Find out information about The Fables of Bidpai. anonymous collection of animal fables in Sanskrit literature Sanskrit literature, literary works written in Sanskrit. Fables of Bidpai. ” have been printed, either again orfor the first time. The Greek, the He brew, the Old Spanish, the German, the Latin, the Croatian, and the Old. In Europe the work was known under the name The Fables of Bidpai (for the narrator, an Indian sage, Bidpai, called Vidyapati in Sanskrit), and one version.

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It is “certainly the most frequently translated literary product of India”, [7] and these stories are among the most widely known in the world. There is a version of Panchatantra in nearly every major language of India, and in addition there are versions of the text in more than 50 languages around the world. Its range has extended from Java to Iceland And most of the stories contained in it have “gone down” into the folklore of the story-loving Hindus, whence they reappear in the collections of oral tales gathered by modern students of folk-stories.

It is unclear, states Patrick Olivellea professor of Sanskrit gidpai Indian religions, if Vishnu Sharma was a real person or himself a literary invention. Some South Indian recensions of the text, as well as Southeast Asian versions of Panchatantra attribute the text to Vasubhaga, states Olivelle.

Olivelle and other scholars state that regardless of who the author was, it is likely “the author was a Hindu, and not a Buddhist, nor Jain”, but it is unlikely that the author was a devotee of Hindu god Vishnu because the text neither bidai any sentiments against other Hindu deities such as ShivaIndra fablew others, nor does it avoid invoking them with reverence.

Various locations where the text was composed have been proposed but this has been controversial. Some of the proposed locations include KashmirSouthwestern or South India. Though the text is now known as Panchatantrathe title found in old manuscript versions varies regionally, and includes names such as TantrakhyayikaPanchakhyanakaPanchakhyana and Tantropakhyana. The suffix akhyayika and akhyanaka mean “little story” or “little story book” in Sanskrit.

The text was translated into Pahlavi in CE, which forms the latest limit of the text’s existence. The earliest limit is uncertain.

It quotes identical verses from Arthasastrawhich is broadly accepted to have been completed by the early centuries of the common era. According to Olivelle, “the current scholarly consensus places the Panchatantra around BCE, although we should remind ourselves that this is only an educated guess”. Smart, The Jackal Book 1: The Loss of Friends Translator: Arthur William Ryder [26].

The Panchatantra is a series of inter-woven fables, many of which deploy metaphors of anthropomorphized animals with human virtues and vices. Apart from a short introduction, it consists of five parts. Each part contains a main story, called the frame storywhich in turn contains several og “emboxed” in it, as one character narrates a story to another. Often these stories contain further emboxed stories. Besides the stories, the characters also quote various epigrammatic verses to make their point.

The five books have their own subtitles. If loving kindness be not shown, to friends and souls in pain, to teachers, servants, and one’s self, what use biddpai life, what gain? Arthur William Ryder [35].

Panchatantra – Wikipedia

The first treatise features a jackal named Damanaka, as the unemployed minister in a kingdom ruled by a lion. He, along with his moralizing sidekick named Karataka, conspire to break up alliances and friendships of the lion king. A series of fables describe the conspiracies and causes that lead to close and inseparable friends breaking up.

The Book 1 contains over thirty fwbles, with the version Arthur Ryder translated containing The second treatise is quite different in structure than the remaining books, states Olivelle, as it does not truly embox fables. It is a collection of adventures of four characters: The overall focus of the book is the reverse of the first book. Its theme is to emphasize the importance of friendships, team faboes, and alliances. It teaches, “weak animals with very different skills, working together can accomplish what they cannot when they work alone”, according to Olivelle.


The second book contains ten fables: The third treatise discusses war and peace, presenting through animal characters a moral about the battle of wits being a strategic means to neutralize a vastly superior opponent’s army.

Fables of Bidpai – the story behind the track | Secret Archives of the Vatican

The thesis in this treatise is that a battle of wits is a more potent force than a battle of swords. Crows are good, weaker and smaller in number and are creatures of the day lightwhile owls are presented as evil, numerous and stronger creatures of the night darkness.

The good crows win. The fables in the third book, as well as others, do not strictly limit to matters of war and peace. Some present fables that demonstrate how different characters have different needs and motives, which is subjectively rational from each character’s viewpoint, and that addressing these needs can empower peaceful relationships even if they start off in a different way.

She is scared, turns over, and for security embraces the man. This thrills every limb of the old man. He feels grateful to the thief for making his young wife hold him at last.

The aged man rises and profusely thanks the thief, requesting the intruder to take whatever he desires.

The third book contains eighteen fables in Ryder translation: The book four of the Pancatantra is a simpler compilation of ancient moral-filled fables. These, states Olivelle, teach messages such as “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”. The book is different from the first three, in that the earlier books give positive examples of ethical behavior offering examples and actions “to do”. In contrast, book four presents negative examples with consequences, offering examples and actions “to avoid, to watch out for”.

The fourth book contains thirteen fables in Ryder translation: Book 4, along with Book 5, is very short. The book five of the text is, like book four, a simpler compilation of moral-filled fables. These also present negative examples with consequences, offering examples and actions for the reader to ponder over, avoid, to watch out for. The messages in this last book include those such as “get facts, be patient, don’t act in haste then regret later”, “don’t build castles in the air”.

