Colophon of Visvanatha Cakravarti's "Gaura-gana-tattva-svarupa-candrika"
In my last expeditions, besides finding several manuscripts of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, I have also found a Sanskrit manuscript signed by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti called “Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika.” The author begins by corroborating the affiliation of the Gaudiya sampradaya with the Madhva sampradaya and then proceeds to describe the identities of Lord Caitanya’s associates in Krsna-lila. This is yet another work which corroborates the Gaudiya-Madhva link and dismisses the misconception that it was Vidyabhusana’s innovation. For many decades, Gaudiya authors like Radha-Govindanatha, Puri dasa, Sundarananda Vidyavinoda, Kanai Lal Adhikari, Shyam Lal Hakin, and others actively engaged in propaganda against Baladeva Vidyabhusana and the link with the Madhva sampradaya. Although a few attempts have been made to answer to their baseless allegations, some followers of the above mentioned authors keep on perpetrating their heresies. The time has come to expose them and show even further evidence that the guru-parampara presented by Vidyabhusana is accurate.
Recently I also came across manuscripts of Srila Rasikananda’s “Bhagavatastakam” and a commentary written by Sri Bhajananandadeva Gosvami, who belonged to the fourth generation of Rasikananda’s descendants and was one of the Mahantas of the Syamanandi parivara in Gopivallabhpur during Vidyabhusana’s life time. I have rendered both the original and the commentary into English and will post them online shortly. Despite a busy schedule and extensive travelling, I have also translated Vidyabhusana’s “Tattva-dipika” and Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s “Viveka-satakam,” which at present are under revision. In sequence, other unpublished manuscripts will be given attention.
As previously promised, I have uploaded several old editions of Vidyabhusana’s books. So far at least one or two editions are uploaded, either in Devanagari or in Bengali script, and gradually the other editions will also be available for free here .
Despite innumerable difficulties and little support, in three years since the Vidyabhusana Project was launched, we were rewarded with the following successes:
1) Discovery of five unpublished manuscripts: Tattva-dipika, Brahma-sutra-karika-bhasya, Sabda-sudha, Laghu-siddhanta-kaustubha and Pada-kaustubha.
2) Acquisition of digital copies of more than 15.000 pages in manuscripts.
3) Publication of two critical editions with English translation: Chandah-kaustubha and Siddhanta-darpana.
4) Digitization of nearly all printed editions of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s works and dozens of articles about him.
The Baladeva Vidyabhusana Project has the following primary objectives:
1. Search for lost manuscripts. (Such as the commentaries on nine Upanisads, Srimad Bhagavatam, etc.)
2. Digitally preserve manuscripts currently existing in different libraries.
3. Digitally preserve all editions of Vidyabhusana’s books.
4. Digitally preserve articles written about Vidyabhusana.
5. Type all the original texts in digital unicode system, which can be converted into Devanagari, Bengali and Oriyan characters.
6. Prepare a critical edition for each work.
7. Translate all the works into English.
8. Publish all translations with the original Devanagari text.
9. Investigate and verify existent biographical data of Vidyabhusana, including historical evidences of the conflict between the Gaudiyas and the Ramanandis of Rajasthan.
10. Publish a comprehensive biographical work.
I have been travelling extensively and dedicating myself full time to this research work. I wish I could visit all the main research centers and manuscript repositories all over India, but I am working alone and have no financial assistance to be able to afford it, therefore I humbly request those who understand the importance of this project to kindly contribute so that it may be thoroughly successful. The estimated expenses are as follows:
1. Travel in India (by train as far as possible): US 150 per month
2. Lodging boarding expenses during travel: US 250 per month
3. Photocopying, scanning, library charges: US 200 per month
Assistance in the following ways is also requested:
1. Contacting libraries and research institutes in India and abroad.
2. Locating and acquiring texts.
3. Typing devanagari and Bengali texts in transliterated Roman script.
4. Proofreading transliterated texts.
5. Editing and publishing.
For enquiries and donations, please click on the CONTACT link above.
I have been receiving a number of messages from people making stories to get copies of manuscripts. To put it clearly:
1. I do not give away copies of manuscripts.
2. I do not sell them either.
The manuscripts I found have been rotting for centuries in remote corners of the country and nobody showed interest for them until now. At this point, those who do not want to wait for a few months until I publish them should rather go to search for the originals instead of disturbing me.
Complete works of Baladeva Vidyabhusana:
1. Isopanisad; (Krishnadas Baba), (Sarasvata Gaudiya Mission), (Shyam Lal,3 comm.), (Bhaktivinoda)
2. Aisvarya-kadambini; (Haridas Shastri), (Haridas das)
3. Kavya-kaustubha; (Haridas das), (Haridas Shastri)
4. Gopala-tapany-upanisad-bhasya; (Haridas das)
5. Chandah-kaustubha-tika; (Haridas das), (Haridas Shastri), (Vrindavan Research Inst.)
6. Tattva-dipika (unpublished manuscript)
7. Tattva-sandarbha-tika; (Harinam Press), (Haridas Shastri), (Nityasvarupa), (Jadavpur), (Acyuta-grantha-mala), (Krishnachandra Bhagavataratna), ( Ramanarayana Vidyaratna), (Jiva-seva-sangha), (Shyam Lal), (Satyananda Gosvami)
8. Prameya-ratnavali; (Haridas Shastri), (Gokul Chandra Goswami), (Sanskrit Parisad), (Kanai Lal), (Gaudiya Math), (Gour Krishna Goswami), (Sundarananda Vidyavinoda), (Sasibhusana Dasa)
9. Pada-kaustubha (unpublished manuscript)
10. Brahma-sutra-karika-bhasya, (unpublished manuscript)
11. Bhagavad-gita (gita-bhusana); (Krishnadas Baba), (Gaudiya Mission), (Vidyananda), (Shyam Lal Gosvami)
12. Laghu-bhagavatamrta-tika (saranga-rangada); (Haribhakta das), (Ramanarayana Vidyaratna), (Venkatesh Press), (Atul Krishna Gosvami), (Gaurasundar Bhagavata)
13. Laghu-siddhanta-kaustubha (unpublished manuscript)
14. Visnu-sahasra-nama-tika (namartha-sudha); (Krishnadas Baba), (Bhaktivinoda)
15. Vedanta-sutra-Govinda-bhasya; (Sarasvata-Gaudiya Mission), (Harinam Press), (Krishnadas Baba)
16. Vedanta-sutra-suksma-tika; (Sarasvata-Gaudiya Mission), (Shyam Lal Goswami/Krishnagopal Bhakta)
17. Vedanta-syamantaka; (Haridas Shastri), (Umesh Chandra Bhattacharya, Lahore), (Kalidasnath), (Nalinikant Gosvami), (Jagadananda das), (Bala Krishna Goswami), (Shyam Lal Goswami)
18. Sabda-sudha (unpublished manuscript)
19. Srimad-bhagavata-bhasya (vaisnavanandini); prathama skandha, (Haridas das);
dasama skandha (Krishna-Shankar Shastri, incomplete), (Nityasvarupa/Manindra Bahadur)
20. Syamananda-sataka-tika, (Haridas das), (Gopala-Govindananda Goswami)
21. Sahitya-kaumudi; (Haridas Shastri),(Rastriya Sanskrit Samstham),(NirnayaSagar Press)
22. Siddhanta-darpana; (Haridas das), (Gaudiya Math), (Gour Gopal Goswami), (Sajjana-tosani)
23. Siddhanta-ratna; (Krishnadas Baba), (Gopinath Kaviraj), (Shyam Lal Goswami), (Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti), (Adimohana Goswami), (Gaurasundar Bhagavata), (Jagadananda das)
24. Stava-mala-tika; (Nirnaya Sagar Press), (Ramanarayana Vidyaratna), (Nityasvarupa Brahmacari)
1. Commentaries on nine Upanisads (only Isopanisad is available)
2. Commentary on five Sandarbhas of Jiva Gosvami (only Tattva-sandarbha is available)
3. Commentary "Vaisnavanandini" on the complete Srimad-Bhagavatam (only first and tenth skandhas are available)
4. Commentary on Jayadeva's Candraloka
5. Commentary on Rupa Gosvami's Nataka-candrika
Books wrongly attributed to BV:
Krsna-bhavanamrta-tika, (Krsnadeva Sarvabhauma)
Gupta-dhama-chatra, (Kanai Lal)
Gopala-campu-tika, (Viracandra Gosvami)
Padyavali-tika (rasika-rangada), (Viracandra Gosvami)
Bala-tosani, (Hare Krsna acarya)
Samsaya-satini, (Raghunandana Gosvami)
Sadananda-vidhayini-tika , (Vrndavana Cakravarti)
Stavavali-kasika, (Vangesvara Vidyabhusana)
This project is running on the basis of the donations received. To the present moment, the following donors have kindly contributed:
I express my heartfelt thanks for their kind help in this mission.
1. A donor from South India gave a donation of US $90 in September, 2012, $220 in December, 2012, and $ 80 in January, 2014.
2. Jagannivasa Prabhu from Singapore contributed US $120 in January, 2013, $ 120 in April, 2013, $115 in July, 2013, $230 in February, 2014, and $ 230 in August, 2014.
3. Mahananda Prabhu from Bangalore contributed $110 in February, 2013, and $ 50 in January, 2014.
4. Suresh Prabhu from Bangalore contributed $ 90 in February, 2013, $160 in January, 2014, and $ 160 in November, 2014.
5. An anonymous donor from Australia contributed US $280 in February, 2013 and US 85 in October, 2014
6. Madhusudana Prabhu from UK contributed GBP 108 in April, 2013.
7. Govinda Prabhu from Hungary contributed US $ 50 in April, 2013.
8. Smt. Nalini Matu from Denmark contributed EUR 53,50 in May, 2013.
9. Krishna Karuna Prabhu from Denmark contributed EUR 268 in May, 2013.
10. Radha-ramana Prabhu from Australia contributed US $ 10 in June, 2013.
11. Gaura-bhavana Prabhu from Denmark contributed US $ 10 in July, 2013.
12. Rishikesh Prabhu from Coimbatore donated a camera at the cost of $ 110 in September, 2013.
13. Madhavendra Puri Prabhu from France contributed $ 10 in October, 2013
14. Krishna Mohan Prabhu from USA contributed $ 150 in November, 2013.
15. Amarnath Prabhu from Tripura contributed $ 50 in November, 2013.
16. Vivek Prabhu from USA contributed $ 108 in December, 2013, and $ 200 in May, 2014.
17. Bahushira Prabhu from USA contributed $ 200 in December, 2013.
18. The Bhakti Vikas Trust contributed $ 80 in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, 2014.
19. Jayaram Prabhu contributed $16 in February, 2014.
20. Giridhari Prabhu from Singapore contributed $ 30 in March, 2014.
21. Svarupa Damodara Prabhu from Singapore contributed $115 in August, 2014.
22. Chetan Prabhu from Singapore donated a scanner in August, 2014.
23. Vraja Mohana Prabhu from UK contributed US 75 in September, 2014.
24. Puskara Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA contributed US 108 in October, 2014.
25. Simon Prabhu from UK contributed GBP 108 in October, 2014.
I express my heartfelt thanks for their kind help in this mission.
VIDYABHUSANA PROJECT DIARY
At some point of my first round searching for manuscripts and books all over India I realized that a diary would be very much appropriate for letting people know what it is like and what I have to face, quite enough to turn off anyone less stubborn. I just regret not having done it before.
Attempting to go to Mathura, I took the city bus, the closest thing to a means of public transportation available from Vrindavan. However, I had to change buses three times, apparently due to “technical problems”. It took me some fifteen minutes to be able to get inside the railway station, for there were hundreds of people camping around, supposedly pilgrims who came because of the Purusottama month.
I arrived in Udaipur and went on foot uphill to the temple of Jagdish (about 3 km). Another 20 min. walking around to get a room. In a guest house they refused to give me a room because I was speaking in Hindi and they concluded that I was Indian (therefore not worthy ripping off). I tried to find out the address of the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute, but nobody ever heard of it. After calling their main office in Jodhpur, I got at least a place of reference, although they themselves didn’t have the address... The auto driver dropped me on the way, for he also couldn’t figure the location. In another call to Jodhpur they gave me the number of a worker whom I had to call twice for directions, as even in the building opposite to the RORI they also never heard of it... If I had no mobile, I’d have given up. The officer told me straightaway that if I were Indian he would let me shoot the manuscripts at once, but since I am a foreigner, I will need to fill several applications and “come tomorrow” (this is the favorite sentence used by the folks here when they are not getting anything in the deal). I had to take a very crowded local bus and then go uphill again on foot in the middle of the rain and mud.
Bureaucracies being fulfilled, I shot the manuscripts and paid the stipulated rate: 10 rupees per shot. They told me that their office used to be in the King’s palace, but he kicked them out to make a hotel... They also said that the collection kept there was part of the King’s library, previously named “Sarasvati-bhandara” and then “Sajjana-vani-vilasa”. I also visited the Sarasvati Bhavan, where they told me that their manuscripts were given to the National Archives, but they don’t know exactly where they are now... At the royal palace there is also a library, but I was flatly refused entry.
Public bus to Nathdwara. To my surprise the town was unbelievably crowded due to the full moon of the Purusottama month and I had to stand 3 hours in a line to have darsana.
