I have tried to pen down the summary of Katha Chanakya after I have read the book to avoid reading having to read it multiple times.
PART 1 – The First Ten Tales – Chanakya The Teacher
- Of Commitment and Self-Discipline
We mostly take an oath and break it, due to being lethargic or forgetting that we ever took it. The best are our New Year resolutions.
But Chanakya being a committed and disciplined person, was able to dethrone the arrogant Dhananand. His oath was “I will not tie this shikha until the day I remove you from the throne of Magadh”. His shikha got opened when one of the guards tried to throw him away from the Kingdom by dragging his shikha. Chanakya used to look at his shikha daily as a reminder of his oath.
- Family First
Family is an important aspect of nation building. Whatever one does, he should make sure that he does with his family’s blessings. The leader should not only work with people, but also with their families. Family is one who will help keep going even in difficult times.
In one of the situations when a mother was not willing to send her son to the war, Chanakya managed to make her understand that she as a mother was also stopping her son for doing something for his other mother, the motherland. This ensured that she sent her son to serve the motherland, also making sure that the son can’t come back empty handed if he ever decided to run away from the war.
- Collaboration in War
When Alexander was to attack Bharat, Chanakya knew that a single army can’t defeat the mighty Alexander. So he started seeking help from other kings. Dhananand as usual didn’t pay any heed to the statements of Chanakya, neither did any other kings.
So next Chanakya with the help of his scholarly friends, arranged seminars and gave lectures about the concept of nation-building and how as a group only can stop external forces from creating havoc in Bharat.
- In Strength Lies the Weakness
Chanakya believed that the everyone has a weak link. So when Alexander was attacking Bharat, Chanakya stood his grounds and looked around to find his weak link. He believed that wars are not fought on the battlefield, but in the minds of the people.
Chanakya had created an institution for Vishkanyas, who were trained to create honey traps and gather information about the enemy. He got one from them and sent her to Alexander’s camp to understand what they are planning. When she returned after a few days, she looked frightened. On asking, she informed that even if they hadn’t harmed her, but the army and their strength is unimaginable and our defeat was guaranteed. She also said that even if they were strong, when they looked at her, they softened.
With this Chanakya understood that after these armies have been fighting for years outside from their families. So when they saw the Vishkanya, their emotions and the feeling of compassion came back. So Chanakya appointed a lot more Vishkanyas to the task of playing on the emotions of Alexander’s armies, leading to their defeat.
- The Power of ‘One’
Many people think that what a lone person can do. But Chanakya had a different theory.
- The Quest for an Ideal Student
- Rice War Strategy
- Aanvikshiki – The Science of Thinking
- The King or the Kingmaker?
- Killing Dhananand
PART 2 – The Next Ten Tales – Chanakya the Mentor
- The Right to Education
- Ending a War Permanenetly
- Playing the Mental Game
- The Two Lamps
- The Purpose of One’s Life
- Chanakya’s Ideal King
- Nation vs Kingdom
- Keep Your Ego Aside
- The Attitude of a King
- Music – A Tool for Success
PART 3 – The Last Ten Tales – The Greatness of Chanakya
- The Creation of Wealth
- Silent Punishment
- How to Handle Suicide
- Pay Your Taxes
- Silent Money Recovery
- Women Employment
- A Teacher’s Son
- Documenting Your Experiences
- The Secret of Good Governance
- Leaving the World
This Summary of Katha Chanakya is my interpretation of the book, and not necessarily what the author wanted to convey.