Monday, May 13, 2024

Baladeva Vidyabhusana Project


The Baladeva Vidyabhusana Project has the following primary objectives:

1. Search for lost manuscripts. (Such as the commentaries on the ten Upanisads, six Sandarbhas, 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 Odia 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 evidence of the alleged conflict between the Gaudiyas and the Ramanandis in Rajasthan.
10. Publish a comprehensive biographical work.


Despite innumerable difficulties and little support, in over ten years since the Vidyabhusana Project was launched, we were rewarded with the following successes:

1) Discovery of several unpublished manuscripts, such as Tattva-dipika, Brahma-sutra-karika-bhasya, Sabda-sudha, Laghu-siddhanta-kaustubha, Pada-kaustubha, Vedanta-syamantaka-tika, Prameya-ratnavali-tika, and Vrajaisvarya-kadambini-vyakhya. Besides these, many unpublished works of other acaryas have also been found and copied, such as Visvanatha Cakravarti's Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika, Prabodhananda Sarasvati's Viveka-shatakam, and Rupa Gosvami's Hari-namamrta-vyakarana.

2) Acquisition of digital copies of more than 50,000 pages in manuscripts, documents, records, etc.

3) Publication of several critical editions with English translation: Tattva-dipika, Chandah-kaustubha, Siddhanta-darpana, Siddhanta-ratnam, Vedanta-syamantaka, Brahma-sutra-karika-bhasya, Namartha-sudha, Prameya-ratnavali, Vrajaisvarya-kadambini, Syamananda-sataka-tika. Publication of Visvanatha Cakravarti's Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika with English translation and comparative tables. Publication of a critical edition and English translation of Prabodhananda Sarasvati's Viveka-satakam, Caitanya-citrastakam and Nityanandastakam.

4) Digitization of all printed editions of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s works and all known articles ever written about him.

Reviews of the Vidyabhusana Project

"You are indeed doing a wonderful work by preserving this heritage of knowledge of thousands of years through digitizing, editing, translating and introducing these texts to the world. We are going through an era in which little attention is paid to this most valuable treasure and there are very few who could appreciate it and are capable of doing it. I wish and hope you will continue to do this great service to knowledge and humanity."
Dr. Akhlaq Ahmad (Professor of Persian and Arabic studies, JN University, Delhi)

       "Well done and keep up the good work! You are an excellent researcher and your contribution is priceless. No matter how tedious the task, you endeavour and are now reaping the rewards thereof. May the Lord and the previous acaryas empower your endeavour." (14th December, 2017)
Lokanatha Swami (ISKCON guru)

"This is, as Srila Prabhupada would say, "solid work." It is a lasting contribution to Vaisnavism. The very fact that these Gosvami works are being published in English will inspire Indian devotees to read them in their own languages. Personally I get more inspiration from news of the publication of such important works as these than I do from news of temple openings. May the acaryas continue to bless you in your substantial contributions to their legacy." (6th July, 2015)
“Thank you for the update and for your continuing dedication in this service. May Srila Prabhupada and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu bless you always in your endeavors. If there is anything in which I can help, just let me know.” (21st March, 2015)
Bhakti Vikasa Swami (ISKCON guru)

“The BV research project is very valuable since it is making an effort to find and preserve valuable scriptures which will soon be lost forever. Already so much has been destroyed in the last hundred years. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. We must preserve the Gaudiya heritage to the best of our ability. All devotees should take a keen interest in this project.” (27th April, 2015)
Bhanu Swami (ISKCON GBC)

“Thank you for your valuable service" (31st July, 2020)
“I just wanted to congratulate you on undertaking the Vidyabhusana project. This is a most valuable contribution. May Krishna always bless you!” (4th November, 2011)
Hridayananda das Goswami (Dr. H. Resnick, ISKCON GBC/guru)

        "Thank you so much for the great work you have been doing by providing us with the powerful materials for our spiritual nourishment." (17th August, 2020)
Bhakti Dhira Damodara Swami (ISKCON GBC and guru)

“This is a great project and will go down in history. Thank you for taking this initiative. It is most unfortunate that the Gaudiyas in the past took very little interest in preserving the works of our acharyas.” (5th October, 2011)
Dr. Satya Narayana dasa (Director of the JIVA Institute)

“I would like to congratulate you on the Baladeva project, which could be a significant contribution in better understanding the Gaudiya siddhanta.” (09th November, 2011)
Pradyumna dasa (Dr. Paul Sherbow, Srila Prabhupada’s senior disciple and professor in the USA)

Sudama: She wants to know actually that should they just have the chanting without reading your books or without instruction or following the program.

Prabhupada: But that chanting must be pure. Your guru is writing books. If you think, "There is no necessity of reading books," that is guror avajna. Do you means to say I am writing these books whole night for selling and making money? What, do you think like that?
(Bhagavad-gita Lecture 17.1-3  -- Honolulu, July 4, 1974)

Did Srila Prabhupada want the works of the previous Acaryas to be translated and studied?

“A Vaisnava should study the commentaries on the Vedanta-sutra written by the four sampradaya-acaryas, namely Sri Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Visnu Svami and Nimbarka, for these commentaries are based upon the philosophy that the Lord is the master and that all living entities are His eternal servants. One interested in studying Vedanta philosophy properly must study these commentaries, especially if he is a Vaisnava. These commentaries are always adored by Vaisnavas.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Antya 2.95

"There is a limitless stock of Vedic literature, and one should study this."
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 17.15

"So it is required. We have got so much treasure house of knowledge. They should be, each and every book should be, at least Vaisnava literature, Bhagavata literature, should be translated into English and distributed all over the world. That is lokanam hita-karinau, to benefit the whole human society. Not to remain crippled within a boundary. That is not brahminism, that is not Vaisnavism."

