BIDPAI or Pilpai is the name given to the author of the oldest known collection of tales, but no edition of them is in existence. Tradition says that they were written in Sanskrit by a Brahman of this name, for the benefit of Dabishlim, his king, and to them almost all the fabulous relations of other countries have been clearly traced by Mr. Cole brooke, the Baron do Buy, and Professor H. II. Wilson. The Bidpai collection is traditionally said to have been since reproduced in the Pancha tantra, or fire chapters, also known in India as the Pane hopakhyana,or "Five Collections"of 80 stories, which are supposed to have been in prose, written by Vishnu Sarma for the education of a king's sons. Panchatantra means literally Pentateuch, or the Pentunerone, or Quinque Partitum. Its five chapters relate to the dissensions, and the acquisition, of friends ; inveterate enmity ; loss of advantage and inconsiderateness. The book has many aphorisms to guide a person in life. Another collection, called the Ilitojxxlesa, i.e. Salu tary Advice, was originally written in the Sanskrit language in prose and verse. It is a collection or selection of tales drawn from the fables of Bidpai, the source also of the Panchatantra, and has been translated into most of the languages of British India, also into English by Dr. Charles Wilkins, Sir William Jones, and Francis Johnston. It is full of maxims and worldly advice ; it is as interesting as the Proverbs or Ecclesiastes, and is probably as old as those two works. It opens with a reference to Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom, and the story relates to king Sudarsana of Pata liputra and his intractable sons. Both these books
have been published in Britain and Germany, and there are English, German, French, and other translations of them. They were translated into Pehlavi in the time of Nushirwan, in the 6th century ; from that into Arabic, by Abdallah-ibn al-Makaffa, about the middle of the 8th century, and his book is known as the Kalila-wa-Damna. This was in the reign of the Khalif Al-Mansur in the 8th century. The Kalila-wa-Damna had 18 chapters, and must have been from another or from a larger collection. Then, about the close of the 9th century, into Persian, by Rudaki, who received 80,000 dirhems for his labours. About the middle of the 12th century (A.n. 1150), in the time of Bahrain Shah, a Persian prose translation was made, and a subsequent second translation was made, by Kashifi, and named the Anwar-i ' Soheili. A Greek version made by Simeon Seth, at the command of Alexis Comnenes, and they appeared since in Hebrew and Aramaic, Italian, Spanish, and German. The first English edition was in the 16th century ; then in French in 1644 and 1709; and they are the foundation of sEsop's fables. In these tales and fables the Hindus appear to have been the instructors of all the rest of mankind. The complicated scheme of story-telling, tale within tale, like the Arabian Nights, seems also to be of Hindu invention, as are the:subjects of many well-known romances, both oriental and European.—Elph. pp. 156, 157 ; Chips, iii. 145, also iv.