Chanakya

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A reckless king will easily fall into the hands of his enemies. Hence the king shall ever be wakeful.

Chanakya (c.350 - c.275 BC) Indian political strategist and writer, also known as Kautilya or Vishnugupta.

Sourced

Arthashastra

  • Whoever imposes severe punishment becomes repulsive to the people; while he who awards mild punishment becomes contemptible. But whoever imposes punishment as deserved becomes respectable. For punishment when awarded with due consideration, makes the people devoted to righteousness and to works productive of wealth and enjoyment; while punishment, when ill-awarded under the influence of greed and anger or owing to ignorance, excites fury even among hermits and ascetics dwelling in forests, not to speak of householders.
    • Book I : "Concerning Discipline" Chapter 4 "Determination of the Place of Varta and of Dandaniti"
  • If a king is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is reckless, they will not only be reckless likewise, but also eat into his works. Besides, a reckless king will easily fall into the hands of his enemies. Hence the king shall ever be wakeful.
    • Book I : "Concerning Discipline" Chapter 19 "The Duties of a King"
  • All urgent calls he shall hear at once, but never put off; for when postponed, they will prove too hard or impossible to accomplish.
    • Book I : "Concerning Discipline" Chapter 19

Attributed

  • A debt should be paid off till the last penny, and an enemy should be destroyed till last trace.
  • A human being should strive for four things in life — dharma (duty), artha (money), kama (pleasure) and moksha (salvation). A person who hasn't striven for even one of these things has wasted life.
  • A man is great by deeds, not by birth.
  • A person should not be too honest. Just as straight trees are chopped-down first, honest people are taken advantage of first.
  • A rich man has many friends.
  • A woman is four times as shy, six times as brave and eight times as lusty as a man.
  • An egoist can be won over by being respected, a crazy person can be won over by allowing him to behave in an insane manner and a wise person can be won over by truth.
  • As centesimal droppings will fill a pot so also are knowledge, virtue and wealth gradually obtained.
  • As soon as the fear approaches near, attack it and destroy it.
  • Avoid him who talks sweetly before you but tries to ruin you behind your back, for he is like a pitcher of poison with milk on top.
  • Before you start any 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.
  • Books are as useless to a stupid person as a mirror is useless to a blind person.
  • Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education surpasses the beauty and the youth.
  • Even if a snake is not venomous, it should pretend to be.
  • God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your god. The soul is your temple.
  • He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious, whose vision impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined.
  • Don't hesitate to learn something even from the most lowly of creatures.
  • In a state where the ruler lives like a common man, the citizens live like kings. And in the state where the ruler lives like a king, the citizens live like beggars.
  • Jealousy is another name for failure.
  • Never go on a long journey alone.
  • Never make friends with people who are above or below you in status. Such friendships will never give you any happiness.
    • Variant version: Friendship should be among equals.
  • Once you start working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest.
  • One who is in search of knowledge should give up the search of pleasure and the one who is in search of pleasure should give up the search of knowledge.
  • The biggest guru-mantra is: Never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.
  • The four greatest enemies of a man are — the father who has taken a loan, the characterless mother, the beautiful but promiscuous wife and the stupid child.
  • The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.
  • The world's biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman.
  • There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth.
  • Whores don't live in company of poor men, birds don't build nests on a tree that doesn't bear fruits and citizens never support a weak administration.
  • Wise men should never go into a country where there are no means of earning one's livelihood, where the people have no dread of anybody, have no sense of shame, no intelligence, or a charitable disposition.

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