cāNakya : kauTilya arthaśāstra

Life :

Chanakya was a pragmatic activist. He is a hero like none other in the history of India.  See Life of Chanakya. His titles were Buddha and Sarvagnya. His Veda was the Sama Veda, but he had also studied the other 3 Vedas. He was the guru of Chandragupta Maurya.

Mudrarakshasa, is a play by Visakhadatta about Chanakya and Chandragupta.

From the prologue and very first act of the play Mudrarakshasa, we come to know that Chanakya was also called Kautilya and Vishnugupta and that combining brilliance with strategy he eliminated the Nandas and installed Chandragupta Maurya on the throne. We see how Chankaya applied many principles of his Arthasastra to eliminate Nandas and recruit Amatya Rakshasa. We learn that he had the epithet of Sarvagnya. We observe that since he sent JeevaSiddhi, his spy, out as a Bauddha monk, it was a period, where there a large number of Bauddha monks, about. We note that his untied Shikha was like the black female cobra that took the lives of the Nandas. We observe the similarity between the vengeful Draupadi, who refused to braid her hair and Chanakya. We observe the similarity between Gandhji, who threw the British out of the country because they threw him out of the train, and Chanakya who rid the planet of the Nandas, sinc ethey threw him out of the assembly of professors. We understand that there was a custom wherein some people carried around a picture of Yama and his descendants to various families and got them to perform rituals to appease Yama. Even today, in Bangalore, some people carry around the picture of Saniswara (Yama’s brother) and sort of scare people into giving them donations.

My other posts on Chanakya

Lineage :

Chanakya was the son of Chanaka. One of his ancestors was Kutila and therefore he was also called Kautilya. The Kautilyas were a subdivision of the Yaskas who were also Bhargavas, the descendants of Bhrgu. (Like ParasuramaSukracharyaValmikiMarkandeya and others.)


Work :

He composed a textbook of Arthasastra in which he quoted all his authors previous to him like Bharadwaja and then gave his own considered and often original view. There is also some part of the Arthasastra that follows the Manusmriti.

  1. Kautilya Arthasastra : Translation by Shama Shastry
  2. Kautilya Arthasastra : Sanskrit using english script.
  3. Chanakya Niti Sastra (In this link the original sanskrit text is not given : I find some of the translations surprising. Example: From Chanakya Niti Sastra : What is too heavy for the strong and what place is too distant for those who put forth effort? What country is foreign to a man of true learning? Who can be inimical to one who speaks pleasingly? My teacher’s translation of the same verse was: What is difficult for a farmer? What is far for a trader? What is a foreign land to a scholar? Who is a stranger (‘other’ parah) to a pleasant speaking person?)

“When Bhatta Swamy of Tanjore chanced upon 168 palm leaves of Koutilya’s (also known as Chanakya) “Arthashastra”, written in the 4th century BC, he handed it over to Sanskrit scholar Rudrapatna Shama Shastry, who was a curator at Oriental Research Institute (ORI) of Mysore, in 1902. Dr. Shastry edited and published the same in 1909, and Chanakya was recognised for his greatness. Later, this work was translated into various languages. Dr. Shastry’s contribution was recognised the world over. Washington University accorded him honorary doctorate. Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar honoured him with the title of “Arthashastra Visharada” at the 1926 Dasara festival. Government of India accorded him the title of Mahamahopadhyaya. He served in the history department of University of Mysore.” : The Hindu

Those who lived before Chanakya’s time:

Chanakya lived after RavanaDuryodhana, Bhoja (Dandakya), Karala (Vaideha),  Janamejaya, Talajangha, Aila, Ajabindhu, Sauvira (Jayadratha), Arjuna (Haihaya), Vatapi and Vrishnis who conspired against Dwaipayana (Veda Vyasa). He gives them as examples of people who failed because they were unable to conquer their six internal enemies. (Desire,anger etc…)
Chanakya lived after Bharadwaja, Visalaksha, Parasara (father of Veda Vyasa), Pisuna, Kaunapadanta, Vatavyadhi and Bahudanti . He quotes their views on the matter of selection of ministers.
Chanakya lived after the following kings killed by their own families: Bhadrasena; Kárusa, Kásirája (killed by his queen), Vairantya, Sauvíra, Jálútha, Vidúratha.

