General Observations


                 4. General Observations


Moorkhashishyopadeshen dushtastreebharanen Cha.

Dukhitaih Samprayogen Panditoappyavaseedati.

   Even the wise suffer grief by preaching a dunce pupil, supporting a vile woman and associating themselves with the melancholic persons: [Instructing a dunce is a futile effort, for he has no capacity to assimilate whatever he is taught. Supporting a vile woman means creating a danger for the entire society: Association with the melancholic people is infectious as it would cause sadness in the person who even tries to console them. Of course, one may sympathise with them but association with them is imprudent.]


Dushtaa Bhaarya Shatham Mitram Bhrittyshchottaradaayakah.

Sasarpe Grihe Vaaso Mrittyureva Na Sanshayah.

   Wicked wife, roguish friend, impudent servant and stay in a sanke infested house cause death. There is no doubt about it. [Since all the condidtion are self evident, they do not need seperate explanations.]


Na nirmitaa Ken Na drishtpoorvaa Na Shrooyate Hemamayi Kurangee.

Tathaapi Trishnaa Raghunandanassya Vinaashakaale Vipreetabuddhih.

   No one did ever see or hear about any golden doe nor it was ever created, still behold the craving of Raghunandan! Indeed one’s wisdom fails at the onset of the evil days. [Chanakya expresses wonder that how Lord Ram could lie lured by that golden doe – for which Sita forced him to go and get it for herself, when no such doe was ever created, seen or heard about by anyone. Regrettably, he says that indeed the onset of evil days is heralded by the failure of one’s common sense or wisdom. This last phrase '?' is one of the most quoted expressions even in the modren times.]


Bandhanaani Khalu Santi Bahooni Premarajjukritabandhanmannyat.

Daarubhedanipunoapi Shandanghrirniskriyo Bhvati Pankaj Koshe.

   There are many a bondage but that of love is entirely different. The black bee which penetrates through even wood gets inertly enclosed in the fold of the lotus flower. [This is again a very poetic observation of supreme order. Chanakya says that love mellows down the beloved as the black-bee, capable of penetrating through as hard the material as wood, lovingly allows itself to be enclosed in the soft fold of the lotus. Indeed the bond of love it unique!]


Svahastagranthitaa Maala Svahastaagtirishtachandanam.

Svahastalikhitastottram Shakrassyaapi Shriyam Haret.

   The self-kneaded garland (of flowers), the self rubbed sandalwood (paste) and the self-created stotra denude even the chief of the god Indra of the graceful charm. [One should never wear a garland made by oneself and should never apply the sandal paste rubbed by oneself as doing so takes away the charm. Similarly, one should never sing the self¬-created hymn. This observation stresses the obvious. In other words, it expresses the same feeling that ‘self-praise is no recommendation’.]


Grihaasaktassya No Viddyaa Na dayaa Maansabhojinah.

Dravya Lubdhassya Sattyam Na Strainassya Pavitrataa.

   One who is attached to home does not get knowledge (education), meat-eaters are not merciful; greedy are not veridical and effeminates are not pure. [Those who do not wish to get out of their homes cannot hope to be wise because they restrict their life to the confines of home. It is believed that knowledge is exposure to life. If one doesn’t expose oneself, how he is likely to become wise?

   The variety of experience adds to one’s knowledge. Obviously, a homing pigeon-type of man cannot be learned and knowledgeable.

   It is generally believed that those who eat meat have a killer’s urge which dries their sense of mercy. Similarly, a greedy man cannot view anything with impartiality. Naturally, he would not be truthful.

   An effeminate person lacks firmness and will. Such boneless persons are ready for any compromise. And a compromising person can accept compromise at any level, whether physical or mental. Purity, whether mental or physical is maintained by a firm adherence of certain principles. Here an effeminate man doesn’t literally mean a man behaving as a woman but someone with a very weak will.]


Koarthannpraappya Na Garvito Vishyinah Kasyaapadoa stangataah

Streebhih Kasya Na Khanditam Bhuvih Manah Konaam Raagyapriyah.

Kah Kaalasya Na Gocharattvamgamat Koarthee Gato Gauravam

Ko Vaa durjan durguneshu Patitah Kshemen Yaatah Pathi.

   Who doesn’t grow arrogant by coming in riches? What could indulge in the sensual pleasures end one’s grief? Whose heart has not been broken by women? Who could win the king’s favour for ever? Who didn’t bear the evil glance of time? Which beggar could ever command regard? Who is that person who could return safely after being trapped in the wickedness of the vile? [These observations in the form of query stress the opposite like “who doesn’t grow arrogant. . .” means riches make the receiver go arrogant certainly. Chanakya shared the inbuilt prejudice against women commonly prevalent in the ancient times, and hence the observation whose heart has not been broken by women. The royal favours are proverbially fickle, no king could be favourable to anyone for long. The rest of the observations are self evident.]


Nimantranottsava vippraa Gaavo Nav Trinottsavaah.

Pattyuttsaahayutaa Bharyaa Aham Krishna Ranottsavah.

Pattyuttsaahayutaa Bharyaa Aham Krishna Ranottsavah.

   Invitation (for a feast) heralds the onset of a festival for a brahman; sprouting of the fresh grass for a cow; arrival of the husband (from the foreign strand) for the wife, and O Krishna! My festival is war. [That is of the brave, the war heralds the onset of a festival.]


Bahoonaam Chaiv Sattvaanaam Samavaayo Ripuujayah.

Varshaandhaaraadharo Meghastrinairapi Nivaaryate.

   Many tiny beings, when combined, vanquish even a big enemy. The collective strength of the infinitiesimal straws prevent even the fierce rain-water from passing through them. [Chanakya says that unity given us a big strength and helps us defeat our even bigger adversaries. A thatched hut is made of tiny straw bits. But when these straws are properly united, they prevent even the fieriest rain water from passing through them.]


