100+ Chanakya Quotes on Economy, Philosophy, and Life

Chanakya quotes are renowned for their wisdom and insight into the workings of politics, society, and human nature. Chanakya was an Indian philosopher, economist, and royal advisor who lived in the 4th century BCE. 

He is widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers in Indian history, and his teachings have had a lasting impact on the country’s political and cultural landscape.

His quotes continue to inspire people today and are considered essential reading for anyone interested in ancient Indian wisdom and its relevance to modern-day challenges.

A man is great by deeds, not by birth.
Never settle for anything less than what you deserve. It’s not pride, it’s self-respect.
विद्या को चोर भी नहीं चुरा सकता।
Even if a gem is placed on the foot and a mirror on the head, Still, the gem will not lose its value.
Drop the idea that attachment and love are one thing. They are enemies. It is attachment that destroys all love.
A true son is obedient, a true father is loving, and a true friend is honest.
A wise person grooms his child carefully because only an educated person with high morale is given true respect in society.
The world’s biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman.

60 Most Memorable Quotes from the Ancient Indian Economist Chanakya

Here are some of the most profound quotes by Chanakya on various aspects of life:

  • A man is great by deeds, not by birth.
  • A guru who shows his disciple the path of righteousness leaves a huge debt. It cannot be paid back as none of the physical objects is so precious.
  • A man shouldn’t live in a place where people are not afraid of the law, are shameless, and there is no clever man, where people lack in kindness, and where exists no creativity or art.
  • A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first.
  • A person who cannot decide his goal, simply cannot win.
  • A person who is aware of future troubles, and fights against them with his intelligence will be always happy. And a person who remains inactive (without working) waiting for good days to come will destroy his own life.
  • Accumulated wealth is saved by spending just as incoming fresh water is saved by letting out stagnant water.
  • All 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.
  • As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family.
  • 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?
  • As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it.
  • 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.
  • Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person.
  • Do not inhabit a country where you are not respected, cannot earn your livelihood, have no friends, or cannot acquire knowledge.
  • Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.
  • Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous.
  • For the moon, though one, dispels the darkness, which the stars, though numerous, can not.
  • Generosity, pleasing address, courage, and propriety of conduct are not acquired but are inbred qualities.
  • God dwells not in the wooden, stone, or earthen idols. His abode is in our feeling, and our thoughts. It is only through the feeling that we deem God existing in these idols
  • God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your God. The soul is your temple.
  • He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious whose vision is impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined.
  • He who is overly attached to his family members, experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should discard attachments to be happy.
  • 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 lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away, he who is not in our heart is far though he may really be nearby.
  • Humbleness is at the root of self-control.
  • 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 bite for any reason and at any time or always.
  • It is better to die than to preserve this life by incurring disgrace. The loss of life causes but a moment’s grief, but disgrace brings grief every day of one’s life.
  • It is the mind of man alone that is the cause of his bondage or freedom.
  • Just like a tree laden with scented flowers spreads fragrance in the whole forest. Similarly, a worthy son brings glory to the whole family, community, and country.
  • Many bad habits are developed through overindulgence and many good ones by chastisement.  Sinfully acquired wealth may remain for ten years; in the eleventh year, it disappears with even the original stock.
  • Never reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.
  • No one can defeat a powerful mind.
  • 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.
  • Once you start working on something, don’t be afraid of failure, and don’t abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest.
  • One who can’t determine his goals; cannot win.
  • One whose knowledge is confined to books and whose wealth is in the possession of others can use neither his knowledge nor wealth when the need for them arises.
  • Skills are called hidden treasures as they save like a mother in a foreign country.
  • Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a relative in difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.
  • The biggest gurumantra is: never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.
  • 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 enemy’s enemy is a friend.
  • The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind but the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.
  • The happiness and peace attained by those satisfied by the nectar of spiritual tranquillity is not attained by greedy persons restlessly moving here and there.
  • The king shall lose no time when the opportunity waited for arrives.
  • 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 wealth earned by unjust means will perish for sure.
  • There are only two ways of dealing with evil persons or thorns. Crush them under your boot or stay far away from them.
  • There are three gems upon this earth, food, water, and pleasing words — fools consider pieces of rocks as gems.
  • 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 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.
  • Those base men who speak of the secret faults of others destroy themselves like serpents that stray onto anthills.
  • Till the enemy’s weakness is known, he should be kept on friendly terms.
  • Time perfects men as well as destroys them.
  • 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’.
  • 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.
  • We should always speak what would please the man of whom we expect a favor, like a hunter who sings sweetly when he desires to shoot a deer.
  • We should not fret about what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment.
  • Wealth, a friend, a wife, and a kingdom may be regained, but this body when lost may never be acquired again.
  • Whoever helps you in the time of illness, misfortune, famines, and invasion is your true brother in the real sense.
  • You can guess the origin of a person through his behavior, his native place via his tone, and his food intake by looking at the size of his belly.

