The teachings from Chanakya Neeti are not the easiest to comprehend. These teachings hold strong moral arguments, and they might make us feel like flawed creatures. Some quotes need to be understood from a different perspective. They may seem harsh, but tough love is necessary for success.
We have listed down 30 most suitable lessons from Chanakya Neeti for a successful life. These teachings will provide a different context to perceive the world. Rooted in a realistic point of view, these teachings offer a glimpse into the true nature of our world. Get ready to be a high achiever and understand these life lessons.
1. “Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a relative difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.”
It is only human to change behaviour according to our circumstances, but some situations bring out our worst qualities. The people you trust the most can turn their back on you. With this insight, ensure that you are not the one to break anyone’s trust.
2. “The biggest guru mantra is: Never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.”
Sharing secrets fosters a bond but leaves us in a vulnerable position. In a world fuelled by competition, such transparency is not rewarding.
3. “He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious, whose vision impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined.”
This is among the most renowned chanakya neeti for success. It says to understand the people around you, but don’t befriend everyone. Your friends influence you, choose carefully.
4. “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?”
Be grateful about being alive and make the most of your life. Stay away from bad Karma, because one day death will be at the doorstep, and then you won’t have the time to reverse it.
5. “Once a man’ 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.”
You must want something wholeheartedly to utilize adverse circumstances. Once you invest all your devotion to a goal, there is little that can stop you.
6. “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 attachment to be happy.”
The anxiety-inducing prospect of familial loss makes us unhappy. Working in a state of unhappiness isn't impossible, but difficult. Detachment from one’s family is a necessary sacrifice for success.
7. “A man is great by deeds, not by birth.”
You could be born into the most privileged family, but you still haven't achieved anything. Your identity is shaped by your good or bad actions.
8. “Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth.”
Your knowledge will not abandon you during difficult times, it will help you find your way out.
9. “A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first.”
An honest person is an open book, his secrets are out on the table. There is heroism in honesty, but in today’s world, brutal honesty is more of a mistake.
10. “Just as a mirror reflects as a mans 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.”
Friends are consciously chosen. They can help you understand yourself better. Introspect on why you chose to be friends with someone, the answer may surprise you.
11. “God dwells not in the wooden, or stone or earthen idols. His abode is in our feeling, our thoughts. It is only through the feeling that we deem God existing in these idols.”
God is who you think he/she is. This is one of wisest Chanakya neeti for success in life.
12. “As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it.”
Rid yourself from it before it consumes you. Being scared only adds an extra step to the problem-solving process.
13. “Once you start working on something don’t be afraid of failure and don’t abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest.”
You are familiar with persistence and hard work. Cultivating these habits is easier when you enjoy the activity itself. Look at your “work” from a different perspective, and your performance and happiness will both increase.
14. “There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth.”
This Chanakya neeti applies to you as well. Look inward, and you will find your selfish interests behind your connections. The rest of the people are not very different.
15. “No one can defeat a powerful mind.”
Note that powerful means assertive and self-aware, not stubborn and ignorant. This Chanakya neeti contains the mantra for winning in this clever world.
16. “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.”
The key here is to understand that these qualities are rarely inherent. Nobody is born with a balanced mind, contentment requires hard work, self-love is learnt and mercifulness is chosen. If you want to acquire a great quality, work for it.
17. “There is no present and future of the lazy.”
18. ”You can win over a greedy by offering money, a proud person by covering before him. You can win a foolish by agreeing with him and you can win a scholar by truth only.”
Understand what each person values. This Chanakya Neeti teaching will benefit you in every aspect of your life. However, some people only care about facts and conviction. They have risen above materialism and self-centredness.
19. “Learn from the mistakes of others…you can’t live long enough to make them all yourselves.”
Do not be ignorant of the world around you. Another person’s mistake is a cautionary lesson for you.
20. “Before you start some work, always ask yourselves three questions: why I am doing it, what the results might be and will it be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.”
A sense of purpose combined with realistic measures is the recipe for success. Do not do something just for the heck of it.
21. “The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the directions of the wind. But, the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.”
Be kind. Grateful people will spread the word of your kindness.
22. “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”
Always be aware of your place in the universe, it is on a lonely planet. Despite your connections, you are alone.
23. “Never settle for anything less than what you deserve. It’s not pride, it’s self respect”
On the flip side, be aware that you are not entitled to everything you want. You also deserve the outcomes of your Karma, learn to accept those with grace.
24. “As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family.”
Stay away from the rotten fruit, and more importantly, don’t be that rotten fruit.
25. “One’s behaviour will reveal which clan one has descended from. One’s speech will reveal one’s nationality. One’s respect for others reflects the measure of grace and love in one’s heart. One’s body mirrors the kind of food one consumes.”
The smallest of your actions represent something about you. Everyone around you is your audience, be wary of what you are presenting before them.
26. “Never make friends with people who are above or below you in status. Such friendships will never give you any happiness.”
A looming air of mistrust and envy will be present in both cases. Such toxic feelings leave no room for friendship.
27. “Debt is like an enemy. As one should destroy his enemy without any trace, a debt should be paid till the penny”
28. “Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous”
People that appear weak get picked on the most. Have a level of intimidation to protect yourself.
29. “But, even lowly creatures, animals, enemies- they teach us something or the other. We just need to grasp the lesson. If he helps you learn something, just grab the chance.”
All organisms have a story. They struggle to survive, get ahead and leave their mark in this world. Even the ones that appear insignificant to us can teach us important life lessons about hardship, determination and wit.
30. “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”
If you know someone talks ill about others behind their back, run in the opposite direction. They will do the same to you. If you realize you engage in this bad habit, then this is an opportunity to improve.
An average person, whose basic needs are satisfied, grows up to be somewhat clueless. We hardly look beyond our immediate environment. This blissful ignorance keeps us away from success. It is why most people stay average throughout their life.
Being extraordinary requires you to look at the big picture, and teachings from Chanakya Neeti do just that. They help us to rise above materialism and self-serving emotions. These facts help us obtain a clear worldview necessary for success.
However, always think for yourself. These quotes are an insight into our surroundings. They function as guidelines, but every human is entitled to his/her opinion.
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