Jalvindunipaaten Kramashah Pooryate Ghatah.

Sahetu Sarvaviddyaanaam Dhardasya Cha Dhanasya Cha.

   A mere trickle of the tiny drops of water can-fill the pitcher. The same way we must keep on collecting knowledge, Dharma and money. [We should not neglect even the tiniest fraction of useful knowledge whose treasure become great when collected even in bits. The same way we must go on accruing the merit by upholding our religious or moral tenets and by being fair to all. This is how we must go on collecting the wealth and riches. It is these tiny trickle which eventually become the massive reservoirs.]


Dhaneshu Jeevitavyeshu Streeshu Chahaarakarmeshu.

Atriptaa Praaninah Sarve Yaataa Yaasyanti Yaanti Cha.

   All beings have left, are leaving and shall leave this world totally dissatisfied with whatever they have received, are receiving and shall receive in the form of wealth, life, woman and food. [Chanakya says that sensual cravings knows no satisfaction for they tend to grow on what they are fed. With the result that no one could ever be satisfied with whatever wealth one may have earned, the span of life one may have lived, the woman (or women) and food one may have enjoyed.]


Daatritvam Priyavaktrittvam Dheerattvamuchitagyateaa.

Abhyaasen Na Labhyante Chattvaarah Sahajaa Gunaa.

   Charitable disposition, sweet tongue, patience and proper wisdom (according to the, demands of the occasion) are the inborn properties of a person which cannot be cultivated by practice. [Charity, patience, world wiseness are the natural qualities, they can’t be inculcated by any amount of practice.]


Dhanikah Shrotriyo Raajaa Nadee Vaiddyastu Panchamah.

Pancha Yatra Na Viddyante Tatra Divase Vaset.

   One shouldn’t stay at a place where there be no seth (rich man to dole out money if the need be), a scholar well versed in the Vedas (to clear any confusion regarding what one should do and what one shouldn’t), a King (or some one in authority to enforce law and order), a Vaidya (or physician to help one in case of any ailment) and a river (to meet one’s need for water) even for a day.


Lokayaatraa Bhayam Lajjaa Dakshinnyam Tyaagasheelataa.

Panch Yatra Na Vidyante Kuryattatra Sangtim.

   Where there be no possibility of earning one’s livelihood; where people be devoid of fear, shame, charity and magnanimity–one should not have any attachment for such five places [i.e. one should not think of dwelling at such places. The fear here referred to is for the fear of the social norms or law in whose absence people invariably grow anarchic and delinquent. The other points are self evident.]


Yassmin Deshe Na Sammano Na Vrittirna Cha Baandhavah.

Na Ya Viddyaagamoappyasti Vaasastatra Na Kaaryet.

   One shouldn’t at a place where one may not receive any respect (of the people); Where there may not be any possibility of earning one’s livelihood; where one may not have any close relation living already there and where there may not be any chance of enhancing one’s knowledge (or getting good education.)


Yo Dhruvaani Parityajjya Hyadhruvam Parisevate.

Dhruvaani Tassya Mashyanti Chaadhruvam Nashtamev Hi.

   He who forgoes the certain for the uncertain has his certain also destroyed.The uncertain even otherwise would be destroyed on its own. [The aphorism conveys, the same meaning as conveyed by the famous English proverb: ‘One in hand is better than two in the bush’. ]


Parokshe Kaaryahantaaram Prattyakshe Priyavaadinam.

Varjayettadrisham Mittram Vishkumbham Payomukham.

   Shun a friend speaking fair on the face but acting foul in the absence like the pitcher filled with venom but having milk at the opening. [It means shun contact with an insincere friend who does good only to hoodwink you, for such a friend is no friend at all.]


Nadeenaam Shastrapaaneenaam Nakheenaam Shringinaam Tathaa.

Vishwaaso Naiv Kartavyah Streeshu Rajuleshu Cha.

   Rivers, weapon-weilders (having weapon in their hands), animals (beasts) with horn and paws, women and the members of the royal family should never be taken for granted. [One should never a ttempt to cross the river without assessing its depth and width, its current strength, etc. Similarly, those having weapon in their hand should never be taken for granted, for even the slightest suggestion of the provocation is enough to make them use their weapon. He has no preparation to make, the weapon is already in his hand. The same is true with the animals with horn and paws-a little carelessness can make them damage you. Lastly, women and the royal personages are fickle by their nature; hence one can’t be sure about their behaviour. Those who take these for granted suffer the adverse consequences.]


Na Vishuaset Kumitre Cha Mitre Chaapina Vishvaset.

Kadaachittkupitam Mitram Sarva Gurhyaim Prakshyet.

   Never trust even your good friend, let alone the vile one, in anger your friend can expose your secrets out of vengence. [Chanakya doesn’t advise fully trusting even your best friend. There are certain secrets in one’s life which should never be discussed with anyone, even with your best friend who might embarrass you by exposing them in a fit of rage.]


Arthanaash Manastaapapapam Grihnyaashcharitaani Cha.

Neechamvaakyam Chaapamaanam Matimaann Prakaashyet.

   Prudence lies in not disclosing to anyone the following secret: loss of one’s wealth; some personal tragedy; suspicion on wife’s conduct; mean outpourings of a vile person and the personal ignominy. [This observation is actually the continuation of the earlier one. In this, Chanakya spells out the secrets that shouldn’t be disclosed to anyone, for their disclosure would adds to one’s distress or discomfiture without providing any relief whatsoever.]


Manasaa Chintitam Kaaryam Vachsaa Na Prakaashyet.

Mantren Rakshnyed goodham kaaryam Chaapi Niyojayet.