According to Olivelle, this may be by design where the text’s ancient author sought to bring the reader out of the fantasy world of talking and pondering animals into the realities of the human world. The fifth book contains twelve fables about hasty actions or jumping to conclusions without establishing facts and proper due diligence.

In Ryder translation, they are: One of the fables in this book is the story about a woman and a mongoose. She leaves her child with a mongoose friend. When she returns, she sees blood on the mongoose’s mouth, and kills the friend, believing the animal killed her child.

The woman discovers her child alive, and learns that the blood on the mongoose mouth came from it biting the snake while defending her child from the snake’s attack.

She regrets having killed the friend because of her hasty action. The fables of Panchatantra are found in numerous world languages. It is also considered partly the origin of European secondary works, such as folk tale motifs found in BoccaccioLa Fontaine and the works of Grimm Brothers. Sanskrit literature is very rich in fables and stories; no other literature can vie with it in that respect; nay, it is extremely likely that fables, in particular animal fables, had their principal source in India.

This monocausal hypothesis has now been generally discarded in favor of polygenetic hypothesis which states that fable motifs had independent bkdpai in many ancient human cultures, some of which have common roots and some influenced by co-sharing of fables. The shared fables implied morals that bkdpai to communities separated by large distances and these fables were therefore retained, transmitted over human generations with local variations.

According to Niklas Bengtsson, even though India being the exclusive original source of fables is no longer taken seriously, the ancient classic Panchatantra”which new folklore research continues to illuminate, was certainly the first work ever written down for children, and this in itself means that the Indian influence has been enormous [on world literature], not only on the genres of fables and fairy tales, but on those genres as taken up in children’s literature”.


Scholars have noted the strong similarity between a few of the stories in The Panchatantra and Aesop’s Fables. Similar animal fables are found in most cultures of the world, although some folklorists view India as the prime source. The French fabulist Jean de La Fontaine acknowledged his indebtedness to the work in the introduction to his Second Fables:.

The Panchatantra is the origin also of several stories in Arabian NightsSindbadand of many Western nursery rhymes and ballads. Ot literary sources are “the expert tradition of political hidpai and the folk and bkdpai traditions of storytelling”. The Panchatantra shares many stories in common with the Buddhist Jataka talesfsbles told by the historical Buddha before his death around BCE.

Fabless the scholar Patrick Olivelle writes, “It is clear that the Buddhists did not invent the stories. Norman Brown found fablew many folk tales in India appeared to be borrowed from literary sources and not vice versa. An early Western scholar who studied The Panchatantra was Dr. Johannes Hertelwho thought the book had a Machiavellian character. Similarly, Edgerton noted that “the so-called ‘morals’ of the stories have no bearing on morality; they are unmoral, and often immoral.

They glorify shrewdness and practical wisdom, in the affairs of life, and especially of politics, bidapi government. The Panchatantra, states Patrick Olivelletells wonderfully a collection fablfs delightful stories with pithy proverbs, ageless and practical wisdom; one of its appeal and success is that it is a complex book that “does not reduce the complexities of human life, government policy, political strategies, bidpaj ethical dilemmas into simple solutions; it can and does speak to different readers at different levels.

The text has been a source of studies on political thought in Hinduism, as well as the management of Artha with a debate on virtues and vices. The Sanskrit version of the Panchatantra text gives names to the animal characters, but these names are creative with double meanings.

For example, the deer characters are presented as a metaphor for the charming, innocent, peaceful and tranquil personality who is a target for those who seek a prey to exploit, while crocodiles are presented as a bidpi for those with dangerous intent hiding beneath welcoming ambiance waters of a lotus flower-laden pond. Thus, the names of the animals evoke layered meaning that resonates with the reader, and the same story can be read at different levels.

The work has gone through many different versions and translations from the sixth century to the present day. This Arabic version was translated into several languages, including Syriac, Greek, Persian, Hebrew and Spanish, [70] and thus became the source of versions in European languages, until the English translation by Charles Wilkins of the Sanskrit Hitopadesha in The Panchatantra approximated its current literary form within the 4thβ€”6th centuries CE, though originally written around BCE.

Fables of Bidpai – the story behind the track

No Sanskrit texts before CE have survived. The herb is the scientist; science is the mountain, everlastingly out of reach of the multitude. The corpse is the man without knowledge, for the uninstructed man is everywhere lifeless. Through knowledge man becomes revivified.

The sage pointed to the book, and the visiting physician Borzuy translated the work with the help of some Pandits Brahmins. Borzuy’s translation of the Sanskrit version into Pahlavi arrived in Persia by the 6th century, but this Middle Persian version is now lost. The book had become popular in Sassanid, and was translated into Syriac and Arabic whose copies survive. It is the 8th-century Kalila wa Demna text, states Riedel, that has been the fabled influential of the known Arabic versions, not only in the Middle East, but also through its translations into Greek, Hebrew and Old Spanish.

This is considered the first masterpiece of “Arabic literary prose.

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