Chanakya Sutra

Chanakya Sutra

By itself, "Chanakya Sutra" is a great book.  It is as if each and every
sutra is an ocean of wisdom contained in an urn of water.  They are of use
in every field of activity in human life, and to improve material reality
these sutras are useful in all ages and all societies.  By following them,
even an ordinary person can lead a happy and productive life, without

At every stage of human inter-personal relations, these sutras are of
relevance.  Foreign scholars have praised them in the highest terms.  They
have been rendered speechless by the subtle analysis of the human nature.
They are as glittering jewels, showing India's progress and intellectual

"Chanakya Sutra" has 531 shlokas. A translation of the first 90 shlokas is given below.


Aphorism 1:

May the Great Goddess of Prosperity "Rajyashree" protect the functionaries
of the State by giving them the correct dispositions.

Aphorism 2:

The basis of "sukha" or all true pleasantness  is "dharma" or righteous

Aphorism 3:

The basis of all "dharma" is "artha" or wealth.

Aphorism 4:

The basis of all "artha" is "rajya" or the State.

Aphorism 5:

The basis for the stability of the State lies in control over the "indriya"
or sense faculties providing pleasure.

Aphorism 6:

The basis for control over the sensual faculties is in "vinay" or humility.

Aphorism 7:

The basis for humility is devotion to those grown old through wisdom.

 Aphorism 8:

Through devotion to the wise, one attains proficiency with the maximum

Aphorism 9:

It is imperative for all the functionaries of the State to perform their
duties with the maximum efficiency.

Aphorism 10:

To perform State duties with the maximum efficiency, the functionaries of
the State must learn to control their sensual needs, and maximise their
internal potentials.

Aphorism 11:

Those who have vanquished their baser selves may become prosperous
naturally, can retain their prosperity, and be successful in their

Aphorism 12:

The wealth and properties of the State naturally increases the level of
prosperity of the people.

Aphorism 13:

Where the people and the functionaries of the State follow sound moral
principles, the State can function effectively even without a king.

Aphorism 14:

Of all discords the anger of the people is the most to be feared.  The basis
for State functioning lies in the acceptance and good wishes of the people.

Aphorism 15:

It is better not to have a king than to have one who is unworthy.  Rather
than have a king who is without truth and sound principles, who is greedy,
selfish and tyrannical, the king-makers must run the affairs of the State
themselves using democratic methods and following enlightened public

Aphorism 16:

After filling himself with the right kingly qualities, the ruler of the
State must select as assistants those talented individuals who are equally

Aphorism 17:

Without the intellectual assistance of his council of ministers it is not
possible for the ruler to take the right decisions regarding his duties.

Aphorism 18:

Just as there cannot be a one-wheeled chariot, there cannot be a king
without a council of ministers.

Aphorism 19:

The assistant who steadfastly adheres to the ruler, and is of equable
temperament both in times of prosperity and adversity, is best.

Aphorism 20:

The conscientious ruler must resolve complex issues by careful and thorough
analysis of the "for" and "against" sides, and including the consequences of
his decisions.  For help, he needs for ministers individuals who are famous,
wise, prosperous, enthusiastic, impressive, hardy, hard working,
well-intentioned, well-behaved; who truly love the ruling system and live in
the land.

Aphorism 21:

That minister should he held best, he who correctly assesses the gravity of
a problem, and solves it with the maximum efficiency and use of imagination.

Aphorism 22:

A minister is to be appointed if after showing his supremacy in debate and
knowledge of laws, he also passes tests conducted secretly.

Aphorism 23:

Tasks can be successfully executed only after thorough discussion and
careful planning.

Aphorism 24:

A task can be completed with success if information relating to the
beneficial and non-beneficial consequences of the task is kept secret.

Aphorism 25:

Any sort of carelessness can upset the security issues involved in a task
and so cause its ruination.  A minister must be held totally responsible for
the task under his supervision.

Aphorism 26:

Any relaxation in security measures will cause knowledge of secret matters
to pass into the hands of the enemy.

Aphorism 27:

Knowing that the enemy is always keen for secret information, and is on the
lookout for disgruntled ministers who could give it, all doors that could
create discord among ministers must be blocked.

Aphorism 28:

Complete security for the ministers is necessary for the good of the State.

Aphorism 29:

Since the minister gives dynamism to duty, the strength of the State lies in
the continued existence and good health of the ministers.

Aphorism 30:

As the lamp shows the path, so does the minister give direction to those
afflicted by indecision.

Aphorism 31:

For victory over foes, the ruler must know the full extents of their
weaknesses.  Only capable ministers can provide him with such information.

Aphorism 32:

In the council of ministers, no one should try to force his views by
drowning the views of others.  A reasonable attitude must prevail.

Aphorism 33:

Unanimity in the council of ministers leads to success in the realization of

Aphorism 34:

The ideal ministers are those who have amassed personal wealth through
righteous conduct, have overcome selfish desires and have conscience.

Aphorism 35:

If six ears listen to a secret executive decision, that becomes public

Aphorism 36:

Those who take the misfortunes upon others as misfortunes upon themselves
are best suited to be friends.

Aphorism 37:

By acquiring true friends, one gains strength.

Aphorism 38:

The strong try to get advantages to which they have no right.

Aphorism 39:

Giving even a little to the lazy does not protect material wealth.

Aphorism 40:

Laziness deprives the State of strength, and labour increases the wealth of
the State.

Aphorism 41:

Without continued increase of wealth, the demise of the State is inevitable.

Aphorism 42:

If the ruler out of laziness lets his servants do his work as the ruler,
then disaster is certain.

Aphorism 43:

If out of laziness the ruler does not do pilgrimage to centres of holiness,
learning and experience, there can be no progress for the State.