   One should never leak out one’s well-thought out intentions, determinations and they should be jealously guarded like some secret Mantra. The implementation of them should also be achieved without any fanfare and in total secrecy (to ensure their successful accomplishment.) [Immature exposure of one’s intention often brings failure in its trail. If one has deliberated well on doing some particular job, it is only the total secrecy which ensures one’s applying one’s full potential in implementing them successfully.]


Laalanaad Bahavo Doshaastaadanaad Bahavo Gunaah.

Tasmaatputtram Cha Shishyam Cha Tadayenn Tu Laalyet.

   Excessive affection breeds flaws and admonition good qualities. Hence one’s son and disciple need more of admonition and less of affection. [This stage obviously comes when the son or the disciple is a little grown up, i.e. when they are prone to a variety of distraction and deviation from their aim out of the curiousity unchecked by discertion. This stage comes after the child is out of infancy and about to enter the stage of adolescence: Constant admonition would make him keep his energies totally applies to his marked pursuit.]


Paadshesham Peetashesham Saandhyashesham Tathaiv Cha.

Shvanamootrasamam Toyam Peettvaa Chandraayanam Charet.

   The leftover water after washing one’s feet, drinking to one’s need and after completing the Sandhya Worship (worship conducted in the morning and evening, during the transitional phase of night to day and vice versa) should never be consumed as if is as abhorsome as the urine of dog. If one drinks it, one must perform the fast of Chandrayan. [The crux of the aphorism is that water one used should never be used purely from the hygienic point of view. In a hot and humid climate, even water gets polluted when used. Moreover, the aphorism is also guided by the abundance of water. This could not have been an observation of an Arabic thinker where in his country where water is the most precious commodity, but only of an ancient North Indian whose land had abundant water supply. Chandrayan Vrat means keeping fast the whole day and having food and water only after seeing the moon.]


Vipprayorvippravhaneshcha Dampattyoh Swamibhrittyoyh.

Antaren Nagantawyam Halasya Vrishabhasya Cha.

   Never pass through between the two brahmans; between fire and a brahman; between the master and the servant; between the husband and wife; and between the plough and the bullocks.


Paadaabhyam Na Sprashandagnint Gurum Brahmanmeva Cha.

Naiv Gaavam Kumarim Cha Na Vriddham Na Shishum Tathaa.

   Never touch the fire, the guru, the brahman, the cow, the maiden girl, the old people and the kids. It is ill-mannerly to do so.


Uttpannapashchaataapassya Buddhirbhavati Yaadrishee.

Taadrishee Yadi Poorva Syaatkasya Syaanna Mahodayah.

   One repents after committing a mistake but if one gets such a wisdom before committing a mistake one’s progress cannot be stalled. [A wrong act entails repentance. One gets remorseful after knowing the fault he has committed. But if he could be wise enough before committing the act, there is no going back for him; for if one acts after carefully brooding on his course of action, there is no set back and hence the progress is unchecked and speedy.]


Tyajedekam Kulasyaarthe Graamassyaarthe Kulam Tyajet.

Graamam Janapadasyaarthe Aattmaarthe Prithiveem Tyajat.

   Sacrifice a person for the sake of the family, a family for a village, a village for the state but for the self the entire world. [This oft-quoted shloka shows the degree of importance of an entity: of a person vis-a-vis a family; of a family vis-a-vis a village; of a village vis-a-vis a state; of the world vis-a-vis the self. In short the self protection is deemed paramount but here the self doesn’t mean only the selfish interest, it means the dictates of the inner conscience which ought to be held supreme.]


Aapadartham Dhanam Rakshed Daaraan RAkshed Dhanairapi.

Aatmaanam Satatam Rakshd Daarairapi Dhanairapi.

   Protect riches (money) at the time of distress but protect wife (spouse) more than money and oneself more the riches and wife. [This Sholka again shows the degree of importance at the time of distress: self, spouse and riches in that order. Self is given the maximum importance because riches, wife and other ‘musts’ are useful only when one survives. Hence the importance.]


Jaaneeyaatpreshanebhrittyaan Baandhavaanvyasanaagame.

Mitram Chaapiattikaaleshu Bhaaryaam Cha Vibhavakshaye.

   The servant is tested when he is sent on an important mission, the Kith and Kin are tested in one’s own distress, a friend at the hour of need or emergency and the wife when one loses one’s wealth.


Yasyabuddhirbalam Tassya Nirbuddhestu Kuto Balam.

Vane Singho Mamadonmattah Shashaken Nipaatitah.

   He who has intelligence has power, for how can a fool has any power? A tiny rabbit is capable of slaying even a charged lion in the Jungle. [Intelligence scores over mere physical power. It is because of this mental shrewdness that a tiny rabbit is able to slay even a charged lion. This observation is derived from the old tale in which a tiny rabbit fools a mighty lion and manages to let the lion fall in a blind well and die. This tale is so symbolical that lion’s different forms is found in a score of ancient books of many countries.]


Hastee sthooltanuh sa Chankushuashah Kim Hastimaatronkushah

Deepe Prajjvalite Pranashyati Tamah Kim Deepamaatram Tamah.

Vajjrenabhihataah Patanti Giryaah Kim Vijjramaatram Nagaah

Tejo Yasya Viraajate Sa Balvaan Sthooleshu Kah Prattyayah.

   Despite being of a massive body an elephant is controlled by the goad. Does that make the goad as powerful as the elephant? A lamp when kindled removes darkness-does that makes the lamp equal to the darkness? The blows of a thunderbolt breaks a mountain into pieces.¬ Does that make the thunderbolt as big as a mountain? No. The brilliance has the power, physical massiveness does not matter. [Chanakya stresses the need of sharpness of the brain and intelligence against physical power. He says the brain always scores over brawn, which is a universal fact. Quoting various examples from nature, he proves his point quite poetically.]


Balam Viddyaacha Vipraanaam Raagyaah Sainnyam Balam Tathaa.

