It is indeed a matter of good fortune that a critical edition of sabdaratna is now being made available for the first time by Pandit Venkatesh Laxman Joshi who has been associated with the project of Editing a Dictionary of Sanskrit on Historical Principles of the Deccan 'college as Senior Sastri and with the Centre of Advanced Study in linguistics, there as a Senior Fellow. During the time that he was on deputation with the London University as Visiting Lecturer in Sanskrit at the School of Oriental and African Studies between 1957 and 1960 Shri Joshi was busy collecting the material for this edition from manuscripts available at the India Office Library and other places. But it was only on return to the Deccan College that Pandit JOSHI had the necessary opportunity to bring out this 'critical edition of an important text of nee-linguistic approach within the history of Sanskrit Linguistics. we are thankful to the Ministry of Education, Government of India for providing the stimulus which enabled Pandit JOSHI to begin this work in all seriousness and the Deccan' College "to undertake its publication. The publication of this important text representing the navya- vyakarana tradition built up by Bhattoji Drksita and his school follows closely on the publication of the third and first Kandas of Bhartrhari's magnum opus Vakyapadiya and is a precursor of the new activity in resuscitating ancient and medieval Indian masterpieces in Linguistics which has recently resulted in the creation of another Centre of Advanced Study for Sanskrit in the University of Poona. It is not without significance that just when this work in being published Pandit joshi is joining the University of.Chicago Department for South-Asian studies as Visiting Assistant: 'Professor in Sanskrit for teaching the indian system of Vyakarana and related subjects.
Pandit JOSHI has not only contributed to our knowledge of such An important recent contribution to linguistic studies in India which marked the beginning of the Diksita school in Banaras, but has provided in his introduction new material which will have a bearing on textual criticism and supply the necessary inspiration to scholars trained in the traditional system to acquire the fundamental tools of a text-critic and enable them to contribute significantly to publishing critical editions of 'all unpublished Sanskrit texts.
The present- work bristles with many problems connected with the text where competent scholars have expressed different opinions. But it may be mentioned that this is the first systematic attempt to edit the text critically on the basis of manuscripts, by classifying the manuscripts and establishing the links between them for enabling the critical constitution of the text itself, and on the basis of such a text to discuss problems of the mutual relationship between Sabdaratna and Laghu- sabdaratna and their authorship. Guesses have been made without relying on sound evidence. Pandit Joshi has been able, with the critical study of Vaidyanatha Payagunde's Bhavaprakasa, to throw much welcome light on these problems and establish for the first time some semblance of order in these conflicting views.
Sanskrit Grammar has become, since the days of Bhartrhari, the refuge of traditional.scholasticism and the subject of much controversy, without in any way making new contribution to the development of original thought. This criticism has too often been levelled without much deep study of the original texts. Imbedded within such scholastic discussions are to be found many original gems which have great value when considered in the light of modern developments. Indeed, there are passages in commentaries and sub-commentaries of the Paninian tradition which correspond literally with modern theoretical approaches to descriptive linguistics, such as the Padamanjari on Kasika. It is essential that critical editions of these texts should be made available to modern scholars not merely to appreciate the contributions that the Sanskrit tradition has made towards General Linguistics, but also to understand the spirit which informed and framed the approaches to linguistic studies which resulted in the composition of such texts.
I am confident that this edition of sabdaratna will provide a sure basis for further studies of this and other related texts, and that the views expressed by Pandit Joshi will meet with general approval. The critical edition of a work of this magnitude is no small undertaking, particularly when a great deal of mutually contradictory material has been assigned to works bearing similar titles and attributed to a single author. The unravelling of such involved problems will be made easier by the availability of a critically constituted text, presented in the best tradition of modern scholarship established in India for Indian conditions by the unrelenting efforts of the late Professor V. S. SUKTHAN- KAR and represented today in the completion of the critical edition of the Great Epic which is being announced by His Excellency the Honourable President of India at the Bhandarkar Oriental Institute next week. This first volume of 8abdaratna represents the application of modern critical scholarship by the editor who received training in traditional scholarship and acquired through his association with the Deccan College and the University of London skill and competence in modern western critical methodology, and, I am happy to note, that it is a substantial contribution, worthy of emulation by other scholars similarly placed. I am sure that Pandit Joshi continued efforts in this direction during his stay as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago will result in converting at least some scholars in the West to a critical study of India's medieval contribution of Sanskrit Linguistics.
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