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SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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About the Collection


1.The Institutional Background — Among the makers and liberators of modern India, it was Svami Dayananda Saraswati who first declared, unequivocally, that 'even the best foreign govern­ment would be but a poor substitute for our own government.' He, however, knew that a thoroughly national government could be established and maintained for long by those alone who while they understood and were inspired by the highest idealism and most brilliant record of achievement, cultural as well as material, of their forefathers of yore, also welcomed and imbibed in their life the best that the modern West with its wonderful zest for progress in letters and learning as well as science and technology had to offer. This double emphasis on our national heritage as represented by Sanskrit and all that it stood for, on the one hand, and on modern arts and sciences, on the other, which so prominently marked the soul-stirring lead that he gave to his countrymen, became a living emblem of the Dayananda Anglo­-Vedic College which, after the great teacher had passed away in 1883, was started in his memory at Lahore in 1886.

Naturally, this institution, more than any other of its type, took special interest in the advancement of Sanskrit studies. Realizing that the course of reading in Sanskrit as prescribed by the Education Department and the University of Panjab was not quite enough, the College tried to supplement the same as
much as it could. However, not satisfied with this much, it set up, in 1899, a special department of Sanskrit which was eventually merged in Dayananda Brahma Mahavidyalaya., a full- fledged independent Sanskrit, Hindi and Divinity College, awarding its own Diplomas and Degrees that the D.A.-V College Management started, in 1921, with the present writer as the
Founder-Principal. The same Management had already established, in 1917, under the Headship of Shri Bhagavad Datta, the D.A. - V College Research Department along with the Rai Bahadur Lal Chand Memorial Library to carry on and provide facilities for research in Sanskrit language and literature and, also, in Indian History.

Recognizing the unique position of the Vedas by virtue of their being the most, ancient available sacred writings of the world and, also, their special importance in the eyes of their countrymen, being the fountain-head of their language, literature, religion, philosophy and culture, the late Svami Vishveshvarananda and his junior life-long colleague, the late Brahmachari Nityananda, (both of whom had imbibed the teachings of Svami Dayananda), so much felt the absence of a comprehensive and dependable Vedic Lexicon, that they took it upon themselves, in 1903, as the sole mission of their lives of devotion and dedication, to supply this great need. Soon after that, they established their headquarters, known as Shantakuti, at Simla where they set themselves to work in right earnest on their lexicographical scheme. During the triennium, 1908-1910, they published, in four separate volumes, the alphabetically re-arranged Padapathas (Word Indices) to the four principal Vedic texts, namely, (1) Rgveda (Sakala), (2) Yajurveda (Madhyandina), (3) Samaveda (Kauthuma), and (4) Atharvaveda (Saunaka). When the scheme was being thus assiduously pursued by the two savants, its further progress was unfortunately checked on account of the untimely demise of Brahmachari Nityananda, in 1914. Svami. Vishveshvarananda, however, carried on as best as he could with the co-operation of a few other scholars for another decade at the end of which he felt that the scheme was not progressing well and, also, that being now seventy-three (73) years old, he could no longer cope with it. During the latter half of the year 1923 which he spent at Lahore, he laid his scheme before Rai Bahadur Lala Mul Raj and Mahatma Hans Raj, the two veteran leaders of Arya Samaja and sought their co-operation in finding some one who might relieve his aged shoulders of the burden of the scheme and carry it forward to the best of his ability.

It was in this situation that the present writer in compliance with the wishes of the said venerable personages undertook as a labour of love to carry on the work of the Vedic Lexicon, and opened on January 1, 1924 its office, since known as Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute, on the premises of the said Brahma Mahavidyalaya. When, later on, on June 1, 1934, he laid down the charge of the Mahavidyalaya and became the Director of the said D. A.-V. College Research Department and Lalchand Library, the office of the Institute was shifted from the Mahavidyalaya to Lalchand Library. Since then, the D. A.-V. College Research Department and the V. V. R. Institute, even though run by different corporate bodies, have for all practical purposes been integrated into one institution which, after the Partition of Panjab, in 1947, most wonderfully and fortunately succeeded in shifting itself almost intact from Lahore to Hoshiarpur.