Balam Vittam Cha Vaishyaanaam Shoodraanaam Cha Kanishthataa.

   The power of the brahmans is knowledge, of the king his army, of the trader-class their wealth and of the menial class their service ability. [Chanakya here stresses the truism first ennunciated by Manu.]


Baahveeryam Balam Raajaa Brahamno Bramhvid Balee.

Roopyauvanmaadhuryam Streenaam Balmuttamam.

   The mighty-armed king is powerful; the power of the brahmans lies in their capacity to realise the Brahm {the ultimate}, beauty, youth and comeliness constitute the power of the ladies. [That king is deemed to be really powerful of the ladies. Who possesses the fount of his strength in his own self i.e., he doesn’t depend upon any other authority to weiled his power. The power, brilliance or ability of a brahman is judged by his capacity to realise the ultimate god, which means he must lead an austeric self-controlled and totally devoted life in the worship of God. The fount of a woman’s strength lies naturally in her beauteous form, youthful appearance and sweet, comely mannerism.]


Naattyantam Saralen Bhaavyam Gattvaa Pashya Vanasthaleem.

Chiddyante Saralaastatra Kubjaastishthanti Paadapaah.

   One should never be too simple. If one goes to the jungle one beholds that the simple, straight trees have been cut but those which grow in a haphazard manner are spared. [A man should be simple hearted, straight mannered but not a simpletion. Or he is subject to the constant exposure of being granted and they suffer in the conequece out of their simplicity. Giving the example of trees, he says that mostly one is exploited for one’s generosity. If you are rude in behaviour and harsh in tongue; you, might be spreaded like those trees which grow in a wild manner.]


Atiroopen Vai Seetaa Chaatigarvena Raavanah.

Atiddanaad Balirbaddho Hayati Sarvatra Varjayet.

   The excessive beauty caused Sita to be eloped, the excessive arrogance caused Ravan’s slaughter and excessive charitable disposition cause the king Bali to be duped. Hence excess is bad everywhere. [First two -references are quite well known. The king Bali was the famous demon king who was deceived by Lord Vishnu himself in the Vaman form. Chanakya says even the good qualities becomes bad in excess, let alone the bad ones. Excess of everything is bad.]


Udyogo Naasti Daridaryan Japato Naasti Patakam.

Maunane Kaho Naasti Jagratasya Cha Na Bhayam.

   Enterprise vanishes poverty and the chanting (of Mantra or God’s name) dissipates sin. Silence ends embroilment and awakening removes fear.


Upasargeannyachakre Cha Durbhikshe Cha Bhayaavahe.

Asaddhu Jansamparke Palaayati Sa jeevati.

   He who manages to escape from riots or scuffles, from the severe draught or from the evil company survives. (Meaning that no one should stay at such places where riots, scuffles, severe drought or evil company be disturbing the area.)


Taavad Bhayeshu Bhetavyam Yaadav Bhayamanaagatam.

Aagatam Tu Bhayam Veekshaya Prahartavyamshankayaa.

   One should be apprehensive of the cause of fear till it is far off, but when it comes close, fight it undaunted. [This is a natural human psychology that we apprehend the danger till it is far off. When it comes close the only way to deal, with it is to take on with total might, for in that stage the apprehension vanishes. Chanakya also confirms that this is the only way to overcome the fear.]


Anulomen Balinam Pratilomen Durjanam.

Aatmatullyambalam Shatrum Vinayen Balen Vaa.

   Deal with the powerful enemy by trying to win its favour (as a part of the strategy), with the wicked enemy by going away and with the enemy of matching power by being submissive or aggressive as the situation may demand. Direct opposition of the powerful enemy will cause sure defeat. In that case, it is always prudent to avoid direct confrontation. Trying to win favour means keeping him confused of your intention. If the enemy is wicked you never know what he might be upto. It is always better to avoid him and seize your opportunity to smash him in the least blows possible. It is only against an enemy of the matching power that one has to be aggressive or submissive according to the demand of the situtation.]


Varam Na Raaja Na Kuraajaraajaa

Varam Na Mitram Na Kumitramitram.

Varam Na Shishyo Na Kushishyashishyah

Varam Na Daaraa Na Kudaaradaaraah.

   It is better not to have a king than have a king who is tyrant; not tò have a friend than have a wicked friend; not to have a wife than have an unfaithful wife. [A tyrant king, a wicked friend, a bad disciple and an unfaithful wife should not be acceptable. It is better to go without them, as in such cases their absence ensures more peace and happiness than their presence.]


Kuraajraajjyen Kutah Prajaasakham

Kumitramitren Kutoabhinivrittih.

Kudaaradaaraishcha Kuto Grihe Ratih

Kushishyamaddhyaaapayatah Kuto Yashah.

   How can the subjects be happy in the rule of a tyrant king? How can one get happiness in the company of a wicked friend? How can one enjoy domestic bliss with an unfaithful wife? And what renown can one earn by teaching a bad disciple. [This Shloka is almost the extention of the previous Shloka. In this, Chanakya specifies the situation resulting out of getting a tyrant king, a wicked friend, the unfaithful wife and a pad disciple.]


Griheettvaa Dakshinaam Vippraasttyajanti Yajmanakam.

Praaptaviddyaa Gurum Shishyaah Daggdhaarannyam Mrigaastathaa.

   The brahmans leave their host after getting the honorarium; the disciple leave their teacher after receiving education; the beasts leave the jungle when fire breaks out there. [This is a pithy yet melancholic observation. Chanakya says that driven by the matter of fact and selfish consideration all stay with anyone till they receive some material benefit. This is the golden rule of a materialistic world. A brahman stays with the host till he receives his honorarium. Similarly, students desert their teacher after getting education. Even the wild beasts, who feed on the luscious bounty of the jungle desert it when it comes to distress with the outbreak of the jungle fire. All are basically selfish.]


