The National Mission for Manuscripts was established in February 2003 by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, with the purpose of locating, documenting, preserving and disseminating the knowledge content of India's handwritten manuscripts, said to be the largest collection of handwritten knowledge documents in the world. While looking ahead to reconnect with the knowledge of the past, the Mission is in the process of trying to re-contextualize the knowledge contained in manuscripts for the present and the future generations.
The Mission launched a lecture series titled "Tattvabodha" in January 2005. Since then, a monthly lecture series is organized in Delhi and other academic centres all over the country. Tattvabodha has established itself as a forum for intellectual discourse, debate and discussion. Eminent scholars representing different aspects of India's knowledge systems have addressed and interacted with highly receptive audiences over the course of the past few years.
The present volume, fourth in this series, comprises twelve lectures delivered under Tattvabodha lectures series. A glance at the list of contributors will reveal that the Mission has had the privilege of hosting the finest exponents of Indian culture and the compilation of their lectures makes for invaluable literature.
These well-researched papers talk about ancient texts like the lost texts of the Visistadvaita philosophy, the Kalpagama-samgraha written by Aryadasa which is a commentary on Vedic text, and the manuscripts on the Natyasastra and its text. The lucidly presented studies include an interesting textual criticism and critical reading of the text Abhijnanasakuntala by Kalidasa. They examine concepts such as that of Vak with special reference to Bhartrhari that involves a detailed scrutiny of the concept as understood in the Vedas and till Bhartrhari's time, and the Advaita concept as available in Vedic hymns. They deal with the problems involved in editing texts on astrology and manuscripts on music. They include a survey of the manuscripts available in the Himalayan region. A study on original Persian sources to throw light on the India of the past comes in as an attempt to highlight significance of using original sources to understand Indian history. The volume, covering wide-ranging subjects penned by experts in various fields, will surely interest scholars and students of Indology.
The National Mission for Manuscripts has, through the Tattvabodha lecture series, tried to provide an interface among experts and scholars as well as academically inclined general public. Over the years this programme has undergone some changes. Initially the lectures used to be held in Delhi only. Though it was easy to organize the lectures at the headquarters, the rest of the country was left out. It was felt that the pan-Indian character of the National Mission for Manuscripts would be truly represented in holding these lectures all over the country. Another important factor that influenced this decision was that through such interactive programmes the Mission would be able to get a wider section of scholars, researchers and students involved in working on manuscripts. It is a matter of satisfaction that this exercise has been able to generate interest and enthusiasm among scholars. Since 2010 the Mission has been organizing these lectures in collaboration with academic institutions as well as its own Manuscript Resource Centres and Manuscript Conservation Centres in almost all the states. It is planned to continue the Tattvabodha series in its present form for the benefit of students, scholars and interested people.
The present volume contains twelve papers presented by scholars under Tattvabodha programme. Six of the papers are in Hindi and six are in English. The paper by Prof. Ashok Kumar Kalia is a deeply researched and lucidly presented exposition on the lost texts of Visistadvaita philosophy. He has established that the word Purvacarya has been used in a specific context which means the Acaryas of the Vedanta School who came before Sankaracarya. Thus according to Prof. Kalia's proposition Purvacarya and Arvacina Acarya are specific terms used to refer to pre-Sankara and post-Sanskara scholars respectively. In this paper, Prof. Kalia deals with a lost text of Purvacarya. Prof. Braj Bihari Chaubey is an acknowledged expert on Vedic texts. In his paper he has given scholarly presentation on the Kalpagamasathgraha written by Aryadasa which is a commentary on Vedic text. Dr. Mohan Gupta is a former bureaucrat who served in various capacities in the State of Madhya Pradesh as an Indian Administrative Services officer. He brought to the services the rare combination of administrative efficiency with an academic flair. Not many people know that Dr. Gupta is a very well-read scholar of Sanskrit, besides his interest in literature he has the unique distinction of being deeply involved in scientific research in the field of Vedic astrology.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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