Portrayal of Monkey Crocodile Story of Panchatantra in the Indian Monuments
The monkey crocodile friendship story ( Panchatantra written by Vishnu Sharma ) carved on the temple wall of Mukteshwar temple at Bhubaneswar, Odisha ,India . Mukteshwar Temple is a 10th-century Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva . The temple dates back to 950–975 CE and is a monument of importance in the study of the development of Hindu temples in Odisha
Did you notice the monkey sitting on a crocodile ( top right)? This is the portrayal of that Panchatantra story( Vishnu Sharma) of monkey and elephant…. This sculpture is portrayed in the doorway of Teevardeo Buddhist monastery, excavated in the year 2003 near Sirpur, Chhattisgarh.
Monkey & crocodile friendship story portrayed in stones, Tripurantakesvara Temple
Virupaksha temple ( 8th CE) ,Pattadakal, Karnataka.
The above panel shows the “monkey and crocodile” and the “mongoose and snake” fables from the Panchatantra
The Panchatantra is an ancient Indian treasure-house of animal fables, originally written perhaps about 20 centuries ago, and most commonly attributed to Vishnu Sharma. The Panchatantra stories (such as the story of the monkey and the crocodile) are very widely known world-wide. Here I am telling the said story for those who have not heard of it…..
Monkey & Crocodile Story
(Once there lived a clever monkey on the banks of a river. He dwelt on a blackberry tree and feasted often on the delicious blackberries.And in the river, there dwelt a huge crocodile. Its home was at the other end of the river, but it spent most of its days near where the monkey was.
Now, the monkey was by no means selfish. He was a kind and friendly monkey who liked to share. So he used to pluck out some blackberries for the crocodile too and throw them down to him. The crocodile of course was quite happy at this friendly gesture and more so with the delicious blackberries. He spent many happy days feasting on those blackberries.
One day, the crocodile took some of the blackberries home to his wife. She enjoyed the delicious berries. But unfortunately, she did not, like a good crocodile, stop at that. She wanted nothing less than the monkey’s heart! “That fellow practically lives on these sweet berries, he must be full of them. Imagine how sweet his heart must be,” thought the crocodile’s greedy wife. “I must have the monkey’s heart! And I must have it now!” was the command. And the poor crocodile set off to do her bidding.
He reached back to the blackberry tree where the monkey dwelt. The monkey was most surprised. “You just went back home, didn’t you? How come you are back again, today,” he exclaimed. “My wife has sent me back to invite you home for dinner,” the crafty crocodile said. “She wishes to thank you for those delicious blackberries. I took home some for her today.”
“But my friend, your home is across the river and I cannot swim,” cried the monkey. “You can jump on to my back and I shall take you home across the river,” offered the crocodile. And the unsuspecting monkey set off with the crocodile.
Halfway through the river, the curious monkey asked, “What is to be for dinner, my friend”. And the crocodile blurted out, “You are, you poor fellow. You are going to be our dinner. My wife wants to eat your heart!”
The monkey was stunned. He had not expected this treachery. And he was in the middle of the river, not knowing how to swim! So he could not just jump off too. But the monkey kept his wits about him. He thought and thought and soon hatched a plan to outwit the crocodile, whom he knew was not so very smart. He began to talk in very sweet tones.
“My dear friend,” the monkey said, “Why didn’t you tell me about this before we set off? I would be delighted for you to eat my heart since you feel it is so sweet, but don’t you know, we monkeys keep our hearts outside our bodies. My heart is right now on the blackberry tree.” The foolish crocodile was puzzled. “What should I do now,” he cried. “My wife is expecting your heart.” “Then you had better not disappoint her, turn around and take me back to the tree, so that I can get my heart and then come with you,” the clever monkey suggested. And the foolish crocodile did exactly that!
And soon the crocodile reached the river bank. The monkey took a flying leap and landed back on the safety of his home on the blackberry tree. “You utterly ungrateful fellow,” he cried. “Is this the way you repay my friendship? You were going to kill me forgetting the hundreds of days you spent in my company and eating my blackberries. Thank God you are so foolish. Do you really think anyone can have their heart outside their body? My heart is very much within me. And as for you, cruel and ungrateful fellow, you have no heart at all. Now, get off my sight and never come back.”
The foolish crocodile sadly went back having lost the monkey’s friendship and the endless supply of blackberries.
Moral of the story : The crocodile was perhaps more than merely greedy. It tried to lure the poor monkey that was giving it the berries every day, to its doom. The crocodile was thus greedy, ungrateful and bad.)
Dr. Manoj Mishra