Monday, May 30, 2022

Further notes on the Rasendramaṅgala and Rasaratnākara

This is an addendum to my article "An Alchemical Ghost" in Ambix (1984: 70--83). DOI: 10.1179/amb.1984.31.2.70.

The chapters of the Rasendrakhaṇḍa 

In 1984, I was not able to list the names of all the chapters of part 2 of the work, the Rasendrakhaṇḍa.  Chapters 17-19 were missing from all the sources available to me.  The name of chapter 20 was derived from a catalogue entry for a manuscript in Germany

  1. On p. 82, discussing the Rasendrakhaṇḍa, I referred to the edition of Y. T. Ācārya (1913) as being unavailable to me. 
    Ācārya, Yādavaśarma Trivikrama, ed. śrīnityanāthasiddhaviracito Rasaratnākarāntargataś Caturtho Rasāyanakhaṇḍaḥ .. Saṃśodhitaḥ Prakāśitaś Ca = Rasayanakhanda, Fourth Part of Rasaratnâkara by Shri Nityanâthasiddha Edited by Jadavjî Tricumjî Âchârya Āyurvedīya Granthamālā (Bombay: The editor, at the Nirnayasagar Press, 1913).

    A scan of that edition is now available at

    For the record, a reprint of this book, falsely calling itself a first edition (prathamaṃ saṃskaraṇam), was published by Caukhambā in Banāras in 1939.  A scan of that second edition is available at

    Ācārya's edition was based on two manuscripts owned by his friends:
    1. Bombay, property of Vaidya Dāmodara Viṭṭhala Damaṇakara,
    2. Barodara, property of Amṛta Vināyaka Jāmbekar.

    This book does not give a list of the chapters of the Rasendrakhaṇḍa.

  2. Jīvānanda Vidyāsāgara Bhaṭṭācārya's Calcutta edition of 1878.  I can find no online scan of this volume.  It is described as edition "a in HIML IIB, page 702, footnote 169.  This edition ascribes the Rasaratnākara to Nityānanda Siddhānta (sic). The final colophon of MS Jammu Raghunatha 4904 also makes this attribution.

  3. My other source for the Rasendrakhaṇḍa chapter names was taken from Janert and Poti, VOHD 2.2 (1970), no. 953.  I am currently (2022) following up this reference. 

MS Kathmandu NAK 4-1537

This MS, microfilmed by the NGMPP as A219/4 is available to me for study.  It contains the Rasendrakhaṇḍa.  The chapter titles up to 16 match almost exactly those published in Wujastyk 1984: 72. In addition there are the following chapter names: 

17. vātapittaśleṣmādīnā cikitsā

18. sthaulyādikārśyāṇivāraṇam

19. śirorogacikitsā

20. [but called 25] karṇarāgādivakṣuroganivāraṇam

21. nāsyarogādichardinivāraṇam

22. vātarogādikāngranthinivāraṇam

23. hṛdrogādidīpanānta

24. ajīrṇādichādarogāṃtacikitsā

25. apasmārādisarvabhūtanivāraṇam

26.  vṛścikāviṣādisaṃyogajānam

27. agnidagdhādibālagrahanivāraṇam

28. cikitsā

Thus, according to this manuscript, the Rasendrakhaṇḍa has not 20 but 28 chapters.  Chapter 26 is on poisoning by scorpions etc.

MS Kathmandu NAK 5-3089, dated to 1648 CE

This MS, microfilmed by the NGMPP as A216/15 is available to me for study.  Dated saṃvat 1705.  It contains the Rasendrakhaṇḍa.  The chapter titles up to 16 match almost exactly those published in Wujastyk 1984: 72. The additional chapter titles 17-28 match MS Kathmandu NAK 4-1537 exactly. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Linux Mint Cinnamon problem and fix

 I recently installed and used a Python program, internetarchive.  Somewhere along the line of installing it with pip, the Python setup on my machine got changed, not in a good way.  Lots of Python programs are apparently very sensitive to Python version numbers.  

The symptom was that sound stopped working on my system (except in Zoom, which evidently handles its own sound subsystem).  Then, sound menu wouldn't come up.  Then the Cinnamon system settings control centre, cinnamon-settings, wouldn't come up. It generated an error saying that it couldn't find "requests."   At another time, it couldn't find "urllib3".  

Cut a long story short, running

sudo apt reinstall requests urllib3

fixed the problem.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Simple example of using XeLaTeX for Devanagari with Velthuis transliteration as input

In earlier posts I addressed this issue, but I think my examples were much too complicated.  Here's a minimum working example.



