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The Panchtantra: The Book of India's Folk Wisdom

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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  794 ratings  ·  44 reviews
The Pancatantra is a collection of fables from India and was one of the earliest Indian books to be translated into Western languages. A significant influence on the Arabian Nights and the Fables of La Fontaine, the Pancatantra teaches the principles of good government and public policy through the medium of animal stories. Its positive attitude towards life and its advoca ...more
Paperback, 195 pages
Published December 19th 2002 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published -200)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,092)
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Huda Aweys
We learned a lot about ethics and values through these tales when we were kids ! .. :) It's really nice,And I was like it ! ...more
Brad
These animal fables within the five books (pancha tantra) of a frame story collectively constitute nitishastra or scriptures on the wise conduct of life, not for the ascetic but for the person in the world. Apart from being the recognizable source for versions of fables later recounted by Aesop and others, the narratives are entertaining for their humor and social calculus. One of my favorite sections is the fourth book, Crows and Owls. After a parliament of the birds has decided to make owl the ...more
Isabelle
I really wanted to read this book because it is a very early record of the art of the fable, using animals for moral and/or philosophical teaching purposes. I think that having grown up learning and reciting one Lafontaine fable after another, year after year, has made me sensitive to the genre. So after Lafontaine and Aesop, the natural progression is the Panchatantra, I thought. It may well be so, and I am glad I read those fables for that very reason. However, I did not derive much enjoyment ...more
James Violand
Aesop on steroids. Instead of the moral at the end of a fable, the characters recite morals throughout a fable, which may be within a fable, which is inside another fable, only then to reach a conclusion and a new moral. It reminds me of the movie "Inception" only not nearly as entertaining. There's only so much a black snake, lion, fish, turtle, crow or one of a myriad of animals can teach us without ennui settling in.
Muhammad Shakhawat Hossain
ভালো লাগলো বেশ! অনেকদিন পর নীতিকথার কোন বই পডলাম। পাঁচটি তনতর বা নীতি নিযে পঞচতনতর। এ পাঁচটি তনতর হল, () মিতরভেদ (বনধু-বিচছেদ), () মিতরলাভ (বনধু লাভ), () কাকোলূকীয (চিরশতরুতা), () লবধপরনাশ (পেযে হারানো) ও () অপরীকষিতকারক (না ভেবে কাজ করা)।
পশু পাখির মুখ দিযে গলপ বলিযে হাজার খানিক বছর আগেই মানব পরকৃতিকে মোটামুটি একটা ছকে ফেলে দিযেছে এই বইটি! আজকের দিনে নীতিকথাসবরূপ এই গলপগুলির আবেদন কতটুকু জানিনা কিনতু সেই সমযের পরেকষিতে গলপবলিযের পরযবেকষণ আর উদভাবনী কষমতার দৌড দেখলে কিছুটা ভাবতে হয বটে। বিষণুশরম
...more
Dave
Sep 01, 2008 Dave rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Krystal
Indian stories whose authorship is generally attributed to Visnu Sarma in Sanscrit. Originally part of the Indian oral tradition these stories where compiled by Sarma as a means to educate a King's dolt sons in the art of good government. Generally believed to be the original source of Aesop's Fables the stories use animals as the main characters to make a point on how to govern.

These stories can be suitable for children as well as adults, and even though violent ends come to some of the charac
...more
Swamy Gorrela
These stories were not new to indians.One way or other, everyone must have listened to these stories at some point of time. Naturally, they are/were best moral stories i have ever read/heard. <3
Mourya Biswas
Jan 22, 2009 Mourya Biswas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rajit
Recommended to Mourya by: father
I learned so many things from ythis book, and yes this book is really superb.
Greg
In the preamble, the genesis of the book and its lasting influence is described. “With the aid of these tales, he instructed the princes. They too, learning through these stories, became in six months what Visnu Sarna had promised they would. Since then, this work on practical wisdom has become celebrated as an excellent means of awakening and training young minds.” (5) It is in this spirit that this great book of Sanskrit fables proceeds. Designed to train young minds, they are as a collection ...more
Claire S
I'd read Aesop's fables as a kid and really liked them - I remember one in particular about a young man who was traveling, and he came to a town and stayed for a bit. Over time he became aware that the town had a huge problem - their bowls were getting to be too small to hold any food! He looked, and realized their bowls had food caked on them, and it was that caked-on food which was making the eating part smaller. He showed them how to remove the food from the inside of the bowl, and the proble ...more
Pawan
http://iandbooks.wordpress.com/
All of us have read or heard tales of “Panchatantra” at some point of time or other in our life. These are classic animal fables attributed to have written by “Vishnu Sharma” more than two thousand years ago in Sanskrit. The origin of stories must have been still older and probably they were passed on from generations to generations through the art of story telling. I wanted to get hold of complete book and read it in Hindi and luckily found the book in recent book
...more
Robert Sheppard
FOLKTALES AND FABLES IN WORLD LITERATURE--THE PANCHATANTRA, THE INDIAN AESOP, LA FONTAINE'S FABLES, THE PALI JATAKAS, THE BROTHERS GRIMM, CHARLES PERRAULT'S MOTHER GOOSE, THE CHINESE MONKEY KING, JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS' TAR-BABY & THE AMERINDIAN COYOTE AND TRICKSTER TALES ----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


