The South Asian Manuscript Book: Workshop Programme

Workshop at the Faculty of Asian Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge
25th-27th September 2014
Rooms 8 & 9


25th September

The Cambridge Collections

Chairperson: Harunaga Isaacson
9.30–10.10 Vincenzo Vergiani
The Sanskrit Manuscripts Project: Past, Present, and Future
10.10–10.50 Camillo A. Formigatti
The Day After: A Survival Manual for Catalogers of Sanskrit Manuscripts
10.50–11.30 Daniele Cuneo
The Seven Indic Gems Churned from the Cambridge University Library Ocean (केम्ब्रिजविश्वविद्यालयपुस्तकालयरत्नाकरमंथितभारतीयरत्नसप्तकं)
11.30–11.50 Coffee Break
11.50–12.30 Nalini Balbir
The Cambridge Jain Manuscripts: Highlights, Colophons and Provenance
12.30–13.10 Hugo David
Manuscripts of Sanskrit Philosophical Works in the CUL Collection: a Brief Overview
13.10–14.30 Lunch Break
Chairperson: Dominic Goodall
14.30–15.10 Marco Franceschini
The Grantha Manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library Collections: a Survey
15.10–15.50 Elisa Ganser
An Overview of the Sanskrit Manuscripts in Malayāḷam Script in the Cambridge University Library Collections
15.50–16.30 Eva Wilden
Tamil Satellite Stanzas II
16.30–16.50 Tea Break
16.50–17.30 Gergely Hidas
Dhāraṇī Collection: Mapping a Genre
17.30–18.10 Nina Mirnig
Śaiva Gleanings from the Cambridge University Library Collection

26th September

Manuscript and Textual Traditions in North India, Nepal and Central Asia

Chairperson: Vincenzo Vergiani
9.30–10.10 Mahesh Deokar
A Journey of Ideas: The study of the Candravyākaraṇapañjikā and the
Moggallānapañjikā with special reference to CV II.2.1
10.10–10.50 Vincent Tournier
The Canonical Transmissions of the Mahāsāṃghika and Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādin Schools in North and North-West South Asia: Remarks on Three Fragments from Nepal and Afghanistan
10.50–11.30 Cristina Scherrer-Schaub
Questioning the Manuscript Tradition of the Prajñāpāramitā
11.30–11.50 Coffee Break
11.50-12.30 Lata Deokar
Subhūticandra: A Journey Across Borders
12.30–13.10 Hildegard Diemberger
Buddha’s Word: Curating an Exhibition of Buddhist Manuscripts and Prints between Research and Outreach
13.10–14.30 Lunch Break
Chairperson: Camillo Formigatti
14.30–15.10 Harunaga Isaacson
Title t.b.a.
15.10–15.50 Francesco Sferra
A Propos of a Recently Rediscovered Buddhist Manuscript
15.50–16.30 Péter-Dániel Szántó
The Book in Late Tantric Buddhist Lore
16.30-16.50 Tea Break
16.50–17.30 Jürgen Hanneder
Pre-modern Sanskrit Editors and Readers
17.30–18.10 Anett Krause
Sanskrit Letters from Kashmir in the Private Archive of Johannes Hertel

27th September

Editorial Practices in South India and South East Asia

Chairperson: Daniele Cuneo
9.30–10.10 Kengo Harimoto
Title t.b.a
10.10–10.50 Giovanni Ciotti
Multilingualism and Material Culture: A Few Rare (?) Colophons from Tamil Nadu
10.50–11.30 Dominic Goodall
What information can be gleaned from Cambodian inscriptions about practices relating to the transmission of Sanskrit literature?
10.30-11.50 Coffee Break
11.50–12.30 Emmanuel Francis
The Other Way Round: From Print to Manuscript
12.30–13.15 Conclusion
13.15–14.30 Lunch
15.00–16.00 Visit to the Exhibition Buddha’s Word at the Museum for Archeology and Anthropology
19.30 Final Dinner at the Riverside Restaurant

The South Asian Manuscript Book: Material, Textual and Historical Investigations

Programme (online version)