>>> Ref. VedaBase => The Nectar of Devotion – November 12, 1972, Vrndavana

“Many devotees of Lord Caitanya like Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura, Sri Locana dasa Thakura, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Sri Kavikarnapura, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and in this latter age within two hundred years, Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti, Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Sri Syamananda Gosvami, Sri Narottama dasa Thakura, Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura and at last Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (our spiritual master) and many other great and renowned scholars and devotees of the Lord have prepared voluminous books and literatures on the life and precepts of the Lord. Such literatures are all based on the sastras like the Vedas, Puranas, Upanisads, Ramayana, Mahabharata and other histories and authentic literatures approved by the recognized acaryas. They are unique in composition and unrivaled in presentation, and they are full of transcendental knowledge. Unfortunately the people of the world are still ignorant of them, but when these literatures, which are mostly in Sanskrit and Bengali, come to light the world and when they are presented before thinking people, then India's glory and the message of love will overflood this morbid world, which is vainly searching after peace and prosperity by various illusory methods not approved by the acaryas in the chain of disciplic succession.” 

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB Introduction

“Within the past five hundred years, many erudite scholars and acaryas like Jiva Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Visvanatha Cakravarti, Vallabhacarya, and many other distinguished scholars even after the time of Lord Caitanya made elaborate commentaries on the Bhagavatam. And the serious student would do well to attempt to go through them to better relish the transcendental messages.” 
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.1.1, purport

"So, my above students have been sent to India specifically to study the Bengali, Sanskrit, and Hindi languages, because we have to present to the world so many English translated authentic literatures on Vaisnavism. Some of my books are being printed in Japan and some of them have been accepted to be published by Messrs. MacMillan and Company of New York. So we require some American assistance specifically for this translating work. And for this purpose, we wish to send a batch of intelligent students in India and gradually establish a center there for English translation publication of all Vaisnava literatures."

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: whom it may concern  --  Montreal 12 June, 1968

“Pure devotees have prepared many books of knowledge on the basis of authorized scriptures. Srila Rupa Gosvami and his assistants, under the instructions of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, have all written various literatures for the guidance of prospective devotees, and anyone who is very serious about raising himself to the standard of a pure devotee of the Lord must take advantage of those literatures.” 
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.7.39, purport

“Works that should be consulted are Srila Jiva Gosvami's Tattva-sandarbha (10–11), Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana's commentary on that, and the following verses of the Brahma-sutra: sastra-yonitvat (Vs. 1.1.3), tarkapratisthanat (Vs. 2.1.11) and srutes tu sabda-mulatvat (Vs. 2.1.27), as commented upon by Sri Ramanujacarya, Sri Madhvacarya, Sri Nimbarkacarya and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana.” 
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 6.135

"Sri Sanatana Gosvami Prabhu, the teacher of the science of devotional service, wrote several books, of which the Brhad-bhagavatamrta is very famous; anyone who wants to know about the subject matter of devotees, devotional service and Krsna must read this book."
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Adi 5.203

“Regarding the teacher Miss Wilson, you may engage her in translating, if she can read Bengali type. She can try Jiva Goswamis "Sandarbhas'' -- that will be a great contribution.” 

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Rudra, Radhika

"Similarly, other false devotees think that studying books of the previous acaryas is unadvisable, like studying dry empiric philosophies. But Srila Jiva Gosvami, following the previous acaryas, has inculcated the conclusions of the scriptures in the six theses called the Sat-sandarbhas. False devotees who have very little knowledge of such conclusions fail to achieve pure devotion for want of zeal in accepting the favorable directions for devotional service given by self-realized devotees. Such false devotees are like impersonalists, who also consider devotional service no better than ordinary fruitive actions."
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Adi 2.117

Paramahamsa: Srila Prabhupada, I remember once I heard a tape where you told us that we should not try to read the books of previous acaryas.
Prabhupada: Hmm?
Amogha: That we should not try to read Bhaktivinoda's books or earlier books of other, all acaryas. So I was just wondering...
Prabhupada: I never said that.
Amogha: You didn't say that? Oh.
Prabhupada: How is that?
Amogha: I thought you said that we should not read the previous acaryas' books.
Prabhupada: No, you should read.
Amogha: We should.
Prabhupada: It is misunderstanding.
Paramahamsa: Yeah, that was, the reason was because of, he didn't want the devotees going to Gaudiya Matha. But there's nothing wrong with the idea of studying the previous acaryas' books.
Prabhupada: No. Who said? That is wrong. We are following previous acaryas. I never said that.
Paramahamsa: All of your commentaries are coming from the previous acaryas.
Prabhupada: Yes.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Morning Walk -- May 13, 1975, Perth

"Therefore we are teaching in our Dallas children simply to learn Sanskrit. We have nothing to do anything else. They are not going to be technologists, or servant of everyone. No. We want some generation who can preach Krsna consciousness. So if they learn simply English and Sanskrit, they will be able to read this book (Srimad-Bhagavatam), and that is sufficient."
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.22 -- Los Angeles, April 14, 1973

"So at least the richer section, they can be induced to send their boys to learn Sanskrit and English and Bhagavad-bhakti."
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation About Gurukula -- November 5, 1976, Vrndavana

"Vedas means Upaniṣads. And in Atharva-veda there is clear mention: devakīnandanaḥ, sutaḥ, kṛṣṇaḥ. Gopāla-tāpanī, there is clear, ah. We have to study this Vedic literature, Jīva Gosvāmī's. You study or not study; if you are fixed up in your point, that will help you. That's all. But if you study more, that is good."
>>>Room Conversation--London, July 16, 1973

"We have immense literatures, especially in the Gaudiya Sampradaya of the Vaisnava sect which is enriched by the contribution of the Gosvamis. These should all be presented to the western world. Similarly, Vedanta commentary by the Vaisnava acaryas like Ramanuja, Madhva, Baladeva., Sridhara Swami, etc. can all be presented successfully."

