3.10 Chanakya Niti

त्यजेदेकं कुलस्यार्थे ग्रामस्यार्थे कुलं त्यजेत् ।
ग्रामं जनपदस्यार्थे आत्मार्थे पृथिवीं त्यजेत् ॥३.१०॥

tyajedekaṃ kulasyārthe grāmasyārthe kulaṃ tyajet |
grāmaṃ janapadasyārthe ātmārthe pṛthivīṃ tyajet ||3.10||

discard one for the sake of the family; for the sake of the village, discard the family; discard the village for the sake of the country; for the sake of the Atma, discard the world

[Atma is the soul. It seeks liberation from the cycle of birth and re-birth. One way of achieving this liberation is by renouncing the world. The concept of worldly renunciation in favour of pursuing spirituality is debated among scholars. Some are of the view that because spirituality offers lasting fruits as compared to materialism; hence, the materialistic world should be discarded. On the other hand, some opine that if at all materialism is inferior to spirituality, then the one who does not even achieve materialism, how can he achieve spirituality? While ancient scriptures proclaim that one can achieve materialism in spirituality, and spirituality in materialism. Thus, there is no need of discarding the world, for one can remain like a sage even while living in the world. Such a person is known as a Raajarishi.

Based on this ancient concept of a Raajarishi, Chanakya in his book Arthashastra introduces his own concept of a Vijigeeshu. A Vijigīṣu विजिगीषु (literally, the victory-desiring) is one who desires victory, one who aspires to be a king, a potential conqueror. A Vijigeeshu is a Rājaṛṣi राजऋषि (literally, royal sage; a king who is like a sage). A Raajarishi is one who is both a king and a sage. Like a sage, he has acquired self-control by conquering lust (काम kāma), anger (क्रोध krodha), haughtiness (मद mada), greed (लोभ lobha), affection (मोह moha), vanity (मान māna), and overjoy (हर्ष harṣa). Besides being a sage, he is also a king and thus, performs his kingly duties of 1. obtaining material wealth (अर्थ प्राप्ति artha prāpti) by way of conquests, alliances, tributes, and taxes; 2. protecting what is obtained (रक्षण rakṣaṇa); 3. maintaining what is protected (पालन pālana); 4. increasing what is maintained by investing it in various, socially beneficial profitable economic ventures (अर्थ वृद्धि artha vṛddhi); and 5. peacefully enjoy what is increased (योगक्षेम yogakṣema).

The goal of the Vijigeeshu is to obtain what is apparently unobtainable but can be obtained with effort; protect what is obtained; maintain what is protected; increase what is maintained; and peacefully enjoy what is increased. In this manner, the Vijigeeshu increases the prosperity and the well-being of his kingdom and his subjects, in a royal sage-like manner.]

Excerpt from the book “Old Chanakya Strategy: Aphorisms” by Rajen Jani

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