Programme (print version)

Following the workshop on “Buddhist Manuscript Culture: Textuality and Materiality” held in April 2013, this workshop will once again mainly focus on books as cultural artefacts, but it will broaden its scope to encompass all the major religious and intellectual traditions that constituted the South Asian manuscript culture, many of which are well represented in the collections of the University Library at Cambridge. Particular attention will be paid to aspects of the history of manuscripts in pre-modern South Asia such as their production, physical characteristics, decoration, use, circulation, preservation and accessibility in relation to broader dimensions of cultural practice, religious affiliation, patronage and locality. Its echoes and parallels in other parts of Asia, such as Tibet and Southeast Asia, will also be part of the picture.

On Air 4: More News from Benares (and some from the North-Eastern Provinces)

The fourth release of the Cambridge Digital Library includes thirteen new descriptions of Sanskrit manuscripts.

The present release adds detailed descriptions of five manuscripts (Add.891, Add.894, Add.895, Add.1037 and Add.1715) of works belonging to the classical school of Vedic exegesis (Mīmāṃsā). Fifteen Mīmāṃsā manuscripts have been identified so far in the Cambridge collection. Most of them belong to the Cowell collection[1] and are written on paper in Devanāgarī script, but a notable exception is a recently identified South Indian manuscript (on palm-leaves and in Malayalam script) of Sucarita Miśra’s Kāśikā on Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s Ślokavārttika (1.1.1-4).[2] The dates of these manuscripts range from the mid-sixteenth century (Add. 1034, to be included in the fifth release) to the late nineteenth-century. Most texts are individual sections of larger works, dealing with specific exegetical or ritual topics such as the validity of non-injunctive Vedic sentences (mantras, arthavādas), assignment (viniyoga) of a ritual element to a main procedure, entitlement (adhikāra) to perform a Vedic sacrifice, etc. The manuscripts generally bear the sign of repeated use for personal study or perhaps teaching (corrections, annotations, etc.). The works belong either to the tradition of commentaries and sub-commentaries on Śabara’s Bhāṣya (Add. 891, Add. 1037, two sections of Kumārila’s Tantravārttika)or to the genre of semi-independent treatises known as adhikaraṇamālās(“Garlands of Chapters”), much in favour among Mīmāṃsakas in the second millennium. Many works of this last category are still awaiting publication, like for instance Rāghavānanda Sarasvatī’s Nyāyāvalīdīdhiti, pro­bably written in the 18th century. Three manuscripts of this work are kept in Cambridge (Add. 894, Add. 895, and Add. 1715), which together cover most of books 1-7 of the Mī­māṃsāsūtras.

Two other manuscripts from the Cowell collection included in this release are Add.893 and Add.906. The first one contains a philosophical treatise on logic, the Padārthamālā by Jayarāma Nyāyapañcānana, who belonged “to the Bengali school of Navya-Nyāya and was active in the 17th century. The date of copy of the manuscript, 1692 saṃvat (= 1636 AD), may thus be very close to the date of composition of the text” (from the entry on Add.893). Add.906 is a 19th century manuscript of one of the most famous compendia (nibandha) on Hindu law, composed by Vācaspati Miśra II from Mithilā, the Vivādacintāmaṇi. Until modern times, this text was considered to be a major authoritative source on legal matters in Mithilā (Bihar).[3]

Six manuscripts in this release belong to the Bendall collection: Add.2252, Add.2418, Add.2464, Add.2514.1, Add.2514.2, and Or.153. During two journeys in Northern India and Nepal in 1884-1885 and 1898-1899, Prof. Cecil Bendall collected ca. 600 manuscripts. While descriptions of some of the manuscripts collected in 1884-1885 are available in a report written by Bendall,[4] the ones included in this release have been collected by him in his second journey and are described for the first time in the Cambridge Digital Library.

Add.2252 is a manuscript of the Antakṛddaśāvivaraṇa by Abhayadeva, a Sanskrit commentary on the eighth Aṅga of the Śvetāmbara canon. The manuscript was written in 1637 CE and like Add.2286,[5] it belongs to a set of manuscripts of the 45 Śvetāmbara āgamas commissioned by the members of the same family. This set is now scattered among different libraries in India and Europe.