Time :

Dr. R. Shamashastry, the translator of the English version of Kautilya’s Artha-Shastra, quotes a reference from the Vishnu Purana fourth canto, twenty-fourth chapter, regarding the time of Chanakya.  “Mahapadma then his sons – only nine in number – will be the lords of the earth for a hundred years. A brahmana named Kautilya will slay these Nandas. On their death, the Mauryas will enjoy the earth. Kautilya himself will install Chandragupta on the throne. His son will be Bindusara and his son will be Ashokavardhana.”  Similar references are also made in the Bhavishya, Bhagavata, Vayu and Matsya PuranasMy explanation for use of future tense in the description of events in the Kaliyuga is that a few verses were later appended to keep the Puranas uptodate.


Visakhadatta – Mudrarakshasa

Visakhadatta is the author of the play (drama) MudraRakshasa. His father was Bhaskaradatta and his grandfather was Vateswara Datta. They were administrators.

  • The hero of the play is without question Chandragupta Maurya and Chanakya is his advisor.
  • The ruler in the benedictory verse, under whom Visakhadatta became famous,  saved India from the barbaric tyranny of the Mlecchas (foreigners). This king was called Chandragupta, Avantivarma, Dantivarma and Rantivarma. (The ruler, may have been the patron of the play.) Some scholars like to think that Avantivarma refers to the king of Kasmira or the king of Kanauj but with the name of Avantivarma.
  • Some scholars identify this Chandragupta, king of Avanti with Chandragupta Gupta,  the king of Avanti (Ujjain). Which Mlecchas was Visakhadatta talking about? The greeks of 4th century BC or the Huns of a later period (6th century AD?). If Sandrokottus is identified with Chandragupta Gupta as many modern scholars suggest, then we have no problem in identifying the mlecchas in the benedictory verse as greeks.

MudraRakshasa – Prologue


After the Naandi (the worship of the stage), the sutra-dhara (holder of the thread – the manager) enters the stage. He invokes the blessings of Siva on the audience and then describes a conversation between Siva and Parvathi. She wants to question him about the river Ganga, that Siva carries about on his head and he tries to turn the conversation to Chandra (the moon), which he also carries on his head.

As the sUtradhAra invokes S’ivA’s blessings on us (the audience), he introduces the new drama called mudra-rakshasam, wiritten by Visakhadatta, the son of Maharaja Bhaskaradatta  and the grandson of Samanta Vatesvaradatta. He is glad that he has a good audience because “the sowings of even a dullard thrive in a good soul”.

He is about to start the performance, when he observes that all his servants are busy decorating the house and preparing for  festivities. He calls his wife NaTi (actress) on to the stage and asks her what the festivities are for. She tells him that brahmins have been invited to dinner because she has heard from the townfolk that there will be an eclipse of the moon.

The sutradhara says that he has studied 64 sciences related to the movements of the luminaries and he would like to proceed with feeding the brahmins, but he knows for sure that there is to be no eclipse. For though the malignant Rahu and Ketu intend to eclipse Chandra… (Rahu and Kethu are the names for the moon’s node and antinode, see the SuryaSiddhantam of Maya Danava.)

….A voice from backstage… is heard saying.. ” who dares to assault Chandra, inspite of me?”

The sutradhara continues…. Budhayoga saves him. (Chanakya is also called Buddha and Sarvagnya, so this is reference to him. It is also a pun on Budha Graha (Mercury), who is considered very intelligent)

Nati wants to know which human can save Chandra (the moon) from Rahu.

Then sutradhara listens to the voice again saying “who dares to assault Chandragupta inspite of me?” and recognises it as Kautilya!

This scares Nati.

Sutradhara says, ” This is that angry Chanakya who destroyed the house of the Nandas with his  “kutilamati” (shrewdness).

He thinks that we are speaking of the Maurya Chandragupta, though we speak of the eclipse of the Chandra the moon. Therefore let us retire…!”

Then the scene shifts to the actual play.

Notes :

  • From this we learn that there were 64 sciences related to astronomy.
  • Even those educated in astronomy like Sutradhara respected the custom of feeding the brahmins, as did the uneducated like Nati.
  • Like us, Sutradhara (and Visakhadatta) know perfectly well that Budha Yoga cannot influence eclipses.
  • Visakhadatta is trying to poetically suggest that no one could harm Chandragupta Maurya, while the ever alert, wise and shrewd Kautilya Chanakya is there to protect him. That is the budhayoga.
  • We also gather that ordinary people may have been a little scared of Chanakya for they only knew ordinary Niti (ethics) as applicable to citizens and not the RajaNiti (Ethics of kings – oft translated as Politics ) that applied to kings.
  • Nati speaks Pali, while Sutradhara speaks Sanskrit.

