U. Mahesh Prabhu

Investor | Author | Media, Management & Political Consultant

Kautilya’s Artha Sutras

Kautilya, also known as Chanakaya and Vishnugupta, is probably the oldest known authority on Economics. Arthashastra, oldest surviving treatise on polity, strategy and statesmanship, has recorded Sutras (read: formulas) which, according to it’s author, holds the key to finding quintessential success in ones’ life and all aspects of it. The following is my (U. Mahesh Prabhu’s) most authentic translation from the original texts. I’ve omitted few for lack of relevance in the modern concept. The following 400 and odd formulas is according to me the most relevant in the present day content.

  1. Objective of human life is pursuit of happiness.
  2. Happiness lies in adherence of Dharma.
  3. Foundation of Dharma is Economy.
  4. Foundation of Economy is Nation.
  5. Nations are best run by people who’ve conquered their senses.
  6. People conquer themselves by practicing humility.
  7. Humility is earned by serving the wise.
  8. By serving the wise knowledge is obtained.
  9. Through the knowledge you understand the world around you.
  10. Through knowledge you also attain wisdom.
  11. Through wisdom you’re attain your objectives.
  12. Wealth of resources lead to wealth of people.
  13. Through excellent resources of men (human resource) a nation is made prosperous even in absence of leader.
  14. Wrath of people is catastrophic.
  15. It’s better to be without a leader than having one without morality.
  16. After equipping himself with knowledge and wisdom a leader must find subordinates.
  17. Without competent subordinates, leaders achieve zilch.
  18. A cart goes nowhere with just one wheel.
  19. Subordinates are one who can understand leader’s happiness and unhappiness.
  20. Leaders must appoint only such people as subordinates who are second best to him in respect and credibility.
  21. Nepotism and favoritism are to be shunned while appointing subordinates.
  22. Subordinates must not just be knowledgeable and informative; they must be equally wise.
  23. Policies and strategies must be adopted only after substantial thought and discussion.
  24. It’s only by holding on to ones commitment that leaders can accomplish their objectives.
  25. By withering away from commitment leaders are sure to suffer failures.
  26. By not being watchful and through carelessness a leader is sure to be subdued by his adversaries.
  27. By all methods and resources leaders must fix all loopholes in his policies.
  28. By working on right policies a nation/organization is bound to flourish.
  29. Organizational commitment to policies play a pivotal role in its success.
  30. Policies for subordinates is like a lantern for men walking through the dark.
  31. By protecting the right policies, organizations and nations protect themselves from vulnerability.
  32. One must shun personal jealousy and ego while working on policies.
  33. If majority gives their approval; such policies must be vetoed.
  34. Only subordinates with wisdom are to be involve in policy making.
  35. Policies that which are framed by listening to too many are bound for failure.
  36. Only those who are loyal are to be considered as friends.
  37. By winning friends power is gained.
  38. Strong men seek to gain that which they haven’t got.
  39. The lazy men, bereft of ambitions, seek nothing.
  40. Lazy men, even with substantial strength, will never retain that which they possess for a long time.
  41. Lazy men will even fail to protect their inheritance.
  42. Lazy men can never take care of those who are dependent on them.
  43. Earning, protecting that which is earned and building upon that which has been earned are three fundamental objective of any organization.
  44. Art of Management is part of Political Science.
  45. Internal and external affairs of any organization is dependent on political environment.
  46. Internal affairs constitute that which governs resources within an organization.
  47. External affairs constitute relationship of organizations with the external world.
  48. Peace and war are often owing to economic and environmental conditions.
  49. Leaders must understand these facts, firmly.
  50. Country’s immediate neighbor is often its enemy.
  51. Enemy’s neighbor is often your friend.
  52. Enemies and friends are owing to their needs and conveniences.
  53. A weak must make peace with the strong.
  54. Strong must not make friendship with the weak.
  55. Need is the only reason for strong and weak to seek collaboration and treaty.
  56. Non heated iron can never be joined with a heated iron.
  57. Strong must win over the weak through wars.
  58. It’s stupid to fight with one who’s powerful.
  59. Fighting with mighty is futile; like an unarmed individual forth a mighty elephant, doom of the weak is often predestined.
