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Kauṭilya (fl. c.321–c.296 BC)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-F023-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 15, 2024, from

Article Summary

Kauṭilya is famous as the author of the Arthaśāstra, a political treatise often compared with Machiavelli’s The Prince. Although its influence on subsequent political and literary writers is noteworthy, tradition has remained somewhat ambivalent about it, especially because of its seemingly ruthless prescriptions for efficacious government. On a closer reading, however, Kauṭilya is assiduously concerned to secure the welfare and wealth of the citizens of a state under a just government, of which the king, although the sovereign, is just one among seven institutes. Upon the king falls the duty of safeguarding the good of the people in as dharma-sanctioned a way as possible; the ‘rule of the rod’, intrigues and stratagems are reserved for combatting internal and external threats.

Citing this article:
Bilimoria, Purushottama. Kauṭilya (fl. c.321–c.296 BC), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-F023-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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