3 Self-Respect Chanakya Quotes

These are some of the most insightful quotes on self-respect by Chanakya:

  • Never settle for anything less than what you deserve. It’s not pride, it’s self-respect.
  • Money comes and goes, and so is the youth. Life goes and goes the soul, nothing lasts forever. The only thing that stays firm is your faith.
  • The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time, and ability.

8 Chanakya Quotes in Hindi

Here are some thought-provoking quotes by Chanakya in Hindi:

  • जैसे एक बछड़ा हज़ारो गायों के झुंड मे अपनी माँ के पीछे चलता है। उसी प्रकार आदमी के अच्छे और बुरे कर्म उसके पीछे चलते हैं।
  • विद्या को चोर भी नहीं चुरा सकता।
  • एक समझदार आदमी को सारस की तरह होश से काम लेना चाहिए और जगह, वक्त और अपनी योग्यता को समझते हुए अपने कार्य को सिद्ध करना चाहिए।
  • ईश्वर मूर्तियों में नहीं है। आपकी भावनाएँ ही आपका ईश्वर है। आत्मा आपका मंदिर है।
  • पुस्तकें एक मुर्ख आदमी के लिए वैसे ही हैं, जैसे एक अंधे के लिए आइना।
  • आग सिर में स्थापित करने पर भी जलाती है। अर्थात दुष्ट व्यक्ति का कितना भी सम्मान कर लें, वह सदा दुःख ही देता है।
  • जो गुजर गया उसकी चिंता नहीं करनी चाहिए, ना ही भविष्य के बारे में चिंतिंत होना चाहिए। समझदार लोग केवल वर्तमान में ही जीते हैं।
  • जो जिस कार्ये में कुशल हो उसे उसी कार्ये में लगना चाहिए।

8 Motivation Chanakya Niti Quotes

Check these motivational quotes by Chanakya that’ll help you believe in yourself:

  • 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 who has mercy and compassion for all creatures is religious for sure. He does not require any religious symbol or sign to prove his religiousness.
  • 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.
  • Don’t judge the future of a person based on his present conditions, because time has the power to change black coal to shiny diamonds.
  • Even if a gem is placed on the foot and a mirror on the head, Still, the gem will not lose its value.
  • If one has a good disposition, what other virtue is needed? If a man has fame, what is the value of other ornamentation?
  • It is better to have only one son endowed with good qualities than a hundred devoid of them. For the moon though one, dispels the darkness, which the stars, though numerous, do not.
  • Knowledge is like holy kamdhenu and is like a tree that bears fruit in every season. In unknown territories, it provides protection and brings you rewards.

3 Love Chanakya Quotes

Here are some meaningful quotes by Chanakya that capture the bitter-sweet essence of love:

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

5 Chanakya Quotes on Friendship

Check out these Chanakya quotes on friendship:

  • A true son is obedient, a true father is loving, and a true friend is honest.
  • Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats beauty and youth.
  • Just as a mirror reflects a man’s face his personality is reflected in his choice of friends. One must always be careful in forming friendships and acquaintances, for one’s friends, are in a way, an extension of one’s inner inclinations and tendencies.
  • Never make friends with people who are above or below you in status. Such friendships will never give you any happiness.
  • There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth.

5 Chanakya Quotes on Education

Check out these valuable quotes by Chanakya on education and the power of learning:

  • A wise person grooms his child carefully because only an educated person with high morale is given true respect in society.
  • 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.
  • A learned man is honored by the people. A learned man commands respect everywhere for his learning. Indeed, learning is honored everywhere.
  • Learn from the mistakes of others… can’t live long enough to make them all yourselves.
  • Moral excellence is an ornament for personal beauty; righteous conduct, high birth; success for learning; and proper spending for wealth.

3 Chanakya Quotes on Success

Here are some important quotes by Chanakya on success:

  • Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions: Why I am 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.
  • Once a man’s ambition is kindled, nothing can stop him. For a businessman, no country can be too far. For a wise man, there is no such thing as a foreign land. He is at home wherever he goes.
  • 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.
  • The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends to do should be done by him with a wholehearted and strenuous effort.