What is Itihasa? Kautilya’s (Chanakya’s) definition.

Veda Vyasa classified Valmiki’s Ramayana and his own Mahabharata as Itihasas.

“PuranaItivritta (history), Akhyayika (tales), Udaharana (illustrative examples), Dharmasastra (science of Dharma – righteous conduct), and Arthasastra (science of wealth – economics) are  Itihasa.” as per Kautilya  Arthasastra

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata cover all the above listed subjects and therefore they are correctly classified as Itihasas.

So the term for plain history is ItiVritta. In modern Indian languages, the term Itihasa is used to mean history alone. Thus leading to a litle bit of confusion.

What Chanakya (Kautilya) says about Marriage, Re-marriage and Women’s Property

Reference : Kautilya Arthasastra

Chanakya has given in great detail the rules for re-marriage and property of widows and abandoned wives. He has also ruled that the state should look after helpless women with no one to look after them. There is absolutely no mention of sati sahamaranam at his time.

Types of Marriage :

  1. MARRIAGE precedes the other calls of life (vyavahára.)
  2. The giving in marriage of a maiden well-adorned is called Bráhma-marriage. The joint-performance of sacred duties (by a man and a woman) is known as prájápatya marriage.
  3. (The giving in marriage of a maiden) for a couple of cows is called Arsha.
  4. (The giving in marriage of a maiden) to an officiating priest in a sacrifice is called Daiva.
  5. The voluntary union of a maiden with her lover is called Gándharva.
  6. Giving a maiden after receiving plenty of wealth (súlka) is termed Asura.
  7. The abduction of a maiden is called Rákshasa.
  8. The abduction of a maiden while she is asleep and in intoxication is called Paisácha marraige.
  9. Of these, the first four are ancestral customs of old and are valid on their being approved of by the father.
  10. The rest are to be sanctioned by both the father and the mother; for it is they that receive the money (súlka) paid by the bridegroom for their daughter.
  11. In case of the absence by death of either the father or the mother, the survivor will receive the súlka. If both of them are dead, the maiden herself shall receive it. Any kind of marriage is approvable, provided it pleases all those (that are concerned in it.)

Property of Women :

  1. Means of subsistence (vritti) or jewellery (ábadhya) constitutes what is called the property of a woman. Means of subsistence valued at above two thousand shall be endowed (on her name).
  2. There is no limit to jewellery.
  3. It is no guilt for the wife to make use of this property in maintaining her son, her daughter-in-law or herself whenever her absent husband has made no provision for her maintenance.
  4. In calamities, disease and famine, in warding off dangers and in charitable acts, the husband, too, may make use of this property.
  5. Neither shall there be any complaint against the enjoyment of this property by mutual consent by a couple who have brought forth a twin.
  6. Nor shall there be any complaint if this property has been enjoyed for three years by those who are wedded in accordance with the customs of the first four kinds of marriage.
  7. But the enjoyment of this property in the cases of Gándharva and Asura marriages shall be liable to be restored together with interest on it.
  8. In the case of such marriages as are called Rákshasa and Paisacha, the use of this property shall be dealt with as theft.

Widow Re-marriage and property :

  1. On the death of her husband a woman, desirous to lead a pious life, shall at once receive not only her endowment and jewellery (sthápyábharanam), but also the balance of súlka due to her.
  2. If both of these two things are not actually in her possession, though nominally given to her, she shall at once receive both of them together with interest (on their value.)
  3. If she is desirous of a second marriage (kutumbakáma), she shall be given on the occasion of her remarriage (nivesakále) whatever either her father-in-law or her husband or both had given to her.
  4. If a widow marries any man other than of her father-in-law’s selection (svasuraprátilo- myenanivishtá), she shall forfeit whatever had been given to her by her father-in-law and her husband.
  5. The kinsmen (gnátis) of a woman shall return to her whatever property of her own she had placed in their custody.
  6. Whoever justly takes a woman under his protection shall equally protect her property.
  7. No woman shall succeed in her attempt to establish her title to the property of her husband.
  8. If she lives a pious life, she may enjoy it (dharmakámá bhunjíta).
  1. A barren widow who is faithful to the bed of her dead husband may, under the protection of her teacher, enjoy her property as long as she lives: for it is to ward off calamities that women are endowed with property.
  2. On her death, her property shall pass into the hands of her kinsmen (dáyáda).

