial advice should be kept secret from all quarters.
The country prospers by proper ministerial counsel.
The secret of ministerial counsel is of supreme importance.
Counsel is a beacon to the one blind of action.
Through ministerial eyes other's weaknesses are seen.
At the time of taking ministerial advice there should be no quarrels.
A decision should be taken on the unanimous opinion of three (counsellors).
Counsellors (ministers) are the ones who see the true implications of what ought to be done and what out not to be done.
On being heard by six ears, secrecy of counsel gets broken.
One who is aectionate in difficulties is the friend.
In the aquisition of allies, one develops strength.
The strong one tries to get what has not been attained.
The Lazy one does not get what has not been obtained.
The lazy one cannot guard even what has been begotten.
Anything looked after by the lazy does not grow.
(The lazy one) cannot even command servants.
Getting what has not been got, guarding it, developing it and than distributing it- these four constitute state policy.
Politics is the tool of state policy.
Internal administration and foreign relations are dependent on state policy.
Deployment of the fourfold policy (councilation, donation, division, and punishment) in one's own country is internal administration.
Foreign policy is deplotment of the same (fourfold means) towards (neighbouring states).
Neighbouring states are the source of treaties and hostilities.
A ruler should follow political science.
A ruler with contiguous territory is a rival.
The ruler next to the adjoining one is to be deemed a friend.
Friendship and enmity result from some cause.
The one who is facing defeat should make peace.
Power is the cause of an allience.
Unheated metal does not coalesee with metal.
The strong ruler should fight the weak. : One should not fight with a superior or equal.
Fight with a stronger one is like that of the infantry with the elephant force.
An unbaked vessel collidig with another unbaked vessel gets destroyed. (Hence equals should also not fight)
Enemies efforts should be watched.
When there are many enemies , treaty should be entered into with one.
One's security should be guarded from the enemy's anger.
The weak should seek refuge in the strong.
Refuge in the weak results in sorrow.
A ruler should be approached like fire.
One should not act against the ruler.
One should not wear provocative clothes.
One should not imitate the ways of gods.
When two persons quarrel, one should maintain an attitude of duplicity.
One addicted to vices does not accomplish tasks.
Even one with a fourfold army is destroyed if he is a slave of the senses.
One addicted to gambling does not accomplish anything.
The ruler addicted to hunting loses his righteousness and wealth.
Desire for wealth is not considered a vice. The lust-ridden (ruler) cannot preform his task.
Sting of words is stronger than the burning of fire.
By excessively cruel punishment, (the ruler) becomes hated by all.
Prosperity abandons one who is satisfied with wealth.
An enemy should be won over by the use of political science.
Practicing political science, the ruler protests the people.
The scepter links one to riches.
In the absence of the scepter, there are no ministers.
Due to (fear of) punishing rod, people do not do things which should not be done.
One's self-protection is dependent on the practice of political science.
In self-protection, all are protected.
Advancement and decay are dependent on oneself.
The scepter should be wielded wisely.:
A ruler, even if weak should not be despised.
Fire has no weakness.
All activity is understood in wielding the scepter.
Accuisition of wealth has its root in activity.
Righteousness and pleasure have their rotin wealth.
Work is the root of wealth.
Little effort accomplishes the task.
A task in which an expedient is used is not difficult to achieve.
If no expedient is used, a task, even if attempted, fails.
Expedient is the aid to those who seek success in undertakings.
A task attains its objective through human effort.
Fortune follows human effort.
Without God's grace even excessive effort proves fruitless.
One who is not calm and collected cannot accomplish tasks.
One should decide first and then commence the task.
There should be no delay in the undertaking of a new task after completing one.
The fickle-minded one does not accomplish tasks.
If what is obtained is despises, things go awry.
Flawless jobs are rare.
A work which is obstacle-ridden should not be started.
One who knows (the opportune) time accomplishes the task.
Due to lapse of time, time itself consumes the fruit.
In all tasks, one should not delay even for a moment.
One should commence a wok after understanding the country and consequences.
Without God's grace, even an easy task becomes difficult to accomplish.
The wise one should consider the (interests) of the country and the times
Prosperity lasts long for one who acts after proper consideration.
All types of riches should be amassed by all means.
Prosperity forsakes even a lucky one, if he acts without foresight.
Examination ( of a thing) should be done with reference to what is known and what is to be inferred.
Every one should be yoked to the task for which he is befitted.
The one who knows the means makes the impossible possible.
What is done by an unintelligent person should not be rated high.
Sometimes, due to fortuitous circumstances even a worm assumes different worms.
Only accomplished deeds should be publicized.
Even the affairs of the learned go awry due to defective destiny and human interference.
Destiny has to be counteracted through proprietary deeds.
Man-made obstacles should be overcome through one's skill.
When things get into difficulties, the childish describe the handicaps.
Those who's seek to achieve things should show no mercy.
The milk-seeking calf strikes at the mother's udders.
Due to lack of effort tasks fail.
Those who blindly believe in destiny do not achieve anything.
An inactive person cannot protect those who seek refuge in them.
He who does not see action is blind.
Things should be examined with references to facts patent and latent, and inferences.
Prosperity forsakes one who does things without proper examination.
Danger should be overcome after proper analysis.
One should begin a venture after assessing one's strength.
He feeds on nectar, who first feeds his people and then eats the left-overs. By undertaking all kinds of activities, the ways to profit develop.
The coward does not think of action.
The favor-seeker accomplished his end after knowing the nature of his master.

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