It is widely known that Arthashatra was written by Chanakya. However, the fact is Arthashasthra mentions the author as Kautaliya and Vishnugupta. Not even once the book ‘Arthashashtra’ states the author as Chankaya. But it is the belief of our historians that Chankaya is indeed the author of Arthashastra.
This makes one wonder whether –
Chankaya and Kautaliya are same?
Call it an assumption or brilliancy of the researchers, but on the basis of some links and connections, our historians have concluded that Kautaliya is none other than Chankaya himself. On the basis of this assumed theory, Chanakaya is now labelled as Kautaliya, the writer of Arthashastra. This is the reason why it is said that Chankaya has two more names – Kautaliya and Vishnugupta.
However, not all historians agree with this philosophy. There are several historians who believe that Chankaya and Kautaliya are not the same. Yes, according to some researchers Chankaya and Kautaliya are two different persons – one is the prime minister of the Mauryan era and the other is the writer of the Arthashatra.
Here we share the reasons as to why some historians believe that Chanakya cannot be Kautaliya –
Arthashastra Doesn’t Have any Reference of the Mauryan Era
Arthashatra was founded in 1905 and translated by R. Shamasastry in 1909. Before that, it was only known to the world through references in various works including writings by Vishnusharma, Bana, Dandin, and Megasthenes.
Once it was discovered and read, the indologists realized that the book Arthashastra neither mentions Chankaya nor the Mauryan dynasty. This raised the question – If Chanakya has written Arthashastra, why it doesn’t mention anything about the Maurya kingdom? Why there is neither any reference of the Mauryan era, its capital Patliaputra nor any mention about Chandragupta Maurya or any other prominent personality of that time?
There is no reasonable answer to this question and so many of the historians believe that Chankaya cannot be Kautaliya. Moreover, there is no solid or meticulous proof to prove that they both were same.
There is a Gap of 6 Centuries between Chanakya and Kautaliya
Famous American Indologist Thomas R. Trautmann in the early 1970s with his linguistic factors proved that the book Arthashastra was written by Kautaliya in the Third Century CE. His theory explains that there is a difference between the age of Kautaliya and the times of Chanakya. The reason? Well we all know Chanakya lived in the third Century BCE, and not 3rd century CE.
Arthashastra is a Book on Economy
Arthashatra is a Sanskrit book on economy written by the economist Kautaliya. Now, Chanakya was not an economist but a student and teacher of Political science. How come a teacher of politics can write a detailed revolutionary book on economy, economic ideas and economic philosophies?
Chankaya can or cannot be Kautaliya. However, we do not have a detailed proof that both the names belong to a single individual. However, since there are linguistics proofs to support the theory that they are different individuals, many historians go with the latter thought.
What do you think? Do share your thoughts with us…