Chanakya (derived from his father’s name “Chanak”) aka Kautilya and Vishnugupta (c. 350–283 BCE),  was an adviser to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta (c. 340–293 BCE), and was the chief architect of his rise to power . 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 Taksashila, an ancient centre of learning. His works, Artha Shastra and Neeti Shastra, were lost near the end of the Gupta dynasty and not rediscovered until 1915.The Arthashastra discusses monetary and fiscal policies, welfare, international relations, and war strategies in detail. Neeti Shastra 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 or pithy sentences) that tell people how they should behave. Of these well-known 455 sutras, about 216 refer to raaj-neeti (the do’s and don’ts of running a kingdom). Apparently, Chanakya used these sutras to groom Chandragupt and other selected disciples in the art of ruling a kingdom.

Some of the selected neeti sutras given by the great Indian master strategist , philosopher and teacher of political science and management, are  given below :

  • There is no austerity equal to a balanced mind, and there is no happiness equal to contentment; there is no disease like covetousness, and no virtue like mercy.
  • There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with it.
  • There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth.
  • Never make friends with people who are above or below you in status. Such friendships will never give you any happiness.
  • Treat your kids like a darling for the first five years. For the next five years, scold them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown up children are your best friends.
  • We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment.
  • Whores don’t live in company of poor men, citizens never support a weak company and birds don’t build nests on trees that don’t bear fruits.

  • A good wife is one who serves her husband in the morning like a mother does, loves him in the day like a sister does and pleases him like a prostitute in the night.
  • A man is born alone and dies alone; and he experiences the good and bad consequences of his karma alone; and he goes alone to hell or the Supreme abode.
  • If one has a good disposition, what other virtue is needed? If a man has fame, what is the value of other ornamentation?
  • It is better to die than to preserve this life by incurring disgrace. The loss of life causes but a moment’s grief, but disgrace brings grief every day of one’s life.
  • Wise man, give your wealth only to the worthy and never to others. The water of the sea received by the clouds is always sweet.
  • Once you start a working on something, don’t be afraid of failure and don’t abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest.
  • Purity of speech, of the mind, of the senses, and of a compassionate heart is needed by one who desires to rise to the divine platform.
  • Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a relative in difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.
  • The earth is supported by the power of truth; it is the power of truth that makes the sun shine and the winds blow; indeed all things rest upon truth.
  • The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction.
  • The happiness and peace attained by those satisfied by the nectar of spiritual tranquillity is not attained by greedy persons restlessly moving here and there.
  • The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.
  • The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep.
  • The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time and ability.
  • A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first.
  • As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family.
  • As long as your body is healthy and under control and death is distant, try to save your soul; when death is imminent what can you do?
  • Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions: why am I doing it, what the results might be and will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.
  • Do not be very upright in your dealings for you would see by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing.
  • Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.
  • The biggest guru-mantra is: never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.
  • Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth.
  • The life of an uneducated man is as useless as the tail of a dog which neither covers its rear end, nor protects it from the bites of insects.
  • Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person.
  • One whose knowledge is confined to books and whose wealth is in the possession of others can use neither his knowledge nor wealth when the need for them arises.
  • Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous.
  • He who is overly attached to his family member’s experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy.
  • He who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he may really be nearby.
  • The world’s biggest powers are the youth and the beauty of a woman.
  • As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it.
  • God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your god. The soul is your temple.
  • A man is great by deeds, not by birth.

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