See my Righteous Rāma: the evolution of an epic (Delhi: OUP, 1985): 185-7.  The passage begins: "The question of writing in the Rāmāuaṇa has been extensively discussed, especially with regard to its bearing on the date of the poem.  There are in fact very few references in the text but these are all to marking objects with a name, [refs in fn.] not to the use of writing for extended documents of whatever type.  The better known are the two mentions of the ring marked with his own name which Rāma gives to Hanumān as a token for Sītā (4.43.11 and 5.34.2)."

The Critical Edition published at Baroda is simply the most suitable text for scholarly purposes, being based on a rasonably wide sample of manuscripts and compiled on text-critical principles (almost entirely adhered to).

John Brockington

Professor J. L. Brockington

Emeritus Professor of Sanskrit, University of Edinburgh

Vice President, International Association of Sanskrit Studies

Interim Academic Director, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

113 Rutten Lane
Kidlington 0X5 1LT
tel: 01865 849438

On 08/04/2017 04:54, Howard Resnick via INDOLOGY wrote:
I am corresponding with a Hindu scholar who sent me the following as ‘evidence' of primordial ‘writing’ in India:

rāma-nāmāṅkitaṁ cedaṁ paśya devy aṅgulīyakam

Translation: O Sita devi! Please see this ring on which the name of Lord Rama is written.

Source: Sundara-kāṇḍa, Chapter 34, Verse 2. (Critical edition of Ramayana published at Baroda)

Of course aṇkita literally means ‘marked,’ not ‘written.’  How would Ramayana scholars understand this word here? Also, what is the status of the Baroda edition?

Many thanks!


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