Chanakya (l. c. 350-275 BCE, also known as Kautilya and Vishnugupta) was prime minister under the reign of Chandragupta Maurya (r. c. 321-c.297 BCE), founder of the Mauryan Empire (322-185 BCE). He is best known as the author of the political treatise Arthashastra which he wrote as a kind of instruction manual for the young Chandragupta on how to rule effectively. The events of his life are known only through legends from various traditions; no historical documents have survived concerning him or his role in the establishment of the Mauryan Empire. He served as an advisor to the last king of the Nanda Dynasty (c. 5th century -322 BCE) Dhanananda, (also given as Dhana Nanda, r. 329-322/321 BCE) who ruled the Kingdom of Magadha. He was a Vedic scholar from the university of Taxila.
The Arthashastra is considered Chanakya's training manual by which he transformed Chandragupta from a citizen to a monarch. The precepts of the Arthashastra not only enabled Chandragupta to seize power but to maintain it, passing it down to his son, Bindusara (r. 297-c.273 BCE) and then to his grandson Ashoka the Great (r. 268-232 BCE) whose initial success can also be attributed to the Arthashastra.
In his early years, Chanakya was tutored extensively in the Vedas; it is said that he memorized them completely at an early age. He was also taught mathematics, geography and science along with religion. At sixteen, he entered the university at Taxila, where he became a teacher of politics. At that time, the branches of study in India included law, medicine, and warfare. Two of Chanakya's more famous students were Bhadrabhatt and Purushdutt.
At the time of Alexander's invasion, Chanakya was a teacher at Takshashila University. The king of Taxila and Gandhara, Ambhi (also known as Taxiles), made a treaty with Alexander and did not fight against him. Chanakya saw the foreign invasion as a threat to Indian culture and sought to inspire other kings to unite and fight Alexander. The Mudrarakshasa of Visakhadutta as well as the Jaina work Parisishtaparvan talk of Chandragupta's alliance with the Himalayan king Parvatka, sometimes identified with Porus, a king of Punjab. Porus (Parvateshwar) was the only local king who was able to challenge Alexander at the Battle of the Hydaspes River.