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Dr. Chaudhuri  --  Los Angeles 6 February, 1969


I have been travelling extensively and dedicating myself full-time to this research work. I wish I could visit as many research centers and manuscript repositories all over India as possible, 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 (usually by train): US 150 per month
2. Lodging and boarding expenses during travel: US 250 per month
3. Photocopying, scanning, library charges: US 200 per month

Sometimes I receive inquiries about the costs. As of mid-2023:

1. Tickets: The cheapest A/C class (3 tier) tickets from New Delhi to Kolkata cost Rs1,500-2,000 ($23-30), one way, up to $60 both ways.

2. Accommodations: In major destinations all over India it is hard to find any guest house accommodation for less than Rs 700 ($9) per day, except for a real dump full of bed bugs, rats, etc. One month in this budget costs $270. In cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, etc. it costs double or more.

3. Library fees: The fees to obtain scanned copies of manuscripts can be very high. Libraries like the Vrindavan Research Institute and Bangiya Sahitya Parishad (Kolkata) charge Rs50 ($0,80)  per page. The Asiatic Society of Mumbai charges Rs100 ($1,60) per page.The Bhandarkar Oriental Institute (Pune) charges Rs150 ($2,40) per page. The Lahore University charges $5 per page.
To copy a manuscript of 1,000 pages in these places would cost $800, $1,600, $2,400, and $5,000 respectively.

4. Classification of unsorted collections: I've been waiting for years to see important private manuscript collections classified and organized, but nothing is happening, mostly because of a lack of interest and/or funds on the part of the owners. Until their library catalogs are ready, nobody can know which texts are there. I decided to allot part of the donations received to hire panditas to do this job, which cost an average of Rs50 ($0.80 ) per manuscript. 

Assistance in the following 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. English editing and proofreading.

6. Cover design.

7. Converting PDF books into OCRed texts. 

For enquiries and donations, please use the contact form 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 in them until now. At this point, those who do not want to wait for a few months/years until I publish them should rather go to search for the originals instead of disturbing me.


The credit for whatever has been achieved so far goes to the devotees, friends and well-wishers who have kindly come forward to offer assistance. 

This is the list of donors who have kindly contributed in the last months:


1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2..Vivek Prabhu from USA

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Puskara Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA
3. Matsya Avatara Prabhu from UK
4. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA
3. Matsya Avatara Prabhu from UK

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA
3. Svarupa Damodara Prabhu from Singapore

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA
3. Rohini-tanaya Prabhu from Australia

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA 
3. Jagannivasa Prabhu from Singapore

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA 

1. Bhakti Vikas Swami Trust
2. Sunanda Prabhu (ACBSP) from USA 

I express my heartfelt thanks for their kind help in this mission.

  Complete works of Baladeva Vidyabhusana: 

(And their respective publishers)

1. Īśopaniṣad-bhāṣya; (Bhaktivinoda), (Shyam Lal Goswami), (Krishnadas Baba), (Sarasvata Gaudiya Mission), Commentary on other nine Upaniṣads; (supposedly lost)
2. Aiśvarya-kādambinī;   (Haridas Shastri), (Haridas das), (Bhakti Vikas Trust, 2023)
3. Kāvya-kaustubha;  (Haridas das), (Haridas Shastri)
4. Gopāla-tāpany-upaniṣad-bhāṣya; (Haridas das)
5. Candrāloka-ṭīkā; (supposedly lost)
6. Chandaḥ-kaustubha-bhāṣya; (Haridas das), (Haridas Shastri), (Vrindavan Research Inst.), (Chowkhamba)
7. Tattva-dīpikā;  (Jiva Institute, 2016)
8. Tattva-sandarbha-ṭīkā;  (Harinam Press), (Haridas Shastri), (Nityasvarupa), (Jadavpur), (Acyuta-grantha-mala), (Krishnachandra Bhagavataratna), ( Ramanarayana Vidyaratna), (Jiva-seva-sangha), (Satyananda Gosvami)
Commentary on five other Sandarbhas; (supposedly lost)
9. Nāṭaka-candrikā-ṭīkā; (supposedly lost)
10. Pada-kaustubha; (unpublished manuscript)
11. Prameya-ratnāvalī; (Haridas Shastri), (Gokul Chandra Goswami), (Sanskrit Parisad), (Kanai Lal), (Gaudiya Math), (Gour Krishna Goswami), (Sundarananda Vidyavinoda), (Śaśībhūṣaṇa Dāsa), (Bhakti Vikas Trust, 2022)
12. Brahma-sūtra-kārikā-bhāṣya; (Jiva Institute, 2017)
13. Bhagavad-gītā-bhāṣya, entitled "Gītā-bhūṣaṇa"; (Krishnadas Baba), (Gaudiya Mission), (Vidyananda), (Shyam Lal Goswami)
14. Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta-ṭīkā; (Haribhakta das), (Ramanarayana Vidyaratna), (Venkatesh Press), (Atul Krishna Gosvami), (Gaurasundar Bhagavata)
15. Laghu-siddhānta-kaustubha; (unpublished manuscript)
16. Viṣṇu-sahasra-nāma-bhāṣya, entitled "Nāmārtha-sudhā"; (Krishnadas Baba), (Bhaktivinoda), (Bhakti Vikas Trust, 2022)
17. Vedānta-sūtra-Govinda-bhāṣya;  (Sarasvata-Gaudiya Mission), (Harinam Press), (Krishnadas Baba), (Shyam Lal Goswami/Krishnagopal Bhakta)
18. Vedānta-syamantaka-ṭīkā; (Jiva Institute 2019, Amazon)
19. Vyākaraṇa-kaumudī; (supposedly lost)
20. Śabda-sudhā; (unpublished manuscript)
21. Śrīmad-bhāgavata-bhāṣya, entitled "Vaiṣṇavānandinī"; prathama skandha, (Haridas das);daśama skandha  (Krishna-Shankar Shastri, incomplete),  (Nityasvarupa/Manindra Bahadur)
22. Śyāmānanda-śataka-ṭīkā; (Haridas das), (Gopala-Govindananda Goswami), (Bhakti Vikasa Trust, 2023)
23. Sāhitya-kaumudī;  (Haridas Shastri),(Rastriya Sanskrit Samstham),(NirnayaSagar Press)
24. Siddhānta-darpaṇa; (Haridas das), (Gaudiya Math), (Gour Gopal Goswami), (Sajjana-tosani), (Jiva Institute 2014)
25. Siddhānta-ratna; (Krishnadas Baba), (Gopinath Kaviraj), (Shyam Lal Goswami), (Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti), (Adimohana Goswami), (Gaurasundar Bhagavata), (Jagadananda das), (Jiva Institute 2019, Amazon)
26. Stava-mālā-bhāṣya; (Nirnaya Sagar Press), (Ramanarayana Vidyaratna)

