The etymology of term ‘Panchatantra’ suggests that it is a combination of two words, ‘Pancha’ (five) and ‘Tantra’ (practice/ principle). So, the five principles or practices illustrated by Panchatantra are ‘Mitra Bhedha’ (Loss of Friends), ‘Mitra Laabha’ (Gaining Friends), ‘Suhrudbheda’ (Causing discord between Friends), ‘Vigra ha’ (Separation) and ‘Sandhi’ (Union). Here are provided some of the popular tales from Panchatantra.
The Panchatantra is the best guide to enroot moral values in children since its each tale has a moral lesson in its end. The Panchtantra is a great book where plants and animals can speak and converse with human beings too.
The ancient Sanskrit text s contains various animal stories in verse and prose. During all these centuries, many authors and publishers worked hard to make these fables accessible and readable by a layman. These extraordinary tales t are liked, perhaps even loved by people of every age group. In addition to their ennobling morals, these stories are replete with much practical wisdom, which is relevant even to the modern society.
1. THE MERCHANT AND HIS IRON
In a certain town, there lived a merchant's son by the name of jveernadhana. Because he had lost all his money, he made up his mind to leave that part of the country and go somewhere else, for: 'A man who has formerly lived in great style but now lives in great misery, Is looked down upon by all.' Now in his house, the merchant's son had a very heavy iron balance, that he had inherited from his forefathers. He deposited this with another merchant and then left for a different part of the country. 'When he had travelled all over the country to his heart's content, jveernadhana returned to his own town, went to the merchant's house and said, 'Ho! Merchant! Please return the balance that I deposited with you.' 'But brother,' said the merchant, 'I no longer have it. The rats ate it!' 'Merchant,' said jveernadhana, 'if that's the case, then it is not your fault. Life is like that, nothing lasts for ever. Anyway, I am going to the river for a bath. Please let your son Dhanadeva come with me to carry the things and look after them.' Now the merchant was afraid that the bath things might be stolen, so he said to his son, 'My son! Here is your uncle. He is going to the river for a bath. Go along with him and carry the things that he needs.' It's true what they say: "One man is kind to another, not only out of' affection but out of fear, greed and other reasons. If, for no reason at all, one man is over-attentive to another, it's very doubtful that the situation will end well." And so, the merchant's son gladly accompanied Jveernadhana to the river and carried his bath things. When he had taken his bath, Jveernadhana caught hold of the merchant's son and threw him into a cave near the river bank. He then closed the entrance with a big rock and returned quickly to the merchant's house. "When the merchant saw him coming back alone, he cried, 'Where is my son who went with you to the river?' 'I am very sorry,' said Jveernadhana, 'but as he was standing on the bank of the river, a flamingo swept down., picked him up and flew off' with him.' 'You liar!' said the merchant. 'How could a flamingo fly off' with a child! Return my son to me immediately or I shall complain against you in the royal court.' 'Speaker of truth yourself,' retorted Jveernadliana. 'just as a flamingo cannot fly off with a child, so too rats can't eat away a heavy iron balance. Give me back my balance and I'll return your son.' "Quarrelling like this, they went to the royal court. The merchant began to shout, 'It's disgraceful. This thief has kidnapped my son!' 'Return the merchant's son to him,' the judges said to Jveernadhana. 'What can I do ?' he replied. 'While the child was standing on the river bank, a flamingo swept down, picked him up and flew off with him.' ...
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