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 The Hitopadesa expounds in its popular form through fables. It is the version of Panchtantra from where it drew its material.  The structure of the Hitopadesa is similar to the Panchtantra. It is in four books. It’s study gives knowledge of niti. The work is in Sanskrit and carries the connotations of worldly wisdom, prudence and propriety, as well as it leads   to guide appropriate policy and conduct through politics and statesmanship which was relevant at that time. It is a collection of animal and human fables in prose intended to impart instruction on worldly wisdom. Today, the collection of stories of Panchatantra are a real boon for parents to help them guide their children towards values in human life. All stories of Panchatantra are accompanied by a moral.

             The basic narrative describes a king, worried for his son’s lack of learning and becoming wayward. He summoned an assembly of wise men and asked who among them can cause his sons to be ‘born again ‘ by teaching them niti. A great pandit,  Vishnusarman took the  challenge. The princes were entrusted to Visnusarman who instructed them by narrating the four books of Hitopadesa, each with its own mixed stories within stories illustrated with epigrammatic verses.


               Hitopadesa  is one of the best known and most widely translated works in Sanskrit literature. It was the second Sanskrit work translated in English. The first was Bhagwata Gita. The United States Library of Congress lists many translations of this book in various languages like Burmese, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Khmer, Russian, Spanish and Thai, apart from different Indian regional languages. 

       Here are some nice fables from the collection of Panchatantra from the animal world. Paintings are made by artists in folk art of Kalamkari and Orissa patachitra.