Chanakya (चाणक्य)
One of the greatest philosophers
in the history of mankind.
General Information
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Born around 350 BC and died around 283 BC
Name at birth was Vishnugupta but was later
known as Chānakya and Kautilya
Born in Patliputra, Maghadh which is currently
Patna, Bihar in India
Teacher of political science at Taxila
University
Later became Prime Minister of Emperor
Chandragupta Maurya
Childhood and Education
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Vishnugupta was born to Rishi Chanak in
Patliputra who was a revolutionary against
the evil emperor of Magadh. Chanak was
exiled after publicly speaking out against the
king. Vishnugupta left soon after to study at
the famous Taxila University.
Taxila was the best University of the time and
offered education in many different fields.
Life in Taxila
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After completing his education, Vishnugupta
became a professor at the Taxila University.
Here he got the names Chanakya and
Kautilya due to his fame and wits.
Gandhar Republic attacked Taxila because
the dim-witted prince of Taxila sent soldiers
to the border to abuse and torture the people
living there.
Taxila was defeated in no time but Porus, the
king of Gandhar, demanded that Gandharians
not be attacked again and left without taking
or destroying anything.
Alexander the Great
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Before Taxila could recover from being defeated,
thousands of refugees came into Taxila saying that
there was a white invader by the name of Alexshendra
who was planning on attacking India.
The dim-witted prince of Taxila became friends with
Alexander when he arrived and gave him soldiers and
money to support his planned conquests.
When Chanakya heard about his he immediately
turned the school into a war training station and
rebeled against the Greeks. Chanakya created his
own army and an impressive system of spies to
destroy the Greeks. Alexander conquered many
kingdoms before he left India. While traveling back to
Greece, he died. The general he had left in India was
killed by a spy acting as a messenger. The Greek rule
in India collapsed and Bharat (India) was free again.
Chandragupta
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After defeating the Greeks Chanakya returned to his
homeland, Patliputra. One day, while walking on the
road he stepped on some thorns. He controlled his
anger, bent down and destroyed every one of the
thorns.
The prime minister who had recently been insulted by
the tyrannical Dhananand (the king) saw this event
and thought that such a determined man could help
him get his revenge. He then took Chanakya to the
king’s court. The king laughed and made fun of him.
Chanakya swore to destroy the king and his sons for
that insult.
The prime minister recommended that Dhananand’s
eldest son Chandragupta would be fit to rule. His
father and eight brothers had repeatedly tried to kill
him because his mother was of low-caste and he was
extremely strong and intelligent.
Defeat of Magadh
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Chanakya went around telling peasants and
common folk that Magadh needed to be in
stronger hands and not under the rule of the
tyrannous Dhanananda.
Chandragupta gathered a huge militia in this
way. While he was doing this, Chanakya
persuaded a greedy King called Parvatak to
help because Chanakya assured him half of
Magadh.
Chandragupta’s army attacked and defeated
the army of Magadh with Chanakya’s guidance.
Rakshas
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Dhananad’s chief minister Rakshas was still trying to
avenge his master’s death. He met with Parvatak
(The king Chanakya promised half his land) and
convinced the king to help him by promising him the
entire kingdom of Magadh.
Chandragupta became sick so Rakshas bribed the
physician to put poison in the medicine. Chanakya
made the physician drink the medicine himself and in
this way Chandragupta was saved.
A few weeks later, Chandragupta was being moved to
the former palace of Dhananand. Rakshas planted
soldiers in the cellars to kill Chandragupta at night.
Chanakya saw ants coming from a crack in the floor
carrying grains of rice during his inspection and
immediately realized that there were soldiers in the
basement. He ordered the guards to burn the palace
immediately and not to let anyone escape.
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Rakshas
Rakshas was very angry after many of his warriors were
burned but he didn’t give up. He sent a poisonous
dancer to Chandragupta to kill him. Chanakya
immediately recognized the “dancer” and sent her to
King Parvatak yo kill him
Rakshas then allied with Parvatak’s son Malyaketu and 5
other kings to attack Magadh. To break this alliance,
Chanakya’s spies saved Rakshas’s friend and took him
to Rakshas. As payment for this favor, Rakshas let the
spy stay with him.
