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Panchatantra
           

   


Complete & Unabridged Translation

The Author
 

 
   

 

           
         

 
   

"One Vishnusharman, shrewdly gleaning
All worldly wisdom's inner meaning,
In these five books the charm compresses
Of all such books the world possesses."
- Opening Verse, Panchatantra
 

 

           
         

 
   

Vishnu Sarma is credited to be the author of Panchatantra. He was a Sanskrit scholar living somewhere in India. He composed the Panchatantra to teach political science to his royal young disciples.

According to the legend in story itself, Amarashakti, King of Mahilaropya in southern India, had three dull-headed young sons. After much deliberation, the King decided to hand over the three princes to Vishnu Sharma for 'awakening their intelligence'. Vishnu Sarma was already 80 years old but was known to be a savant in all the shastras and the theory of politics and diplomacy.
 

 

           
         

 
   

The king called Vishnu Sharma and declared that if he is able to make his sons into able administrators, he would gift him a hundred villages and gold without bound. Vishnu Sharma politely refused the gifts but said that he would train the princes within six months, or change his name.

Vishnu Sharma soon realized that it was more difficult than he had thought to teach his new dull-headed students through conventional means, and there was a need of a creative way of teaching. Therefore he composed many captivating & charming animal stories, each with a lesson, and tied them in 5 parts, called "tantras."
 

 

           
         

 
   

The five parts (tantras) are titled in Sanskrit as Mitrabhed, Mitrasamprapti, Sandhi, Vigraham and Apareekshitkarakam. They are five principles or strategic themes one needs to keep in view for intelligent living. The English equivalents are:

Part-1: The Loss of Friends
Part-2: The Winning of Friends
Part-3: Crows & Owls (Peace & War)
Part-4: Loss of Gains
Part-5: Ill-Considered Action

After listening and understanding these stories, the three princes became highly knowledgeable in politics and able administrators. The first line of Panchatantra says that the stories compress the worldly wisdom contained in  all books in the world.

We do not know with certainty when Vishnu Sharma lived. In any case he lived more than 1400 years ago because in c. 570 AD, his book was translated in Persian language of ancient Iran.
 

 
Anushirvan, King of Persia
Panchatantra was Translated in His Reign by Burzoe

           
         

 
   

References:

[1] A History of Sanskrit Literature, A Berriedale Keith, Motilal banarsidas Publishers Pvt. Limited, India, 1993.
[2] The Pancatantra Vishnu Sarma, translated from Sanskrit with an Introduction by Chandra Rajan, Penguin Books, India, 1993.
[3] Panchatantra, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchatantra , retrieved on Feb 1, 2008
[4]Vishnu Sarma, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishnu_Sarma , retrieved on Feb 1, 2008.
 

 

           
           

       
   


 

           
Panchatantra
   
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