Thursday, May 1, 2014
(4.4) Panchtantra (A Book of Moral Stories)
'Panchtantra' is a book of tales which was originally written in Sanskrit by a great scholar Pt. Vishnu Sharma. Panchtantra is written in the form of stories (fables). These stories always end with a moral. It is a book on Neeti Shastra i.e. a book showing 'how to conduct in life.' In a book of Neeti Shastra we find 'what is good and what is bad', 'what to do and what not to do.' We find the same things in Panchtantra also. Each story of the book has some lesson or the other to teach. These stories teach us what to do to get success,how to know which of the people are reliable and trustworthy.This book also guides how to face the difficulties that come in our way and how to solve them using tact and wisdom. In some cases the fables prove that a tact is more useful than talent.
The following story shows why and how the Panchtantra'was written-
Once there lived a king. His name was Amarshakti.He had three sons who were dull and ignorant and had no interest in study. He was worried about the well being of his sons. One of his ministers whose name was Sumati advised him to send the princes to a great scholar named Vishnu Sharma for their study. He can instruct them very well in a short period. Following his advice the king sent for Vishnu Sharma to the palace and requested him to accept his three sons as his disciples and educate them in Nitishastra.Vishnu Sharma agreed to take the princes to his Ashram and promised to educate them in Niti Shastra within six months. The king was pleased to hear it and handed over his sons to him.
Vishnu Sharma took the princes to his Ashram. As a part of their study he told them a chain of stories which were divided in five Tantras . The five Tantras are-
(1) Mitrabhed (The separation of friends or conflict among friends) (2) Mitra Samprapti (Gaining or winning of friends) (3) Kaakolokeeya (Crows and owls) (4) Labdh Pranaash (Loss of gains or forfeit of profits) (5) Aparikshit Karak (Action without due consideration)