Sunday, 13 November 2011

SRI CHANAKYA NITI SHASTRA

SRI CHANAKYA NITI SHASTRA
 
          About 2300 years ago the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great invaded the Indian sub-continent. His offensive upon the land's patchwork of small Hindu empires proved to be highly successful due to the disunity of the petty rulers. It was Chanakya Pandit who, feeling deeply distressed at heart, searched for and discovered a qualified leader in the person of Chandragupta Maurya. Although a mere dasi-putra, that is, a son of a maidservant by the Magadha King Nanda, Chandragupta was highly intelligent, courageous and physically powerful. Chanakya cared little that by birth he should not have dared to approach the throne. A man of acute discretion, Chanakya desired only that a ruler of extraordinary capabilities be raised to the exalted post of King of Magadha so that the offensive launched by the Yavanas (Greeks) could be repressed. 
          It is said that Chanakya had been personally offended by King Nanda and that this powerful brahmana had vowed to keep his long sikha unknotted until he saw to the demise of the contemptuous ruler and his drunken princes. True to his oath, it was only after Chanakya Pandit engineered a swift death for the degraded and worthless rulers of the Nanda dynasty that this great brahmana was able to again tie up his tuft of hair. There are several versions relating the exact way that Chanakya had set about eliminating the Nandas, and it appears historians have found it difficult to separate fact from folk legend as regards to certain specific details. 
          After the Nanda downfall, it became easy for Chandragupta to win the support of the Magadha citizens, who responded warmly to their new heroic and handsome young ruler. Kings of neighbouring states rallied under Chandragupta's suzerainty and the last of the Greeks headed by Alexander's general Seleucus were defeated. 
          With the dual obstacles of the Nandas and Alexander's troops out of the way, Chanakya Pandit used every political device and intrigue to unite the greater portion of the Indian sub-continent. Under the Prime ministership of Chanakya, King Chandragupta Maurya conquered all the lands up to Iran in the North west and down to the extremities of Karnataka or Mysore state in the South. It was by his wits alone that this skinny and ill-clad brahmana directed the formation of the greatest Indian empire ever before seen in history (ie. since the beginning of Kali-yuga). Thus the indigenous Vedic culture of the sacred land of Bharata was protected and the spiritual practices of the Hindus could go on unhampered.
          Although many great savants of the science of niti such as Brihaspati, Shukracharya, Bhartrihari and Vishnusharma have echoed many of these instructions in their own celebrated works, it is perhaps the way that Chanakya applied his teachings of niti-sastra that has made him stand out as a significant historical figure. The great Pandit teaches us that lofty ideals can become a certain reality if we intelligently work towards achieving our goal in a determined, progressive and practical manner.

Chapter 1

1. Humbly bowing down before the almighty Lord Sri Vishnu, the Lord of the three worlds, I recite maxims of the science of political ethics (niti) selected from the various satras.

2. That man who by the study of these maxims from the satras acquires a knowledge of the most celebrated principles of duty, and understands what ought and what ought not to be followed, and what is good and what is bad, is most excellent.

3. Therefore with an eye to the public good, I shall speak that which, when understood, will lead to an understanding of things in their proper perspective.

4. Even a pandit comes to grief by giving instruction to a foolish disciple, by maintaining a wicked wife, and by excessive familiarity with the miserable.

5. A wicked wife, a false friend, a saucy servant and living in a house with a serpent in it are nothing but death.

6. One should save his money against hard times, save his wife at the sacrifice of his riches, but invariably one should save his soul even at the sacrifice of his wife and riches.

7. Save your wealth against future calamity. Do not say, "What what fear has a rich man of calamity?" When riches begin to forsake one even the accumulated stock dwindles away.

8. Do not inhabit a country where you are not respected, cannot earn your livelihood, have no friends, or cannot acquire knowledge.

9. Do not stay for a single day where there are not these five persons: a wealthy man, a brahmana well versed in Vedic lore, a king, a river and a physician.

10. Wise men should never go into a country where there are no means of earning one's livelihood, where the people have no dread of anybody, have no sense of shame, no intelligence, or a charitable disposition.

11. Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a relative in difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.

12. He is a true friend who does not forsake us in time of need, misfortune, famine, or war, in a king's court, or at the crematorium (smasana).

13. He who gives up what is imperishable for that which perishable, loses that which is imperishable; and doubtlessly loses that which is perishable also.

14. A wise man should marry a virgin of a respectable family even if she is deformed. He should not marry one of a low-class family, through beauty. Marriage in a family of equal status is preferable.

15. Do not put your trust in rivers, men who carry weapons, beasts with claws or horns, women, and members of a royal family.

16. Even from poison extract nectar, wash and take back gold if it has fallen in filth, receive the highest knowledge (Krsna consciousness) from a low born person; so also a girl possessing virtuous qualities (stri-ratna) even if she be born in a disreputable family.

17. Women have hunger two-fold, shyness four-fold, daring six-fold, and lust eight-fold as compared to men.

CHAPTER TWO & THREE

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