THE PANCHTANTRA TALES
The Panchtantra is one of the best known Classics of ancient India. They form a wise and wonderful part of Indian Heritage. Through the jungle of the speaking animals, Vishnu Sharma has created a storehouse of wisdom in the form of short stories for children. These stories written as far as back as 2000 years came to be known as Panchtantra. How Vishnu Sharma wrote these stories is a story by itself. Once there was a king called Amarashakti. He had three sons, all dullards. He was in despair. “Show me a way to educate them,” he told his courtiers. For that Vishnu Sharma was summoned. He asked for just six months to make princes wise. Day after day, the princes listened with rapt attention to the wonderful tales which Vishnu Sharma narrated. The miracle began to happen. The princes were exposed to life with the lessons that each situation taught.
Panchtantra has been translated into fifty different languages with 200 different versions. What is more interesting is that even Grimms fairy tales and Aesops fables can be traced back to this treasure house of animal tales created by Vishnu Sharma.
Panchtantra means Five Books or Systems. It is a collection of nearly ninety stories and stories within stories.
Panchtantra also means Five ‘Tantra’ which means doctrines of conduct or modes of action namely confidence or firmness of mind, creation of prosperity, earnest endeavor, friendship or knowledge.