Dear Dr. Delire,

     One of the famous cases of cryptography is that of the Mahānubhāva sect in the region of Maharashtra.  Beginning in the 13th century, they used various secret codes to write their Marathi works.  These were decoded about a hundred years ago by scholars like V.K. Rajwade and others, and now most of these Mahānubhāva works are available in Devanagari editions.

Madhav Deshpande
(currently in Pune)

On Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 1:23 PM, Dominik Wujastyk <> wrote:
Dear Jean Michel,

Chris Minkowski wrote something about cryptography in Skt MSS, about ten years ago.

Minkowski, C. "More Notes on the Cipher in Sanskrit Manuscripts" Berliner Indologische Studien, 1998, 11/12, 159-7.


On 27 January 2015 at 20:37, Jean-Michel Delire <> wrote:
Dear Members of the list,

Following my message about the difficulty of obtaining copies of manuscripts in India, especially from the BORI, Pune, and the Asiatic society of Mumbai, I am very happy to inform you that I received today xeroxcopies of five manuscripts I ordered a month ago (and two others in 2013) at the BORI. This is due to the zele of Prof. Bahulkar, who asks researchers to contact him directly, if they have problems with the BORI copying service. Actually, the person in charge, Dr Bapat, has probably too much work to be able to send copies (scan or xerox) in a reasonable period of time, even if he is showing good will in that matter. I think Prof. Bahulkar is about to write a word about the present situation at the BORI.
Concerning the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, I have been in contact with Prof. Balaporia, who assured me she would ask the question at the next board meeting why such prices (5000 rps for one photo !) are applicable at the Asiatic Society nowadays. For the moment, I have no further news.

I take the advantage of this message to ask another question to the members : do you know if any Indian ruler, or any foreign ruler in India (Portuguese, English, etc.), used cryptography in order to conceal their messages, letters, etc., from their enemies ? Do you know any interesting source on this subject ?


Dr Jean Michel Delire, University of Brussels

INDOLOGY mailing list

INDOLOGY mailing list

Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor of Sanskrit and Linguistics
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
202 South Thayer Street, Suite 6111
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608, USA