Updated: Nov 16, 2022
Brief Introduction of Kautilya: Kautilya is estimated to have lived from 350 – 283 B.C. He was an Indian political thinker in ancient India Chanakya is hyped as the economist of India”. Kautilya was the adviser and Prime Minister of Emperor Chandragupta. Kautilya was a professor at the University of Takshila (located in the present time in Pakistan) and was an expert in commerce, warfare, economics, etc. His well-known works contain Chanakya Neeti, Arthashastra, and Neetishastra.
At the time of Kautilya's birth, he had a full set of teeth, which is a symbol that he would become a king or ruler. But since Chanakya was born in a Brahmin family, it was well thought-out improper. Consequently, his teeth were broken and it was forecasted that he would make another person an emperor and rule him. During child age, Chanakya had the qualities of a born leader. His level of awareness was beyond children of his time.
Chanakya was thrown out of the court of King Nanda who was Magdh emperor as he was a blunt man and spoke his mind clearly. Chanakya swore he would take revenge. He comes across Chandragupta as a young child. Yet at that age, he was a born leader and showed the qualities of a talented ruler. He was the guiding force behind Chandragupta and the crucial person who made him a capable ruler.
Kautilya puts in poison in little amounts daily in Chandragupta’s food in order to make him immune to poisonous, lest some rival tries to toxic emperor Chandragupta’s. Though Chandragupta was unknown this fact and once gave a little part of food to his wife after eaten that food she died she was in the ninth month of pregnancy also. After that Chanakya cut open her belly and took out the baby. This baby grew up to turn into capable emperor and famous named Bindusara.
In Bindusara emperor had a minister Subandhu who dislike Chanakya. He misguides Bindusara that Chanakya had killed his mother. Without evaluating real facts, Bindusara confronted Chanakya. After some time knowing the whole and real story, he felt embarrassed at his speedy actions and begged for forgiveness. He ordered Subandhu to go and apologize and make Chanakya come back. Subandhu was very cunning and on the pretext of going to apologize to Chanakya, he killed him. Theirefore ended the life of a great person like Chanakya just because of political jealousy.
Kautilya’s Arthashtra, a book on statecraft was written tin the Maurya period in 4th century B.C. the text was divided into 15 chapters, 380 Shlokas and 4968 Sutras known as books. Different books deal with different subject matters concerning polity, economy and society, the king’s duties, the code of conduct of officers, agriculture and industry, the inter-state relations.
Kautilya was the chief advisor of the king Chandra gupta maurya, in his rule the biggest Hindu empire came into being. Kautilya’s wish was for his king to triumph over the world. In his book Chankaya focused on king diplomacy related to Peace, War, Neutrality, Marching, Alliance, Double Policy war, diplomacy and various parts of life. His book is still being analysed and discussed in the strategic society.
SEVEN ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS
In book Arthashastra, Kautilya lists seven pillars for an organisation. “The king, the minister, the country, the fortified city, the treasury, the army and the ally are the constituent elements of the state” namely:
• The King (The leader): All great organisations have great leaders. The leader is the visionary, the captain, the man who guides the organisation. In today’s corporate world we call him the Director, CEO, etc. Without him we will loose direction.
• The Minister (The manager): The manager is the person who runs the show – the second-in-command of an organization. He is also the person whom you can depend upon in the absence of the leader. He is the man who is always in action. An extra ordinary leader and an efficient manager together bring into existence a remarkable organization.
• The Country (Your Market): No business can exist without its market capitalization. It is the area of your operation. The place from where you get your revenue and cash flow. You basically dominate this territory and would like to keep your monopoly in this segment.
• The Fortifid City (Head Office): a place from where all planning and strategies are made. It’s from here that your central administrative work is done. It’s the nucleus and the center of any organization.
• The Treasury: Finance is an extremely important resource. It is the backbone of any business. A strong and well-managed treasury is the heart of any organization. Your treasury is also your financial hub.
• The Army (Your Team): When we go to war, we need a well-equipped and trained army. The army consists of your team members. Those who are ready to fight for the organization. The salesmen, the accountant, the driver, the peon – all of them add to your team.
• The Ally (Friend / Consultant): In life you should have a friend who is just like you. Being, in the same boat, he can identify with you and stay close. He is the one whom you can depend upon when problems arise. After all, a friend in need is a friend in deed.
CHANAKYA SUGGESTION FOR A COUNTRY
Chanakya in his book Arthashatras suggested idea of a country reaching the following levels of development in terms of ideologies and social and economic development:
• A self sufficient economy which is not dependent on foreign trade.
• An egalitarian society where there are equal opportunities for all.
• Establishment of new colonies for the augmentation of resources. He also advocated the development of the already annexed colonies. His imperialistic views can be interpreted as the development of natural and man made resources.
• According to Chanakya, the efficient management of land is essential for the development of resources. It is essential that the state keeps an eye on the occupation of excess land by the landlords and unauthorized use of land. Ideally the state should monitor the most important and vital resource – Land.
