Tag Archives: Sanskrit

“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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“Chandamama” Brings Back Nostalgia Of Childhood

Once again earliest memories of reading takes me back to “Chandamama”, the monthly magazine for children that I have read in childhood. Now it is available in many languages including English but I had read it in Hindi at that time. Very recently, I had picked up the latest English version from a bookstore and found that old charm still continues. I have read recently that they have moved with the times but I am going to recall what I used to read many years ago.

This was a small little magazine with short stories taken from Indian mythology and history. Sometimes they used to carry stories from other countries as well. The stories were simple and educational with the idea of making children learn some good thoughts and values. Most of the stories were small and used to end within few pages. But they used to carry some long stories as well spanning across multiple issues of the magazine.

The most popular and the longest of them was a series of “Vikram-Betaal” stories which have been running all these years continuously. The idea of theses stories is taken from ancient Sanskrit texts but I think they have been improvising on that. The story involved King Vikram capturing and taking a ghost Betaal and then Betaal starts telling him a story on the way. The story always ended with a moral dilemma where Vikram ends up answering the question in the right way resulting in Betaal becoming free and the whole process starting once again.

This has been an amazing magazine of our times. I do not know how popular it is with today’s younger generation which is hooked to Internet and TV for their entertainment. For those who do not know “Chandamama” would mean describing “moon as mother’s brother”.

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