This Shlok from Kautilya’s Arthashastra stresses on, the not-so-obvious things. Kautilya is the other name for Chanakya, although this is often disputed by some who believe Kautilya and Chanakya were two different people. Arthashastra is a very well known book on statecraft, it talks about all the things a king should know and do to run his kingdom effortlessly. The book is so detailed that for example, it even covers what kind of punishment should one receive for the kind of crime they have done.
The true essence of this Shlok from Arthashastra
This Shlok is taken from the tenth section of this book which talks about warfare related things. Kautilya stresses on the not-so-obvious things. Often do we tend to go for the tangible and visible things over the ones that do not appear very convincing. But indeed more often than not, these hidden things turn out to be the most effective.
An intelligent mind is indeed the best weapon you could ever have. Sun Tzu in his book, ‘Art of War’ says this, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”. In Mahabharata too, Duryodhana chose the vast army of Lord Krishna instead of choosing him and that did not end up too well for him.
Sournce: Arthashastra 10.6.55
एकं हन्यान्न वा हन्यादिषुः क्षिप्तो धनुष्मता।
प्राज्ञेन तु मतिः क्षिप्ता हन्याद्गर्भगतानपि॥
ekaṃ hanyānna vā hanyādiṣuḥ kṣipto dhanuṣmatā
prājñena tu matiḥ kṣiptā hanyādgarbhagatānapi
The arrow shot by an archer may or may not kill a single man;
but skilful intrigue devised by intelligent men can kill even those who are in the womb.
धनुर्धारीके धनुष्यसे सम्भव है किसी एक भी पुरुष को मारे या ना मारे।
परन्तु बुद्धिमान व्यक्तिके द्वारा किया हुआ बुद्धिका प्रयोग, गर्भस्थित प्राणियोंको भी नष्ट कर देता है।
What is your interpretation of this Shlok? Do let us know in the comment section below. Here is another such Shlok with deeper knowledge.