[INDOLOGY] Mānasollāsa 5.826cd-830ab

jacob at fabularasa.dk jacob at fabularasa.dk
Mon Nov 9 14:50:24 UTC 2020

Dear list, 

I am trying to make sense of a description of a gameboard occuring in
the Krīḍāviṃśati section of the _Mānasollāsa_ (5.826cd-830ab) dated to
c. 1131 CE. I am using Gondekar's critical edition from 1961 based on
three manuscripts (one of which was merely a copy of one of the other
two). No further manuscripts of the Krīḍāviṃśati section are available,
and as Gondekar writes in his introduction to the edition: "[a]s all the
three mss. are corrupt the constitution of the text became very
difficult" (ibid. ix). 

My own difficulties at present are mostly concerned with 5.828cd-829 on
the ornamentation of the gameboard, but I quote the description in full
below for context. While the variant readings offer little help,
Gondekar's generally convincing emendations appear in square brackets.
The translation is entirely my own. 

As a final note, it should be mentioned that the game in question
(called Phañjikā) is reminiscent of the cruciform game of
_paccīsī_/_caupaṛ_ which, however, is only attested from around 1500 CE.


_aṣṭādaśāṅgulaṃ kāryaṃ caturasraṃ tu maṇḍalam // 826_ 

A square diagram (measuring) eighteen _aṅgula_s (on each side) should be

_tādṛśāni caturdikṣu bhastrakāṇi [bhadra°] prakalpayet /_ 

One should arrange such (18x18 _aṅgula_) projections in the four
directions (from the diagram). [NB! This results in a cruciform shape
consisting of 5 squares of equal size]. 

_aṅgulī-traya-madhye tu rekhā kāryā samantataḥ // 827_ 

A line should be drawn from all sides between (each unit of) three
_aṅgula_s. [NB! This results in each of the 5 squares being divided into
6x6 squares]. 

_tatas tv [try-]aṅgula-vistāra [°āḥ] kāṇāḥ [ko°] sarve bhavanti ca /_ 

Thereupon, all the squares [catuṣkoṇāḥ] have a width of three _aṅgula_s
(on every side). 

_ardha-candra-samākāraṃ gehaṃ phañji-viśāradaḥ // 828_ 

_prāsādaṃ paṅkajaṃ vāpi khaṇḍa-vāhaṃ sapakṣiṇam /_ 

_catur-bhadrāṇi saṃlekhyad dvidvy-evaṃ ca manoharam // 829_ 

One skilled in _phañji_(_kā_) should draw [saṃlikhed? Breaks the metre!]
the _geha_ [i.e., the central square?] in the form of a half-moon [i.e.,
with semi-circles indicating the starting positions of the pawns?],
(and) the four _bhadra_s [i.e., the four projecting squares?] as a
palace, a lotus, or a tree [branch-carrier?] with a bird; and thus the
four (become) captivating. [NB! _dvidvy-evaṃ_ might also be emended to
_vidhy evaṃ_, rendering the last line as "and thus you should know (the
diagram) as captivating."]

_evaṃ maṇḍala-vinyāsaḥ kathitaḥ phañcikā-[°jikā-]vidaiḥ /_ 

Thus the arrangement of the diagram is explained by those who know (the
game of) _phañjikā_. 


I was thinking that someone experienced in reading texts concerning the
drawing of _maṇḍala_s or similar might be able to offer some insights.
But, certainly, any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

Best regards, 


Jacob Schmidt-Madsen 

Postdoctoral Researcher in Indology 

Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies 

University of Copenhagen 


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