All praise to our brave and devoted workers who voluntarily stayed on at Lahore for many months after the Partition and devised ways and means of carrying across the border, piece by piece, the administrative and academic records, the libraries and the laboratories belonging to the Institute and the College and weighing, altogether, nothing less than 4,000 maunds. They pursued this arduous task, most doggedly and fearlessly, in the face of the ban which the Pakistan Government had imposed in this behalf and of all sorts of other risks. Verily, it was nothing short of a miracle that they gained their objective so well. The Institute is proud of them, for in the absence of the most valuable materials that they thus extracted, practically, from the jaws of usurpation and destruction, it would have been simply impossible to re-start its work. Similarly, the D. A.-V. College which has been re-started at Ambala is very happy thereby to have the unique privilege, among all the old educational institutions which were dislocated from West Pakistan and have since been re started in Bharata, of still possessing intact its old library as well as laboratories.

2. The Collection of Manuscripts — Svami Dayananda had laid down that Arya Samaja should promote the study of Sanskrit language and literature and make special effort to revive the study of Vedas. Accordingly, the Sanskrit section of the D. A.-V. College library which with the establishment of the Research Department became the nucleus of the Lalchand Library was quite considerable and specially strong in its Vedic contents. As soon as the working of the Department had become organised to some extent, it was felt that towards proper pursuance of different research objectives, it was necessary for the Depart­ment to search and secure ancient manuscripts on Vedic and other Sanskritic subjects. Accordingly, the then Head of the Depart­ment and his colleagues, Sarva-shri Ram Gopal Shastri, Ram Labhaya Goswami and Hans Raj took very keen interest in the matter and secured quite a number of manuscripts, often, from very unexpected quarters in Lahore and elsewhere. Another worker, Shri Bhajan Lal toured on behalf of the Department and brought to it some manuscripts. The late Shri R. Anantakrishna Sastri from South India, who was well known in his day as a great expert in the collection of manuscripts, helped the Department, more than any one else, in this matter. 6951 codices of 7567 separate texts had been collected by the Department while it was still at Lahore. Out of these, when in secret transit, 80 were seized and, it seems, subsequently destroyed by the West Pakistan Police. 873 manuscripts have been added to the collection after the Institute came to Hoshiarpur, making the actual holding as at present 8360 strong. 511 manuscripts of great importance, bound in 192 codices and including 129 written on birch-bark and form­ing a part of the most precious personal library which the late Dr. Paira Mall of Amritsar gave away to the Institute in 1950, form the most memorable recent acquisition.

3. Contents of the Collection — That this collection has been made on quite a representative pattern might be indicated by the list that follows of the subjects included herein: (1) Vedic Samhitas and Mantra-Sangrahas, (2) Brahmanas, (3) Aranyakas, (4) Upanisads, (5) Srauta-Sutras and Prayogas thereof, (6) Grhya-Sutras and Prayogas thereof, (7) Siksas, Pratisakhyas and Parisistas, (8) Anukramanis, (9) Nighantu and Nirukta, (10) Kosas, (11) Vyakarana, Paniniya and non-Paniniya, (12) Chandas, (13) Sulba-Sutras and Prayogas thereof, (14-15) Jyotisa, Ganita and Phalita, (16)* Dharma-Sutras, (17) Smrtis, (18) Nibandhas and Prayogas thereof, (19) Ramayana, (20) Mahabharata, (21) Puranas and Upa-puranas, (22) Bhagavad and other Gitas, (23) Stotras, (24) Mahatmyas, (25) Upakhyanas, (26) Nyaya and Vaisesika, (27) Sankhya and Yoga, (28) Mimamsa, (29) Vedanta, (30) Gadya-Kavyas, (31) Campu-Kavyas, (32)Natakas,    (33) Padya-Kavyas, (34) Niti-Sastra and Subhasitas, (35) Alankara-Sastra, (36) Sangita-Sastra,        (37) Kama-Sastra, (38) Ayurveda, (39) Artha-Sastra, (40) Silpa-Sastra, (41) Vaisnava Sampradaya, (42) Saiva-Sampradaya, (43) Tantra-Santra, (44) Jaina-Sampradaya and (45) Modern Languages (Hindi, Panjabi, Bangali, Marathi, Andhra and Tamil).

