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Panchatantra Of Durgasimha - 11th century CE Literary Work In Kannada And Sanskrit

Durgasimha was an army chief of the Chalukya King, Jagadeka Malla, of the 11th century CE. He is the author of Panchatantra in Kannada. It is the only book written by him; a collection of fables composed in champu form, in which, as the author he himself claims, prose preponderates over verse. Panchatantra of Durgasimha is written in Sanskrit and Kannada.

The title and the contents of the work resemble the famous Panchatantra of Vishnu Sharma in Sanskrit. But there is no reference to the Sanskrit work.

Instead, the author clearly state that his work is based on Panchatantra of Vasubhaga Datta (probably a Jaina) which owed its origin to the five stories written by Gunadhya in Paishachi language. In fact, the existence of Vasubhaga Datta’s version of Panchatantra has a total of 65 stories. Out of this, 15 stories are found to written exclusively by Durgasimha. It may be said that the stories which are not found in Panchatantra of Vishnu Sharma but are found in Durgasimha’s could have been taken from Vasubhaga Datta’s version.

Again, Durgasimha has used Jaina doctrines and forms that are not found in Vishnu Sharma’s; this may be because Vasubhaga has Jaina predilections.

The Panchatantra of Durgasimha, like the other Sanskrit work, also possesses verses that are didactic in character. In all, this work contains 458 verses in Kannada, and 230 verses in Sanskrit. Out of the 230 Sanskrit verses, 130 verses are found exclusively in Durgasimha’s and the remaining 100 verses have their sources elsewhere. Sanskrit verses are found at the beginning of almost all the stories and Durgasimha gives the Kannada translation immediately.

Durgasimha's Panchatantra is unique, as it contains many stories and verses that are not found in other versions of Panchatantra. This work is an original contribution of Karnataka to Sanskrit fable literature.