Naada once again

Mahes Raj Pant mahesrajpant at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 7 14:34:01 UTC 2002

I feel happy to have comments from Professsor Salomon about the number
expressed by the word naada. Before I posted my mail on Indology I glanced
through all available literature, namely Alberuni's India, Ojha, Bühler,
Kane and Sircar and others. Besides, I consulted  sumatitantra that helps us
in such problems when above-mentioned books fail.

As Sumatitantra is not so known outside Nepal,let me say something about the
text. It was presumably composed in Nepal in early mediaeval times. So far
its two copies- both copied in Nepal in the 14th century- are discovered.
One of them is in the National Archives in Kathmandu and the other in the
British Library in London. Though it is composed in highly ungrammatical
Sanskrit, it represents some of the earlier features of Indic astronomy.

A diplomatic edition of Sumatitantra based on the Kathmandu manuscript was
published in 1978 ( Naya Raj Pant, Devi Prasad Bhandari and Dinesh Raj Pant,
eds., Sumatitantram, Kathmandu:Tribhuvan University). Besides, various
studies of sumatitantra made by the editors themselves over the years have
been appeared in the Kathmandu journals such as Purnima and Maryada.

How Sumatitantra helps us in understanding some of the obscure chronogram
words, let me cite kuupa and pushkara, which, according to Sumatitantra,
indicate 9 and 3 respectively. I managed thus to clarify some of the
numbers, which Petech and others could not interpret
(Purnima, no.67(1986, pp.45-46; Adarsha, no.1(1993), pp.49-50). But in the
case of naada it too does not help.

The inscription gives the complete date as such:

    naade skandamukhe hy naNgavis'ikhe nepaalasam.vatsare
    maasaadau sitasaptamii varuNabhe yoges'nau giishpatau /

Petech took naada as 7 and maasaadi as Kaarttika since the the year in the
Nepal Sam.vat starts with the month of Kaarttika and tried to interpret the
inscription's yoges'nau as S'iva yoga. However, he could not verify the date
and concluded that 'the date would be quite irregular'( Mediaeval History of
Nepal, 2nd ed., pp.170-171). Over the years this aroused a lot of
controversy and some scholars took naada representing PraNava /om.kaara and
since the syllable om. always appears in the beginning, they took naada as
expresssive of 1. However, the date remained unverified. Dinesh Raj Pant
accepting that naada as 1 and maasa as Maargashiirsha (it has got another
name AAgrahaayaNa) and the yoga Ashani, i.e. Vajra managed to verify all the
chronometrical elements in the inscription. However, it is quite clear that
we still lack some textual evidence for the chronogram word naada.

Mahes Raj Pant

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