Edgerton undertook a minute study of all texts which seemed "to provide useful evidence on the lost Sanskrit text to which, it must be assumed, they all go back", and believed he had reconstructed the original Sanskrit Panchatantra; this version is known as the Southern Family text. Among modern translations, Arthur W. Ryder 's translation Ryder , translating prose for prose and verse for rhyming verse, remains popular. Olivelle's translation was republished in by the Clay Sanskrit Library. 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.
The novelist Doris Lessing notes in her introduction to Ramsay Wood 's "retelling" of the first two of the five Panchatantra books,  that. Until comparatively recently, it was the other way around. There were at least twenty English translations in the hundred years before Pondering on these facts leads to reflection on the fate of books, as chancy and unpredictable as that of people or nations.
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.
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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 CE from a lengthy history of stylistic revision.
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 CE. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It has been suggested that this article be merged with Ramsay Wood. Discuss Proposed since August Ancient Sanskrit text of animal fables from India.
For the Kannada film, see Panchatantra film. For lists of stories in the Panchatantra, see List of Panchatantra Stories. See also: Hitopadesha.
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India portal Children's literature portal. Oxford University Press. At this date, however, many of the individual stories were already ancient. Columbia University Press.
If it were further declared that the Panchatantra is the best collection of stories in the world, the assertion could hardly be disproved, and would probably command the assent of those possessing the knowledge for a judgment. Vera Alexander ed. Motilal Banarsidass. Seeing Like the Buddha: Enlightenment through Film. State University of New York Press. The Panchatantra, he adds, is not only the oldest extant work of Hindu artistic fiction, but it is The animal actors present, far more vividly and more urbanely than men could do, the view of life here recommended—a view shrewd, undeceived, and free of all sentimentality; a view that, piercing the humbug of every false ideal, reveals with incomparable wit the sources of lasting joy.
Many words are therefore necessary to explain what niti is, though the idea, once grasped, is clear, important, and satisfying. It is as if the animals in some English beast-fable were to justify their actions by quotations from Shakespeare and the Bible. These wise verses it is which make the real character of the Panchatantra. The stories, indeed, are charming when regarded as pure narrative; but it is the beauty, wisdom, and wit of the verses which lift the Panchatantra far above the level of the best story-books.
Ashliman Donald Haase ed. Manchester University Press. Charles Dudley Warner ed. Roger D. Sell ed. Children's Literature as Communication. John Benjamins. Rather, it is fashionable to make such statements that 'Panchatantra' and allied Katha literature in India had their origin in early folk stories.
However, not a single credible evidence has been produced till this date, other than lengthy discussions on hypothetical assumptions. It is also just as true that many stories that appear in literature existed there first and are not indebted to the folklore for their origin. But leaving aside questions concerning the early history of Hindu stories and dealing strictly with modern Indian fiction, we find that folklore has frequently taken its material from literature. This process has been so extensive that of the tales so far reported, all of which have been collected during the past fifty years, at least half can be shown to be derived from literary sources.
Spencer Visions of Peace: Asia and The West. Archived from the original on 27 December Retrieved 10 October II, p. Josef W. See Contents 1.
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See also pages 69 — 72 for his vivid summary of Ibn al-Muqaffa's historical context. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 14 April Weiss, H. Journal of the New York Entomological Society. Ibn al-Muqaffa, Abdallah.enter
An Inquiry Into the Nature of Tibetan Proverbs
Kalilah et Dimnah. Louis Cheiko. Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique, Ibn al-Muqaffa, Abd'allah. Tantric traditions are multiple and also originated as multiple, distinct traditions of both text and practice. This focus on lineage is found throughout the tantric world; originating in India, this emphasis was transmitted to Tibet and East Asia and remains an important concern of contemporary tantric communities. India traditionally knows only texts called Tantras. These texts, moreover, fall far short of covering the entire Tantric literature; nor are only Tantric texts called Tantras.
