Jaisalmer Bhandar opens ...

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UK.AC.UCL
Thu May 16 11:09:02 UTC 1991

Status: RO

The latest issue of the MLDB Newsletter (March 1991) contains the
following note (p.9):
    The world famous Jnana Bhandar of Jain Temple at Jaisalmer
    (Rajasthan) contains one of the oldest and rare preserves of
    Jaina manuscripts numbering about 7,000.
    To facilitate research etc. in Jainism, the temple authorities
    have decided to make available copies of these manuscripts to
    institutes doing research in Jainology.  A detailed list of ms
    is also available.  People interested in utilizing this unique
    opportunity, provided for the first time, can contact Shri
    Joharimal Parakh, Seva Mandir Ravati, Soorsagar, Jodhpur --
    342024. (INDIA)
If this really materializes, it could be very important indeed
for Sanskrit studies.
I feel that this is important enough that a careful and
internationally coordinated approach to Shri Parakh -- and the
temple authorities -- should be made.  If Jaisalemer gets dozens
of letters from individual scholars, they may clam up, or their
facilities for dealing with copying and enquiries may be
It seems to me that perhaps the best way forward would be for a
well funded and equipped library in, say, Europe, America or
Japan, to acquire copies of all the Jaisalmer MSS, and try to
negotiate permission to make further copies for interested
parties, perhaps with a per-copy royalty being paid to the
Jaisalmer authorites.  This way, the Jaisalmer authorities would
be free of the administration and labour of copying, but they
would receive recognition and remuneration.  Also, the
manuscripts would be copied only once, and further copies would
be made from the master film copies.  Finally, if the project
could be managed collaboratively between Jaisalmer and the
foreign library (or even IGNCA, perhaps) then there might be some
chance of the photography being done well, and very carefully.
To stand a chance of getting cooperation, I feel that the
institution or library that tries this should have some
demonstrable track record of work in Jainism.   One thinks of
Strasbourg, perhaps.  Or here at the Wellcome.  Or any of the
American libraries whose MSS were used by W. Norman Brown for his
Jaina publications.  Another approach might be to have one of the
major Orientalist organizations, such as the RAS or the AOS or
the DMG make the approach.
Another point might be to work on this initiative with the
collaboration of one or more of the well known Jaina scholars in
India. One thinks of the various authorities in Ahmedabad, etc.
I hope you will draw this to the attention of any colleagues not
on INDOLOGY who would be able to contribute to this matter.
I have written a preliminary letter to Shri Parakh, expressing
interest in the new accessibility Jaisalmer collections.  I shall
report back to this group, if and when I get a reply.
Dominik Wujastyk
Dr Dominik Wujastyk,     | Janet:                          D.Wujastyk at uk.ac.ucl
Wellcome Institute for   | Bitnet/Earn/Ean/Uucp/Internet:  D.Wujastyk at ucl.ac.uk
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