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Encyclopedia > Panchatantra

The Panchatantra [1][2][3] (also spelled Pañcatantra, in Sanskrit: पञ्चतन्त्र, 'Five Principles') or Kalīleh o Demneh (in Persian: کلیله و دمنه) or Anvār-e Soheylī [4][5][6] (in Persian: انوار سهیلی, 'The Lights of Canopus') or Kalilag and Damnag[7] (in Syriac) or Kalīlah wa Dimnah[8] (in Arabic: كليلة و دمنة, 'Kalilah and Dimnah') or The Fables of Bidpai[9][10] (or Pilpai, in various European languages) or The Morall Philosophie of Doni (English, 1570) was originally a canonical collection of Sanskrit (Hindu) as well as Pali (Buddhist) animal fables in verse and prose. The original Sanskrit text, now long lost, and which some scholars believe was composed in the 3rd century BCE,[11] is attributed to Vishnu Sarma. However, based as it is on older oral traditions, its antecedents among storytellers probably hark back to the origins of language and the subcontinent's earliest social groupings of hunting and fishing folk gathered around campfires.[12] Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Farsi redirects here. ... Farsi redirects here. ... Syriac ( Suryāyā) is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ... Arabic can mean: From or related to Arabia From or related to the Arabs The Arabic language; see also Arabic grammar The Arabic alphabet, used for expressing the languages of Arabic, Persian, Malay ( Jawi), Kurdish, Panjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Urdu, among others. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Pali (IAST: ) is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... Vishnu Sarma was the author of the anthropomorphic political treatise called Panchatantra. ... This article or section seems not to be written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia entry. ...

A page from Kelileh va Demneh dated 1429, from Herat, a Persian translation of the Panchatantra derived from the Arabic version — Kalila wa Dimna — depicts the manipulative jackal-vizier, Dimna, trying to lead his lion-king into war.
A page from Kelileh va Demneh dated 1429, from Herat, a Persian translation of the Panchatantra derived from the Arabic version — Kalila wa Dimna — depicts the manipulative jackal-vizier, Dimna, trying to lead his lion-king into war.

Contents

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (734x783, 1023 KB)This 15th century Persian mauscript is kept at the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (734x783, 1023 KB)This 15th century Persian mauscript is kept at the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. ... Herāt (Persian: ‎ ) is a city in western Afghanistan, in the province also known as Herāt. ... Farsi redirects here. ... Arabic can mean: From or related to Arabia From or related to the Arabs The Arabic language; see also Arabic grammar The Arabic alphabet, used for expressing the languages of Arabic, Persian, Malay ( Jawi), Kurdish, Panjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Urdu, among others. ...

Origins and function

A page from the Arabic version of Kalila wa dimna dated 1210 CE illustrating the King of the Crows conferring with his political advisors
A page from the Arabic version of Kalila wa dimna dated 1210 CE illustrating the King of the Crows conferring with his political advisors

The work is an ancient and vigorous multicultural hybrid that to this day continues an erratic process of cross-border mutation and adaptation as modern writers and publishers struggle to fathom, simplify and re-brand its complex origins.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19] It illustrates, for the benefit of princes who may succeed to a throne, the central Hindu principles of Raja niti (political science) through an inter-woven series of colorful animal tales. These operate like a succession of Russian dolls, one narrative opening within another, sometimes three or four deep, and then unexpectedly snapping shut in irregular rhythms to sustain attention (Story within a story).[20] The five principles illustrated are: Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 564 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,048 × 1,445 pixels, file size: 237 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 564 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,048 × 1,445 pixels, file size: 237 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Arabic can mean: From or related to Arabia From or related to the Arabs The Arabic language; see also Arabic grammar The Arabic alphabet, used for expressing the languages of Arabic, Persian, Malay ( Jawi), Kurdish, Panjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Urdu, among others. ... (Syriac: Kalilag and Damnag, Arabic: Kalila wa Dimna), is the name of the translation into Syriac of the Sanskrit Panchatantra literary work of fables originating in India. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... A story within a story is a literary device or conceit in which one story is told during the action of another story. ...

  • Mitra Bhedha (The Loss of Friends)
  • Mitra Laabha (Gaining Friends)
  • Suhrudbheda (Causing Dissension Between Friends)
  • Vigraha (Separation)
  • Sandhi (Union)

Early cross-cultural migrations

The Panchatantra approximated its current literary form within the 4th — 6th centuries CE. No Sanskrit texts before 1000 CE have survived.[21] According to Hindu tradition, it was written around 200 BCE by Pandit Vishnu Sarma, a sage. One of the most influential Sanskrit contributions to world literature, it was exported (probably both in oral and literary formats) north to Tibet and China and east to South East Asia by Buddhist Monks on pilgrimage.[22] Bhavna says there are 300 million gods in Hinduism. ... Vishnu Sarma was the author of the anthropomorphic political treatise called Panchatantra. ... For other uses, see Literature (disambiguation). ...


