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Panchatantra

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-8171670659
ISBN-10: 8171670652
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Panchatabtra is a rare book,for in no book will one find philosophy,psychology,politics,music,astronomy,human relationship etc.,all discussed together in such a simple and yet elegant style. The book is intended for the adult mind,though children will love it if helped:it contains a fountain of India's philosophical wisdom - a fountain of nectar. --G.L.Chandiramani/Translator16th

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Rupa & Co. (1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8171670652
  • ISBN-13: 978-8171670659
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sanjay Agarwal on August 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
No one knows when or how the Panchatantra was composed. However, according to the legend, a Brahmin scholar named Vishnu Sharma designed it to teach the sons of a king something about life, neeti (policy) and real-politik. The result was a mosaic of interlocking stories that emerge from one another, and leave you with a lot of understanding about dealing with life. Incidentally, though some people compare Panchatantra with Arabian Nights, the comparison is not apt. Arabian Nights do not really offer any learning, they are purely for entertainment. Panchatantra has the power to deepen your understanding of the world in immeasurable ways.

The book reached Arabia sometimes in the fifth century AD, and then later it reached Europe, where it is believed to have led to development of Aesop's fables. It is difficult to judge how it has affected these societies, but in India it has had tremendous impact, which continues to this day. Its lessons are alive and well even today, and almost every child will know at least one story from Panchatantra.

The present translation from the original Sanskrit is good one, though it appears to have been condensed at many places, with many critcal comments left out. If you want a more faithful translation, you may look in Penguin Classics where it has been published as 'Pancatantra', translated by Chandra Rajan, and offers an excellent introduction to boot.

However, Sanskrit and English are two very different languages in their orientation (though they belong to the same family). As a result, the translation of many ideas suffers. Also, some of the particularly interesting comments have been left out altogether.
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In the office, one of the women mentioned that her and her daughter would read the Panchatantra comics.
What's that? Oh, it's a bunch of comic books with morals. Our comics in the states have long since
strayed to the more adventurous, exciting comics we see today which may or may not have a moral.

The kids looked forward to more comics. These comics that are the stories of relationship building,
deceit and the eventaul outcomes of friendships, treachery, honesty and deceit.

How did we do it when we grew up. Well, I guess we had Aesops Fables. But I never saw them in comic
book form.

This book is a subset of the textual versions of those morals. I hear that the comics are still available,
but there are about 2000 of them. I liked it. The storeis reminded me that some of the stuff you
hear may not always be honest. After all, people may have a reason for being dishonest at one time or
another. Eventually, they'll come around.

Thanks for the recommendation, Chandrika.
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Format: Paperback
For those wondering why these stories are similar to Aesop's fables, we need to research a bit into history. These stories were written about 2500 years ago or more in Sanskrit and were later translated into several languages, they spread to Persia and the Gulf and were translated to Arabic as well. The Europeans translated them from Arabic into their languages and one of those being Aesop's fables. Just like the numbering system in Math today. From India to Persia to Europe. Now that these are written in English again, people in India buy them too. I guess the world is round :)
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Advice for life...as told through fables. This was given to young princes in India so as to be prepared to
be a wise leader. Simple, enjoyable tales, and good advice.
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The book is comparable to Aesop's fables. The stories are thoughtful and suspenseful; but unlike Aesop, the stories are too long. The kid's attention is often lost. I now read the stories first myself and precis them for the 5-12 yr olds.
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Like most movies, I can guess the middle and ending at the beginning. Same old formulas. This book is like a foreign film, it makes you feel deeply. This book has meaningful lessons in it.
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