74 Thoughtful Chanakya Quotes From Arthashastra

Chanakya was an ancient teacher and philosopher from India, famous for his wise approach towards life. His real name was Vishnugupta but was also known as Kautilya. He is still considered a legend and had also authored a treatise called as The Arthashastra. Without further delay, Explore our inspirational collection of Chanakya Quotes to make you think more wisely about love, people, and friendship.

74 Chanakya Quotes

We’ve compiled a list of most popular Chanakya Quotes that will help you to understand life better. Happy reading!

1) A man is great by deeds, not by birth.

A man is great by deeds, not by birth.

2) We return evil for evil, in which there is no sin, for it is necessary to pay a wicked man in his own coin.

We return evil for evil, in which there is no sin, for it is necessary to pay a wicked man in his own coin.

3) The biggest guru-mantra is: never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.

The biggest guru-mantra is: never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.

4) Avoid him who talks sweetly before you but tries to ruin you behind your back, for he is like a pitcher full of poison with milk on top.

Avoid him who talks sweetly before you but tries to ruin you behind your back, for he is like a pitcher full of poison with milk on top.

5) Once you start a working on something, don’t be afraid of failure and don’t abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest.

Once you start a working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest.

6) One whose knowledge is confined to books and whose wealth is in the possession of others can use neither knowledge nor wealth when the need for them arises.

One whose knowledge is confined to books and whose wealth is in the possession of others can use neither knowledge nor wealth when the need for them arises.

7) Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions – Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.

Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions - Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.

8) The life of an uneducated man is as useless as the tail of a dog which neither covers its rear end nor protects it from the bites of insects.

The life of an uneducated man is as useless as the tail of a dog which neither covers its rear end nor protects it from the bites of insects.

9) The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.

The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.

10) As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family.

As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family.

11) A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first.

A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first.

12) There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with it.

There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with it.

13) Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person.

Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person.

14) The king shall lose no time when the opportunity waited for arrives.

The king shall lose no time when the opportunity waited for arrives.

15) As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it.

As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it.

16) There is no austerity equal to a balanced mind, and there is no happiness equal to contentment; there is no disease like covetousness and no virtue like mercy.

There is no austerity equal to a balanced mind, and there is no happiness equal to contentment; there is no disease like covetousness and no virtue like mercy.

17) Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous.

Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous.

18) Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years. For the next five years, scold them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown-up children are your best friends.

Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years. For the next five years, scold them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown-up children are your best friends.

19) There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth.

There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth.

20) Accumulated wealth is saved by spending just as incoming fresh water is saved by letting out stagnant water.

Accumulated wealth is saved by spending just as incoming fresh water is saved by letting out stagnant water.

21) Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth.

Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth.

22) Those base men who speak of the secret faults of others destroy themselves like serpents that stray onto ant hills.

Those base men who speak of the secret faults of others destroy themselves like serpents that stray onto ant hills.

23) Never make friends with people who are above or below you in status. Such friendships will never give you any happiness.

Never make friends with people who are above or below you in status. Such friendships will never give you any happiness.

24) The testing time of the following are; the wife when the money is gone, the friend in the time of need, the relatives in the times of crisis and the servants when they are assigned a mission. In such times they show their true faces.

The testing time of the following are; the wife when the money is gone, the friend in the time of need, the relatives in the times of crisis and the servants when they are assigned a mission. In such times they show their true faces.

25) God doesn’t dwell in the wooden, stony or earthen idols. His abode is in our feelings, our thoughts.

God doesn't dwell in the wooden, stony or earthen idols. His abode is in our feelings, our thoughts.

26) As compared to males the females eat twice the amount of food, possess cleverness four times, display courage six times and exhibit lustful desires eight times.

As compared to males the females eat twice the amount of food, possess cleverness four times, display courage six times and exhibit lustful desires eight times.

27) A good wife is one who serves her husband in the morning like a mother does, loves him in the day like a sister does and pleases him like a prostitute in the night.

A good wife is one who serves her husband in the morning like a mother does, loves him in the day like a sister does and pleases him like a prostitute in the night.

28) He who is overly attached to his family members experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is the attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy.

He who is overly attached to his family members experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is the attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy.

