Help with identifying pandita manaviharala

Ulrich T. Kragh utkragh at HUM.KU.DK
Thu Aug 20 07:17:25 UTC 2009

Cross-posted on the Indology-List and H-Buddhism.


Dear List-members,

I would like help with deciphering an Indian name and possibly obtain any information on the person behind this name.


I am currently studying the history of the Tibetan translation of lakSmIMkarA's Sahajasiddhipaddhati (Derge 2261, Peking 3108; no Sanskrit text extant). The Tibetan translator 'Bro LotsA ba Shes rab Grags (11th century) made this translation in collaboration with an Indian scholar (Tib. rgya gar gyi mkhan po), and it is this Indian scholar that I am trying to identify.


I have in my research established that the translation was made either in Tibet in the 1060s, possibly with someone associated with the Kashmirian scholar somanAtha, or in India or more likely Nepal in the 1070s. I believe Nepal 1070s to be the most likely due to various evidence I have obtained from studying all the colophons of 'bro lotsA ba's translations.


The first problem I have is to identify the proper form of the name of the Indian/Nepalese scholar, who probably was a Buddhist monk. The syntax of the sentence clearly only allows for this name to be interpreted as a personal name. Here is the Tibetan colophon of the text in which the name occurs:


rgya gar gyi mkhan po chen po ma na bi ha ra la dang/ bod kyi lotstsha ba dge slong pradzny'a k'irtis legs par mnyan nas bsgyur pa lags so//


I am not interested in the name prajJAkIrti, which I have already identified as the Tibetan translator 'bro lotsA ba, and I have done a thorough study of this person. The name I wish to understand is the Tibetan word "ma na bi ha ra la."


Now, the various Tibetan editions of the text provide the following variants of this name:

Please note that the Tibetan letter -b can transliterate either Sanskrit -v or -b.


manAbihalala (Buton's Tanjur catalogue written in 1334)

manaviharala (Peking Tanjur, 18th century)

manAviharala (Zhuchen Tsultrim Rinchen's Derge Tanjur catalogue, 18th century)

manAbhihalala (the four later Tanjurs, viz. Derge, etc., 18th century)


I do not see a sensible Sanskrit name, title or nickname for a Buddhist monk in any of these form as they stand, without emending them. I do see various possible words in the name, such as manA, mano (i.e., manas in compound), vihAra, or possibly even avihvala. 

Could you please give me your opinion of what the proper form of the personal name or possibly a toponym-personal-name might be?


Secondly, I am hoping that you might help me identify the person behind the name manAviharala (or whatever other form you think it is). I have searched the various Tibetan canon catalogues for all possible variants, and no similar name appears with any other Tibetan translation. I have searched the Tibetan historical text Blue Annals and all possible sources that I know on 'bro lotsA ba. I have analyzed all other translations made by 'bro lotsA ba. Also, I have searched a number of Western books on this period of Tibet, Kashmir, and Nepal, including Peter A. Roberts "The Biographies of Rechungpa", Ronald Davidson's "Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in the Renaissance Rebirth of Tibetan Culture," and several others. 


This name is the last remaining piece in the puzzle that I need for presenting my conference paper in two weeks at the upcoming World Sanskrit Conference in Kyoto, so I would be most obliged if you could help me as soon as possible.


With many thanks in advance,


Dr. Ulrich Timme Kragh
Assistant Professor
Geumgang Center for Buddhist Studies
Geumgang University, Dae-myeong Ri, Sang-wol Myeon
Nonsan-si, Chungnam 320-931, Republic of Korea
Tel. +82-41-731 3618

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