Widowed Mother Property :

  1. No woman with a son or sons shall be at liberty to make free use of her own property (strídhana); for that property of hers her sons shall receive.
  2. If a woman attempts to take possession of her own property under the plea of maintaining her sons, she shall be made to endow it in their name.
  3. If a woman has many male children, then she shall conserve her own property in the same condition as she had received from her husband. Even that property which has been given her with full powers of enjoyment and disposal she shall endow in the name of her sons.

Widower Property :

  1. If the husband is alive and the wife is dead, then her sons and daughters shall divide her property among themselves.
  2. If there are no sons, her daughters shall have it.
  3. In their absence her husband shall take that amount of money (súlka) which he had given her, and her relatives shall retake whatever in the shape of gift or dowry they had presented her. Thus the determination of the property of a woman is dealt with.

Second Marriage of Males.

  1. If a woman either brings forth no (live) children, or has no male issue, or is barren, her husband shall wait for eight years, (before marrying another).
  2. If she bears only a dead child, he has to wait for ten years.
  3. If she brings forth only females, he has to wait for twelve years.
  4. Then if he is desirous to have sons, he may marry another.
  5. In case of violating this rule, he shall be made to pay her not only sulka, her property (strídhana) and an adequate monetary compensation (ádhivedanikamartham), but also a fine of 24 panas to the Government.
  6. Having given the necessary amount of sulka and property (strídhana) even to those women who have not received such things on the occasion of their marriage with him, and also having given his wives the proportionate compensation and an adequate subsistence (vritti), he may marry any number of women.
  7. If a husband either is of bad character or is long gone abroad or has become a traitor to his king or is likely to endanger the life of his wife or has fallen from his caste or has lost virility, he may be abandoned by his wife.

Divorce by Mutual Consent :

A woman, hating her husband, can not dissolve her marriage with him against his will. Nor can a man dissolve his marriage with his wife against her will. But from mutual enmity, divorce may be obtained (parasparam dveshánmokshah). If a man, apprehending danger from his wife desires divorce (mokshamichhet), he shall return to her whatever she was given (on the occasion of her marriage). If a woman, under the apprehension of danger from her husband, desires divorce, she shall forfeit her claim to her property;

* Marriages contracted in accordance with the customs of the first four kinds of marriages cannot be dissolved.

Re-marriage of women whose husbands have gone away.

  1. Wives who belong to Súdra, Vaisya, Kshatriya or Bráhman caste, and who have not given birth to children should wait as long as a year for their husbands who have gone abroad for a short time; but if they are such as have given birth to children, they should wait for their absent husbands for more than a year.
  2. If they are provided with maintenance, they should wait for twice the period of time just mentioned.
  3. If they are not so provided with, their well-to-do gnátis should maintain them either for four or eight years.
  4. Then the gnátis should leave them to marry after taking what had been presented to them on the occasion of their marriages.
  5. If the husband is a Bráhman, studying abroad, his wife who has no issue should wait for him for ten years but if she has given birth to children, she should wait for twelve years.
  6. If the husband is of Kshatriya caste, his wife should wait for him till her death; but even if she bears children to a savarna husband, (i.e., a second husband belonging to the same gotra as that of the former husband) with a view to avoid the extinction of her race, she shall not be liable to contempt thereof (savarnatascha prajátá ná pavádam labheta).
  7. If the wife of an absent husband lacks maintenance and is deserted by well-to-do gnátis, she may remarry one whom she likes and who is in a position to maintain her and relieve her misery.
  8. A young wife (kumárí) who is wedded in accordance with the customs of the first four kinds of marriage (dharmaviváhát), and whose husband has gone abroad and is heard of shall wait for him for the period of seven menses (saptatirthányákánksheta), provided she has not publicly announced his name;
  9. But she shall wait for him a year in case of her having announced the name of her absent husband who is heard of.
  10. In the case of a husband who is gone abroad but who is not heard of, his wife shall wait for the period of five menses,
  11. If the absent husband is not heard of, his wife shall wait for him for the period of ten menses.
  12. In the case of a husband who is gone abroad and is not heard of, his wife shall, if she has received only a part of sulka from him, wait for him for the period of three menses
  13. But if he is heard of, she shall wait for him for the period of seven menses.
  14. A young wife who has received the whole amount of sulka shall wait for the period of five menses for her absent husband who is not heard of;
  15. But if he is heard of, she shall wait for him for the period of ten menses.
  16. Then with the permission of judges (dharma-sthairvisrishtá), she may marry one whom she likes.
  17. In the case of husbands who have long gone abroad (dirgrhapravásinah), who have become ascetics, or who have been dead, their wives, having no issue, shall wait for them for the period of seven menses;
  18. But if they have given birth to children, they shall wait for a year.
  19. Then (each of these women) may marry the brother of her husband. If there are a number of brothers to her lost husband, she shall marry such a one of them as is next in age to her former husband, or as is virtuous and is capable of protecting her, or one who is the youngest and unmarried.
  20. If there are no brothers to her lost husband, she may marry one who belongs to the same gotra as her husband’s or relative.
  21. But if there are many such persons as can be selected in marriage, she shall choose one who is a nearer relation of her lost husband.

