The Arthashastra is the title of a handbook for running an empire, written by Kautilya (also known as Chanakya, c. BCE) an Indian. Arthashastra, the treatise on Economic Administration was written by Kautilya in the 4th century before Christ. It consists of 15 chapter, Shlokas and INTRODUCTION PURUSHARTAS MEANING OF ARTHA MEANING OF ARTHASHASTRA KAUTILYA ROLE OF ARTHASHASTRA IN.

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The Arthashastra Summary — The western world generally assumes that ancient Indian literature lacked in strategic thinking. However, if we carefully examine some of the literature after the second urbanisation emergence of the janapads of the subcontinent we find a lot of material which tells us that ancient Indian writers were not devoid of the capability of writing treatises on statecraft and military strategy. During his period society underwent a lot of changes with the rise and fall of empires, and invasions of the Yavans Greeks under Alexander the Great.

The Kautilyan study on politics and war has become famous not only for the factual point of view but also because one can deduce that certain principles of war mentioned in it can be applied to this day.

General: Kautilya’s Arthashastra

This article is the first in a series of articles which will deal the Arthashastra and what it has to say about statecraft and military strategy although the Arthashastra contains information on the administration of the state and economy. Shama Shastri aroused much interest and a fierce debate about its composition ensued among scholars.

A critical examination of the text convinced some of the scholars that the Arthashastra was not the work of one individual. However, there are many scholars who believe that Kautilya should be credited with the creation of this text as even though it contains some other schools of thought, the main body of the text was composed by Kautilya and the other schools were seen as an addition to the original text in later periods.


As written above some of the scholars believe the text was arthashsatra written in 3 rd century BCE but later. It is believed that Kautilya also known as Chanakya or Vishnugupta was the author of the text. He became the Chief Minister of Chandragupta Maurya, the first Mauryan emperor after training him and helping him overthrow the Nanda Empire.

According to Ganpat Shastri the author was Kautilya because he was born in Kautila gotra a clan among the Brahmans of Indiahe was called Chanakya because he was born at Chanak and was named Vishnugupta by his parents. Two verses from the Arthashastra support the traditional view are verse 1.

However, over the years this has been called into question on several grounds. The verses cited have been dismissed as later additions.

The objection that the Arthashastra was the work of a scholar and not someone involved in politics is also not very convincing as it contains very pragmatic assertions and statements. On the basis of such contradictions, it has been argued that the two works cannot be of the same time as we know for a certainty that Megasthenes was a contemporary of Chandragupta and therefore the Arthashastra may be of some other time, probably later.


Second, the Indica has been paraphrased through second-hand accounts of later authors and the original text has not survived. The third reason is the nature of the text Arthashastra which we will discuss in the next paragraph. The Arthashastra does not contain any reference to the Mauryan Empire because it is not a descriptive account of the Mauryan empire it is actually a theoretical treatise which tells how a state should function, it discusses a potential, not an actual state.


All the discussion is from the point of view of the Vijigishu the would-be conqueror or arthashastrz one who has imperial ambitions could follow this text to excel in his conquest. Therefore there is a good reason to support a traditional view of the date and authorship of the Arthashastra because on the basis arrhashastra the style of writing it seems earlier than certain texts like the Kama Sutra and Yajnavalkya Smriti. It mentions the Ajivikas as an important sect a feature of Mauryan timessangha polities and the administrative structure reflected in the text does not match any other historical period.

This is the first article in my series on the Arthashastra. The subsequent articles will discuss what has been kxutilya in the Arthashastra on statecraft and military administration it may contain some notions for society too as no state can survive without its people so if you like my article stay tuned for more.

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