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The Pancatantra (Penguin Classics)
 
 

The Pancatantra (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Visnu Sarma , Chandra Rajan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

First recorded 1500 years ago, but taking its origins from a far earlier oral tradition, the Pancatantra is ascribed by legend to the celebrated, half-mythical teacher Visnu Sarma. Asked by a great king to awaken the dulled intelligence of his three idle sons, the aging Sarma is said to have composed the great work as a series of entertaining and edifying fables narrated by a wide range of humans and animals, and together intended to provide the young princes with vital guidance for life. Since first leaving India before AD 570, the Pancatantra has been widely translated and has influenced a cast number of works in India, the Arab world and Europe, including the Arabian Nights, the Canterbury Tales and the Fables of La Fontaine. Enduring and profound, it is among the earliest and most popular of all books of fables.

About the Author

Tradition ascribes this fabulous work to Visnu Sarma whose existence has not been conclusively established. Chandra Rajan, a noted Sanskrit scholar, has based her translation on the Purnabhadra recension (AD 1199). While remaining faithful to the original, she breathes new life into the stories, skilfully combining prose and verse to give us an eminently readable translation.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 659 KB
  • Print Length: 516 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140455205
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (31 Aug 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI954K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #531,931 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heart of Indian Wisdom 20 Sep 2007
By Aditya
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.

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 an excellent one, and tries to be as faithful to the original as possible. 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. So if you know Hindi or Sanskrit, then you should try and buy the Panchatantram in Sanskrit/ Hindi (published by Motilal Banarasi Das of Delhi).

Even so, going through this book may open up another world for you, particularly if you were not brought up in India. It will change your perspective on many ordinary things and challenges that you face in everyday life. There are stories which teach you how to recognise deceit, fraud, cheating, make friends, cooperate with people, and generally get on with life. And there are arguments over particular positions that the protagonist takes, so that you get to see both points of view.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heart of Indian Wisdom 29 Aug 2005
By Sanjay Agarwal - Published on Amazon.com
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.

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 an excellent one, and tries to be as faithful to the original as possible. 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. So if you know Hindi or Sanskrit, then you should try and buy the Panchatantram in Sanskrit/ Hindi (published by Motilal Banarasi Das of Delhi).

Even so, going through this book may open up another world for you, particularly if you were not brought up in India. It will change your perspective on many ordinary things and challenges that you face in everyday life. There are stories which teach you how to recognise deceit, fraud, cheating, make friends, cooperate with people, and generally get on with life. And there are arguments over particular positions that the protagonist takes, so that you get to see both points of view. You would also find this book particularly useful if you are dealing with Indians in business or in diplomacy, just as Western audiences have found the Art of War (Sun Tzu) to be a fascinating insight into the Chinese mind.

As the stories are built around animals, many people mistake these for nursery stories or for fables. This is not correct. Panchatantra is as relevant for adults as it is for teenagers. In fact some of the stories involving adults are not appropriate for young children (<13 years).

All in all, an excellent book for your own enjoyment or as a gift to a young or old friend.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent translation 2 Jun 2009
By Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sanskrit translation to English version didn't lose it's originality.It's a wonderful treatise on statecraft interwoven with fables. It is greatly appreciated if the penguin releases the pdf version. It is useful reading on your laptop when you have eye sight ( easy to magnify the font for reading).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stories which are beloved through time and space 29 Dec 2012
By Rene Peritz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This collection of stories with commentaries, verses, word play and references is well worth owning.
The Panchatantra is a word and world treasure in literature and the source for many fables which are recounted by Aesop, the author (authors?) of the 1001 Nights, some of the verses found in the fables of de la Fontaine,the Tantric animal stories and in many other recitations.
This is a seminal work. This edition needs accompanying illustrations or extended drawings and, perhaps, rewriting so as to appeal to a reader of colloquial English.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Text of Worldly Wisdom 7 Jun 2014
By Moses - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is very fascinating ! It is like a story for those who are not initialed into political philosophy.
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done. 30 Jan 2014
By T. Coonen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
These tales are so plastic, can be told so many ways . . . I don't know if it's a translator's nightmare or dream job but it's done well here.
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