According to the Shahnameh (The Book of the Kings, Persia's late 10th century national epic by Ferdowsi)[23] the Panchatantra also migrated westwards, during the Sassanid reign of Nushirvan around 570 CE when his famous physician Borzuy translated it from Sanskrit into the middle Persian language of Pahlavi, transliterated for Europeans as Kalile va Demne.[24] Shâhnameh Shāhnāmé, or Shāhnāma (Persian: )(alternative spellings are Shahnama, Shahnameh, Shahname, Shah-Nama, etc. ... Anthem SorÅ«d-e MellÄ«-e Īrān Â² Capital (and largest city) Tehran Official languages Persian Demonym Iranian Government Islamic Republic  -  Supreme Leader  -  President Unification  -  Unified by Cyrus the Great 559 BCE   -  Parthian (Arsacid) dynastic empire (first reunification) 248 BCE-224 CE   -  Sassanid dynastic empire 224–651 CE   -  Safavid dynasty... A coin of Khosrau I. Khosrau I, (Chosroes I in classical sources, most commonly known in Persian as Anooshiravan also spelled Anushirvan, Persian: انوشيروان meaning the immortal soul), also known as Anooshiravan the Just (انوشیروان عادل, Anooshiravan-e-ādel) (ruled 531–579), was the favourite son and successor of Kavadh I (488–531... Burzoe (Bozorgmehr or Borzoyeh or Borzuy) (from Arabic برزويه is the Arabicized form of the Persian بزرگمهر pron. ... The Pahlavi script was used broadly in the Sasanid Persian Empire to write down Middle Persian for secular, as well as religious purposes. ...


How two jackals (in Part One) branded this (five part) book

Karataka ('Horribly Howling') and Damanaka ('Victor') are the Sanskrit names of two jackals in the first section of the Panchatantra. They are retainers to a lion king and their lively adventures as well as the stories they and other characters tell one another make up roughly 45% of the book's length. By the time the Sanskrit version has migrated several hundred years through Pahlavi into Arabic, the two jackals' names have transmogrified into Kalila and Dimna, and — probably because of a combination of first-mover advantage, Dimna's charming villainy and that dominant 45% bulk — their single part/section/chapter has become the generic, classical name for the whole book. It is possible, too, that the Sanskrit word 'Panchatantra' as a Hindu concept could find no easy equivalent in Zoroastrian Pahlavi. The first-mover advantage is the advantage gained by the first significant company to move into a new market. ...


Be that as it may, each distinct part of the book contains (as Professor Edgerton noted in 1965) "at least one story, and usually more, which are 'emboxed' in the main story, called the 'frame-story'. Sometimes there is a double emboxment; another story is inserted in an 'emboxed' story. Moreover, the [whole] work begins with a brief introduction, which as in a frame all five . . . [parts] are regarded as 'emboxed'". Vishnu Sarma's idea was that humans can assimilate more about their own habitually unflattering behavior if it is disguised in terms of entertainingly configured stories about supposedly less illustrious beasts than themselves.[25] A frame story (also frame tale, frame narrative, etc. ... Vishnu Sarma was the author of the anthropomorphic political treatise called Panchatantra. ...


Another observation that Professor Edgerton makes challenges our persistent assumption that animal fables function mainly as adjuncts to religious dogma, acting as indoctrination devices to condition the moral behaviour of small children and obedient adults. Not the Machiavellian Panchatantra: "Vishnu Sarma undertakes," Edgerton notes, "to instruct three dull and ignorant princes in the principles of polity, by means of stories . . . .[This is] a textbook of artha, 'worldly wisdom', or niti, polity, which the Hindus regard as one of the three objects of human desire, the other being dharma, 'religion or morally proper conduct' and kama 'love' . . . . The so-called 'morals' of the stories have no bearing on morality; they are unmoral, and often immoral. They glorify shrewdness, practical wisdom, in the affairs of life, and especially of politics, of government." Detail of the portrait of Machiavelli, ca 1500, in the robes of a Florentine public official Niccolò Machiavelli (May 3, 1469—June 21, 1527) was an Italian political philosopher during the Renaissance. ... Vishnu Sarma was the author of the anthropomorphic political treatise called Panchatantra. ...


This realistic practicality explains why the original Sanskrit villain jackal, the decidedly jealous, sneaky and evil vizier-like Damanaka ('Victor') is his frame-story's winner, and not his goody-goody brother Karataka who is presumably left 'Horribly Howling' at the vile injustice of Part One's final murderous events. In fact, in its steady migration westward the persistent theme of evil-triumphant in Kalila and Dimna, Part One frequently outraged Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders — so much so, indeed, that ibn al-Muqaffa carefully inserts (no doubt hoping to pacifiy the powerful religious zealots of his own turbulent times) an entire extra chapter at the end of Part One of his Arabic masterpiece, putting Dimna in jail, on trial and eventually to death. So much for naughty jackals! The Blue Jackal is a fictional character in a moral story of the same name known throughout the Indian sub-continent. ... ik ben jaaapie A Vizier (Persian,وزير - wazÄ«r) (sometimes also spelled Vazir, Vizir, Vasir, Wazir, Vesir, or Vezir - grammatical vowel changes are common in many oriental languages), literally burden-bearer or helper, is a term, originally Persian, for a high-ranking political (and sometimes religious) advisor or minister, often to...


