Sanskrit Manuscripts : Pañcarakṣā

Arimalla

Sanskrit Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'> The <i>Pañcarakṣā</i> corpus ("Five Protections") consists of the <i>Mahāpratisarā</i>, <i>Mahāmāyūrī</i>, <i>Mahāsāhasrapramardanī</i>, <i>Mahāmantrānusāriṇī</i>, and <i>Mahāśītavatī</i>. The earliest evidence for texts grouped together as the "Five Great Dhāraṇīs" comes from Tibetan catalogues around 800 CE, but this compendium is somewhat different from the surviving Sanskrit collection, which is preserved in manuscripts dating back to the eleventh century. These scriptures include spells, enumerations of benefits and ritual instructions for use. With the course of time all of them became deified and five related goddesses emerged. It is, however, important to note that the texts themselves do not have any references to these goddesses. This ancient palm-leaf manuscript is dated to 1205 CE, and was thus written during the reign of king Arimalla (1200-1216). The last folio, a later supply in paper, seems to accurately repeat the content of the last folio of the palm leaf manuscript, which is now extremely damaged (and was probably already damaged at the time of the production of the supply). Therefore, with the help of the transcription in the last folio, it is possible to reconstruct the original date, even if it is badly damaged in the original colophon (as Bendall puts it, "[t]he date is especially remarkable, as it seems a clear instance of a copied date"; 1883: 153). Moreover, on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(190);return false;'>the verso of the last palm-leaf folio</a>, "are the remains of a postscript in a finer and later hand, in Newari, with half-obliterated, but still certain, date, N.S. 579 (A.D. 1459)." (Bendall 1883: 153). Both covers are original and finely decorated with representations of the Buddhas and the goddesses of protection. </p>

 


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