Chanakya, also known as Vishnugupta or Kautilya, was an ancient teacher, royal advisor, economist, and jurist. He has also considered the author of Arthashastra and Chanakya Neeti. Chanakya was a great thinker and philosopher. He is considered the founder of the Mauryan Empire and he is the one who assists in raise the Mauryan Empire to power. Chanakya also assists Chandragupta and his son Bindusara as a royal advisor. He also visions one united nation “Akhand Bharta”.
“सुखस्य मूलं धर्म: | धर्मस्य मूलमर्थ: |अर्थस्य मूलं राज्यं | राज्यमूलमिन्द्रियजय:| इन्द्रिजयस्य मूलं विनय: | विनस्य मूलं वृद्धोपसेवा | वृद्धोपसेवाया विज्ञानं | विज्ञानेनात्मानां संपादयेत् | संपादितात्मा जितात्मा भवति | जितात्मा सर्वार्थै: संयुज्यते |” — Chanakya
Meaning –“The root of happiness is Dharma (ethics, righteousness), the root of Dharma is Artha (economy, polity), the root of Artha is right governance, the root of right governance is victorious inner-restraint, the root of victorious inner-restraint is humility, and the root of humility is serving the aged.”
Some historian believes that Jain version is older and more consistent the Buddhist version of legends. So according to the Jain version, Chanakya was born to two lay Jains named Chanin and Chaneshwari. His birthplace was the Chanakya village in Golla vishaya around 350 BC. Chanakya was born with a full set of teeth. According to monks, this was the sign that he would become a king in the future. Chanin, who was the father of Chanakya, did not want his son to become haughty, so he broke Chanakya’s teeth.
VERSIONS OF CHANAKYA’S STORY:
There are no proper data and information available about the life of Chanakya. So we interpret the life of Chanakya on basis of the different versions of his story. There are four versions of his life story as follows:
- Buddhist version
- Jain version
- Kashmiri version
- Mudrarakshasa version
I am not going into the details of these versions to avoid this article lengthy. So instead of discussing every version of Chanakya’s story in detail, we are going to discuss the common points of these versions.
HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE OF CHANAKYA:
As I already told in the introduction that Chanakya is the author of Arthashastra and Chanakya Neeti. Arthashastra includes statecraft, economic policy, and military strategy. This all and all his neetis (strategic plans and interpretation of things) were so excellent that avoid or almost reduces the chance to zero of any civil war and civil disobedience. He is the kingmaker. The way he dealt with rebels and thieves helps a lot in the rising Mauryan Empire. Chanakya defeated and fails the plan of enemies to kill Chandragupta. Chanakya has a great network of spies. So he always has the information about what is going around him.
Chanakya played a very important role in protecting India from foreign invaders. He establishes the economic structure by encouraging everyone to contribute to the nation’s growth. Kautilya also preached raja tantra. He highlighted the way in which a king should rule his people. Chanakya also wrote about the administration and how it should be. He also introduced a centralized system of ruling. Chanakya is the one who introduced the concept of equality. According to Chanakya, the main four classes of society Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras are all equal and only different by their nature of work. He also vision about one united nation.
FOREIGN POLICY OF CHANAKYA:
According to Kautilya, the welfare of any state exists in ensuring security within its territory and expanding its territories by acquiring new territories. The aim of this policy is to ensure the development of the state either materially (treasure and army), diplomatically, or in terms of its relationship with other states.
SIX MAIN PRINCIPLES OF FOREIGN POLICY:
Kautilya stated six main principles of foreign policy. Today’s modern foreign policies of India have been highly influenced by these principles. The details of these principles are as follows:
Sandhi (Policy of peace for Co-Existence):
This is a policy of treaty between two states. It is advisable to small kingdoms when they in war with the bigger ones, since they can’t win over them. Thus, a common agreement is signed between the two, in the common interest of both. So that no one has to comprise.
Vigraha (Policy of Hostility):
Kautilya advised to initiate a war in order to expand the material resources of the state if it is stronger than its enemy. He proposed two types of war strategies, offensive and defensive. If the enemy is using an offensive one then you have to adapt the Defensive one. The offensive is used when the enemy is engaged in war with other states or facing any internal disobedience.