Needless to say there is no vestige of such dogmatic moralising in the collations that remain to us of the pre-Islamic original — The Panchatantra. Technically, from the perspective of a more subtle and flexible functionality, Joseph Jacobs in 1888[26] offers a less coercive interpretation of how the Panchatantra/Kalila and Dimna stories might work more effectively to modify human behaviour: " . . . . if one thinks of it, the very raison d'être of the Fable is to imply its moral without mentioning it."


In short the learning opportunity is interactive, voluntary, dynamic, reflective, open, frustrating and risky — compared to the simplified, fixed and often terrifyingly authoritative lessons delivered from priestly heights that briefly excite and amuse, then are soon forgotten, like electric shocks. In such circumstance (which is the norm) the human animal is conditioned to respond to the approved socialising, tagline 'message' of a local time-and-culture-bound 'moral', and prevented from glimpsing anything objective beyond it at an individual pace.


The Shāh Nāma, Chapter XXXI (iii): How Borzuy brought the Kalila from Hindustan

Initially Borzuy sought his king's permission to make a trip to Hindustan in search of a mountain herb he had read about that is "mingled into a compound and, when sprinkled over a corpse, it is immediately restored to life."[27] The Shah gave his permission, equipped Borzuy fully for the journey and handed over to him a number of gifts, together with a letter for the Rãy of India, whom he requested to assist the physician in his search. On his arrival in Hindustan he was received with high honor and granted all facility for his task, including a retinue of local physicians to guide him on his way.


But when Borzuy locates and prepares the miraculous mountain herb and sprinkles it over various corpses provided for his experiments, alas — the magic potion does not work. He is sore distressed at his failure and angry at the false information that has led him so far astray, not to mention the shame which will descend upon him when he returns empty-handed to Persia and faces his king's displeasure. In desperation he asks the Indian physicians accompanying him what to do. Do they know anyone who can help him?


"With one voice they replied: 'There is an ancient sage here who surpasses us in years and wisdom and who in his science is superior to any of the great.'


"They guided Borzuy to this man, whose mind was filled with contemplation and whose lips were ever ready for speech. Borzuy laid all his trials before him, speaking of the book which he had discovered and the words which he had heard from men expert in knowledge. When the ancient sage began to speak he discoursed on every branch of science.


'Kalila is the herb you seek'

'I too have found this thing in books,' he said, 'and have moved eagerly, led by the same hopes. When nothing came to light after my travails, I had perforce to listen to a different interpretation. 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. Happy is he who submits himself steadfastly to labor. In the king's treasury there is a book which the well-qualified call Kalila. When people become weary of their ignorance, the herb for them is Kalila, knowledge being the mountain. If you seek this book in the king's treasury you will find it, and it will be your guide to knowledge.'


"Borzuy rejoiced to hear this and all his past toil appeared in his eyes as empty wind. He blessed the sage and departed for the king's court, and, traversing the road like fire, he arrived in the Rãy's presence and lavished compliments upon him.


'May you occupy your throne as long as India exists!' he said. 'Rāy, you whose triumphs are widespread, there exists a certain book whose title in Hindu is Kalila. In your majesty's treasury it is sealed as precious and it contains guidance mingled with discernment and wisdom. That herb is a metaphor for this Kalila, nought else. I beg that your majesty, lord of India, may bid your treasurer consign the book to me, if you will not hold that to be irksome.[28]


"The Rāy's spirit was rendered unhappy by this request and his body was agitated where he sat.


'Borzuy,' he said, 'no one has ever sought this of me, either recently or in times past. Yet were the emperor Nushirvān to demand my body and soul I would not withhold them from him, nor anything else. I have not any person noble or humble here. But read it in my presence here, lest some malevolent person hostile to me should claim that the book was written by a mortal. Read, understand and investigate it from every point of view.'[29]


The book's cultural migration after Borzuy's Pahlavi translation

Borzuy's 570 AD Pahlavi translation (Kalile va Demne) was translated nearly two centuries later into Syriac and Arabic — the latter by Ibn al-Muqaffa around 750 CE [30] under the Arabic title, Kalīla wa Dimma.[31] Abdullah Ibn Dhadawayh, also known as Ibn al-Muqaffa (d. ...