Raining heavily, tough to move around. According to what I was told by several people, there are no Sanskrit libraries and no panditas here. I wished to meet the Tilakayat (head of the Sri Vallabha sampradaya), but I had a hard time in getting even close to the temple.
As I had already booked a bus ticket to Jodhpur, I had to pack. It arrived one hour late and there was no seat available, although I had booked and paid for one in advance. Somehow, after some 3 km away from the bus stand, the tire got punctured, and of course, they had no spare tire. After uselessly waiting for another one hour, I decided to go back: 3 km plus 1 km uphill on foot with 10 kg of luggage. I arrived in the temple right on time to meet the Tilakayat. While waiting in the middle of some 40 people, I was spotted by a jerk so-called pujari who demanded that I explain exactly what I wanted there. I mentioned that I had a few questions for Tilakayat Maharaj, and the guy started saying things like “who are you to talk to him?”, “you’d rather mind your own business in your Nimbarka sampradaya” (!?) As I said that I am not from the Nimbarka sampradaya, he became even madder and started yelling that he knows everything very well... What a day! At last, Maharaj was quite polite and sent me to talk to his son, who seems to be scholarly inclined. He was also very polite and promised that he will let me know if he finds any of Vidyabhusana’s works in their personal library, where the original manuscripts of Sri Vallabhacarya are kept. Amen.
Day off to decide where to go. The only option to reach Jodhpur is that very same broken down bus, dirty like a dustbin (Jain Company, for the record). I went to see the Tilakayat’s son again to give him a DVD with some pusti-marga texts. This time that pujari respectfully greeted me and before I left he called me on a corner and gave me some prasada... I sincerily wish that Durvasa muni may visit him some of these days.
Change of itinerary. Most of the day in a train to Jaipur. Soon after it departed, I started having a violent crisis of what seemed to be kidney stone. It was passed 10 PM when I got a room, and as the shops were closed, I couldn’t get any medicine.
The whole day walking up and down, meeting people and visiting libraries. As soon as arrived at Govindaji mandir, a gentleman offered me a full plate of prasada. Apparently the Mahant of Galta didn’t really check his library, but he assured me that at least a Govinda-bhasya must be there. King Jai Singh’s records are still locked and can’t be seen until the court dispute for the royal property is settled, which may last many decades... The librarian at the City Palace promised to see if we can get the negatives. In the evening I got another violent crisis and then remembered that I was supposed to buy some medicine...
Sanjaya Sharma Museum is shifting its collection to a new building. The catalogue is not ready and there is no prevision about it, so they can’t give me a position about the list I gave to them. At the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute I couldn’t find anything. The library of the Sanskrit College was shifted to a school far away. Remote chances of going in that way. I got several other references, including the Nimbarkacharya Tirtha, some 100 km from Jaipur, where they have a manuscript library too.
Only today I could meet the Mahant of the Govindaji mandir. He promised to bring his library catalogue tomorrow, with a remark that they don’t show their manuscripts so quickly... I talked on the phone with the successor of the current Sriji Maharaj (Head of the Nimbarka Tirtha) and we marked an appointment in Vrndavana.
I arrived in the Govindaji temple exactly at the time I was told to be there just to hear that the Mahant was not present. When I said that he asked me to come at that time, the guys in the office became angry and told me to come after one week! I had another appointment in the evening, but the person also didn’t show up. All these days I’ve been walking all the way from the guest house in the Station area up to the Govindaji temple, some 4 km, and then return on foot also. Today I had to do it twice and it was past 8 PM when I decided to take a bus, since I was exhausted. I usually don’t take it because it is unbearably crowded. It so happened that as soon as I got on the bus, the collector started a quarrel with some passengers and ended up stopping the bus to spank them. I got down and went on foot.
Most of the day in a train to Jodhpur. I arrived in the evening and went straight to office of the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute, which was not easy to find, as they are unable to give a proper reference for the location and no one goes to these places. According to their website, they offer accommodations for scholars, but upon arriving there I was received by a jerk who seemed determined to drive me away. After bugging me for half-an-hour, the sub director decided to let me stay.
The whole day reading catalogues. From today onwards a peon was appointed to stay in the room next to mine, obviously to keep an eye on me. They probably took for granted that being a foreigner, I must be a terrorist, or at least that I was planning to have parties at night and bring girls and whisky.
At the end of the catalogues I had a list of 80 manuscripts to be seen. More forms, more bureaucracy, more botheration. Spite of God knows how many years there, none of the staff seemed to have an idea of the correct procedure, and I was being told to do this and that just to have to do it again after a few minutes because someone else says that it is not in this way.
Although hardly ever anyone goes there and the guys do nothing most of the day, they are all stressed and annoyed to show a single manuscript. I barely had a few seconds to look each book, and this with someone sitting next to me and pushing me to do it quickly. The jerk in charge of the accommodations told me to vacate by tomorrow. The peon neighbor started to ask me when I am going away. Of course it was a boring job for him.
Many manuscripts to see and I didn’t stop even to take water, so I could check each one. I visited the Mehrangarh library, but they had only a copy of the Chandah-kaustubha, which I did not see because they charge a Rs 500 fee. At least I got to see the catalogue of the Rajasthani Research Institute, in which I found nothing, so I was spared of moving 10 km away to visit them. I got a room next to the railway station. Very noisy, tiny, dirty, without window, and expensive: 375 rupees.
I had planned to go to Bikaner, but this last week overloaded my eyes, patience and pocket, so I spent most of the day in a train back to Jaipur. When I arrived, Jaipur was almost under water. I took a bus from the station, but after getting off in the stop just 200 meters from the guest house I realized that I was surrounded by a river of sewage. To make it worse, it started raining heavily, so I had to stand half-an-hour with my luggage till the rain stopped, then I had to take a riksha just to be able to cross the road. It literally watered down my hope of seeing Govindaji today. I didn’t expect such a prolonged rainy season.
I went to see the Mahant at Govindaji’s but could not because “he was not feeling well.” I then tried to see the Ramanandi Mahant at their temple in the city. As they told me that he was in Galta, I took a bus till the Galta Gate (almost outside Jaipur), climbed the hill up and down, and finally when I reached the temple, I was told that the Mahant was giving a lecture in their temple in the city. Enough for me.
Most of the day in a local train and local bus to reach Karouli. It was late in the afternoon when I got a room and something to drink. The temperature was far higher than in other places, and I got a headache which lasted several hours.
No manuscripts here, but Madana-mohana’s darsana and prasada compensate. Yet I am visibly not in good health due to stress and excessive trips. It’s time to have a break.
20th Sept. to 05th Nov.
Busy time in Vrndavan. Ten days on bed with dengue.
I arrived in Varanasi after 12 PM and went straight to Sampurnananda Sanskrit University to apply for receiving copies of some manuscripts and was told that I should submit the application to the librarian, who happened to be on leave and will come only tomorrow.
What news: the librarian didn’t show up, so I have to come back day after tomorrow, since tomorrow is astami and they are closed.
Most of the day in the BHU library.
Back to Sampurnananda, some 7 km away from the Guest House I am staying at, near Assi Ghat. Yes, the librarian was there, but he just told me that the application should be submitted in the office, not to him. At last, as they lacked the librarian’s absence as an excuse, they accepted my application in the office, but insisted that I take back the copies of my ID card and introduction letter, spite my protest.
Went all the way on foot to Lalita Ghat to visit the Goenka Library. I just had started reading when I received a call from Sampurnananda saying that my application will be sent forward only after I submit a copy of my ID card and give an introduction letter.
11-11-12 to 03-12-12
I had to wait for one week due to the Diwali holiday just to hear that my application was rejected. For several days I was visiting the BHU library to read manuscripts catalogues. I spent a couple of weeks revising the Chandah-kaustubha and to get the page setting done was another novel. I had planned to stay in Varanasi for one week, but after one month I still had many pending issues, so on the 3rd I left for Barddhaman on a Sleeper Class ticket. Freezing cold.
Local bus to Navadvip and boat to Mayapur.
Since long ago I have been trying to have a look at the collection of books kept at Gopinath Gaudiya Math, where I was lodged, but nobody could locate the keys of the almirahs. Finally I paid a professional to make a duplicate key. There was nothing I was looking for.
I went to Navadvip to meet four people, but none of them was there.
Another fruitless visit to Navadvip.
Local train to Kolkata, a real nightmare. Got a shared room at Caitanya Math.
Upon visiting the library at the Sanskrit College I was told that I should have written a letter before coming (!?) The library of the Sanskrit Department of Kolkata University was closed. They told me that the librarian comes whenever he wishes (!?) Around 11 AM I arrived in the central library and to wait a bit to get a visiting permit. Half an hour later someone finally informed me that the person in charge usually does not come before 1 PM. After I complained to the library superintendent, they let me in. In the manuscript section I had to first fill several forms to be able to see the catalogue just to find out that it consists in more the sixty thousand A4 pages kept in some 200 folders without any kind of order. I had a look at one and gave it up. It would take a month to read the whole thing. I took a tram to Sanskrit Sahitya Parisad. The librarian was not there. I had to walk a long way till I got the right direction to the Bangiya Sahitya Parisad. They have quite a few manuscripts of Baladeva, but the charge is 50 rupees per copied page! It was passed 7 PM when I went back to the Math, empty handed.
Visit to the Caitanya Research Institute. I asked to take pictures of a few pages of a book and the librarian declined saying that it would damage it (!?)
Another visit to the Sanskrit College. The principal was there, but the librarian was not. I tried the department library at Kolkata University, and again, no librarian. Spent the rest of the day reading catalogues at the Sanskrit Sahitya Parisad, mostly in a hardly intelligible Bengali handwriting.
I packed and crossed the whole Kolkata to reach Pathpari in the hope that I would get a room there. Got nothing and wasted the day. Back to Gaudiya Math.
Yet another visit to the Sanskrit College. Guess what? The librarian was there, but the principal was not!!! Since I was visibly annoyed, the library staff decided to discuss the matter. I could distinctly hear “the problem is that how can we give permission to a foreigner...” After some time, to my surprise, they just agreed and let me take pictures of the manuscripts. The rest of the day was spent in more catalogues at Sanskrit Sahitya Parisad.
15-12-12 to 17-12-12
At last, I got the room at Pathbari and spent these days consulting their manuscripts.
18-12-12 to 19-12-12
Visit to Remuna. There are rumors of the “discovery” of Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s birth place, but no piece of evidence available. I enquired from several of the locals, but no positive information. Apparently, there are no manuscripts or documents in this place.
Train to Puri. Invitation to stay at Jhajh Pita Math.
There was a deceased Babaji who left a collection in a math which was now taken over by a trust. Since last year I have been trying to have a look at it without any success. This time the officer said that I should go to Bhubaneswar to get permission from his superior...
At Raghunandan Library they have an almirah full of books I needed to see, but they claimed that the key is lost and wouldn’t let me bring someone to open it. On the contrary of what I was told by their pujari last year, they do have a manuscript collection at Gangamata Math, but we will have to get someone to intermediate to deal with them.
Again, on the contrary of what they told me last year, they also have a collection of manuscripts at Siddha Bakul Math, but the key is with the Mahant, who is out of station...
Puri was not very productive, so I moved on. Stopped at Kurma-ksetra for darsana.
Bus to Vizianagar.
Visited the Sanskrit College just to hear that the manuscript collection was shifted to Hyderabad. Yet the principal was very kind and proposed that I give a lecture to the students, but I can’t wait till they arrange it.
28-12-12 to - 01-01-13
End of the year holiday, so I took the opportunity to have darsana in Mangalagiri and Ahobalam.
Bus to Alagadda, bus to Kadapa and train to Tirupati. Arrived at night.
I went to have darsana at Govindaraja mandir and it took much longer they I wished. By the time I arrived in the Oriental Research Institute it was closed for lunch. In the library I was told me that they have no Sanskrit books. I was shocked to hear it. Anyway, I went to see the manuscript library and the director asked me if I had seen the collection of Sanskrit books. As I expressed surprise, he told me that it was located upstairs. Too late, they had already closed...
Arrived right in the opening time and spent a few hours in the manuscript library. The staff was friendly and let me shoot whatever I wished. In the Sanskrit books section, the assistant librarian confessed that he is not very much acquainted with the classification of the books and how to locate them in the stack. At last, this didn’t really matter much, as the books were missing anyway. I also went to the library at the Rastriya Sanskrit Vidyapitha, but the librarian asked me to come after three days to see the catalogue... Late in the evening I went to Tirumala thinking of getting a special darsana ticket for the next day, but there was no such facility and I spent a few hours in the line. Arrived in my room around 1 AM.
Train to Arakkonam and bus to Kanchipuram. After spending time and money trying to find the Sanskrit College in a particular location, I came to the conclusion that I was misled by a wrong map.
Sunday off to visit the Divya-desas. The auto-drivers were asking Rs 800 for a tour around all the temples, so I thought it better to walk. Well done: three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening.
I got the opportunity to see the manuscript collection of the Kanchipuram Sankaracarya in the library of their new college. The staff was very helpful.
Public bus to Chennai. Visit to the Goverment Oriental Manuscript Library. I was lodged in Perambur and it took me one and a half hour to reach the library, almost by the lunch time. I was told that I would need the permission of the librarian to copy anything. As he was not there, I had to wait for a few hours till someone told me that assistant librarian also could give permission...
