The Development of Indian Fables
The Fables that were inserted in the epic, along with ballads and legends and another form of Folk-Tales, in fact, constituted the beliefs, customs and traditions of the common people. Every popular similes and analogy played an important role in the development of fables. During the expansion of the Mahabharata, the fables that were included were from the popular narrative literature. So much replete with folk content are the fables of the Mahabharata that, because of the fables and other small non-fable popular narratives, it got transformed into an encyclopedia of folklore rather than a work of literature.
The Indian Fables, like other folk-genres, the myths, place and hero legends, drolls, cumulative stories and ballads are narrated to the folk and adapted from the folk. The fables in the Jatakas and the Mahabharata were part of the oral traditions first before they were put to writing, and even though those in the Panchatantra and its various revisions were composed first, they became subsequently the part of the folk, because they could be disseminated through oral means only. As a result, the fable maintained itself through the expression of mental sharing of the human culture. The narrative, in fact, lives with the people. These fables focus our attention on the following three concerns as below.
- Directions of Self-Perfection
- Practical wisdom for living a successful life.
- Ways of living in harmony with other beings.
The self-perfection means to instill the trustworthy values in one’s life. Amongst these are non-covetousness, honesty, friendliness and contentment. There are many tales which plainly emphasise the dangers connected with greed, the value of honesty etc. A lot of numerous such stories including practical sagacity to live a prosperous life. The intention of these stories is to help children absorb values in their lives. Their values are transmitted through tales rather than through direct instructions because one remembers stories more easily and the force of the narrative is much greater in convincing one to follow certain practices. Reading these fables which create from various cultural backgrounds one becomes aware of the universality of the moral values propounded in them. Consequently, the researcher realised that to live a harmonious life we need to be kind, honest and sincere.
A life of hypocrisy and selfishness is both in a realistic manner counter productive as well as morally debased. It is the same with greed it is neither practically viable nor helpful in creating self-satisfaction and satisfaction.
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The Fables that were inserted in the epic, along with ballads and legends and another form of Folk-Tales, in fact, constituted the beliefs, customs and traditions of the common people. […]