29) The world’s biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman.

The world's biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman.

30) The happiness and peace attained by those satisfied by the nectar of spiritual tranquility are not attained by greedy persons restlessly moving here and there.

The happiness and peace attained by those satisfied by the nectar of spiritual tranquility are not attained by greedy persons restlessly moving here and there.

31) If one has a good disposition, what other virtue is needed? If a man has fame, what is the value of other ornamentation?

If one has a good disposition, what other virtue is needed? If a man has fame, what is the value of other ornamentation?

32) One destitute of wealth is not destitute, he is indeed rich, but the man devoid of learning is destitute in every way.

One destitute of wealth is not destitute, he is indeed rich, but the man devoid of learning is destitute in every way.

33) Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.

Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.

34) It is better to die than preserve life by incurring disgrace. The loss of life only pain a moment, but disgrace every day of one’s life..

It is better to die than preserve life by incurring disgrace. The loss of life only pain a moment, but disgrace every day of one’s life.

35) O wise man! Give your wealth only to the worthy and never to others. The water of the sea received by the clouds is always sweet.

O wise man! Give your wealth only to the worthy and never to others. The water of the sea received by the clouds is always sweet.

36) We have to make people soft who are hard, to attract those who are far, if they do bad for us then even considering our aim we should always love them.

We have to make people soft who are hard, to attract those who are far, if they do bad for us then even considering our aim we should always love them.

37) The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time and

The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time and

38) The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.

The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.

39) Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a relative in difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.

Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a relative in difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.

40) The earth is supported by the power of truth, it is the power of truth that makes the sunshine and the winds blow, indeed all things rest upon truth.

The earth is supported by the power of truth, it is the power of truth that makes the sunshine and the winds blow, indeed all things rest upon truth.

41) As long as your body is healthy and under control and death is distant, try to save your soul; when death is immanent what can you do?

As long as your body is healthy and under control and death is distant, try to save your soul; when death is immanent what can you do?

42) Wealth, a friend, a wife, and a kingdom may be regained, but this body when lost may never be acquired again.

Wealth, a friend, a wife, and a kingdom may be regained, but this body when lost may never be acquired again.

43) We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment.

We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment.

44) All the creatures are pleased by loving words; and therefore we should address words that are pleasing to all, for there is no lack of sweet words.

All the creatures are pleased by loving words; and therefore we should address words that are pleasing to all, for there is no lack of sweet words.

45) He who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he may really be nearby.

He who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he may really be nearby.

46) Drop the idea that attachment and love are one thing. They are enemies. It is the attachment that destroys all love.

Drop the idea that attachment and love are one thing. They are enemies. It is the attachment that destroys all love.

47) Purity of speech, of the mind, of the senses, and of a compassionate heart are needed by one who desires to rise to the divine platform.

Purity of speech, of the mind, of the senses, and of a compassionate heart are needed by one who desires to rise to the divine platform.

48) There are three gems upon this earth, food, water, and pleasing words — fools consider pieces of rocks as gems.

There are three gems upon this earth, food, water, and pleasing words — fools consider pieces of rocks as gems.

49) A man is born alone and dies alone; and he experiences the good and bad consequences of his karma alone; and he goes alone to hell or the Supreme abode.

A man is born alone and dies alone; and he experiences the good and bad consequences of his karma alone; and he goes alone to hell or the Supreme abode.

50) He who is prepared for the future and he who deals cleverly with any situation that may arise are both happy, but the fatalistic man who wholly depends on luck is ruined.

He who is prepared for the future and he who deals cleverly with any situation that may arise are both happy, but the fatalistic man who wholly depends on luck is ruined.

51) The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep.

The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep.

52) A learned man is honored by the people. A learned man commands respect everywhere for his learning. Indeed, learning is honored everywhere.

A learned man is honored by the people. A learned man commands respect everywhere for his learning. Indeed, learning is honored everywhere.

53) Generosity, pleasing address, courage and propriety of conduct are not acquired, but are inbred qualities.

Generosity, pleasing address, courage and propriety of conduct are not acquired, but are inbred qualities.

54) The world’s biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman.

The world’s biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman.

55) Learn from the mistakes of others, You can’t afford to make them all on your own.

