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Evolution Of Panchatantra Story
The Panchatantra is a compilation of inter-woven series of tales in prose and poetry, mostly animal fables. It was compiled in Sanskrit (Hindu) and Pali (Buddhist).
The compilation, attributed to Pandit Vishnu Sharma, is considered by most scholars to be dated around the 3rd century BCE and to be based on older oral civilization. Through cross-border mutations, adaptations, and translations, the Panchatantra remains the most popular work of literature, especially among storytellers.
Tales of this ancient Indian work, the original texts of which is now long lost, portray the origins of the subcontinent’s language and primitive lifestyle apart from its objectives, according to its own narrative, to illustrate the primary Hindu principles of niti – the wise conduct of life.
The Panchatantra consists of 5 parts, apart from a brief introductory narrative.
Each of the five parts revolves around a frame story, which further contains “emboxed” stories, sometimes three to four levels deep. These emboxed stories snap from each other, unexpectedly and irregularly at times, to sustain attention:
The Panchatantra was composed, in the Sanskrit language, in ancient times. This book of five volumes has traveled and been translated all over the world, primarily because of the witty moral values of the short stories and the elegant representation of framed stories.
Despite the fact that the original work is long lost, the texts in Sanskrit scriptures are available here:
India, with its ancient traditions, is one of the oldest, wisest, and most enlightened nations in the world. Almost everyone in the modern educated world is aware of the ‘Upanishads’, ‘Vedas’, and even ‘Yoga’.
There is no doubt that ancient India exercised great intellectual life, and dazzled with fabulous antiquity, and with its literature.
The Panchatantra is a unique contribution of Ancient India to the world, particularly to the world literature, that has equally delighted the young and the old, educated and uneducated, rich and poor, high and low – for over two thousand years. It has triumphed over the greatest obstacles of language, custom, and religion, and made unparalleled progress from its native land to all the civilized parts of the globe – as it continues to delight everyone to this very day.
This Indian collection of fables, reveals the basic knowledge of wisdom that makes one’s life “richer, happier, and fuller”. Because of its elegant style in which it packages the wisdom of
Panchatantra has served as a source, directly or indirectly, for many works of modern literature, which can be traced to Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Giovanni Boccaccio, and even William Shakspeare’s works.
In 1800 AD, Jonathan Scott epitomized the Bengal manuscript as ‘Tales, Anecdotes, and Letters’.
Most people in the modern world may not have heard of the Panchatantra. But anyone with any claim to literary education would be familiar with commonly used titles like ‘Fables of Bidpai’ or the ‘Tales of Kalila and Dimna’ – which are merely translations or adaptations of Panchatantra.
The fact that even before 1888, there were at least 20 English translations of this great Eastern Classic – makes one wonder how widely circulated this book was. As a matter of fact, no other book, other than the Bible, has ever enjoyed such intensive worldwide circulation.
Although the original texts of the Panchatantra are long lost, they survived through numerous commentaries and recensions.
The most notable of them are the Hitopadesha by Narayana, Durgasimha’s Kannada translation of 1031 AD, Purnabhadra’s recension of 1199 AD, and Franklin Edgerton’s 1924 reconstruction of the Sanskrit text of the original Panchatantra.
It is evident from history that Panchatantra had an unprecedented impact on early scholars, as it traveled to Persia, Arabia, Greece, and Europe.
During the Sassanid reign of Khosru I Anushiravan, Burzoy, the court physician to the Emperor of Iran, translated the Panchatantra into Pahlavi (Middle Persian) language, as early as 570 AD. His work was further translated by Buda Abdul Inu, a priest, into Syriac ‘Kalilag and Damnag’.
The title of this work was derived from Karnataka and Damanaka, two jackals in a frame story of the Panchatantra. The manuscript of this work survives and remains preserved. Burzoy’s work was also translated by Rudaki into Persian verses.
Enjoy the Short stories of Panchatantra, in English, with pictures and morals >>
List Of 50+ Panchatantra Story
Book 1: The Separation of Friends
- The Monkey and the Wedge
- The Jackal and the Drum
- The Fall and Rise of a Merchant
- The Foolish Sage Fighting Goats and the Jackal
- The Cobra and the Crows
- The Crane and the Crab
- The Cunning Hare and the Lion
- The Bug and the Poor Flea
- The Story of the Blue Jackal
- The Lion, Camel, Jackal and Crow
- The Bird Pair and the Sea
- The Turtle that fell off the Stick
- Tale of the Three Fishes
- The Elephant and the Sparrow
- The Lion and the Jackal
- The Bird and the Monkey
- How a Sparrow came to Grief
- Right-Mind and Wrong-Mind
- The Crane and the Mongoose
- The Rat that ate Iron
- The King and the Foolish Monkey
- The Thief and the Brahmins
Book 2: The Gaining of Friends
- The Hermit and the Mouse
- Elephants and King of Mice
- Sandhill and Sesame Seeds
- Story of the Merchant’s Son
- The Unlucky Weaver
Book 3: Of Crows and Owls
- Of Crows and Owls Elephants and Hares
- The Cunning Mediator
- The Brahmin and the Crooks
- The Dove and the Hunter
- The Brahmin and Cobra
- The Old Man, Young Wife, and Thief
- The Brahmin, Thief, and Demon
- The Tale of Two Snakes
- The Wedding of the Mouse
- Tale of the Golden Droppings
- The Cave that Talked Frogs that rode a Snake
- The War of Crows and Owls
Book 4: Loss of Gains
- The Monkey and the Crocodile
- The Greedy Cobra and Frog King
- The Lion and the Foolish Donkey
- The Story of the Potter
- Lioness and the Young Jackal
- The Donkey and the Washerman
- The Price of Indiscretion
- The Jackal’s Strategy
- The Dog who went Abroad Book 5: III-Considered Actions
- The Brahmani and the Mongoose The Four Treasure-Seekers
- The Lion that Sprang to Life
- The Four Learned Fools
- The Tale of Two Fishes and a Frog The Musical Donkey
- The Brahmin’s Dream
- The Bird with Two Heads
- The Unforgiving Monkey
Story 3: The Fall And Rise Of Merchant
In a city called Vardhamana, lived a very efficient and prosperous merchant. The king was aware of his abilities and therefore made him the administrator of the kingdom.
With his efficient and intelligent ways, he kept the common man very happy, and at the same time, he impressed the king on the other side. Such a person, who can keep everybody happy, is rarely found.
Later, there came a time when the merchant’s daughter was getting married. He arranged for a lavish reception.
The merchant not only invited the king and the queen, who obliged by attending, but he also invited the entire royal household and all respected people of the kingdom.
During the reception, he ensured to provide his guests with the best of treatments. He gave out gifts to guests to show them respect for attending to his invitation.
A servant of the royal household, who used to sweep the palace, was not invited but attended the reception.
He took a seat that was reserved for royal nobles, not meant for common invitees.
This made the merchant very angry. He caught him by the neck and ordered his servants to have him thrown out.
The royal servant felt very insulted, and could not sleep all night. He thought, “If I can have the king to disfavor this merchant, I will have my revenge.
But what can I, a common fellow, do to harm a powerful person like him”. Thinking such, he suddenly had a plan.
Several days later, the servant was sweeping the floor near the king’s bed early in the morning. He observed that the king was still in bed, half-awake.
The servant started mumbling, “Good heavens! The merchant has become so carefree now that he dared to embrace the queen!”
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