[INDOLOGY] Help with deciphering a Sanskrit word

Martin Gansten martingansten at gmail.com
Fri Mar 18 09:23:55 UTC 2022

An astrological manuscript on which I am working includes a 
consideration of whether or not a girl is a virgin; the relevant 
Sanskrit text runs: /eṣā kumārikā kila nirdoṣā vi**umātha pṛcchāyāṃ/, 
where the ** represent a compound character that I haven't been able to 
identify. I would be very grateful for any help with doing so. (I first 
read it as -ṣṇ-, but I can't make any sense of that.)

I am attaching an image of the word in question, which I hope will make 
it through; the whole folio is found here (4v, 5 lines from the bottom):

The Arabic original on which this work is based phrases the question as 
'virgin or widow'; the medieval Latin translation is more free: /virgo 
vel corrupta/. But I can't think of a Sanskrit word /vi**umā/ that would 
cover either sense, with two (or more) consonants in the second 
syllable. It might even be a vernacular word, of which there are one or 
two other instances in the text.

The text has been misidentified on the UPenn site (as I have informed 
them), but the verse in question does occur in another, homonymous work 
(partly based on the present one), of which there are plenty of MSS and 
editions. However, the versions I have seen do not include the 
unidentified word but rather simple readings like /nirdoṣā jātadoṣā vā/ 
or /nirdoṣā kiṃ na veti pṛcchāyā//m/. I believe the lectio difficilior 
of the present MS might be preferable, if I could only work it out!

Best wishes,
Martin Gansten
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