Kootaneeti, Ku-neeti, and Chanakya Neeti are not the same

Ever since the launch of our latest bestselling book – The Fundamentals of Kootaneeti: The Vedic Art of Strategic Living – we are often asked multiple questions about the connection between Ku-Neeti, Kootaneeti and Chanakya Neeti. Questions like “Is Kootaneeti and Ku Neeti the same?” “What’s the difference between ‘Chanakya Neeti’ and ‘Kootaneeti’?” “Didn’t Chanakya create Kootaneeti?” Must be answered effectively. And this article intends to offer much-needed clarity.


“Chanakya Neeti” was not authored by Chanakya 


As strange as it may sound there is nothing as such called “Chanakya Neeti.” The book which claims to be “Chanakya Neeti,” is a collection of verses from various Vedic Sanskrit texts with inaccurate and, even, misleading translations, particularly Vyasa’s Mahabharata and Subhashitas.


In his version of Arthashastra, Kautilya never uses the word, or even introduces himself as Chanakya. That is why his version of Arthashastra has often been referred to accurately as Kautilya’s Arthashastra and, never, “Chanakya’s Arthashastra.” Most are unaware of the fact that Kautilya was never the author of Arthashastra – he was the compiler, editor, and commentator of this ancient work. We can confirm this with confidence when we see great many earlier authors of the Arthashastra mentioned by Kautilya himself, namely: Bharadwaja, Parashara, Pishuna, Shukracharya and the like.


Was Chanakya really a misogynist?


We also find many people referring to Kautilya/Chanakya as a “misogynistic” person.  This is owing to the quotes mentioned in the “Chanakya Neeti” which are blatant distortion which appear to support and justify to non-Vedic patriarchal tendencies which can be found in certain orthodox Hindu communities to this day. To confirm this, know a few important things.


Chanakya/Kautilya was all for Women’s Empowerment 


It was Chanakya who persuaded the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta to create a regiment of women. He even went on to form the clandestine intelligence wing of the Mauryan establishment consisting exclusively of women – Vishkanyas. And no “Vishkanya” were not “women with poison in their tongue.”


Vedic Sanskrit word Vishkanya is essentially made of two words, namely “Vishwasaneya” or “Trusted” and “Kanya” or “Women.” They were so trusted that the emperors of Mauryas were exclusively protected by these Vishkanyas, until the reign of Ashoka. Given this how could he even remotely mention anything that is against women?


Ku-Neeti & Kootaneeti are NEVER the same.


Ku-Neeti is something against the Neeti. Neeti is better understood as Dharmic standard of Living. “Ku” in Vedic Sanskrit means “against” or even “demeaning.” So Kootaneeti is never Ku-Neeti.


Also, it is important to note here that when people manipulate their power and position for selfish gains and with bloated egos it is referred to as Ku-Neeti. Kootaneeti is only when we neither transgress principles of Dharma nor discredit law i.e. Nyaya. Kootaneeti is above and beyond golden middle path. It is the epitome of wisdom and practical living and leadership.



No, Chanakya didn’t create Kootaneeti


Chanakya/Kautilya did not create Kootaneeti. On the contrary he used the very Kootaneeti to build the Mauryan Empire. Kootaneeti is older than Arthashastra. It finds mention in various Vedic Sanskrit texts starting from Vyasa’s Mahabharata. The reason why the subject has remained hidden or unknown is because nobody has ever cared to read the Vedic texts in their original language – Vedic Sanskrit. Panini’s Sanskrit which is prevalent today is much different than the Vedic Sanskrit. 





Most prevailing concepts on leadership, management, politics, and diplomacy are either inadequate or incompetent. Most of these concept stem from 15th century European Renaissance or 19th century industrial revolution era. They are also process based, which make them often impractical. Since they look at people as a commodity, they fail to anticipate a whole lot of things.


Kootaneeti is epitome of Vedic management methodologies like Dhyana, Yoga, Neeti, and Rajaneeti. Even the fundamental principles on living like Yoga have near to no parallels in prevailing “modern” methodologies. Besides, what is more, Kootaneeti has a proven track record. The knowledge of Kootaneeti have often been used by sage royal mentors or Rajaguru to establish sage empires by uprooting the savage ones for thousands of years.


Although Kootaneeti is designed for empire building, nurturing, and sustaining, its founding principles have countless potential in today’s complex economic environments. Particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship, leadership, and diplomacy. Which is why ignoring Kootaneeti will be at our own peril.


In an era where social, economic, and political uncertainty is rampant, the teachings of Kootaneeti could help us a lot not just as nations and institutions but also as individuals. It is a tool that not just teaches us to survive in uncertain situation but also sustain ourselves and, even, thrive.


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Sukham & Duhkham: The Vedic Philosophy on Happiness and Sorrow

We are all born into this body without possessing anything. All that we gain is after the birth of this body. We are also sure to die, after which all that we have accumulated and achieved must be left behind. So, we are neither born nor do we die possessing anything. More like a computer game. Given this why should we fear anything? Why not accept everything as a game and appreciate everything life delivers unto us? Neither pleasure nor pain is lasting. They all have an expiry date. Only those with wisdom live beyond pain and pleasure, happiness and unhappiness into a state of perpetual bliss.

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Sannyasa: The True Meaning

Vedic Sanskrit word सन्यासं (Sanyasa) is made of two words, namely: सत् or Truth and न्यास् or Living. Sanyasi, “a person living in Truth,” is one who is full of unconditional LOVE & without a shred of HATE. A true Sanyasi never disown anyone; on the contrary accepts everyone as one’s own – without any EXPECTATIONS. Realizing that ATTACHMENT is the reason for pain; they live in BLISS at all time; be they alone or in company of people.

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Ahimsa: A Vedic Perspective

Dharma is not doing to others what you don’t like being done by someone else to you. Dharma is that which sustains the order in self (mind), family, society, nation and the world at large. Dharma is sustained by doing things where the strong don’t thrive by suppressing the weak and the weak are not subjugated by the strong. Dharma provides a way for people to live and let live. When there’s an imposition of someone else’s will on you or your own excesses on others, that’s Himsa, causing Adharma.

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What is Kootaneeti? Why is it Important?

There are times to fight, there are also times for retreat. We need not win all the battles in life. Some battles make us strong some teach us valuable lessons. To try and win all battles is vain; but to try and win losing battles is stupidity. Long before we can win, we must gracefully learn from our defeats. To make it worse, we neither considers patience nor perseverance a virtue; most see them as “vice.” The modern definition of success, the ones that are propagated by our business schools, the media organizations, and societies is clearly flawed. Success is not when we receive some award or when some magazine puts us on its cover, or a filmmaker decides to make a biopic. The Vedic idea of success is best explained by Krishna:

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Tantra, Mantra, Rajaneeti & Kootaneeti: Unmistakable Connection

Mantra and Tantra were regarded by Kautilya as two crucial elements in the art and science of Vedic approach to politics – Rajaneeti. Without a plan and a strategy to execute it Shakti (read Power) is of no use. In Arthashastra, he declares “Power by itself is useless” and that “Person who seeks power without sound Mantra (objective) and Tantra (strategy) is verily consumed by it.”

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