Visit to the Presidency College. The place is totally decadent and there was no trace of anyone in the Sanskrit dept. or the library. It took me a couple of hours walking around to locate to the Kuppuswami Sastri “Research Institute”, as the address given by them in the website is totally misleading. It was passed 10.30 AM and nobody was the office to pick up the phone. When finally I got a response, the person on the line, whom I surmised to be the sweeper, couldn’t speak a work either in English or Hindi and just harshly hung up on me. I ended up in the police station to ask for help. After several more calls and long walks, I reached the place. The name of the road was wrong and the numbers in it would increase or decrease in any direction. Besides this, nobody in the area knew such a name for the bare reason that it is actually a library in a small Sanskrit School. The supposed sweeper was indeed the assistant librarian. I had to wait for more than two hours to see the manuscript catalogue simply because they had no idea of where it was kept, and yet I had to pay a Rs 100 fee for “consulting the library”. This was one of the worse ones so far. To save the day, a visit to the Oriental Research Institute paid off, as I met the coordinator of the Catalogus Catalogorum Project and they helped a lot.
Visit to the Adyar “Library”, a real show of incompetence. I was asked a Rs 250 fee just to get in the library. I asked to see some microfilms and they flatly claimed they had none. Although I mentioned I had consulted a book called “A Catalogue of Vaisnava Microfilms in the Adyar Library”, they were adamant. Besides that, I was also told that I wouldn’t be able to see any manuscript because the librarian was not there and only he has the key. As I had a quick look at the rules, I found that Rs 200 of the said fees are actually refundable. When I asked about it, the guy said that it can’t be done before one month period, since they first have to send the money to the treasury. As I kept asking about the rules, the fellow became annoyed and suddenly crumbled my application and gave me back all the money. In this way I got time to another visit to the Madras University to read catalogues.
One of the basic difficulties is that I can’t book train tickets in advance for the bare reason that I don’t know how long it will take me to see a particular library and get the required copies, as only God knows when there will be any staff in it. So I had to spend 8 hours in a bus to reach Kumbakonam, a way more painful than by train.
12-01-13 to 15-01-13
I just came to know that I came in the middle of a major holiday in Tamil Nadu for the occasion of the Makar Sankranti, so there was no chance to find any library open.
Local train and bus to Srirangam. I had to walk around for a couple of hours and couldn’t find any affordable accommodation. At last I was lodged in the ISKCON center.
I visited the Devasthana Library, but the librarian was not there. I was referred to the temple manager, but he was also not present.
The librarian could hardly follow a word in English and not even knew what a manuscript is. Anyway, a brief look around was sufficient to realize that they have none. I went to meet the manager, but it took him half an hour to understand what I wanted and just kept referring me to the library, to the museum, to the book stall, and at last, to a book publisher (!?) Enough for me. I had to spend a long time walking around to locate some pandita who could answer a simple question. It seems that the only large Sanskrit Pathasala in the place was shut down. Somewhere nearby the temple I saw some Sri brahmacaris on the road and I asked to see their teacher. They took me to a young scholar who was speaking fluent Sanskrit and immediately gave me the answer: the Srirangam manuscript collection was shifted to Tanjore after they realized they were not taking good care of it...
Train to Rameswaram. Another hard time to get a room.
It took me hours in a line for a couple of days to get a tatkal ticket to Mysore.
Local train to Madurai. Express train to Mysore.
Just came to know that everything is closed due a Muslim holiday.
Just came to know that everything is closed due a Muslim holiday.
Again closed due to republic day.
Leaving to Udupi with empty hands.
Another nightmare to get a room: everywhere either full or booked. I met the Principal of the Sanskrit College and he referred me to Govindacharya, whose house is about 3 km from the central area. I walked all the way just to hear that he is in Bangalore. I met the head of the Krsnapura Matha and he became indignant upon hearing that their catalogue was published in Madras. Yet he told me to come day after tomorrow to see if they have manuscripts.
I had to shift to another place because the room I got was booked. Visit to a Research Centre at Gita Mandir. I wanted to talk to the head of the Sodde Matha, but the doorkeeper didn’t let me in. After talking to pujari who was passing by, I was allowed in. He promised to check their collection and told me to come tomorrow at the same time.
The guest house was too expensive, so I packed and went to look for another place. After one hour walking here and there I got a place for the same price. At Krsnapura Matha the catalogue numbers changed, so I was asked to come tomorrow again. I had phoned the Palimaru Samshodhana Samsat and marked an appointment at 2 PM. After waiting for some time at the gate, I phoned again and was told to come at 4 PM. I later went to meet the Sodde Matha Svami at the right time, but again the doorkeeper didn’t let me in, although he knew very well that I was expected to be there. Fruitless. I wished I had had the chance to suggest that they appoint the doorkeeper as head of the Matha, since he seems to be a much bigger authority.
Shifted rooms once again, this time in a cheaper place. I was told that I could meet the said Svami in the office at 9.30 AM. I was standing there for one hour till someone told me that he had to attend a program and wouldn’t talk to anyone.
I was told to meet the Svami at 12.30, but the doorkeeper demanded that I bring a receipt to let me in. I went to the counter to ask which receipt I need and the fellow told me that I had to give a donation and he would give me a receipt with which I could go to see the Svami. I picked a 20 rupee note and he became indignant asking me if I know how much a receipt sheet costs. Then I asked how much I should pay to be able to see the Svami and the guy flipped out shouting to me to get out because he wouldn’t give me anything. I went back to the meeting place and the doorkeeper told me to wait. I waited and waited and at last, the Svami just stood up, looked at me and went away. Enough. Night train to Mysore, so freezing that I couldn’t get any sleep.
Arrived in Mysore 5.30 AM and nowhere they wanted to give me room simply out of laziness to get up, although I saw that many rooms were locked. After some thirty minutes walking around, someone agreed to give a place, but I lack words to describe how filthy it was. Later in the morning I went to the Sanskrit College, but apparently the library there was the only place in Mysore which was closed. I then visited the Oriental Research Institute, where they claimed to be in the middle of a renovation work and that I would not be able to see any manuscript in less than six months. Back to my “room”, I realized that it was behind a non-veg “restaurant”. Unable to tolerate the smell, I went all the way to Srirangapatnam to chant my rounds. I came back at night but couldn’t get any sleep due to the disgusting smell and loud talking all night long.
Thus ended another useless visit to Mysore. Train to Bangalore.
Visit to the Dvaita Research Foundation. The librarian was not there and wouldn’t come in this week. The staff didn’t know anything about books or manuscripts, although they have both. At the Purnaprajna Vidyapitha the library was closed. In the office they told me that the librarian would come in a couple of hours. I asked for his phone number to confirm it, but they assured me that there was no need. As I had to spend the time, I went walking up to the Samskrita Bharati (3 km away) to buy some books. Back in the Vidyapitha at the supposed opening time, I found the library still closed. The nonsense in the office told me to look for him upstairs, where they finally told me that the librarian was out of station and that this is not a public library. When I asked for the librarian’s phone number they declined to give me saying that he is also not a public man. Madhvacarya would be so proud of them!
Train to Hyderabad.
One hour walking around to find a room, as no guest house allowed foreigners. Visit to the Sanskrit Academy, where the staff was helpful and let me copy some books. At the Oriental Research Institute neither the director nor the librarian was present. In the Osmania University library the staff didn’t know where the manuscript section is, although there are only two floors. After 10 min being sent up and down, I met the person in charge. After writing down the manuscripts I wanted to see, I was referred to the computer section to see the scans. Although I gave them the correct accession numbers, they were searching for the manuscripts one-by-one and after half-an-hour of fruitless effort, they told me to come tomorrow.
Bus to Yadagiri-gutta.
Bus back to Hyderabad and train to Vishakhapatnam.
Sunday. Darsana at Simhachalam.
Visit to the Andhra Pradesh University. The staff had no idea where the manuscripts were kept and I was sent up and down several times. At last, after figuring where the manuscripts were, I was told to come after one hour, for there was no electricity. After one hour the electricity was back, but they couldn’t find the key of the almirah. This gives an idea of how many people have been consulting them... In the office they told me to come tomorrow and I made it clear that I wouldn’t. It took another hour to open it and another hour to see the manuscript I wished, as they were all thrown inside the almirah without any specific order. I also wished to see a few catalogues, but the staff also didn’t have the slightest idea of where to find them. Night train to Bhubaneswar.
Visit to the State Museum. Unfortunately, the bookworms arrived before me and there was not much left. I also visited the Kedarnath Gavesana Pratisthan, but the library was closed.
Train to Puri. Spent the day meeting people and making contacts.
Visited the office in the Jagannatha temple and met a few people to investigate about Baladeva’s family background.
Sarasvati-puja holiday. I spent 15 hours in a bus to have the darsana of Nila-madhava in Kantilo.
I had booked an early train to be able to reach Mayapur by the evening, but it delayed many hours and I had to spend the night in Kolkata. There was no accommodation available near the station, so I had to cross the city to stay in a Matha.
Crowded local train to Krishnanagar, crowded tempo to Svarup Ganj and crowded boat to Mayapur. Heavy rain and freezing cold. Couldn’t go anywhere else.
I had to meet a few people in Navadvip, but no one was available.
I had booked a train from Krishnanagar to Sealdah and decided to catch a bus instead of a tempo. It took two hours to arrive in the station and the train was gone. I was forced to squeeze in another insanely crowded local train to Kolkata. Most of the day was wasted, yet I visited the Bangiya Sahitya Parisat by 3 PM. I asked to see their descriptive catalogue of manuscripts and the librarian was a bit perplexed. After consulting with the staff, they declared that they don’t have a copy !!! I had to go through the hand list and waited a long time to see the manuscripts I requested, but they couldn’t find them and told me to come after 3 days...
Train to Varanasi, freezing cold.
Visit to BHU.
Visit to Chaukhamba to pick up the just published Chandah-kaustubha. They put my name on the cover instead of the author’s name, besides several other shortcomings. I was disgusted and demanded that they correct it.
Nityananda-trayodasi. After several years of quarrel, I received the original hardcopy of my PhD thesis. Thanks to the Catalogus Catalogorum team I came to know that they have a manuscript of the Siddhanta-darpana at the Bharat Kala Bhavan, BHU, which I couldn’t detect before simply because it is not classified as being written by Vidyabhusana, but by Nanda Misra, a name I never looked for. The director told me to write an application and come back after the holiday, on Monday.
24-02-13 and 25-02-13
Sunday and Ravidas Jayanti, everything closed.
I submitted the application at the Kala Bhavan, but they told me to come tomorrow because the man who had the key was out-of-station.
The man with the key came back, but the number I gave didn’t match the manuscript they showed me. I asked to check the number again against the catalogue, but they had none in the manuscript section, so I had to go to the library. The librarian was not there and I had to wait for one hour. By the time I got to see the catalogue and write down further details, it was about 3 PM and the manuscript in-charge told me to come tomorrow. As I said that there is time enough before they close, he got upset and made it clear that he wouldn’t move a from his chair. I also got upset and told him that I was going to complain to the director. He shouted that I could complain to whomever I wish, but he wouldn’t look for any manuscript today. I went downstairs and met the security officer, a very polite Muslin gentleman. He was indignant when I told him what happened and insisted that I wait for the director, who was in a meeting at the moment. Another hour waiting and by the time the director arrive it was passed 4 PM. He was also indignant that the staff was not cooperating, since he had already approved my application. He was shouting to the staff to bring the manuscript section guy to talk to him immediately, but he just left swiftly.
Well, after the entire novel, I arrived there in the morning and the right manuscript was already waiting for me and the staff was “surprisingly” cooperating. Case done.
Chaukhamba called me to say that they had corrected the cover and I could go there to take my copies. I didn’t want my name on the cover at all, but they refused to remove it to avoid more work.
Train to Mathura.
Back to Vrndavan. I was missing home so much. A friend told me that he met one the BBT directors and asked why they don’t invite me to work for them. He replied that they are neither interested in hiring some non-initiated Bhakta Tom nor in publishing all these Vidyabhusana’s “stuffs”. Wow!
I met Satya Narayana Babaji in the morning and he told me that a Gosvami who would help us to get the cooperation of the Gosvamis at Govindajis’ is in Jaipur and would wait for me if I want to go there right now. I barely had time to pack and jump on the train. It shattered my expectations to do bhajan in Vrndavan for a while after so long outside...
I arrived at Govindaji’s right on time and the said Gosvami told me to wait. Instead of taking me to the Mahant, he brought him to meet me, and the man seemed to be annoyed by that. Speaking in Hindi, I briefly reminded him about our Project and he just had started replying in Hindi when the Gosvami stopped him saying that he should speak in English because I don’t know Hindi. The Mahant got even more annoyed and I was outraged by such a show of stupidity. To make it short, he just told me to come again after some two months, the same thing I have been hearing for years. I then visited the King’s Library and they told me to come tomorrow to see the manuscripts I wish. I had to visit the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute again because last year they showed me only one part of their catalogue, while later I came to know that they have several more. It took them a long time to locate the correct manuscripts, but at last I got to see and copy them. I went to have darsana in the nearby Rama temple and a fellow who introduced himself as a “pandita” called me to talk. Soon he started saying all Mayavada rubbish and I was so indignant that I was blasting him with slokas. One hour wasted with those rascals till they shut up.
