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Tales From Panchtantra

Tales From Panchtantra

Author(s) : Vishnu Sharma

The Panchatantra  is an ancient Indian inter-related collection of animal fables. It is the oldest collection of Indian fables surviving. Both animals and human are portrayed as the characters of the Panchatantra tales. These extraordinary tales are liked, even loved by people of all age group because of the fact that they serve as the best guide to instill moral values in children.

Book Details

Vishnu Sharma was an Indian author and renowned Sanskrit scholar. He is believed to have written the Panchatantra which are a collection of fables. He composed the Panchatantra to teach political science to his young royal disciples. The exact period of the composition is uncertain, and estimates vary from 1200 BCE to 300 CE.

According to the legend, Amarashakti, King of Mahilaropya in southern India, had three young sons. The king despaired of his three princes' inability to learn. After much thought, the King decided to hand over the three princes to Vishnu Sharma for ';awakening their intelligence'. Vishnu Sharma was already 80 years old but was known to be a scholar in all the shastras and the theory of politics and diplomacy.

Vishnu Sharma knew that he could never instruct these three students through conventional methods. He had to employ a less orthodox way, and that was to tell a succession of animal fables.

So he adapted stories that had been told for thousands of years in India, and composed them into an entertaining five-part work to communicate the essence of diplomacy, relationships, politics and administration to the princes. These five discourses, became the Panchatantra, meaning the five (pancha) treatises (tantra).

Vishnu Sharma is one of the most widely translated authors in history. Panchatantra has been translated into many Indian and foreign languages like Latin, Spanish, Italian, German, Persian and Arabic.