1579 works in this collection cover the aforesaid Vedic subjects, namely, Nos 1-9 and 13. Next comes the Dharma-Sastra group with a total strength of 1057, inclusive of Dharma­-Sutras, Smrtis and Nibandhas with Prayogas. Then follow in the order of their strength the other subjects, to wit, both sections of Jyotisa, Stotras, Modern Languages and Tantra with 699, 582, 443 and 402 works, respectively. Vyakarna, Ramayana, Purana, Nyaya-Vaisesika and Vedanta claim over 300 works each. Within the first mentioned, namely, the Vedic group, 405, 274, 251 and 214 works account for Srauta-Sutras, Mantra-Samhitas, Grhya.-Sutras, and Upanisads, respectively.

As a North-Indian collection, it may be said to be quite rich in its South Indian content. For it possesses as many as 1694 manuscripts on all subjects, written on palm-leaf and in different scripts of that area.

Out of the 8360 manuscripts in this collection, as at present, 6462 are written in Devanagari script and the remaining 1898 in other scripts as per inventory that follows: - South Indian - ­Grantha 919, Andhra 404, Malayalam 290, Nandi Nagari 46, Tamil 15, Kannad 2 and Vartula (Circular) 1; - North Indian – Sarada 197, Utkala 17 and Banga 7.

That this collection should open up new vistas of future activity in the line of critical editing from original manuscripts is vouched for by the presence in it, as per details in the sequel, of quite a respectable number of works that have yet to see the light of the day.

4. The Present Work - Preparation of the triplicate card-catalogue, subject-wise, title-wise and author-wise, being the basis of the present work, was started at Lahore. This work was still being carried on when its further progress was stopped by the aforesaid unpropitious circumstances which we had to face on our dislocation from Lahore, in 1947. It was however restarted, in 1951, and completed in due course. Each card in that catalogue contains the following entries:

(1) Primary Subjects, (2) Secondary Subjects, (3) Title, (4) Author, (5) Number of Leaves, (6) Size of Leaves, (7) Number of Lines in a page, (8) Total Number of Granthas of 32 syllables each, (9) Material (viz. Palm-leaf, Bhoja-bark, Agra-bark or paper) used, (10) Script used, (11) Age, (12) Complete or not, (13) Correct or not,         (14) Published or not, (15) in the case of Vedic texts, Accented or not, and (16) General condition.

This card catalogue has been and is serving its purpose all right in so far as the need of the scholars consulting it on the spot was concerned. But it was felt all along that this much was not enough and that, therefore, the catalogue should be published so that scholars working in this line anywhere could get from it detailed information about our collection towards deriving maximum benefit therefrom. Accordingly, a decision was taken to publish a Descriptive Catalogue, which besides giving the aforesaid sixteen items of necessary information regarding each manuscript, might also include Initial and Final cum Colophonal Extracts therefrom. These Extracts from more than one thousand manuscripts were actually ready on the eve of our dislocation from Lahore. It was estimated that a further sum of Rs. 1,50,000/-would be required for the completion and publication of the 5,000-page catalogue as planned at that time. When however, the D.A.-V. College, the Panjab University and the Government were approached that they might finance this project, all of them expressed their inability to offer any financial assistance towards the cost of this project. It was under the stress of this unremedi­ably difficult situation that it was eventually decided to give up the said extensive pattern of this work and publish it in its present form in which all essential information has been consoli­dated in the subject-wise Classified Descriptive Tables constituting the First Part and a subject-wise classified selection of Beginnings and Endings, furnished in the Second Part.*

In the First Part, which consists of the aforesaid Classified Descriptive Tables and has been called, accordingly, Visayanuvi.

*Previously, G. Buhler in the Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Private Libraries in Guirat (1871), G. Oppert in the Lists of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Private Libraries of Southern India (1880), L. Rice in the Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Mysore and Coorg (1884), R.G. Bhandarkar in the Catalogue of Poona Deccan College Manuscripts (1888) M.A. Stein in the Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Raghunatha Temple at Jammu (1894), T. Ganapati Sastri in the Catalogue of Sanskrit Manu­scripts at Trivandrum (1912), Shri Gondekar in the Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts at Baroda (1925), Ramchandra Kak in the Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts in the palace at Jammu (1927), A.C. Woolner in the Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Panjab University Library at Lahore (1932), R. N. Siromani in the Alphabetical List of Manuscripts in the Oriental Institute at Baroda,(1942) and M. D. Shastri in the Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Government Sanskrit College (Saraswati Bbavan) Library at Banaras (1950) had already adopted this tabular pattern. But their Tables had much fewer information-columns, and their entries were not made on the subject-wise classified basis. Moreover, except in the case of Ramchandra Kak, they did not give any Beginnings and Endings from their respective manuscripts. The present enlarged and classified pattern aims at supplying all essential information which is generally required for the purposes of critical text-editorial under­takings. Besides, it has this very important advantage to its credit that its production is very much cheaper than that of the extensive pattern which has also often been followed, mostly, at Government cost since it was first adopted in this country by Rajendra Lal Mitra in his Notices of Sanskrit Manuscripts, Calcutta (1871).

