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अथर्ववेदीया पैप्पलादसंहिता: Paippalada Samhita of The Atharvaveda

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Item Code: NZK606
Author: Dipak Bhattacharya
Publisher: The Asiatic Society
Language: Sanskrit Only
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9789381574621
Pages: 932
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch X 6.0 inch
Weight 1.20 kg
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Book Description


It gives us immense satisfaction to be able to present the long awaited critical edition of the Paippalada Samhita of the Atharvaveda by Professor Dr. Dipak Bhattacharya to the scholarly world.

As is well known, the discovery of several palm leaf manuscripts of the Paippalada Samhita in the Oriya script by the late Professor Durgamohan Bhattacharyya in 1959 has been hailed as one of the most outstanding events in Indological research. Unfortunately, the discoverer did not live to complete the critical edition of the text on the basis of his discovery which he had started. He could edit only the first four of the twenty kandas which were published by the Sanskrit College, Calcutta in the sixties. His son Dipak Bhattacharya of the Visva Bharati approached the Asiatic Society for the publication of the remaining part of the Samhita edited by himself. The Society decided to publish that as a complete and joint work by Dipak Bhattacharya and his father in two volumes with the part previously edited by the late discoverer prefixed to the first volume. Dr. Bhattacharya readily agreed to this.

The first volume of the critical edition based on the Orissa manuscripts as well as the mutilated Sarada manuscript discovered in the last century is now being presented to scholars. This consists of the first fifteen kandas that is to say about half the material of the edition.

The critical apparatus of this edition appears a bit different from that of the previous one. But in it Dr. Bhattacharya has inserted all the comments of his father which appeared important to him apart from giving a summary of the previous ‘Introductions’ in the editorial Introduction to this volume.

We may announce here that the publication of the second volume consisting of the remaining five kandas will soon start.


1. The work started by Durgamohan Bhattacharyya

The present edition of the Paippaladasamhita of the Atharvaveda is based on the palm-leaf manuscripts in the Oriya script discovered by late Professor Durgamohan Bhattacharyya in 1959 and its birch-bark manuscript in the Sarada script. The first 15 Kandas out of a total of 20 are presented in this volume.

This work had been started by the late discoverer in the sixties. A volume consisting of Kanda 1 had been published in his life-time in 1964 by the Sanskrit College, Calcutta. Another volume consisting of Kandas 2-4, was subsequently (1970) brought out by the same College after the editor’s death on November 12, 1965. He could do editorial work upto 4.27. Late Professor Suniti Kumar Chatterji who was keenly interested in the publication of the AVP kindly recommended me to complete the volume with the remaining 13 hymns of Kanda 4 and an Introduction.

The first four Kandas have been edited anew here from the original manuscripts.

A new edition of the first four Kandas could not be avoided for the following reasons.

The Asiatic Society which has taken up the task of bringing out this edition reasonably desired that the whole work be published together while I had initially edited Kandas 5-15 only. My work has a different form of presentation in the critical apparatus where the whole pada, half-verse or mantra has been cited in case of variants without numbered footnotes as in the previous edition of the first four Kat:l9as. So some changes had to be made for a uniform presentation.

There were other considerations too. The late editor had been suffering from oral ulcer before the first Kanda came out in 1964. It became known as malignant some months before his death. He corrected the proofs upto 2.32 only with ill health. As I have seen him, he was never complacent while working and went on making new suggestions even while correcting proofs. A critical edition was a continuous process of development with him till the machine proof was prepared. This process was first hampered by his ill health and then cut short by death. I am certain that the edition would have got many changes both in the text and the critical apparatus if he had not been ill.

Though I tried to benefit myself from the subsequent researches of L. Renou and K. Hoffmann, I am far from claiming perfection in the choice of reading in the edition. One might liken me to the son standing on his father’s shoulders with external help but no one who follows the late editor should be stupid enough to try to look taller. The division of the rows of aksaras in the MSS into words is the primary task of the editor of an unaccented and highly corrupt Vedic text bereft of Pada-patha or a commentary. Excepting for 18.57-82 this task had been largely done by the late discoverer in a Bengali transcript of Va (1-5), Ma (6-15) and some other manuscripts.

I have incorporated with this edition most of his important comments. The gist of his observations and descriptions in the introduction to the previous edition of Kanda 1 too will be found in this introduction. Even if only for these reasons - in fact there are much more - the present work should be regarded as a joint work. It is a tribute to the late pioneer through his own bestowal.

2. The Atharvaveda and the discovery of the Paippala-dasasmhita

In this section I have tried to include all the important information given by the former editor in his Introduction to Kanda 1.

a. The recensions of the Atharvaveda and the Kashmirian Atharvaveda

It is generally accepted that the Atharvaveda existed at one time in nine versions in nine different schools, namely Paippalada, Tauda, Mauda, Saunaka, Jajala, Jalada, Brahmavada, Devadarsa and Caranavaidya. Of these only two have come down to us - Saunaka and Paippalada. The Saunaka version was first published in Berlin in 1856 by R. Roth and W.D. Whitney. The other editions too with the commentary ascribed to Sayana (S.P. Pandit 1895-98, Vishva Bandhu 1960-64) are all related to the Saunaka version.

Rudolf Roth was unsatisfied with the defective nature of the Saunakiya version. The efforts of the British Government in India at the instance of Roth to find out better manuscripts of the AV resulted in the discovery of a mutilated birch-bark manuscript of the Paipaladasamhita in the Sarada script. It was sent to Tubingen in 1874 and was chromo photographically reproduced in 1901 under the direction of R. Garbe and Bloomfield.

The birch-bark MS was transliterated into the Roman script and edited by L. C. Barret (Kanda 6 by F. Edgerton) between 1905 and 1940. Raghu Vira published a Devanagari version (1936, 40, 42) after Barret.

In spite of Barret’s lifelong labour his efforts could not give us a reliable version. The manuscript was abnormally defective and mutilated. “The birth-bark record, containing perhaps the earliest and the best version of the Atharvaveda, though recognised to be of paramount importance for various reasons, was condemned finally as ‘useless for philological purposes’.” However, it was designated the “Kashmirian Atharvaveda”. Bloomfield expressed hopes that further manuscripts might be found some time in some out of the way corner in Kashmir (JAOS 29, p.286).

b. The Atharvaveda outside Kashmir

Facts however indicate that the Atharvaveda had not been introduced in Kashmir before the 15th Century. In the second part of the Rajatarangini (vv 1267-1273) Jonaraja gives an account of how the Atharvaveda came to Kashmir from the country of the Karnatas. According to this, under the rule of Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin (1420-70) Yuddhabhatta, a Yajurvedic shcolar of Kashmir had to go to Karnatak to learn the Atharvaveda. Returning to Kashmir he began to impart instructions in the Atharvaveda under the patronage of a pious person called Siryabhatta.

There are other evidences to prove that the Atharvaveda Paippalada was cultivated in Karnatak.

According to verses cited in Mahidasa’s commentary on the Caranavyuha, the Paippalada and the Saunaka recessions were current on the southern and the northern sides of the Narmada respectively.

A commentary on the Gopalatapani Upanisad states that the Paippalada branch to which that Upanisad belongs is current in countries like Gurjara. In fact some Nagara Brahmanas of Gujarat owe allegiance to this branch. But these present Paippaladins of Gujarat recite the Sauna- kiyasamhita only.

The Paippaladasamhita was current in Bengal too during the reign of the Palas and the Senas.

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