The original text of the Panchatrantra in Sanskrit
was probably written about 200 B.C. by a great Hindu scholar, Pandit Vishnu
Sharma. But some of the tales themselves must be much older, their origin going back to the period of the Vedas
and the Upanishads (1500 B.C to 500 B.C.). In course of time, travellers took these stories with them to Persia and Arabia and finally, through Greece, they reached Europe. So far it has been translated into 50 or more languages of the world. The Panchatantra is woven round the frame of a tale of a king who entrusts his three dull sons to a learned man, a Brahmin, called Pandit Vishnu Sharma, to enlighten their minds within six months. The Brahmin promises to educate them and takes them to his 'ashrama' (hermitage). There he recites to them his specially composed tales divided into five tantras (in Sanskrit 'pancha' means five and 'tantra
' means systems or parts) on how to deal with people in life. The Panchatantra is a rare book, for in no book can one find philosophy, psychology, politics, music, astronomy, human relations, etc. all discussed together in such a simple yet elegant style. This is exactly what Pandit Vishnu Sharma had in mind - to give as much knowledge to the princes in as uncomplicated a manner as possible. And no doubt, not only the princes but also millions of listeners and readers for the last 2,200 years have benefited from his most unique book.