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The Panchatantra. Wisdom Teachers and parables, allegories, myths and fables

May 04, 2010 11:24 AM
by Morten Nymann Olesen

Dear friends

My views are:

We all know that allegories, parables, mythological tales and fables often has been used by the Wisdom Teachers through the ages. H. P. Blavatsky many others used them often. The value of this lies most certainly in their ability to awaken the Seekers after Truth and Wisdom to the theosophical doctrines and to the theosophical experience. Mere dry intellectual exchanges not seldom show a certain lack in this ability these days.

On another forum the following very interesting book was mentioned.

The Panchatantra.
The Panchatantra (or The Fables of Bidpai or The Lights of Canopus) shares many stories in common with the Buddhist Jataka tales.
There are stores paralleled in Aesop's Fables. It is also the origin of several stories in Arabian Nights, Sindbad, and many Western nursery rhymes and ballads. And they have in fact been very herlpful to teach to children. 

>Wikipedia on Panchatantra<
Ibn al-Muqaffa translated the Panchatantra  from Middle Persian as Kalila wa Dimna.
"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"...  "Briefly, the original Indian version was first translated into a foreign language by Borzuya in 570, then into Arabic in 750, and this became the source of all European versions."
"The Panchatantra shares many stories in common with the Buddhist Jataka tales, but "It is clear that the Buddhists did not invent the stories. [...] It is quite uncertain whether the author of [the Panchatantra] borrowed his stories from the Jatakas or the Mahabharata, or whether he was tapping into a common treasury of tales, both oral and literary, of ancient India."
"The Panchatantra approximated its current literary form within the 4th-6th centuries CE. No Sanskrit texts before 1000 CE have survived.[35]  According to Indian  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.[36]  These led to versions in all Southeast Asian countries, including Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, Javanese and Lao derivatives."
"Some scholars believe that Ibn al-Muqaffa's translation of the second section, illustrating the Sanskrit principle of Mitra Laabha (Gaining Friends), became the unifying basis for the Brethren of Purity (Ikwhan al-Safa) - the anonymous 9th century CE Arab encyclopedists whose prodigious literary effort, Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Sincerity, codified Indian, Persian and Greek knowledge. "
"The novelist Doris Lessing notes in her introduction to Ramsay Wood's 1980 "retelling" of the first two of the five Panchatantra books,[48]  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.""

>The Kalila and Dimna Story (Ramsay Wood)<

>Arabian Nights, The 1001 Night. 1/8 (Source of Records)<

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Teaching stories

M. Sufilight

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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