Chanakya was a political science and economics professor at Takshashila University. He was also a royal advisor, philosopher and competent teacher of his times. The credit of mentoring Chandragupta Maurya and helping the Mauryan Dynasty to establish their empire too goes to him. Being a prolific proponent of political realism in the country, he is also often compared to Machiavelli and Thucydides.
Chanakya is also referred to as Vishnu Gupta or Kautilya in many ancient books. He had authored Arthasastra – a political treatise of ancient India. Many of his contemporaries and those belonging to era succeeding his believe Chanakya as a pioneer in the field of Indian political science and economics. In fact, many scholars consider his work as a preamble to learning classical economics.
Quotes from Chanakya worth reading and understanding:
1. “Humbleness is at the root of sense control.”
Meaning: You need to be modest and humble if you want to have control over your senses; and the best way to remain humble is to continue learning. Similarly, for a king to have full control over his subjects, an inflated ego has to be put to rest. In fact, he needs to be humble and start solving people’s problems to succeed.
2. “Wealth is at root of Dharma.”
Meaning: If you want to govern your state well and keep the subjects contented and happy, it is important to spread wealth among them. Welfare of people is not possible without wealth.
3. “A capable king only becomes victorious.”
Meaning: As wisdom is a combination of practice and theory, it is bound to raise the quality ofgovernance. When the ruler has wisdom he becomes more efficient and more capable.
4. “Economic prosperity of the state creates prosperity for the people.”
Meaning: When the ruler of the state is prosperous, he will promote commercial activities and development works; as a result of which his subjects will become prosperous too.
5. “The victorious king happens to attain all the riches.”
Meaning: It is important for the king to have control over his desires if he wants to be successfuland good. If he has control, he will not only gain prosperity but his wishes will come true as well.
6. “Dharma is at root of happiness.”
Meaning: Here, dharma means the dutifulness of the rulers and the happiness is referred to the happiness of the people. When the ruler of the state is aware of his duties towards his people, they will be contented and happy.
7. “Prosperity or wealth depends on good governance of the state.”
Meaning: If you want to improve the stability of the state and increase prosperity of the people, it is important that the state is run smoothly and efficiently.
8. “Attending the elders is the root of humbleness.”
Meaning: Without looking at their status in the society, it is important for the ruler to look after the needs of aged people.
9. “With wisdom one becomes capable.”
Meaning: Wisdom improves quality of governance as it has a healthy combination of practice and theory. Wisdom is what makes the ruler more efficient and more capable.