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The Panchatantra

“Money unemployed when opportunities arise, is the same as money dispossessed. Therefore, money once acquired should be guarded, increased and employed.” – The Panchatantra

The Panchatantra collection of interrelated animal fables is believed to be written by a scholar and an author Pandit Vishnu Sharma. The ‘pancha’ five ‘tantra’ treatises discuss various topics. It explains the Hindu principles ‘Nitishastra’ –‘the wise conduct of life’.

Pandit Vishnu Sharma through The Panchatantra has explained various things like philosophy, psychology, politics, music, astronomy, human relationship, etc., in a simple yet elegant style. The story was composed with an intention to impart knowledge and wisdom to King Sudarshan’s three sons Bahushakti, Ugrashakti and Anantashakti. Though King Sudarshan himself was a great scholar and a powerful ruler his own kids were dullards. Therefore it was decided that instead of teaching them text and scriptures, they should somehow be taught Wisdom and Pandit Vishnu Sharma was the one who can do it.

We now-a-days often use phrases like ‘thinking out of the box’, but this was already practiced in ancient days, Pandit Vishnu Sharma while he was training three Princes knew that he could never teach them in a conventional manner. He employed less traditional ways and started weaving stories interrelated with one another in the form of animal fables, imparting wisdom in them.

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The book is divided into five parts;

Mitra-bheda:
The Separation of Friends (The Lion and the Bull):
 illustrates the incidents that frequesntly lead to separation of friends.

Mitra-lábha or Mitra-samprápti:
The Gaining of Friends (The Dove, Crow, Mouse, Tortoise and Deer):
 illustrates the making or gaining of friends through the friendship

Kákolùkïyam:
Of Crows and Owls (War and Peace):
illustrates the art of war and the importance of peace through traditional enemies

Labdhapranásam:
Loss of Gains (The Monkey and the Crocodile):
enlightens how gains achieved may be lost through a symbiotic friendship

Aparïksitakárakam:
Ill-Considered Actions (The Brahmani and the Mongoose):
 revolves around the cases that are considered unacceptable.

Vishnu Sharma is one of most widely translated Author in the history. A unique contribution of Ancient India to the world, particularly to the world literature, The Panchatantra has equally delighted the young and the old, educated and uneducated, rich and poor, high and low – for over thousands of years. It has triumphed over the greatest obstacles of language, custom and religion, and made an unparalleled progress from its native land to all the civilized parts of the globe – as it continues to delight everyone to this very day.

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This tremendous contribution to the world of literature has inspired many directly or indirectly. As a reader of this book I felt that an epic literature, the Panchatantra discusses various topics like psychology, philosophy, politics, human relationship etc. It consists of five major stories and each major story again consists of sub stories. The challenge to enlighten incapable Princes with wisdom in an uncommon manner made the scholar, think out of the box and weave story like ‘The Panchatantra’.

According to the sources it is believed that, King Sudarshan offered hundred land grants if he could teach his sons but the legend Scholar Pandit Vishnu Sharma refused the grants saying he did not sell knowledge for money, but accepted the task of making the princes wise to the ways of politics and leadership within six months. This shows that the passion towards his profession and thinking out of the box inspired the author to write The Panchatantra, What inspires you? share your story with us

 

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