Two books are attributed to Chanakya: Arthashastra and Chanakya Niti, also known as Chanakya Neeti-shastra. The Arthashastra was discovered in 1905 by librarian Rudrapatna Shamasastry in an uncatalogued group of ancient palm-leaf manuscripts donated by an unknown pandit to the Oriental Research Institute Mysore.
Several modern adaptations of the legend of Chanakya narrate his story in a semi-fictional form, extending these legends. In Chandragupta (1911), a play by Dwijendralal Ray, the Nanda king exiles his half-brother Chandragupta, who joins the army of Alexander the Great. Later, with help from Chanakya and Katyayan (the former Prime Minister of Magadha), Chandragupta defeats Nanda, who is put to death by Chanakya.
Brihatkatha-Manjari by Kshemendra and Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva are two 11th century Kashmiri Sanskrit collections of legends. Both are based on a now-lost Prakrit-language Brihatkatha-Sarit-Sagara, which itself is based on the now-lost Paishachi language Brihatkatha by Gunadhya. The Chanakya-Chandragupta legend in these collections actually focuses on another character named Shakatala (IAST: Śakaṭāla).
The Chandragupta-Chanakya legend is mentioned in several commentaries of the Shvetambara canon. The most well-known version of the Jain legend is contained in the Sthaviravali-Charita or Parishishta-Parvan, written by the 12th century Writer Hemachandra. Hemachandra's account is based on the Prakrit kathanaka literature (legends and anecdotes) composed between the late 1st century CE and mid-8th century CE. These legends are contained in the commentaries (churnis and tikas) on canonical texts such as Uttaradhyayana and Avashyaka Niryukti. Thomas Trautmann believes that the Jain version is older and more consistent than the Buddhist version of the legend.
The earliest Buddhist legends do not mention Chanakya in their description of the Mauryan dynasty after this point. Dhammapala's commentary on Theragatha, however, mentions a legend about Chanakya and a Brahmin named Subandhu. According to this account, Chanakya was afraid that the wise Subandhu would surpass him at Chandragupta's court. So, he got Chandragupta to imprison Subandhu, whose son Tekicchakani escaped and became a Buddhist monk. The 16th century Tibetan Buddhist author Taranatha mentions Chanakya as one of Bindusara's "great lords". According to him, Chanakya destroyed the nobles and kings of 16 towns and made Bindusara the master of all the territory between the eastern and the western seas (Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal).