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Rishis Tales - 21 Forgotten Sanskrit Tales in English (Set of 2 Volumes)

Rishis Tales - 21 Forgotten Sanskrit Tales in English (Set of 2 Volumes)
Item Code: NAO583
Author: U. Mahesh Prabhu
Publisher: Vedic Wisdom Press
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: Vol-I: 9781980784203
Vol-II: 9781793075536
Pages: 314 (36 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.0 inch x 5.0 inch
weight of the book: 360 gms
About the Book

Ancient Vedic India was a land where knowledge and wisdom were revered as the greatest wealth. There intellectual Brahmins, sagely Rishis, and equipoise Munis were honored for their incomparable knowledge. At a time when writing was not well developed, Smriti or memory was the main medium by which knowledge was recorded before transmitting it through Vak or the spoken word from a pre-ceptor Guru to his disciples Shishyas. Mantras or hymns composed in ancient Sanskrit were used to remember complex knowledge along with Kathy. or thought-provoking tales. These tales besides being entertaining were also enlightening and promoted deeper Vichara or contemplation. In this first volume of Rishis Tales, U. Mahesh Prabhu presents 21 such stories translated from the ancient Sanskrit. Tales that continue to inspire millions of people towards the true un-derstanding of Self, wisdom, peace, and prosperity.

About the Author

Udupi Mahesh Prabhu is a media, management & political consultant. He is a Founder & Director of Vedic Man-agement Center and pens columns for BW Businessworld as well as Business Goa. A fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, London (UK) and member of the International Federation of Journalists (USA), he also holds a Masters in Business Administration, with a specialization in Marketing.


India's vast and sublime Sanskrit literature is full of wonderful stories, anecdotes, parables and paradoxes since the oldest Rigveda thousands of years ago. Great epics like the enigmatic Mahabharata contain extraordinary tales of valour that depict both the light and dark sides of human behaviour and their far-reaching consequences. Other texts highlight stories with magical animals, powerful gods and demons, like the colourful Ramayana.

Human life is a realm of Maya or a magic show, and we never know exactly what lurks behind the appearances of the outer world, or those within the depths of our own psyche. Many secrets, dangers and opportunities reside even in ordinary affairs that we cannot neglect for own karmic peril. We must always look deeply and not simply be taken away by the glitter of the senses, media campaigns, or the allures of the outer world. Forces hidden behind these may have another meaning or intention.

Yet if we can move beyond this phantasmagoria of the external world, we can discover spiritual realities within and around us, breaking down the barriers of the mind, challenging our ideas of limited reality. Consciousness is everywhere and everything in nature can speak to us and guide us if we know how to look.

Wisdom is often best taught indirectly through stories. If given directly through abstract concepts, the human mind can take the concepts superficially and miss the actual experience. For example, you can talk about the Divine or Paramatman, but to experience that supreme reality is something else altogether, where speech and mind cannot go.

Such indirect instruction, particularly done in a way that the person doesn't know that he or she is being taught, works better as it can circumvent the opinions of the mind and address the core of our being. Real wisdom can be placed in seed form in simple narratives that anyone can appreciate, in which curiosity compels us to ponder upon their meaning, while mere speculative philosophy or judgmental moral precepts have little value to communicate with us, much less inspire us. The Vedic Rishis occupy the highest level of respect in Vedic thought. The Rishis were the great seers of the cryptic Vedic mantras, who created the foundation for the profound systems of Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda and the many different Vedic sciences. Yet the Rishis also provided practical wisdom about how we live, extending from our personal lives to governing a nation. Later the term Rishi became generic for a sage or person of profound insight and the many flowerings of the Rishi heritage.

Rishi implies wisdom and a higher vision that challenges who we think we are and what we believe the world to be. The current book of Rishi Tales provides an excellent introduction to the India's timeless tradition of wisdom tales that are given in an easily accessible language and storybook account, looking back to the heritage of the Rishis and sages of India, known and unknown.