Kautilya’s (Chanakya’s) Sundial and Kingly Time Management

In  Chapter XIX, “The Duties of a King” in Book I. “Concerning Discipline” of the Arthasástra of KautilyaChanakya describes how to measure a day and what a king must do in each part of the day.

Time Measurement :

“He shall divide both the day and the night into eight nálikas (1½ hours).

According to the length of the shadow (cast by a gnomon standing in the sun):

  • The shadow of three purushás (36 angulás or inches),
  • Of one purushá (12 inches),
  • Of four angulás (4 inches),
  • And absence of shadow denoting midday are the four one-eighth divisions of the forenoon;
  • Like divisions (in the reverse order) in the afternoon.”

Time Management.

  1. During the first one-eighth part of the day, he shall post watchmen and attend to the accounts of receipts and expenditure; (6 am to 7.30 am)
  2. During the second part, he shall look to the affairs of both citizens and country people; (7.30 am to 10 am)
  3. During the third, he shall not only bathe and dine, but also study; (10 am to 11.30am)
  4. During the fourth, he shall not only receive revenue in gold (hiranya), but also attend to the appointments of superintendents (11.30 am to 1 pm)
  5. During the fifth, he shall correspond in writs (patrasampreshanena) with the assembly of his ministers, and receive the secret information gathered by his spies (1 pm to 2.30 pm)
  6. During the sixth, he may engage himself in his favourite amusements or in self-deliberation;
  7. During the seventh, he shall superintend elephants, horses, chariots, and infantry, and
  8. During the eighth part, he shall consider various plans of military operations with his commander-in-chief. At the close of the day, he shall observe the evening prayer (sandhya vandanam).

Did Chanakya use water clocks and hourglasses to tell the time in the night? or did he have other tools?

  1. During the first one-eighth part of the night, he shall receive secret emissaries;
  2. During the second, he shall attend to bathing and supper and study;
  3. During the third, he shall enter the bed-chamber amid the sound of trumpets and
  4. enjoy sleep during the fourth
  5. and fifth parts;
  6. Having been awakened by the sound of trumpets during the sixth part, he shall recall to his mind the injunctions of sciences as well as the day’s duties;
  7. During the seventh, he shall sit considering administrative measures and send out spies;
  8. During the eighth division of the night, he shall receive benedictions from sacrificial priests, teachers, and the high priest, and having seen his physician, chief cook and astrologer, and having saluted both a cow with its calf and a bull by circumambulating round them, he shall get into his court.

Or in conformity to his capacity, he may alter the timetable and attend to his duties. When in the court, he shall never cause his petitioners to wait at the door, for when a king makes himself inaccessible to his people and entrusts his work to his immediate officers, he may be sure to engender confusion in business, and to cause thereby public disaffection, and himself a prey to his enemies. He shall, therefore, personally attend to the business of gods, of heretics, of Bráhmans learned in the Vedas, of cattle, of sacred places, of minors, the aged, the afflicted, and the helpless, and of women;—all this in order (of enumeration) or according to the urgency or pressure of those works. All urgent calls he shall hear at once, but never put off; for when postponed, they will prove too hard or impossible to accomplish. Having seated himself in the room where the sacred fire has been kept, he shall attend to the business of physicians and ascetics practising austerities; and that in company with his high priest and teacher and after preliminary salutation (to the petitioners). Accompanied by persons proficient in the three sciences (trividya) but not alone lest the petitioners be offended, he shall look to the business of those who are practising austerities, as well as of those who are experts in witchcraft and Yóga. Of a king, the religious vow is his readiness to action; satisfactory discharge of duties is his performance of sacrifice; equal attention to all is the offer of fees and ablution towards consecration.

In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness; in their welfare his welfare; whatever pleases himself he shall not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subjects he shall consider as good.