• The state should take care of agriculture at all times. Government machinery should be directed towards the implementation of projects aimed at supporting and nurturing the various process; beginning from sowing of seeds to harvest.
• The nation should envisage constructing forts and cities. These complexes would protect the country from invasions and provide internal security. The cities would act as giant markets increasing the revenue of the state.
• Internal trade was more important to Chanakya than external trade. At each point of the entry of goods, a minimal amount of tax should be collected. The state should collect taxes at a bare minimum level, so that there is no chance of tax evasion.
• Laws of the state should be the same for all, irrespective of the person who is involved in the case. Destitute women should be protected by the society because they are the result of social exploitation and the uncouth behavior of men.
• Security of the citizens at peace time is very important because state is the only savior of the men and women who get affected only because of the negligence of the state. Antisocial elements should be kept under check along with the spies who may enter the country at any time.
• Chanakya envisioned a society where the people are not running behind material pleasures. Control over the sense organs is essential for success in any endeavor. Spiritual development is essential for the internal strength and character of the individual. Material pleasures and achievements are always secondary to the spiritual development of the society and country at large.
Manu is a term found with various meanings in different mythologies of Hinduism. In early texts, it refers to the representative man, or to the first man (progenitor of humanity). In later texts, Manu is the title or name of mystical sage-rulers of earth, or alternatively as the head of mythical dynasties that begin with each cyclic kalpa (aeon) when the universe is born anew. The title of the text Manusmriti uses this term as a prefix, but refers to the first Manu Svayambhuva, the spiritual son of Brahma. On the the other hand in some Puranic mythology, each kalpa consists of fourteen Manvantaras, and each Manvantara is headed by a different Manu. The current universe, in this mythology, is asserted to be ruled by the 7th Manu named Vaivasvata. In Vishnu Purana, Vaivasvata, also known as Sraddhadeva or Satyavrata, was the king of Dravida before the great flood. He was warned of the flood by the Matsya (fish) avatar of Vishnu, and built a boat that carried the Vedas, Manu’s family and the seven sages to safety, helped by Matsya. The myth is repeated with variations in other texts, including the Mahabharata and a few other Puranas. It is similar to other flood myths such as that of Gilgamesh and Noah.
Manusmriti, translated “Laws of Manu” or “Institutions of Manu,” is the most important and authoritative Hindu Law Book (Dharmashastra), which served as a foundational work on Hindu law and jurisprudence in the ancient Indian society. Until the modern times it was the standard reference for both the rulers who patronized Vedic faith and the people who practiced it.
According to Hindu tradition Manu is considered to be the first sons of Brahma’s and a progenitor of human race, so it is very difficult to decide the period of Manusmriti. It considered to that law of Manu might have been identified to the Vedic people for a long time before they were codified into their present form sometime during the post Vedic period. In ancient India the people believed in the order and regularity of the world as the manifestation of God’s will and intent, and the clear victory of the divine forces over the demonic. Therefore, the laws governing the perform of individuals and the order and regularity of Hindu society were prepared by many scholars and sages in ancient India since the primitive times.
Manusmriti schemes an ideal society and best human conduct as the basis to establish a systematically society and divine centered life. To support those principles and implement divine will, it offers numerous laws to minutely govern human life and conduct as applicable to each individual according to her or his society category, responsibilities and functions. Their object is to maintain control, provide a basis for the rulers to enforce lawful conduct, and ensure the orderly progression of the world through righteous conduct and observation of obligatory duties by individuals. The power to implement the laws is carefully circulated among the rulers and the guardians of society who support him in taken decision.
The laws that were proposed by Manu to govern human conduct and society reflect the conditions, needs and values of the times in which they were formulated. Most of them do not fit into the present day value system. They acknowledge prevailing social and gender inequalities as natural conditions of human existence, and propose laws to govern the behavior of individuals without providing scope for any changes that time may bring in the conditions of society or the lives of people. Hence, today you may find many laws of Manu archaic, outdated, and even primitive. The laws favor a paternalistic society and family system, vesting the authority to regulate them with men, and proposing rather a subordinate status and subservient role to women. They also betray a clear lack of trust in the integrity and sexual choices of women, thereby suggesting that they should always be guarded by men and should never be left alone in the presence of men outside their families. At the same time, they do not ignore or undermine the role of women in family and domestic matters, and urge men to treat them with honor and respect and not let them suffer.
Manusmriti recognize and validate the caste system as the foundation of order and regularity of society. It identifies four classes of people like Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras, and their own roles in the protection of dharma. Brahmanas and Kshatriyas are given many civil liberties and superior leniency in matters of sentence for misbehavior, whereas Sudras are given the least number of civil liberties but the harshest of punishments even for minor misdemeanors. Thus, it is important to study Manusmriti with an open mind to understand its historical and religious importance in the development of Hinduism from its early days to its current shape.