Nirdhanam Purusham Veshyaa Prajaa Bhagnam Nripam Tyajet.

Khagaah Veetphalam Vriksham Bhuktvaa Chaabhyagato Griham.

   The prostitute deserts a poor customer, the subjects desert a powerless king. The same way the birds desert a fruitless tree and the guest deserts the host-house after having his food. [Continuing with the previous observation, Chanakya says that all stay till they receive benefits? then all desert–the prostitute, a poor customer, the subjects, a powerless king, the birds, a fruitless tree, and the guest, his host’s house, after filling his belly. All stay to serve their purpose without caring for the benefactor’s need.]


Drishtipootam Nyaset Paadam Vastrapootam Jalam Pibet.

Shaastrapootam Veded Vaakyam Manahpootam Samaacharet.

   One should step forward after fully viewing the path, drink water after straining it through a (clean) cloth; talk in conformity with the scriptural dictates and act according to what one’s conscience allows. [These are ancient safety measures which are still quite relevant in their essential message.]


Svabhaaven Hitushyanti Devaah Satpurushah Pitaa.

Gyaatayaah Snaapaanaabhyaam Vaakyadaanen Panditaah.

   Gods, noble persons and father are pleased by one’s behaviour; other kith and kin by enjoying food and drink (together) and the scholars by the sweet speech.


Anabhyaase Visham Shaastramjeerne Bhojanam Visham.

Anabhyaase Visham Shaastramjeerne Bhojanam Visham.

Daridasya Visham Goshthee Vriddhassya Tarunee Visham.

   Lack of practice makes the learning a poison; indigestion makes food a poison; conferences breed venom for the poor and a young woman is poisonous for an old man. [Any learning or expertise if not put to proper practice acts like poison. And even nectar can turn into poison if your digestion is weak because it is only after the food is digested that our body derives the required nourishment. Poverty is such a condition where no one wants to advertise or make others know about one acute indigence. Since the conferences exposes this condition to so many persons, they do breed venom for such a man. And lastly, young woman is a poison for an old man because in the old age the sexual appetite remains but due to the physical ennervation the performance become impossible. But on getting a young woman, the old persons would make their bodies overexert to achieve the desired performance. This over exertion may lead to death if not checked. Hence a young woman is poison for an old man.]


Nispriho Naadhikaaree Syaanna Kaamee Bhandampriyaa.

No Vidagdhah Priyam Brooyaat Spashta Vaktaa Na Vanchakah.

   A hermit is no authority on any subject; one who is not lecherous doesn’t need to decorate oneself; the scholars, seldom speak sweetly and the straight-forward, outspoken man is never a thug. [A hermit is a man who has renounced the world due to the aversion he felt for the material things. How can he, then, know about anything about the world? One decorates and gets make-up only to attract the opposite sex. When lacking in that urge, the desire to decorate oneself does not arise. The scholars are those who, due to their learning, see the reality much more clearly than others. And since reality is always bitter, how can they speak sweetly? Lastly, one who is not able to hide his true feeling can not hide his vile intentions also if he has them. But for thuggery or chicanery what needed is secrecy. Obviously, thuggery and outspokenness are not compatible.]


Naasti Meghasamam Toyam Naasti Chaatsamam Balam.

Naasti Chakshusaman Tejo Naasti Chaannsam Priyam.

   Clouds are the best source of water; self-strength is the best power, eyes are the best light and cereal (food) is the best desired object. [Since clouds carry the water to the most remote area and they bring water when most needed, they give us the best water–the best is what you need most at the most distressing situation. Self-strength is the most reliable power, hence best power. Every light is useless if one can’t see or if one has no eyes. Hence the eyes give us the best light. And no being can exist without food, hence food is the most desired object.]


Kassya Doshah Kule Naasti Vyaadhinaa Ko Na Peeditah.

Vyhasanam Kenna Praaptam Kasya Saukhyam Nirantaram.

   Whose family is blemishless? Who is not troubled by diseases? Who dosen’t suffer grief and who is perpetually happy. [All these observations are based on the bitter facts which say that grief and misery are the part and parcel of the human existence in the world.]


Raajaa Raashtrakritam Paapam Raagyah Paapam Purohitah.

Bhartaa Cha Streekritam Paapam Shishya Paap Gurustathaa.

   The king suffers the consequences of the sin committed by a nation (State), the king’s sins are suffered by his priest, the wife’s sins are suffered by the husband, and that of the disciple by the guru. [Since the king has the responsibility of running the State or the nation, naturally he can’t escape the consequence if someone has committed sins in his State. And the king is supposed to rule by the advice of his priest. So for king’s fault, the priest can’t escape blame. Similarly, the wife’s sins have to be suffered by the husband who is responsible for her, and similarly, of the disciple by the Guru.] ‘


Yasmin Rushte Bhayam Naasti Tushte Naiv Dhanaagamah.

Nigrahoanugraho Naasti Sarushtah Kim Karishyati.

   He whose wrath causes no fear and happiness gives no money who neither can punish anyone nor show his favour–the anger of such a person is of no consequence. [The truth in the observation is self-evident. Totally inconcious or ineffective person is of no consequence in the society.]


Kavayah kim Na Pashyanti Kimna Kurvanti Yoshitah.

Maddyapaa Kimna Jalpanti Kim Na Khaadanti Vaayasaah.

   What is that which the poets do not see? What is that which the woman cannot do? What is that which the drunkards do not babble and what is that which is not eaten by the crows? [Poets in their imagination can reach everywhere hence nothing is left unseen by them. Figuratively, women are capable of doing the most babble and the meanest deed possible, hence no holds are barred for them. A drunkard can mouth the filthiest abuse and for them also there is no limit on the either side. Similarly, the crows do not make any distinction in their choice of food and can devour even the dirtiest object.]


