Thursday, April 16, 2009

Panchatantra - English - Arthur W. Ryder

A complete English translation of Panchatantra - A vivid retelling of India's most famous collection of fables.

According to Indian tradition, the Panchatantra was written around 200 BCE by Pandit Vishnu Sarma, a sage. However, based as it is on older oral traditions, its antecedents among storytellers probably hark back to the origins of language. One of the most influential Sanskrit contributions to world literature, it is "certainly the most frequently translated literary product of India" and there are over 200 versions in more than 50 languages.

In the Indian tradition, the Panchatantra is a nitisastra, a treatise on political science and human conduct, or niti. It is said that Vishnu Sarma's objective was to instruct three dull and ignorant princes in the principles of polity, by means of stories. Panchatantra consists of five books, which are called:

1. Mitra Bhedha (The Loss of Friends)
2. Mitra Laabha also called Mitra Samprapti (Gaining Friends)
3. Kakolukiyam (Crows and Owls)
4. Labdhapranasam (Loss Of Gains)
5. Aparikshitakaraka (Ill-Considered Action / Rash deeds)



  1. Replies
    1. Dipesh,

      I have rectified the link. You can download the book now.

    2. Thank you, I borrowed this book, Panchatantra by Arthur W. Ryder, from my local library and was charmed by the English translation. I recently bought a Kindle and I thank you for giving this option.

  2. Thank you indeed for making this available for free. Parts, especially the brief passages rendered into verse, are stylistically dated, but this is a minor quibble, the book as a whole is a treasure trove of ancient Hindu culture, values, with plenty of (surprisingly irreverent) humor. And the collection of narratives can stand comparison with the Arabian Nights, Decameron, etc. I'll be reading lots of this, thanks again.