I arrived at the Palace Library at 11 AM as I was told, but the staff left me waiting for one hour till they finished reading the newspapers and then told me to come tomorrow. I tried to locate the Sanskrit Academy according to the map, but they had shifted to another place long ago. I then visited the Sanjaya Sharma Museum, where I had a look at their provisional catalogue. Back to the Palace Library, I met the Librarian, who told me that their trust might be interested in getting Maharaj Sawai Jai Singh’s Sanskrit works translated. At the Ramanandi temple in the city they told me that the Mahant was never there.
I went to Galta via the hill and they also said the same thing: the Mahant was never there. I had to ask for his phone number. He told me to call tomorrow to fix a time. At Govindaji’s I asked for a coupon for prasada, but they were over. As I crossed the exit gate, a gentleman asked me how is it that I was going away without taking prasada and took me with him. Afterwards, I went to the Palace Library and finally could have a look at some manuscripts and recordings. I met the Museum Curator, who expressed interest in assisting the Vidyabhusana Project and publishing his books by their Trust.
The Galta Mahant asked me to come to his house, quite out of the way. For the first time in this year, I had to hire an auto to get there and later I realized that the rascal took a much longer way and charged me double. Once there, we had a long talk and Maharaj promised to show me his library soon after Siva-ratri. Another visit to the Palace Library. They will discuss the matter with the Princess to see the possibility of supporting the Vidyabhusana Project and commissioning the translation of King Jai Singh’s works. I went to Govindaji’s planning to have darsana and buy some prasada for tomorrow (today is ekadasi), but they didn’t let me in simply because I had a laptop in my bag. Back to the guest house, I went to buy something in a nearby shop and they gave me 2 laddus from Govindaji !
As the guest house is about 2 km from the station, I decided to check out one hour before the train to Kishangarh. They had no change at the reception and 15 min. were wasted in this. Another 15 min. wasted because no rikshawala would take me for the right fare. Another 15 min. wasted to catch a bus and reach the station and another 15 min. wasted in the line to buy a ticket. There was one min. left for the train to depart and there was no notice about the platform. By the time I could figure it, the train was departing and I had to run, not an easy task with a luggage. Somehow I managed to jump in the last coach, general class. After squeezing through a couple of coaches I came to know that there was no passage to the upper class, so I was confined in the general class for 2 hours. Upon reaching Kishangarh, I had to wait one hour for the bus to Salemabad and then spend another hour to arrive in the Nimbarkacharya Pitha. In the office the clerk just phoned saying that “a sadhu has arrived from Vrndavan” and soon they arranged a room and sumptuous prasada for me. No questions, no forms and no charges. By contrast, if I want to spend one night in an ISKCON temple I have to reply to 100 questions and bring a letter from the GBC.
10-03-13 and 11-03-13
Sriji Maharaj is not in good health, so I couldn’t talk to him. For three days I waited to talk to the Yuvaraj, but he didn’t bother to give me even a couple of minutes. I had to rely on some intermediates to find out about their manuscript collection. Since I was not allowed to see it myself, I take their word: no Vidyabhusana’s work there.
Bus to Kishangarh and local train back to Jaipur.
Visit to the Palace Library. The Princess is out-of-station, so the matter did not progress. Talked to several scholars here and there.
The Galta mahant called me at this home to see the manuscripts. I had to wait for several hours because he was busy.
Finally I found the address of the Sanskrit Academy, but had to walk some 6 km as there was no straight transportation. They told me to come after a couple of months to see their catalogue, for they don’t know where it is kept !!!
I had several things to do in the city and by the time I arrived in the University library, on foot as usually, they were already closing. I had an appointment in the evening with a professor who owns 150 thousand manuscripts. Again another 8 km walk. Lots of things to see and discuss there, but no time.
17-03 to 20-03-13
Train to Jodhpur. Another round of headaches in the Research Institute. Readers may refer to the entries in my previous visit in September and imagine a replay.
Seven hours in a bus to Nathdwara. At the temple guest house, they made a case to give me a room and sent me up and down several times.
22-03 to 26-03
It took me several days to be able to meet the Tilakayat just to hear that he forgot about my request, so we had to start from zero once again. One day before Holi I came to know that my room was booked and I had to vacate. Another trouble to find a place.
Bus to Udaipur and train to Mathura.
28-03-13 to 31-03-13
Vrindavan. Chasing the same folks who have been making promises for years, such as the Oriya Baba library, etc.
Passenger train to Alwar. Hours and hours of argument till I got the chance to see some manuscripts at the Research Institute. I had planned to return to Vrindavan in the evening, but I couldn’t finish the job, so I had to spend the night in a dump infested with mosquitoes.
Case done. Back to Vrindavan.
03-04 to 30-04
Half of the month revising the Siddhanta-darpana against all the manuscripts acquired and the other half visiting people and making contacts. In Govardhan I tried again a few places previously visited. At the samadhi of Advaita das Babaji I was told that they didn’t find any of the books I am looking for. I never gave them any list, though. I got a similar response in the Siddha Manohar das Babaji Ashram. There were lots of other incidents, but I didn’t have time to write down everything. Some time ago someone wrote saying that my diary is too negative, so why should anyone help such a project? If anyone thinks that there is any exaggeration in my words, feel free to try and see on one’s own. By the way, I am intentionally avoid giving any positive information about my findings in this diary, as there are several thieves after me to steal anything I discover.
Passenger train to Kasganj at 6 AM. Two-and-a-half hours standing and being squeezed. The former director of the Vrindavan Research Institute had requested that I send him a letter specifying what I would like to see and on his own accord told me to come on the 1st. Yet he had not kept a single manuscript at hand and l left empty handed after hearing lots of promises. More 3 hours in a passenger train. Arrived in Vrindavan at 10 PM, absolutely exhausted.
02-05-13 and 03-05-13
Chalking out the plan for the summer.
The whole day in the Janma-bhumi library. In the evening I tried to locate two collections in the city. In the first one the man insisted that he had none of Vidyabhusana’s works and I then asked him to explain how I could get his name and address correctly and a wrong list of manuscripts. He shut up and told me to come another day. Sounded more like a “get out”. The address of the other one was insufficient and I couldn’t find the place. Arrived in Vrindavan almost 9 PM.
I went to the Oriya Baba Ashram for the 15th time in the last weeks. The person in charge was not there, as usually.
Tempo to Mathura and train to Delhi. I was lodged in a dump in Pahar Ganj and the bed was full of bugs. In a few minutes I was swollen after so many bites. Spite shifting me, the manager was adamant that he couldn’t see a single bug. The second “room” had as many bugs. When I complained again, the staff said: “So what!? There are bugs everywhere, why are you making a case?” I didn’t get any sleep.
In the morning I moved to another “guest house”. In this one the “rooms” don’t have any window. In the morning I went to meet the director of the National Mission for Manuscripts, who made a few promises to help our project. I spent the rest of the day in the Delhi University. I wished to consult a book in the rare book section, but the staff couldn’t locate it. It was supposed to be available in digital format, but I was told that the system has not been working for already three months...
I had a waiting list ticket to Haridwar, but in the Railway website there was nothing about its status. I checked out and rushed to the station early morning. Just before a couple of minutes before the train left I found that it was not confirmed. I decided to forget about it and return to Vrindavan, something I am always eager to do.
No one at Oriya Baba’s, so I visited the Akhandananda Saraswati Library. While I was complaining to the librarian about the difficulty in finding a book which published in Vrindavan, a devotee came in are said that he has the book! At Gadadhar Bhatta Pith, the Gosvami told me that he has been putting me on hold for all these months to test my patience.
The whole day in the Janmabhumi library reading catalogues and reference books.
Since early morning meeting scholars around. Visited the Rama-Krishna Mission Library, but they could not locate the only book I wanted to see. At Surma-kunj, I gave a copy of a manuscript to which the Mahant was looking for and he promised to help us with a non-cooperative neighbor. Arrived back after 9 PM.
A couple of weeks ago, the principal of the Nimbarka College had asked to call him on the eleventh, when the examinations ended. I didn’t bother ask what the examinations have to do with the library, as for sure the librarian is not appearing for any exam. Upon calling him, he told me to come today at 10 AM. Finally, when I arrived, he said that the librarian was leaving on vacation and that I should come in July. That means they don’t have the slightest embarrassment to make me waste 2 weeks (and I really had other places to go) and still make me come in the office just to say this. Not to speak that the librarian was comfortably sitting there and when I asked why we couldn’t see the library today, they replied that it is a very difficult and time consuming job to take a book out of the shelf!!! In this way I waste 90% of my time because of people who do nothing the whole day and think that others also have nothing to do. At Oriya Baba’s I finally met the person in charge and he promised to show me the library in this week...
13-05 to 25-05-13
Several visits to Mathura and some libraries in the Vrindavan area. Finally, I got a copy of the last printed book which completes the whole collection in devanagari. At Oriya Baba’s, the man keeps on making me play the fool. The temperature is daily around 48 C and I am hardly getting any sleep.
At last, the date stipulated by the Gosvami at Bhattaji Pitha to see his library, the only reason that hold me here till the middle of the summer. I walked for 30 min. under the sun to arrive there at 12 and he merely said that today he is busy and that I should come tomorrow. Note that I met him a couple of days ago to confirm the date and time, and he assured me that I didn’t need to call before coming. Another 30 min. under the sun on the way back.
The same as usually: another fruitless visit to Oriya Baba’s. We fixed for tomorrow at Bhattaji Pitha.
No appointed honored.
I waited much more than I should. Train to Varanasi.
I wished to see to the Visvanatha Library, but it was closed.
I met the Vice-chancellor at Sampurnananda Sanskrit University to see if he would help with the manuscripts issue. He just referred me to the librarian, who is not the least interested in cooperating. Visit to the Nagari Pracarini Sabha, but the librarian was not there.
Visit to the BHU library.
Train to Barddhaman, hot and crowded like hell. I barely survived.
Bus to Navadvip, riksha to the ghat and boat to Mayapur.
As usually, most of the people I have to meet are out-of-station. The gosvami at Shashi Bhushan Pathagar told me to come tomorrow to see his catalogue.
Finally, when I got to see the catalogue at Shashi Bhushan Pathagar, I noticed that it was incomplete. I will have to consult the NMM list online and come back tomorrow.
After two years trying, today I got the chance to see a couple of manuscripts at SBP, but spite of a previous promise that I would be allowed to copy whatever I wished, now the Gosvami decided that he has to consult his father first. He told me to come tomorrow...
The Gosvami claimed that his father "was in a bad mood" and declined. He told me to come tomorrow to see if he changes his mind. Enough for me. At the old Sanskrit College I was given some books. I met the director of the Puratattva Parisad, which has a library but is not working. All I got from him was some good references and more names of people to meet. I went to the Mahaprabhu mandir to meet the Visnu Prasada Gosvami. I asked the pujari if his name was Visnu Prasada and he reply “yes”, but that I should come after 2 PM to meet him. Of course, I have nothing else to do in life besides crossing the river up-and-down several times a day... Yet it was 11 AM, so I went back to Mayapur. When I returned to Navadvip around 2 PM, the pujari now decided that he is not called Visnu Prasada and then showed me the house of the person I am looking for, just opposite the temple. The old gentleman was at home the whole day, so I just realized folly. He was polite and sent me to another Gosvami who could help me to locate an old publication. Another half-an-hour trying to locate his house. Finally, he indeed promised to help in the matter, and of course, I will have to go there several times again. My life is passing in this way. And today a Gaudiya Math sannyasi wrote to me insinuating that I am exploiting Vidyabhusana’s works for my selfish ends. What a world, eh?
The rainy season has already started here and there is water all over, so not much chance to go anywhere.
Boat to Navadvip, riksha to the station and train to Kolkata.
One-and-a-half hour in two crowded local buses to reach the Belur Math. It was the hottest day so far. They refused to let me see the library under the excuse that it is meant only for their members. Another bus to Uttarpara to visit the Jaikrishna Library. I had to wait half-an-hour because it opens at 12. I was asked which kind of books I am looking for and I said that I need to see some old Sanskrit and Bengali books. The guy left and came back 30 min. later bringing a heap of old books chosen at random (!) When I asked about the catalogue, I was told to go to the next building. At the point, it had started raining heavily and I had to wait for another 30 min. Afterwards I met the librarian, who was quite efficient and gave me a few good reference books and let me shoot whatever I needed. Another bus to the Bangiya Sahitya Parisad. I intended to register as a member, but they said that they are not accepting new members at present. The librarian was kind enough to let me consult the books as a visitor. I arrived back almost 9 PM.
Second round in the Bangiya Sahitya Parisad. It took me a long time to convince the staff to bring me a manuscript of the Govinda-bhasya simply because it was written “Brahma-sutra-bhasya” on it, as they assumed that it was not the same book. At last, it was painful to see that the world lost another manuscript to the bookworms. I wished we had more interest in our books than the insects have.
Visit to the Kolkata University library. The fellow at the reception was very much hesitant to let me in and he thought that my research is not a sufficient reason to see the library! It didn’t take me much to realize that there was nothing for me there. Visit to the Sanskrit College library. I was about 2.30 PM and the librarian told me that I should rather come tomorrow, since it is so late and they close at 4 PM... After bargaining, I got to see at least one book. From there I went on foot to the Chaitanya Library, several km away. To my surprise, the library works from 7 to 9, both morning and evening. I wouldn’t wait that long.