3 Chanakya Quotes About Women

Check these widely known quotes by Chanakya about women:

  • The world’s biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman.
  • Knowledge is lost without putting it into practice; a man is lost due to ignorance; an army is lost without a commander; and a woman is lost without a husband.
  • It is imprudent to advise a fool, care for a woman with bad character, and to be in the company of a lethargic and unhappy person.


Who was Chanakya?

Chanakya was an ancient Indian teacher, philosopher, economist, jurist, and royal advisor. He is considered one of the greatest strategists and tacticians in Indian history and is widely credited for the establishment of the Maurya Empire in India.

When was Chanakya born?

The exact date of Chanakya’s birth is unknown but it is estimated to be around 350 BCE.

Where was Chanakya born?

Chanakya was born in a Brahmin family in the town of Takshashila in ancient India.

What was Chanakya’s education?

Chanakya was a highly educated individual, having studied political science, economics, and military strategy at the University of Takshashila.

What was Chanakya’s role in the Maurya Empire?

Chanakya was the chief advisor to the first emperor of the Maurya Empire, Chandragupta Maurya, and played a crucial role in consolidating the empire and expanding its boundaries through military conquests and diplomacy.

What was Chanakya’s most famous work?

Chanakya’s most famous work is the “Arthashastra”, a treatise on statecraft, economics, and military strategy, which is considered one of the earliest works of political science in India.

How did Chanakya come to power?

Chanakya rose to power by serving as the chief advisor to Chandragupta Maurya, who became the emperor of the Maurya Empire. He was instrumental in securing Chandragupta’s throne and expanding the empire’s boundaries through military conquests and diplomacy.

What was Chanakya’s approach to governance?

Chanakya believed in a strong centralized government with a well-organized bureaucracy, a professional army, and a prosperous economy. He was a firm believer in the importance of education and stressed the importance of good governance for the stability and prosperity of a kingdom.

What was Chanakya’s contribution to economics?

Chanakya is considered one of the earliest proponents of economics in India. He stressed the importance of a strong economy and the need for the state to support the growth of commerce and trade. He also emphasized the importance of tax collection, fiscal management, and state spending.

What was Chanakya’s approach to diplomacy?

Chanakya believed in the importance of diplomacy in expanding the empire and maintaining peace. He emphasized the need for strong alliances with friendly states, the use of bribery and intrigue to weaken the enemy, and the use of military force only as a last resort.

What was Chanakya’s view on warfare?

Chanakya believed that war should only be resorted to as a last resort and advocated for the use of diplomacy and cunning to achieve victory. He stressed the importance of proper planning, intelligence gathering, and the use of psychological tactics to weaken the enemy.

What was Chanakya’s philosophy on leadership?

Chanakya believed that a leader should be virtuous, knowledgeable, and have the ability to command the respect of their subjects. He also emphasized the importance of good governance, the promotion of education, and the welfare of the people.

Was Chanakya married?

There is no historical evidence to suggest that Chanakya was married.

Did Chanakya have children?

There is no historical evidence to suggest that Chanakya had any children.

When did Chanakya die?

The exact date of Chanakya’s death is unknown but it is estimated to be around 283 BCE.

Was Chanakya an author?

Yes, Chanakya was the author of the “Arthashastra.”

What were Chanakya’s religious beliefs?

According to certain perspectives, Chanakya may have been a follower of Zoroastrianism or was significantly impacted by its beliefs.

What was the impact of Chanakya’s teachings?

Some experts opine that Chanakya may have practiced Zoroastrianism or was heavily influenced by its teachings.

Is Chanakya’s legacy still relevant today?

Yes, Chanakya’s legacy is still relevant today as his teachings continue to be relevant to modern political and economic discourse. Many of his ideas on statecraft, diplomacy, and leadership continue to be studied and discussed in modern times.

How is Chanakya remembered in India today?

Chanakya is remembered in India as one of the greatest political strategists and tacticians in Indian history. He is widely recognized for his contribution to the establishment of the Maurya Empire and his ideas on statecraft, economics, and diplomacy continue to be studied and discussed in modern times.

Asma Ahmed

I identify myself as a quodophile and linguaphile, a lover of quotes and all things language. My eagerness to learn new things has helped me become fluent in several languages and still crave more knowledge. My passion for words, literature, and wisdom is evident in my writing, where I constantly explore the beauty and power of quotes as well as the meaning and context behind them. With India being my home, I am constantly seeking inspiration from its diverse cultures and languages. But my journey goes beyond the borders of the country, in which I explore global cultures and languages to create a connection between the readers and the messages of the quotes I collect. I believe words have the power to change perspectives, evoke emotions, and guide people. In my free time, I can be found scouring books, articles, and social media for new quotes to add to my collection. I am forever on the lookout for new wisdom to share with the world.

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