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Stories from the Hitopdesa

Hitopadesha is a collection of Sanskrit fables in prose and verse written in the 12 century C.E. The author of the tales is said to be Narayan, a pandit who worked in the court of King Dhavalachandra and was a shaivite.The work has been translated into most of the major languages of the world. After Sir William Jones, who had encountered it in 1786, announced his "discovery", it was translated into English by Charles Wilkins, who had made the earliest English translation of the Bhagavad Gita. An English translation by Sir Edwin Arnold, then Principal of Puna College, Pune, India, was published in London in 1861.

Hitopadesha has been derived from two words, hita and upadeƛa . It basically means to counsel or advice with benevolence. The author of Hitopadesha, Narayana says that the main purpose of creating the Hitopadesha is to instruct young minds in a way that they learn the philosophy of life and are able to grow into responsible adults. The stories are very interesting and youngsters not only find it interesting, but also accept it easily.

One of the most widely read Sanskrit books in India, Hitopadesha tales are short stories that have the priceless treasure of morality and knowledge. After Bhagavad Gita, Hitopadesha is considered to be the most sold religious text in India. The tales from Hitopadesha are written in a very logical and clear way and one does not have to make much effort to figure out what moral a particular story is implying. The stories feature animals and birds as main characters.

The Hitopadesha has been translated into many languages and has been circulated all around the world. It is very popular in many countries and is one of the most widely read children's book. Even in today's world, it continues to amaze people with its simple but meaningful stories and many people are still inspired by the tales of Hitopadesha. Its simplicity and logic is what makes it a favorite among children and their parents.

Presented in this section are few selected stories from the Hitopdesa for children.Please click on the links below to read the respective story