Monday, August 2, 2010

Acharya Chanakya (Kautilya)

Chanakya was the first political thinker, this world have seen. His written books are still took as reference on various political situations.

Chanakya, also known as Kautilya or Vishnugupta, was a professor (acharya) of political science at the Takshasila University and the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya. He live in between 350BC - 275 BC. He is regarded as one of the earliest known political thinkers, economists and king-makers. In Jawaharlal Nehru's Discovery of India, Chanakya has been called the Indian Machiavelli.
Chanakya is perhaps lesser known in world history compared to later political philosophers like Sun-Tzu and Machiavelli, but is definitely considered as the first genuine political theorist in Indian history. It is said that his foresight and wide knowledge coupled with politics of expediency helped found the mighty Mauryan Empire in India.
Chanakya was born in Magadha (ruled by the Nandas) as the son of acharya Chanak. At an early age, he began study of the Vedas, then considered the toughest scriptures to study and memorise. He was a dilligent student and loved to study political science especially the role of king and the ways of effective administration. After his father was accused as a traitor and killed in prison, Chanakya left Magadha vowing never to come back. He later came back to ask Nandas for help against the Greek invasion but was humiliated and sent back. He then vowed to cause the downfall of Magadha empire. He was responsible not only for helping Chandragupta Maurya usurp the throne , but also for uniting the Indian states for fighting against the attack by Alexander the Great around 327 BC.
Chanakya enjoyed the best education at the time, in 'Takshasila' (also known in its corrupted form as Taxila).Takshasila had established itself as a place of learning and it was there that Panini had written the Sanskrit Grammar. The new states in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh by uttarapatha along the base of the Himalayas maintained contact with Takshasila and at the eastern end of the uttarapatha was the kingdom of Magadha with its capital city, Pataliputra. Chanakya's life was connected to these two cities, Pataliputra and Takshasila.
The University taught subjects using the best of practical knowledge acquired by the teachers. The age of entering the University was sixteen. The branches of studies most sought after in around India ranged from law, medicine, warfare and other indigenous forms of learning. Chanakya eventually became a professor of political science at the University. Two of his more famous students were Bhadrabhatt and Purushdutt.
Political turmoil in Western India at that time caused by greek invasion forced Chanakya to leave the University environment for the city of 'Patliputra' (presently known as Patna, in the state of Bihar, India), which was ruled by the Nanda king Dhanananda. Although Chanakya initially prospered in his relations with the ruler, being a blunt person he was soon disliked by the Dhanananda. This ended with Chanakya being removed from an official position he enjoyed.
Folklore has it that on his way out of the city after his removal, Chanakya was hurt by a thorny bush. He then bought a pot of milk and poured on the bush so that ants could come and destroy the bush. It is said that at this moment he was observed by a young Chandragupta Maurya, the future Emperor and creator of the Mauryan empire. Chanakya took a promising young boy often from the streets and brought him up to become one of the greatest emperors of India.