Naiv Pashyanti Janmandhah Kaamaandho Naiv Pashyanti.

Madonmatta Na Pashyanti Arthee Dosham Na Pashyanti.

   A born-blind man cannot see anything; the persons blinded by their sexual desire or sozzled with the intoxication cannot see anything. Similarly, a man blinded by his need cannot perceive any flaw in the desired object.


Ashaktastubhavetsaadhurbrahmachaari Cha Nirdhanah.

Vyaadhishtho Devabhaktasheha Vriddha Naari Pativrataa.

   A powerless man takes to the saffron robes; a pauper takes the vow celibacy, a diseased man becomes an ardent devotee (of God) and an old woman adheres to the most pious wifely vows. [Meaning all seek these positions in their utter helplessness when they have no other alternative.]


Alirayam Nalinidalamadhyama Kamalaneemakarandamadaalasah.

Vidhivashaatpradeshmupaagatah Kurajpushparasam Bahu Mannyate.

   This bee used to dwell among the lotus-petals and survived on imbibing the sap of the flowers. For some reason, it had to come to the foreign strand and now it regards a great gift to even the juice of the Kuruj flower, [When dwelling among the lotus-petals, the bee considered even the sap of the lotus to be an ordinary thing. But when, due to some reason, it has to go away to the foreign strands, it began to deem even the Kuruj-flower-sap to be a great gift, i.e., when someone belonging to a high and rich family falls on evil days, he realises the importance of the past pleasures and compromises with existing fallen standard of living. Helplessness makes one regard even the common place or even inferior things as the great gifts.]


Nirvishenaapi Sarpena Kartavyaa Mahatee Phanaa.

Vishamastu Na Vaappyastu Ghataatopo Bhayankarah.

   Even if the snake be non-poisonous, it must spread its hood to the full. Whether it contains poison or not, it must spread its hood to frighten the people. [Merely, by looking one can’t know whether the snake is poisonous or not but when it spreads its hood, this gesture is enough to frighten the people–meaning, for happy survival in a society, one must affect deterrant ostentation in one’s behaviour to keep unwanted people at bay.]


Tyajedharam Dayaaheenam Viddyaaheenam Gurum Tyajet.

Tyajettkrodhamukhi Bharyaam Nihshehaanbaandhavaansyajet.

   Give up the faith devoid of compassion; the Guru devoid of knowledge, an irascible wife and relations devoid of affection. [Faith, which is devoid of compassion is no faith; the Guru, who is devoid of knowledge is no guru; a wife devoid of good manners is no wife and the relations devoid of affection are no relations, hence they ought to be left for good.]


Nadeeteere Chaaje Vrikshaah Pargriheshu Kaaminee.

Mantreeheenaashcha Raajanah Sheeghram Nashyanttyasanshayam.

   The trees growing at the bank of the river, the woman staying in someone else’s house and the king denuded of the cabinet (ministers) perish soon. [The trees on the bank of a river are on infirmer land and face the danger of being taken away by flood waters. Also since the bodies are normally cremated on the bank of the rivers, the trees are likely to be cut for making the funeral pyre. Hence the trees on the river bank cannot last long. A woman staying in other’s house cannot maintain her chastity and the firmness of her character for long and soon she will have to compromise. A king working without ministers does not get the right counsel and in this stage he is prone to committing a grave mistake causing his own downfall.]


Anaalochya Vyayam Kartaa Chaanaathah Kalahapriyah.

Aartah Streesarvakshetreshu Narah Sheeghram vinashyati.

   A man, recklessly spend-thrift, shelterless, cantankerous, coveting for women of every caste indiscriminately soon perishes. [Obviously, such a man has no chance of faring in any different manner!]


Aalasyopahataa Viddyaa Parahastam Gatam Dhanam.

Alpabeejahatam Kshetram Hatam Senyamanaayakam.

   Callous lethargy destroys knowledge; others hold on your money soon destroys it for you; the field is destroyed by the lack of seed and the army is destroyed in the absence of a commander. [A careless, lazy bloke cannot gain knowledge if he lacks in self-discipline which is a ‘must’ for becoming the learned. Money is with him who controls it. If others have control over it, deem it that it is lost for you. Lack of seed ruins the fertility of the field. It is a known fact that if you don’t sow a field for years together, it turns barren. And how can an army fight without a cammander?]


Daariddrayahaashanam Daanam Sheelam Durgatinaashanam.

Agyaantaanaashinee Praygyaa Bhaavaanaa Bhayanaashinee.

   Charity destroys poverty; right demeanour destroys distress; truth¬bearing wisdom  destroys ignorance and the (determined) feeling destroys fear. [Poverty means lack of resources and charity means giving help to others, which obviously gives the impression that the person has enough¬ for one doles out elms only when one has enough of everything. And when people learn that you are gifting things, they develop confidence in your financial worth and you start getting things on credit. Thus, your stock increases and soon you get rid of that poverty. If one can maintain one’s balance, even in the severe distress, behave normally with total caution, the panic element in the distress vanishes. The same is true with other two observations. If one searches for the true knowledge, how can ignorance survive in one’s thinking. And lastly, the sense of fear is based totally on your mental projection of a situation. In the dark, a tree might give impression of a ghost but if you have strong will you may go near the tree and see it to be nothing but a tree. That stage you can achieve even by mere feeling. Fear is the projected perception of a given situation which is not dependent upon the external factors. In fact, all the four observations are rooted in the psychological aspect of the human behaviour.]


Hatam Gyaanam Kriyaheenam Hatashchagyaanato Narah.

Hatam Nirnaayakam Sainnyaam Striyo Nashta Hayabatrikaa.

   That knowledge which is not used gets destroyed. Ignorance destroys the man. An army which has no commander gets destroyed and a woman without (the protection of) her husband gets destroyed. [Almost the similar thought was expressed in the earlier pages, which is duly explained. Please refer to that aphorism for the explanation.]


