PANCHATANTRA

Professor Dr. S. P. Hudlikar (Heidelberg Germany)

PANCHATANTRA

Once upon a time, in the south of India, there was a city called Mahilaropyam. A king the name of Amarshahti* lived there. He was a very learned man and extremely accomplished in various arts and skills.

The king had three sons called Bahushakti*, Ugrashakti* and Anantashakti*, who were complete duds and had no interest whatsoever in studying. Realising this, the king assembled his ministers and addressed them in these words, "Gentleman, you already know how ignorant my sons are. They have no understanding whatsoever. Looking at them I cannot enjoy my Kingdom. As they say:

'Unborn, dead and stupid sons.

The first two are to be preferred

CONFLICT AMONG FRIENDS

WINNING OF FRIENDS

for they cause sorrow only once

Whilst stupid sons are a torment to the heart

Till the end of  life.'

And,

'What is the good of a cow

That neither bears a calf nor gives milk?

And, what is the good of a son

Who is neither enlightened nor Devoured?

- "So please tell me ways and means by which my sons would be enlightened."

One of the ministers replied, "Your Majesty! Twelve year are spent in learning grammar alone and then the required sciences, economics, religion and sexology are so vast that it takes a king time to master them. And only then the intelligence is awakened."

But a minister, a man called Sumati*, said, "Our life is transitory and these sciences take too long to master them.

CROWS AND OWLS

So we must find a shorter way to enlighten the minds of the princes. I know of a Brahmin*, called Vishnu Sharma*, who is an expert in all the sciences and has earned an excellent reputation among his innumerable disciples. So I suggest that the princes should be handed over to him. He will certainly instruct them very well,"

     When the king heard this, he had Vishnu Sharma invited to the palace and said to him, "Bhagawan*, please educate my sons quickly in nitishastras*, I shall be so grateful to you. I shall present you with a hundred tax-free villages."

This was the reply that Vishnu Sharma made to the kind " Your majesty, please listen to what I have to say, Believe me, it's the truth, I would not like to sell my wisdom out of greed for money but if  I have not made your sons thorough in nitishastras within six month, then I am ready to forfeit my name. Hear my lion's roar*.

THE FORFEIT OF PROFITS

I don't crave for wealth. I am almost eighty years old and have all my desires under control. Now would you please make a note of today's date. If I have not educated your sons in nitishastras within six months, then I do not deserve a place in heaven."

      The king and ministers were surprised as well as pleased to hear this seemingly impossible resolution. With great appreciation and respect, the king handed over his sons to the Brahmin and felt at ease.

       After taking the princes to his ashrama*, Vishnu Sharma began to recite to them his specially composed stories. divided into five tantras*.

1.   Conflict amongst friends.

2.   Winning of friends.

 

ACTION WITHOUT DUE CONSIDERATION

3.   Crows and owls.

4.   The forfeit of profits.

5.    Action without due consideration.

Now they say:

" A man who has studied this Nitishastra

or listened to its precepts

Will never be defeated

Not even by Indra*, the lord of the Heaven."

 

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