bhakta-Vivaranacitra-Kosa, every bit of essential information about each manuscript has been entered in the respective columns, fully or by means of abbreviative symbols. But as the page-size could not accommodate all the aforesaid sixteen descriptive items, the three items, namely, (1) Secondary Subject, (2) Size of Leaves, and (3) Number of Lines in a page being not of very essential nature, have been dropped. Under the item regarding the material used, paper as such has not been specified. As in all our paper manuscripts, the Devanagari script is used, indication of the latter may be said to stand for both, namely, the script as well as the material. Similarly, under the item regarding the age, only the actual record, if and as available, has been mentioned.

The provision in the Descriptive Tables in respect of each manuscript of the item whether it has already been published or not as indicated by means of the abbreviative symbols and, respectively, is a feature, more or less, peculiar to this work. In the other previously published catalogues of manuscripts, similar information is supplied here and there, only casually. On the other hand, this item has been made a uniformly integral part of the tabular scheme, adopted for the purposes of this work. Accordingly, a very laborious effort has been made towards gathering definite information in this behalf from all sorts of sources as available. However, by the time which had been scheduled for getting the Descriptive Tables set in types, the symbol could cover only 5059 manuscripts out of their total number of 8360 as described in the said Tables. From among the remaining 3301 manuscripts, as many as 384 were marked off as symbol on the basis of data as available to us at that time. Further investigation has since been continued and it seems quite safe now to say on the basis thereof that not less than 500 works in our collection should have yet to be taken up for being critically edited and published.

Compilation of the materials included in this Part was spread over a long period of nearly two decades. During all these years, new accessions have been continuously made to the collect­ion. Besides, the presence of quite a large number of works including among them as many as 616 works written on palm-leaf as well as quite a large number of works in the aforesaid Dr. Paira Mal Section could be detected, only very recently, after the main body of the Descriptive Tables had already been seen through the press. These additional materials have now been duly included in it as Parisistas (Supplements) I-III. Moreover, on instituting a thoroughgoing check-up of the Descriptive Tables, it was found that certain items as already entered and printed off required modification while others which were missing stood in need of being incorporated under the relevant columns of the Tables. Both these requirements have been sought to be fulfilled in the Appendixal Section, named Sodhasca Purtayaska (Revisions and Supplementations). Utility of the remaining two features of this Part, namely, (1) Grantha-Namanukrama (Index of Titles of Works) and (2) Grantha-Kartrnamanukrama (Index of Authors of Works) as added at the end is too obvious to need any comment. The presence of twelve (12) particular manuscripts has been only imperfectly indicated in the tables, because they could not be either properly deciphered or made to yield proper information. These have been denoted at the relevant places of their indication by a series of question-marks ???

The Second Part of this work incorporates 1181 selective Initial and Final cum Colophonal Extracts and has accordingly been called Visista-Granthadyantoddhara-Kosa. As indicated above, our previous plan to give these Extracts from all the manuscripts in our collection had to be dropped under the compulsion of an unyielding financial handicap. The materials now being included have been extracted, primarily, from such aforesaid works in our collection as have not yet seen the light of the day, in any case, not to our knowledge. In the case of those published works, too, which have been drawn upon for this purpose, it will be seen that the selection has been determined, mainly, by their intrinsic value and, also, their not being any more readily available. In certain cases, we possess still unpublished commentaries on texts which have already been published. In all such cases, we have made the Extracts from the unpublished commentaries only.

