Difference between revisions of "Pañcatantra"

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<small>By Swami Harshananda</small>
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Pañcatantra (‘five rules of political conduct’)
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The Pañcatantra is the most celebrated and interesting work in Sanskrit literature, classed under the didactic fable group. It comprises five books or sections (pañca = five), each dealing with one particular tantra or rule of political conduct.
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The introductory part of the work states that it was taught by a wise teacher, Viṣṇuśarma by name, to the idle and stupid sons of a king Amaraśakti of Mahilaropa, at his request. The princes very soon became well-educated and well-behaved, due to the marvellous effect of the tales they heard from their preceptor.
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Till now, the identity of neither the teacher nor the king has been determined.
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The earliest edition known to us— though completely lost—is the Pehlevi (language) translation by a Persian physician Burzoe, at the order of the king Khossu Anushirvan (A. D. 531-575). The text we now have is based on an old Syrian version by Bud in A. D. 570 and an Arabic version by Abdallah Ibnal Mogaffa in A. D. 750. This latter work was translated into several European languages during the period A. D. 1080 to 1678.
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The Pañcatantra is generally assigned to the period 100 B. C. to A. D. 300.
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The contents of the work may be summarised as follows:
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1. Mitrabheda
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(Breaking the Friendship)
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This deals with the policy of ‘divide and rule’ by the story of two jackals, Karaṭaka and Damanaka, who lived happily after estranging the lion and the bull who had been fast friends for a long time.
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2. Mitralābha (Acquisition of Friends)
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This illustrates the advantages of a judicious friendship by the story of the adventures of a tortoise, a deer, a crow and a mouse.
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3. Kākolukiya
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(Tale of Crows and Owls)
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This brings out the dangers of friendship between those who are natural enemies.
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4. Labdhapranāśa
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(Loss of what has been Acquired)
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This points out, by means of the story of an ape and a crocodile, how certain weaknesses lead to the loss of one’s own possessions.
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5. Apariksitakāritam
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(Results of Inconsiderate Actions)
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The general principle of ‘haste makes waste’ is illustrated through a number of stories here.
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There are two distinct versions of the Pañcatantra available now: the Tantrā-khyāyikā (Kashmir version) in simple
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prose; the stories found in the Kathā-
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saritsāgara of Somadeva and the Brhat-kathāmañjarl of Kṣemendra.
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The Pañcatantra is one of the most translated works in world literature.
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See also HITOPADEŚA.
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==References==
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{{reflist}}
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* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
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== OLD CONTENT ==
 
Pañcatantra (‘five rules of political conduct’)
 
Pañcatantra (‘five rules of political conduct’)
 
The Pañcatantra is the most cele¬brated and interesting work in Sanskrit literature, classed under the didactic fable group. It comprises five books or sections (pañca = five), each dealing with one par¬ticular tantra or rule of political conduct.
 
The Pañcatantra is the most cele¬brated and interesting work in Sanskrit literature, classed under the didactic fable group. It comprises five books or sections (pañca = five), each dealing with one par¬ticular tantra or rule of political conduct.

Revision as of 09:19, 12 October 2014

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Pancatantra, PaJcatantra, Paycatantra


Pañcatantra (‘five rules of political conduct’)

The Pañcatantra is the most celebrated and interesting work in Sanskrit literature, classed under the didactic fable group. It comprises five books or sections (pañca = five), each dealing with one particular tantra or rule of political conduct.

The introductory part of the work states that it was taught by a wise teacher, Viṣṇuśarma by name, to the idle and stupid sons of a king Amaraśakti of Mahilaropa, at his request. The princes very soon became well-educated and well-behaved, due to the marvellous effect of the tales they heard from their preceptor.

Till now, the identity of neither the teacher nor the king has been determined.

The earliest edition known to us— though completely lost—is the Pehlevi (language) translation by a Persian physician Burzoe, at the order of the king Khossu Anushirvan (A. D. 531-575). The text we now have is based on an old Syrian version by Bud in A. D. 570 and an Arabic version by Abdallah Ibnal Mogaffa in A. D. 750. This latter work was translated into several European languages during the period A. D. 1080 to 1678.

The Pañcatantra is generally assigned to the period 100 B. C. to A. D. 300.

The contents of the work may be summarised as follows:

1. Mitrabheda

(Breaking the Friendship)

This deals with the policy of ‘divide and rule’ by the story of two jackals, Karaṭaka and Damanaka, who lived happily after estranging the lion and the bull who had been fast friends for a long time.

2. Mitralābha (Acquisition of Friends)

This illustrates the advantages of a judicious friendship by the story of the adventures of a tortoise, a deer, a crow and a mouse.

3. Kākolukiya

(Tale of Crows and Owls)

This brings out the dangers of friendship between those who are natural enemies.

4. Labdhapranāśa

(Loss of what has been Acquired)

This points out, by means of the story of an ape and a crocodile, how certain weaknesses lead to the loss of one’s own possessions.

5. Apariksitakāritam

(Results of Inconsiderate Actions)

The general principle of ‘haste makes waste’ is illustrated through a number of stories here.

There are two distinct versions of the Pañcatantra available now: the Tantrā-khyāyikā (Kashmir version) in simple

prose; the stories found in the Kathā-

saritsāgara of Somadeva and the Brhat-kathāmañjarl of Kṣemendra.

The Pañcatantra is one of the most translated works in world literature.

See also HITOPADEŚA.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Pañcatantra (‘five rules of political conduct’) The Pañcatantra is the most cele¬brated and interesting work in Sanskrit literature, classed under the didactic fable group. It comprises five books or sections (pañca = five), each dealing with one par¬ticular tantra or rule of political conduct. The introductory part of the work states that it was taught by a wise teacher, Viṣṇuśarma by name, to the idle and stupid sons of a king Amaraśakti of Mahilaropa, at his request. The princes very soon became well-educated and well- behaved, due to the marvellous effect of the tales they heard from their preceptor. Till now, the identity of neither the teacher nor the king has been determined. The earliest edition known to us— though completely lost—is the Pehlevi (language) translation by a Persian physi¬cian Burzoe, at the order of the king Khossu Anushirvan (A. D. 531-575). The text we now have is based on an old Syrian version by Bud in A. D. 570 and an Arabic version by Abdallah Ibnal Mogaffa in A. D. 750. This latter work was translated into several European lan¬guages during the period A. D. 1080 to 1678. The Pañcatantra is generally as¬signed to the period 100 B. C. to A. D. 300. The contents of the work may be summarised as follows: 1. Mitrabheda (Breaking the Friendship) This deals with the policy of ‘divide and rule’ by the story of two jackals, Karaṭaka and Damanaka, who lived hap¬pily after estranging the lion and the bull who had been fast friends for a long time. 2. Mitralābha (Acquisition of Friends) This illustrates the advantages of a judicious friendship by the story of the adventures of a tortoise, a deer, a crow and a mouse. 3. Kākolukiya (Tale of Crows and Owls) This brings out the dangers of friend¬ship between those who are natural enemies. 4. Labdhapranāśa (Loss of what has been Acquired) This points out, by means of the story of an ape and a crocodile, how certain weaknesses lead to the loss of one’s own possessions. 5. Apariksitakāritam (Results of Inconsiderate Actions) The general principle of ‘haste makes waste’ is illustrated through a number of stories here. There are two distinct versions of the Pañcatantra available now: the Tantrā- khyāyikā (Kashmir version) in simple prose; the stories found in the Kathā- saritsāgara of Somadeva and the Brhat- kathāmañjarl of Kṣemendra. The Pañcatantra is one of the most translated works in world literature. See also HITOPADEŚA.