Whitney Cox wmcox at UCHICAGO.EDU
Fri May 23 05:27:19 EDT 2008

As Peter Scharf’s question was about non-Brahmanical MSS
containing the sign ‘cha’, there are two indirect pieces of
evidence of which I’m aware that might prove helpful.  I’ve
come across the use of ‘cha’ in  M. L. Nagar’s superb editions
of Bilhaṇa’s Vikramāṅkadevacarita (Princess of Wales Sarasvati
Bhavan Series no. 82, 1945) and Someśvara’s Vikramāṅkābhyudaya
(Gaekwad’s O.S. no. 150, 1966).  Both of these are based on
Rajasthani Jaina MSS.  For the former, the base text used by
Nagar (and the sole ms. used by Bühler in his editio princeps
of 1875) is a nāgarī palm-leaf ms. from Jaisalmer dated (V.S.)
1343 or 1287 CE.  It is given the siglum ‘ja.’ and described
on p. 1 of Nagar’s prastāvanā (cf. Bühler’s introduction, p.
45; I would be happy to supply these should the editions not
be available).  In his apparatus to the closing colophon of
the text’s 18th sarga (p. 208), Nagar has the following note:
‘ktir vikramāṃkābhidhānaṃ samāptam | cha | evaṃ
jātagraṃthāgraṃ 2545 iti ja.’ A quick look at the other sarga
colophons hasn’t turned up any other occurences of ‘cha’.  I
don’t have any images of the manuscript or even any
cataloguing information on it to hand; in fact I should be
very grateful if anyone who might have suggestions about how
to acquire MSS from Jaisalmer could contact with off-list, as
I’m very eager to get digital photos of this early and
important source.

The edition of Someśvara is based in a single ms., for which
Nagar includes the following information (Intro., pp.
vii-viii): “It existed [sic] only in a palm-leaf Ms. belonging
to the famous manuscript collection deposited in the Saṅghavī
Pāḍā Jain Bhaṇḍār at Pāṭaṇ in Gujarāt.  It belongs to the
Laghupośālika branch of the Tapāgaccha.  The work was first
noticed by C.D. Dalal and is described on pages 85-86 of the
Pāṭaṇ MS. Catalogue where it appeors [sic] as No. 120 (A
Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Jain Bhaṇḍāras at
Pattan, compiled form the notes of the Late. Mr. C. D. Dalal
with introduction, indices, and appendices by Lalchandra
Bhagwandas Gandhi, in two volumes, Vol 1: Palm-leaf Mss. 
Baroda: Oriental Institute, 1937.)

In the Vikramāṅkābhyudaya, which is written mostly in gadya,
the ‘cha’ (picked out by double daṇḍas on either side) is met
with quite frequently.  So there is a ‘cha’ closing off the
initial description of the Karṇāṭa country (pp. 1-7), another
one marking the end of the following verses (p. 9), another on
p. 15 (following prose), p. 16 (verse), another on p. 22
(following the mixed padya-gadya description of Vikramāditya
and his queen Vācalladevī, pp. 20-22), and still others on pp.
27, 43, 46, and 50 (the text breaks off on p. 55).  Though the
use does not appear entirely consistent, it seems that the
‘cha’ is here used to break off longish subsections of the
text, either lengthy prose sentences or closing verses.

The western provenance of these sources leads me to wonder
whether the ‘cha’ might have, at least initially, been
meaningful.  I am far from being an authority of such things,
but it's my understanding that the verb ‘to be’ in Western
languages like Rajasthani and Marwari is chai, chaiṃ, etc. 
Could this sign have originated in the west and then gradually
became just a purely graphic convention?

Whitney Cox

---- Original message ----

>Dear Colleagues,
>	I would like to request your help in answering a question
>how to name or categorize a certain character in the Unicode  
>Standard.  Many Indic manuscripts use a decorative character
>looks like a devanagari cha without the horizontal bar to
fill space  
>between dandas or double dandas at the end of manuscripts or
>chapters of a manuscript.  (flower shapes are often used
>Have any of you seen the "cha" pu.spikA in manuscripts or  
>publications of Buddhist, Jain, or other clearly non-Vedic
(in the  
>broadest sense of the term) textual traditions?  If so, could
>provide a reference and or a digital image?
>	Thanks.
>	Peter
>Peter M. Scharf                           (401) 863-2720 office
>Department of Classics             (401) 863-2123 dept.
>Brown University
>PO Box 1856                               (401) 863-7484 fax
>Providence, RI 02912                Scharf at


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