Central Asian Fragments of The Ashtadasasahasrika Prajnaparamita and of an Undentified Text (With Transliterations)

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Item Code: NAF532
Author: Sten Konow
Publisher: Archaeological Survey of India
Language: English
Edition: 1999
Pages: 40
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.0 inch x 8.5 inch
Weight 360 gm
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Book Description

The nine folios published below were received in the office of the Director General of Archaeology of the 8th May 1907, in which it is stated that had been purchased from Badr-din, who said that he had found them at Kadaicha.

The leaves belong to four different manuscripts. I, In the first place there are six folios, bearing the numbers 97, 98, 102, 104, 109 and 110, respectively, in the Brahmi characters of the Khotan realm, and dating from ca. the 7th century A.D. The folios measure 22”x 7”, and each side contains eleven lines, with about 65 aksharas to the line. The state of preservation is generally fair, but several passages are much defects. The language is fairly correct Sanskrit. The rules of sandhi are frequently neglected or misapplied, so that we find, e.g., charamanaivain for charamana evem; evem uktayusmam Saradvatiputtramamanam etc, R is occasionally used as a hiatus consonant, e.g., mana-r- eva; sunya atmana; of also asmai-r Mara Armani 104a3, where we are reminded of the insertion of r before consonantal in heavy syllables in Saka. A simila remark applies to the occasional interchange of e and ai, e.g., in ye chetarhi 97a8; subhashitesha 97b2; tai for te 98a2, and to u for t in aparimitta 109al. With regard to orthography we may note the consistent writings Ur and kkr, and that reoccurs as rub; e.g., tattra, chakra, saryba. The annusvara is occasionally omitted, e.g., in samata 97b1, tva 97b3, evarupani 104a6, etc. On the other hand it is often inserted before a nasal, e.g., in the frequent sammyak. As in Saka a final annusvara is equivalent to n, ef. Dyshmam, samskaram, etc., and because it often represents a final m, we inversely find forms as papimam 104b9. Also the visage is frequently omitted, and, on the other hand, often used as a sign of interlunation, in which case I shall transliterate:, e.g., in aha., 97b86, etc.; ef, a’ so astidrihtih nasti-drishtib skandhadrishtih… pratityasamutpadadrishtih prahanaya 110a5, where there is some uncertainty about the proper transliteration, because the nomination is often used instead of the based in similar enumerations. Elsewhere a single dot, usually above the line, is, very irregularly, used as a sign of punctuation. The genders are occasionally confounded; thus vajropamam chittotpado 109a7, yavants: sativa nairayika va tiryagtonika va yamalokikani va 109a3, where it would be possible to think of the influence of Saka, but also, at least in the latter case, of Ardhamagadhi. There are not a few Prakritisms, such as etebhih 97a6, sahasrebhir 109a6, aranaviharinam 97b3, and sruddadhanti 98b6 etc. The feminine from in aya is used as an instrumental in several cases, e.g., sunyatayd 102al, etc. If we compare, e.g., Kim tvain karishyasy anuttarayam sammyaksam boddhayam abhisabuddhayah 104abll, we are tempted to think of a Prakrit where there was only one form for the cases of feminine a-bases outside the nominative and accusative. Of interest5 is perhaps also the apparent use of the from in am as an aryashtangam margam 104b10, because such forms are known from Ardhamagadhi. There are, further, several misweral miswriting, e.g., bhyo for bhoh 104a3, anuttarayam 104a8, utpadara for udara109a10, antarayoh for antayoh 98b2, pratibhatibhati for pratibhati 110a2, etc. The consistent writing avedanika for the usual dvenika, on the other hand, is no miswriting. There is a colophon for the usual dvenika, on the other hand, is no miswriting. There is a colophon in 110al: aupamyaparivartto namnaikadasmah smaptah.

2.A second manuscript is represented by one folio, numbered 152, in a slightly older form of Brahmi; 23 ½”x 8 ½, each side with 11 lines of 55-57 aksharas. Left hand upper corner is torn away. The language is much correct than in the first group, and there are numerous slips, genders, numbers and cases being often confounded. Most of the peculiarities mentioned above are found here; Kosika and Kausika; chakra a6; sarvba-bll, but putro b7, salivana vain for saliovanam va b6; bhagavah, bhagavam and bhagavamn, all vocatives; bhavati: a4, etc., there being no certain instance of the use of the vaisarga as such; rekshanugupti (and tim) savividhatavya b5,. 10; yava a4, etc; sunyataya as instrumental a3, etc. There are further several instances of confusion between long and short vowel, between the singuar and the plural, etc. Of interest is the frequent writing tt for t, e.g. bhavatti a6, b2 etta all, grihapatti a6, etc., and –ddh for –d- in bhaddhata for bhadanta, if we bear in mind that is written tt in Khotanese Saka, and that –d- is there a voiced aspirant. At the end of 152 there is the sign of termination of a chapter, but no trace of a colophon.

3. Of a third manuscript there is one folio, numbered 209, in Central Asian Brahmi of the 8th or 9th century, 28th x 9 ¾”, each side with 12 lines of ca. 42 aksharas; slightly damaged, written in almost correct, and also using the common avenika and not avedanika. There are comparatively few mistakes or Prakritisms, such as papechhebhih b8, vacha b11. Of interest is the form yonisan for yoniso a4, in view of the frequent interchange between am and au in late Khotanese Saka.

4. A fourth manuscript is represented by two folios in ornamental Central Asia Brahmi of about the 7th century, measuring 22 2/4 x 8”,ench side containing ten lines with about 50 akshras to the line. The folios are numbered, but the figures are so much effaced that they cannot be read with certainty. The upper symbol are so much effaced that be read with certainty. The upper symbol seems to contain 100 with a 7 below, and though the lower figure is else were placed to the right of the 100, I think we must it as 700. The lower figures are also almost illegible, and it is only as a tentative that I read 748 and 764, respectively. The language is an extremely corrupt Sanskrit, and the writer does not seem to have been well acquainted with the language. He writes, e.g., aprameyd danam datayah and danam datavyam, etc. It is of no interest to draw attentive to all his, but we may notice forms such as dasyamau for dasyamo, saryyasana for similar features in Khotanese Saka.

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