The Brethren of Purity and part 2 of the Kalila wa Dimna

Scholars aver that the second section of Ibn al-Muqaffa's translation, illustrating the Sanskrit principle of Mitra Laabha (Gaining Friends), became the unifying basis for the Brethren of Purity — the anonymous 9th century CE Arab encyclopedists whose prodigious literary effort, Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Sincerity, codified Indian, Persian and Greek knowledge. The Brethren of Purity (اخوان الصفا; also translated as Brethren of Sincerity) were an obscure and mysterious organization of neo-Platonic Arabic philosophers in Basra, Iraq (then seat of the Abbasid Caliphate) sometime during the 900s CE. They are remembered primarily because of a work they produced- the Encyclopedia of the Brethren... The Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity (also variously known as the Epistles of the Brethren of Sincerity, the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity or Epistles of the Brethren of Purity and Loyal Friends; Arabic: Rasail ikhwan as-safa wa khillan al-wafa ) was a large encyclopedia [2...


A suggestion made by Goldziher, and later written on by Philip K. Hitti in his History of the Arabs, proposes that: Philip Khuri Hitti (1886 - 1978), born in Shimlan, Lebanon, was a Western scholar of Islam. ... History of the Arabs is a book writen by Philip Khuri Hitti in 1937. ...

"The appellation is presumably taken from the story of the ringdove in Kalilah wa-Dimnah in which it is related that a group of animals by acting as faithful friends (ikhwan al-safa) to one another escaped the snares of the hunter. The story concerns a ring-dove and its companions who have become entangled in the net of a hunter seeking birds. Together, they left themselves and the ensnaring net to a nearby rat, who is gracious enough to gnaw the birds free of the net; impressed by the rat's altruistic deed, a crow becomes the rat's friend. Soon a tortoise and gazelle also join the company of animals. After some time, the gazelle is trapped by another net; with the aid of the others and the good rat, the gazelle is soon freed, but the tortoise fails to leave swiftly enough and is himself captured by the hunter. In the final turn of events, the gazelle repays the tortoise by serving as a decoy and distracting the hunter while the rat and the others free the tortoise. After this, the animals are designated as the Ikwhan al-Safa.

This story is mentioned as an exemplum when the Brethren speak of mutual aid in one rasa'il (treatise), a crucial part of their system of ethics that has been summarized thus: An Exemplum (latin for example, pl. ... Look up Treatise in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

"And their virtues, equally, are not the virtues of Islam, not so much righteousness and the due quittance of obligations, as mildness and gentleness towards all men, forgiveness, long-suffering, and compassion, the yielding up of self for others' sake. In this Brotherhood, self is forgotten; all act by the help of each, all rely upon each for succour and advice, and if a Brother sees it will be good for another that he should sacrifice his life for him, he willingly gives it. No place is found in the Brotherhood for the vices of the outside world; envy, hatred, pride, avarice, hypocrisy, and deceit, do not fit into their scheme, — they only hinder the worship of truth."[32]

The crucial Abbasid classic by Ibn al-Muqaffa'

After the Muslim invasion of Persia (Iran) Ibn al-Muqaffa's 750 CE Arabic version (by now two languages removed from its pre-Islamic Sanskrit original) emerges as the pivotal surviving text that enriches world literature[33].


From Arabic it was transmitted in 1080 to Greece and in 1252 into Spain (old Castilian, Calyla e Dymna) and thence to the rest of Europe. However it was the circa 1250 Hebrew translation attributed to Rabbi Joel that became the source (via a subsequent Latin version done by one John of Capua around 1270 CE, Directorium Humanae Vitae, or "Directory of Human Life") of most European versions. Furthermore in 1121 a complete 'modern' Persian translation from Ibn al-Muqaffa's version flows from the pen of Abu'l Ma'ali Nasr Allah Munshi. Hebrew redirects here. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ...


It seems that any pre-Arabic or post-Arabic format the Kalila and Dimna animal fables take is relative. This loose collection is an oral and literary oddity that flows on, forward and yet also backward into the mists before anything was written down. One simply cannot pin these stories down like butterflies under glass in a tidy Victorian museum display drawer. They exist cross-culturally virtually in perpetual flux, like the 1001 Nights, adapting even now to current conditions to remain fresh and employable, freighting some vestige of an ancient message to new generations. They are alive as conduits of traditional wisdom, of a durable and vital survivalist psychology that requires no formal schooling or even, as remains true to vasts swaths of humanity, literacy.[9] Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryar. ...


Modern adaptions and difficulties in establishing a fixed attribution

Recently Ibn al-Muqaffa's historical milieu itself, when composing his masterpiece in Baghdad during the bloody Abbasid overthrow of the Umayyad dynasty, has become the subject (and rather confusingly, also the title) of a gritty Shakespearean drama by the multicultural Kuwaiti playwright Sulayman Al-Bassam.[34] Ibn al-Muqqafa's biographical background serves as an illustrative metaphor for today's escalating bloodthirstiness in Iraq — once again a historical vortex for clashing civilizations on a multiplicity of levels, including the obvious tribal, religious and political parallels. Mashriq Dynasties  Maghrib Dynasties  The Abbasid Caliphate Abbasid (Arabic: , ) is the dynastic name generally given to the caliph of Baghdad, the second of the two great Sunni dynasties of the Arab Empire, that overthrew the Umayyad caliphs from all but Spain. ... The Courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, one of the grandest architectural legacies of the Umayyads. ...