Books wrongly attributed to Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, and their real authors:

Sūkṣmā-ṭīkā on Govinda-bhāṣya, (Vedāntavāgīśa)
Commentary on Siddhānta-ratna, (Vedāntavāgīśa)
Vedānta-syamantaka, (Rādhā-Dāmodara Gosvāmī)
Commentary on Sāhitya-kaumudī, (unknown)
Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta-ṭīkā, (Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma)
Gupta-dhāma-chatra,  (Kanai Lal)
Gopāla-campū-ṭīkā, (Vīracandra Gosvāmī)
Padyāvalī-ṭīkā (rasika-raṅgadā), (Vīracandra Gosvāmī)
Bāla-toṣaṇī, (Hare Kṛṣṇa ācārya)
Saṁśaya-śātinī, (Raghunandana Gosvāmī)
Sadānanda-vidhāyinī-ṭīkā , (Vṛndāvana Cakravartī)
Stavāvalī-kāśikā, (Vaṅgeśvara Vidyābhāṣaṇa)


At some point during my first round searching for manuscripts and books all over India, I realized that a diary would be very much appropriate to let people know what it is like and what I have to face, which is quite enough to turn off anyone less stubborn. I just regret not having started 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 worth ripping off). I tried to find out the address of the 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 out 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 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 out several applications and “come tomorrow” (this is the favorite sentence used by 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.

01-09-12 to 02-09-12

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 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, a tyre got punctured, and of course, they had no spare tyre. After uselessly waiting for another hour, I decided to go back: 3 km plus 1 km uphill on foot with 10 kg of luggage. I arrived at 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.


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 Pustimarg texts. This time, that pujari respectfully greeted me and before I left he called me to a corner and gave me some prasada...  I sincerely wish that Durvasa Muni may visit him some of these days.


Change of itinerary. Most of the day on a train to Jaipur. Soon after it departed, I started having a violent crisis of what seemed to be a 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 I arrived at the Govindaji mandir, a gentleman offered me a full plate of prasada. Apparently, the Mahant of Galta didn’t really check his library as he had promised, 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. Visit to the Oriental Research Institute. 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 at 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 returning 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 on a train to Jodhpur. I arrived in the evening and went straight to the office of the 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.


After going through the catalogues, I had a list of 80 manuscripts to be seen. More forms, more bureaucracy, more botheration. Despite 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 at each book, that too 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 also 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 consultation fee. At least I got to see the catalogue of the Rajasthani Research Institute, in which I found nothing, so I was spared from going 10 km away to visit them. I got a room next to the railway station. Very noisy, tiny, dirty, without a 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 on a train back to Jaipur. When I arrived, Jaipur was almost underwater. I took a bus from the station, but after getting off at the bus 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 for half an hour with my luggage till the rain stopped, and 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 Galta Mahant at their temple in the city. As they told me that he was in Galta, I took a bus to 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 at their temple in the city. Enough for me.


Most of the day on 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 that 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 Vrindavan. Ten days in bed with dengue.


I arrived in Varanasi after 12 PM and went straight to Sampurnananda Sanskrit University to apply for 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 the 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 to 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, despite my protest.


Went all the way on foot to Lalita Ghat to visit the Goenka Library. I had just 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. Ouch!

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 manuscript 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 have 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 Sri 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 at the central library and was told to wait a bit to get a visit 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 out several forms to be able to see the catalogue just to find out that it consists of more than sixty thousand A4 pages kept in some 200 folders without any kind of order. I had a look at one and gave up. It would take a month to read the whole thing. I took a tram to the Sanskrit Sahitya Parisad. The librarian was not there. I had to walk a long way until I got the right direction to the Bangiya Sahitya Parisad. They have quite a few manuscripts of Vidyabhusana, but they charge 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 hardly intelligible Bengali handwriting.


I packed and crossed the whole Kolkata to reach Pathbari 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 a 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 birthplace, but no piece of evidence is 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 Jhanjh Pita Math.


There was a deceased Babaji who left a collection at 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 they wouldn’t let me bring someone to open it. Contrary to what I was told by their pujari last year, they do have a manuscript collection at Gangamata Math, but we will have to get some intermediate to deal with them.


Again, contrary to 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 until they arrange it.

