Chanakya is a widely known scholar and statesmen from ancient India. His works are still relevant in terms of economy and management. But just some time back there was a claim that Chanakya was a myth and no true personality with such skills existed. They sighted that there is no mention of Chanakya in the contemporary Greek works. Megasthenes who stayed in Chandragupta Maurya’s court for a decade and wrote Indica never mentioned Chankya anywhere. But other Indian cources claim he is a true figure and was the godfather of Emperor Chandragupta.
The earliest written record of Chanakya is found in the 8th century Prakrit drama Mudra Rakshasha which was written by Vishakhadatta. In this drama political activities of Chanakya but there is no details about his personal life provided. The drama is said to have been written about 1200 years after Chandragupta’s reign (but then again there is a lot of controversy over the Gupta timeline). Though the character of Chanakya has been well etched in this drama but his details such as birth, parentage, lineage, family or death is not mentioned here.
As Western records are becoming a rising need to confirm the existence of any historical figure (in this case it is absent), thus many have termed Chanakya as a myth. But many Indian texts carry details about his life. Recent speculation from some of the contemporary Jain texts shows that Chanakya was not a Hindu, he was rather a Jain by religion. There are many evidences that suggest he was a Jain. He is mentioned everywhere in Jain literature. There are also details about his life found in such literature. According to these texts Chanakya was born to Chanak who was a devout Jain. When Chanakya was born he had a teeth in his mouth. It is said when a Jain monk arrived at the doorsteps of Chanak asking for alms he predicted that the baby would one become a great King. Chanak instantly removed the teeth from baby’s mouth. Upon which the monk predicted now the baby will be a King maker. As a child he was a judicious student who had extraordinary academic capabilities. He was stubborn. When he grew young he was not a good looking boy and thus could not find any bride. Later he was married to a poor girl named Yashomati. His association and influence upon Chandragupta Maurya is known to all. Just like Chandragupta he became a Jain monk after retiring from Ministership. He died of a fire that was set in the jungle, where he was mediating with other. The jungle was set on fire by a minister of Bidusara (who was the son of Chandragupta). This fire killed the master statesman.
But why is Chanakya not mentioned in Indica? There is one clear reason. May be Chanakya never belonged to Chandragupta’s period, maybe he came later. As far as we know of Chandragupta he was extremely intelligent and could have carried out the administration lonehandedly. There is a high probability that Chanakya came at a later date. His character was further elevated by the contemporary writers by making him the Godfather of Chandragupta Maurya.