Panchatantra (Inc. 58 Stories): The Panchatantra is a rare book, for in no book will you find philosophy, psychology, politics, music; astronomy, human relationship, etc., all discussed together in such a simple and yet elegant style. This is exactly what Pandit Vishnu Sharma had in mind, to give as much knowledge to the princes as possible. And no doubt not only the princes but also millions of listeners and readers for the last 2,200 years have benefited from this most unique book. The book is intended for the adult mind, though children will love it if helped; it contains a fountain of India’s philosophical wisdom—a fountain of nectar.
The Panchatantra is a collection of folktales and fables that were believed to have been originally written in Sanskrit by Vishnu Sharma more than 2500 years ago. This collection of stories features animal characters that are stereotyped to associate certain qualities with them. The origins of the Panchatantra lie in a tale of its own when a King approached a learned pandit to ask him to teach the important lessons of life to his ignorant and unwise sons. This learned scholar knew that the royal princes could not understand complex principles in an ordinary way. So, he devised a method wherein he would impart important knowledge in the form of simple and easy-to-understand folktales. Thus, the Panchatantra came into origin. It is one of the most popular collections of Indian tales and has influenced literature all over the world since the time of its conception. This particular version of the Panchatantra was translated by G L Chandiramani, who has also translated the Hitopadesha. Panchatantra comes from the individual words, ‘Pancha’ and ‘tantra’. While Pancha refers to the number five, tantra refers to ways strategies related to inner fulfillment. The stories in this book aim to impart the deeper wisdom of life, through the simple portrayal of animal characters. The story of two geese and a tortoise is dedicated to the moral of heeding a trusted friend’s advice. Another story deals with a wise old rabbit and an angry lion who can’t control his impatience. This paperback version of the Panchatantra was published in 1991 by Rupa & Co.