Folk tales, folk song, folk legend and and folk lore have been with us since time immemorial and
...more
lynne naranek
This was a long read. Amusing, educational, and entertaining too.

The premise is simple: a King at wit's end about how to awaken the intelligence of his sons engages the services of Visnu Sarma, who proceed to educate the princes via tales, not unlike Aesop's fables.

What I enjoyed was how the stories were structured. Each of the five (panca) have a large frame within which many many MANY smaller tales appear. You'll have two characters in a situation, one wants to do something, the other either
...more
PTS Books Club
The Panchatantra, 'Five Principles', is a collection of originally Indian animal fables in verse and prose. The original Sanskrit work, which some scholars believe was composed in the 3rd century BCE, is attributed to Vishnu Sharma. However, it is based on older oral traditions, including "animal fables that are as old as we are able to imagine". It is "certainly the most frequently translated literary product of India".

Apart from a short introduction — in which the author, Vishnu Sarma, is intr
...more
Anil Joshi
Feb 26, 2015 Anil Joshi marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
ryder's translation is bad in that the sanskrit names of characters also got translated into english. The original sanskrit names describe personalities of the personalities which are lost in translation. I would like to read this edition to see if the priginal names of characters are intact.
Krishna Kumar
Wonderful stories that gives insights when you read it again and again. Every story can be interpreted in different ways according to your exposure, thought processes and wisdom. Deep values but simple narration..
Melissa
It's a nice collection of stories. Plus the fact that it's a classic. Because most of classic books (they say) are boring. But I don't know, I enjoy classics.
Soumya Nambiar
A re look at the stories we grew up with.
Amul Kool
Good source of vedic literature
Julia
its a good story
Sunny
this book is a collection of the oral tales that were passed from generation to generation. it is the book that inspired aesops fables. it uses analogies of anumals to reflect moral messages that humans should take on board. i must admit that i got pretty bored of this half way through but some of the moral messages are pretty good. its also got that godel, escher, bach style fo putting stories, in stories, in stories.

i enjoyed it up to a point that had to skim read the last third.
MonkOnAcid
Typical set of stories suggesting power and/or comfort as a goal(s), and wisdom and/or courage as means.
Parantap Bhatt
The "inception" of storyline and morals. Probably the first example of an intricate plot within a plot concept. I feel sad for those who have read Panchatantra as individual stories rather than as it is.
Apart from the plotline, the stories are simple to comprehend but can be understood much more deeply. Most of all, its fun to read.
Annm
This is a book of tales of morality, based in foundation stories. I really enjoyed reading them. The tales come from oral traditions that do not even have a certain date associated with them. I found it realy interesting that the stories aiut humans, or animals that act like humans, describe modern behavior well.
mwr
A lot in common with NM's The Prince. Overt message distinct from covert message. References to traditional learning turned on their head by context. Lots of talk about fortune, and a lot of proverbs. Fewer historical stories to illustrate lessons--but more made up stories with animals.
Emily
Stories I read:


The Foolish Friend.
Dharmabuddhi and Pâpabuddhi.
The Bullock's Balls.
The Gold-Giving Snake.
The Dog That Went Abroad.
The Brahman's Wife and the Mongoose.
The Fish That Were Too Clever.
The Two-Headed Weaver.
The Broken Pot.
The Enchanted Brahman's Son.
Digendra Sharma
really interesting and amazing stories linked to each other witch makes this book more interesting to read.........and the best part is that every story in the book teaches a lesson for life to you in a nice way......recommended to every age group.......:D
Mona
Jul 01, 2012 Mona marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
This was recommended by the owner of our Indian travel agency who said he always read one fable each night to his grade school daughters. I can't quite imagine reading it to my granddaughter at age 8. But....I haven't tried.
Marti
Meh. I was really hoping to like this but I didn't. I just didn't find any stories that really spoke to me or that I could relate to but just that it's a collection of old Sanskrit stories makes it kind of cool.
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