Historical query on Pancatantra?

McComas Taylor mccomas.taylor at ANU.EDU.AU
Tue Jun 26 01:25:02 UTC 2007

Dear friends

Please find some comments below:

Horacio Francisco Arganis Juarez wrote:
> Dear Professor: Could you help with this query?
> Greetings,
> I am doing some research on the historical context of Panchatantra
> and am wondering if you could spend a few minutes of your time to assist
> me with a few questions that I have.
> 1. Panchatantra refers to a Kingdom in Southern India called
> Mahilaropya. Did such a Kingdom exist or is the reference incorrect? What 
> was
> the real name? In which state was this Kingdom in? (Tamil Nadu, Andhra 
> Pradesh etc.)
The northern recesions of PT are indeed set in a city of that name. 
There is no evidence to support the idea that this city was a historical 
> 2. What happened to the three foolish princes after their six months
> with Vishnu Sharma? The traditional stories claim that they became
> wiser and lived happily ever after. There is no other information available
> as to what happened to them and their kingdom. My hypotheses is that
> their city state was peacefully incorporated into one of the regional
> dynasties and they still managed well in life. If this is correct, what
> was the name of that regional dynasty?
There is no evidence to suggest that the princes were anything other 
than a literary creation.
> 3. The original manuscript of Panchatantra was lost by the 11th
> century. Are there any references as to whether it was due to neglect or
> book burning by some faction?

It is unlikely that there was an 'original ms' of the PT - stories 
passed freely between literary and oral traditions. It is better to 
think of it as a cycle or a genre. Cf. this question: 'what happened to 
the original ms of Little Red Ridinghood'?
> I would be very grateful for any help given as it is very difficult
> to find any historical references about Panchatantra. Thank you very
> much for yout time and I look foward to your reply.
The reason for this is that the PT is not a single, fixed historical 
document attributable to a single historical/geographical context. It is 
a fluid body of works encompassing many texts and traditions, stretching 
over 1500 years, and spread geographically.

I'd be delighted to discuss this further. Please see my new book:



> Kind regards,
> Arun Oberoi.
> Stockholm, Sweden. 
> ___________________________________________________________________
> Sube tus fotos más divertidas a enbloga.com

Dr McComas Taylor
Head, South Asia Centre
Faculty of Asian Studies
The Australian National University

Tel: +61 2 6125 3179
Fax: +61 2 6125 8326

Email: mccomas.taylor at anu.edu.au
URL: http://asianstudies.anu.edu.au/wiki/index.php/Dr_McComas_Taylor
Location: Room E4.26 Baldessin Precinct Building 

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