Chanakya, the guru of Chandra Gupta Maurya, is one of the most remembered personalities of ancient India. His contribution to economics and statecraft is still used in the modern days. He had written two great works namely Arthashastra (the principles of Economics) and Chanakya Niti (Chanakya’s Secrets of Statecraft). He was a mighty kingmaker who single-handedly molded a street lad into a great emperor through the sheer brain.
Chanakya’s death is not revealed after great efforts by scholars. But there are two standpoints – one states that he starved himself to death and the other states that he was killed through a quick plot woven around him.
Chanakya continued to be the chief advisor for Bindusara. Unable to tolerate the rapport that Chanakya enjoyed with Bindusara, a terrible plot was constructed to create hatred between him and the ruler. The mastermind behind this plot was Subandhu, the minister of Bindusara. Subandhu made Bindusara believe that it was Chanakya who treacherously killed his mother. This created a critical disgrace in Bindusara for Chanakya.
Chanakya was unable to put up with the behavior of Bindusara whom he loved the most. Therefore, he left the palace and sat starving until death. During this time, a nurse who was with Bindusara’s mother Dhurdha revealed the mystery behind the queen’s death relieving Chanakya from the guilt.
The story went this way. When Chandra Gupta, Bindusara’s father was on the throne, Chanakya was adding poison to his food day by day to make him strong and immune even to the worst poison so that he shall not be poisoned by his enemies or conspirators. Not knowing this, the queen partook in the food reserved for Chandra Gupta when she was pregnant.
Learning this, Chanakya wanted to save the heir to the throne and therefore cut open the womb of the mother to save the baby who was rescued from poison and named Bindusara. In this process, the queen succumbed to death. Ultimately, this act of Chanakya followed his duty towards the empire and as a measure to save Bindusara, who was to be the king of the empire.
Once Bindusara learned this story from the nurse, he realized the grave mistake he committed by misunderstanding Chanakya. However, despite his efforts to pacify him and bring him back to the court, Chanakya refused to do so and continued to starve until death. Yet another version of the story states that Subandhu later cleverly burnt him alive. It appears that Bindusara killed Subandhu in utter disgust due to his evil plan. However, the mysterious death of Chanakya is not fully resolved yet.
>>> Arthashastra (the principles of Economics) – Buy Now
>>> Chanakya Niti (Chanakya’s Secrets of Statecraft) – Buy Now