Chanakya or Kautilya was the prime minister of Chandraguptha Maurya, the first real emperor of India. Chanakya was the brain behind the formation of the Maurya empire. He was the prime minister and chief advisor of Chandraguptha Maurya and directed the king in the affairs concerning the state. Chanakya was also a shrewd diplomat and a cunning policy maker.
It is not much known about the birth of Chanakya. The only thing we knows about his birth is that he was born in Magatha and later moved on to Takshashila. His life time is estimated to be around 350 B.C to 283 B.C. He is also known as Vishnuguptha and Kautilya. He got his name Chanakya from the name of his father Chanak. The name Kautilya means " of kautil" clan. Thus his real name was vishnuguptha.
In his early age he had extensive education in the vedas . In his childhood itself he memorised the whole of vedas. He was also taught Geography, science and Mathematics with that. He moved to the university of Taxila, now in Pakisthan and joined as a teacher in politics there. He taught there for many years and he was a celeberated teacher.
During the time of Greek invasions in West India he had to leave the Taxila and he went to Pataliputhra. At first he was given a good official post by the king Nanda of Pataliputhra but later he was removed from the post due to some confusions. This sowed the seeds of revenge in the mind of Chanakya.
Meeting Chandraguptha Maurya
After he left the court of Nanda he saw the Chandraguptha Maurya as an young man with exceptional warrior skills and leadership qualities. Chandraguptha was taught by Chanakya and slowly the teacher passed his idea of building an Empire to the minds of Chandraguptha. Chandraguptha with a small army was able to capture many kingdoms with a small army due to the shrewdness of Chanakya.
Later Chandraguptha defeated Nanda and built the Mauryan Empire. Chanakya became the prime minister and chief advisor of the king and virtually ruled the kingdom by his policies. He made many reforms in the Tax system and administration and changed the kingdom to a welfare state. He adviced the king to divie the country into various provinces and divide the provinces further. Officials were appointed in each villages to look after the problems of the people.
Taxes were fixed in consideration with the amount of production and not according to the land a farmer have. Farmers were exempted from paying taxes if there were any natural calamities such as floods and famines. This made the Tax system effective and the people loved the administration. Very hard punishments were given to the criminals which reduced the number of crimes in the Kingdom.
Arthashasthra and Chanakyaneeti are considered as the works of Chanakya. In his works he explains everything needed to be followed the king to rule the nation effectively. It was like a constitution which made the rulers to rule in a good way. Arthashasthra covers subjects such as Economics, foreign policy, administaration etc .
The work of the Chanakya in that time have its importance in this modern period also. It can be said that he introduced the sysytem of efficient management in all sections and made rules and regulations to be followed.
After the king Chandraguptha Maurya accepted jainism and went from the Kingdom Chanakya also accepted Vanaprastha as per hindu religion and went to the forest.
A Quote by Chanakya
“The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort."