Query: Did classical Indian philosophers revise their works?

Harunaga Isaacson Isaacson at UNI-HAMBURG.DE
Wed Dec 19 13:13:27 UTC 2001

A much bigger problem than determining whether something is an addition
(to mention only one form which revision can take) is determining
whether the addition is by the original author. In most cases that I
have seen the odds seemed to be very heavily against that.

Though Birgit's original question was about revisions of their own work
by 'classical Indian philosophers', perhaps it might be worth looking at
Michael Coulson's remarks in the introduction to his 'A Critical Edition
of the Maalatiimaadhava' (Delhi: OUP 1989). Coulson is of the opinion
that Bhavabhuuti revised his own play, and, as he points out, he is not
the first person to suggest that Bhavabhuuti did such a thing. I recall
finding his discussion interesting, though by no means fully persuasive.

As for autographs (single ones) of Sanskrit texts, I think there are
certainly a number that exist, though usually indeed of relatively late
authors. To mention only one, a manuscript that I have seen myself---the
Bodleian Library has what appears to be an autograph manuscript by
Ratnaka.n.tha (the famous Kashmirian scholar and scribe, active in the
second half of the 17th century) of a commentary that he composed, or at
least started to compose, on Ratnaakara's Haravijaya. The manuscript
contains, if I remember rightly, commentary on sarga 1 only,
unfortunately. I suppose it is quite likely that Ratnaka.n.tha never
finished the huge task that he had embarked on.

Harunaga Isaacson

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