Thoughts on Chanakya – My Guru

Thoughts on Chanakya – My Guru
Barry Nirmal

Just as I consider Swami Vivekananda as my Guru (i.e. teacher) in spiritual affairs, I consider Chanakya as my Guru in political and worldly affairs. My first introduction to Chanakya was through my grandfather who was a very practical man. He used to quote two sayings of Chanakya: Sathe Sathyam i.e. behave with a bully or a wicked man like a bully or wicked man, and Spoil your children with love until they are five, punish them until they are ten, and when they reach the age of sixteen, treat them as a friend. I did not really study Chanakya with my heart. The main reason was that throughout my adult life, I was too busy mastering computer programming languages, and I spent all my life mastering these languages because no sooner than I had mastered a language, it became obsolete and I was forced to start mastering a new language. chanakya

Recently I realized that I made a few critical mistakes in my life, because I did not take to heart the teachings of my Guru, Chanakya. For example, Chanakya says that one should never tell anyone: About loss of fortune, About pain in the heart, About bad character of one of family members, About having been cheated by someone, About having been insulted.

But I told some people about some of the things mentioned above; as a result I suffered from loss of prestige, and esteem in society. Chankaya says that a man has many mothers, which are Mother of your wife, Your own mother, your friend’s wife, king’s wife, Your guru’s wife – one should never start a relationship with these women because they are like mother. I am proud that I have remembered this teaching all my life and have adhered to it.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990, and the U.S. decided to confront Iraq, I was living in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis were very nervous at that time. They were afraid that they could be attacked by Saddam Hussein, or they could be caught in the middle of a lengthy war between Saddam Hussein and the U.S. I remember how, at work, one Muslim Indian fellow had asked me for my views about this invasion by Iraq. I had remarked that the U.S. was following the advice of Chankaya, who said that with a bully one must behave like a bully. I remember how he had nodded his head in excited agreement with my idea. I could go on and on about Chanakya and his teachings, but this will not serve much purpose. It is better for the reader to learn directly from Chanakya himself.

So, I must conclude by saying that Chanakya was a great teacher of the Indian people. His ideas, if taken to heart, can be of great help to Hindus and non-Hindus alike, in acquiring material, political, economic and spiritual power, and in maintaining such power.

To learn more about Chanakya and his principles, please visit

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