The experiences and knowledge from our past are recorded in manuscripts which have been handed down to us over several thousand years. The Government of India, through the Department of culture, took note of the importance of the vast tangible heritage and, in order to preserve and conserve as well as to make access to this wealth easy, established the National Mission for Manuscripts. In order to disseminate the knowledge content of manuscripts, the Mission has taken up several programmes such as lectures, seminars and workshops. The Mission has published the proceedings of the above-said programmes under the following series: Samrakshika (on conservation), Tattvabodha (comprises lectures based on some manuscripts delivered by eminent scholars), Samiksika (research–oriented papers as presented in the seminars), and Kritibodha (transcribed and edited text prepared at advance level manuscriptology workshops conducted by the NMM.
The National Mission for Manuscripts has taken up a project for publishing rare and unpublished manuscripts in three formats- (a) Facsimile (b) Critical edition (illustrated and single copy manuscript) and (c) Critical edition with annotation and translation. This new series has been named as Prakashika. Nitiprakasika critically edited by Dr. Urmi Shah comes under this Prakashika series.
Nitiprakasika is a treatise delineating Nitisastra, i.e. Rajaniti and Dhanurvidya scripted by Sage Vaisampayana who learnt it from his guru Veda Vyasa and became the master of its Taittiriya branch, and revealed it to the King Janamejaya.
This critical edition makes a detailed study of Nitisastra and compares it with the Vedic literature, Dharmasastras, Kautilya's Arthasastra, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Dhanurveda Samhitas, Kamandaka Nitisastra, Sukra-Nitisara and a few medieval comparative texts on polity along with some regional works on Rajaniti. It also discusses in detail the weapons and training on them, military organization, battle arrays, types of war, ethics of war, psychology and philosophy of Dhanurvidya and the critical text of Nitisastra with Sitarama's commentary Tattvavivrti in Sanskrit with English translation.
This high-value academic work should entice all who are desirous of knowing about the ancient philosophy on war, warfare and polity, and serve them as a referral book on Rajaniti and Dhanurvidya.
Dr. Urmi Samir Shah took her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Sanskrit from Elphinstone College, topping in the University of Bombay, followed by B.Lib.Sc. She pursued her doctoral studies from St. Xavier's College, Ahmedabad and got involved in academic activities as Associate Professor in Sanskrit at the same college since 1990. Dr. Shah has presented more than fifty research papers mostly on the topics of Puranas and Dharamsastras in national and international conferences and seminars.
TECHNICAL literature happens to be the most significant repository of knowledge of India. But very few people have any idea regarding this. Science and technology is never a monopoly of Europe only. India and China both the countries have made many inventions and use of technology of different categories which need not be depicted. Besides, the basic scientific texts of Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, Nagarjuna, Caraka, Susruta, Salihotra and Kanada for mathematics, astrophysics, alchemist, medicine, surgery, particle physics and horse treatment, etc., there are Vimanasastra, Vastusastra, town planning and other important knowledge for the welfare of all beings in general and human beings in particular.
Similarly war craft is an important text that needs the attention of scholars. Among many weapons, missile is one. Again among missiles bow and arrow are the most important ones. The use of bow and arrow is evolved from the days of Ramayana where Rama could marry Sita by just using the bow and could show his excellence before a wrathful Parasurama. In Mahabharata sophisticated archery is warranted when Arjuna could pierce the eyeball of the revolving fish looking at its reflection under the post. The main weapon of Ramayana and Mahabharata wars was arrow. Arjuna could shoot it in left hand. The ordinary weapons could become extraordinary by the skilful hands of archers with their achievements of boons from different divine agents.
The present work is a critical edition of Nitiprakasika of Vaisampayana with the commentary of Sitarama called Vivrtti. This text is prepared by Urmi S. Shah by consulting a number of manuscripts from different parts of the country. Even though it was published long before, it was not critically edited. The readers will be delighted to read this book who know about other technical texts like Samarangana Sutradhara, Manasollasa and Harihaya-caturanga.
The Mission feels a great pleasure to dedicate this work to the intellectual domain of this country.
alabdham-ihet-dharmena labdham yatnena palayet I
palitam vardhayet-nityam vrdhham patresu niksipet II
One should achieve the unobtained righteously, protect it with efforts, always strive to increase it and then place it in the proper hands.
FOLLOWING the above-mentioned ancient but contemporary principles relevant in life, I am putting my post-doctoral work titled "A Critical Edition of the Nitiprakasika of Vaisampayana" before the academic world. The endeavour was conceived in a vague form after the completion of a Minor Research Project on the "Philosophy of Dhanurveda and Its Application to the Modem Shooting Sports" in the year 1997. I came across the two edited texts of Nitiprakasika in the Adyar Library (Chennai) while collecting data for my Minor Research Project in January 1997. The treatise appeared to be of my interest and use for a future project. However, as late as in the 13th World Sanskrit Conference at Edinburgh, July 2006, an informal beginning of its study was presented through my research paper titled" A Comparative Study of the Nitiprakasika and Ramayana (Balakanda and Ayodhyakanda)" in the Epic section now under publication by Motilal Banarsidass, edited by John Brockington. However, it took a concrete shape of post-doctoral study by the financial support of the University Grants Commission (DGC), New Delhi, through the grant under Major Research Project under the Tenth Plan. The present work also includes some data from some of my research papers on related topics and the Minor Research Project in 1997 (also funded by UGC), which has already been mentioned.
The preparation of a critical edition is a serious and laborious task. Hence an acknowledgement to the academic support need to be made here. Besides the scholarly advices of some experienced academicians like M.L. Wadekar and S.Y. Wakankar, the In-charge Director and Deputy Director (now retired) of the Oriental Institute, Vadodara, respectively, P.G. Lalye (retd. Head, Sanskrit Dept., Osmania University, Hyderabad), Madhusudan Penna (Associate Professor, Kalidasa Sanskrit University, Nagpur), Sinirudhha Dash (University of Madras, Chennai), S. Jagannatha (Oriental Research Institute, Mysore), S.N. Bhavasar, Sunita Vaze (USA) and several others had been of valued help. I would also like to thank Bharati Shelat (ex-Director, B.J. Institute of Learning and Research, Ahmedabad, and an editor of the critical edition of Srimad Bhagavata Puranas, who was always by my side to examine and re-read the manuscripts in Telugu script as well as go through the critical edition and my guru Gautam Patel for always giving me invisible backing throughout the study. My gratitude to the late Vachaspati Upadhyaya-ji (Vice-Chancellor, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth) cannot be described in words.
The unconditional love I received from home coupled with a highly encouraging environment provided by the Principal Rev. Fr. Vincent Braganza, and the ex-Principal Rev. Fr. Francis Parmar at the St. Xavier's College (Ahmedabad) where I work and carried out the research cannot be described. I thank Rev. Fr. Braganza for his kind Foreword.
The last word of gratitude goes to Sunil Koshti, Minaxi Patelia and some students who have untiringly helped me to put the study in the final computerized format. Of course, I cannot thank Ms. Krishna Joshi, my research associate for the project, enough to prepare this work.
I am also grateful to those whose specific mention has not been made but who have supported me directly or indirectly.
This work of pure academic value to be appreciated by academicians is invaluable for me due to the efforts put in it and by the memories of people and incidents close to my heart. I would be grateful for the valued suggestions of the scholars.
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