28-12-12  to  01-01-13

End of the year holidays, 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 than I wished. By the time I arrived at the Oriental Research Institute, it was closed for lunch. In the library, I was told that they have no Sanskrit books. I was shocked to hear this. 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 at the opening time and spent a few hours in the manuscript library. The staff were 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 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 were very helpful.


Public bus to Chennai. Visit to the Government Oriental Manuscript Library.  I was lodged in Perambur and it took me one and a half hours to reach the library, almost by lunchtime. 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 until someone told me that the assistant librarian could also give permission...



Visit to the Presidency College. The place is totally decadent and there was no trace of anyone in the Sanskrit dept. or in the library. It took me a couple of hours walking around to locate the Kuppuswami Sastri “Research Institute,” as the address given by them on the website is totally misleading. It was passed 10.30 AM and nobody was in the office to pick up the phone. When I finally got a response, the person on the line, whom I surmised to be the sweeper, couldn’t speak a word either in English or Hindi and harshly hung up. 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 Madras University 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 into the library. I asked to see some microfilms and they flatly claimed they have 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 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 present. So I had to spend 8 hours on 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 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 did not even know 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 bookstall, and at last, to a book publisher (!?) Enough for me. I had to spend a long time walking around to locate a 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 to a Muslim holiday.


Again closed due to republic day.


Leaving for 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 Dr. B. 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 the day after tomorrow to see if they have the manuscripts I want.


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 a 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 of 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 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 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 to 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 until 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 at 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 at 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 of walking around, someone agreed to give me 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 that was closed. I then visited the Oriental Research Institute, where they claimed to be in the middle of 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 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 the guy 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 of walking around to find a room, as no guest house allowed foreigners. Visit to the Sanskrit Academy, where the staff were 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 reference of 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 out 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, but I made it clear that I wouldn’t.  It took another hour to open it and another hour to find the manuscript I wished for, 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 Baladeva’s family background.


Sarasvati-puja holiday. I spent 15 hours on 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 was 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 at 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 made it to 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 for 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 has the key is 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 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 wished, but he wouldn’t look for any manuscript today. I went downstairs and met the security officer, a very polite Muslim 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. After another hour of waiting, by the time the director arrived, it was passed 4 PM. He was also indignant that the staff were 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 were “surprisingly” cooperative. 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 Vrindavan. I was missing home so much. A friend told me that he met one of 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!


Someone arranged that a Gosvami from Vrindavan would help me to get the cooperation of the Gosvamis at Govindaji’s 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 Vrindavan 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 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 parts.  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 at the nearby Rama temple and a fellow who introduced himself as a “pandita” called me to talk. Soon he started speaking all kinds of Mayavada rubbish and I became so indignant that I started blasting him with slokas. One hour wasted with those rascals until 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 until 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 at 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 never comes there.


I went to Galta via the hill and they also said the same thing: the Mahant never comes 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 records. I met the Museum Curator, who expressed interest in assisting the Vidyabhusana Project and publishing his books through their trust.


The Galta Mahant asked me to come to his house, quite out of the way. For the first time 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 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 out, the train was departing and I had to run, not an easy task with luggage. Somehow I managed to jump into 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 at the Nimbarkacharya Pitha. In the office, the clerk just phoned saying that “a sadhu has arrived from Vrindavan,” 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 at 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 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 to his 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 because 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 usual, they were already closing. I had an appointment in the evening with a professor who listed 150,000 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 on 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 Odia Baba Library, etc.


Passenger train to Alwar. After hours and hours of argument, 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 with such a project? If anyone thinks that there is any exaggeration in my words, feel free to try and see how it is. By the way, I intentionally avoid giving any positive information about my findings in this diary, as there are several thieves after me to steal anything I may 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 I left without seeing a single page after hearing lots of promises. More 3 hours on a passenger train. Arrived in Vrindavan at 10 PM, absolutely exhausted.

02-05-13 and 03-05-13

Chalking out a 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 have gotten 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 at 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 usual.


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 all over after so many bites. Despite 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 at 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 on the Railway website there was nothing about its status. I checked out and rushed to the station early morning. Just 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 was published in Vrindavan, a devotee came in and 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 that 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 to ask what the examinations have to do with the library, but 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 off 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 held 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 usual: another fruitless visit to Oriya Baba’s. We fixed for tomorrow at Bhattaji Pitha.


No appointed honored.


I waited much longer than I should have. 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 usual, 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.


I went to the Odia Baba Ashram for the 15th time in the last weeks. The person in charge was not there, as usual.


Tempo to Mathura and train to Delhi. I was lodged in a dump at Pahar Ganj and the bed was full of bugs. In a few minutes, I was swollen all over after so many bites. Despite 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 windows. 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 at 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 there was nothing about its status on the Railway website. I checked out and rushed to the station early morning. Just 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 Odia Baba’s, so I visited the Akhandananda Saraswati Library. While I was complaining to the librarian about the difficulty in finding a certain book that was published in Vrindavan, a devotee came in and 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. (2023 update: he “tested” my patience for a whole decade and never showed a me single page. I heard that in the meanwhile, white ants made short of whatever they had)


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 that 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 to ask what the examinations have to do with the library, but 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 to 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 Odia Baba’s, I finally met the person in charge and he promised to show me the library 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 that completes the whole collection in Devanagari. At Odia 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 held me here until 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 usual: another fruitless visit to Odia Baba’s. We fixed it for tomorrow at Bhattaji Pitha.


No appointed honored.


I waited much longer than I should have. Train to Varanasi.


