Mudrarakshasa (The signet ring of Rakshasa) is a Sanskrit play by dramatist Vishakhadatta and is partly responsible for the aura surrounding Chanakya. Chanakya is a consequentialist and will stop at nothing in order to achieve his goals. In the play, his target is Amatya Katyayan (Rakshasa) – minister of deposed King Dhana Nanda – who is plotting against Chandragupta Maurya in collaboration with Prince Malayaketu, son of King Parvateshwar. How Chanakya uses Rakshasa’s signet ring that fell into his hands by accident to bring Rakshasa over to Chandragupta’s side – is the subject matter of the play.

A version with extensive notes on Sanskrit grammar (including all the puns), and an English translation is available from the Internet Archive. A few more versions are available on the servers of the various “Digital Library of India” websites ([1] [2]), but the scanning has not been done properly because of the four books I accessed, all but one (the Telang-Ghate version, no translation) had at least one page missing. The translation offered by the Dhruva version on the DLI website seems to be better than the IA “Abhyankar” version, but as I said, its incomplete (with page number 184 missing).

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