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. 

 


 

Conclusion 

 

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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Tantra, Mantra, Rajaneeti & Kootaneeti: Unmistakable Connection

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