I wished to see 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 usual, 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 of trying, today I got the chance to see a couple of manuscripts at SBP, but despite 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 gifted 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 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 the folly. He was polite and sent me to another Gosvami who could possibly 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 hours 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 some 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 that point, it 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 at 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, and 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 the Gaudiyas had more interest in these 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. It 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 arrived at 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 on 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 every day, 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 dude literally threw 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 Rathayatra. I tried to find another place, but everywhere it 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 17-07-13

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 on 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 suffices to say that there is a common bathroom from whose ceiling drops water when someone is taking a 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 wanted 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 is 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 a 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 on 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 on 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 the usual waste of time, I found the place, which is indeed somewhere 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 until they open and another half an hour until the staff show up. It took me another hour to fill out 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 an 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!

26-07-13 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 to print the Siddhanta-darpana. A few visits to Mathura to meet panditas, to 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 at 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 over the Akhandananda Library up and down.


This time the fellow at the Odia Baba Ashram 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 bookseller and got some stuff from him. At Odia Baba’s, guess what? The dude told me to come another day, as he was too tired due to the Janmastami celebration...


Another day visiting the same places and meeting the same people.


Tempo to Mathura and train to Udaipur.


Left my luggage at 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 copies, as his boss is on leave till next week...  After a few hours of 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 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 Mahant 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 at the College, it was closed. They will “open” only after Radhastami, four days later.

11-09-13 to 13-09-13

Radhastami holidays.


I waited for a couple of hours in the office of the College, but the librarian didn’t show up. We see how 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 of seeing 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.


Akhandananda Library.


Last year I was told that there was nothing at 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 a 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 took 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 out 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 another library, many km away. I couldn’t avoid commenting on how smart the 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 of. 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. The Gujarati credibility has gone quite down on my scale today... One hour of 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. I had a train in the evening, but it was also cancelled.


Still raining. I was very morose and thinking of cancelling everything and going 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 played the game. 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.


Despite the rumours that the rail track was flooded, the train arrived with a delay of 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 have 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 until they told me to see the catalogue. In fact, in a few seconds, I wrote down the reference. No one had any idea 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 theses 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 took 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 to 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 is very coherent and very sensible! I left utterly disgusted. Another place just meant for giving jobs to incompetent rascals, and if people come to 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 an hour I was indignant and asked what the matter is. 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 that 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 for 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 employee, 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 until I fill out 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 were 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 lunchtime...  Not much time left, but I got to see the catalogues and some reference books.


Gandhi Jayanti, public holiday. Homework.


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. With 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 an 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 out the forms and pay the fees.” Thank 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 can they 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 them. 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, Nimbarkis’, 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 the 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 hard work they do opening for a couple of hours a week a few months a year...


National holiday.


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 Syamanandi 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 “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 were 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 are good for nothing and won’t let you copy anything. There was a book I had to consult, but they declined under the plea that 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 that I should go 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 Odia. 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 allegedly 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 at 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 OML. 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 was 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 to 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 research work and wished 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 later, 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, and 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 had a nice talk and he gave me some references and advice. 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 in 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 Gopiballabhpur, one worse than the other, not to speak of the road. I had previously contacted the Mahant of the Syamanandi-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 own, he decided that it would be better to see the neighbor’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 the 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 time to close.


Local train to Navadvip and boat to Mayapur. Visited a few libraries and met a few people.


Nityananda trayodasi.

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 Pracarini 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 an ancient library of the Radha-ramana parivara donated to the Jiva Institute. Short time to do so many things, but I made a few good discoveries in this period.


Tempo to Mathura, train to Hindaun, bus to Karauli. Darsana of Sri Sri Radha-Madana-mohana ji to get their blessings 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. Examined several manuscripts at the Oriental Research Institute.


Long talk with the Mahant of Balanand Math, who did a lot of research on his sampradaya. He told me lots of anecdotes about 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 at the Govindaji Mandir, but despite 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 uphill 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. Again, all the way uphill 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 Sharma Museum.


It took me a couple of hours and several km of 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 gatekeeper 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 on a train to Jodhpur. Visit to the Oriental Research Institute, where I heard lots of shouts as usual and spent the rest of the day reading manuscripts. I couldn’t see it all because the staff were 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 on a train to Bikaner.


Sunday, my 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 that 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 into 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 out lots of forms and give copies of all possible things, even a photo. Despite a board that 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 Oriental Research Institute meanwhile. The director and the officer were sitting idly 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, but 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 out 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 the 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 wanted to know the name of Gautama Buddha's disciple (!!!). How I wish to record these wonderful moments to share them on 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 were not able to read anything handwritten 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 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. We had already been talking in Hindi for several minutes when I mentioned that I am from Brazil. He then 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 a 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 despite 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 with some books. Tempo to Mecheda.


Local train to Kharagpur at 4:38 AM, two hours on a bus to Gopiballabhpur. 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 were 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 of 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 out 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 slightly surprised if they are “Hindus,” as I never had issues with Muslims or Christians. After spending some 15 minutes at 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 spoiling 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 every day. Homework.


Most of the day in Navadvip meeting panditas.


Boat to Navadvip, local train to Katwa, bus to Srikhanda. I asked 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 any 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 for directions the day before. A lady on the phone said that I dialled the wrong number. The pujari gave directions 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 outside and the sweeper picked up the phone... After a few minutes of 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 and 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 a 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 one and a half hours to start. Arrived in Mayapur at night.


Boat to Svarupa Ganj, train to Kolkata. Visit to the National Library. As per their directions, I 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. Despite 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 an 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 another couple of hours while the staff tried to locate it, but they failed. I had to write a request and hope that one day they will be able to find it...


