This book is a favourite with almost everyone even today. But you probably don't know how these stories were created or why they were told…
Today our langur friend tells a story about a remarkable book of tales. This is a timeless classic!
A long time ago, perhaps around 200 B.C., King Amarsakthi ruled a kingdom in southern India. He had three sons — my, don't they all — who showed no interest in learning the scriptures. This troubled the king. On the advice of his ministers, he appointed a sagacious pundit, Vishnusharman, as the princes' tutor. It proved to be a perfect choice. Through a number of animal stories the guru taught the princes the rules of kingship, which they learnt with incredible speed and interest.
Vishnusharman's collection of stories, the Panchatantra — ah, you have read it, haven't you — had stories written in prose and morals in verse taken from the Vedas.
The sage could never have imagined that some 2000 years later, his fables would still be told and retold to kids all over the world.
Want to hear more about the book?
Well, Panchatantra is a book of five chapters. That is how it gets its name. Each chapter contains a number of short stories based on a principle. The five themes are mitra bheda or loss of friendship, mitra laabha or gain of friendship, suhrud bheda or causing dissension among friends, vigraha or separation and sandhi or union.
Learning these values through stories is easy; and one never forgets them. Don't you agree?
Travellers from the east to Persia spread these fabulous tales there. King Khosraw I ordered his ministers to translate the fables into their literary language, Pahlavi. Then, as time went by, the Persian version was in turn translated into Arabic. By the 11th century, the tales of Panchatantra were read and enjoyed in many different languages in Europe.
Listen to this amusing bit! It was also known as Pilpay's Fables or Tales of Bidpai. The narrator of the fables is an Indian sage Bidpai.
Funnily, it is a corruption of the Sanskrit word “Vidhyapati”!
Did you know that Arabian Nights, Fables of La Fontaine and Grimms' Fairy Tales, were influenced by Vishnusharman's work?
The stories from this classic will always mesmerise children for all times!
The monkey on the jamun tree and the crocodile in the river below live on forever!
Do you not agree with me?
Keywords: children's literature