As someone who has translated the ancient Vedas and tried to uncover their secrets in a scholarly way, it is refreshing to see how the Rishi Vision permeated all the literature and stories of classical India, and in so many different ways.

U Mahesh Prabhu has created a fascinating series of Rishi Tales, gathered from various traditional sources, to share this perennial wisdom with a contemporary audience, in a way that everyone can understand. These stories cover a variety of topics and life concerns, as well as having hidden spiritual meanings. Whether one takes them simply as engaging reading or as profound parables to contemplate will depend upon the depth and attention of the reader, but they remain relevant to everyone, including children and the youth. Prabhu brings in his knowledge of Sanskrit and his skills at Vedic management to share the Rishi wisdom for all to follow.


There are tales written to entertain, and then, there are tales written to educate. However, there are very few which are written with both aims in mind. Vedic tales in Sanskrit, composed by wise rishis from thousands of years ago are not just to educate and entertain, but also to enlighten. "What is enlightenment?" you may ask. There are various definitions available. These include when an individual becomes akin to the supreme being with supernatural powers. Enlightenment for the Vedic culture wasn't of this type. While they did write tales that mention people earning extraordinary powers - their ultimate pursuit was to attain and retain a state of perfect equilibrium and awareness. They called it Stithaprajna, a state of being beyond good fortune or misfortune, flattery or insult; a state where one's mind abides in a state of eternal bliss even while engaged in daily tasks. What is 'good' or 'bad'? Are they just a matter of perception? If yes, perception by whom and at what point in time? Is that which we perceive as good to ay, goo tomorrow as we . at s the way to assess good and bad in a practical manner? Our world today is obsessed with data and information. Most people confuse data and information with knowledge and wisdom. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. Knowledge isn't necessarily wisdom. Data and information at best can present facts; facts that can be interpreted, misinterpreted as well as manipulated. To interpret data and information - correctly , one must have true knowledge and, above all, wisdom.


Introduction 1
1Guru's Test of Morality 5
2The Celibate Rishi and a Celestial Damsel 7
3Helping the Thankless 9
4Rishi humbled by a woman 13
5Living in Fear 21
6Sanyasi's Greed 31
7The Three Crucial Questions 47
8The Last String 55
9Cost of Comparison 63
10Cost of One Unkept Promise 69
11Whose Miracle? 75
12Wait for It 83
13Revealing the Virtue 87
14A Giant's Dilemma 89
15 Ends & Means 97
16The Rishi's Goblin 107
17The Secret of Happiness 111
18The Rishi's desire for a family 115
19Donkey's Prediction 123
20Rishi & Wine 129
21Hiss & Bite 135

About the Book

In this book Mahesh Prabhu presents Vedic stories in their core essence, relaying and focusing their deeper meaning, not interfering with it or reducing it to alien and superficial concepts. His stories are short, poignant, and diverse, with multiple levels of meaning, like parables, conundrums, paradoxes and axioms (sutras). He has drawn these stories from many traditional sources in Sanskrit literature and reworked them in a concise and invocative manner. They feature the names and stories of famous sages, kings, places and the peoples of old India. Such exalted figures as King Bhartrihari or the Vedantic sage Ashtavakra visit these pages and come to life again through them.


Wisdom is best conveyed in stories as it is experiential in nature, not a matter of mere beliefs, concepts or theories. These Rishi Tales are not simply literal accounts of a person's life, statements or interactions, but episodes in a higher life expression that borders on the timeless. One could say that they are fictional, but one could also say that they reflect a higher reality not bound by outer appearances. India abounds in such wisdom tales, with an extensive literature in this field on several levels from ancient Vedas to modern time, dwarfing that can be found anywhere else in the world. Such stories can be entertaining and enlightening to both young and old.

The Rishi is the ultimate archetype of these wisdom stories and refers to a sage of Self-realization, who is attuned to the universal movement, not any merely personal beliefs or sentiments. As such, these rishi responses cannot be circumscribed by the constraints of our ordinary human social reality and its mundane concerns. They take us to a transcendent vision that is yet profoundly relevant to our deepest motivations.