I had just come out to go to 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 out to be a nightmare as I had to cross lanes full of butcher shops to catch a local train at a nearby station. I jumped on 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 one 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 the 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 for them and harmful to the books. Several hours of 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 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 gave them 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 at the 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 whose titles were 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. They could not find one of the manuscripts I asked to see. After checking the catalogue, they concluded that the number must be wrong and that the only way to find it is to look through the collection one by one. Sounds like it will take another year... In the reference section, after another hour of 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 were 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 on the train and had to sit down the whole night.


Sunday off.


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 did not even remember 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 manuscripts at present because the library caught fire some days ago and it is under repair. Still, they don’t believe that there is a 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 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 in sight, I got a room there. On the wall, there was a board in Hindi that read “Do not spit on the walls,” a request that was visibly not followed by most of their “guests.” After 11 AM, I walked 2,5 km up to the local branch of the 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 a 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 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. In spite of that, 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 were 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 from the administration, who went with me to meet the “librarian.” It became evident that the ms section is not closed, nor under renovation, nor lacks 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 to 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 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 at 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 timetable 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 on 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 of 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 out an application form and wait for another 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 call the lady in charge of the ms section in 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 if I will have to report them to the director of the NMM in Delhi. astu.


Visit to Pathbari. After being previously turned down on several visits, finally, the baba in charge was in the 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.


Train to Vijayawada.


Sunday. Darsana at Mangalagiri. Train to Chennai.


I arrived at the Govt. Oriental Manuscript Library at 11 AM and was told that the staff had gone to drink tea. After one hour of waiting, they had not come back yet and someone in the office told me to go to complain to the librarian. I went to the librarian's room, but there was no one there. At last, the staff showed up and I had to wait for another hour while they searched for the mss I wanted to see. Despite several applications since last year, they still did not locate them, and obviously did not even attempt to previously. Visit to the Sanskrit department.


Visit to the Gaudiya Math to see their library. The devotees were helpful and I could find something interesting. Visit to the Adyar Library. This time, surprisingly, I could meet both the librarian and the director. Check out the entries on 10-01-13 and 12-12-13. I showed them a Xerox copy of the front page of the “Catalogue of the Microfilms in the Adyar Library...” and they coughed asking who said they have no microfilms. After one hour of talking among themselves, opening drawers and almirahs, looking for keys here and there, etc. they very proudly brought a few rolls to me. I had to inform them that microfilms cannot be read without a projector. They were clueless about it. Someone had a good idea and told me that the projector is broken.


Visit to the Madras University library. Visit to the K.V. Sarma Research Foundation.


Train to Tirupati. Visit to the Vedic University. Someone had told me they have 1 lakh mss, but actually, they have around 3,000 only... Visit to the Rastriya Sanskrit Vidyapitha library.


Visit to the Venkateswara Oriental Research Institute. I asked for the catalogue of Sanskrit books and they told me they don’t have one and then invited me to see the books one by one. Not much productive, and soon I had to leave to have darsana of Balaji.


Visit to the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthana Library, but it was closed.


The whole day on a train to Tiruchchirapali.

15-12-14 to 07-01-15

I had decided to spend these days in Srirangam studying and translating to avoid all the turmoil of the end/beginning of the year vacations, but things didn’t turn out well. The Vaikuntha-ekadasi festival happened to be right in this period, which made it tough to get accommodation. For almost a week I had to sleep on the floor with several people. As it was quite cold and I hardly got any sleep, I ended up sick for the next one week or so. I was lucky to rent a room at someone’s house, but by the time I felt well, I just had a few days left and had too many rounds to chant, so I rather went to visit some divya desas in the area. Yet I visited several local libraries, met some panditas and copied some good reference books.


Arrived in Mysore in the morning, where this time I had made some arrangements to stay at some devotee’s house, given my extremely back luck with accommodations here (check the entries on 02-02-13 and 24-12-13). As I didn’t get any cooperation from the staff in the Oriental Institute on my previous visits, this time I chalked out a plan. I came to know that they have an adviser for foreign students, so I marked an appointment with him. Once on the campus, nobody was able to explain where his office is. I was fortunate that my host was taking me around on a two-wheeler, as it took us some 40 minutes going up and down until we could find the place, otherwise, I would have spent the whole day walking, as usual.  At last, the man was quite polite, heard my case and called the ORI library to ask them to cooperate. When we stood up and were about to leave, I just asked if he could tell us some directions to go to the library, as we had been moving around for a long time and had no idea where we were. The guy just flipped out and started screaming a lot of nonsense: “If you have been there before, why the hell are you asking for directions?” Note that his office was even on a different campus. Too bad I didn’t have my pencam running... Anyway, once in the ORI, the staff were surprisingly cooperative. Somehow the director arrived right on time and was pleased to approve my application after exchanging some Sanskrit words with me. While they were scanning a ms for me, I went to visit the Maharaj Sanskrit College. What a surprise! The librarian was not there, just as in all the previous years. Back at the ORI, I got my stuff on a CD and was about to leave when I found a book that I had been looking for since long ago. The director had already left, so I had to write an application and wait until tomorrow.


Darshan of Lord Ranganatha in the morning. Back in the university, my application was approved, but I would have to pay almost Rs 800 to shoot the whole book. I thought it better to agree, as I had already wasted time and money looking for it before. After a couple of hours of taking pictures, I was requested to give a copy to the library. I copied and pasted the files into their PC, unplugged my cam and was already at the door when I heard a little voice at the bottom of my mind: “Why don’t you check your data before leaving?” Good idea. When I opened the picture viewer, it said: “No image available.” Back to the computer, I noticed that actually my memory card was empty. The program was set to delete everything after copying, and of course,  nobody would tell me that... They had to burn a CD for me, as their system settings wouldn’t allow copying the files back. Anyway, after several fiascos in Mysore, at last, I got the job done! All is well that ends well. Night train to Udupi.

