Book Review: ‘The Panchatantra of Vishnusharma’ by Meena Arora Nayak

Old wine in a new bottle but with more enthusiasm.

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The Panchatantra by Meena Arora Nayak Book Cover

Book Title: The Panchatantra of Vishnusharma
Author: Meena Arora Nayak
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Number of Pages: 416
ISBN: 978-9393852199
Date Published: Apr. 05, 2023
Price: INR 744

Book Review

Vishnu Sharma’s Panchatantra is a compilation of ancient Indian fables passed down through oral tradition and later transcribed in Sanskrit. Originally meant as a tool for educating young princes, the collection has since become a beloved literary work for all ages. “The Panchatantra” is divided into five parts, or “tantras,” each exploring a distinct theme through various stories.

The first tantra teaches the importance of selecting friends carefully, while the second examines the ramifications of impulsive behavior. The third focuses on true love and loyalty, the fourth stresses wise governance, and the final tantra tackles diplomacy and war.

The fables feature animal characters displaying human-like traits and confronting ethical quandaries, imparting moral and ethical lessons through their allegorical nature. For example, the story of the lion and the mouse underscores the importance of kindness to all, regardless of size or status.

The Panchatantra” has been translated into numerous languages and remains a well-known literary work around the globe. Its timeless themes and lessons account for its enduring popularity. Retelling the Panchatantra is vital as it preserves India’s cultural heritage and traditions, ensuring that these stories are not lost.

Additionally, these stories offer essential ethical and moral lessons for people of all ages and backgrounds, and their symbolic nature allows for deeper comprehension.

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Moreover, “The Panchatantra” has significantly influenced world literature, particularly fables and fairy tales. Retelling the stories helps trace these literary traditions’ origins and development. Overall, retelling the Panchatantra is important for preserving cultural heritage, teaching important moral and ethical lessons, and understanding the influence of this work on world literature.

Although often regarded as children’s literature in modern times, “The Panchatantra” is a timeless work of wisdom suitable for all ages. Its tales are rich with insight, witty aphorisms, and lessons about life. Meena Arora Nayak’s retelling of the ancient text is a lucid, fluid, and captivating interpretation that retains the essence of its magnificence.