I was in the Chaitanya Library around 7.30 AM, but the guy really started working around 8 AM. When I asked to see the catalogue, I was shown only part of it. Upon asking for the rest, I was told that it was locked in the office and that the person in charge comes only on Sundays... I found a list of public libraries in Kolkata somewhere in the web and wasted time trying to locate one of them just to know that it was shut down long ago. It is raining heavily everyday, so there is not much I can do, since it is hard to go anywhere and I simply can’t get good shots if there is no sunlight.
Train to Balasore. I was taking rest on the upper berth and a fellow put his luggage on my head.
15-06-13 to 16-06-13
Remuna, in a room full of frogs. No news around, only Khirchor and khir.
I had to take a bus to the station, but they refused to let me take my bag inside, although the bus was empty. I was too indignant to wait for the next one, so I walked 2.5 km on foot with my 10 kg bag expecting to get some transportation in the main road. Nothing. I ended up having to catch the next bus on the same route, this time insanely crowded. For half-an-hour I was pushed and shouted at. The train to Puri was one hour delayed and there was no place to sit in the station. When I finally got in the train, I found that my booked seat was occupied...
Although I got a room, they made it clear that I will have to vacate before the ratha-yatra. I tried to find another place, but everywhere is the same story.
19-06-13 to 22-06-13
I visited the office of the King of Puri and they told me that he would come on the 23rd. Raining heavily every day, not much can be done outside.
I took the opportunity that the rain stopped and tried to go to the office of the King. In the middle of the way I was caught by a storm and became surrounded by streams of sewage. One hour to get there just to hear that the King is in Bhubaneswar.
25-06-13 to 17-06-13
Ratha-yatra and almost daily rain made it difficult to do anything outside, so I spent my time classifying lots of reference materials, downloading catalogues and reading them.
Train to Gaya in the evening of the Bahuda-yatra, the only day when seats were available... but it was tough to reach the station.
Quite a few thousand manuscripts at Magadha University, but not much of our stuff. Visit to the Visnupada mandir.
I got up in the morning, took a shower, put clean clothes and went to catch a bus to Bodh Gaya. While I was waiting on the road, a fellow filled his mouth with water and spat on the floor, splashing my feet and clothes. I went back to my room, took another shower, put my clothes to wash and decided that I wouldn’t go anywhere else but to the station to get away from this place.
Train to Allahabad. The very same old nightmare to get a room: nowhere foreigners are allowed. I ended up in a Muslim slum. I lack words to describe it, but it suffice to say that there is a common bathroom from whose ceiling drops water when someone is taking bath upstairs. In the afternoon I went to visit the Nimbarka Pitha. Even 200 meters away nobody knew the place and the rascals were deliberately sending me up and down. At last, when I got there I came to know that the pandita I was going to meet had passed away years ago.
It rained intensely the whole night. When I looked outside in the morning, I could see only a river of sewage in all directions. Very morose, as I already got a skin infection on my feet, guess why... I really have lots of things to do here, but the situation is turning me down, so I was looking at the railway timetable. No train available so soon; fleeing is not an option... By 10 AM the sewage subsided enough to let me search for something that may resemble an accommodation. I had to bargain for a room without window, all I could find around. The roads were blocked due to a protest, so I had to walk 4 km to reach the Ganganath Jha Research Institute. Although there was sun when I came out and the prevision was of good weather, in the middle of the way a devastating storm started. In a few seconds I was in an island surrounded by sewage. I swore to myself that from now on I will follow Lord Caitanya’s example and not move around during the monsoon. By 1 PM the rain had stopped and I was searching for the Institute. The only thing mentioned in their website about the location is “nearby the Allahabad Museum.” What news... in front of the Museum nobody had ever heard of the place. A policeman standing right below the huge board written “ALLAHABAD MUSEUM” even told me that the museum is very far from there... Some years ago I would have become flabbergasted. After this usual waste of time, I found the place, which is indeed just behind the Museum. At last, some good collections to see.
The whole day in the Ganganath Jha Library, quite entertained by shelves of manuscript catalogues and research journals.
Early in the morning I went to visit the Bindu Madhava temple. I arrived at the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan around 10 AM and had to wait half-an-hour till they open and another half-an-hour till the staff shows up. It took me another hour to fill applications and see their catalogue. Finally, when I requested to see the manuscripts I wish, they told me to come tomorrow, since the fellow who has the keys didn’t come today... I then went to see the Museum library and the person in charge said that since I didn’t mark any appointment, he had no obligation to show me anything today and that next time I should contact him in advance... Quite enough of Allahabad and its heaps of garbage all over. Night train to Mathura.
So relieved to be back in Vrindavan!
26-08-13 to 21-08-13
It is still raining, so I’ve not visited many places. Yet I am catching up with several pending issues in the area. I had to oversee the details print the Siddhanta-darpana. A few visits to Mathura to meet panditas, search for manuscripts and to consult the Janmabhumi library. I got a good amount of soft books in this period.
Tempo to Mathura and train to New Delhi. I had to go personally to the Embassy of Brazil just to get a letter to apply for a scholarship for the Vidyabhusana Project and in this way wasted time and money due to their “efficiency”. It then took me almost 2 hours and a few km on foot to reach the University Grants Commission office address given in the form, in the South Campus of Delhi University. Upon arriving there, the receptionist was adamant that I was in the wrong address and referred me to their main office, some 15 km away. I freaked out and at last someone decided that they could dispatch the application to the other office. It was already late and I was too exhausted to go back to Vrindavan, so I had to spend the night in Delhi.
Train to Mathura and tempo to Vrindavan.
Several hours looking the Akhandananda library up and down.
The fellow at the Oriya Baba ashram this time asked me to come right after janmastami.
26-08-13 to 27-08-13
Planning my next tour around Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh. Got the train tickets.
Sri Krsna janmastami. Started a new translation.
In the morning I went to meet the Mahant of the Maluk Pith, who supposedly has a manuscript library. I fruitlessly waited for hours for an opportunity to talk to him. The time for Srila Prabhupada’s puspanjali was up, so I walked off. In the afternoon I met an old book seller and got some stuff from him. At Oriya Baba’s, guess what? The dude told me to come another day, as he was too tired due to the janmastami celebration...
A long time spent in classifying the recently acquired digital collections. I am envisioning the idea of digitizing the complete publications of Rama Narayana Vidyaratna (Murshidabad), Puridas (Vrindavan), Haridas Baba (Navadvip) and Krsnadas Baba (Kusuma-sarovara).
Another day visiting the same places and meeting the same people.
Tempo to Mathura and train to Udaipur.
Left my luggage in the station and went to the RORI office, some 7 km away. Although I had phoned a couple of days before to ask if I could come today, now the librarian announced that I could read as much as I want, but that I wouldn’t be able to make any copy, as his boss is on leave till next week... After a few hours checking some manuscripts, I took a bus to Nathdwara.
Maharaj is out-of-station, so no chance to see anything in the temple library. I visited the Sahitya Mandal, where they have some manuscripts, but they didn’t let me see anything under the excuse that everything is packed and they have no catalogue.
Apart from Nathji’s darsana and prasada, nothing was accomplished here, so I took a bus to Udaipur and a train to Mathura.
Spent the morning in the Akhandananda Library and the evening meeting people around.
Due to the other night on the train with a fan at full speed on my face the whole trip, I woke up with a very severe case of tonsillitis.
I waited for one hour in the office of the Nimbarka College till the principal decided to tell me to come tomorrow because the librarian wouldn’t come today.
Although the librarian was there, I had to wait more than one hour till the principal decided to tell me that the man was “too busy” and wouldn’t show me anything today. Given the number of months I’ve been waiting and the trouble I had to be moving around with a lot of pain in my throat, I went straight to complain to the Mahanta who is in charge of the College, a couple of km away. He did hear me very politely and assured me that he will get them to work.
It worked like a charm! At last, I got to see some manuscripts, never mind if showed in a bitter mood... Oh, too early to feel relieved: after showing me three texts, the librarian declared that it was enough of hard work for a single day and that I should come tomorrow. As I was feeling like taking some medicine, I gave in.
When I arrived in the College, it was closed. They will “open” only after Radhastami, four days later.
11-09-13 to 13-09-13
I waited for a couple of hours in the office of the College, but the librarian didn’t show up. We see how much effective complaints can be here...
I went again to the College, again it was closed. Spent the rest of the morning in the Akhandananda Library. After so many days looking the books one-by-one, I found something I was searching for.
Two and a half hours sitting in the office of the Nimbarka College till someone told me that the librarian is on leave for one week.
Last year I was told that there was nothing at the Bon Maharaj College. Today I decided to try to have a look. After going through the “parampara”, I was allowed inside the library to see as much as I wish. I was surprised to find a goldmine there. What a pity that I came so late...
Tempo to Mathura. Train to Baroda. Another expedition has begun.
Visit to the Baroda Oriental Research Institute. Cooperative staff, but high fees, so I will have to wait for sponsorship to afford it.
21-09-13 and 22-10-13
Bus to Dakor. For years I’ve been missing Ranchorji, so I couldn’t miss this opportunity.
I waited most of the morning to see if the rain would stop. It didn’t. Even so, I had to catch a bus to Ahmedabad. Arrived late in the afternoon and after dropping my luggage at the ISKCON temple, I went straight to visit the Bhagavata Vidyapitha. Somehow I was dreaming that they might have a huge library with hundreds of Bhagavatam manuscripts and perhaps all editions ever published. Nothing of the sort. As soon as I left, a heavy storm caught me on the way. I didn’t know that even by the end of September it rains this much in Gujarat...
Visit to the L.D. Institute of Indology, which hosts about 75.000 manuscripts. In the reference library I requested to see the manuscript catalogue and the fellow told me to go to the manuscript section. In the manuscript section they told me that the catalogue is in the reference section. When I went back, the guy picked the phone and started an argument. At last, they settled the matter and I was shown the catalogue in the reference section... I had a list of reference books I wished to consult, but he could find only one and told me to look for the other ones in another library. By 2 PM they closed for lunch, so I went to the J.B. Institute. When I asked to see the manuscript catalogue, the librarian sent me to the office upstairs. The clerk in the office was puzzled and couldn’t figure why he sent me there, which is actually a sales cell. I went downstairs and the librarian said that if there is any copy of the catalogue, it is upstairs, for the ones in the library got lost (!) Back to the office. The clerk was not very pleased with the issue but tried to locate a copy for me. There was none. He told me to try in another library, many km away. I couldn’t avoid commenting how smart idea that I have to travel several km to see the catalogue of their library... I then asked to see a manuscript whose reference I had previously taken note. I was told to come tomorrow, for the person in charge was on leave... By 3:30 they were already getting ready to close, although the timing is supposed to be up to 5 PM. Gujarati credibility has gone quite down on my scale today... One hour waiting at the bus stop. As soon as I got on the bus, another heavy storm started. The bus was crowded and people started to freak out because there was hardly any window and they were being washed down...
It rained the whole night and the whole morning. By 11:30 AM the rain stopped and I took an auto to reach the B.J.Institute by 12. It was closed and the gatekeeper said that the “working” day was cancelled due to the rain. Curiously, it seemed that everyone else was working. Yet I had a train in the evening, but it was also cancelled.
Still raining. I was very morose and thinking of cancelling everything and go back to Vrindavan. By 11 AM it stopped raining and I went to book a ticket to Bombay for the evening. What a surprise: the director of the B.J. Institute was present today and became strangely excited when he saw me. He quickly invited me to see the museum and eloquently started to speak about the items on display. Funnily, a photographer was following us and shooting lots of pics. I took up the play. Since I was very “cooperative”, he did his role: the catalogues were presented before me in no time and I was allowed to see and copy whatever I wished! Job done. One hour at the bus stop... Later I took an auto to the railway station and the guy wanted to charge me almost double. Enraged, I gave him as much as I thought fine and said that if it is not enough, then he could call the police. He took the cash and let me go.
Spite the rumors that the rail track was flooded, the train arrived, being delayed by two hours only. In the morning I went to the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. I went to the counter in the library and said that I wanted to see a thesis. The guy insisted that they had no thesis at all. As I protested, he sent me to the librarian, who was even more emphatic in claiming that they definitely have no thesis. I had to keep on insisting till they told me to see the catalogue. In fact, in a few seconds I wrote down the reference. No one had idea of where it was kept, so I had to wait for a long time. Finally, they brought the thesis to me and after having a look, I requested to copy it. The librarian flatly refused saying that they have a rule that thesis can’t be copied, except for one or two pages. How curious that some minutes ago they had no thesis in the library and now they have even rules about it! I went to meet the director. The fellow said that he can’t break the rules of the institute (although he obviously has no idea of them) and can’t give orders to the librarian! I started arguing and he picked the phone to talk to the librarian. This time the librarian told him that they can allow 10 % of the thesis to be copied. I had to remark how from two pages the rule changed into 10 % in just a few minutes once again! I asked if I could take pictures of this 10 %. He declined. Pictures are not allowed, only xerox. Everything very coherent and very sensible! I left utterly disgusted. Another place just meant for giving jobs to incompetent rascals, and if people come ro research, let them go to the dogs. I took a train to the Bombay University. The library was closed for lunch. It started raining while I walked to the Asiatic Society. At the entrance there is a public library and I requested to see a book. The guy told me to sit down. After sitting for half and hour I was indignant and asked what is the matter. He replied that the staff went for lunch. I was almost yelling: “why the hell you didn’t tell me this before?” There is a common trend everywhere in this country: they don’t have the slightest hesitation to make us waste time, as they themselves don’t have anything to do and think that this is probably the case of everyone else. I went to the Asiatic Society library, took note of a few reference books and went to the counter. They said that I would have to pay Rs 100 daily for consultation! When I asked if they would allow me to take pics of the books, they declared: “Rs 100 per shot!” As far as xerox is concerned, because it demands the maintenance of a machine and the salary of an employ, it costs only Rs 2 per page. Again, a show of coherence! Walking in the rain, I then went to the University library. Lots of bureaucracy and nobody will show me anything till I fill all the forms and get all the signatures. Too much for a single day.