Add.2418 is a modern manuscript written in 1807 CE, containing an unpublished commentary on the Ghaṭakarpara, the Ghaṭakarparaṭīka composed by a certain Tārācandra or Tārānātha. The last stanza of the text in this manuscript[6] is particularly interesting as to the issue of authorship, since it names Tārācandra in connection to a revision of the commentary (either he is not the author of the commentary and just revised it, or the manuscript witnesses a version revised by the author himself).

Add.2464, Add.2514.1, Add.2514.2 are modern manuscripts of grammatical works, all related to Bhaṭṭoji Dīkṣita’s Siddhāntakaumudī. Add.2464 is a manuscript of the Śābdabodha by Rāmakṛṣṇa, a text consisting of grammatical explanations of several exemplar sentences taken from the kāraka section of the Siddhāntakaumudī. Add.2514.1 is a modern copy (1749 CE) of the Laghusiddhāntakaumudī, an abridgement of the Siddhāntakaumudī. In this manuscript, a stray folio (Add.2514.2) containing a section of the Tattvabodhinī of Jñānendra Sarasvatī, a 16th-century commentary on the Siddhāntakaumudī, has been inserted between folios 63 and 64.

Last but not least, Or.153 is an old palm-leaf manuscript (13th century) of the Aparimitāyurdhāraṇīsūtra, a very popular Nepalese sūtra[7] and one of the most frequently copied sūtras in Dunhuang.[8] This manuscript is a witness of a recension slightly different than the one on which M. Walleser’s edition is based.[9]

1. This collection consists of manuscripts bought by various individuals in Vārāṇasī in the 1870’s on behalf of Prof. Cowell (cf. the brief note in the post on the third release).

2. This manuscript belongs to a batch of South Indian manuscripts acquired by the Cambridge University Library from the book dealer Robert E. Stolper between 1990 and 1991, and still awaits to be assigned a definitive shelf-mark.

3. We would like to thank our external collaborator Dr Hugo David for the careful cataloguing of these manuscripts and for having provided us with this paragraph on their character for this post.

4. Bendall, Cecil, A Journey of Literary and Archaeological Research in Nepal and Northern India, During the Winter of 1884-5.

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1886) [download].

5. See the post on the third release.

6. tārācaṃdrābhidheyena bālavyutpattihetave || ghaṭakharparaṭīkeyaṃ saṃśodhya prakaṭīkṛtā.

7. The Cambridge Collections comprise five manuscripts of this text.

8. Payne, Richard K, “Aparamitāyus: ‘Tantra’ and ‘Pure Land’ in Medieval Indian Buddhism?”, Pacific World: Journal of the Institute of Buddhist Studies issue 9 pp. 273-308, Third Series (2007), p. 274.

9. Walleser, Max (ed.), Aparimitāyur-jñāna-nāma-mahāyana-sūtram. Nach einer nepalesischen Sanskrit-Handschrift mit der tibetischen und chinesischen Version herausgegeben und übersetzt von M. Walleser. Vorgelegt von Chr. Bartholomae, Sitzungsberichte der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 1916.12 (Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1916).

On Air 3: Like a Tigress with her Cubs

yathā vyāghrī haret putrān daṃṣṭrābhir na ca pīḍayet |
bhītā patanabhedābhyāṃ tadvad varṇān prayojayet ||

Like a tigress who carries her cubs without gritting her fangs excessively, frightened both by a possible fall or by leaving wounds: this is how one should utter speech-sounds!
(Pāṇinīyaśikṣā 25)

The third release of the Cambridge Digital Library includes thirty-five new descriptions of Sanskrit manuscripts.

