The Panchatantra was written in India in around 3rd century BC. Many tales referred in the composition find their origins back to the period of Vedas and Upanishads, dating around 1500 BC to 500 BC. Panchatantra is therefore, proclaimed as the oldest collection of Indian fables surviving till date .
It discusses varied streams like philosophy, psychology, politics, music, astronomy, human relationship, etc. in a simple yet elegant style. This makes panchatantra a rare piece of literature, and a unique book. It attempts to teach how to understand others, how to choose trustworthy friends, how to overcome problems through tactics and wisdom. Moreover, it promotes peace and harmony even in the midst of deceit, hypocrisy and other pitfalls in life. The composer of Panchatantra, Pandit Vishnu Sharma, wanted to provide maximum knowledge to three young princes through stories and examples. In fact, not just the princes, this most unique book has enlightened millions of readers and listeners for centuries.
According to the introductory narration, the Panchatantra was composed for three princes that a king had entrusted the composer with, to impart knowledge and wisdom. The composer, a brahmin by the name of Pandit Vishnu Sharma, is stated to have enlightened them through colourful tales within six months. He recited and explained to them this unique composition of tales based on older oral teachings and stories. The book, Panchatantra, is divided into (pancha) five ‘tantra’s (systems) of ‘Nitishashtra’ (Science of wise conduct).