Still raining and my health is not good, so I will do my homework today.
Train to Pune. Raining the whole day.
Visit to the Bhandarkar Institute. In comparison to most libraries I’ve been visiting, it is quite well run and has a cooperative staff. In a few minutes I had all the manuscripts I wished before me. By the time they closed, it was already rush hour and all buses were totally packed. More than one hour at the stop and then a couple of buses. Almost three hours spent in this way. At least the rain stopped.
Attempting to go to the Deccan College, by a double misinformation I ended up 12 km away from there. It took me four hours to reach the place, then I had to wait for another hour because it was lunch time... Not much time left, but I got to see the catalogues and some reference books.
Gandhi Jayanti, public holiday. Home work.
Visit to the Anand Ashram, which has nearly 20,000 manuscripts and published more than 100 Sanskrit books. Next, the Bharata Itihasa Samsodhana Mandapa, which holds 34,000 manuscripts.
Train to Ujjain.
I arrived at the Scindia Oriental Research Institute at 10 AM; the staff started to arrive at 10:30; the librarian arrived after 11:30; and the director arrived after 1 PM... I hardly could see anything before everyone was present. I was taken to the sub director, who assured me that I could shoot whatever I wished. I wrote down the number of a manuscript and handed the slip to the librarian. After waiting for 15 minutes and noticing that the guy didn’t move a finger, I asked how long it would take. He asked me back how long for what, since he had no idea of what I was waiting for. I gasped. I reminded him in a clear tone that the sub director had referred me to him to see the manuscripts. The magic words being said, he rang the bell and handed the slip to the staff. Then started another drama: they had no idea of how to find the given number and kept on bringing me the wrong manuscript. More half and hour to locate it. Soon after I started to shoot the pages, someone came in and objected. I was then sent to the director, who demanded that I “write an application, fill the forms and pay the fees”. Thanks God I had just the right amount at hand. Later on I had a list of reference books I wished to consult. After seeing seven books and asking for another one, the librarian declined claiming that they have a rule that no more than four books can be consulted in a day! It occurred to me that I myself should have some set of rules to preserve whatever is left of my mental sanity after visiting such “libraries” day after day...
Train to Mathura. The sleeper class was literally hijacked by a crowd without reservation, and there was no trace of any ticket collector during the whole journey. Somehow I was lucky to have an upper berth and to succeed in kicking out the guys who were lying on it. Whoever was on the lower berths had to sit the whole night.
Back to Godhead.
08-10-13 to 13-10-13
Again on the track, getting on the case of the same folks who have been promising to show me their libraries for aeons...
Visit to several libraries in Govardhan town. Refused entry in all of them. One of them read “Abhiram Granthagar” at the gate, but when I mentioned that I was looking for some old books, they replied that they have none. As I referred to the name written at the entrance and asked how possibly they can have no old books, they evaded the question by saying that it would be very difficult to find the key. At last, they came to the point and made it clear that it would take too long to let me see the books and that they prefer to remain sitting down idly as they were doing before I came to disturb. In the nearby Caitanya Mahaprabhu mandir they also have a library and gave me a similar reception claiming that the books are meant for them only and by no means they would let me see anything. Somehow I couldn’t detect the slightest trace of literacy in their auras... For the first time I am considering seriously the idea of using the local media to let everyone know that this Project is welcome at the libraries of the Rama-Krishna Mission, Akhandananda Sarasvati Ashram, Nimbarkas’, Sri Vaisnavas’, Madhvas’, Sankaras’, government and private institutes all over the country, while in Gaudiya temples and libraries they don’t want to hear a word.
I went to the Nimbarka College, but it was closed. I was told to come to the Bhataji mandir today. Again turned down and told to come day after tomorrow. Visit to the Braj Culture Research Centre.
I tried the Nimbarka College once again. Still closed. Someone told me they will open again after one week... I guess they have to rest due to such a hard work they do opening for a couple of hours a week a few months a year...
Visit to the Bon Maharaj College. It was closed and will open only on the 21st...
Visit to the Radha-Syamasundar mandir. We made some arrangements to visit the Syamananda Pitha in Gopivallabhpur.
I had an appointment at the Bhattaji mandir at 3 o’clock, and once again, upon arriving there, the Goswami told me that he is too busy. He has done this about ten times so far.
Finally the Nimbarka College opened again and I was fortunate to meet the Mahant there, so I got to see some granthas.
On the plea of the “Diwali”, no library opened for one month. Finally they showed up again in the office of the Nimbaka College, but refused to let me see anything today “because we didn’t bring the key.” I’ve been hearing this kind of rubbish since the beginning of the year and this time I really lost my patience. We started an argument and soon they were yelling at me. I had to call the Mahant to report them. They shut up but were stubborn: if I want to see the manuscripts I should “come tomorrow.” I wouldn’t cancel my ticket on the word of such characterless rascals. Tempo to Mathura and train to Allahabad.
I went to see the librarian in the Allahabad Museum, but although I sent him a message beforehand to “mark an appointment to see the manuscripts” as he had commanded in my last visit, he claimed that he received nothing and that he is too busy to show me anything. I then went to the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, where I was previously told that they wouldn’t show me any manuscript because the staff was on leave, and therefore I should come another day. This time they told me that they have no staff at all to hand the manuscripts to any possible reader, so there is no point in going there again and again. Fabulous! Another useless trip to Allahabad dump city.
Train to Kolkata.
Local train to Navadvip, boat to Mayapur.
Visited some libraries in Navadvip.
Visited some libraries in Mayapur.
25-11-13 to 29-11-13
Daily visits to Navadvip to meet some Goswamis and see some libraries.
Boat to Svarup Ganj, auto to Krishna Nagar and train to Kolkata. Visit to the Sanskrit College. I submitted an application to copy some manuscripts and they told me to come on the 4th. I then went to the Bangla Sahitya Parisad but couldn’t see all the manuscripts I wished because it was too difficult for the staff to locate them…
Visit to Pathbari. I had called the librarian several days before to ask if the library would be open and he confirmed it. Now he decided that he won’t open it for ten days…
Visit to the Caitanya Doba Vaisnava Research Institute in Hali Sahar, 50 km from central Kolkata. Visit to Sanskrit Sahitya Parisad. The staff is good for nothing and won’t let you copy anything. There was a book I had to consult, but they declined because it was in too bad condition. Visit to the Bag Bazar Gaudiya Math. No one was there to open the library, even hypothetically.
I went to search for the family of a pandita who owned an important manuscript collection hundred years ago. All I had was the name of the lane. No clue. Visit to the Rama Krishna Mission library in Gol Park. Polite people and well organized. Visit to the Bag Bazar Reading Library. I said one word and they started yelling at me that they have nothing and sending me away! I would love to have a hidden camera recording these wonderful moments to share them with the world through Youtube, especially those who read this diary in disbelief… I eagerly canvass for a donation.
Visit to the Asiatic Society. I was expected to visit the Sanskrit College today. Upon arriving there, the librarian told me that my application is on hold and that I should meet the principal. The fellow is a jerk and was talking to me as if I were uske baap ka naukar. I started speaking in Hindi and he yelled that I should speak in English. He demanded my original passport so that they can prosecute me if anything becomes damaged! I really had no time to go up and down several km to bring my passport, nor the patience to deal with this psycho twice on the same day.
Train to Bhubaneswar. Visit to the Kedarnath Gavesan Prathisthan. The librarian was very kind and let me see the manuscripts although I don’t have membership.
Visit to the Bhubaneswar Museum. Quite cooperative staff. Lots of catalogues to read, mostly in handwritten Oriyan. Not an easy task…
Visit to the State Archives and State Library. The librarians couldn’t give any help to find the reference materials I was looking for, and I had no time to see all the shelves.
Local train to Khurda Road. Train to Vijayawada.
Darshan of Lord Narasimha in Mangalagiri. Train to Chennai.
A nightmare to find a room. More than one hour roaming in the street with my luggage. Visit to the Oriental Manuscript Library. A couple of manuscripts I wished to see were damaged and they refused to let me see them. I asked if they would be repaired. They declined. Visit to the New Catalogus Catalogorum office, a real oasis for researchers.
The whole day in the Madras University.
What a surprise: the “librarian” of the Adyar “library” is out of station and won’t be back so soon. To the present day, he never bothered to reply to any of my messages. With the help of some contacts, I requested the curator to get the manuscripts repaired in the university library. All I got was a promise. The rest of the day reading manuscript hand lists.
Train to Tirupati. Visit to the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan.
Visit to the Venkateswar Oriental Research Institute.
Darshan of Balaji.
Train to Chennai. Train to Kumbakonam.
Local train to Tanjore. Visit to the Sarasvati Mahal.
Darshan in some Divya Desas.
Local train to Srirangam.
20-12-13 to 22-12-13
Met some Sri panditas. They were glad that I gave them a copy of the hand list of the ancient manuscript collection that belonged to the temple. The collection was given to the government and is now in the Tamil University, Tanjore.
Train to Mysore.
I wanted to stay in the dormitory of the railway station, but the clerk was on leave, so they won’t bother to give place to anyone for many days. All rooms in the area were full. At last I found a dump. As soon as I sat on the bed, bugs started to eat me up. Although the holiday is tomorrow, they decided to close everything today, so once again I couldn’t see anything. Train to Udupi.
No rooms anywhere. After walking for one hour or so, I ended up paying for an overpriced accommodation.
Another hour spent trying to find another room. I was refused a room because I am a Hare Krsna. Visit to the eight Mutts. It seems that most of the Swamis are out of station again. Visit to the Tattva Samshodhan Samsat.
Visit to the Vadiraja Research Institute.
28-12-13 to 30-12-13
Met a few Swamis and visited a few libraries.
Bus to Sringeri. They were very kind and helpful, but unfortunately it seems that the specific manuscript I was looking for was thrown in the river long ago. Bus back to Udupi.
Train to Mysore.
Bus to Melkote. Visit to the Sanskrit Academy. There was a book in the almirah which I wanted to see, but the librarian insisted that they don’t have it, although it was a few inches from his nose. I was standing in the manuscript section and the fellow in charge pretended I don’t exist. I went back to the reference section to ask what the matter is and they told me to complain in the administration. As the fellow heard this, he decided to ‘notice’ my existence and asked what I wanted. Although I explained very clearly that I am doing a research work and wish to see the catalogue, he ignored the point and started showing me some displayed items as if I were a tourist. As I insisted on my point, he declared that he wouldn’t show me anything without the permission of the director. There I go to meet him. Without much ceremony, the director told me I could see whatever I wish. Back to the manuscript section, the librarian was gone. He managed to show up by the time of lunch, and of course, told me to come later… A couple of hours late, as I repeated to him the director’s words, he demanded a written statement. In this case, I invited him to the director’s office. After a long discussion in Kannada, he convinced the director that he shouldn’t show anything to me, and that if I wanted to see their manuscript list, I should wait several years until they publish it! I then went to the Sanskrit College, but it was closed. Upon inquiring around, I found the house of the principal. His wife opened the door and told me to wait. I heard some murmurs and she came back with some excuses and told me to meet him in the office tomorrow morning.
I was in the Sanskrit College early in the morning as I was told. The principal arrived, greeted everyone but me, then went to the temple. Half an hour late, he comes back, sits in front of me, writes a few notes, stands up and walks off to start the class without saying a word to me. I got the message. Bus to Mysore. No news: no library is going to open for many more days. Bus to Bangalore.
After a long time, I finally met Prof. Pandurangi, one of the greatest Madhva scholars of our days. We a nice talk and he gave me some references and advices. Visit to the Uttaradi Mutt. The librarian was not there.
Bus to a village some 50 km north to meet a Swamiji in the hope that he could have something to say.
Train to Nellore.
Visit to the Sanskrit College.
08-01-14 to 24-01-14
Visit to several places in Andhra Pradesh.
25-01-14 to 01-02-14
Puri and Bhubaneswar. I met Gajapati Maharaja at his house. Unfortunately, it was too late, as the royal collection was no more. Yet he gave some good contacts.
Local train to Cuttack and bus to Kendrapara, about 70 km away. Visit to Dr. Fakir Mohan Das. His library is kept at another town, so I will have to come on another occasion.
Bus to Cuttack, train to Balasore and bus to Remuna .
04-02-14 and 05-02-14
At last some findings in the area. Met some local scholars and got a few books.
Bus to Remuna, bus to Baripada and bus to Gopivallabhpur, one worse than the other, not to speak of the road. I had previously contacted the Mahant of the Syamananda-gaddi, who told me to come on the 6th and 7th to see his library. I arrived late in the morning and he told me to come in the evening to talk. After the evening talk, he told me to come in the morning to see the library.
