On Air 5: Almost Running Out of Funny Titles

The fifth release of the Cambridge Digital Library includes eight new descriptions of Sanskrit manuscripts.

In this release, the cataloguing of the Mīmāṃsā manuscripts continues with three new descriptions (Add.1034, Add.1714 and Add.2485). Two of these manuscripts are particularly important. Add.1034 is a fairly old, but very well preserved manuscript of Someśvara’s Nyāyasudhā commentary on the “section on Smṛti” (smṛtipāda) of Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s Tantravārttika (1.3), dealing with the authority of non-Vedic Scriptures and focusing most of the Mīmāṃsaka polemics with rival religious traditions (Buddhism, Jainism, etc.). This important text was edited only once in 1901-02 on a very limited manuscript basis, and was hardly studied ever since. Add.2485 is one of the few manuscripts available worldwide of Ananta Bhaṭṭa’s Mīmāṃsārahasya (17th century?), an unpublished “Garland of Chapters” (adhikaraṇamāla) by the son of the famous Mīmāṃsaka and Dharmaśāstrin Dādu Bhaṭṭa, active in the beginning of the 17th century. The manuscript, which unfortunately covers only the first two adhyāyas of the Mīmāṃsā­sūtras, also has abundant annotations, and constitutes in itself an important document for the history of the late exegetical school.

Add. 1714 “is a manuscript of the Nyāyasudhā (sometimes named Rāṇaka), one of the most important commentaries on Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s Tantravārttika. The author, Someśvara Bhaṭṭa, son of Mādhava Bhaṭṭa, might have lived in the 12th century (Mishra 1964: 42, Verpoorten 1987: 38). The manuscript covers the whole of the second chapter (pāda) of the third book (adhyāya) of the Mīmāṃsāsūtras. […] Important parts of the text are missing, especially towards the end of the manuscript, which looks globally inaccurate”.[1] However, this manuscript proves to be interesting from another viewpoint, since it was most probably part of a collection of manuscripts commissioned by Ralph T. H. Griffith of the Benares Sanskrit College on behalf of Prof. Edward Byles Cowell. It shares many common features with Add.1709, Add.1710 and Add.1711 (script, paper and layout are identical, and a catch number has been added also on the first folio of the present manuscript), and thanks to this fact the date of its production can be narrowed to 1873-78.[2]

This release is enriched by the descriptions of three manuscripts of the Śivadharma corpus, Add.1599, Add.1694.1 and Add.2102. The CUL collections hold six manuscripts of texts belonging to this corpus, “whose earlier works possibly originated around the 6th century, and which usually contains from six to eight texts and deals with religious practices and doctrinal issues of the lay śaiva community”.[3] Add.1599 is a paper manuscript from Bengal, dated to the 17th century. It contains only the Śivadharmaśāstra and the Śivadharmottara, the two earliest texts of the corpus, and is “one of the very few instances of the presence of this text in Bengal”.[3] Add.1694.1 is a palm-leaf manuscript of a clearly early date (possibly 12th century). It is a composite manuscript consisting of two codicological units. The kernel (241 folios, with a continuous foliation) was originally arranged to form a complete corpus of eight texts (Śivadharmaśāstra, Śivadharmottara, Yogasārastava, Śivadharmasaṃgraha, Umāmaheśvarasaṃvāda, Vṛṣasārasaṃgraha, Uttarottaramahāsaṃvāda, Dharma-putrikā). The second codicological unit consists of 17 folios (foliated 126-142) containing the Śivopaniṣad (a text included, for instance, in the other manuscripts of the corpus like Add.1645 and Add.2102). Add.2102 is another palm-leaf manuscript from the 12th century. Unfortunately, the beginning and the end are lost, and now it contains only six texts, some with several significant lacunae (Śivadharmottara, Śivadharmasaṃgraha, Umāmaheśvarasaṃvāda, Śivopaniṣad, Vṛṣasārasaṃgraha and Dharmaputrikā).However, it is very likely that originally it contained seven texts, since the lacuna of 50 folios at the beginning roughly corresponds to the whole text of the Śivadharmaśāstra (for instance, the text of the Śivadharmaśāstra in Add.1694.1 covers 41 folios). The loss of an entire text in a manuscript of this corpus is easily explained, for the different parts of the corpus are often separated by leaving the verso of the last leaf of a text blank, and by beginning the following text in the corpus on the verso of a new leaf. Thus, each text could be easily removed from the manuscript, and put back after the reading—but unfortunately, one reader forgot to do it for this manuscript!

For the fans of kāvya, we included the description of a manuscript belonging to the Bendall collection,[4] Add. 2266, a finely written Jain manuscript of Kālidāsa’s Kumārasaṃbhava, dated 1668 CE.

Last but not least, in this release we included the first description of a manuscript from the CUL collection of South Indian manuscripts. Or. 2338 belongs to a set of manuscripts in Grantha script acquired by the CUL from the book dealer Robert E. Stolper in 1990-1. It is a modern multi-text manuscript containing the first two sargas of the Sarvaṃkaṣā, Mallinātha‘s commentary on Māgha’s Śiśupālavadha, and a part of “the Āśaucanirṇaya by Veṅkaṭanātha, a treatise (nibandha) on impurities and on the rituals that should be performed to remove them”.[5]

1. This passage is from the description of the manuscript written by our external collaborator Hugo David.

2. On the history of this part of the collections, see the post on the third release.

3. This passage is from the description of manuscript Add. 1599, written in collaboration with Florinda de Simini.

4. On the history of this part of the collections, see the post on the fourth release.

5. We would like to acknowledge here the work of our external collaborator Marco Franceschini, who is cataloguing the whole CUL collection of Grantha manuscripts .

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).

Lecture by Dr Elisa Freschi

Dr Elisa Freschi (Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Centre for Studies in Asian Cultures and Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences) will give a talk on “Rule-extension strategies in Mīmāṃsā, Śrautasūtra (and Vyākaraṇa): tantra and prasaṅga”, on Thursday 1 November 2012, 11.30 am, room 313, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.