Sunday, 27 May 2018

Review: Chanakya Neeti: With Complete Sutras

Chanakya Neeti: With Complete Sutras Chanakya Neeti: With Complete Sutras by Chanakya
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Peoples happiness should be King’s happiness. Welfare of people is King’s welfare. For a king, there is no task which is only individualistic and pleasurable to him only. It is king’s utmost duty to look after progress and welfare of people of his country.”

Kautilya (also known as Chanakya aka Vishnugupt, c. 350-275 BCE) was an Indian statesman and philosopher, chief advisor and Prime Minister of the Indian Emperor Chandragupta, the first ruler of the Mauryan Empire. Kautilya belonged to the Brahmin caste (the priestly class), he was originally from Northern India and a professor of political science and economics at the University of Taxila. He was fully knowledgeable concerning the Vedas literature and it is also believed that he might have had some knowledge of Zoroastrianism. He mentored Chandra Gupta Maura (a Shudra Low caste person) to become king. With Chandra Gupta he repelled the invasion of Greeks and also dethroned Dhananand.

This is the English translation of his Chankya Neeti. First the shloka is given in Sanskrit, then it is written in roman and finally the English translation is given. Some explanation is also given in brackets if required. The shlokas given here are for practical use in statecraft. These are not theoretical. This is proven by the historical facts that how he defeated the mighty Nandas. Some examples are reproduced below:

1. Without good assistance a king can take no right decisions.
2. Courage alone is not enough to achieve success in one’s mission.
3. An irritable or foul tempered cow is better than having thousand dogs.
4. One’s wisdom fails at the onset of the evil days.

Although the teachings are excellent some have become outdated. Some of these are anti Dalit and sexist in today’s context. Some of those may be correct when written but lost relevance in today’s age. Some examples:

1. A woman, by nature, is liar, courageous, deceitful, foolish, greedy, impious and cruel. These are innate attributes of a woman.
2. Women have a knack of talking to one man, casting an askew glance at other and loving secretly a third man. They can’t devotedly love just one man.
3. The power of Brahmans is knowledge, of the king his army, of the trader class their wealth and of the menial class their service ability. [Chankya asserts Manu]

So, this Neeti is mixed bag in present context. It should not be followed verbatim and in toto, but in small doses. We should use our wisdom and use it as per the changed times wherever required. There are many printing mistakes and at some places there are boxes instead of words. A better proof reading was required. Translation could have been better.

4/5 stars.

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