After attending the morning program in the temple, at 8 o’clock I sat in the courtyard to wait for the Mahant. Someone went upstairs to inform him and I was told to wait, and I did so until 2 pm. After being informed that the last bus was at 4 pm and that I was simply playing the fool, I stood up and was walking off when all of a sudden the Mahant shows up with a surprised/annoyed expression on his face due to my impertinency in not waiting for him… I had barely started seeing a few of his books when he interrupted and commanded that it was time for lunch. Half an hour later, instead of his one, he decided that it would be better to see the neighbour’s library. It was indeed a quite good collection, but by the time I finished it was already night. This was the end of our two days appointment and next day he wouldn’t be “available”.
Bus to Kharagpur and train to Kolkata. Visit to Pathbari.
The whole day at Pathbari. In the evening I went to the Caitanya Research Institute to consult some old GM magazines. I was indeed shown one magazine, but when I asked for a previous volume, the librarian promptly said that they don’t have it. I asked if he was sure about it, and he was adamant. Quite before the proper time, he told me it was the time to close. As I was about to leave, I just had a look at the shelf from which he took the magazine and I saw the volume I wished to read. Up to some point in life I would feel like saying something, but now I know that it is just crying in the wilderness.
Local train to Navadvip and boat to Mayapur. Visited a few libraries and met a few people.
12-02-14 to 15-02-14
Several visits to Navadvip and nearby places.
Auto to Krishnanagar and train to Kolkata.
Train to Varanasi.
18-02-14 to 22-02-14
Visits to the Nagari Pracari Sabha, BHU and Sampurnand. Lots of headaches to get a few copies from BHU.
Train to Mathura.
24-02-14 to 18-03-14
Busy time in Vrindavan meeting the very same folks.
19-03-14 to 21-03-14
National seminar on unknown and little known Vaisnava manuscripts. Meeting with the director of the National Mission for Manuscripts.
22-03-14 to 21-04-14
More time wasted in the so-called Nimbarka College just to hear a lot of rubbish. One of the prominent acharyas, Sri Gopal Sharan Devacharya Maharaj, went there personally and requested them to cooperate with me, but they couldn’t care less. Meanwhile, I spent some time intermediating to have one ancient library of the Radha-ramana parivara donated to the Jiva Institute. Short time to do much, but I made a few good discoveries in the period.
Tempo to Mathura, train to Hindaun, bus to Karauli. Darsana of Sri Sri Radha-Madana-mohana ji to get their blessing for this Rajasthan expedition.
Bus to Jaipur. Visit to the city palace library. Due to the lack of staff, they told me to come next week if I wish to see some manuscripts. Meeting with several people. Looked several manuscripts at the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute.
Long talk with the Mahant of the Balanand Math, who did a lot of research on his sampradaya. He told me lots of anecdotes of the kings and sadhus of Jaipur. I was introduced to the Mahant of the Madana-Gopala ji mandir, who promised to intermediate in the Govindaji mandir. I tried to meet the queen, but she is out of station.
Another meeting with the Balanand Mahant and others. Talked to the Galta Mahant, who is out of station but is coming back in the evening. Got more several contacts.
Visit to the Centre for Jain Studies.
In the morning I went to meet the Goswami in the Govindaji mandir, but spite all the previous promises and intermediation, this time he said some ten times that he is not gonna show me anything. I hope Rupa Gosvami is watching everything.
Visit to the Jain Vidya Sansthan, where I was received very politely and in a couple of minutes got the manuscripts I wished to see in my hands. Visit to the SRC Pracya Vidyapitha, where I was told that it would take them four days to show me any manuscript. Visit to the city palace library.
The whole morning in the Sanjaya Museum and lots of discussions about manuscripts. The rest of the day in the city palace library. I tried to meet the queen once again. After waiting for 45 min. in the office, I was told that she is still out of station.
The Galta Mahant asked me to meet him in Galta at 11 AM. I went all the way up hill on foot and upon arriving there the pujari told me that he wouldn’t come but would wait for me in his house in the city at 4 PM. All the way up hill in the scorching heat of the Rajasthani summer. Spent a couple of hours reading in the city palace library. Visit to the SRC Pracya Vidyapitha. Visit to the Sanjaya Museum.
It took me a couple of hours and several kms walking under the noon sun to be able to locate the Prakrita Bharati library after being sent up and down several times. Once again, I was cordially shown the library by the Jain staff. Visit to the Jaipur Record Centre. The director, a Muslim gentleman, was not much aware of the collections available there, but was very polite and tried to be helpful. What an age: we receive help from Jains and Muslims, but so-called Gaudiyas won’t even talk to us... Visit to the Rajasthan Sanskrit Academy, where I was finally shown the catalogue, but it was too late to go through it. Visit to the Sanjaya Sharma Museum till 9 PM. Exhaustive day.
I had to catch a train at 6 AM, so at around 5 o’clock I asked the gate keeper to open the gate. He asked for the “checkout slip” and I showed him the receipt, as I had already paid. He was not convinced and demanded the “checkout slip”, and in case I don’t have one, then I should wait until 6 o’clock when the manager comes. I kept on saying that I have to catch a train at 6 and the dude kept on saying that I have to wait for the manager. When I started yelling, the manager just popped up, gave me the slip and opened the gate. He was silent when I asked why the heck he didn’t say anything about a checkout slip. The whole morning in a train to Jodhpur. Visit to the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute, where I heard lots of shouts as usual, and spent the rest of the day reading manuscripts. I couldn’t see all because the staff was too busy playing games and surfing the internet for Bollywood. I spent the night in a dump in front of the station and hardly got any sleep.
Most of the day in a train to Bikaner.
Sunday, first day off since I left Vrindavan. Spent a long time trying to find a room, as the one I got is too expensive. At last, I found a dharmashala which I can afford, but the room is absolutely nasty. I hadn’t taken anything during the day, so in the evening I went around to find something to drink. After walking a long way, I spotted a tetra pack juice. I walked in the shop and asked for the juice, but the guy stubbornly said he had none. I just walked off to spare whatever was left of my good mood.
In the morning I went to the State Archives, where they asked me to fill lots of forms and give copies of all possible things, even a photo. Spite of the board which says that the office opens at 10 AM, it was more than 12 o’clock and the director had not arrived yet. After all this waste of time, someone was kind enough to say that he wouldn’t come before 2 PM. I decided to visit the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute meanwhile. The director and the officer were sitting down as I walked in and said “namaskar”, but none of them replied. The director asked me which country I am from. I said it thrice, still she couldn’t get it. “For the fourth time: Brazil.” She then became indignant and started saying that I have no patience and know nothing about research. She made me fill all the forms and applications and demanded originals from all my documents. When at last I gave the list of the manuscripts I wished to consult, she said: “Isopanishad? Which kind of book is this?” Meanwhile, the officer also gave me a register to sign. He insisted that my home address abroad should be written in Hindi. God knows wherefrom I got patience for this, but I still tried to explain that there are no Hindi addresses abroad. The guy started calling me arrogant. I was silently watching how far this would go. He then started narrating some incident from the Mahabharata which describes how arrogant a disciple of the sage Gautama was. The director liked it and asked the name of Gautama Buddha's disciple (!!!). How I wish to record these wonderful moments to share them in Youtube! Note that this is the intellectual elite of India managing the prestigious Oriental Research Institute of Rajasthan, which holds some of the most important collections of manuscripts in the world. Back to the Archives, I had to get my wish list typed and printed because the staff was not able to read anything hand written in either Roman or devanagari. By 3 o’clock I was sent to meet the director. As he put his eyes on me, he had already decided that he wouldn’t show me anything. He started by saying that this is not a public library. As I mentioned that I am doing a research work, he said that they don’t allow independent scholars. As I showed him my documents and letters of affiliation, he started to demand imaginary documents. After some 5 minutes talking in Hindi, when I mentioned that I am from Brazil, he asked me if I am able to speak Hindi. Oh Bhagavan, what a day! At last, he decided that I need a letter from the Brazilian Embassy allowing me to consult his library. I still tried to explain that embassies are not meant to give letters for visiting libraries. Crying in the wilderness. Far beyond the limit. Straight to the station to get a ticket for the first train. Garbage all over and zombie population. They call it Bikaner.
Having no other option, I arrived in Delhi in the morning. It took me almost two hours to reach Nizamuddin. No trains so soon, so I had to catch a crowded bus to Mathura. Arrived in Vrindavan in the afternoon. Felt like waking up from a nightmare.
Next expedition. Tempo to Mathura, train to Allahabad.
Visit to the Allahabad Museum. Visit to the Ganganath Jha Research Institute. This time I got good cooperation from the staff in both places, and spite of taking several hours, I could consult the manuscripts I wished.
Another visit to the Ganganath Jha RI. Train to Barddhaman.
Bus to Kalna. The whole day visiting temples and meeting Goswamis. Lucky to see some manuscripts and get some contacts.
Had to catch a train to Kolkata before 5 AM but decided to visit the Caitanya Doba Research Institute on the way. It was a trouble to reach there – local train to Naihati, bus to Halisahar - and the day schedule had to be changed. Bus to Naihati, local train to Howrah, local train to Mecheda, bus to Tamluk. Arrived there in the evening. Visit to the Vasudeva Ghosh Para. The head pujari kindly let me see his library and presented me some books. Tempo to Mecheda.
Local train to Kharagpur at 4:38 AM, two hours in a bus to Gopivallabhpur. Arrived there by 10 AM. Upon meeting the Mahant, he said that I should have marked an appointment and that he has no time to show me anything. Yet he introduced me to some of his relatives who were very kind to let me see their collections.
I was supposed to catch a bus at 4:30 AM, but the guest house gate was locked and there was no staff around, although I had informed them the night before. Missed the bus. The next one was at 5:30 and because of this I arrived too late at Kharagpur, missing all the trains that would reach Kolkata in the morning. Arrived there at noon, which spoiled the plan I had for today. Decided to stay at the ISKCON temple, catch on my japa and rest. In this last week I was barely getting 4 hours sleep at night.
Visit to Pathbari. Visit to the National Library. The staff didn’t know where the manuscript section is and sent me up and down several times. After figuring the location, I had to again go up and down several times because there was no straight lift or staircase, and no one was able to explain the way. One hour wasted to reach the place. Upon asking to see some manuscripts, they insisted that I should have a membership card. Somehow I got my case done and they gave me a “concession”.
I had to catch a train to Puri at 6 AM from Howrah. When I was coming out from the temple around 5 o’clock, some dudes on a motorbike spat on my face. I wouldn’t be even slightest surprised if they are “Hindus”, as I never had issues with Muslims or Christians. After spending some 15 minutes on the bus stop without seeing any trace of a bus, I had to catch a taxi.
Met some panditas.
Visit to Gambhira to read the library catalogue. At Siddha-bakul the mahant claims that the whole library was destroyed.
Visit to Gangamata Math. Although there was a big bundle of manuscripts visible in the temple compound, the mahant and the pujari insisted they have nothing. Crying in the wilderness.
Visit to the Raghunandan Library, where I couldn’t see the books I wished last year because they didn’t find the key of the almirah. Water is dropping from the ceiling and spoiled all the books. The staff had not even noticed it, and when I pointed it out, they said: “So what?”
Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s disappearance mahotsava. The whole day fasting and translating.
Dry fasting for Pandava Ekadasi. Too hot here, so no outside activities.
10-06-14 to 22-06-14
Visits to a few libraries such as the Jagannath Research Centre and meeting with a few scholars.
Finished a rough translation of the Tattva-dipika. It still needs a deep revision and lots of explanatory notes.
Visit to Alarnatha. Train to Howrah.
Local train to Navadvip, boat to Mayapur.
Visit to Navadvip to meet some Gosvamis.
27-06-14 to 03-07-14
Raining a lot everyday. Home work.
Most of the day in Navadvip meeting panditas.
Boat to Navadvip, local train to Katwa, bus to Srikhanda. I told the conductor to tell me where to get off, but the rascal didn’t. I asked the locals how to get to the Chittranjan Library, but no one had idea. At last a shopkeeper claimed to know the place and arranged a sort of ‘riksha’. Three km later, he dropped me in a Gaudiya temple. The pujari said that I was in the wrong place and he didn’t know of any library. I decided to call the library, the same number through which I had asked directions the day before. A lady on the phone said that I dialed the wrong number. The pujari gave direction to the rikshawala to take me back claiming that the address I am looking for is in the opposite direction. Another three km to the same place I was before. After several minutes of argument, the locals finally ‘remembered’ exactly where the library is and put me on another ‘riksha’. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but the library is just a few meters from that same temple. The first thing I inquired is why they speak nonsense on the phone. The librarian claimed that he was out and the sweeper picked the phone... After a few minutes looking at the library I felt like running away. The government published a catalogue of their manuscripts, but they don’t have a copy of it in the library. I was shown an incomplete hand list. There was no book catalogue either, only a hand list horribly written and without any specific order. It started raining heavily I was forced to wait. As soon as the rain stopped, I went out, but there were no rikshawalas around and the road was flooded. After inquiring here and there, I was told to go to some rikshawala’s house to call him. I took a bus to Katwa station and arrived right on time to catch a local train, but unfortunately it took it one and a half hour to start. Arrived in Mayapur at night.