Asantushtaa Dvijaa Nashtaah Santushtaashcha Maheebhratah.

Salajjaa Ganikaa Nashtaanirjalajjashecha Kulaanganaah.

   An unsatisfied brahman and a satisfied king perish. A shy prostitute and a shameless bride of a noble family perish. [A brahman must not be covetous of the worldly possessions, if he does so, he can’t follow his chosen path of acquiring more and more knowledge. But if a king gets satisfied with his expeditions and victory marches, he exposes himself to invasion by others. A prostitute’s profession is such that if she is shy she will lose her clientele and her means of wherewithal. But in contradistinction, the bride of a noble family has to be shy and bashful to win everyone’s respect. A shameless bride is not deemed a respectable woman.]


Nirgunasya Hatam roopam Duhasheelasya Hatam Kulam.

Asiddhyassya Hataa Viddhyaa Abhogasya Hatam Dhanam.

   Beauty of the virtueless, lineage of the wicked, knowledge of the undeserving, and wealth of the unenjoyer perish. [Beauty without virtue is like body without soul–it is fey and can’t last long. Knowledge of the undeserving is the most deadly weapon for self-destruction. If a noble family has just one black-sheep, it is enough to bring blot on the entire family. Like a rotten apple injures all its companion, so a wicked member destroys his entire family. Wealth is meant to be enjoyed; those who preserve and protect it without enjoying it, lose it eventually.]


Annaheeno Dahedraashtram Mantraheenasheha Rittvijah.

Yajmaan Daanheeno Nassti Yagyasamo Ripuh.

   A foodless state destroys its ruler, so do the brahmans assigned to perform yagya but without any knowledge of the Mantra and the host who doesn’t pay the honorarium to the guest brahmans. To employ such brahmans for performing the sacrifice and allowing such a person to play host is tentamount committing an act of treason. [Lack of food is the most potent cause for the dethronement of a ruler as it is the ruler’s foremost duty to provide food or food material to the subjects: Asking the unlearned brahmans to perform yagya is to invite trouble due to their ignorance, instead of propitiating the deities they might incur their wrath. And the greatest offender to the moral sense is to accept the services without paying the adequate honorarium or remuneration. Even if the brahmans be unlearned, if the host has invited them unknowingly, then he must pay their due. One who does so is the meanest person. The state where the ruler fails to arrange adequate food supply to his subjects, the unlearned brahmans are asked to perform the yagya and if they are not paid their due honorarium is destined to be destroyed.]


Parasparasya Marmaani Ye Bhaashante Naraadhamaah.

Te Evavilayam Yaanti Vallameekodar Sarpvat.

   Those who disclose the mutual secret to others perish like a snake getting destroyed in its own cavity. [Disclosure of the mutual secrets to all not only incurs the displeasure of the confidant who let it out to one and who disclosed it but it makes one defenceless against the onslaughts of others, for which they quote one’s own words. This situation prepares a trap of self-strangulation like a snake getting chocked to death in its own cavity.]


Aatmavargam Parittyajjya Parvargam Samaashret.

Svyaamev Layam Yaati Yathaa Raajyamdharmatah.

   Those who leave their own category and seek support of the other category perish like a country resorting to immoral means. [One should’t forgo one’s own faith or way of leading life because change in it means resorting to some way about which you have no idea. It is ‘Adharm’ for the upholder of the forlorn faith. And while treading a new path one is likely to commit grave mistake, which may lead one to the way of doom. Chanakya avers Srimadbhagwat Gita’s dictate that one should never leave one’s way of working or in other words, one’s category or else one is doomed.


Aaptdveshaat Bhavenmrittyuh Padveshaattu Dhanshayah.

Raajdveshad Bhavennasho Brahmadveshaat Kulakshayah.

   Enmity with the noble-men and Sadhus (hermits) causes one’s death; with the adversary causes dissipation of wealth; with the king causes total ruin and with the brahman causes even cessation of one’s lineage.


Raagye Dharmani Dharmishthaah Paape Paapaah Same Samaah.

Rajanamanuvartante Yathaa Raajaa tathaa Prajaa.

   Subjects follow their king: they are heathen if the king be irreligious; sinners if the king be a sinner and normal if their king be normal. As the king so the subjects. [The last phrase of this famous quotation is very well known. In the modern concept, it could be interpreted as the people follow their leaders.


Pustakeshu Cha yaa Viddyahaa Parhasteshu Cha Yaddhanam.

Uttpanneshu Cha Kaaryeshu Na Saa Viddyaa Na Taddhanam.

   The knowledge that remains confined to the books (and doesn’t get retained in the reader’s mind) and the money that has gone in other’s hand; neither there is any use of that knowledge nor there is any worth of that money. The inference is obvious. Knowledge must have its application to enhance its value like money must be in one’s control to be of any worth.


Priyavaakyapradaanen Sarve Tushyanti Maanavaah.

Tasmaat Tadev Vaktavyam Vachane Kaa Daridrataa.

   Sweet language satisfies all. Hence all must be sweet in their language. Even the excessive use of sweet words does not render anyone poor.


Kohi Bhaarah Samarthaanaam Kim dooram Vyavsaayinaam.

Ko Videsh Suviddyaanaam Koparah Priyavaadinaam.

   Nothing is burdensome for a competent person. No place is far off for a trader, No land is a foreign strand for the scholar and no one is stranger for a man with a sweet tongue. [A competent person knows how to solve his problem so nothing is burdensome for him. For the trader no place is far off if he can get the right price for his merchandise. The learned man or the scholar, by dint of his learning, knows how to get settle in any land. And, how can anybody be stranger for the person who has a sweet tongue? Sweet speech makes even the most diehard enemy, one’s friend, let alone a stranger who bears no animus for anyone.]


