|Chanakya composing the Artha Shastra|
CHANAKYA LEARNS AN IMPORTANT LESSON
As Chanakya was still engaged in the preparation of Artha Shastra, King Nanda attacked and routed Chandra Gupta and sent him to exile. Chanakya was always helpful to Chandra Gupta and he felt grieved at his defeat. He started making inquiries as to the reasons for Chandra Gupta’s defeat. He travelled all over the country in disguise so that his identity would not be revealed. In those days, it was the custom of the householders to welcome guests, serve them with food and help them. One day Chanakya visited a certain house in a village where an old lady hosted him. She requested him to have food in her house. She made her grandson sit for food with Chanakya. The tradition was that both the guests and the other people in the host’s house partake the same food together. The old lady thus served hot dosas (sort of pan cakes) to both Chanakya and her grandson. The grandson started eating, the middle part of the dosa. The old lady spontaneously remarked, “You are eating dosa just the way Chandra Gupta rules the kingdom.” Chanakya was surprised at the remark. He asked, “What is the comparison between the method of eating a dosa and Chandra Gupta’s ruling of the kingdom?” The old lady replied, “Chandra Gupta was defeated because he did not place his soldiers around the country but positioned them only in the middle of the capital. Just like my grandson, he concentrated only on the middle and ignored the provinces at the border.” Chanakya learnt a lesson.
As he was ‘Kutila Chitta’ i.e. a shrewd person, he understood the full implication of the old lady’s remark. Thus by going around the country, Chanakya was able to find out the reasons for Chandra Gupta’s defeat. He then started making all preparations for the proper fortification of the kingdom. He then swore to re-install Chandra Gupta as the king and in due course of time achieved that objective.