The bulk of the manuscripts catalogued consists of a collection of texts belonging to the Vedalakṣaṇa branch of knowledge (a total of twenty-eight manuscripts).[1] Twelve manuscripts contain śikṣā texts, works on phonetics and phonology dealing with the pronunciation and recitation of both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit, and other theoretical topics such as the accent-bearing unit, or providing list of Vedic words to be memorised on account of the ambiguity of their articulatory features. Another class of Vedalakṣaṇa texts, the Anukramaṇīs (lists of various features of the Vedic collection, for instance number and attribution of meters to different deities, indexes of titles of works about the Vedas etc.) are represented by seven manuscripts. Furthermore, a smaller group of four manuscripts of pariśiṣṭa texts has also been catalogued, as well as one multi-text manuscript containing the Vargadvayavṛtti and the Ṛgvedaprātiśākhyabhāṣya, and one manuscript of a texts on vedavikṛti[2], the Jaṭāpaṭaladīpikā.

All these manuscripts belong to the Cowell collection. Edward Byles Cowell was the first Professor for Sanskrit at the University of Cambridge. In 1873, he instructed Ralph T. H. Griffith of the Benares Sanskrit College to procure manuscripts of texts belonging to specific literary genres for his personal study, as well as for the Cambridge University Library. Until 1878 Griffith continued to send manuscripts to Cambridge.[3] The majority of these manuscripts belonged to Prof. Cowell, and after his death in 1903 they were all bequeathed to the University library. Many of these manuscripts are modern copies commissioned by Griffith, and thus they share many common features. For instance, it is possible to distinguish a series of three manuscripts all written in 1877: one manuscript of the Lomaśīśikṣā (Add. 1709), one of the Keśavīśikṣā (Add. 1710) and one of the Laghvamoghanandinīśikṣā (Add. 1711). Although only the first manuscript is dated, it is clear from the script that all three have been written by the same scribe. Moreover, most probably they were thought of as a single collection, since they share many common features: paper and layout are identical, and at the end of Add. 1709 the catch number 18 is written, which is repeated on the first folio of Add. 1710 and on the verso of Add. 1711 (a one-folio manuscript).

The release is rounded up by three Jaina manuscripts (Add. 2140, Anaṅgaraṅga; Add. 2286, Jñātādharmakathā; Add. 2377, Kālakācāryakathā), and four Nepalese manuscripts (Add. 1386, Avadānaśataka; Add.1396.2, Naiṣadhaprakāśa; Add. 1645, Śivadharma corpus; Or. 146.1, Raghuvaṃśa).

Add. 2286 “is especially valuable because it belongs to a set of the 45 Śvetāmbara āgamas commissioned by the members of the same family. This set is now scattered among different libraries. Some items have been traced in Berlin and in India. […] In this case, the colophon also gives the name of the donor, Jayakaraṇa, a resident of Khambhat; he and his family members systematically collected manuscripts of the Śvetāmbara canonical works […] The Cambridge University Library has two items belonging to this collection: this one and Add. 2252, the Antakr̥ddaśāvivaraṇa, the eighth Aṅga of the Śvetāmbara canon.”[4]

Among the Nepalese manuscripts, noteworthy is Add. 1645, a palm-leaf manuscript of the Śivadharma corpus from a very early date (1139 CE). As sometimes is the case in Nepalese manuscripts used also for ritual purposes,[5] its wood covers display illuminations (of both śaiva and vaiṣṇava inspiration!) in the internal parts.

Add. 1396.2, even if fragmentary, is still important, since it is one of the few witnesses of the Naiṣadhaprakāśa, a yet unpublished commentary by Śrīnātha on Śrīharṣa’s Naiṣadhacarita.

1. We would like to acknowledge the fundamental help provided by our external collaborator Dr Giovanni Ciotti for the cataloguing of these manuscripts.

2. Lit. “[textual] modifications of the Vedic texts”, i.e. recombinations of the words for mnemonic purposes.

3. To these should be added manuscripts Add. 1934-50, bought in 1878 from J.C. Nesfield, also based at the Benares Sanskrit College.

4. This passage is from the description of the manuscript written by our external collaborator N. Balbir, whose invaluable help is here acknowledged.

5. As suggested by the traces of oblatory materials smeared on the external part of the covers.