Al-Bassam's imaginative modern work entitled Kalila wa Dimna, while provocative and educational, is technically a misnomer. There is only one brief play-within-a-play tableaux that genuflects towards the actual telling any of the animal fables found in the Arabic original. Understandably this contradictory nuance (where are al-Muqaffa's classic fables?), obvious and even irritatingly puzzling to any literate Middle Easterner, appears to have been intellectualized away by some Eurocentric commentators. [10] The English literary equivalent would be attending a play called Hard Times expecting to see something of the characters Grandgrind and Bounderby only to find yourself immersed in an imaginary biography of Charles Dickens and the social turmoil of his day, with only a three minute confrontational drawing-room scene alluding to a certain Mr Grandgrind and his part in the horrors of Victorian factory conditions and child labor. Hard Times is a novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854. ...


Yet in the prevailing belief system of the Western post-modernist world, anything goes. Every expression achieves legitimacy. This tolerant climate is ideally suited to the book's sui generis flexibility. Any attempt to re-brand the Panchatantra or Kalila and Dimna or The Fables of Bidpai for the utilitarian Western consciousness, while at the same time avoiding cultural chauvinism, proves elusive and fanciful. Postmodernism (sometimes abbreviated pomo) is a term applied to a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture, which are generally characterized as either emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding, modernism. ... Sui generis is a (post) Latin expression, literally meaning a scholar like what pradeep is or unique in its characteristics. ... Chauvinism (IPA:) is extreme and unreasoning partisanship on behalf of a group to which one belongs, especially when the partisanship includes malice and hatred towards a rival group. ...


The persistent trend, for more than a hundred years and often encouraged by scholars defending their fields of literary expertise, is to select and promote a single ancient 'source text' as the 'true classic material', whether it be in Sanskrit, Syriac, Arabic or Persian, and ignore, even denigrate, the other three sources. Such behaviour can reach the extreme of one expert within a single language seemingly dismissing the contribution of another, as occurred in the 1990s when two English versions of the Panchatantra translated from separate Sanskrit manuscripts (both, incidentally, dated significantly after al-Muqaffa's 750 AD Arabic version) were published independently as 'classics' of Indian Wisdom by (a) Penguin (1993) and (b) Oxford University Press (1997).[35] To literate outsiders such prejudicing of texts can appear absurd, even deliberately confusing. "So which translated Sanskrit manuscript," one might ask, "offers the true Panchatantra classic?" And the answer, entering the purest realm of literary quantum reality, must be "Both!". And if we include the many Arabic, Syriac and Persian versions known under the various guises of Kalila and Dimna or Fables of Bidpai and the derivatives thereof, then we can immediately add a couple hundred more versions, all of them also 'classics', yet each with an individual treatment and arrangement in the voice of a different "singer of the song", delivering the goods somewhere in the last 2000 years.


The regional difficulty, as the novelist Doris Lessing says at the start of her introduction to Ramsay Wood's 1980 "retelling" of only the first two (Mitra Bhedha—The Loss of Friends & Mitra Laabha—Gaining Friends) of the five Panchatantra principles,[36] is that ".... it is safe to say that most people in the West these days will not have heard of it, while they will certainly at the very least have heard of the Upanishads and the Vedas. Until comparatively recently, it was the other way around. Anyone with any claim to a literary education knew that the Fables of Bidpai or the Tales of Kalila and Dimna — these being the most commonly used titles with us — was a great Eastern classic. There were at least twenty English translations in the hundred years before 1888. Pondering on these facts leads to reflection on the fate of books, as chancy and unpredictable as that of people or nations." Doris Lessing CH OBE (born Doris May Tayler in Kermanshah, Iran,[1] on 22 October 1919[2]) is a British writer, author of works such as the novels The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook. ... Ramsay Wood Ramsay Wood is a writer best known for his modernized compilation of the ancient animal fables derived from The Panchatantra. ...


Ibn al-Muqaffa's influence

Professor James Kritzeck, in his 1964 Anthology of Islamic Literature[37], confronts the book's matrix of conundra:

On the surface of the matter it may seem strange that the oldest work of Arabic prose which is regarded as a model of style is a translation from the Pahlavi (Middle Persian) of the Sanskrit work Panchatantra, or The Fables of Bidpai, by Ruzbih, a convert from Zoroastrianism, who took the name Abdullah ibn al-Muqaffa. It is not quite so strange, however, when one recalls that the Arabs had much preferred the poetic art and were at first suspicious of and untrained to appreciate, let alone imitate, current higher forms of prose literature in the lands they occupied.