Boat to Svarupa Ganj, train to Kolkata. Visit to the National Library. As per their directions, we had sent a letter a month ago but received no response. I had to wait for one hour to talk to the director. He didn’t remember any letter but approved my application to copy the manuscripts I need. The letter I sent was lying down on someone’s table in the manuscript section. Spite the director’s approval, they made it clear that they won’t let me copy anything. I went back to the director’s office. He had left for lunch and I had to wait for another hour. At last, after some phone exchanges, they told me that the problem is that the section in-charge was not there and would be coming later. Back to the ms section, when the librarian came I asked why he hadn’t replied to my letter. He said that they needed time to think about it and that in any case I applied for a Sanskrit ms, while they have only Bengali mss. This he assumed because most mss there are written in Bengali characters. It took me half and hour to make him understand the difference between a language and an alphabet. Yet he was adamant that copies were not allowed. I went back to the director’s office, who then called the ms librarian to come. I deeply regret I didn’t bring anything to record this memorable meeting and show of rubbish. To make it short, the director became convinced that it is the law of the Indian govt. that mss should be neither copied nor published at all. By the time I had to leave, it was raining heavily.
Visit to Pathbari, but they didn’t open the library under the excuse that today is ekadasi. They also said that they won’t open tomorrow either, probably because it is dvadasi... Another visit to the National Library, at least to have a look at the mss, all I got from them. I needed to consult a printed book in the main library, but the catalogue number was wrong. I had to spend more than one hour trying to find out what the correct number could be. After getting the said number, I waited more a couple of hour while the staff tried to locate it, but they failed. I had to write a request and hope that one they will be able to find it...
I had just come out to go to the Jadavpur University when it started raining like hell, although a few minutes before the sun was shining. What seemed to make sense from the map turned to be a nightmare as I had to cross lanes full of butcher shops to catch a local train in a nearby station. I jumped in the first train assuming there was only one line and I had only a couple of stations to cross, a mistake which cost me more than an hour wasted. Meanwhile the rain became even heavier. It took me more than two hours to arrive at the library. The librarian promptly tried to convince me that they have nothing of what I am looking for, without even suggesting that I check the catalogue... Night train to Varanasi.
The whole day at the BHU library.
12-07-14 to 13-07-14
Met some panditas.
I had an appointment with a professor at the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University at 11 o’clock. After making me wait for a couple of hours, he told me that he is too busy and that I should come day after tomorrow. I went to the library and they prohibited me from going inside because I had a laptop, which is of course very dangerous to them and harmful to the books. Several hours walking up and down under scorching heat to visit a few places, then more 5 km on foot back to my guest house in Assi because the roads were closed and there was no transportation available. I got a flu because of drinking too cold lassi.
Visit to the Ramnagar Fort. I was told that the manuscript library has been closed for more than 15 years and that I would need the permission of the king to see anything there. He is out of station, so I left an application.
I had another appointment at 11 AM with the said professor. When I arrived at Sampurnananda, he told me that he had to attend a meeting and hardly gave me a few minutes... The rest of the day in BHU meeting several professors.
Train to Mathura.
Back home. Lot of work waiting for me here.
Train to Udaipur.
Most of the day in the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute.
Bus to Nathdwara. Visit to the Sahitya Mandal.
Bus to Udaipur, train to Baroda.
Visit to a local pandita. Train to Mumbai.
Visit to the Mumbai University. The guard flatly refused to let me cross the gate claiming that only their students are allowed inside the campus. I wonder how someone could even possibly be admitted if entrance is not allowed.... I had to go the way around and enter through another gate. Once in the library, I asked to copy a manuscript and they told me that I would have to meet the chief librarian in the other campus, some 25 km away, submit an application and then wait for several days until they hold a meeting and have a reply...Visit to the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, despite the reception they gave me last year...
The Asiatic Society will be closed for a few days, so I had to tweak my plans. Train to Pune. Visit to the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. It is supposed to open at 11 AM, but the staff of the manuscript section showed up at around 1 PM. Around 3 PM I was told that the section in-charge wouldn’t come today. In the reference section, I had to wait for one hour until they could find the book I wished to see. Since they were not being able to locate it, they tried to ‘entertain’ me with other books because the title was similar...
Bhandarkar again. At last, I got the copies I had requested and paid for exactly one year ago. The director was very surprised to know that the staff didn’t send the copies to me as they were supposed to and seemed to be inclined to escalate the case. In the reference section, after another hour waiting for another book, I gave it up and ran away. I couldn’t escape the rain, though.
Train to Mumbai at 4 AM. Visit to the Asiatic Society. The staff was helpful but couldn’t find the manuscript I was looking for.
The whole day around some local libraries.
Train to Baroda. Because I had to cancel the ticket I had due to the change in the schedule, I didn’t get a confirmed berth in the train and had to sit down the whole night.
Visit to the Sanskrit College. Visit to the Baroda Oriental Research Institute. Helpful staff, but I will have to come again tomorrow because they could not open some of the almirahs.
I had requested to have the manuscripts ready before I arrive, and I intentionally delayed one hour to give them time. As I could guess, when I arrived at the Oriental Institute by 12 o’clock, they not even remembered anything of the sort. I had to wait for one hour while they were tracing the manuscripts in the almirahs... Night train to Jaipur.
Visit to the City Palace library. They told me that they can’t show me any manuscript at present because the library caught fire some days ago and it is under repair. Still they don’t believe that there is need to have the collection scanned... Visit to the Sanjay Sharma Museum. Met several of my local contacts.
Visit to the Sanskrit Academy. I called before going and they told me it was open, but when I arrived there they told me that I wouldn’t be able to see anything because they were all busy...
I had to catch a train to Bharatpur at 4 AM. In the evening I had paid the guest house bill and informed the manager and staff that I needed to leave before 4 AM and didn’t want any drama, to which they promptly agreed. At around 3:30 AM I called the very same staff to open the gate, but instead of doing it, they started questioning if I had paid the bill. A few shouts made them suddenly ‘remember’ that I had already paid. Once in Bharatpur, there was no one in charge of the resting rooms in the station, and the only place in the area seemed to be a filthy dharmashala. Having no option on sight, I got a room there. On the wall there was a board in Hindi saying “do not spit on the walls,” a request which was visibly not followed by most of their ‘guests’. After 11 AM, I walked 2,5 km up to the local branch of the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute. Although I had called the officer a day before to ask if he would open today, to which he acceded, when I arrived there, the door was closed. I called the guy to ask what is going on, and he said that today is holiday. When I asked why the hell he didn’t say that when I called yesterday, he replied asking who I think I am to question him and that he doesn’t need to give explanations to anyone. Once again the ‘learned’ staff of the Rajasthan Oriental ‘Research’ Institute displaying how much they ‘care’ for the researchers who visit them. I rushed back to my room, packed, and jumped on the first bus to Mathura. End of this expedition.
04-10-14 to 18-11-14
Kartika in Vrindavan, studying, translating, doing parikrama and running after the same old folks to get the chance to see their manuscripts.
I had booked a train ticket from Mathura to Allahabad, but at the last moment I came to know that the railway decided to cancel the Mathura halt and I had to jump on the first bus to Agra. Arrived together with the train. So started another expedition...
Met the principal of the Ganganath Jha Research Institute and after a brief talk in Sanskrit, she approved my application to copy a few manuscripts. Despite of it, the staff told me to sit and wait, and that is what I did the whole day there without being shown a single page. Meanwhile I visited the Prayag Hindi Sammelan, where I had previously been first told that the manuscript section staff was on leave, then that they have no staff at all and the ms section was permanently closed, and then that the ms section was under renovation and wouldn’t open for many months. This time an intermediate put me in touch with someone of the administration, who went with me to meet the ‘librarian’. It became evident that the ms section is not closed, nor under renovation, nor lacking staff. Yet the ‘librarian’ had to call the staff to know why he was not present. The guy was ‘too busy’ somewhere else and would come only tomorrow. I said that tomorrow I have to go Varanasi, so I can’t guarantee that I would be able to come. The ‘librarian’ seemed very satisfied with the idea that I am leaving and assured me that they would look for my manuscripts...
Since I couldn’t accomplish anything yesterday, I was forced to stay on today. I arrived at the Ganganath Jha around 10 o’clock, but the staff started to arrive after 11 AM. After another hour wasted, someone informed me that they decided to send my application to the vice-chancellor and that only after they hold a meeting they will come to a decision and then will send a letter to Vrindavan to notify me... Since I am still here, I decided to go again to the Hindi Sammelan to see what would happen. The ‘librarian’ very shamelessly said that the staff had actually come yesterday and looked for my mss but unfortunately could not find them. I asked how possibly could he fail to locate two different mss. After being puzzled for a moment, the ‘librarian’ said that the mss are both kept together in a single bundle. This is one of the grossest and most stupid lies I heard recently. Enough of these idiots. I rushed to the station and jumped on the first train to Varanasi. Too bad that the track was under repair and the train arrived at night.
Visit to the Visvanatha Library, Gopala Mandir and Sampurnananda Sanskrit University. My application to see the library of the Kashiraj was rejected by him under the pretext that the building is under renovation.
Met some panditas.
Visit to BHU and a private library. Train to Howrah.
The train was several hours late and thus I lost the whole morning. In the afternoon I visited the Sanskrit College. This time the principal immediately approved my application without any drama. However, the staff failed to locate the mss I wish. Visit to the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad. I requested copies of a few pages of a ms and they told me that it will take one week to ‘process’ it.
I had a plan to visit Pathbari and got someone to call the baba in charge. He has no intention to open the library in less than one week. Given the circumstances, I took a local train to Navadip.
Local train to Katwa and bus to Srikhanda. Visit to Narahari Thakur Bari, but the Mahant was not there. I arrived too early at the Chittaranjan Pathmandir and had to wait one hour until the librarian came. On the phone he had agreed to let me take pictures, but on the way he changed his mind and decided to send my application to the general secretary... Although we had to purchase a copy of the printed catalogue of that library, which they don’t have there, the numbers in it became useless after the National Mission for Manuscripts staff went there, messed up everything, and left without finishing the job. As he failed to locate the mss I want, the librarian’s bold tone faded when I told him that I will have to report the case to the government. Back to Narahari’s mandir, I met the Mahant, who told me that the collection they used to have was given to that same library and that I do well in reporting them. Bus to Katwa. I had checked the time table of trains to Navadvip and there was none so soon, therefore I was planning to catch a bus. Somehow a dude convinced me that there was a train to Navadvip now, so instead of going to the bus stand, I got off at the railway station. There was indeed a train on the platform, but it remained there for more than one hour and delayed more than one hour one the way, thus I wasted the rest of the day in a 40 km journey.
Visit to the Sadharan Granthagar. I asked for the manuscript catalogue and they almost sent me to the dogs. Met some local Gosvamis. After two days staying in an ashram infested with mosquitoes and with a ‘bathroom’ under the open sky, I got flu and stress enough to run away as far as possible.
Met some local panditas.
Local train to Kolkata.
Visit to the Sanskrit College. They could locate most of the manuscripts I had to see, but not all. Visit to the Kolkata University. In the manuscript section they said that they have no staff available and therefore cannot show anything. They also couldn’t say anything about anything and therefore gave me the phone number of the lady in charge in case I want to talk directly to her. Visit to the National Library. I didn’t bring my membership card, yet they were kind enough to let me see some manuscripts.
Visit to the Caitanya “Research” Institute. The librarian was on leave and the library won’t open until he comes back after some two weeks. Visit to the Bangiya Sahitya Parisad. As one week passed, I thought they would have my copies ready. Not at all. They just told me to copy the manuscript with my own camera. I then asked for a copy of a couple of pages of an encyclopedia. They told me to fill an application form and wait for one week so that they can ‘process’ it. For those who have read some of my previous entries, at this point this should not be much surprising, isn’t it? And this is one of the main libraries in Kolkata, one of the largest cities in the world. I had a friend to call the lady in charge of the ms section in the Kolkata University and NMM in West Bengal to find out what time she is available in the office. She just wanted to know who the hell had given us her phone number and made it clear that they have none of the manuscripts that we are looking for. Curiously, they have about 60,000 and no catalogue. Well, I was just going to ask her if they will finish their job in Srikhanda or I will have to report them to the director of the NMM in Delhi. astu.
Visit to Pathbari. After being previously turned down in several visits, finally the baba in charge was in a mood to open the library and I got to see some nice scriptures. It paid off. Visit to the Bag Bazar Reading Library. I arrived just a few minutes before their opening time. I had barely said a couple of words and the staff told me to get the hell out of there because it is closed. So sweet! Check out my previous entry on 03-12-13. This much of West Bengal for now. Night train to Puri.
Visit to several temples. I’ve found the remnants of a ms library but was not allowed to have a look. Spent the night at Siddha Bakul.
Morning bus to Bhubaneswar. I got off at the ISKCON temple thinking of getting a room in the guest house, but it was full. I asked for a place in the ashram, but they declined under the plea of lack of space. I had to catch the local transportation to go to the station area and was forced to get a noisy, sticky, albeit overrated room. Visit to the State Museum. The manuscript section was closed. I asked the staff about it, but they couldn’t say anything substantial. I walked around for a while and was about to give it up when someone suddenly took me to the peon of the library, who was sitting idly somewhere else. He told me that the librarian had gotten another job somewhere else and therefore he doesn’t bother to open the library... I could read some mss, but when I requested some copies, he told me that they have no one working on the computer to give me a CD. I had to write an application and meet the curator, who told me to call the librarian to find out when she plans to be present in the library and possibly arrange my copies. I called her, explained my case, and she hung up the phone at my face.