Once a youth from a high-class family was walking on a lonely road, engrossed in his thoughts at being humiliated by the king. He wanted to take his revenge. He saw an unusual sight?an angry old man pouring some juice on thorny bushes. The youth asked the old man, ?What are you doing??
The old man replied, ?The thorns of this bush have pierced holes in my feet. I will destroy it now. The sweet juice that I am pouring will attract lakhs of ants which will destroy the plant'sroots.?
The youth was fascinated at the ingenuity and firm resolve of the man. The youth'sname was Chandragupta and the old man was Chanakya. On the youth'srequest, Chanakya agreed to become Chandragupta'sadvisor because he too had a grievance against the king.
With Chanakya'sadvice, Chandragupta in no time dethroned the king to occupy his throne. It was the same Chandragupta who established the Maurya dynasty.
Chanakya was also known as Kautilya and he was probably a descendant of the old sage Kautilya. Chanakya wrote the book Arthashastra that reveals that India'ssupremacy in knowledge was confined not merely to spirituality, philosophy or tales and mythologies. This old treatise is a book on politics, law, sociology and economics. Before writing on these subjects, Chanakya had done deep study of all the principles laid down by writers and intellectuals who preceded him. He was aware that princes and officers would not read all these books. That is why Chanakya presented the views of experts and his own views on them in his book.
Some critics describe Chanakya as cruel and crooked, because to defeat his enemies, he was prepared to adopt all means, right or wrong, when needed. In any case, it was common to find kings resorting to falsehood and treachery to achieve their objectives.
Chanakya corroborated innumerable principles of the old to run the government and rejected those that were not feasible. For instance, in those days a prince could kill his father to occupy his father'sthrone. To prevent this, advisors to the king could go to the extent of suggesting that the prince should be held captive in a fort, far from the capital and kept suppressed by the threat of death. Chanakya disapproved of this philosophy. He suggested that the prince should be allowed to grow under the guidance of good teachers, because good education alone can show the right path to princes and make them desist from wrong acts and actions. Thus Arthashastra is a book on statecraft and economics.