Showing posts with label intellectual history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label intellectual history. Show all posts

Monday, October 03, 2011


Sanskrit booklets, or guṭkās, contain several works collected between one set of covers.  They were presumably copied sequentially by their owners as a vade mecum of useful knowledge.

Biswas 0891 (available digitized, no. 090393 at is a series of catalogues of MSS in Jaina libraries in Rajasthan.  Volume 2 (1954), 73 ff. has a section that describes 222 such booklets, and lists their contents in detail.  A study of these particular collocations of texts would provide a valuable insight into reading habits, the circulation of texts and knowledge, and the personal tastes and obsessions of pre-modern Indian readers.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Early Indian MS evidence for "zero"

Early Indian document with ref. to zero

The Bakhsālī manuscript was unearthed by a peasant in 1881 in the village of Bakhshālī about eighty kilometers north-east of Peshawar. The scribe wrote it in the Śāradā script on birch-bark using a pen with a flat, rectangular tip. The most recent research shows that this is the earliest Śāradā manuscript ever discovered, and suggests that it may be datable to as early as AD 700, although a date of 1200 has been proposed in the past. The mathematical work recorded in the manuscript is probably from the seventh century, and appears to have been composed in the Gandhāra
district. The manuscript describes the foundations of arithmetic, including approximations of square roots, rules of inversion and proportion, the rule of three, various forms of equations, and a series of example problems on fiscal, taxation, travel, and geometrical topics (Hayashi 1995). It also uses a dot to symbolize zero, possibly making it the earliest written occurrence of this sign in India.

T Hayashi, The Bakhshali manuscript : An ancient Indian mathematical treatise (Groningen, 1995).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dānasāgara fo Ballālasena on text criticism.

The Dānasāgara of Ballālasena (ca. 1200) includes a number of interesting and important remarks on the nature of Sanskrit scholarship, methods of teaching and learning, the creation of manuscripts and their donation to temples, etc. The displayed passage describes textual criticism (ed. B. Bhattacharya, 1953, Bibliotheca Indica 274, pp.४८०-८१).

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Appaya Dikshita and Nilakantha Dikshita

Appaya Dikshita (b. ca.1520,
d. 1592) transfers his copy of the Devimahatmya to his grand nephew Nilakantha Dikshita (1580--ca. 1644), just before he passes away. This happened at Cidambaram.

The account of Appaya's deathbed transfer of his
cultural and spiritual heritage to the twelve-year-old Nilakantha is
given in the biographies of Nilakantha, the
Srinilakanthadhvaricaritam of Appaya, the
Sriappayadiksitendravijaya, both composed by Appaya's
nineteenth-century descendant Sivananda Yogindra. The former text
is translated and reprinted by Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat,
Oeuvres Po'etiques de Nilakantha Diksita I (1967), pp.7, 349. P-S Filliozat also
gives information from the latter text and other sources,
(ibid., 4).

My thanks to Yigal Bronner for drawing my attention to this image.
We're working to find out its source. Posted by Picasa