Tantra and Dharma Teachers from Kashmir in Nepal
- The nature of the manuscript
- Description of the MS.
- Additions to the MS and the additional leaves
- Traveling Kashmiri Brahmins
- Cultural transfer and the study of MSS
While I was working in the Kesar Library of Nepal in 1976 during my tenure as the local director of the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project (NGMPP), I came across an old palm leaf MS of the niyatakhaNDa of lakSmidhara's kRtyakalpataru (MS no. 417, Kesar Library, Kathmandu, Dept. of Archaeology, His Majesty's Government of Nepal). The MS is written in early Nagari script. The colophon on fol. 333 runs:1
As the colophon tells, Laksmidhara was the minister of the Kanauj king Govindracandra (later half of the 12th cent.) and wrote the stupendous collection2 on Hindu customs and law on his order; it is one of the earliest compendia preserved and as such, it closely reflects the state of the late pre-Muslim Hindu society of North India.
Though the MS has no date, it is, on paleographical grounds, one of the earliest if not the earliest MSS of this important dharma nibandha text, and it should certainly be studied as such. However, the MS is of great interest for other reasons as well. This has to be explored in some, often technical detail before I can come to more wide-ranging observations (sections 5-7).
The bulk of the MS is written in early Devanagari (fol.s 1-333). However, the MS also contains entries in scripts other than Nagari. The additional leaves following the Niyata Khanda contain text written in the Sharada (zAradA) script of medieval Kashmir, and in early Newari script (i.e. post-Siddhamatrika and pre-Kutila or bhujimo/bhujimol, as it is called in Nepal).3 In one particularly telling case, entries in various early Newari scripts, both of the eastern Nagari style and of Bhujimol style, have been made on a leaf written in Sharada. In another case, one side is written in early Devanagari, the other in a variety of various early Newari scripts.
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