Learn from the mistakes of others, You can’t afford to make them all on your own.

56) Do not be very upright in your dealings for you would see by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing.

Do not be very upright in your dealings for you would see by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing.

57) God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your god. The soul is your temple.

God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your god. The soul is your temple.

58) Do not keep company with a fool for as we can see he is a two-legged beast. Like an unseen thorn he pierces the heart with his sharp words.

Do not keep company with a fool for as we can see he is a two-legged beast. Like an unseen thorn he pierces the heart with his sharp words.

59) If you were to choose between an evil person and a snake to keep company with, opt for the snake. Because the snake will bite you only in self-defense but the evil person will put a bite for any reason and any time or always.

If you were to choose between an evil person and a snake to keep company with, opt for the snake. Because the snake will bite you only in self-defense but the evil person will put a bite for any reason and any time or always.

60) A student who wishes for luxuries has to sacrifice education. A student who wishes for good education has to sacrifice luxuries. A student cannot have both.

A student who wishes for luxuries has to sacrifice education. A student who wishes for good education has to sacrifice luxuries. A student cannot have both.

61) Never reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.

Never reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.

62) What good can the scriptures do to a man who has no sense of his own? Of what use is a mirror to a blind man?

What good can the scriptures do to a man who has no sense of his own? Of what use is a mirror to a blind man?

63) Too much beauty got Sita kidnapped, too much ego got Ravana killed and too much charity got Raja Bali in deep trouble. So too much of anything is bad. One should refrain from ‘too much.

Too much beauty got Sita kidnapped, too much ego got Ravana killed and too much charity got Raja Bali in deep trouble. So too much of anything is bad. One should refrain from ‘too much.

64) Those who are destitute of learning, penance, knowledge, good disposition, virtue and benevolence are brutes wandering the earth in the form of men. They are burdensome to the earth.

Those who are destitute of learning, penance, knowledge, good disposition, virtue and benevolence are brutes wandering the earth in the form of men. They are burdensome to the earth.

65) I consider almighty god above all so only I always propagate his true message of Vedas.

I consider almighty god above all so only I always propagate his true message of Vedas.

66) Those born blind cannot see; similarly blind are those in the grip of lust. Proud men have no perception of evil; and those bent on acquiring riches see no sin in their actions.

Those born blind cannot see; similarly blind are those in the grip of lust. Proud men have no perception of evil; and those bent on acquiring riches see no sin in their actions.

67) The enemy’s enemy is a friend.

The enemy's enemy is a friend.

68) Learning is retained through putting into practice; family prestige is maintained through good behaviour; a respectable person is recognised by his excellent qualities; and anger is seen in the eyes.

Learning is retained through putting into practice; family prestige is maintained through good behaviour; a respectable person is recognised by his excellent qualities; and anger is seen in the eyes.

69) Save your wealth against future calamity. Do not say, “what fear has a rich man of calamity?” Wealth sometimes vanishes away and large accumulations perish.

Save your wealth against future calamity. Do not say, “what fear has a rich man of calamity?” Wealth sometimes vanishes away and large accumulations perish.

70) Teaching one who has no understanding is of no use. Just as a bamboo does not become fragrant even though it lives with the sandal wood trees.

Teaching one who has no understanding is of no use. Just as a bamboo does not become fragrant even though it lives with the sandal wood trees.

71) It is the mind of man alone that is the cause of his bondage or freedom.

It is the mind of man alone that is the cause of his bondage or freedom.

72) Like a single tree laden with fragrant flowers is enough to make the whole forest aromatic, a single good son is enough to bring love and unity to the whole family.

Like a single tree laden with fragrant flowers is enough to make the whole forest aromatic, a single good son is enough to bring love and unity to the whole family.

73) The man who is praised by others is regarded as worthy though he may be really void of all merit. But the man who sings his own praises becomes disgraced though he might be Indra, the possessor of all Excellencies.

The man who is praised by others is regarded as worthy though he may be really void of all merit. But the man who sings his own praises becomes disgraced though he might be Indra, the possessor of all Excellencies.

74) It is better to be without a king than [to have] a bad one.

It is better to be without a king than [to have] a bad one.

You may also like...