Question on Patanjali (Kashmir and P's MB)

aklujkar at aklujkar at
Tue Mar 18 22:29:22 UTC 1997

        After Chandan Raghava Narayan made a mention of my paper presented
at the Bangalore WSC, I have received requests for its copies from S.
Palaniappan and others. To save time as well as to inform all persons
interested in knowing more about Pata;~jali, I thought I should write to
the whole list.

        My paper will need some more months to be presentable in writing. I
still have a number of precise references to put in.  When the other
writing commitments I have made are met, I will finalize the text of the
paper and inform interested persons individually about its availability.
In the meanwhile, I will submit a summary and ask for help in one specific

        Etymology of the name Pata;njali is not the focus of my paper. I
incidentally refer to the different versions of the folk story that seeks
to explain why he was called Pata;njali (some of these versions have
already been referred to by Madhav Deshpande (in his reference to
Pata;njali-carita), Chandan Raghava Narayan and S. Palaniappan), but I do
not offer an etymological solution of my own. However,I do point out that
the name is more likely to have been current in the northwestern part of
Sout Asia.

        The main goal of my paper was to find out why in the history of
Kashmir we find an unusual degree of interest in ensuring that the
tradition of studying the Mahaa-bhaa.sya continued. In pursuing this goal,
I first make a case for Kashmir as Pata;njaliæs homeland for accepting
Gonardiiya / Gonandiiya as his epithet (the latter despite a conclusion to
the contrary by Kielhorn and some others). I then point out how the
Mahaa-bhaa.sya had acquired the status of a land-and-state-protecting text
-- a text ensuring well-being -- for the Kashmiris, through Pata;njali's
being regarded as a Naaga incarnation and the special importance attached
by pre-modern Kashmiris to preserving Naagas.

        (I very much hope the present Chief Minister of Kashmir is reading
this post and will immediately act on the suggestion it contains. If he
brings Indological studies in his state to such a high level that a robust
tradition of studying a text like the Mahaa-bhaa.sya will come into being,
I am sure, the problems of Kashmir will virtually be over. After doing some
preliminary preparation,Chief Minister should immediately send invitations
to scholars like S.D. Joshi, J. A.F. Roodbergen,George Cardona, Madhav
Deshpande and Pierre Filliozat -- in fact , all scholars who have recently
made significant contributions to Mahaabhaa.sya studies -- to come and
settle in Kashmir until expertise in Mahaa-bhaa.sya studies becomes a
hallmark of Kashmirian scholarship. I do not care if the future Kashmiri
Mahaa-bhaa.sya expert will be known as Candraacaarya or Abdullaacaarya or
as Raamaananda or Rahimaananda, but there has to be a
guru-;si‡ya-para.mparaa of Kashmiri Mahaa-bhaa.sya experts.)

        It is in this last respect that list members could help me. I have
collected information about some cases in which preservation of
animals/creatures and texts is closely connected with state welfare
(Barbary macaque monkeys in the case of Gibraltar; Tipi.taka or
Praj;naa-paaramitaa texts in the case of some Buddhist kingdoms). I would
be grateful if list members would inform me about more such cases,
preferably with precise references to their sources.

Ashok Aklujkar, Professor, Department of Asian Studies, University of
British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z2.

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