Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Baladeva Vidyabhusana Project Update and Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s Nityanandastakam

Ancient manuscript of Nityanandastakam in the name of Prabodhananda Sarasvati

Manuscript of Visvanatha Cakravarti's Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika, copied on 1808 AD

Not so long after locating a manuscript of his Caitanyastakam, I was fortunate enough to come across a manuscript of the Nityanandastakam attributed to Prabodhananda Sarasvati. Although no date is mentioned, after having the manuscript assessed by a few experts, they all agreed that the paper, ink and style seem to be of the 16th century, so this is one of the oldest extant Gaudiya Sanskrit manuscripts. Both astakas will be published soon with the Viveka-satakam in a single book.

An important discovery was another copy of Visvanatha Cakravarti’s Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika. The manuscript is dated Samvat 1865 (1808 AD) and contains several verses which were missed by the copyist in the other copy previously found, and it also presents more correct readings. This will be essential to revise the text to bring it closer to the original in future editions.

Another phase of the BV Project has been started in order to retrieve the original documentation relevant to the life and work of Baladeva Vidyabhusana. There seems to be a good number of such documents preserved in some of the government archives, and I have already copied some of the personal letters issued by Vidyabhusana for the King of Jaipur. Other documents reveal important information about Vidyabhusana’s activities and achievements in Vrindavan and Jaipur.

Despite my best efforts, I still couldn’t get cooperation from the Vrindavan Research Institute, which hosts the largest collection of Gaudiya manuscripts in the world, but where unfortunately the present staff know nothing about research and are adamant that manuscripts should not be shown and that copies should not be given to anyone, besides having an extensive history of corruption. This has led me to lodge a complaint addressed to the Prime Minister of India, and the case is being processed.

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