You might have heard about Chandragupta Maurya, the mighty ruler who established the Maurya empire. He was such a great emperor that, every other king under him accepted him to as the almighty king. He is considered as the first genuine emperor, different from all those who believed in conquering land through bloodshed and war and never cared whether the kings under them were happy or not. However, all this was not possible without a strong-willed man; a really intelligent person who guided the king. Yes, it was Chanakya, the great teacher who helped Chandragupta establish his kingdom, unifying almost all of India. Chanakya not only mentored the king, but also looked into the administration of his kingdom as a Prime Minister to The Maurya empire. Read the story of this great teacher and student duo and learn about the kind of relationship they shared.
The Chanakya-Chandragupta Duo
Chanakya was a famous Indian teacher, who taught in Takshashila University, an ancient Indian university which is now in the Rawalpindi district of Pakistan. Later, he became royal advisor to the Maurya empire and helped the mighty ruler Chandragupta Maurya, rise to power; he also helped the king establish his Maurya empire be defeating the Nanda empire. Chanakya was the most revered advisor to both Chandragupta and his son Bindusara. Chanakya is identified as Vishnugupta or Kautilya and composed the ancient Indian political thesis, Arthashastra. He is revered as a pioneer in Indian political science and economics. The birth of Chanakya is still a matter of debate. Some historians believe that he was born in Pataliputra (new world Patna) or a small town called Kusumpur near it while, others believe that he was born at Takshashila. Some also believe that he was born and brought up in South India. Chanakya was popular for his shrewdness. It is believed that he added poison in small doses to the Chandragupta's food to make him immune to poison and thus avoid any chances of harm by his enemies. However, the king was not aware of this and he shared his food with his pregnant wife, who had reached her term and was days away from delivery. The queen was not immune to the poison and collapsed immediately. Chanakya, in order to save the baby, did an impromptu and successful caesarean.
even the death of Chanakya is disputed. One version of the story is that Subandhu, the minister of Bindusara, told his king that Chanakya is responsible for his mother's death. The king then confirmed it with the nurse and was extremely horrified. Chanakya learned that the king was angry with him and decided to put an end to his life. The king, however, learnt the entire story and concluded that he was not directly responsible for that incident and made asked Subandhu to meet Chanakya and ask him to give up the plan to kill himself. Subandhu, who hated Chanakya, instead of saving him, burnt him alive.
Chandragupta was an eminent ruler of the Maurya empire. He successfully conquered most of the Indian subcontinent and is believed to be the first king who unified India. He was well revered and accepted by other kings. He is not a self-proclaimed emperor and thus, he is considered as India's first genuine emperor. Chandragupta, with the help of his guru and advisor Chanakya, defeated the Nanda empire and established the Maurya empire. Ancient text, Mudrarakshasa states that Chandragupta was the son of Nanda king, Sarvarthasiddi, and a Shudra (a low cast) woman, Mura. The accounts of the early life of Chandragupta are gathered from Sanskrit classic literature and Greek and Latin sources. He was referred as Sandracottos and Andracottus in those foreign literatures. It is believed that Chandragupta gave up his thorn at the age of 42 and became a Spartan. He became a disciple of Jain saint Acharya Bhadrabahu and migrated to the south. He then reached Sravana Belgola (in present-day Karnataka) fasted until death, in a cave (called Badhrabahu cave) there.
The Teacher And The Student
Chanakya and Chandragupta shared a relationship based on reverence and trust. Chanakya was not just a teacher to Chandragupta; he was also his prime minister, friend, well-wisher and advisor. Chanakya was the person and power behind Chandragupta's early rise to power. It was Chandragupta Maurya who founded the great Maurya empire but he couldn't have done it without Chanakya's guidance. Chanakya met Chandragupta by chance but the moment they met, Chanakya identified the great military and executive abilities in Chandragupta and was impressed by the young boy's personality and intelligence, and immediately took him under his mentorship.
There is no doubt that Chandragupta had amazing executive abilities but, it was the shrewdness of Chanakya that enabled the king to use his skills to its maximum. It is safe to say that without Chanakya, the Maurya empire may not have reached the heights it reached.