Chanakya was the kingmaker who actually planned the unification of India for the first time under Chandragupta. Chanakya is also supposed to have induced Amatya Rakshasa from the enemy camp to serve as Chandragupta's Prime minister.
The folklore in India differs in some aspects from the established mainstream history. He is often referred as the most crooked of diplomats (Kautilya in Sanskrit means "one who is very cunning"). It is said that Chanakya made Chandragupta join Alexander and become one of his Lieutenants. This trust was fostered by various means, including murders and misinformation. Soon he engineered a propaganda war in Alexander's secondary army made up of mostly paid mercenaries that had come under Chandragupta's command or influence. The propaganda was designed to break the main army's strength by creating confusion. It is said that Alexander was well prepared for a war but could not instill confidence in his army. At the most opportune moment Chankaya made Chandragupta revolt. Chandragupta snapped logistics and communication links that were exposed systematically throughout to bribes and promises to ambitious warlords. Ensuing confusions were engineered by misinformation. Alexander was thus forced to try to retreat. However, he was advised to retreat by an unfamiliar and dangerous route. Confused and shaken, for some reason Alexander followed the suggestion and ventured through arid desert-like terrain, where most of his army reeled under heat, thirst, hunger, and disease. The returning army, already weakened by the climate, was attacked and brutally plundered.
With Alexander out, the images of Chandragupta and Chanakya were those of superheroes and helped make small kings submit easily. With each victory, their power increased, and soon the supposedly impossible was accomplished.
According to a legend, while Chanakya served as the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya, he started adding small amounts of poison in Chandragupta's food so that he would get used to it. The aim of this was to prevent the Emperor from being poisoned by enemies. One day the queen, Durdha, shared the food with the Emperor while she was pregnant. Since she was not used to eating poisoned food, she died. Chanakya decided that the baby should not die; hence he cut open the belly of the queen and took out the baby. A drop (bindu) of poison had passed to the baby's head, and hence Chanakya named him Bindusara.
When Bindusara became a youth, Chandragupta gave up the throne and followed the Jain saint Bhadrabahu to Karnataka and settled in a place known as Sravana Belagola. He lived as an ascetic for some years and died of starvation according to Jain tradition.
Chanakya meanwhile stayed as the Prime Minister of Bindusara. Bindusara also had a minister named Subandhu who did not like Chanakya. One day he told Bindusara that Chanakya was responsible for the murder of his mother. Bindusara asked the nurses who confirmed this story and he became very angry with Chanakya.
It is said that Chanakya, on hearing that the Emperor was angry with him, thought that anyway he was at the end of his life. He donated all his wealth to the poor, widows and orphans and sat on a dung heap, prepared to die by total abstinence from food and drink. Bindusara meanwhile heard the full story of his birth from the nurses and rushed to beg forgiveness of Chanakya. But Chanakya would not relent. Bindusara went back and vent his fury on Subandhu, who asked for time to beg for forgiveness from Chanakya.
Subandhu, who still hated Chanakya, wanted to make sure that Chanakya did not return to the city. So he arranged for a ceremony of respect, but unnoticed by anyone, slipped a smoldering charcoal ember inside the dung heap. Aided by the wind, the dung heap was on fire and the man behind the Mauryan Empire and the author of Arthashastra was burned to death.
Three books are attributed to Chanakya:
  • Arthashastra,
  • Nitishastra and
  • Chanakya Niti.
Arthashastra (literally 'the Science of Material Gain' in Sanskrit) is a classic of statecraft. Many of his nitis or policies have been compiled under the book Chanakya Niti.


priyanka said...

ACHARAYA CHANAKYA WAS GREAT A TEACHER....HE WAS MENTLY STABLE PERSON,HE KNOW EVERY THING, HE KNOW THE ALL ANSWERE of every dificut quesions....I watch the program of him 'chandraya gupt mourya' this is awesome......from this seriol i got so many answere of my question without any external help!& atlast his student was too good learner.

rohit said...

seriously acharya chanakya is too great teacher i have ever seen .

rohit said...

i watch program chandragupta maurya and reading his biography acharya chanakya is a best teacher

gita said...

i watch chandragupta maurya , acharya chanakya quotes are eye opener and inspires us , he is too intelligent teacher. our history has got so spiritually strong teachers with tremendous wisdom. i like his quotes its too realistic and transforming

vyas mani pandey said...

acharya chankya will be in india's heart forever for his great teaches. unko Sat sat naman.

ritesh gupta said...

achaarya chanakkya was great a great man . and he was too also mently updated in every field.
he is totaly computer minded .

i like acharya thoughts, ideas, thinking, and sself nature without ego

from :-

Ayush Agnihotri said...

Aacharya chanakya was a gr8 teacher nobody can compare him with anyone......
He gave us the tricks of politics and teach not to became a proudy person.
He love his INDIA and his students.
He will forever live in our hearts....
Long live CHANAKYA

Jhansi Ki Laxmi said...

According to J. Neharu acharya was indias's Niccolò Machiavelli.But i think acharya more than Niccolò Machiavelli.Nehru is such big fool to compare such g8 human with that useless english man....i read about Niccolò Machiavelli i am cofident about my statment.Its not Nehru's fault of comparing acharya but its indian's fault that we always love to get compared with BLOODY WHITE PEOPLES....

stenote said...

Interesting article... May I share an Interview with Niccolo Machiavelli (imaginary)

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