Today there are a number of authors, both from India and the West, writing about the diverse and extraordinary stories of India, particularly from the Hindu tradition and its vast and colorful literature. Unfortunately, too many of these scholars look at such wisdom tales in terms of modern psychology, mythology, anthropology or even worse politics, and scale them down to their own cultural interests and intellectual opinions, or even demean them. Such approaches are misleading and superficial and irrelevant to the core teachings involved. Scholars miss the yogic knowledge that is the real purpose of these profound depictions, which to awaken our higher intelligence and link us with the wisdom of the cosmos, not simply to discuss the challenges of human life. They aim at leading us to a state of wonder and awe, not at any mere intellectual understanding. Mahesh Prabhu is a dynamic and innovative thinker in the Vedic field today. His Vedic Management Centre (YMC) is on its way to becoming one of the premier institutions on Vedic knowledge and covers a vast range of topics, helping us bring Vedic principles and practices into every aspect of our lives, individual and collective. The current book is one of its several important publications, with many more likely to come in the years ahead, bringing the principles of Vedic living into the entire society. Mahesh Prabhu presents these wisdom stories in their core essence, relaying and focusing their deeper meaning, not interfering with it or reducing it to alien and superficial concepts. His stories are short, poignant, and diverse, with multiple levels of meaning, like parables, conundrums, paradoxes and axioms (surres). He has drawn these stories from many traditional sources in Sanskrit literature and reworked them in a concise and invocative manner. They feature the names and stories of famous sages, kings, places and the peoples of old India. Such exalted figures as King Bhartrihari or the Vedantic sage Ashtavakra visit these pages and come to life again through them.

Classical India was always a fascinating country with colorful and powerful rulers and their magnificent courts, wise and witty sages and their entourages of devoted disciples, and an open social interaction and discourse, which allowed every sort of discussion and debate to be freely engaged in. Such stories may bring in animals and the world of nature as well, embracing the whole of life as part of a greater expression of universal intelligence. One can take these stories for their immediate and poignant meaning and values, which are considerable, or one can contemplate them and live with them, slowly absorbing their implications, discovering yet deeper levels of meaning over time. Such stories are refreshing, inspiring and motivating to our spiritual quest and to our efforts to understand our often- bewildering human lives. They help us recognize the greater wisdom behind life that we are all struggling, sometimes fitfully, to recognize, much less to achieve. They encourage us to pursue an inner wisdom with a clarity of mind and heart, and a simple yet direct insight that is ever new in every circumstance. No doubt the reader will both enjoy and be elevated by this extraordinary collection. Their meanings are much more relevant than any modern novel, movie or news item.

Rishi Tales II is the second of these story collections, of which there are likely to be many more over time. It continues in the same idiom and approach as Rishi Tales 1. Such Rishi stories are innumerable and can provide a new genre in Vedic wisdom relevant to our society today. We look forward to further such stories and depictions. They bring a new and insightful light into our mental processes today that are often so much overburdened with outer events that we forget the magical Rishi knowledge that remains part of our deeper spiritual heritage. May that Rishi wisdom awaken in all!


1The King who became a Rishi 1
2Without the Faith Within 11
3Relativity of Pain & Pleasure 15
4What wisdom gives, and wealth cannot? 19
5True Brahman 25
6Fault lines of Predictions 27
7Perception of People 31
8Consequence of Abject Fear 39
9Trivial actions. Severe Consequences 49
10The Frailties of Desires 53
11Wisdom on the pilgrimage 59
12Transitions amid Traditions 65
13Who's to be blamed? 73
14Voyage & Knowledge 79
15Prince Deserving 87
16Sage 13 93
17A thief who became a Rishi 103
18A cure for sadness 115
19Satyavati's Paradox 125
20A disguised case for Justice 135
21The Art of Managing Misery 141

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