For more than two and a half millennia, the Panchatantra tales have regaled children and adults alike with a moral at the end of every story. Some believe that they are as old as the Rig Veda. There is also another story about these fables. According to it, these are stories Shiva told his consort Parvati. The present series is based on the Sanskrit original.
A king, worried that his three sons are without the wisdom to live in a world of wile and guile, asks a learned man called Vishnu Sharma to teach them the ways of the world.
Since his wards are dim wits, Vishnu Sharman decides to pass on wisdom to them in the form of stories. In these stories, he makes animals speak like human beings. Panchatantra is a collection of attractively told stories about the five ways that help the human being succeed in life. Pancha means five and tantra means ways or strategies or principles. Addressed to the king’s children, the stories are primarily about statecraft and are popular throughout the world. The five strategies are:
1. Discord among friends
2. Gaining friends
3. Of crows and owls
4. Loss of gains
The stories have been translated into nearly every language in the world that has a script. The story form appeals to children while the wisdom in them attracts adults. The Panchatantra collection represents the earliest folk tale form in the world of literature. There are several versions of Panchatantra tales in circulation in the world but the one that is popular in india is the Sanskrit original of Vishnu Sharma.
The stories will appear in five sections, each representing a strategy for getting over problems in life. They are of interest not just for the ruling class but also for every person. They are all about survival in a complicated world and the several ways to get over problems. The stories based as they are on human nature have an eternal relevance.
Panchatantra Tales Introduction – Panchatantra Tales by Vishnu Sharma