Leaving aside the great skill of its translation (which was to serve as the basis for later translations into some forty languages), the work itself is far from primitive, having benefited already at that time 750 CE from a lengthy history of stylistic revision. Kalilah and Dimnah is in fact the patriarchal form of the Indic fable in which animals behave as humans — as distinct from the Aesopic fable in which they behave as animals. Its philosophical heroes through the initial interconnected episodes illustrating The Loss of Friends, the first Hindu principle of polity are the two jackals, Kalilah and Dimnah.

It seems unjust, in the light of posterity's appreciation of his work, that Ibn al-Muqaffa was put to death after charges of heresy about 755 CE.

La Fontaine's debt

The French fabulist Jean de La Fontaine famously acknowledged his indebtedness to the work in the introduction to his Second Fables: Engraving by Étienne-Jehandier Desrochers Jean de La Fontaine (July 8, 1621 – April 13, 1695) was the most famous French fabulist and probably the most widely read French poet of the 17th century. ...

"This is a second book of fables that I present to the public... I have to acknowledge that the greatest part is inspired from Pilpay, an Indian Sage" [38]

Kelileh va Demneh manuscript copy dated 1429, from Herat, depicts the Jackal trying to lead the lion astray. ...

Two links with Aesop

A strong similarity exists between two stories ('Ass in Panther's Skin' and 'Ass without Heart and Ears') in The Panchatantra and Aesop's fables[39]. Similar animal fables are found in most cultures of the world, although some folklorists view India as the prime source. Aesop, as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle by Hartmann Schedel. ... For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). ...