Aphorism 44:

The four basic tenets for the functioning of the State are: correct
appointments of the State's functionaries; the State's functionaries must do
nothing to decrease the growth of the wealth of the State; they must not
indulge in wasteful expenditure; nor must they allow out of lack of use the
waste of the wealth of the State.

Aphorism 45:

The people of the State can have moral principles only when the workings of
the State are based upon moral principles.

Aphorism 46:

Knowledge of the duties owed to one's own State, and to the neighbouring
States, in terms of the laws and principles involved, is an essential aspect
of Statecraft.

Aphorism 47:

Where the basic tenets for the functioning of the State are held sacred,
there is prosperity and happiness for the State.

Aphorism 48:

Constant surveillance of the enemies is essential for the security of the

Aphorism 49:

Friendship or enmity with neighbouring States is just the way the world

Aphorism 50:

It is worthy for the king to follow the path of high principle.

Aphorism 51:

The enemy can attack the State at any time.

Aphorism 52:

Two warring States become friendly later.

Aphorism 53:

One does not acquire either friends or enemies without reason.

Aphorism 54:

It is the duty of the high-principled but weak ruler to make military
alliances with a stronger and powerful State.

Aphorism 55:

The high-principled ruler of a strong State must never make military
alliances with unprincipled States.

Aphorism 56:

There can be honourable military alliance between States having unequal
powers, just as there can be no strong union between hot iron and cold iron.

Aphorism 57:

The strong king should attack his enemy only when he finds the enemy weaker
than himself.

Aphorism 58:

The king must never fight another king of equal strength.

Aphorism 59:

A weak army moves away from the powerful enemy as foot soldiers move away
from those mounted upon elephants.

Aphorism 60:

The ruler should act upon the information given him by his secret spies
about every effort, initiative, political desire and treaties of his

Aphorism 61:

The State can keep up its unique, dear and particular characteristics only
when there is keen observation of the ways and actions of the neighbouring
States, without reference to the nature of the alliances involved with them,
whether friendly, or not.

Aphorism 62:

It is imperative for the ruler to stamp out the terrorist actions in his
State by enemy States, and to prevent the spies from friendly States to sow
discord and division among his people.

Aphorism 63:

A weak king should seek the protection of a powerful and principled monarch.

Aphorism 64:

It is perilous to make any treaty with a ruler who is weak because of his
lack of self-confidence and incompetence.

Aphorism 65:

Extreme caution must be taken while making treaties; or else the ruler may
get burnt if parities are not maintained.

Aphorism 66:

Rebellion against the State should not be done.

Aphorism 67:

The ruler must not wear such rich garments that excite the envy of the

Aphorism 68:

The people of the State must not aspire to the accoutrements of the
legitimate ruler of the State.

Aphorism 69:

The ruler should turn the envious and ambitious personalities, who aspire to
his role, against each other, using requisite cleverness.  Dissension is
more manageable when confined to small and mutually warring groups.

Aphorism 70:

It is lack of desire that leads to incomplete or unsuccessful completion of
tasks.  Keen interest, resolve, proper conception and self-confidence: all
result from desire.

Aphorism 71:

A ruler who is governed by sensual pleasures is destroyed, no matter how
powerful he may be.

Aphorism 72:

Those prey to gambling are unfit to execute the functions of the State.

Aphorism 73:

Addiction to hunting is destructive to morality and wealth.

Aphorism 74:

The wealth of the State increases when every person is given the right to
acquire the goods that sustain life.

Note: This is an extra sutra in certain texts.

Aphorism 75:

Those prey to drinking are unfit to be trusted with important work.

Aphorism 76:

Those prey to lust cannot execute any State-related task with full
dedication, as they will not find it possible to concentrate upon the
subtler aspects.

Aphorism 77:

Harsh, cruel and uncouth words, spoken in public, produce more pain than
fire.  They result from a low and wicked mind, and increase the rage in the
hearers, sowing the seeds of conflict.

Aphorism 78:

The giver of justice should not be harsh with punishments.  The nature of
punishments should always be seen as consistent with the welfare of the
State, and should have the support of the people of the State.

Aphorism 79a:

A miserly ruler, who simply sits upon his wealth and does not spend upon the
needs of the State, ceases to create scope for increased revenues to the
treasury, and so leads to the impoverishment of the State.

Aphorism 79b:

While wealth coming to the treasury through ugly external means appears
welcome, in reality such wealth is destructive to the wealth generated

Aphorism 80:

When the ruler is lax with administering just punishments, he invites his
enemies to become more powerful.

Aphorism 81:

The security of the State depends upon the laws relating to punishments
being correctly, impartially and efficiently administered.

Aphorism 82:

The capacity to inflict punishment is the ultimate resource of the State.

Aphorism 83:

Bad ministers are incapable of inflicting just punishments.  Thus they
corrupt the functioning of the State.

Aphorism 84:

The purpose of punishments (social disapproval, exile, fines or death) is to
deter potential wrongdoers from causing harm.

Aphorism 85:

The safety or the ruler, and his people, depend upon how correctly the
systems of punishments are administered.

Aphorism 86:

Upon the personal safety of the ruler depends the safety of the people.

Aphorism 87:

The growth or destruction of the individual depends upon the choices the
individual may make about his behaviour.

Aphorism 88:

Punishments should be given after careful consideration, and on a scientific

Aphorism 89:

The king must never be considered a weak, normal person, and neglected
accordingly.  He represents the full power and majesty of the State.

Aphorism 90:

As the smallest of sparks can cause a huge forest fire, so can kingliness,
even if present in minute measure, lead to enormous outcomes, when the will
of the people is aligned with that of their ruler.

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