Taavannmaunem Neeyante Kokilashchaiv Vaasaraah.

Yaavatsarva Janaanandadaayinee Vaang Na Pravartate.

   The koel keeps quiet till she is able to coo in its sweet voice. And her this cooing delights everybody. [The koel coos up only during the spring. Otherwise, she keeps quiet. Then its cooing delights everybody’s heart. Chanakya impliedly says that we must keep quite till we are able to converse only in a sweet voice.]

Learn which from what?


Singhodekam Bakaadekam Sikshechattvaari Kukkutaat.

Vaaysaatpanch Shikshechshat Shat Shanstreeni Gardabhaat.

   Learn one thing from the lion, one from heron, four from the cock, five from the crow, six from the dog and seven from the donkey. [Details ahead.]


Ya Etaan Vinshaatigunaanaacharishyati Manavah.

Karyaavasthaasu Sarvaasu Ajayh sa Bhavishyati.

   If a man is able to adopt, at least, a score of teachings into his life, he shall ever be a successful person.


Vinayam Rajutrebhyah Panditephyah Subhashitam.

Anritam Dhyootakaarebhyah Streebhyah Shikshet Kaitavam.

   Learn courtesy from the princes, sweet speech from the learned scholars, lying from the gamblers and deceit from the women. [The princes are specially taught how to be courteous; how to carry themselves and how to behave, so they are the best source to learn about courtesy from; the learned knows where to use which word and with what effect to give more meaning to them. They are experts in conveying the most bitter meaning in the sweetest possible language. So, they are the best teacher to instruct in conversation. Owing to the demand of their profession the gamblers speak lies with such a flourish as to make them appear like the real truth: This art is to be learn from them. And, according to Chanakya, the women are past masters in the practice of deceit. They dupe so convincingly that many a wise man come a cropper against their hood winking expertise. So, the women are the best teacher in this field.]

From the Lion


Prabhootam Kaaryamapi Vaa Tattparah Prakartumichati.

Sarvaarambhen Tattkaarya Singhaadekam Prachakshate.

   Whether it be big or small, we must do every work with our full capacity and power. We must learn this quality from the lion. [It is generally believed that the lion never does anything half heartedly. It would kill a rabbit or attack an elephant with its full ferocity. While acting this way we eliminate the possibility of suffering a set back out of the overconfidence of taking on our adversary.]

From the Heron


Indrayaani Cha Sanyammya Bakavttyapandito Narah.

Deshkaal Balam Gyaattvaa Sarvakaaryaani Saadhayet.

   Controlling all your senses like the heron, and after carefully considering the factors of time and space and the capacity of the self, the wise accomplish their work successfully. [The heron has this great capacity to forget everythingelse to concentrate on its target: So, this capacity of concentrating one’s mind on one’s aim or target should be adopted by us in our life. With this level of consideration and the proper assessment of one’s power vis-a-vis the time and place if the wise act, they are bound to succeed, for success depends upon the able assessment of one’s situation, the power of concentration and the capacity to put in one’s total might should the need arise.]

From the Cock


Prattyuthaanam Chayuddham Cha Samvibhaayashcha Bandhushu.

Svayamaakrabhya Bhoktam Cha Shikshechchattvari Kukkutaat.

   The cock can teach us four things : get up at the right time, fight bitterly, make your brothers flee and usurp and devour their share also. [Although apparently these appear quite immoral teachings in the present context also, what is taught here are the lessons in self-preservation against all odd, which is a natural instinct.]

From the Crow


Goodha mainthunkarittvam kale-kale cha sangraham.

Appramattvachanam vishvassam panch Shiksheechcha Vaasyat.

   Stealthy copulation, collecting things and augmenting your resourcefulness from time to time; be alert and not beliveing anybody, making enough noise to make all gather round you–these five things are to be learnt from the crow. [This again is an instruction in the self-preservation. One marvels at the minute observation of Chanakya as a bird-watcher.]

From the Dog


Baahavshee Svalpasantushtah Sunidro Laguchetanaa.

Baahavshee Svalpasantushtah Sunidro Laguchetanaa.

Swaamibhaktashcha Shoorashcha Shadete Shvaanato Gunaah.

   Deriving satisfaction out of a little eating even in the famished condition; be alert despite being deep in slumber, faithfulness and bravery–these six qualities ought to be learnt from the dog. [The dog has this unique capacity to derive satisfaction with whatever it manages to procure; for its eating despite its famished condition. It sleeps very soundly but, instantly wakes up hearing any sound. It is believed to be the most faithful animal. It is also a brave animal even against the fiercest odd. In saving its own or its master’s life, its murderous streak is unmatched.]

From the Donkey


Sushraantoapi Vahed Bhaaram Sheetoshna Na Pashyanti.

Santushtashcharato Nittyam Treeni Shikshechacha Gardabhaat.

   The capacity to carry the load despite being bone-tired, being undaunted by the vagaries of weather and getting satisfied in all the conditions–these three qualities are to be learnt from the donkey.

How to control Whom


Lubhhdhamurthen Grihaveeyaattstabdhamanjalikarmanaa.

Moorkashchandaanurodhen Yathaarthvaaden Panditam.

   Control greedy by money, the arrogant by submissiveness, the fool by preaching and the learned by telling him the reality. [First two observations are quite clear. The one dealing with the fool needs an elaboration. A fool is he who dosen’t know what knows. When he is preached, he realises his ignorance and this realisation makes him a little grateful to the preacher who can, then, mould him easily. Fourth : you just can’t fool an intelligent and learned man by mincing words or telling half truths to confuse him. His sharpness and intelligence would also expose the falsehood. So, it is always better if one tells the truth before such persons. Since, they are wise enough, they would realise the helplessness in the situation and accept whatever you ask them to. Straight forward talk is the best way to control or convince a Pundit or a learned and an intelligent man.]





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