Sunday, May 18, 2014

Vidyabhusana Project Update and Prabodhananda Sarasvati's Viveka-shatakam









                    Pada-kaustubha, manuscript 1

                                                      Pada-kaustubha, manuscript 2




In the last six months I travelled around ten states in India and collected a few thousand pages in manuscripts, books, documents and reference materials. Among the major acquisitions are different manuscript copies of Pada-kaustubha and Laghu-siddhanta-kaustubha. I am also glad to announce the reappearance of Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s Viveka-shatakam. Although the focus of this project is on the works of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, I often come across several unpublished and lost manuscripts of other Gaudiya Acharyas and feel compelled to take care of them too.


 

On the 19th, 20th and 21st March, I took part in the ‘Seminar on Unpublished and Little Known Vaisnava Manuscripts’ held at the Braj Culture Research Institute, Vrindavan. Scholars from all over India took part in the event, which covered a wide range of topics related to Northern and Southern Indian Vaisnavism. In my presentation, entitled “Baladeva Vidyabhusana and some Unpublished Manuscripts”, I presented a summary of the five unpublished works acquired so far and a brief life sketch based on recorded evidence. An English translation of the lecture is available in the Vidyabhusana Project Blog: http://vidyabhusanaproject.blogspot.in/2014/04/lecture.html

 

Among the personalities I met in the last expeditions is Gajapati Maharaja, King of Puri, who rendered valuable assistance by putting me in touch with several scholars in Odisha. I presented him with a research paper by Sundarananda Vidyavinoda on the works composed by Prataparudra Maharaja, and the King expressed his concern to recover this important legacy. Unfortunately, the collection of manuscripts which belonged to the royal family does not exist anymore. In a recent meeting with the Mahanta of the Ramanandi Pitha in Galta, he informed me of his wish to once again install the deity of Vijaya Gopala in the altar. According to some documents, after defeating all the objections against the authenticity of the Gaudiya sampradaya, Baladeva Vidyabhusana installed several deities called “Vijaya” to celebrate victory. He installed Vijaya Gopala in Galta itself, Vijaya Govinda in Vrindavan, and Vijaya Syamasundara in Jaipur city in a temple which became known as “Vidyabhusana mandir”. According to the Galta Mahanta, due to some unfortunate circumstances, the deity of Vijaya Gopala cracked some hundred years ago, and since then His altar in the right corner of the temple has been closed. No remains are left. The whereabouts of Vijaya-Syamasundara is unknown. Vijaya-Govinda can be seen in the Radha-Gokulananda mandir. I also met Prof. Pandurangi in Bangalore, one of the greatest contemporary Madhva scholars, now at the age of 95, who gave me a good perspective on the manuscript resources in South India.

 

Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s Viveka-shatakam had been seen by Rajendralal Mitra in a personal collection in Behrampur and listed in a report dated 1883, but since that time it has not been heard of. In this collection of hundred verses, Srila Prabodhananda, already in old age, constantly expresses his intense desire for going to Vrindavan and his grief for not having surrendered to Lord Krishna. This text helps to clarify doubts regarding his identity, who according to different views was Gopala Bhatta’s uncle from Srirangam, Prakasananda Sarasvati from Benares or neither of them.



 

Laghu-siddhanta-kaustubha, manuscript 1
 

Laghu-siddhanta-kaustubha, manuscript 2


 

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