Friday, March 20, 2015

Vidyabhusana Project Update and Rupa Gosvami's Hari-namamrta-vyakarana

Colophon of Srila Rupa Gosvami's Hari-namamrta-vyakarana


            I am glad to announce that while searching for Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s works, I found a manuscript of Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Hari-namamrta-vyakarana. Just as Srila Jiva Gosvami’s Sat-sandarbhas were based on Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami’s notes on the Srimad-Bhagavatam, similarly Srila Rupa Gosvami’s grammatical treatise is the work which inspired Jiva Gosvami to write a full-fledged version of it. This is corroborated by Gopala dasa in his Amrtasvadini-tika, one of the original Sanskrit commentaries on Jiva Gosvami’s grammar. In the beginning of the text, Rupa Gosvami offers obeisances to Lord Hari and expresses his wish that the devotees may relish the Lord’s Holy Name through this grammar. This concise exposition of grammatical rules may help those who desire to acquire a basic knowledge of Sanskrit in the way it used to be taught by Lord Caitanya.

After several years of search, recently one of the primary goals of the Vidyabhusana Project has been attained: all printed editions of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s works, as well as possibly all articles ever written about him, have been digitized. This is the outcome of years visiting innumerable libraries all over India and going through hundred of catalogues and reference books to be sure that nothing was left behind. One of the benefits derived particularly from old editions is that they may have been based on manuscripts which do not exist anymore and might have readings different from those found in the available manuscripts. The files are being gradually uploaded and available for free here.

During my quest for Vidyabhusana’s lost commentaries on the ten Upanisads, on a few occasions there were individuals trying to dissuade me claiming that he never wrote them. For a while I was looking for some evidence that those commentaries were ever written and the first hint I got was from an article published in the Sajjana-tosani magazine in 1897 in which Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura clearly affirmed that among the works of Vidyabhusana which he read are “the commentaries on some Upanisads.” Surprisingly, this was not accepted as evidence by some, albeit supposedly members of Bhaktivinoda’s parampara. Many decades later, Krishna dasa Baba wrote in the appendix to the Isopanisad-bhasya, published by him in 1966, that he was searching for the lost commentaries on the other Upanisads, among which were the Katha and the Kaivalya. Unfortunately, he didn’t tell us the source of this information. It was only recently that I found a clear and definitive evidence in the notes written by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, originally published in 1930 in a compilation called Prabhupader Vaktravali, in which he mentioned that once he desired to published the Dasopanisad-bhasya and wrote to his friend Visvambharananda-deva Gosvami, a leading Syamanandi scholar, who replied that because the manuscript was too worn-out, it was ‘given away to the Yamuna.’ It is my great hope that there might be a copy left somewhere and I am doing my best to find it.

It is being very difficult to catch up with the translation work among so many travels, yet I have already finished translating Visvanatha Cakravarti’s Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika and Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s Viveka-satakam, and both should be coming out soon. As for Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s Tattva-dipika, devotees and scholars suggested that I provide sufficient explanatory notes to help average readers to follow the philosophical topics discussed there, which will take some time to be done.


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