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Natural Enmity: Reflections on the Niti and Rasa of the Pancatantra [Book 1] Kindle Edition
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We have all been taught that the Panchatantra is a tale of cute animal fables primarily for the entertainment and consumption of children. Ashay Naik questioned this received wisdom in his M.A. (Honours) thesis at the University of Sydney. This book is a fruit of those early efforts. Ashay argues that the Panchatantra is actually an ancient street-smart manual designed to guide young men in the treacherous ways of worldly life.
In re-discovering the Panchatantra, Ashay also leads us to the fascinating and enchanting Eldorado that is the world of ancient Indian thought. Most of us have lost touch with the ways of our ancestors. We do not understand what moved them, how they lived, what they thought, what they considered valuable and how they ordered their lives. We have been told that ancient India was a great civilisation endowed with glittering intellectuals. However, most of us are completely unaware of the content of their thought.
By drawing a stark distinction between our current Westernised world and those of our ancestors, Ashay Naik presents us with the rasa of ancient India. The reader gets a taste of what it was like to live in ancient India and think as an ancient Indian. Most current work on ancient Indian thought either attempts to show its complete congruence with the dominant values and political formations of today or demonstrate its oppressive and unkind nature, thereby rendering the thinking of ancient Indian intellectuals obsolete.
Ashay avoids both paths. He is neither interested in condemnation, nor shallow praise. His goal is truth and understanding. With this book, Ashay has achieved this goal. We can only hope that this is the beginning of a true and sustained exploration into the world of ancient Indians.