  60. When two earthen pots of same qualities are collided both get destroyed.
  61. Efforts and actions of an adversary are to be closely monitored and scrutinized.
  62. After disagreeing with one’s enemy make arrangements to protect yourself.
  63. When without power seek help of someone who’s strong.
  64. By taking refuge in weak one is sure to face doom.
  65. Always take refuge with a strong leader like a fire in winter.
  66. It’s unwise to act against your own leader.
  67. Don’t dress grandly than your leader.
  68. Never behave with pomp in front of your leader.
  69. Never insult people even if they are weak.
  70. Those with vices often face failures.
  71. People under influence of lust and drugs are sure to lose everything they possess.
  72. For a person addicted to gambling no work seems just.
  73. Those addicted to violence often shun ethics.
  74. Desire for wealth should not be considered as a vice.
  75. Lack of desire to work must be considered as a vice.
  76. Harsh words can cause pains worse that fire burns.
  77. Leaders would be hated if they often use harsh words.
  78. Any enemy can be restrained by employing tact and diplomacy – skilfully.
  79. By adhering to law, leader is respected by his own people.
  80. Law is governed well during prosperity.
  81. Without law the very fabric of society is sure to perish.
  82. By fear of punishment people shun violence and follow law.
  83. By protecting law people protect themselves.
  84. By protecting the self, everything is protected.
  85. Growth and destruction are caused by people.
  86. Law enforcement must be done by applying wisdom.
  87. Even employment of people is protected by enforcement of law.
  88. Aspiration for wealth is the cause for all professions.
  89. All material objects could be earned through wealth.
  90. Rich and wealthy can attain a lot with minimal effort owing to their wealth.
  91. All efforts must be made to make best use of available resources to earn wealth.
  92. All efforts, with proper planning, can attain success.
  93. Without appropriate planning all efforts are bound to fail.
  94. Success is often best achieved with planning.
  95. By proper efforts all human desires are attained.
  96. Blessing of the divine is important.
  97. Without divine grace even best efforts are destined to fail.
  98. For unselfish people life is not a business.
  99. One must think thoroughly before embarking upon a particular task.
  100. Once decided upon a task must not be delayed.
  101. Those with dwindling mind set are sure to face failures.
  102. Rejecting that which was earned by chance is to be considered as loss.
  103. Work without challenges are rare.
  104. Work which can lead to severe consequences must not be sought.
  105. He who is in tune with time is sure to accomplish with task.
  106. Wasting time would have his own consequences.
  107. Even a second wasted can lead to consequences.
  108. No work should be sought without considering place and time factors.
  109. At times in absence of luck even a simple looking work/task becomes difficult to accomplish.
  110. Wise men often keep a tab on country & time.
  111. Wealth stays for a longer time with him who’s cautious and calculative.
  112. Wise and smart men can make even a daunting task easier to accomplish.
  113. One must be given a task where he has a proficiency.
  114. If a person without proper knowledge and skill achieves a particular task it must be considered unworthy.
  115. One must rejoice only after a particular task is accomplished.
  116. Owing to bad luck even skilled and knowledgeable people may fail.
  117. Adverse fate can be tamed by adhering to Vedic rituals.
  118. All man made hurdles can be eliminated.
  119. When challenges arise or when faced with failures an immature person resorts to blame game.
  120. Achievers – at times – have to be ruthless.
  121. Just like a calf desiring mother’s milk hits against its mother’s breast.
  122. Lack of efforts adds to difficulty in attaining ones objective.
  123. The one who rests completely on fate is stupid and achieves nothing.
  124. When there are multiple tasks the task with greater potential must be given priority.
  125. Failures must be contemplated in solace and never in assembly.
  126. An unemployed person can seldom take care of his dependants.
  127. One who cannot find work for himself is worse than a blind.
  128. Any task can be analysed from three perspectives: one’s own perspective, other’s perspective and logical perspective.
