Chanakya Quotes on love, success, motivation, wedding, politics

Before reading the quotes about Chanakya, let us listen to this beautiful episode of the great Chanakya’s serial where Chanakya and his pupils sing the famous patriotic song, “Hum kare rashtra aaradhan”.

Even a wise man comes to grief by 

  • Giving instruction to a foolish disciple
  • Maintaining a wicked wife 
  • Excessive familiarity with the miserable.

  • A wicked wife
  • A false friend
  • A saucy servant 
  • Living in a house with the serpent in it is nothing but death.

  • Save money against hard times
  • Save wife at the sacrifice of riches
  • But invariably save souls even at the sacrifice of wife and riches.

  • Save your wealth against future calamity. 
  • Do not say, “What fear has a rich man, of calamity?” 
  • When riches begin to forsake one even the accumulated stock dwindles away.

Do not inhabit a place where you 

  • are not respected
  • cannot earn your livelihood
  • have no friends
  • cannot acquire knowledge.

Do not stay for a single day where there are not these five persons: k

  1. a wealthy man
  2. a brahmin well versed in Vedic lore
  3. a king
  4. a river
  5. a physician

Wise men should never go into a country where there are

  • no means of earning one’s livelihood
  • people who have no dread of anybody
  • people who have no sense of shame
  • people with no intelligence
  • people with their charitable disposition.

Test a servant while 

  • in the discharge of his duty
  • a relative in difficulty
  • a friend in adversity
  • a wife in misfortune.

He is a true friend who does not forsake us in time of 

  • need
  • misfortune
  • famine
  • war
  • in a king’s court
  • at the crematorium (Smasana).

He who gives up what is imperishable for that which is perishable loses that which is imperishable and doubtlessly loses that which is perishable also.

Do not put your trust in 

  • rivers
  • men who carry weapons
  • beasts with claws or horns
  • women
  • members of a royal family

Women have

  • hunger two-fold
  • shyness four-fold
  • daring six-fold
  • lust eight-fold 

as compared to men

  • Untruthfulness
  • Rashness
  • Guile 
  • Stupidity
  • Avarice
  • Uncleanliness
  • Cruelty 

are a woman’s seven natural flaws

  • To have the ability for eating when dishes are ready at hand
  • To be robust and virile in the company of one’s religiously wedded wife
  • To have a mind for making charity when one is prosperous 

are the fruits of no ordinary austerities.

  • He whose son is obedient to him
  • Whose wife’s conduct is in accordance with his wishes 
  • Who is content with his riches

has his heaven here on earth.

  • They alone are sons who are devoted to their father. 
  • He is a father who supports his sons. 
  • He is a friend in whom we can confide.
  • She is a wife in whose company the husband feels contented and peaceful.

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

Do not put your trust in a bad companion nor even trust an ordinary friend, for if he should get angry with you, he may bring all your secrets to light.

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

Foolishness is indeed painful, and verily so is youth, but more painful by far than either is being obliged in another person’s house.

  • There does not exist a pearl in every mountain
  • Nor a pearl in the head of every elephant
  • Neither are the sadhus to be found everywhere
  • Nor sandal trees in every forest

[Note: Only elephants in royal palaces are seen decorated with pearls (precious stones) on their heads].

Wise men should always bring up their sons in various moral ways, for children who have knowledge of Nitisastra and are well behaved become a glory to their family.

Those parents who do not educate their sons are their enemies; for as is a crane among swans, so are ignorant sons in a public assembly

Many a bad habit is developed through overindulgence, and many a good one by chastisement, therefore beat your son as well as your pupil; never indulge them. “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

Let not a single day pass without you 

  • learning a verse
  • half a verse
  • a fourth of it
  • one letter of it; 

nor without attending to charity, study and other pious activity.

  • Separation from the wife 
  • disgrace from one’s own people
  • an enemy saved in battle
  • service to a wicked king
  • Poverty
  • a mismanaged assembly

these six kinds of evils, if afflicting a person, burn him even without fire

  • Trees on a riverbank
  • A woman in another man’s house
  • Kings without counselors go without doubt to swift destruction

  • A brahmin’s strength is in his learning
  • A king’s strength is in his army 
  • A vaishya’s strength is in his wealth
  • A shudra’s strength is in his attitude of Service

  • The prostitute has to forsake a man who has no money 
  • The subject a king that cannot defend him 
  • The birds a tree that bears no fruit
  • The guests a house after they have finished their meals.

  • Brahmins quit their patrons after receiving alms from them 
  • Scholars leave their teachers after receiving education from them
  • Animals desert a forest that has been burnt down.

