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.
May the Great Goddess of Prosperity "Rajyashree" protect the functionaries
of the State by giving them the correct dispositions.
The basis of "sukha" or all true pleasantness is "dharma" or righteous
The basis of all "dharma" is "artha" or wealth.
The basis of all "artha" is "rajya" or the State.
The basis for the stability of the State lies in control over the "indriya"
or sense faculties providing pleasure.
The basis for control over the sensual faculties is in "vinay" or humility.
The basis for humility is devotion to those grown old through wisdom.
Through devotion to the wise, one attains proficiency with the maximum
It is imperative for all the functionaries of the State to perform their
duties with the maximum efficiency.
To perform State duties with the maximum efficiency, the functionaries of
the State must learn to control their sensual needs, and maximise their
Those who have vanquished their baser selves may become prosperous
naturally, can retain their prosperity, and be successful in their
The wealth and properties of the State naturally increases the level of
prosperity of the people.
Where the people and the functionaries of the State follow sound moral
principles, the State can function effectively even without a king.
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.
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
After filling himself with the right kingly qualities, the ruler of the
State must select as assistants those talented individuals who are equally
Without the intellectual assistance of his council of ministers it is not
possible for the ruler to take the right decisions regarding his duties.
Just as there cannot be a one-wheeled chariot, there cannot be a king
without a council of ministers.
The assistant who steadfastly adheres to the ruler, and is of equable
temperament both in times of prosperity and adversity, is best.
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
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.
A minister is to be appointed if after showing his supremacy in debate and
knowledge of laws, he also passes tests conducted secretly.
Tasks can be successfully executed only after thorough discussion and
A task can be completed with success if information relating to the
beneficial and non-beneficial consequences of the task is kept secret.
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.
Any relaxation in security measures will cause knowledge of secret matters
to pass into the hands of the enemy.
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.
Complete security for the ministers is necessary for the good of the State.
Since the minister gives dynamism to duty, the strength of the State lies in
the continued existence and good health of the ministers.
As the lamp shows the path, so does the minister give direction to those
afflicted by indecision.
For victory over foes, the ruler must know the full extents of their
weaknesses. Only capable ministers can provide him with such information.
In the council of ministers, no one should try to force his views by
drowning the views of others. A reasonable attitude must prevail.
Unanimity in the council of ministers leads to success in the realization of
The ideal ministers are those who have amassed personal wealth through
righteous conduct, have overcome selfish desires and have conscience.
If six ears listen to a secret executive decision, that becomes public
Those who take the misfortunes upon others as misfortunes upon themselves
are best suited to be friends.
By acquiring true friends, one gains strength.
The strong try to get advantages to which they have no right.
Giving even a little to the lazy does not protect material wealth.
Laziness deprives the State of strength, and labour increases the wealth of
Without continued increase of wealth, the demise of the State is inevitable.
If the ruler out of laziness lets his servants do his work as the ruler,
then disaster is certain.
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.
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.
The people of the State can have moral principles only when the workings of
the State are based upon moral principles.
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
Where the basic tenets for the functioning of the State are held sacred,
there is prosperity and happiness for the State.
Constant surveillance of the enemies is essential for the security of the
Friendship or enmity with neighbouring States is just the way the world
It is worthy for the king to follow the path of high principle.
The enemy can attack the State at any time.
Two warring States become friendly later.
One does not acquire either friends or enemies without reason.
It is the duty of the high-principled but weak ruler to make military
alliances with a stronger and powerful State.
The high-principled ruler of a strong State must never make military
alliances with unprincipled States.
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.
The strong king should attack his enemy only when he finds the enemy weaker
The king must never fight another king of equal strength.
A weak army moves away from the powerful enemy as foot soldiers move away
from those mounted upon elephants.
The ruler should act upon the information given him by his secret spies
about every effort, initiative, political desire and treaties of his
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.
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.
A weak king should seek the protection of a powerful and principled monarch.
It is perilous to make any treaty with a ruler who is weak because of his
lack of self-confidence and incompetence.
Extreme caution must be taken while making treaties; or else the ruler may
get burnt if parities are not maintained.
Rebellion against the State should not be done.
The ruler must not wear such rich garments that excite the envy of the
The people of the State must not aspire to the accoutrements of the
legitimate ruler of the State.
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.
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.
A ruler who is governed by sensual pleasures is destroyed, no matter how
powerful he may be.
Those prey to gambling are unfit to execute the functions of the State.
Addiction to hunting is destructive to morality and wealth.
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.
Those prey to drinking are unfit to be trusted with important work.
Those prey to lust cannot execute any State-related task with full
dedication, as they will not find it possible to concentrate upon the
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.
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.
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.
While wealth coming to the treasury through ugly external means appears
welcome, in reality such wealth is destructive to the wealth generated
When the ruler is lax with administering just punishments, he invites his
enemies to become more powerful.
The security of the State depends upon the laws relating to punishments
being correctly, impartially and efficiently administered.
The capacity to inflict punishment is the ultimate resource of the State.
Bad ministers are incapable of inflicting just punishments. Thus they
corrupt the functioning of the State.
The purpose of punishments (social disapproval, exile, fines or death) is to
deter potential wrongdoers from causing harm.
The safety or the ruler, and his people, depend upon how correctly the
systems of punishments are administered.
Upon the personal safety of the ruler depends the safety of the people.
The growth or destruction of the individual depends upon the choices the
individual may make about his behaviour.
Punishments should be given after careful consideration, and on a scientific
The king must never be considered a weak, normal person, and neglected
accordingly. He represents the full power and majesty of the State.
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.