  129. Wealth deserts one who works without substantial thought.
  130. Difficulties can be resolved through proper examination.
  131. One should undertake only that work which – according to him – can match his capacities.
  132. One who enjoying the remainder after satisfying the dependents enjoys bliss.
  133. By acting appropriately profits can be enhanced.
  134. Fear eclipses sense of judgement.
  135. With right judgement any objective is attainable.
  136. A person must guard his secrets from all but importantly the one without characters and morals.
  137. When these sutras are followed sources of income are increased.
  138. Timid leaders are seldom obeyed by their subordinates.
  139. Harsh leaders are often treated with contempt behind their backs.
  140. Punishment should be given as one deserves.
  141. Person with low capacity must never be respected even if knowledgeable.
  142. Overload causes managers to be exhausted and disheartened.
  143. The one who announces faults of others in an assembly declares his own.
  144. Anger caused by ego can destroy the self.
  145. Those who keep up their commitment are often successful.
  146. Work cannot be accomplish exclusively by courage.
  147. Wealth is often achieved by risk taking.
  148. By wasting time obstacles are born.
  149. Better to eliminate doubts than excelling in harnessing it.
  150. Spending money without consideration serves neither the self nor the society.
  151. Payment is a duty.
  152. One who covets other’s wealth is selfish.
  153. Prosperity of people we know can lead to pain which is worse than the one we feel during our poverty.
  154. On that is wealth which is earned righteously.
  155. Anything that is earned in an unrighteous way must not be considered as a wealth.
  156. Desire is that which doesn’t impend one from his own duties.
  157. Anything that impends one from adhering to this own duties invites disaster.
  158. Riches earned at the loss of self-respect is to be considered lowly.
  159. A person who’s completely straight forward by nature is rarest among people.
  160. Serving under the capable leader; even an incapable person becomes capable.
  161. Water after entering milk becomes milk itself.
  162. One must never insult great men.
  163. Not once should one transgress one’s limit.
  164. Even faced with dire hunger a lion seldom eats grass.
  165. Self-confidence must always be preserved.
  166. A malignant leader is insulted even by his own wife and offspring.
  167. When full of wisdom even words of ignoramus must be listened to.
  168. The unbelievable – even if true – should not be spoken.
  169. Many virtues in a man can be eclipsed by a single fault.
  170. For a minor fault a person with many good qualities must not be sacrificed or forsaken.
  171. Faults can be easily found even among the wise.
  172. No precious stone is found without a crack.
  173. Never trust an individual who has crossed his limit.
  174. If something good is done by one who is disliked it’s not appreciated.
  175. By bowing even pot-wheel (ancient water pump) empties a well.
  176. Opinion of a truthful person must seldom be undermined.
  177. For those who are enthusiastic even enemies become favourable.
  178. For leaders their charisma is wealth.
  179. Lack of enthusiasm can lead to failures.
  180. One should never reveal his vulnerability.
  181. Those hitting on vulnerable spots are indeed enemies.
  182. Misconduct of ones people is to be corrected.
  183. Even a small human body ailment can cause destruction.
  184. Leader must never belittle or insult people.
  185. Leaders must never be vindictive.
  186. One must know their limits even with their own people.
  187. Even a mother should be forsaken if found vile, viscous or corrupted.
  188. Just like a limb facing gangrene is amputated.
  189. One who does not desist or oppose must seldom be disrespected.
  190. A benevolent foreigner is a brother and friend.
  191. One must seldom be jealous of a foes virtue.
  192. Enemy must seldom be lamented in an assembly.
  193. Good qualities of enemies must be imbibed.
  194. Excessive obeisance of those familiar from a long time must be doubted.
  195. Excessive closeness begets disrespect.
  196. The world is ordained through Dharma.
  197. Empathy is the mother of ethics.
  198. Truth and penance are rooted in ethics.
  199. Desire to be unethical indicates self-destruction.
  200. There exists no enemy which is equal to egotism.
  201. Immoral leaders destroy, not just themselves but, also their followers.
  202. Ethical leaders protect themselves as their followers.
  203. An ethical leader is protector of the masses.
