Difference between Arthasastra and Authenticity

“Salutation unto the learned Vishnu Gupta who raised the ambrosia of political science on the vast ocean of the Arthasastra”.

Kamandaka in his book Nitisara had abridged all but, the second, third, fourth and fourteenth books (entire portions) of the ‘Arthasastra’. Thus the work of Kamandaka supplies very good evidence to show that the work of Kautilya was a reality.

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In “Dasakumara Charita” of Dandi (in Somadatta-utpattikatha), there is reference to both Kautilya and Kamandaka as authorities on Nitisara. “The science of Dandaniti (politics) has been of late abridged into 6000 slokas by Acharya Vishnu Gupta for the benefit of the Mauryas”.

The borrowings of Dandi from the ‘Arthasastra’ are a further proof that the work had an actual existence and that it was the production of Chanakya. Among other Sanskrit works, which also allude to the Kautilya ‘Arthasastra’, may be mentioned the ‘Nandisutra’ of the Jainas, the ‘Panchatantra’ and the ‘Nitivakyamrita’ of “Somdeva”.

Professor Radha Kumud Mookerji continues to say the ‘Arthasastra’ was the product of an individual rather than a school. In a quite convincing manner the learned German Orientalist Professor Jacobi had successfully contradicted Hillebrandt’s view that Kautilya was not himself the sole author of ‘Arthasastra’.

Hillebrandt bases his argument on the inference that the expressions “It Kautilyah” and “Neti Kautilyah” occurring no less than seventy two times in the text, show that it is not the work of an individual author named Kautilya but of a school.

The fact, says Jacobi, is that “the book began the school, and not the school the book”. Similarly, a careful consideration of the style of the Arthasastra would also indicate its individual authorship,

Again, there is striking correspondence between parts and passages of the ‘Arthasastra’ and the accounts of India traced to Megasthenese relating to the period of Chandra Gupta. “A close study of both will show that the Book of Arthasastra entitled ” Adhyaksa prachar” gives a full view of Indian administration of which only a partial view can be obtained from the observation of Megasthenese).

Professor Radha Kumud Mookerji thus refuted all the flimsy doubts raised by Hillebrandt with regard to authorship of Arthasastra.