Sri Canakya-niti: Ancient Sense for Modern Success


Though he was an impoverished Brāhmaṇa scholar, Cāṇakya Paṇḍita created one of the largest empires in ancient times. In the same era that Buddha walked the Earth, this indomitable sage united many disjointed kingdoms from modern day Bihar to Iran­­­­ using only his wit as His weapon. He is celebrated as the greatest king maker in history. During the days of Britain’s East India company, English officers were required to study Śrī Cāṇakya-Nīti if they hoped to be successful in India. Now that same wisdom commented upon by the world’s greatest authority on Cāṇakya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, is available for the first time in one volume. Cāṇakya’s Nīti-Ancient Sense for Modern Success-is presented with the original Sanskrit, latin transliterations, lucid translations, plus the commentaries and much more. Practically every recorded statement that His Divine Grace ever made about the great Cāṇakya can be found here in this definitive edition. For the modern reader, the wisdom of Cāṇakya is nothing less than the key to a life that is in every way successful, happy and fulfilled.


Chapter One 1

Invocatory prayers to the Supreme Lord; benefits of studying nīti-śāstra; what makes even a learned paṇḍita suffer; causes of
death; save your soul; put aside some wealth; where one should not reside; how one’s associates are tested; who is a true friend; do not lose the eternal; marriage between persons of equal status; whom to not trust; accept what is valuable disregarding its origin; women compared to men.

Chapter Two

The seven flaws of women; the fruits of austerities; heaven on earth; qualities expected of relatives and friends; reject a so-called friend; do not entrust secrets even to friends; keep plans to yourself; what is painful; the rarity of sādhus; how to educate and discipline one’s offspring; always study and memorize śāstric knowledge; six kinds of evil; swift destruction; strength of each varṇa; everyone in the world sees only one’s own benefit; quick ruination in the company of rogues; friendship between equals.

Chapter Three

No one is free of blemish and suffering; how to discern a person’s qualities; what to do with one’s children, friends and enemies; difference between a rascal and a snake; kings prefer good assistants; sādhus never change; do not associate with fools; persons devoid of learning; what is real beauty; renounce the world for your spiritual benefit; fruits of endeavor; avoid extremes; there are no impediments for the strong; on good and bad sons; how to discipline a son; how to protect one’s life; a worthless life; the residence of Lakṣmī.

Chapter Four

What is ordained by fate; follow the sādhu; saintly devotees look after their associates; advance spiritually while still healthy; learning is like the kāmadhenu; one moon is better than many stars; better a still-born son than a fool; six circumstances that burn one like fire; a son who is neither a scholar nor a devotee; shelter from the miseries of material life; what happens only once; what to do alone and what in the company of others; a true wife; all is void to a poor man; four kinds of poison; what should be abandoned; four kinds of weariness; constantly think about your circumstances; different visions of God.

Chapter Five

Four gurus; four ways of testing a person; how to get rid of fear; no two people are the same; one who is honest cannot deceive; envy; what becomes ruined; learning is retained through practice; what preserves what; blasphemers come to grief; what destroys what; no happiness is higher than spiritual knowledge; one is born alone and dies alone; Svarga is but a straw; dharma is the only friend; rain upon the sea; no wealth is dearer than stored food grains; the poor crave riches; all things rest upon truth; religious merit alone is steady; barber is cunning; five fathers; five mothers.

Chapter Six

The importance of hearing; who is a cāṇḍāla; what cleanses what; traveling; the man of means is respected; everything is controlled by Providence; time is insurmountable; who is blind; the soul is alone in saṁsāra; who accepts the sins of others; four enemies at home; how to appease different characters; better to have no kingdom than a worthless one; who is happy in the kingdom of a wicked king; lessons from animals; a lesson from a lion; a lesson from a crane; four lessons from a cock; five lessons from a crow; six lessons from a dog; three lessons from a donkey; applying these lessons makes one invincible.

Chapter Seven

A wise man does not reveal his embarrassment; when to renounce shyness; difference between satisfaction and greed; three things to be satisfied with and three not to; do not pass between two brāhmaṇas; do not touch fire with your foot; safe distance; how to control animals and fools; brāhmaṇas are satisfied by a fine meal; the art of conciliation; the power of kings, brāhmaṇas and women; do not be too upright; one should be steady; wealth is preserved by spending; only one who
is wealthy is respected; four heavenly qualities; four hellish qualities; the lion’s den and the cave of a jackal; the uselessness of a dog’s tail; kinds of purity; how to perceive the soul.

Chapter Eight

Honor is the true wealth; what can be ingested before religious rituals; diet determines offspring; offer wealth only to the worthy; the yavana is the basest of men; one remains a cāṇḍāla until he bathes; water before and after the meal; knowledge is lost without practical application; who is unfortunate; devotional service is the basis of success; the Lord does not reveal Himself unless He is worshipped with devotion; no austerity is equal to a peaceful mind; anger is the god of death; good qualities are an ornament; beauty is spoiled by immorality; what is pure; four persons who are ruined; high birth destitute of scholarship; learning is universally honored; animals in the form of men; an improperly performed yajña consumes the kingdom.

Chapter Nine

Abandon the objects of sense desire; base men who gossip about the secrets of others; no one has advised Lord Brahmā; the best medicine; one who predicts eclipses must be a vidvān; the seven who should be awakened; the seven who should not be awakened; dvijas who are like serpents without poison; those who can neither control nor protect; the show of terror; what to discuss over the day; how to be blessed with Indra’s opulence; what becomes useful through exertion; how to overcome poverty.

Chapter Ten

Who is destitute; perform only deeds that are carefully considered; some value enjoyment and others knowledge; what slips past the observation of a poet; fate makes a beggar a king; who is whose enemy; beasts in the form of men; bamboo will never become sandalwood; a mirror to a blind man; there is no way to reform an evil man; the consequences of offenses; living among relatives when reduced to poverty; the brāhmaṇa is like a tree; who is at home in all the three worlds; birds fly off in the morning; one who possesses intelligence is strong; why be concerned for one’s maintenance; Sanskrit and other languages; gradations of nutrition; diseases are nourished by sorrow.

….and much more.

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