First Tantra itself is a story based on Differences Between Friends which contains different types of short stories like Story of Monkey, Story of Dantil and many more.
Once, there was a city named Mahilaropya in southern India. A king Amarshakti ruled that city. He was benevolent, very pious and a great scholar. He had three sons- Bahushakti, Ugrashakti and Anantshakti. All the three princes were very importunate. The king was very anxious about their education because the princes were not at all interested in education. One day, the king summoned his minsiters and discussed the matter of his sons' education and sought their advice how to bring the princes on the right track. One of the ministers humbly said: "In our kingdom, there lives a Brahmin named Vishnu Sharma who is learned and has mastered in several faculties. Why not entrust our princes to his care? In my opinion, he will be the best teacher for our princes. Under his guidance, I am sure they will develop high degree of wisdom".
The king at once sent for Vishnu Sharma and invited him to his court and told him that he would like to entrust his sons in his care and would gift him with hundred villages in return as a reward. Vishnu Sharma listened carefully to the king's proposal and replied: "My Lord, I do not wish to have anything in return for my service. But I assure you that I will make your sons responsible". Taking the princes in his charge, Vishnu Sharma took them home. There, he began their formal education. He had devised his lessons in interesting stories woven beautifully around animal characters. One by one, he related these tales to the princes who imbibed their essence fully in their lives. These tales, in a way, transformed the princes completely. When the princes, after finishing their education returned to the kingdom, they were no longer importunate, rustic boys but they were now wise and prudent youngsters. Many ages have passed since then. King Amarshakti, the princes and Vishnu Sharma all have annihilated in the folds of time but the immortal tales retained their crispy nature. People still enjoy these tales which educate one in almost all faculties of life. Compilation of these tales originally devised and narrated by Vishnu Sharma are now known as Panchatantra.
THE FIRST TANTRA
Union with friends
On an auspicious day and on an auspicious moment, Vishnu Sharma started the education of the princes. He began with a tale of a bull, which was abandoned by its master in the dense forest.
There was a city named Mahilaropya in the southern India. In this city lived a pious merchant named Vardhamaan. One night, when Vardhamaan was going to sleep suddenly a thought came to haunt his mind that he might lose all of his wealth. Then even his family members would abandon him. All night long, Vardhamaan kept thinking about various ways to earn more and more wealth. At last, he concluded that commerce was the only way to earn money with honour.
In the morning, Vardhamaan packed many utensils and pots on a bullock cart and set out for Mathura in a caravan of fellow traders. He was intending to sell those utensils in the city of Mathura. Two oxen, Mandak and Sanjeevak were hauling the bullock cart. When the caravan reached in the dense forest, Sanjeevak got stuck in marshy land and broke one of his legs. The accident caused great desperation for Vardhamaan. His love for his bullock made him stay for three nights. Seeing Vardhamaan's plight, his friends said: "This forest is inhabited by tigers and lions. You are risking our lives also along with this ox. Do not worry about the ox and leave it there. Believe us that it will recover in a few days or die. But in any case, you cannot help it".
Vardhamaan agreed to his friends and appointed some guards to protect the bullock and resumed his journey. After a while, the guards got tired of keeping watch on a seemingly useless animal. So, they deserted Sanjeevak and also came to join Vardhamaan. They falsely told him that the ox had died and that they had performed the final rites. Vardhamaan felt sorry to hear the news.
Here in he forest, fresh green grass and pure air and water had a transforming effect on Sanjeevak. It recovered and regained its health once again. It was even stronger than before. Buzzing with strength, Sanjeevak began to rub its horns against the heap of the sand and started making all sorts of noises.
A lion named Pingalak also inhabited the forest. One day, Pingalak came to quench his thirst in the river Yamuna. Incidentally, he heard the bellowing of the bullock Sanjeevak and mistook it for some ferocious animal. The bellowing had in fact frightened the lion. So, he hid behind the bushes under a Banyan tree. The lion Pingalak had two jackals as his minsiters. They always followed the lion everywhere. Their names were Damanak and Kartak. The frightened behaviour of Pingalak surprised them. They began to discuss about his behaviour.
Damanak asked Kartak the reason why the lion hid? Kartak however cautioned him against meddling in the matters of their king and said why should they think about all that.
AVYADAARESHU VYAPARAM YO NARAHA KARTUMICHATI |
SA AEV NIDHANAM YATI KILOTPATIV VANARAHA||
A person who unnecessarily meddles with the matters not relevant to him is destroyed in the same way the monkey was killed while removing the nail. Damanak requested Kartak to tell him the tale of the monkey.