In conversation with Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai- Author of ‘Corporate Chanakya’ and ‘Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership’

by December 23, 2014


Radhakrishnan Pillai from the University of Mumbai, Department of Philosophy is the founder-director of Chanakya Institute of Public Leadership (CIPL), a leadership academy which trains political leaders and aspirants. He has done an extensive research on “Kautilya’s Arthashastra”, the well known book on management written in 4th BC from Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF), Kerala under the guidance of Dr Gangadharan Nair, the dean of Adi Shankara Samskrit University. He later proceeded to do his MA in Sanskrit and a PhD. in the subject. He is a certified management consultant from the International Institute of Management Consultants. He is the director at SPM Foundation and founder Director of Atma Darshan a spiritual tourism company.


His Books- Corporate Chanakya and Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership

corporate-chanakya-7-secrets-of-leadership.jpgHis first book ‘Corporate Chanakya ’ has been on the best-seller list since its launch in 2010 and used as a text book in various Business schools in India and abroad. The book has the unique distinction of being made into an audio book, world’s first management film on Chanakya’s teachings – ‘Chanakya speaks’ and translated into 10 regional languages. His second book ‘Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership ’ along with Mr. D. Sivanandhan has created waves in corporate world since its release. He has written nearly 200 articles and papers for various magazines, newspapers, journals and periodicals including Times of India group (Mumbai Mirror) as a weekly columnist. He has also hosted a radio show “Ask Chanakya’ on Moksha Channel of Worldspace satellite radio which has completed nearly 100 shows.


Here’s a transcript of team CompareRaja’s tête-à-tête with Mr. Pillai

What made you follow & research Chanakya of all the philosophers?

Mr. Pillai: I have been connected with Chinmaya Mission since childhood and hence reading our ancient Indian scriptures like Bhagawat Geeta, Ramayana, Upanishads etc was a part of my upbringing. When I started to work in the corporate world, I started to think about modern day problems being solved by ancient scriptures. That is why I turned to Kautilya’s Arthashastra. I studied the complete 6000 sutras at Chinmaya International foundation ( and that is how I turned to Chanakya’s Philosophy.


How relevant is Chanakya’s Arthashastra’ in today’s modern world?

Mr. Pillai: We have to make it relevant. With times lot of things have changed from the time of Chanakya. He lived in 4th century B.C. and human beings have evolved over these thousand years. Yet there are many things that do not change with time – like the human nature. Chanakya was a master strategist and his ideas can be used in modern days also. That is one of the reasons by books ‘Corporate Chanakya’ and ‘Chanakya’s 7 secrets of leadership’ both have found relevance with modern days and have gone to become national bestsellers.


Your personal favorite Chanakya Niti (Quote) that has helped you the most to evolve as a leader or person?

Mr. Pillai: “If the king (leader) is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic” – I see a lot of value in this. As is the leader, so is the organisation. The leader sets the standards and others follow. I train leaders and find this very valuable wisdom.


What according to you is the most common mistake that today’s managers make?

Mr. Pillai: Managers should not think of themselves as just employees and waiting for a salary hike. They are responsible people in any organisation. Infact they need to own the growth of the companies. My spiritual Guru Swami Chinmayanandaji used to teach “Producing more than what we consume, and giving more that what we take…”If managers can do that they will emerge as role model leaders for others.


How can spirituality influence one’s personal/professional growth?

Mr. Pillai: In every way. In fact a spiritual person is the most dynamic person. It is not a passive way of living. He or she really understands that we have to do our work to the best manner possible. Such people are not stressed out. They become problem solvers not creators of problems.


What is your view about generation Y?

Mr. Pillai: Very lucky generation indeed. The generation Y is living in a world of opportunity. They can choose the life they want to live. Plus India at this point is moving up the economic ladder so they have good comfortable lifestyle. My suggestion to Gen Y is use your life for the service of the society. Think big, achieve high but also work for the upliftment of the poor and not so fortunate people. They should also become spiritually inclined to give a positive turn to life.


One key takeaway for young India from Corporate Chanakya?

Mr. Pillai: Become entrepreneurs. Start small but think big. Success awaits you if you follow Chanakya in your life.


How is CIPL different from other management institutes?

Mr. Pillai: It’s a modern day Gurukul in the University of Mumbai. Check we train young boys and girls who want to join politics and lead India by learning Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Most important our 6 months residential program is totally free of cost for the students.


Name a book/s (other than Corporate Chanakya) that aspiring managers/leaders must read.

Mr. Pillai: 7 habits of highly effective leadership (Steven Covey) and the Holy Geeta (by Swami Chinmayananda)


What is your view on India’s current political and economic scenario? Where do you see India in the next ten years?

Mr. Pillai: I am a very positive person. In the next ten years India will be a giant. No one can stop our progress. We are destined for a very good future with our young population taking leadership roles.Yet we should not forget our culture and tradition and be rooted in spirituality. Only then we will really be proud of being an Indian.