Introduction: Kautilya: Understanding the Colossal Genius (Volume 1)

This article is part of the latest book by U. Mahesh Prabhu – Kautilya: Understanding the Colossal Genius. The book is available on Amazon.com

 

दुर्जन: सज्जनो भूयात् सज्जन: शान्तिमाप्नुयात् |

शान्तो मुच्येत बन्धेभ्यो मुक्तश्चान्यान् विमोचयेत् ||

May the wicked become good, may the good realize peace.
May the peaceful be released from all bondages and may the released redeem others.

We live in a new era driven by fear and its resulting insecurity at a global level. Out of this emotional sense of uncertainty, we do many things – consciously and unconsciously – that can be detrimental not just for ourselves but our family, society, nation, and the world at large.

Humanity faces many challenges today, political, social, economic and ecological. Such entrenched and extensive problems are solvable only through persistence and resilience coming from insightful leadership.

Yet, it appears that we possess neither the interest nor the willingness to understand the very concept of leadership. We certainly lack the scope of vision to understand these vast and complicated problems and deal with them integrally and comprehensively. We often search for short-term fixes rather than long-term solutions.

Some two thousand years ago there was a dynamic individual of great intellect, influence, and motivation who provided the type of leadership that we need today. We don’t know much about his personal life, but there are many extraordinary legends about him. He was Kautilya a.k.a. Chanakya a.k.a. Vishnu Gupta a.k.a. Vishnu Sharma. He was neither a warrior, a ruler, nor a priest. He was a wise sage who forged the main ancient Vedic treatises on politics and diplomacy – Arthashastra and Artha Sutras –  for inspiring and nurturing responsible leadership.

These profound treatises of Kautilya contain many vital principles of management, governance, and polity that can be used with high efficacy in the present day. Kautilya’s work provides keys to solving a great many problems threatening our new high-tech world order by nurturing responsible and effective leadership.

Although there are several translations of Kautilya’s Arthashastra, most of its in-depth knowledge and wisdom is neither properly understood nor utilized for various reasons. As a result, much of its secrets remain hidden.

Presenting his crucial knowledge and timeless wisdom with unadulterated insight is the prime objective of this book series.

Kautilya was a legend at many levels. He did not care for recognition, yet he left a legacy that remains unparalleled. His works provide an accurate record of his unique genius.

One cannot understand Kautilya’s ideas and ideals without understanding the Vedic philosophy and wisdom underlying their very foundation. Therefore, I have taken the liberty to explain a great many mistranslated as well as misrepresented Sanskrit words and concepts in detail in these volumes.

The objective of these volumes is not to glorify Kautilya. It does not intend to be his hagiography or biography. It is hard to write one in the absence of historical records. Over 2,000 years have passed since Kautilya, and a great many books have tried, some even by concocting or distorting his teachings; doing more harm than good.

In this volume, I have provided substantial data to connect Kautilya to his Vedic lineage. It explains how authors of the Vedas – also known as Rishis[1] – understood and taught the world and provided ways to sustain enduring peace and prosperity.

It also tries to destroy many misleading myths that continue to be accepted as ‘truths.’ It explains our true Self (Atman), Mind (Manas), Duties (Dharma), Actions and their consequent results (Karma), Vedic approach to politics (Rajaneeti), and the qualities of a king (Raja) and his mentor (Rajaguru). It also demystifies concepts like Mantra (Planning) and Tantra (Strategy). Finally, it also explains the science behind Nirdhaara or decision making.

In an era where management is limited to handling of processes and people; where politics has turned into an art of scheming and misleading people; and where diplomacy is only a fragile thread acting as a prelude to war; the concepts of Vedic Rishis, including Kautilya, delineated in these books can, not just be educating but also, be enlightening to many people.

I earnestly hope that I have done justice to the teachings of Kautilya and many rishis before him. Everything in this book worthy of appreciation belongs to countless Rishis, including Kautilya. For all shortcomings, I take full responsibility.

 
Mahesh Prabhu
June 19, 2018
Goa, India

[1]Rishi (ऋषि) is a Vedic term that denotes an inspired poet of hymns from the Vedas. The post-vedic tradition of Hinduism regards the rishis as “seers”, “great sadhus” or “sages” who after intense meditation (Tapas or Tapasya) realized the supreme truth (Paramartha) and eternal knowledge (Param Jnana).

 

This article is part of the latest book by U. Mahesh Prabhu – Kautilya: Understanding the Colossal Genius. The book is available on Amazon.com

 

June 22, 2018

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