The Book I Like Most
MY FAVOURITE BOOK TALES FROM PANCHTANTRA
Panchtantra – A Storehouse of Wisdom
Through the jungle of the speaking animals Vishnusharman has created a storehouse of wisdom in the form of short stories for children These stories written as far back as 2000 years came to be known as Panchatantra.
How Vishnusharman wrote these stories is a story by itself. The preface of the Panchatantra tells us that there was once a king called Amarashakti. He had three sons, all dullards. Amrshakti despaired. “Show me a way to educate them”, he told his courtiers. One among them was a wise man named Sumati. He came up with the idea that the princes should not be taught the scriptures but only the wisdom in them. There is a man called Vishnusharman, he said, who could do just this. Vishnusharman was summoned. He asked for just six months to make the princes wise. Disbelievingly Amarshakti watched as the miracle began.
The Panchatantra means the five devices – (pancha =five, tantra =devices). The stories under five different heads cover all aspects of administration, personal life and cunning that one has to combat in life. The first of Panchatantra deals with Mitrabhedha (loss of friends), which illustrates a situation where friends are separated by a cunning third person.
Friends and their acquisition is the section called Mitrasamprapti. The well known story of the pigeons caught in a net, is illustrative of Mitrasamprapti. Together the pigeons fly off with the net to Hiranyaka, the mouse. The mouse bites off the net and sets the birds free
Progmatism is however important to emerge a survivor as the Panchatantra wishes you to be. So the section entitled Kakolookiyam on worldly wisdom described the ways of the world. Trust not everybody warns Vishnusharman, especially those who having been enemies, now pretend friendship. Nip it in the bud; all is fair in war; a king should never run away from war; are some of the other lessons.