“Panchatantra”, Classic Fables In Sanskrit By Vishnu Sharma

All of us have read or heard tales of “Panchatantra” at some point of time or other in our life.  These are classic animal fables attributed to have written by “Vishnu Sharma” more than two thousand years ago in Sanskrit. The origin of stories must have been still older and probably they were passed on from generations to generations through the art of story telling. I wanted to get hold of complete book and read it in Hindi and luckily found the book in recent book festival and finished reading it recently.

As the name says, the book is divided into five sections talking about five different principals: Identifying friends, Making friends, Crows and Owls, Loss of gains, Ill considered action. According to known history, Vishnu Sharma had used these tales to teach common principles to children of a King. The stories are extremely simple and are interwoven together. You will find characters of one story telling another story to each other and it goes on like that. The author has used specific animal behaviour and instincts to provide insights on various principles. These stories have been translated, adapted and retold in almost all cultures around the world and are known in different forms. But the main idea still remains the same. Learn from animal behaviour and use that to make your life better.

I had a really great time reading these stories. After a long time, I was reading something that just revolves around animals and how they are supposed to get food for living. It was a great form of comfort reading. It takes you really back in time when life did not revolve around gadgets, technology and desires that go beyond your basic necessities. We have learned so much but have forgotten so many things that the behaviour of these animal characters teaches us.

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