Acharya Chanakya, also known as Kautilya or Vishnu Gupta, was an Indian scholar, political advisor, economist, philosopher and teacher. Under his mentorship, Chandragupta Maurya, a commoner by birth, became the emperor of the Mauryan Empire. His popular works are Arthashastra and Neeti Shastra. These principles written by him between 370 BCE to 283 BCE hold true even today. While every era has witnessed some kind of transformation, Chanakya’s teachings have stood the test of time. Even today, his principles are taught to management students and business professionals as Chanakya Neeti. Here are a select few neetis that contain important life lessons, as told by the master himself.
Chanakya emphasises the importance of learning. Materialistic gains may be lost but the knowledge acquired through learning is never wasted. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving. It is never too early to start learning nor is it ever too late. So start now!
Truth triumphs all. It stands bare, free, and fearless. It is easy to create a mountain of lies, but it is impossible to bear its weight for long. On the crossroads of life, choose the right path and always speak the truth. Truth gives you the power to withstand every challenge.
Here, Chanakya beautifully emphasizes the importance of time. You cannot race against time, neither will time wait for anyone. Thus, it is essential to make the most of what you have and what you can do when you have the luxury of time. Everything falls in place with time. Never judge or criticise yourself comparing your pace with someone else’s. Each of us operate on different clocks after all. You will reap what you sow only when the time is right for you.
It is easy to judge yourself through the eyes of others. This holds true even more so today in the digital world we live in. People determine their self-worth by the number of followers on their social handles and the number of likes their posts get. We easily give in and believe what the world thinks of us. We allow people, most of whom we consider our friends and relatives, to use us like objects. Here, the master philosopher reminds us that those who come to you only to get something out of you are not your friends anyway. If you don’t respect yourself, how will others respect you?
Learn one good thing from each person. Often our differences make us blind towards the positives of a person. We tend to see only the part of their personality which we dislike. However, all of us are a mix of positive and negative. Thus, it is important to appreciate and absorb the good in each. We are all capable of becoming a little better by learning a little something from everyone we meet in our daily lives, no matter what their age, no matter what their station.