The concept is based upon the tantra s, key scriptures in many tantric traditions, but as Padoux notes, not all tantric traditions use the term tantra for their scripture, and the term is also used for nontantric works. So the presence or absence of tantras cannot be taken as a defining characteristic of these traditions.
Thomas, Frederick William 1867-1956
The scriptures known as tantra s, which were transmitted to East Asia, tend to be heavily focused on the description of ritual, meditative, and yogic practices. These traditions tend to be heavily practice-oriented, with the goals of this practice ranging from worldly success to ultimate liberation, however defined.
Obviously it would be ideal to define Tantra in terms of a single defining characteristic. Were there a single feature that all tantric traditions shared, this would naturally make it far easier to delineate exactly what the term designates. It is also a somewhat arbitrary definition, as there are also many other elements of tantric practice that are found in most, if not all, tantric traditions. One solution to this problem is to delineate a range of features that tend to characterize tantric traditions.
This definition is quite useful as it indicates the range of ritual and contemplative techniques employed by tantric practitioners in order to achieve magical powers siddhi as well as liberation. Liberation in the Hindu theistic traditions is generally defined as the attainment of union with or proximity to the supreme deity, while it is defined as the achievement of the awakening of a buddha by Buddhists. For both traditions liberation is characterized by both knowledge and freedom. While we might debate which elements of tantric practice might be included in a definition or taxonomy of Tantrism, it should be noted that tantric traditions of all sectarian affiliations, be they Buddhist or Hindu, are characterized by a strong focus on ritual and meditative practice.
As there was, however, considerable borrowing among these traditions, there are commonalities that can be found among these traditions, although they are diverse enough to resist reduction to a single defining quality shared by all of them. The origins of the tantric traditions is an enigma, largely due to the paucity of historical evidence in India from the period when it seems that they first emerged, during the Gupta dynasty — ce.
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This paucity of evidence has led to a great deal of unbridled speculation regarding the origin of these traditions. There is no hard evidence for the existence of tantric traditions prior to the mid-first millennium ce.
Old Tibetan Documents Online
While it is clear that some aspects of the tantric traditions, such as characteristic practices or iconography, considerably predate the historical formation of these traditions, the various attempts to date Tantrism prior to the first millennium ce are based on very flimsy evidence. Some Buddhist tantric traditions claim that their scriptures were taught by timeless cosmic buddhas and then revealed to adepts. To the extent that tantric scriptures discuss their origins, these disclosures tend to be mythical rather than historical.
Treating these myths as history is naturally methodologically unsound. Despite these origin claims, however, there is absolutely no evidence that any of the Buddhist tantras originated when the Buddha lived, around the 5th century bce. While attempts to root aspects of tantric traditions in the distant past are speculative at best, there is no doubt that these traditions, as they emerged, were heavily dependent on earlier Indian traditions of thought and practice.
One of the biggest influences on tantric traditions was the far older Vedic tradition of Hinduism. Vedic Hinduism featured the priestly class, Brahmins, who had the sacred duty to memorize the oral sacred literature of the tradition, the Veda s, and also learn the complex ritual practices the tradition advocated. This tradition developed circa — bce , reaching its peak right around bce , just prior to rise of the renunciant traditions that would challenge it. Although there was tension between advocates of the Vedic tradition and advocates of some of the tantric traditions, the tantric traditions drew heavily from Vedic ritual practice traditions nonetheless.
These include, most notably, renunciation and asceticism as a key requisite for liberation. The practice of meditation and yoga were seen as key practices to develop this realization. Tantric traditions inherited this assumption, and many of the contemplative practices, from earlier renunciant traditions. Buddhist tantric traditions, naturally, accepted the cosmological and philosophical frameworks developed by earlier Buddhist traditions, as well as many of their contemplative practices. The early first millennium ce also saw another important development in Hinduism, namely, the rise of the Bhakti devotional movement.
This development occurred around the same time as the rise of the tantric traditions. It was characterized by tendency toward monotheism, in that devotion to a single supreme creator god was seen as the key to salvation. The popularity and explosive growth of devotional Hinduism had a significant effect on the tantric traditions.