The same night, the spy let himself be caught near
Mlayaketu’s tent. He was carrying a fake letter from
Rakshas telling Chandragupta that he and the five kings
were going to betray him. When he read this he killed
the five other kings and only let Rakshas go because he
was a Brahmin. Chanakya then met Rakshas and made
him the prime minister of Magadh because he admired
Rakshas’s loyalty and determination.
Gifts
How Chanakya’s gifts helped him
achieve his goals.
Special Gifts and Abilities
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Chanakya was amazing at guessing his enemy’s
every move and never once did he fail to predict
his enemy’s doings. He was also very good at
persuasion. (defeating Rakshas)
Chanakya was very good at spy work and
managing spy-systems and conducting
unexpected attacks on his enemies (defeat of the
Greeks)
Chanakya was a great political philosopher who
wrote the Arthashastra and Nitishastra. He has
been called the Indian Machiavelli for his works.
Chanakya vs. Machiavelli
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Both were political philosophers
Machiavelli’s works are based on how to
maintain control while Chanakya’s works talk
about basic principles and what is an ideal
ruler.
Both men’s works related to their respective
time periods but they still have some basic
things in common.
Chanakya used his principles and defeated
the Greeks and Maghada while Machiavelli
didn’t defeat any government or empire.
Accomplishments
The many great things Chanakya
accomplished in his lifetime.
Uniting India
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Chanakya was the person who thought of the plans
to defeat Alexander out of India. To accomplish
this, he united different kingdoms to fight against
the Greeks which was a very rare occurrence.
He also thought of the plans to take over his
homeland, Magadh, from the tyrannical rule of the
Nand Dynasty and handed it over to his main
apprentice, Chandragupta Maurya. Under
Chanakya’s guidance, Chandragupta created a
huge empire unititig most of India by using
Magadh’s enormous military force and wealth. This
later became the great Ashokan Empire and for the
first time in it’s history, India was a united nation.
Major Works by Chanakya
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The Arthashastra is a treatise on
statecraft, economic policy and military
strategy written by Chanakya. It is
divided into 15 books and is basically a
king’s “manual” on how to run a kingdom.
The Nitishastra is a book about political
ethics taken from various Shastras and
compiled by Chanakya and is also useful
when running a government.
Excerpt from Arthashastra
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A debt should be paid off till the last penny, and
an enemy should be destroyed without a trace.
A human being should strive for four things in
life — dharma (duty), artha (money), kama
(pleasure) and moksha (salvation). A person
who hasn't striven for even one of these things
has wasted life.
A man is great by deeds, not by birth.
A person should not be too honest. Just as
straight trees are chopped-down first, honest
people are taken advantage of first.
Friendship should be among equals .
Impact
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In India, Chanakya is held as a intelligent scholar
who rid India of the Greeks and killed the bad and
tyrannous kings of the time and gave way to the
Ashokan Empire. His books are also very esteemed
and have helped many people operate businesses
and even governments.
In the west, however, scholars view him as a
malicious but genius Brahmin who ruthlessly
slaughtered and overthrew kings to put himself in
power. This of course is not true but is the cause of
misinformation from the British.
In his time he became very famous and liked after
defeating the Greeks but after defeating Magadh,
many commoners and nobles loyal to the Nand
Dynasty wanted revenge.
Comparison of Chanakya’s life to
my own
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In Chanakya’s life there were hundreds of
different kingdoms and it was very unsafe
to travel because of dacoits and princes
who liked to torture people
In my life there aren’t any evil kings or
foreign invaders that I have to be scared
of or fight against.
If Chanakya was still alive…
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If Chanakya was still alive I wouldn’t be
surprised if the entire earth would be a
super country with its government in
India.
I also think that there would be very less
wars and only “ideal” rulers according to
the Arthashastra would be allowed in
office.
Sources
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Microsoft Encarta 2004
Amar Chitra Katha: Chanakya
http://www.researchfellow.net/fpost131.ht
ml
http://www.worldofbiography.com/9046Chanakya/gallery.htm
Chandra Prakash Dwivedi’s “Chanakya”
Timeline
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11/18/07 – Sources Found
11/25/07 – PPT started
12/9/07 – Finish content
12/16/07 – Finalize and animate