Notes

  1. ^ Visnu Sarma, The Panachatantra translated from the Sanskrit by Chandra Rajan, Penguin Books, London, 1993 (This translation is from the Jain monk Purnabhadra's 1199 AD so-called North Western Family Sanskrit text that blends and rearranges at least three earlier versions.)[1]
  2. ^ Panachatantra translated from the Sanskrit by Arthur W Ryder, Jaico Publishing House, Bombay, 1949 (from Ryder's esteemed original 1924 translation, also from the 1199 CE North Western Family text.)
  3. ^ The Panachatantra, The Book of India's Folk Wisdom translated from the Sanskrit by Patrick Olivelle, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1997[2] (This translation is from the so-called Southern Family Sanskrit text, as is Franklin Edgerton's equally esteemed 1924 version [see Note 21 below].)
  4. ^ The Anvari Suhaili; or the Lights of Canopus Being the Persian version of the Fables of Pilpay; or the Book Kalílah and Damnah rendered into Persian by Husain Vá'iz U'L-Káshifí translated by Edward B Eastwick, Stephen Austin, Bookseller to the East-India College, Hertford 1854
  5. ^ The Anwar-I-Suhaili Or Lights of Canopus Commonly Known As Kalilah And Damnah Being An Adaptation By Mulla Husain Bin Ali Waiz-Al-Kashifi of The Fables of Bidapai translated by Arthur N. Wollaston, W H Allen, London 1877
  6. ^ The Lights of Canopus described by J V S Wilkinson, The Studio Limited, London 1930
  7. ^ Kalilah and Dimnah or The Fables of Bidpai by Ion Keith-Falconer, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1885; reprinted by Philo Press, Amsterdam 1970
  8. ^ Kalila and Dimna or The Fables of Bidpai by Rev Wyndham Knatchbull, Oxford 1819 (translated from Silvestre de Stacy's laborious 1816 collation of different Arabic manuscripts)
  9. ^ The earliest English version of the Fables of Bidpai by Joseph Jacobs, London 1888 (edited and induced from The Morall Philosophie of Doni by Sir Thomas North, 1570)
  10. ^ The Fables of Pilpay, facsimile reprint of the 1775 edition, Dwarf Publishers, London 1987
  11. ^ The earliest English version of the Fables of Bidpai by Joseph Jacobs, London 1888, Introduction, page xv: "The latest date at which the stories were thus connected is fixed by the fact that some of them have been sculpted round the sacred Buddhist shrines of Sanchi, Amaravati, and the Bharhut, in the last case with the titles of the Jatakas inscribed above them. These have been dated by Indian archaeologists as before 200 BCE, and Mr Rhys-Davids produces evidence which would place the stories as early as 400 BCE. Between 400 BCE and 200 BCE, many of our tales were put together in a frame formed of the life and experience of the Buddha."
  12. ^ "... when we in our time talk of stories, tales, we often forget that for most of human history, thousands of years — tales were told or sung. Reading came much later, is comparatively recent, and changed not only our way of receiving tales, but also the actual machinery of our minds. The print revolution lost us our memories — or partly. Before people kept information in their heads. One may even now meet an old man or woman, illiterate, who reminds us what we once were — what everybody was like. They remember everything, what was said by whom, when and why: dates, places, addresses, history. They don't need to refer to reference books. This faculty disappeared with print." Problems, Myths and Stories by Doris Lessing, Institute for Cultural Research Monograph Series No. 36, p 13, London 1999
  13. ^ Kalila and Dimna, Selected fables of Bidpai, retold by Ramsay Wood (with an Introduction by Doris Lessing), Illustrated by Margaret Kilrenny, Alfred A Knopf, New York 1980
  14. ^ Kalila and Dimna, Tales for Kings and Commoners, Selected fables of Bidpai, retold by Ramsay Wood, Introduction by Doris Lessing, Inner Traditions International, Rochester, Vermont, USA 1986
  15. ^ Animal Tales of the Arab World by Denys Johnson-Davies, Hoopoe Books, Cairo 1995
  16. ^ Kalila und Dimna, oder die Kunst, Fruende zu gewinnen, Fabeln des Bidpai, erzahlt von Ramsay Wood, Vorwort von Doris Lessing, translated by Edgar Otten, Herder/Spektrum, Freiberg 1996
  17. ^ Kalila y Dimna, Fabulas de Bidpai, Contadas por Ramsay Wood, Introduccio de Doris Lessing , translated from the English by Nicole d'Amonville Alegria, Kairos, Barcelona 1999
  18. ^ Kalila wa Dimna or The Mirror for Princes by Sulayman Al-Bassam, Oberon Modern Plays, London 2006[3]
  19. ^ Kalila et Dimna, Fables indiennes de Bidbai, choisies et racontées par Ramsay Wood, Albin Michel, Paris 2006[4]
  20. ^ For an extravagant and hypnotic cinematic employment of this technique, recontructing the ancient psychological context of storytelling and oral transmission, watch Wojciech Jerzy Has's unusual and influential 1965 Polish film The Saragossa Manuscript, restored and released in video in 2000 by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola in dedication to Jerry Garcia. [5][6] Also, in a more directly middle eastern vein, try the video or DVD of Pier Paolo Pasolini's luxuriant Arabian Nights[7] which the Arab scholar Robert Irwin [see note 25 below] praised as ". . .wonderful. . .the only version made for adults."
  21. ^ The Panchatantra translated in 1924 from the Sanskrit by Franklin Edgerton, George Allen and Unwin, London 1965 (reconstructed from a minute study of all texts which seem to "to provide useful evidence on the lost Sanskrit text to which, it must be assumed, they all go back", page 9)
  22. ^ For a sense of how at least some of these monks must have travelled in ancient time, see Tarquin Hall's review of Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron, Chatto & Windus, London 2006 at [8]
  23. ^ The Shāh Nãma, The Epic of the Kings, translated by Reuben Levy, revised by Amin Banani, Routledge & Keegan Paul, London 1985, Chapter XXXI (iii) How Borzuy brought the Kalila of Demna from Hindustan, pages 330 - 334
  24. ^ Abdolhossein Zarrinkoub, Naqde adabi, Tehran 1959 pp:374-379. (See Contents 1.1 Pre-Islamic Iranian literature)
  25. ^ The Panchatantra translated in 1924 from the Sanskrit by Franklin Edgerton, George Allen and Unwin, London 1965
  26. ^ The earliest English version of the Fables of Bidpai by Joseph Jacobs, London 1888
  27. ^ The Shāh Nãma, The Epic of the Kings, translated by Reuben Levy, revised by Amin Banani, Routledge & Keegan Paul, London 1985, Chapter XXXI (iii) How Borzuy brought the Kalila of Demna from Hindustan, pages 330 - 334
  28. ^ The Shāh Nãma, The Epic of the Kings, translated by Reuben Levy, revised by Amin Banani, Routledge & Keegan Paul, London 1985, Chapter XXXI (iii) How Borzuy brought the Kalila of Demna from Hindustan, pages 330 - 334
  29. ^ The Shāh Nãma, The Epic of the Kings, translated by Reuben Levy, revised by Amin Banani, Routledge & Keegan Paul, London 1985, Chapter XXXI (iii) How Borzuy brought the Kalila of Demna from Hindustan, pages 330 - 334
  30. ^ The Fables of Kalila and Dimnah, translated from the Arabic by Saleh Sa'adeh Jallad, 2002. Melisende, London, ISBN 1-901764-14-1
  31. ^ Muslim Neoplatonist: An Introduction to the Thought of the Brethren of Purity, Ian Richard Netton, 1991. Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-7486-0251-8
  32. ^ Studies in a Mosque, Stanley Lane-Poole, Beirut, 1883, pg 199; reprinted, Beirut, Khayat Book & Publishing Company 1966, pg 189
  33. ^ See fourteen illuminating commentaries about or relating to Kalila wa Dimna under the entry for Ibn al-Muqqaffa in the INDEX of The Penguin Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature by Rober Irwin, Penguin Books, London 2006
  34. ^ Kalila wa Dimna or The Mirror for Princes by Sulayman Al-Bassam, Oberon Modern Plays, London 2006
  35. ^ In his 45 page introduction Professor Olivelle, University of Texas ( Oxford University Press 1997) makes an eight word reference in footnote 42 to Chandra Rajan's (Penguin 1993) rendition, which itself has a 40 page introduction. One can only assume from such minimalistic comment that as an Indian female who trained in Sanskrit from the age of nine within the local apprenticeship system under a pandit in Madras, she and her scholarship fall outside the US academic pale. [See Notes 1 & 3 above]
  36. ^ Kalila and Dimna, Selected fables of Bidpai, retold by Ramsay Wood (with an Introduction by Doris Lessing), Illustrated by Margaret Kilrenny, A Paladin Book, Granada, London, 1982
  37. ^ page 73, a Meridian Book published by New American Library, New York 1964. See also pages 69 - 72 for his vivid summary of Ibn al-Muqaffa's historical context.
  38. ^ ("Je dirai par reconnaissance que j’en dois la plus grande partie à Pilpay sage indien") Avertissement to the Second Compilation of Fables, 1678, Jean de La Fontaine
  39. ^ The Panchatantra translated in 1924 from the Sanskrit by Franklin Edgerton, George Allen and Unwin, London 1965, page 13

