a question on manuscript traditions

rajam rajam at EARTHLINK.NET
Sun Apr 18 16:13:30 UTC 2010

Thanks for the detailed information! It is very helpful So, it does  
look like there was a practice to write a sacred term in manuscripts,  
and it existed prior to the 16-th century when Fr. Henriques prepared  
his grammar of Tamil in Portuguese. Apparently, young men were  
trained in Goa to write in local scripts. The manuscript I'm studying  
seems to contain at least two different handwritings (although one  

Interestingly, in some families in the South, "hari.h om" is the very  
first set of words a child is guided to write on rice grains at the  
time of starting formal education. But then this practice is not  
universal and is followed at home at a private religious ceremony.


On Apr 17, 2010, at 9:30 PM, Dominic Goodall wrote:

>>> Was it a practice in ancient India
>>> to put some sort of a "divine symbol" on every page of a manuscript?
> I find one 12th-century example of this sort of practice. So if the  
> C12th qualifies as "ancient", then the answer is "Yes, but the  
> practice appears not to have been very common."
> Here are some notes from what I have to hand.
> Quite a few nineteenth- and twentieth-century Nepalese MSS on  
> paper, both religious and non-religious, also have raama or raama.h  
> written on the bottom right-hand margin of each verso, e.g.
> NGMPP B 304/8, NGMPP A 136/10 and NGMPP A366/4, all 3 Devanaagarii  
> MS of the Kaavyaala"nkaarasuutrav.rtti; NGMPP A 182/2; a  
> Devanaagarii MS of a "Saiva prati.s.thaatantra called the  
> Mohacuu.dottara; NGMPP A 375/7, a Devanaagarii MS of the  
> Vyaakhyaasudhaa (a commentary on the Kumaarasambhava).
> A few Maithilii- and Newari-script MSS have "srii (sometimes with  
> other ornaments) in the side margins of each verso: e.g. NGMPP A  
> 375/3, a Newari-script MS of the Vyaakhyaasudhaa; NGMPP A 21/25, a  
> palm-leaf Maithili-script MS of the Kaavyaala"nkaarasuutrav.rtti;  
> NGMPP M 172/4, a paper Maithili-script MS of a commentary on the  
> Raghuva.m"sa, which has also has "sriikaalikaayai nama.h at the top  
> left of each verso.
> I don't think I have seen this sort of practice being followed in  
> Grantha-script MSS from the South and I find no instance at the  
> moment.  (There, I am used to seeing only the odd folio having  
> hari.h om written in a left-hand margin, on the side on which a new  
> text happens to start.)
> It seems to be relatively uncommon in "Saaradaa MS too, but the  
> codex unicus of the Tattvatrayanir.naviv.rti of Raamaka.n.tha has  
> "srii in the bottom left of each verso (Lucknow, Akhila Bharatiya  
> Sanskrit Parishad, Accession No. 2390), and quite a number of  
> folios of a MS of the same author's Mata"ngav.rtti have o.m (or o.m  
> nama.h) written in the centre at the top of the recto (BORI, Pune,  
> 232, 235, 236 of 1883--84).
> Even in times and places where this sort of practice was common, I  
> have the impression that there are rather more MSS that do not have  
> auspicious words or symbols in at least one margin of every folio  
> than MSS that do.
> The oldest dated MS that I know of which follows such a practice is  
> a proto-Newari-script MS transmitting the Praaya"scittasamuccaya (a  
> "Saiva compendium of chapters from tantric works on expiation by a  
> certain H.rdaya"siva).   That MS (Cambridge Add 2833) has "srii in  
> the left hand margin on the reverse of every folio, just above the  
> foliation.  It is dated Samvat 278 (= 1157/8 AD).
> I am not aware of other MSS of comparably early date which have  
> auspicious words or symbols on every folio.
> Dominic Goodall
> On 18 Apr 2010, at 05:45, Ashok Aklujkar wrote:
>> I have come across Devanaagarii mss in which "raama" was written  
>> on every
>> folio. I do not have the time at present to locate their copies  
>> again. My
>> recollection is that they were about 300 years old.
>> ashok aklujkar
>> On 10-04-15 10:44 PM, "rajam" <rajam at EARTHLINK.NET> wrote:
>>> Was it a practice in ancient India
>>> to put some sort of a "divine symbol" on every page of a manuscript?

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