  204. Leader who begets happiness for his followers is happy everywhere.
  205. Authority is when it is respected and followed by his people.
  206. In absence of courage man achieves nothing.
  207. It’s unwise to associate with evil people.
  208. Eating balanced and regular diet leads to gain of health.
  209. Illness caused due to unhealthy food cannot be cured by eating healthy food.
  210. After proper digestion a both is never affected by illness.
  211. It’s pain to have food during indigestion.
  212. Illness and disease is worse than enemy.
  213. Penance is a virtue that accompanies a person even after death.
  214. Greedy person even if competent could be easily deceived.
  215. By greed consciousness is deceived.
  216. When his work is corrupted one must fix himself.
  217. Stupid people are often stubborn.
  218. It’s stupid to be arguing with stupid people.
  219. One must speak language of stupid with stupid people.
  220. Only iron can cut iron.
  221. Stupid people have no true friends.
  222. One must amass wealth as if he’s to live for eternity.
  223. Wealthy men are respected by masses.
  224. If even King of gods is pauper he too would be looked upon with contempt.
  225. Poverty is often worse than death.
  226. A wealthy man with wealth is considered handsome by masses.
  227. Even if a wealthy man gives no alms beggars won’t stop stalking him.
  228. With wealth on his side even a disgraceful man is considered graceful by the masses.
  229. Disgraceful person has no fear of insults.
  230. Wise men have no fear of death.
  231. For saints and savants there exists no fears whatsoever.
  232. The same is for anyone who has learned to control his senses.
  233. He’s a generous person who considers others problem as if his own.
  234. It’s not a virtue to expect other’s wealth.
  235. By serving greedy leader a person does no good to himself.
  236. It’s good to serve a wise leader.
  237. Lust can leads to man’s doom.
  238. Wise mustn’t marry unwise.
  239. By marrying unwise women; man is sure to lose his respect, longevity as well as charisma.
  240. Ego is man’s worst enemy.
  241. One must never insult an enemy especially in an assembly.
  242. It’s a pleasure to hear pain of one’s enemy.
  243. Knowledge of a penniless person is considered worthless.
  244. Even if sensible voice of a pauper is seldom heard.
  245. Penniless person is insulted even by his own wife.
  246. Flowerless plan is seldom visited by bees.
  247. For a person without wealth knowledge is his wealth.
  248. No thief can steal knowledge.
  249. Respect earned by one’s knowledge is true and lasting.
  250. Charisma of a respectable person is seldom forgotten.
  251. He’s a good person who works for other’s interest.
  252. Only knowledge can bring in true pleasure.
  253. When a knowledgeable person gets off track his knowledge itself is capable of getting him back on track.
  254. Evil people must never be bestowed with knowledge.
  255. Expecting other’s wealth can lead person to doom.
  256. One mustn’t expect even a petty sum from anyone.
  257. By stealing someone else’ wealth person stands the risk to jeopardize his own.
  258. There’s no worse death trap than stealing.
  259. Even a morsel of food can save life.
  260. But even the best medicine is incapable of bringing back the dead.
  261. If the time is right prosperity might just come to your doorstep.
  262. Even good knowledge of bad people won’t help them to shun their bad habits.
  263. By feeding milk to a snake one cannot expect the serpent to shun its venom.
  264. There’s no greater boon than having the ability to meditate during distress.
  265. There’s no enemy than hunger.
  266. A person without work is sure to face hunger.
  267. A hungry man could eat anything out of hungry.
  268. By succumbing to hungry man could lose control of himself.
  269. Profanity must never be practiced.
  270. One must never be jealous of generous people.
  271. Even potion could be derived of poison.
  272. Good person is respected even when he loses his position.
  273. A person may be worshipped simply because of his position.
  274. One must learn and follow graceful characteristics of fine men.
  275. Under no circumstances should an individual breach his limits.
  276. A great man is invaluable.
  277. A graceful woman is incomparable.
  278. Fear of disrespect is among the worst fear.
  279. Lazy men could seldom benefit from wisdom of scriptures.
  280. Womaniser is disgrace; he’s seldom respected.
  281. Womaniser is disrespected even by the women he sleeps with.
  282. A person seeking flower; seldom waters a dead plant.
