Chanakya at Dhanananda’ s court

‘Measure your words and hold your temper,’ Katyayan whispered urgently as Chanakya walked away from him.
‘Om! Salutations to Brihaspati and Sukra, the gurus of the gods and antigods, and the originators of the science of politics,’ started Chanakya as an opening invocation, facing Dhanananda seated on his royal throne with Rakshas standing at his right hand. ‘Om!’ chanted the assembly in chorus.
‘O enlightened teacher, how can society work in harmony towards the progress of the kingdom?’ asked Rakshas.
‘By performing one’s duty. The duties of a Brahmin are studying, teaching and interceding on man’s behalf with the gods. The duties of a Kshatriya are bearing arms and protecting all life. The duties of a Vaishya are trading, manufacturing and producing wealth. The duties of a Shudra are to serve the three higher varnas,’ declared Chanakya, knowing fully well that the king seated at the throne was a Shudra.
Rakshas was malevolently pleased. He had already lit the spark. It would not be too long before an explosion occurred. Surprisingly, Dhanananda maintained his composure and allowed the remark to slip.
‘Acharya, what should be the qualities of a king?’
‘An ideal king should be eloquent, bold, endowed with sharp intellect, strong memory and keen mind. He should be amenable to guidance. He should be strong and capable of leading the army. He should be just in rewarding and punishing. He should have foresight and avail himself of opportunities. He should be capable of governing in times of peace and times of war. He should know when to fight and when to make peace, when to lie in wait and when to strike. He should preserve his dignity at all times, be sweet in speech, straightforward and amiable. He should eschew passion, anger, greed, obstinacy, fickleness, and backbiting. He should conduct himself in accordance with the advice of elders—’
‘Oh shut up! I do not need this sermon!’ interrupted Dhanananda in a fit of rage. The court was stunned into a silence one could touch. Rakshas was at a loss for words. He had not expected such an instant result.
‘I agree with you, O King. You do not need my advice. My advice is meant for those who have the intrinsic capacity to absorb and implement my advice. You, unfortunately, have neither!’ thundered Chanakya. Katyayan cringed inwardly. Why had he brought Chanakya here? He had unwittingly placed his own hand within the lion’s jaws.
‘Rakshas! Who is this ugly oaf that you deem a revered teacher? He’s not fit to be amongst us, leave alone lecture us!’ demanded Dhanananda.
‘O noble King. He is Chanakya, the son of the dear departed Chanak,’ explained Rakshas slyly.
‘Ah! I now understand. When I ordered for that impudent dimwit’s head to be cut off, I should also have done the same for his son. Rats have a nasty habit of multiplying,’ observed Dhanananda.
‘Once again, I must agree with you, O King,’ said Chanakya, ‘you were unwise to leave me alive. An enemy should always be destroyed to the very final trace—just as I shall destroy you and your perverted dynasty one day,’ predicted Chanakya calmly.
‘Have this wretch arrested and sent to Nanda’s Hell. He can think up ways for my downfall under the tongs and probes of the talented Girika! Catch him by his puny pigtail as one catches a rat by its tail!’ shrieked Dhanananda as his royal guards moved towards Chanakya.
Chanakya’s hands went to his shikha and untied the knot that held the individual strands of hair together. In spite of his fury, Dhanananda’s curiosity was piqued and he remarked, ‘Untying your tail isn’t going to help you! A monkey shall always remain a monkey!’
‘O stupid and ignorant King, I have made it my sacred duty to unite the whole of Bharat so that it may stand up to the might of the foreign invaders at our doorstep. My first step shall be to expunge you from history. Today I take a sacred oath! I swear upon the ashes of my wise father and loving mother that I shall not re-tie my shikha until I have expelled you as well as the Macedonian invaders from my country and united it under an able and benevolent ruler!’ swore Chanakya as the guards caught hold of him by his now untied hair and dragged him towards Nanda’s Hell.

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