He who befriends a man 

  • Whose conduct is vicious 
  • Whose vision impure
  • Who is notoriously crooked

is rapidly ruined.

  • The friendship between equals flourishes
  • Service under a king is respectable 
  • It is good to be business-minded in public dealings
  • A beautiful lady is safe, only in her own home.

In this world, 

  • whose family is there without blemish? 
  • Who is free from sickness and grief? 
  • Who is forever happy?

  • A man’s descent may be discerned by his conduct
  • his country by his pronunciation of the language
  • his friendship by his warmth and glow
  • his capacity to eat by his body.

  • Give your daughter in marriage to a good family
  • engage your son in learning
  • see that your enemy comes to grief
  • engage your friends in dharma

Of a rascal and a serpent, the serpent is the better, for he strikes only at the time he is destined to kill, while the former at every step.

At the time of the pralaya (universal destruction), the oceans are to exceed their limits and seek to change, but a saintly man never changes.

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.

Though men are endowed with beauty and youth and born in noble families, yet without education, they are like the palasa flower, which is void of sweet fragrance.

The beauty of

  • A cuckoo is in its notes
  • A woman in her unalloyed devotion to her husband
  • An ugly person in his scholarship
  • An ascetic in his forgiveness

  • Give up a member to save a family
  • A family to save a village
  • A village to save a country 
  • The country to save yourself.

  • There is no poverty for the industrious. 
  • Sin does not attach itself to the person practicing Japa (chanting of the holy names of the Lord). 
  • Those who are absorbed in Maunam (silent contemplation of the Lord) have no quarrel with others. 
  • They are fearless who remain always alert.

  • What is too heavy for the strong and what place is too distant for those who put forth the effort? 
  • What country is foreign to a man of true learning? 
  • Who can be inimical to one who speaks pleasingly?

As a whole forest becomes fragrant by the existence of a single tree with sweet-smelling blossoms in it, so a family becomes famous by the birth of a virtuous son.

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

As night looks delightful when the moon shines, so is a family gladdened by even one learned and virtuous son.

What is the use of having many sons if they cause grief and vexation? It is better to have only one son from whom the whole family can derive support and peacefulness.

  • Fondle a son until he is five years of age
  • Use the stick for another ten years
  • But when he has attained his sixteenth year treat him as a friend

He who runs away from 

  • a fearful calamity
  • a foreign invasion
  • a terrible famine
  • the companionship of wicked men is safe

He has not acquired one of the following: 

  • religious merit (Dharma)
  • wealth (Artha)
  • the satisfaction of desires (Kama)
  • liberation (Moksa) is repeatedly born to die

Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, comes of Her own accord where 

  • fools are not respected
  • the grain is well stored up
  • the husband and wife do not Quarrel

These five: 

  • The life span
  • The type of work
  • Wealth
  • Learning 
  • The time of one’s death 

are determined while one is in the womb.

Offspring friends and relatives flee from a devotee of the Lord: yet those who follow him bring merit to their families through their devotion.

Fish, tortoises, and birds bring up their young by means of sight, attention and touch; so do saintly men afford protection to their associates by the same means.

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

Learning is like a cow of desire. It, like her, yields in all seasons. Like a mother, it feeds you on your journey. Therefore learning is a hidden treasure.

A stillborn son is superior to a foolish son endowed with a long life. The first causes grief for but a moment while the latter like a blazing fire consumes his parents in grief for life.

Residing in a small village devoid of proper living facilities, serving a person born of a low family, unwholesome food, a frowning wife, a foolish son, and a widowed daughter burn the body without fire.

What good is a cow that neither gives milk nor conceives? Similarly, what is the value of the birth of a son if he becomes neither learned nor a pure devotee of the Lord?

When one is consumed by the sorrows of life, three things give him relief: 

  • Offspring, a wife, and 
  • The company of the Lord’s devotees.

  • Kings speak for once
  • Men of learning once
  • Daughter is given in marriage once

All these things happen once and only once.

  • Religious austerities should be practiced alone
  • Study by two
  • Singing by three
  • A journey should be undertaken by four
  • Agriculture by five
  • War by many together.

She is a true wife who is 

  • Clean (Shuchi)
  • Expert
  • Chaste
  • Pleasing to the husband
  • Truthful.

  • The house of a childless person is a void
  • All directions are void to one who has no relatives
  • The heart of a fool is also void
  • But to a poverty-stricken man all is void.

  • Scriptural lessons not put into practice are poison
  • A meal is a poison to him who suffers from indigestion
  • A social gathering is a poison to a poverty-stricken person
  • A young wife is a poison to an aged man.