  283. Effort to make disgraceful man graceful is a daunting task.
  284. Great men must never be laughed at.
  285. Good omens signify success.
  286. Omens have greater value than stars.
  287. Important tasks must never be done by consulting astrologer.
  288. It’s impossible to hide ones limitation among relatives.
  289. One with limitations looks for limitations in others.
  290. One can seldom stray from his true nature.
  291. Crime must be appropriately punished.
  292. Answer must be in accordance with the question.
  293. Gold must be in proportion to one’s wealth.
  294. One must act accordance to his status.
  295. Efforts must be in proportion to the work.
  296. Donation must be in accordance to the need.
  297. One must dress according to his age.
  298. Servant must serve the need of his master.
  299. Wife must be in accordance to her husband.
  300. Student must be in accordance to his teacher.
  301. Son must be according to the wishes of his father.
  302. When a respect is beyond his status it’s a good reason to suspect.
  303. If master is angry servant must be patient.
  304. Even if punished a child must seek refuge of his mother.
  305. Even people with love have anger.
  306. Even a cheat would look gentleman at the outset.
  307. A favour must be returned.
  308. Single cow is better than thousand dogs.
  309. Tomorrow’s peacock is no better than today’s pigeon.
  310. By renouncing anger man is on a sure path to success.
  311. One must be objective; even with those who may have betrayed us in the past.
  312. It’s stupid to have conflict with intelligent, stupid, friends, teachers and masters.
  313. There’s no wealth without liability.
  314. With right vehicle efforts to travel is limited.
  315. When respected man marries a characterless woman he’s sure to suffer a life of agony.
  316. One must always be watchful of his wife.
  317. It serves no good to have faith in women.
  318. Women are often bereft of satisfaction and worldly knowledge.
  319. Mother is the greatest teacher.
  320. One must take care of mother always.
  321. Even ugliness could be hidden through jewellery.
  322. Shyness is an ornament of women.
  323. Knowledge is ornament of men.
  324. Dutifulness is ornament for everyone.
  325. Ornament among ornaments is that knowledge which imparts humility.
  326. One must dwell in a peaceful place.
  327. The people living around must be good.
  328. They must be law abiding.
  329. There can be no greater deity than a good leader.
  330. Wrath of Kings could be devastating.
  331. One must never visit a king or his guru with an empty hand.
  332. One must never be too close with princely class.
  333. One must never have sex with palace maidens.
  334. One must never look directly into king’s eyes.
  335. For a householder a virtuous son is a boon.
  336. One must ensure that his son excels in education.
  337. In the interest of a country a village may be forsaken.
  338. In the interest of a village a family may be forsaken.
  339. A person who saves his parents from misery is a true son.
  340. He’s a son who brings glory unto his family.
  341. One must never impregnate an unknown woman.
  342. Women seek companionship.
  343. Those destined for doom seldom listen to words of wisdom.
  344. One who has ordained a human body is seldom bereft of pains and gains, happiness and unhappiness.
  345. Like a calf behind a cow; pleasure and pain follows life.
  346. A favour made unto the one who’s graceful is seldom forgotten. He’s ever thankful.
  347. A favour made to graceful and thankful is seldom forgotten.
  348. There is no greater penance than truth.
  349. Truth is pathway to heaven.
  350. The existence of world is truth.
  351. It is truth that rains dawn.
  352. There’s no greater sin than untruth.
  353. One must never gossip about great men.
  354. Indignity is to be shunned.
  355. Undignified people have no friends.
  356. Impoverished person often suffers obstacles.
  357. Bravest is he who’s charitable.
  358. Faithfulness unto Gods, learned men and teacher is a virtue.
  359. Kindness in anyone is a virtue.
  360. With kindness a lowly born person, too, could be considered worthy.
  361. By good behaviour an individual increases not just his respect but also wealth.
  362. Even if likeable an evil deed must never be committed.
  363. If an individual has too many enemies that individual must not be followed.
  364. Partnership must not be done with evil people.
  365. A gentle person must have no relationship with ungentle people.
  366. Loan, enemy and illness must be kept at bay.
  367. Enduring a path to prosperity is a delightful journey.
