It is rare in history that we come across situations when the personal agenda of one individual sets the course of an entire nation. In recorded history the case of Chanakya (Vishnugupta) and Indian nation is one such. It was the single point agenda in his life to overthrow the Nanda kings that eventually led him into the forefront of the fight against Romans. From a small desire to seek revenge for his own personal gratification, he went all the way upto uniting a great nation and initiating an entire Maurya dynasty of emperors. Chanakya’s determined contribution to the formation and development of India is a golden chapter in the history of our nation. His manipulative efforts in successfully uniting us against the Roman invasion far outweigh his intellectual and literary contributions in the form of Arthasastra and Neetisastra.
Emotional integration of all those who are living south of the Sindhu river has always been a reality and it continues to be so. It is one of the key reasons for the development of a way of living called Sanatana Dharma. As the name suggests our way of living would always exist irrespective of the existence or not of any particular nation or nations. But creating a geographical space for free and fearless practice and development of such a noble ideology is not a mean achievement. And that is what our first Chanakya achieved by identifying the young Chandragupta and anointing him as the emperor of a newly integrated nation. Their chemistry worked well and the concept of an Indian nation became a reality. Chanakya’s choice of a nation ruler by considering his merit and not birth is highly symbolic for all times. It is indeed one of the basic tenets of Sanatana Dharma.
If it was deft maneuverings by the first Chanakya among warring chieftains of minor kingdoms that helped him consolidate India into a single nation, it was brilliant outpour of intellect by Adi Sankara that cemented the foundations of a Hindu India. He is undoubtedly our second Chanakya. The extra-ordinary efforts and intellectual achievements by a Keralite like Adi Sankara from ordinary background in a short span of lifetime remains unparalleled in human history even to this day. He not only traversed the geography of the entire nation but also conquered the minds of all its citizens by the shear brilliance of his arguments in favour of resurrecting an intrinsically rational and secular religion called Hinduism. Had our second Chanakya lived on for a full lifetime, the glory and status of Indian nation would have reached sky heights.
It is difficult to identify one single individual as our third Chanakya. After the yeoman efforts by the first two there was no acute necessity for further consolidation of the nation. Enemies of the nation were increasing all the time, but so too were the forces that realized and recognized the need for unity. All that was needed was providing guidance and leadership at disparate places and times for the nationalists. Swami Vivekananda, Sreenarayana Guru, Meerabhai, Dayananda Saraswati, Bharatiyar, Mahatma Gandhi etc., etc., provided all that was needed throughout the length and breadth of our nation as and when it was required. All such great souls collectively form the third Chanakya that integrated India into a modern and powerful one among the world nations.
In Bhagavat Gita, Lord Krishna had rightly indicated that Ishwar will incarnate in any form (including natural phenomena) he chooses whenever and wherever there is an absolute decline in dharma. Perhaps the advent of our first Chanakya during the days following the first Roman attack was one of those instances. What he could achieve and how the evil Romans were repulsed are part of our proud history. But the Roman attack is far from over. If it was Alexander who tried and got defeated then, the attack against Indian nation still continues in many forms. Silent terrorism in the form of aggressive religious conversion, attempted proxy rule by hijacking of democratic institutions and unholy alliances for power between opposing political parties who have irreconcilable ideologies are nothing but Roman attacks in 21st century. The need for an effective repulsive attack is becoming inevitable in India today.
The next Chanakya must be able to see through the real intentions of the enemies of Indian nation within and without. Since our liberation from the clutches of foreign invaders and their rule lasting about 800 years, the form, nature and strategy of our enemies have undergone paradigm changes. Many a time we do not realize who is plotting against us. We do not recognize who is our real enemy especially when they operate through their surrogates. Enemy of our enemy need not always be our friend. Both can be our enemies. And a helping hand can always be a camouflage for poisonous weapons aimed at the heart of our nation.
The foundations of Indian union are sound and solid, and it will take superhuman efforts to unshackle the bondage between Indians apparently divided over different languages, colour and religions, but with a single unifying culture. Yet we should never underestimate the enemy and the need for a new Chanakya to emerge from the billion strong Indian society is becoming extremely important. The new Chanakya must of a different mettle. His or her qualities, talents and skills are to be entirely different from the predecessors. Our enemies are much more evil, resourceful and capable of dividing us from within. And our Chanakya in 21st century will have to be equally good in defeating them in their own games. Let us wait for the fourth Chanakya with all our hope and prayers.