Hence the king shall ever be active and discharge his duties; the root of wealth is activity, and of evil its reverse. In the absence of activity acquisitions present and to come will perish; by activity he can achieve both his desired ends and abundance of wealth.

Telling Time in Western History:  http://www.time-for-time.com/history.htm and http://www.time-for-time.com/timeline.htm

The size of the cabinet (parishad) in Chanakya’s times.

Kautilya Arthasastra tells us about the different size of cabinets in various times.

  1. Manu says that that the cabinet should have 12 ministers.
  2. Brishaspati says that the cabinet should have 16 ministers.
  3. Usanas (Sukracharya?) says that the cabinet should have 20 ministers.
  4. But Kautilya holds that it shall consist of as many members as the needs of his dominion require (yathásámarthyam). 

“One thousand sages form Indra’s assembly of ministers (mantriparishad). They are his eyes. Hence he is called thousand-eyed though he possesses only two eyes”

Vyasa, Bharadwaja and Ravana lived before Chanakya (Kautilya)

Reference : (Kautilya Arthasastra)

  1.  Chanakya lived after RavanaDuryodhana, Bhoja (Dandakya), Karala (Vaideha),  Janamejaya, Talajangha, Aila, Ajabindhu, Sauvira, Arjuna (Haihaya), Vatapi and Vrishnis who conspired against Dwaipayana (Veda Vyasa). He gives them as examples of people who failed because they were unable to conquer their six internal enemies. (Desire,anger etc…)
  2. Chanakya lived after Bharadwaja, Visalaksha, Parasara (father of Veda Vyasa), Pisuna, Kaunapadanta, Vatavyadhi and Bahudanti . He quotes their views on the matter of selection of ministers.
  3. (See : Explanation for use of future tense in the description of events in the Kaliyuga. ) Vishnu Purana fourth canto, twenty-fourth chapter, regarding the time of Chanakya.  “Mahapadma then his sons – only nine in number – will be the lords of the earth for a hundred years. A brahmana named Kautilya will slay these Nandas. On their death, the Mauryas will enjoy the earth. Kautilya himself will install Chandragupta on the throne. His son will be Bindusara and his son will be Ashokavardhana.”  Similar references are also made in the Bhavishya, Bhagavata, Vayu and Matsya Puranas

Chanakya and Gandhiji

Chanakya was always my hero, ever since I read his story in Amar Chitra Katha, when I was in primary school. When I was working in a company., I used to have his picture on my cubicle wall.

I bought the VCDs of the T.V. serial (by Prakash Dwivedi) and just completed watching all 47 episodes of it. (It is a great series but somewhat rushed through in the last few episodes and too much focus on uneccessary characters and incidents towards the end. Almost as if the director or the direction had changed towards the end.)

One similarity between the life of Chanakya and the life of Gandhi, is that they were very pure and they wanted nothing for themselves. Chanakya started like that.. Gandhiji progressively simplified and purified himself.

Another similarity is the love they had for their motherland and the way the dedicated their lives to their country.

Where Chanakya was called Kautilya because of his application of politics to the cause., Gandhiji was called Mahatma because of his application of principles of ahimsa (non-violence) to the cause.

Both were brilliant strategists and both were strong adherents to Satya (truth).

Also interesting in the story of Chanakya, were the great number of ministers who were on the side of truth but also on the side of the establishment led by a corrupt and bad king: Dhananand. They could not admit truth to the people and they could not confront the king. They were caught because they cared about the consequences of their actions would have to their own selves and to the established way of life (social order).

They were willing to content themselves with microchanges and believed that people could be reformed.

Chanakya and Gandhiji wanted major fundamental changes. Chankaya wanted it from the beginning and Gandhiji progressively refined his goal.

Chanakya found that he could not appeal to humanity, reason and decency in fundamentally corrupt, arrogant, powerful and selfish people. He decided that ” Raj Neethi” was the way to get rid of some of those people. He left many of the good administrators in charge even under the new administration.

Gandhiji appealed to the masses and asked them not to co-operate with the foreign, exploitative adminstration. And he asked the British to quit India. Gandhiji appealed to the appeal of principle. Chanakya gave us Chandragupta, Gandhi gave us Nehru and Patel.

Both Chanakya and Gandhiji are my heroes and have always been. Because they knew how to reform society. They had the brilliance, the application, the dedication, the austerity and the solution.

Notes and quotes from Kautilya Arthasastra :

Kautilya Chanakya and Mahatma Gandhi: the comparision and the contrast.Kautilya Arthasastra

Mudrarakshasa :