  368. The person in need must never be turned away.
  369. Thankless people have no return from hell.
  370. Prosperity and poverty are owing to one’s action.
  371. Potion and poison emanates from ones tongue.
  372. Those with sweet words have no enemies.
  373. By sweet words even gods are pleased.
  374. Bad words even if untrue lives for eternity.
  375. Never speak anything which is disliked by kings.
  376. One who is true unto his duty is happy.
  377. Beggars are bereft of respect.
  378. Prosperity is an ornament for women.
  379. Aging doesn’t guarantee wisdom.
  380. Like seed – the sampling.
  381. Like knowledge – the intellect.
  382. Like upbringing – the conduct.
  383. Neem tree can seldom be a mango tree.
  384. Happiness reaped without efforts is short-lived.
  385. One must never travel alone during night.
  386. Advises must be sought exclusively from experts.
  387. People can find fault even in strangers.
  388. Scriptures must be followed.
  389. When scriptures are absence wise men must be followed.
  390. Good conduct is beyond scriptures.
  391. A king observes his subjects through spies.
  392. Those who have helped must never be betrayed.
  393. Ability to control oneself is hallmark of meditation.
  394. It’s very difficult to get rid of lust.
  395. There’s no greater pain than fall from grace.
  396. It’s worth to have enmity with wise than to have friendship with stupid.
  397. One must contemplate at dawn.
  398. It’s not recommended to have contemplation at dusk.
  399. When doom is predestined a person would do everything contradictory to one’s own interest.
  400. There’s no greater penance than being truthful to ones duties.
  401. Wealth accumulated by sinners is enjoyed by sinners.
  402. Ocean can seldom quench thirst.
  403. Good men can seldom enjoy company of the wicked.
  404. A swan can seldom dwell in a crematorium.
  405. Circumstances can change men.
  406. Every person is bounded by desire.
  407. Laxmi can seldom dwell with a person bereft of desire.
  408. Those without desire need no courage.
  409. Poverty is worse than death.
  410. Desires can hijack dignity.
  411. One must not boast about himself.
  412. Rich men often despise great words.
  413. Enemy can often be confused for a friend.
  414. Evil scriptures are often endured by evil people.
  415. Companionship of good men is like that of heaven.
  416. Compassionate people see themselves in everyone.
  417. Personality is like that of one’s character.
  418. Where one can live is a place one must live.
  419. Betrayers are bereft of guilt.
  420. Fine men consider pain of others as if their own.
  421. Evil people can never speak their heart out.
  422. Men without knowledge are worth zilch.
  423. One must never walk a deserted path alone.
  424. One must never brag about one’s son.
  425. Workers must seldom brag about their master.
  426. Order of King must seldom be disobeyed.
  427. Intelligent people have no enemies.
  428. One must never speak of ones fears.
  429. Patient people are capable of achieving great feat.
  430. One must save money for tomorrow.
  431. One must always make helpful person happy.
  432. Tomorrow’s work must be done today.
  433. Afternoon’s work must be done in the morning.
  434. One must blend oneself to comply ones duty.
  435. Ability to understand the world is wisdom.
  436. Person with knowledge who fails to understand the world is foolish.
  437. The utility of scriptures is to understand the world.
  438. It’s only in application that utility of knowledge is understood.
  439. One must never show partiality while doing justice.
  440. Work is important than worship.
  441. In work only conscience is testimony.
  442. Conscience is eternal witness to all our doings.
  443. One must never give false witness.
  444. False witness is a path to hell.
  445. Those who sin in secret, conscience still bear testimony.
  446. One has to suffer his sins – sooner or later.
  447. Body language can defy ones words.
  448. One must save his wealth from thieves and politicians.
  449. Leader who aren’t in touch with their followers are often failed by their subjects.
  450. By being in touch leaders give happiness to their followers.
  451. Good leader is like a mother to his followers.
  452. Nonviolence is a sign of great men.
  453. Vegetarianism is good for everyone.
  454. All knowing people have no fear of the world.
  455. Forgiving leads to penance and divinity in person.
  456. By penance great feat become possible.


Author | Investor | Painter | Media, Management & Political Consultant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.