Was it easy to bring this larger-than-life character of Chanakya out of history books?
Like Rumi, the great Sufi saint said, ‘Sometimes you choose the path, sometimes the path chooses you’, similarly for me too, I never thought I would explore Chanakya like it. It just happened as an exploratory path. I studied Kautilya Arthashastra under Dr Ganagadharan Nair at Chinmaya International Foundation as a research scholar, and later did my PhD under Dr Shubhada Joshi of University of Mumbai - these were the two milestones in the journey. All thanks to my teachers.
Q: Who are your role models?
My parents are my role models. My father in my early school days had put me in Chinmaya mission where I used to attend the Balvihar classes. There I learnt the scriptures like Bhagavad Geeta and the Upanishads. I continued exploring our ancient Indian wisdom in my youth and the journey still continues.
Q: How well have you understood Chanakya?
In the Kautilya’s Arthashastra there are 6000 sutras written by Chanakya. When I studied each of them, I realised the depth of the man. I have already written six books and continue to write even more. None of my books are a repeat. So much of Chanakya is still unexplored.
Q: Do you think Chanakya’s mastermind will help today’s youth to conquer the odds and win the game of life?
Yes, in fact the youth needs to understand and study Chanakya. He was a ‘practical philosopher’. He knew what he wanted and achieved it in his lifetime. I find our Indian youth full of opportunities, yet confused - what an irony. To set a goal in life and make sure we are a winner is the ultimate Chanakya. Youth need to take him as a role model.
Q: How well was the philosophy received by those who are not acquainted with India’s Chanakya?
For most Indians Chanakya is a known figure however they do not know his philosophy in detail. With non-Indians it’s a challenge as they have not even heard his name - so when I travel abroad, my approach is to start from the basics. Thankfully, it has been received very well across the globe. I know of people who listen to me again and again on the same topic. That shows the love to understand Chanakya is growing day by day.
Q: How will you contribute in this journey of India toward a better future?
India has always been a ‘Vishwa guru’ - a world teacher. Our tradition and culture always respected knowledge. My dream is to get back India to its past glory, to be a place from which all world problems will get solved. My contribution here is to be a writer and teacher.
Q: Tell us about your books
My first book ‘Coprate Chankya’ has been a best-seller since its launch in 2010 and is used as a text book in various business schools in India and abroad and made into an audio book - world’s first management film on Chankakya’s teachings - Chanakya Speaks. The other published books are Chanakya’s 7 secrets of leadership, Chanakya in You, Katha Chanakya, Chanakya in daily life & Inside Chanakya’s mind - Aanvikshiki and the Art of Thinking. Fortunately all have turned out to be best sellers. Still growing strong in sales, they are available in 12 languages - English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Asamee, Punjabi, Bengali and Oriya. Foreign language translations are going on. Available as e books also (electronic edition), until now over 100 editions have been reprinted. More 18 books in the Chanakya series will see the light of the day soon.
About the speaker
The deputy director at the University of Mumbai of Chanakya International Institute of Leadership studies (CII LS), Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai runs academic courses for leaders and aspirants from various fields. He is a certified management consultant from the International Institute of Management Consultants and the director at SPM Foundation and founder director of Atma Darshan, a spiritual tourism company.