I have heard and also read a little that in 500 B.C. an Indian genius Chankya, caused the fall of Magdha empire, and made a street guy The king named Chandragupta. He was an exceptional strategist and economist, politician, and Philosopher. I want to know his philosophical ideas and how he viewed the world. He wrote 'Arthashastra' (Economics) at that time when world was not much literate. Was he truly a genius? Do world need economists like him today, how that could change the world now.

  • 2
    I believe his name was "Chanakya". There is a lot of interesting info on wikipedia. It mentions his role in the fall of the "Nanda" empire and the establishment of the Maurya empire. Apparently Chandragupta was not a street guy, but the son of a king. Chandragupta was eventually given the title of King of Kings. Check-out wikipedia if you have not already done so. Interesting stuff.
    – nwr
    Oct 20, 2014 at 4:32
  • 1
    There's some textual evidence that he also met Alexander the Great. Oct 20, 2014 at 7:29
  • 2
    Haven't checked out the info by googling, but this seems like a poorly suited question since it's asking to judge whether someone from the 5th century BCE is a genius and to comment on whether we need economists like him today. The latter seems deeply opinion based and the former impossibly speculative.
    – virmaior
    Oct 20, 2014 at 10:38
  • Probably would be a useful question if it was rephrased as just "What are his key philosophical ideas?" Oct 20, 2014 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


I am from India, and I have heard many stories and also there is a TV serial based on him, I saw it partially when I was a kid. His original name was Vishnugupta, He was famous with name Chanakaya which means Son of Chanak, and was called Kautilya because he was from 'Kutil' class present at that time. A little his known of his childhood but I read that he was born as a Kerala (a state) Brahmin ( Top class in Indian Racism system), Impoverished , lean, and unprepossesing. Another story says He was born as North Indian Brahmin and studied at university of Taxila and came to Patliputra (the magdha dynasty) to earn laurels in Philosophic disputation. He was known for his proficiency in Three 'Vedas', in 'mantras' and skill in strategem, dexetrity in intrigue and policy, but also known for his physical ugliness, disgusting complexion and deformity of legs and other limbs. According to buddhist, his parents noticed that he was born with full set of teeths and which was a mark of future king, but his parents did not want that, so they got them removed thus making him more uglier, but later He did become 'King-Maker' instead.

He went to the kingdom of king 'Dhana-nanda' to display his knowledge but got insulted by arrrogant king as king said he leave him feast after he had started eating, then Chanakya vowed not to tie his forlock knot again untill he had destroyed the Nanda Dynasty root and branch. He wandered disguised, searching for a suitable person for the place of king when he got his eyes upon the boy Chandragupta, a boy of royal line, but fostered by cowherd, playing with his companions on village grounds. The boy was acting the role of king , dispensing justice and giving orders to the 'ministers'. On ascetic beeseching him for alms, the 'king' grandly gave away a herd of someone else's cows! The chanakya was so impressed with the boy, he he bought the boy then and there for 1000 panas, took him to taxila and gave him the education of future king.

Later on, together they attacked Nanda dynasty, and a legend has that when they were getting unsuccesful, the right tactics to destroy powerful kingdom came to them when they saw a woman whom they had taken shelter to scolding her son "You are just like chandragupta" because he had burnt his fingers starting to eat from the centre of a hot dish. They changed their tactics and began the conquer from the frontiers.

That is what I have read on his history and remember from serial. Yes, He did meet Alexander too at that time, I do not remember what exactly happened, but Ii do remember towards the end of TV serial alexander was there, I am not sure of conclusions but yeah , a scene I remember that when alexander was leaving from India after winnig so much of world, he saw a sadhu dancing in a forest, and he asked why are you dancing on one feet (something like that) and sadhu's reply was, no matter what or how much land you own today, when you will die, you are only going to take 6 feet of land, thats all.

Now http://m.bookzz.org/book/1220837/ea6634 is a link to a comprised version which only states the statements, his policies and laws, from original version, If any one is interested. I am more Interested in what was his philosophy, economic policies, how effective were thy, a guy with economic and political knowledge can answer it better, all I know is history and legends. Thanks!

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .