Sanskrit Manuscripts : Prākṛtasaṃjīvanī


Sanskrit Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'> A Nepalese manuscript of the <i>Prākṛtasañjivanī</i> of Vasantarāja, which is a commentary on the <i>Prākṛtaprakāśa</i> traditionally ascribed to Vararuci, a semi-mythical figure often identified with Kātyāyana, the author of the <i>Vārttika</i> on Pāṇīni’s <i>Aṣṭādhyāyī</i>. The <i>Prākṛtaprakāśa</i> (also known as <i>Vārarucisūtra</i>) is one of the most popular grammars of the Mahārāṣṭrī Prakrit, which was widely used in poetry and drama from early medieval times. Only four other manuscripts of the <i>Prākṛtasañjivanī</i> are recorded in the <i>New Catalogus Catalogorum</i>, all of them in Devanāgarī and on paper, and therefore likely more recent than the Cambridge manuscript. One of these belongs to the India Office collections (now in the British Library) and according to the entry in J. Eggeling’s 1889 catalogue it can be dated to the latter part of the 18th century. E.B. Cowell used it for the editio princeps of the <i>Prākṛtaprakāśa</i>, but in the introduction he laments that the copy “is imperfect at the commencement, and is, unfortunately, very carelessly transcribed, and full of errors”. On the contrary, the Cambridge manuscript, even though the text is incomplete (it ends on f. 48v with the final lines of the commentary on the first <i>sūtra</i> of chapter 4, <i>sandhāv acām aḍlopaviśeṣā bahulam</i>, which is found on f. 45r, l. 1), appears to be a generally correct and reliable witness. Being datable to the 15th c. at the latest on palaeographic grounds, it is the oldest known extant copy of Vasantarāja’s work. </p>

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