Some of these commentaries are quite important for the correct interpretation of the relevant basic texts and, therefore, deserve being taken up for critical editing and publication. As the collec­tion is specially strong in its Vedic section, the latter, naturally, predominates in this Part, too. But as will be evident from the subject-wise analysis, that follows, of the selection, almost all the sections find some representation therein: (1) Vedic Samhitas and Sangrahas 37, (2) Brahmanas 24, (3) Aranyaka 1, (4) Upanisads 17, (5) Srauta-Sutras and Prayogas 181, (6) Grhya-Sutras and Prayogas 62, (7) Siksas, Pratisakhyas and Parisistas 56, (8) Anukramanis 4, (9) Nirukta 1, (10) Kosas 11, (11) Vyakarana 27, (12) Chandas 9, (13) Sulba 15, (14) Ganita-Jyotisa 25, (15) Phalita-Jyotisa 68, (16) Dharma-­Sutras nil, (17) Smrtis 11, (18) Dharma-Sastras (Nibandhas and Prayogas) 122, (19) Ramayana 4, (20) Mahabharata 3, (21) Puranas and Upapuranas 6, (22-24) Gitas, Stotras and
Mahatmyas 58, (25) Upakhyanas nil, (26) Nyaya-Vaisesika 60, (27) Sankhya-Yoga 2, (28) Mimamsa 21, (29) Vedanta 57, (30) Gadya-Kavyas 6, (31) Campus 3, (32) Natakas 23, (33) Padya-Kavyas 45,       (34) Nitis and Subhasitas 18, (35) Alankara 19, (36) Sangita 3, (37) Kama-Sastra 1, (38) Ayurveda 38, (39) Artha-Sastra 1, (40) Silpa-Sastra 5, (41) Vaisnava-Sampradaya 21,          (42) Saiva-Sampradaya 9, (43) Tantra 50, (44) Jaina-Sampradaya 11 and (45) Modern Indian Languages 46.

In making the Extracts, our eye has remained fixed on including therein the following requirements of future scholastic investigations in this line:

Supply of proper text-beginnings and text-endings including colophones (Puspikas) as and where available.
Indication of subject-matter.
Such information regarding authors as might be avail­able in the beginning, at the end and, occasionally, in the internal portion of the relevant works.
Presentation of text in a properly edited form on the following lines:

Apparently broken portions have been supplied inside round brackets.
Corrupt portions have been given intact but neces­sary emendations with the question mark (?) prefixed to the latter have been supplied along with them, inside el-brackets.
Corrupt portions of which nothing could be made have been brought into bold relief by the question-mark (?) that comes, next to them, in round brackets.

5. Acknowledgement - The D.A.V. College Managing Committee have maintained intact their association with the Institute and have been making a cotribution to the cost incur­red by it in carrying on the work of their aforesaid Research Department and Lalchand Library incorporating a major portion of our manuscript holding. The University of the Panjab have sanctioned a provision for three scholars including two from South India for proper decipherment and Devanagari transcrip­tion of our palm-leaf manuscripts written in South Indian scripts. The Union Government and the Government of Panjab have helped the Institute by sanctioning grants towards completion and publica­tion of the present work. We are most grateful to all the said authorities for their valuable patronage which, indeed, more than anything else, has enabled the Institute to accomplish this task. The Institute is now in a position properly to attend to the real task ahead, namely, that of taking up, priority-wise, for critical editing and publication, such texts as have not yet seen the light of the day or, though previously published, have gone out of print and are, therefore, not available any more. It is to be hoped that our aforesaid as well as all other patrons will be pleased to take sustained interest in this direction and to supply the necessary wherewithal towards the maintenance and development of our Department of Manuscript Collection and Publication which has been specially set up for this purpose.

From among the academic staff of the Institute, Shri Bhim Dev and Shri Pitambar Datt have been most responsibly associated with this work throughout the long period during which it has been in progress. Shri M. S. Padmanabha has carried the main burden in this behalf during the two years at the end, specially, towards proper registration of the South Indian palm-leaf manuscripts. Sarva-shri R. Anantakrishna Shastri, Bal Krishna, Shri Kanth Kaul, Shiv Prasad, Ram Kumar, Pitambar Narain, Jagdish Jha, Krishna Lal, Ram Sharma, S. Bhaskaran and Trilok Nath have also collaborated in the preparation of this work and in seeing it through the press. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure duly to record here with appreciation that all these colleagues have attended to the needs of this work with praiseworthy devotion and diligence. Likewise, the great care with which the colleagues in our Printing Department have done their part in the production of this work is very much appreciated.


V. V. R. INSTITUTE                                                             VISHVA BANDHU



Mahasiva-Ratri, 1959.