On Air 6: From Kāntipura to Kanyakumārī (or so)

The sixth release of the Cambridge Digital Library includes twelve new descriptions of Sanskrit manuscripts.

This release starts a series in which we will showcase the CUL astonishing collection of manuscripts of the Pañcarakṣā, a corpus of of Buddhist texts which played a central role in Nepalese Buddhism. In the first release, we provided the description of what is probably the oldest illuminated manuscript of this corpus (Add.1688), and in the present one we add descriptions of four more manuscripts (Add.1325, Add.1395, Add.1460 and Add.1475.1). Add.1395 is a quite old exemplar of the corpus, and “was written in 1384 during the reign of king Jayasthitimalla (1382-1395). […] Both covers are decorated with representations of the five Buddhas of directions and the five goddesses of protection.”[1] Add.1460 and Add.1475.1 are comparatively recent exemplars of the corpus—both were written in the 17th century. Add.1460 is a paper manuscript dated to 1672 CE. It lacks miniature decoration, but like the majority of Pañcarakṣā manuscripts, it is written in the ornamental script Rañjanā and has decorative puṣpikās dividing the various dhāraṇīs. Add. 1475.1 is a composite paper manuscript, and the script and the layout clearly points to the 17th century. The last folio is a later supply bearing the date 1682 CE. However, “there is every reason to believe that it is simply a fresh copy of leaf(!) found to be damaged” (Bendall 1883: 105).[2] However, even if this might be an instance of a copied date, judging from the script and layout features, the additional folio might not have been written much later than the date of production of the kernel. If this is the case, then according to the colophon the whole manuscript might be dated 1682 CE, and was written during the reign of Pārthivendramalla, who ruled in Kathmandu between 1680 and 1687. Finally, Add.1325 is a quite recent exemplar of the corpus, a paper manuscript dated to 1819 CE, a witness of the importance of this corpus up to modern Nepal.

From the Kahtmandu Valley we move to the banks of the Gaṅgā with the descriptions of two modern paper manuscripts of king Bhoja’s Rājamārtaṇḍa, the famous commentary on the Yogasūtra of Patañjali, Add.897 (in this manuscript, the text is called Bhojavṛtti) and Add.2146, both bought in Vārāṇasī in the 19th century. Add.897 was bought by Prof. R. Griffith on behalf of Prof. E. B. Cowell in 1873, while Add.2146 was bought by Prof. C. Bendall from Pandit Vindhyeśvarīprasāda on January 3rd, 1885.[3]

In our journey, we reach also the Southern tip of the South Asian subcontinent, and provide the description of five more Grantha manuscripts: Or.2339, Or.2340, Or.2341, Or.2342 and Or.2343.1. They are all multi-text palm-leaf manuscripts from the 19th century. Or.2339 contains “Sukumāra’s Kṛṣṇavilāsa with Vilāsinī commentary by Rāmapāṇivāda (only portions of the first two sargas); Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa with Padārthadīpikā commentary by Nārāyaṇapaṇḍita (only portions of the third sarga); and the Taittirīya Āraṇyaka, with the Vedic pitch accent marked through signs indicating svaritas, anudāttas and kampas (the first three prapāṭhakas are incomplete, prapāṭhaka 10 is missing).”[4] Or.2340 is a manuscript containing a corpus of ten devotional texts, mainly stotras and namāvalīs of a saurya and śākta character.[5] According to the information in the colophon, it was written in Cantiracekapuram (perhaps this is Candraśekharapura, Andhra Pradesh) by a certain Ayyar Śāstrikaḷ Kumāraṉ Cuvāmika, and finished on Thursday, July 17th, 1891 CE.[6] Or.2341 containins “Sāyaṇa’s Vedārthaprakaśa commentary on Taittirīya Saṃhitā 4.5.1-11, the famous hymn in praise of Rudra known as
Rudranamakādhyāya, Śatarudrīya or Śrīrudra […]; the first 64 verses (out of 150) of the Caturvedatātparyasaṃgraha (or Śrutisūktimālā), an unpublished śaiva text ascribed to Haradatta (or Sudarśanācārya); two folios from an unidentified śaiva work.”[7] Or.2342 is a manuscript of an anonymous Sanskrit commentary to Śaṅkarācārya’s Śivānandalaharī, a poem in one-hundred stanzas extolling the greatness of Śiva, very popular in South India. Folio 16 is missing, and the text is incomplete, breaking off at the end of the 48th stanza. Or.2343.1 contains the unpublished Sanskrit version of “the Tulākāverīmāhātmya (from the Āgneyapurāṇa) in 5 ādhyāyas, and a single folio (numbered as “2”) from an unidentified vaiṣṇava work of the kavaca sort”.[8]

1. From the description of the manuscript.

2. Bendall, Cecil, Catalogue of the Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1883). [download]

3. On part of the collections, see the post on the fourth release.

4. From the description of the manuscript by M. Franceschini.

5. The texts are the following: Śūryanārāyaṇapūjā, Sūryāṣṭottaraśatanāmāvalī, Īśvarisevamantra, Lalitāsahasranāmāvalī, Lalitātriśatīnāmāvalī, Śivāṣṭottaraśatanāmāvalī, Lalitāsahasranāma, Lalitātriśatīstotra, Śivāṣṭottara[śatanāma?], Ṣoḍaśīkalyāṇīstotra.

6. The colophon runs as follows: [59r3] śrīmahāde[-3-] [59r4] kollam_ 1066 matu āṭi MĀ° 3 VĀ°
cantiracekapuram kiṟāmam ayyar śāstrikaḷ kumāraṉ
[-1-] cuvāmikayyeṭittuga[-3-].

7. From the description of the manuscript by M. Franceschini.

8. From the description of the manuscript by M. Franceschini.

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).