Asana (Policy of Preparedness for War):
If the ambitious states are weaker as compared to their enemy. So the best thing for it will be to remain pacifist policy. It must use its economic resources to modernize its army and prepare its armed forces. Meanwhile, this state must create a chaotic situation in the enemy state through spying, sedition, and political chaos. These situations make the enemy state weaker enough to accept the condition of an ambitious state and its interest. The ambitious state may go to war then and march into the enemy state.
Yana (Policy of Marching/Direct war):
This policy is adopted when the ambitious state has greater and stronger armed forces than the enemy state. The ambitious state can form an alliance with the other state if it suits its interest.
Sansraya (Policy of Seeking Alliance):
According to this policy, the weaker state must go for alliance with the stronger state in the situation of internal chaos. In order to maintain its security from any external attack.
Dvaidhibhava (Policy of Double Dealing):
This policy is used by the state when it is at war with the enemy of equal power of weaker enemy having a stronger alliance. The aim of this policy is to reduce or share the burden of the war by making an alliance with the state who is ready to bear the cost of war along with him.
GREAT WORKS OF CHANAKYA:
After the fall of the Mauryan, Empire Arthashastra was lost in the midst of time. It rediscovered in 1905, after more than 1400 years, by R. Shamasastry, who published it in 1909. The first English translation was published in 1915. Now, it is also available on online platforms you can read it from there if you want.
To solidify the state and ensure that its beneficiary for people Kautilya composed Arthashastra to provide the right guidance to the wish king, enabling him to defeat his enemies and rule correctly on behalf of the general good. The principle of Arthashastra is ruling well. It includes the importance of maintaining the right balance between the welfare of the people and the rate of increasing the resource of the state. Arthashastra also includes that it is the duty of the ruler, to ensure the protection of the people from external invaders, maintenance of the law within the state, and safeguarding the welfare of the people.
The Arthashastra is an art of governance that includes administration, economy, and foreign policy. According to Kautilya, there is nothing wrong with the class system of society, but for him, the state is superior to any religion. Arthashastra includes the best possible ways of dealing with state affairs in the internal and external spheres. It is the science of statecraft or of political, administration, military strategy, and diplomacy.
Saptanga theory (Doctrine of seven Prakriti):
It is one of the important components of Arthashastra. It includes that the king cannot run the whole empire on his own alone. So he needs certain other elements known as Prakriti.
So here are the seven element or Prakriti as follows: –
- Swami – The Sovereign King
- Amatya – The Minister
- Janapada – The People and The Territory
- Durga – Fortification
- Kosha – The Treasury
- Danda – The Amy and The Force
- Mitra – The Allies
Chanakya is a great thinker and diplomat in India. He studied deeply various ways Indian people living their life. Chanakya Neeti is a treatise on the ideal ways of living life. The topics included in this book are ethics, morality, governance, and several others. ‘Neeti Shastra’ is regarded as the collection of sayings which is collected by him from the existing Shastras. It is also helpful in today’s modern-day life system. Some lessons from this are as follows:
- Education is the best friend.
- A person shouldn’t be too honest, because straight trees are cut first and a very honest man knocks out first.
- Never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.
- As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it.
- A man is great by his activities only; birth has nothing to do with it.
- People who work sincerely are the happiest.
- Time perfects men as well as destroyed them.
- Learn from the mistakes of others, you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
Chanakya was the great ancient Indian teacher, philosopher, economist, and royal advisor. He is always being a visionary man. Chanakya dreamed about “Akhand Bharat” and made it possible. He also raises the Mauryan Empire to a powerful kingdom. Chanakya ends the cruel reign of the Nanda dynasty. He made and assists the great ruler Chandra Gupta and his son Bindusara as a royal advisor. Chanakya also played an important role in protecting India from foreign invaders. He also wrote the book “Arthashastra (a great treatise in political science)” and “Chanakya Neeti (a great guide to an ideal and happy life)”. Kautilya’s foreign policies are still very significant to the modernized countries. We can learn many things from Kautilya and his creations.