  • That man who is without religion and mercy should be rejected
  • A guru without spiritual knowledge should be rejected
  • The wife with an offensive face should be given up
  • So should relatives who are without affection

  • Constant travel brings old age upon a man
  • A horse becomes old by being constantly tied up
  • Lack of sexual contact with her husband brings old age upon a woman
  • Garments become old through being left in the sun

Consider again and again the following: 

  • the right time
  • the right friends 
  • the right place
  • the right means of income
  • the right ways of spending
  • from whom you derive your power

  • For the twice-born, the fire (Agni) is a representative of God 
  • The Supreme Lord resides in the heart of His devotees
  • Those of average intelligence (Alpa buddhi) see God only in His Sri-murti
  • Those of broad vision see the Supreme Lord everywhere

  • Agni is the worshipable person for the twice-born
  • the brahmana for the other castes; the husband for the wife
  • the guest who comes for food at the midday meal for all

As gold is tested in four ways by 

  • rubbing
  • cutting
  • heating 
  • beating

so a man should be tested by these four things: 

  • his renunciation
  • his conduct
  • his qualities
  • his actions

A thing may be dreaded as long as it has not overtaken you, but once it has come upon you, try to get rid of it without hesitation.

Though persons are born from the same womb and under the same stars, they do not become alike in disposition as the thousand fruits of the Badri tree.

  • he whose hands are clean does not like to hold an office
  • he who desires nothing cares not for bodily decorations
  • he who is only partially educated cannot speak agreeably
  • he who speaks out plainly cannot be a deceiver

  • The learned are envied by the foolish
  • rich men by the poor
  • chaste women by adulteresses
  • beautiful ladies by ugly ones 

  • Indolent application ruins study 
  • Money is lost when entrusted to others
  • A farmer who sows his seed sparsely is ruined
  • An army is lost for the want of a Commander

  • learning is retained through putting into practice
  • family prestige is maintained through good behavior
  • a respectable person is recognized by his excellent qualities
  • anger is seen in the eyes

  • Religion is preserved by wealth
  • Knowledge by diligent practice
  • A king by conciliatory words
  • Home by a dutiful housewife

  • Those who blaspheme Vedic wisdom
  • who ridicule the lifestyle recommended in the Shastras
  • who deride men of peaceful temperament

come to grief unnecessarily.

  • charity puts an end to poverty
  • righteous conduct to misery
  • discretion to ignorance
  • scrutiny to fear

  • There is no disease (so destructive) as lust
  • No enemy like infatuation
  • No fire like the wrath
  • No happiness like spiritual knowledge

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

  • Heaven is but a straw to him who knows spiritual life
  • so is life to a valiant man
  • a woman to him who has subdued his senses
  • the universe to him who is without attachment to the world

  • Learning is a friend on the journey
  • a wife in the house
  • medicine in sickness
  • religious merit is the only friend after death

  • The rain which falls upon the sea is useless
  • so is food for one who is satiated
  • in vain is a gift for one who is wealthy
  • a burning lamp during the daytime is useless

  • there is no water like rainwater
  • no strength like one’s own
  • no light like that of the eyes
  • no wealth more dear than food grain

  • The poor wish for wealth
  • animals for the faculty of speech
  • men wish for heaven
  • godly persons for liberation

  • 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 Goddess of wealth is unsteady (Chanchal), and so is the life-breath 
  • The duration of life is uncertain, and the place of habitation is uncertain
  • but in all this inconsistent world religious merit alone is immovable

  • among men the barber is cunning
  • among birds the crow
  • among beasts the jackal
  • among women, Malin (flower girl)

These five are your fathers; 

  1. he who gave you birth
  2. girdled you with the sacred thread
  3. teaches you
  4. provides you with food
  5. protects you from fearful situations.

These five should be considered as mothers; 

  1. the king’s wife
  2. the preceptor’s wife
  3. the friend’s wife
  4. your wife’s mother
  5. your own mother

By means of hearing one understands dharma, malignity vanishes, knowledge is acquired, and liberation from material bondage is gained.

  • among birds the crow is vile
  • among beasts the dog
  • the ascetic whose sins is abominable
  • but he who blasphemes others is the worst Chandala

  • Brass is polished by ashes
  • Copper is cleaned by tamarind
  • A woman, by her menses
  • A river by its flow

  • He who has wealth has friends
  • He who is wealthy has relatives
  • The rich one alone is called a man
  • The affluent alone are respected as pandits

  • As is the desire of Providence, so functions one’s intellect; 
  • One’s activities are also controlled by Providence; 
  • By the will of Providence, one is surrounded by helpers.

  • Time perfects all living beings as well as kills them
  • It alone is awake when all others are asleep. 
  • Time is insurmountable.

