It was in the year 1937, when Mr. P. K. GODE and I were engaged on founding two monthly journals in the Oriental field (the Oriental Literary Digest and the New Indian Antiquary) that we repeatedly requested Dr. V. S. SUKTHANKAR to enlarge his Prolegomena to the critical edition of the Adiparvan of the Mahabharata into a fullfledged Introduction to Indian Textual Criticism. We were deeply conscious of the paucity of critical editions of Indian classical texts, and the large number of texts which were being published every-where in India showed very little acquaintance with the mod-ern critical methods of editing them. It was natural for us to approach one who, by his life-long labours as well as by his critical training under one of the most distinguished scholars of Europe, had established for himself and Indian textual criticism a unique reputation in the world of scholarship, and won recognition for the scientific principles of Indian textual criticism which he had patiently worked out in the cause of the Great Epic. Little did I dream at the time that that task would ultimately fall to my share, and I here place on record my regret that the book which should have been written by DR. SUKTHANKAR with his unrivalled knowledge of Indian texts is now being substituted by the present work,—I hope temporarily. I still wish that Dr. SUKTHANKAR would find some leisure from his arduous task of editing the Great Epic and bring out a standard Handbook of Textual Criticism for Indian classical texts, giving us the advantage of his unique experience and unrivalled knowledge. In the meantime the present Introduction is meant as a 'stop-gap.'
With the increasing interest shown by Indian scholars in editing their ancient classics from manuscripts preserved in India or abroad, be they in Sanskrit, Prakrit or modern Indian languages, the need of a short manual giving the main principles of textual criticism and showing the proper methods of critical editing is greatly felt. With very few exceptions the critical editing of texts in India is lagging behind, and the editors have neither the training nor the proper guidance to qualify them for their task.
Some of the European books on textual criticism give a few hints, but they take into account only European conditions where the literary tradition has been better preserved. The critical edition of our Great Epic, the Mahabharata, by the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute has shown that the science of textual criticism as developed by Europeans does not solve all our Indian problems and that certain adaptations are necessary for our conditions. The aim of the present Introduction is to show with reference to Indian conditions the principal features of the science of textual criticism, in so far as it can be a science, and thus enable future editors to master the modern methods of critical editing. It is hoped that when our Universities raise the level of Indian classical studies to that of classical studies in Europe, the subject of textual criticism will form part and parcel of the equipment of every scholar in this subject passing through the portals of the Universities. In this manner the vast store-house of unpublished manuscripts still reposing in the archives and libraries of India may find the light of day in a critical garb and integrate the efforts, both of individuals and of institutions in bringing the masterpieces of ancient and medieval India to all scholars in the modern world.
It is a matter of coincidence that while writing this short Introduction I am holding the chair of Indo-European Philo-logy in the Deccan College Research Institute. It is too well-known to need specific mention here that the Deccan College became the repository of the manuscripts collected by the Government of Bombay, chiefly through the agency of the Professors of Sanskrit in this college, and with the establishing of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute the entire Government Collection was transferred to that Institute. The work of collection spread over half a century, and part of these Mss. have been critically or otherwise edited; but the large number of Mss. which are still unedited demand the concerted labours of generations of scholars. I hope and pray that this short Introduction may induce some of our promising young scholars to edit critically a few of the important texts which otherwise will remain unnoticed for the simple reason that they are not available in reliable editions. If this Introduction serves that little purpose my object in writing it will be served, and a beginning made to appreciate the great labours of such eminent scholars like the late Sir Rama-krishna Gopal BHANDARKAR and Professors Buhker and KIELHORN, to mention a few only. In this sense I consider the present work as a small offering to their memory.
There is no claim to originality in this work; the labours of my predecessors have amply provided me with all the material I needed, and I have indicated the major works which I have constantly referred to in the section on bibliography. But to SUKTHANKAR'S Prolegomena, POSTGATE'S two brilliant articles on textual criticism contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Companion to Latin Studies and JEBB's article on the same subject in the Companion to Greek Studies and finally to HALL'S Companion to Classical Studies I am particularly indebted. The extent of my indebtedness cannot be measured in terms of references to these works in the footnotes; and I have read and consulted them so often that much of their thoughts and expressions and even sentences have crept in unconsciously in my own writing. It is meet, therefore, that I should render my special thanks to these authors at this juncture.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
for saving your wish list, viewing past orders, receiving discounts, and lots more...
Email a Friend