Pier Paolo Pasolini (March 5, 1922 – November 2, 1975) was an Italian poet, intellectual, film director, and writer. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Persian literature (in Persian: ‎) spans two and a half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. ...

References

The Past We Share — The Near Eastern Ancestry of Western Folk Literature, E. L. Ranelagh, Quartet Books, Horizon Press, New York 1979


The Anvar-i Suhaili; or The Lights of Canopus; being the Persian version of The Fables of Pilpay; or The Book "Kalilah and Dimnah," rendered into Persian by Husain Vaiz Ul-Kashifi: Literally translated into prose and verse Edward B Eastwick, Stephen Austin, Hertford, 1854 (also an Elibron Classic Replica unabridged edition from www.elibron.com)

Tales Within Tales — adapted from the fables of Pilpai , Sir Arthur N Wollaston, John Murray, London 1909

Further reading

  • Ibn al-Muqaffa`, `Abd'allah. Calila e Dimna. Eds. Juan Manuel Cacho Blecua and María Jesus Lacarra. Madrid: Editorial Castalia, 1984.
  • Ibn al-Muqaffa`, `Abdallah. Kalilah et Dimnah. Ed. P. Louis Cheiko. 3 ed. Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique, 1947.
  • Keller, John Esten, and Robert White Linker. El libro de Calila e Digna. Madrid Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1967.
  • Latham, J.D. "Ibn al-Muqaffa` and Early `Abbasid Prose." `Abbasid Belles-Lettres. Eds. Julia Ashtiany, et al. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989. 48-77.
  • Parker, Margaret. The Didactic Structure and Content of El libro de Calila e Digna. Miami, FL: Ediciones Universal, 1978.
  • Penzol, Pedro. Las traducciones del "Calila e Dimna". Madrid,: Impr. de Ramona Velasco, viuda de P. Perez,, 1931.
  • Wacks, David A. "The Performativity of Ibn al-Muqaffas Kalîla wa-Dimna and Al-Maqamat al-Luzumiyya of al-Saraqusti." Journal of Arabic Literature 34.1-2 (2003): 178-89.

See also

Ion Grant Neville Keith-Falconer (1856-07-05 – 1887-05-11) was a missionary and Arabic scholar, the third son of the 8th Earl of Kintore. ... The Manuscript Found in Saragossa (original French title Manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse, also known in English as Saragossa Manuscript), by the Polish author Jan Potocki (1761-1815), is a frame tale novel from the period of the Napoleonic Wars. ... Hitopadesa is similar to the Panchatantra, but an independent collection of stories. ... A famous 11th century CE collection of Indian legends, fairy tales and folk tales by Somadeva. ... Kelileh va Demneh manuscript copy dated 1429, from Herat, depicts the Jackal trying to lead the lion astray. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Tales from the Panchatantra (382 words)
Panchatantra, is a collection of five volumes of stories written by a teacher to help instruct the different aspects of kinghood for princes.
The story of Panchatanra itself is an interesting one in that, the intention of writing it was precisely the one mentioned in the previous paragraph, namely, to serve as a manual for a prince to rule as an ideal king.
Almost every child in India is read stories from Pancha Tantra either by parents or grandparents to drive home some particular moral points.
Panchatantra - Encyclopedia.com (937 words)
Panchatantra [Sanskrit,=five treatises], anonymous collection of animal fables in Sanskrit literature, probably compiled before AD 500 (see Bidpai).
The fables are in prose, with interspersions of aphoristic verse.
The stories of Panchatantra were originally written in Sanskrit and the translation means five doctrines of conduct.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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