Quotes by Chanakya

This collection of quotes by Chanakya, a 4th century BCE Indian philosopher and teacher, provides timeless wisdom on leadership and management.

Chanakya / Kautilya

Chanakya was an ancient Indian philosopher, teacher, economist, jurist and royal adviser. He is traditionally identified as Kauṭilya or Vishnugupta, who authored the Arthashastra.

The Arthashastra is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy written by Chanakya. It is written in Sanskrit and has over 15,000 verses. The treatise covers topics such as the foundation of a kingdom, acquisition of territory, war strategies, maintenance of law and order, administration of justice and taxation.

Although lost for many years, the Arthashastra was rediscovered in early 19th century. It was discovered in the form of fragmented manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts scattered across India. The earliest surviving manuscripts are believed to be from 1200 CE, though the original text is believed to have been composed around 300 BCE.

These Chanakya quotes and sayings are taken from the Arthashastra, and offer timeless wisdom to guide us through life:

Best Chanakya Quotes

A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first.

A man is born alone and dies alone, and he experiences the good and bad consequences of his karma alone, and he goes alone to hell or the Supreme abode.

Dharma is law in its widest sense—spiritual, moral, ethical and temporal. Every individual, whether the ruler or the ruled, is governed by his or her own dharma. To the extent that society respected dharma, society protected itself; to the extent society offended it, society undermined.

He who is overly attached to his family members experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy.

There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth.

Famous Quotes By Chanakya

Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.

Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions – Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.

It is better to die than to preserve this life by incurring disgrace. The loss of life causes but a moment’s grief, but disgrace brings grief every day of one’s life.

The happiness and peace attained by those satisfied by the nectar of spiritual tranquility is not attained by greedy persons restlessly moving here and there.

Quotes From Chanakya

Every neighbouring state is an enemy and the enemy’s enemy is a friend

As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family.

There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with it.

The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time and ability.

Till the enemy’s weakness is known , he should be kept on friendly terms

Well Known Quotes Chanakya

A good wife is one who serves her husband in the morning like a mother does, loves him in the day like a sister does and pleases him like a prostitute in the night.

Women have twice more hunger, four times more shame, six times more courage and eight times more erotic passion than men.

He who neither rouses fear by his anger, nor confers a favor when he is pleased can neither control nor protect.

Inferior people desire wealth. The mediocre class desires wealth as well as respect. But, great people desire only respect. Respect itself is considered as wealth by great people.

The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep.

Do not be too honest in your dealings, for you would see by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing.

Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years. For the next five years, scold them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown up children are your best friends.

Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person.

Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous.

Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a relative in difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.

Never make friends with people who are above or below you in status. Such friendships will never give you any happiness.

The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.

Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth.

The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction.

Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise counsel keep it secret, being determined to carry it into execution.

There are only three gems on earth: water, food and sweet speech. They are fools who dig out stones and call them gems.

The biggest : Never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.

He who is prepared for the future and he who deals cleverly with any situation that may arise are both happy; but the fatalistic man who wholly depends on luck is ruined.

Wealth, a friend, a wife, and a kingdom may be regained; but the body when lost may never be acquired again.

Perfection can be achieved only through devotion, for devotion is the basis of all success.

We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment.

Generosity, pleasing address, courage and propriety of conduct are not acquired, but are inbred qualities.

He whose son is obedient to him, whose wife’s conduct is in accordance with his wishes, and who is content with his riches, has his heaven here on earth.

Although tired, he continues to carry his burden; he is unmindful of cold and heat; and he is always contented; these three things should be learned from the donkey.

The life of an uneducated man is as useless as the tail of a dog which neither covers its rear end, nor protects it from the bites of insects.

He who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he may really be nearby.

Consider again and again the following: the right time, the right friends, the right place, the right means of income, the right ways of spending, and from whom you derive your power.

Sex in privacy; boldness; storing away useful items; watchfulness; and not easily trusting others; these five things are to be learned from a crow.

Contentment with little or nothing to eat although one may have a great appetite; to awaken instantly although one may be in a deep slumber; unflinching devotion to the master; and bravery; these six qualities should be learned from the dog.

A wise man should not reveal his loss of wealth, the vexation of his mind, the misconduct of his own wife, base words spoken by others, and disgrace that has befallen him.

The greatest power in the world is the youth and beauty of women.

The following five: life expectancy, type of work, wealth, education and time of death are determined while man is still in his mother’s womb.

The prostitute will leave a customer who has no money, the citizen a king who can not defend him, the birds a tree that has no fruit and the guests a house where the meals are over.

Do not stay for a single day in a place where these five do not exist: a rich man, a king, a Brahman who knows the Vedas, a river and a doctor.

More Quote Collections