This guy wants you to be Chanakya + Kabir + Confucius

Jun 09, 2009, 08:35 IST | Soumya Mukerji

A student of Statecraft teaches you tricks to a great life through the ways of three starkly different historical icons. Here's prodding Pavan Choudary page by page

A student of Statecraft teaches you tricks to a great life through the ways of three starkly different historical icons. Here's prodding Pavan Choudary page by page

A threesome can be quite a treat, especially when it's a strategist, poet, and saint in the act. Enter pulp pimp Pavan Choudary, who has a fetish for practical profundity, and supplies his subjects in all their sense and sensuality. The political coach preaches three unlike, unsung heroes of history in his new life guide, Success Sutras for the 21st Century: A Trilogy of Wisdom. We asked him why he 'tri'ed so hard.  

Chanakya, Kabir and Confucius make a strange combination. Why them as idols?
I was looking at masters in the fields of political, social and spiritual wisdom, and these three personalities won unanimously. We don't know enough of them because they've spoken in languages the world doesn't understand. Chanakya spoke in Sanskrit, Kabir in Awadhi and Confucius in Chinese. Today, their teachings are more relevant than ever.

And how is that?
Chanakya said that if the nation is becoming rich, it is important that it become militarily strong, too. If you become mighty rich, becoming mighty is important, too.
Confucius said that your behaviour with those below you matters. Forget the poverty line, most who are above it, too, are below the dignity line. Misconduct only causes your own people to side up with the enemy, and this is causing the country to become a caged golden sparrow all over again. We should aim at being a golden eagle.
Kabir ennobles you. He's not just soul stirring, but soul refining. He shows you how your pursuit of spirituality is successful only if you're becoming a better human being.

Do you think the newly elected young leaders would actually follow and benefit from what you have to say?
Yes, of course. That's why we've timed the release with the first session of the parliament. The political elite need to know that they should be clever like Chanakya and deal intelligently with foreign issues. Some of our kings negotiated badly earlier, and we're still paying the price. Thankfully, the parliament library has already stocked up.

But haven't we come a long way since then?
No. Today, too, our politicos make naïve comments. One had even gone as far as saying "No nuclear weapons, because they'll land in the hands of terrorists." It's like saying, why bullet proof jackets? We also have this problem of over-respecting peoples and nations, like America. One should not treat anyone so highly that he starts thinking of you as a lesser being. This is one of the biggest reasons for the outbreak in Australia. This is not to say we should say we should turn hostile. Instead, follow Zhong Yong, or Confucius' middle path. Chanakya, too, didn't like hypocrisy. According to him, adopting the 'atithi devo bhava' attitude was because we couldn't fight the enemy at the gates. He would have said all the flattery is bull****. Any atithi is not deva; only a well-understanding guest who doesn't take our respect for a ride is.

But Chanakya is known to be ruthlessly manipulative and cunning. 
Yes, I know Chankaya is used in derogatory terms. No one names their kid that, even though if colonies and businesses are named so. But, he's a much misunderstood man. He was of the opinion that you should life with high values like honesty and truth, but before you live like a saint, buy a gun. Otherwise, the world will send you to the Himalayas. Today, your weapon is your contacts, your strategies, and your integrity. We don't realise his greatness because we compare him to saints when he was only a state-crafter. It's like saying Abraham Lincoln was not a good sculptor. If India doesn't get its modern Chanakya soon, it will lose it advantageous position.

Confucius, as conventionalists would retort, is an outsider. Why not look within?
Many have spoken on the middle path, including Budhha and Aristotle. But Confucius took the concept to the individual, subconscious level, speaking interactively. He also understood man's vulnerability. He'd once said, "I can never be as respectful to my father as I'd like my son to be." Five centuries before Jesus, he'd said, do unto others what you would want them to do to you. It didn't come from Jerusalem. He's the true, unsung hero.
Success Sutras for the 21st Century: A Trilogy of Wisdom
Publisher: Wisdom Village
Price: Rs 290

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