while studying the various aphorisms of Vishnugupta, the Kautilya or Chanakya, I came across a definition as to how the great scholar came to be known as Kautilya..
कुटो घटः तं धान्यपूर्णं लान्ति संगृह्णन्ति इति कुटलाः कुंभीधान्याः त्यागपराः ब्राह्मणश्रेष्ठाः। तेषां गोत्रापत्यो कौटिल्यो विष्णुगुप्तो नाम।
kuṭo ghaṭaḥ taṁ dhānyapūrṇaṁ lānti saṁgṛhṇanti iti kuṭalāḥ kuṁbhīdhānyāḥ tyāgaparāḥ brāhmaṇaśreṣṭhāḥ| teṣāṁ gotrāpatyo kauṭilyo viṣṇugupto nāma|
Kuta means a mid-sized earthen pot.. kutala is one who is having as his earthly possession only one such pot filled with cereals (impllying that he possessed or kept for himself nothing else).. Such a man of self denial is a kutala brahmin.. and Chanakya is Kautilya because he is born in the family of a brahmin following such tradition..
Chanakya was the scholar-statesman who had the vision to unite most of Bharat under Chandragupta Maurya, after and in spite of internal strife and the havoc wrought by the Greek invasion under the leadership of Alexander.. At that period, Nandas or Mauryas or for that matter any king held only the titular authority and the real moving forces were Kautilya and may be next to him the minister of the Nandas, Rakshasa.. But these two persons, never claimed anything by way of personal benefit..
Chanakya went one step ahead.. He knew that Rakshasa was a great statesman and it was Rakshasa who held together the empire of Nandas till Chandragupta took over . In spite of the fact that Rakshasa was a sworn enemy of Chanakya and Chandraguptha the Maurya, Chanakya ensured that Rakshasa continued to function as prime minister even under Chandragupta Maurya.. There Chanakya put the welfare of the State ahead of personal rancour..
And this fact also speaks volumes about the blemish-less character and patriotism of Rakshasa.. even when he was being forced to serve an enemy, the professional ethics of Rakshasa, would ensure that he discharged his duties according to Dharma..And Chanakya had such a confidence in his sworn enemy.
An all powerful king-maker who would prefer to have only one pot of cereals as his whole earthly possession, and a civil servant, who would place the professional honour before anything else.. Chanakya and Rakshasa.. this is what legends were made of.. this is what politics was in India..
The celebrated play Mudra Rakshasam of Visakhadatta is a glorious study on these two titans.