Quotes from Chanakya Neeti

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Chanakya (or Kautalya) lived 2400 years ago. He was an economist, a philosopher, and teacher-cum-chief-advisor to Emperor Chandragupta Maurya.

He is credited with orchestrating the fall of the Nanda Empire, and establishing the Maurya Empire that ruled over almost the entirety of ancient India. He is known for his intelligence and ruthlessness, and he is credited for his two (known) works Chanakya Neeti (IndiaUKUSA) and Arthasashtra (IndiaUKUSA).

They’re both great books, and in this article I’m going to share some of my favorite quotes from Chanakya Neeti:

(Just a small note before we start: Chanakya Neeti was written almost 2400 years ago in Ancient India. Some of the messages may seem weird to you if you’re unfamiliar with the history and culture of India.

Also, most of these are thumb rules. Outliers exist, both as people and as situations; you have to be smart enough to know when a teaching must be applied and when it shouldn’t be.)

Like a calf finds it’s mother cow even among thousands of other cows, the consequences of ones actions seeks it’s doers unerringly.
  • You cannot escape the consequences of your actions.
  • Your good, bad, and grey deeds will all catch up to you.
  • One must act with thoughtful deliberation, especially when one’s actions will have far-reaching consequences.
Even if the destination or the desired object be far away or difficult to achieve, one can reach it if they are determined enough.
  • If you have the will, you will find a way.
  • Only those who take a shot have a chance of hitting the bullseye.
  • Hard men last longer than hard times.
The root of the tree must be protected at all costs as the whole tree derives it’s strength from it. If the root is lost, then neither the leaves would remain, and nor would the branches.
  • Identify what matters the most – not emotionally, but logically, from a ground-up perspective.
  • This could be your main cash flows, the principal investment of your portfolio, etc.
  • This is also your health. A man who does not have his health has nothing.
Just how the purity of gold is tested by rubbing, cutting, heating, and beating, so also a man is tested by his sacrifice, moral conduct, innate qualities and his actions.
  • The real test of a man is not his appearance, but in his behavior.
  • Although appearances are important, in the long run, you can tell what’s actually under the hood by observing their behavior – do they keep their word even if they are at a disadvantage? How do they act when they think no one is watching?
He who’s mind is not steady does not find happiness either amongst the people or in the solitude of the forest. When alone, he longs for company, and when in company, he longs for solitude.
One must save money for bad days. No matter how rich and established you are, financial distress can find you just by pure chance. Riches are fickle by nature and large swaths of wealth can vanish in an instant.
Meet obligation with obligation, violence with vengeance, and wicked with wickedness. There is no harm in acting foul with foul people.
  • There is no value in being nice, especially when you’re not dealing with nice people.
  • Always repay your debts. The Lannisters always pay their debts.
  • There’s nothing wrong with cheating a cheater.
  • For example, there’s no immorality when lying to beat a liar.
One must keep asking themselves the following questions: How are the times? Who is a friend? What type of land is this? What is the income and the expenditure? What am I and how much power do I really posses?
  • Most failures are caused by knowing only one’s strengths and not knowing about one’s weaknesses
  • When entering any form of venture, you have to assess your position minutely
  • Know thyself, know thy enemy, a thousand battles, a thousand victories.
  • Identify traitors before you hunt for enemies.
One should not grieve for the past nor should one worry about the future. A wise man lives only in the present and charts the course of his life accordingly.
  • The past is sunk cost.
  • The future is just a tool used to make good decisions in the present.
  • Worry only makes things worse.
  • Don’t cry over spilt milk.
Staying close to kings, fire, teachers, and women can yield disastrous results, but staying far away from them do not produce any good results either.
  • Being close to the kind can produce some occasional benefits, but it also exposes oneself to royal wrath, the consequences of which may be disastrous.
  • However, having no relations with the king means you have no access to their power.
The leading causes of death are a wicked wife, a roguish friend, an imprudent servant, and living in a house infested with snakes. There is no doubt about it.
  • Picking the right man/woman is going to be the most important decision you’ll ever make.
  • Whether you can pick the right employees can make or break your organization.
  • Do you trust your friends?
No one has ever heard or seen a golden deer, nor does it even exist, but behold the craving of Lord Rama. The onset of evil days begins when one’s wisdom fails.
  • In the ancient India epic Ramayana, Lord Ram leaves his wife Sita unattended to go hunt for a golden deer, which turns out to be a trap.
  • Bad times start when common sense fails.
A mere trickle of tiny drops of water can fill a pitcher. The same way, we must keep on collecting knowledge, Dharma, and money.
Shun a friend speaking fair on the face, but acting foul in your absence, like a venom filled pitcher with milk on the top.
  • Remember the one where the roguish friend was a leading cause of death?
Prudence lies in not disclosing the following secrets to anyone: loss of one’s wealth, personal tragedies, suspicion of a wife’s conduct, and past public shame or disgrace.
  • Sharing your mistakes only makes you weaker as it exposes your weaknesses and further, it provides no relief or comfort whatsoever.

That’s all for today.

Until next time.

Your man,

Harsh Strongman

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