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

The spirit soul goes through his own course of karma and he himself suffered the good and bad results thereby accrued. By his own actions he entangles himself in samsara, and by his own efforts, he extricates himself.

  • The king is obliged to accept the sins of his subjects
  • Purohit (priest) suffers for those of the king
  • A husband suffers for those of his wife
  • The guru suffers for those of his pupils.

  • a father who is a chronic debtor
  • an adulterous mother
  • a beautiful wife
  • an unlearned son are enemies (in one’s own home)

  • conciliate a covetous man by means of a gift
  • an obstinate man with folded hands in salutation
  • a fool by humoring him
  • a learned man by truthful words

  • it is better to be without a kingdom than to rule over a petty one
  • better to be without a friend than to befriend a rascal
  • better to be without a disciple than to have a stupid one
  • better to be without a wife than to have a bad one

  • How can people be made happy in a petty kingdom? 
  • What peace can we expect from a rascal friend? 
  • What happiness can we have at home in the company of a bad wife? 
  • How can renown be gained by instructing an unworthy disciple?

Learn one thing from a lion

whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort

One from a crane

restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time and ability.

Four from a cock
  1. To wake at the proper time
  2. to take a bold stand and fight
  3. to make a fair division (of property) among relations
  4. to earn one’s own bread by personal exertion
Five from a crow
  1. Union in privacy (with one’s wife)
  2. Boldness
  3. Storing away useful items
  4. Watchfulness
  5. Not easily trusting others
Six from a dog
  1. Contentment with little or nothing to eat although one may have a great appetite
  2. To awaken instantly although one may be in a deep slumber
  3. Unflinching devotion to the master
  4. Bravery
  5. Being Suspicious at the beginning
  6. Loyalty
Three from an ass
  1. Although an ass is tired, he continues to carry his burden
  2. He is unmindful of cold and heat
  3. He is always contented

He who shall practice these twenty virtues shall become invincible in all his undertakings.

A wise man should not reveal his 

  • loss of wealth
  • the vexation of his mind
  • the misconduct of his own wife
  • base words were spoken by others
  • disgrace that has befallen him

He who gives up 

  • shyness in monetary dealings
  • in acquiring knowledge
  • in eating
  • in business

becomes happy.

The happiness and peace attained by those satisfied by the nectar of spiritual tranquillity is not attained by greedy people restlessly moving here and there.

One should feel satisfied with the following three things

  • his own wife
  • food is given by Providence 
  • wealth acquired by honest effort 

but one should never feel satisfied with the following three 

  • study
  • chanting the holy names of the Lord
  • charity.

Do not pass between 

  • two Brahmanas
  • a brahmana and his sacrificial fire
  • a wife and her husband
  • a master and his servant
  • and a plough and an ox

Do not let your foot touch 

  • fire
  • the spiritual master or a brahmana
  • a cow
  • a virgin
  • an old person 
  • a child 


  • one thousand cubits away from an elephant
  • a hundred from a horse
  • ten from a horned beast

but keep away from the wicked by leaving the country

  • an elephant is controlled by a goad (Ankush)
  • a horse by a slap of the hand
  • a horned animal with the show of a stick
  • a rascal with a sword

  • Brahmanas find satisfaction in a good meal
  • Peacocks in the peal of thunder
  • A sadhu in seeing the prosperity of others
  • The wicked in the misery of others


  • a strong man by submission
  • a wicked man by opposition
  • the one whose power is equal to yours by politeness or force

The power of 

  • a king lies in his mighty arms
  • that of a brahmana in his spiritual knowledge 
  • that of a woman in her beauty, youth, and sweet words.

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.

Swans live wherever there is water, and leave the place where water dries up; let not a man act so — and comes and goes as he pleases.

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

He who has wealth has friends and relations; he alone survives and is respected as a man.

The following four characteristics of the denizens of heaven may be seen in the residents of this earth planet

  • Charity
  • Sweet words
  • Worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead
  • satisfying the needs of Brahmanas

The following qualities of the denizens of hell may characterize men on earth

  • extreme wrath
  • harsh speech
  • enmity with one’s relations
  • the company with the base
  • service to men of low extraction.

By going to the den of the lion, pearls from the head of an elephant may be obtained, but by visiting the hole of a jackal nothing but the tail of a calf or a bit of the hide of an ass may be found.

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.

These are needed by one who desires to rise to the divine platform

  • Purity of speech
  • The purity of the mind 
  • The purity of the senses 
  • A compassionate heart.

As you seek 

  • fragrance in a flower
  • oil in the sesamum seed
  • fire in wood
  • ghee (butter) in milk
  • jaggery (Guda) in sugarcane

so seek the spirit that is in the body by means of discrimination.

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