\newfontfamily\sanskritfont[Mapping=velthuis-sanskrit] {Sanskrit 2003}


dharmak.setre kuruk.setre samavetaa yuyutsava.h| \\
maamakaa.h paa.n.davaa"scaiva kimakurvata sa.mjaya||


And here's the PDF output:


This was done with the TeXlive distribution of 2020 and XeLaTeX, running on Linux Mint. I have Sanskrit 2003 font installed in my system (and XeLaTeX can see it: see installation instructions 3.4.4).  Nothing special was required.  Everything is nowadays provided in the TeXlive distribution. The magic happens because of Polyglossia and Fontspec.  The manuals for these two packages explains the \setmainlanguage and \newfontfamily commands.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

The demise of gksudo from Ubuntu-based distributions and what to do about it

I gather that there were good security-related reasons for discontinuing gksudo. But it's quite inconvenient not having it, for example when you are adding new items to the Linux Mint main menu (using menulibre, for example).

Here's what I do:
  • install ssh-askpass

  • add this line
    to the file
  • Then, in menu or batch commands that you want to pop-up a graphical p/w prompt, say
    sudo -A <command>

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Automounting google-drive-ocamlfuse: getting Google Drive to appear as a Linux folder

This is well documented elsewhere, but just for clarity, here are my settings, that work. I.e., the Google drive appears automatically mounted after a fresh boot.

1. Install google-drive-ocamlfuse

2. Line in /etc/fstab (all one line):
gdfuse#default  /home/dom/GoogleDriveUofA    fuse    uid=1000,gid=1000,allow_other,user,_netdev     0       0

3. Contents of executable /usr/bin/gdfuse
su dom -l -c "google-drive-ocamlfuse -label $1 $*"
exit 0

Friday, May 03, 2019

Cyavana and the motif of the tormented meditator

Years ago I wrote an article called "The Spikes in the Ears of the Ascetic."  I examined a story that occurs in early Buddhist and Jain texts, and is illustrated on the cave walls in Ajanta and in early Pala and Jaina manuscripts.
The story tells of an ascetic who is absorbed in meditation while walking.  Village lads (pāṃśupiśācas "dust-goblins" in some versions) pelt the ascetic with mud or worse.  Eventually they drive spikes into his ears.  Nothing disturbs the meditation.  But later, on waking, the sage curses the naughty boys.
It is only this year that I have discovered that the earliest version of the story occurs in the Śatapathabrāhmaṇa (thanks to my student Faried Nasir, who wrote an essay on Cyavana). 

The tale of Cyavana, SB 4.1.5 contains the antecedent of the "spikes in the ears" theme.  In the SB, Śaryāta the Mānava, while wandering, has a clan of juniors who pelt Cyavana with clods believing him to be something valueless (verses 2, 5):

4.1.5.[2] śaryāto ha vā idam mānavo grāmeṇa cacāra | sa tadeva prativeśo niviviśe tasya kumārāḥ krīḍanta imaṃ jīrṇiṃ kṛtyārūpam anarthyam manyamānā loṣṭair vipipiṣuḥ

4.1.5.[3] sa śāryātebhyaścukrodha | tebhyo 'saṃjñāṃ cakāra pitaiva putreṇa yuyudhe bhrātā bhrātrā

4.1.5.[4] śaryāto ha vā īkṣāṃ cakre | yatkimakaraṃ tasmād idam āpadīti sa gopālāṃś cāvipālāṃś ca saṃhvayitavā uvāca

4.1.5.[5] sa hovāca | ko vo 'dyeva kiṃcid adrākṣīd iti te hocuḥ puruṣa evāyaṃ jīrṇiḥ kṛtyārūpaḥ śete tam anarthyam manyamānāḥ kumārā loṣṭair vyapikṣanniti sa vidāṃ cakāra sa vai cyavana iti


Eggeling, Julius. 1882–1900. The Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa According to the Text of the Mādhyandina School. The Sacred Books of the East. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.

Leslie, Julia. 2003. Authority and Meaning in Indian Religions. Hinduism and the Case of Valmiki. Aldershot: Ashgate. doi:10.4324/9781315198439. Pages 130 et passim.

Wujastyk, Dominik. 1984. "The Spikes in the Ears of the Ascetic: An Illustrated Tale in Buddhism and Jainism." Oriental Art 2: 189–94.