[INDOLOGY] The alphabet found in the Lalitavistara

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Thu Oct 31 13:24:36 EDT 2019


Dear Colleagues,

     As I have been reading the Lipiśālāsandarśana-Parivarta of the
Lalitavistara [p. 89, P. L. Vaidya edition], some interesting features of
the alphabet popped up for me.  The Alphabet omits *r̥* and *l̥*, but
includes *ai, au*, and *aḥ*. Among the consonants, it adds *kṣ *at the end
after *h*.  The version of this passage as given in the
Bauddhāgamārthasaṅgraha [ed by P. L. Vaidya] also omits *l*, while it is
included in the version of Lalitavistara edited by Vaidya himself.  I
wonder if there are textual variants about this.  I don't know what this
alphabet represents.  The omission of *r̥ *and *l̥ *goes along the
phonologies of Prakrits, but the inclusion of *ai, au*, and *aḥ* goes in
the direction of Sanskrit.  The addition of *kṣ *and the possible omission
of *l *point to something else that I cannot figure out.  Any suggestions
and references are welcome.

Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor Emeritus, Sanskrit and Linguistics
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Senior Fellow, Oxford Center for Hindu Studies

[Residence: Campbell, California, USA]
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