10-01-15 to 19-01-15

Daily visits to local libraries, research centers and temples. Met some of the Swamis and also Dr. Bannanje Govindacharya.


Arrived in Bangalore in the morning.  Visit to the Vyasa Madhva Samsodhana Pratisthana.


Visit to the Madhva Visva Parisad library.


Train to Vijayawada.


Darsana at Mangalagiri.


I had a few things to do in Vijayawada and a train ticket for tomorrow morning, so I thought it better to get a room nearby the station. Despite being called ‘Srinivasa,’ I soon realized that the so-called guest house was full of drunkards, including the staff, who spent the whole night screaming and laughing. As if it were not enough, my bed was full of bedbugs. God knows how I spent this night.


Train to Rajahmundry. Given the last nightmare, I requested some devotees to arrange accommodation in the ISKCON temple. I walked 1,5 km from the station and when I arrived at the gate, I asked the guard about the guest house and he told me that it is not here and that I should walk ahead, which cost me another km walking under the sun with 15 kg of luggage almost up to the bridge until I had the luck of meeting a temple devotee on the way. The guest house is just behind the same gate where I asked for information...


I had a few places to visit in the area but totally forgot that today is Republic Day and no library will be open.


Train to Visakhapatnam. I went all the way uphill with my luggage expecting to get accommodation in the Simhachalam temple guest house and had to walk all over the complex until I found the office just to hear that they don’t give rooms to single males and that this is a ‘government rule.’ Again all the way down the hill where I was given a room in the first guest house I saw. Apparently, they never heard of that ‘government rule.’


Train to Puri.


Visit to the Jagannath Chetana Gavesana Pratisthan.

30-01-15 to 31-01-15

Visit to several temples and mathas.


Visit to the Rama Krishna Mission Library.


Visit to the Jagannath Research Institute


Visit to the Bharat Seva Ashram library.


Visit to the District Library. Despite its name, nobody in the town seems to know its location, so I had to spend a long time going up and down to figure it out.


Visit to more a few local libraries. I need to consult a few old issues of the magazine “Orissa Review” published by the state government. I couldn’t find them in any of the local libraries but was again and again referred to their publication office. I went to see the officer there, explained that I was doing research, showed him a list with the reference of the magazines and asked where I could find them. When the fellow saw the dates of the magazines, as early as 1988, he became enraged and asked me if I know that we are now in 2015, as if I were a retard asking a very stupid question. Again remarkable how these kinds of folks are in charge of the ‘culture’ and ‘publication’ sectors.


Train to Balasore. Darsana of Ksiracora Gopinatha.


As the locals are planning to build a temple for Baladeva Vidyabhusana, I am looking forward to making his books available here, since this is the reason why he is known to us, first of all. I checked out from Remuna in the afternoon to depart to Gopiballabhpur (95 km away) but soon came to know that there would be no bus to the city before evening. When the bus came, I decided to ‘save time’ by getting down at the bypass stop to catch another bus to Baripada instead of going another 4 km to the bus stand. Bad idea. I got on the first bus without being able to see the situation inside. By the time I figure it out, the bus had already started. It was packed in such a way that not even a fly could move inside. I had to spend one and a half hours being squeezed and having my luggage tossed around. At last, when I arrived they told me that there won’t be any buses to Gopiballabhpur before tomorrow morning. I had to spend the night in a dump by the bus stand.


Nobody could say exactly when there would be a bus to Gopiballabhpur, so I had to wait. After waiting for almost a couple of hours, the bus departed and took another two hours to reach, although it is just 35 km. Although we had called the Mahant and he said that he would let me have a look at his library, now he says that he is too busy with some celebrations... I briefly looked at someone’s library in the neighborhood and that was it.  


I had to catch the first bus in the morning, so this time I notified 10 times the staff and the manager of the same lodge (vide the entry on 01-06-14), and they assured me that this time they wouldn’t lock the gate. Around 4:15 AM, I came downstairs and – what a surprise – the gate was locked from the outside. This time I had the phone number of the receptionist, so I had to call him twice to make him open the gate. I arrived at the bus stop at the last moment and there were no more seats available. Train from Kharagpur to Howrah. Spent the rest of the day reading at Pathbari.


Visit to the Bangiya Sahitya Parisad. Visit to the Sanskrit Sahitya Parisad. The librarian passed away and there is no one looking after the manuscript section now. Visit to the Caitanya Research Centre.


Another visit to the Bangiya Sahitya Parisad. This time, for some reason they felt suspicious that I was several times consulting the same manuscript and decided to hold me while they check each page. This took almost a couple of hours, but in the end, there was actually an extra number of pages. Visit to the Chaitanya Library (different from the one above), but it was closed.


I visited the Chaitanya Library early in the morning at the scheduled time, but when I arrived the librarian told me that he was closing and I should come in the evening. Visit to the Bag Bazar Gaudiya Math just to check the position in the library. They told me that if I want to see any book, I will have to wait for two years until they open their museum.


Visit to the Sanskrit College. I had purchased many books and went to the post office to dispatch them, but they were not working because their network was off. I was referred to another branch where they said that they would ship my books only if I could produce a license! The result of this show of incompetence was that I had to spend the whole day carrying a load of books and was forced to travel with them. Night train to Varanasi. I woke up in the middle of the night totally frozen, which later caused ear and throat infections.


Visit to the Chowkhamba Sanskrit Sansthan and Gopal Mandir. Met some contacts supposed to help me to acquire copies of manuscripts.


Most of the day in bed, ill.


Visit to BHU. Train to Mathura.


Not in very good condition, but back home at last.

18-02-15 to 09-04-15

Translating in Vrindavan.


Train to Jaipur.


The whole day visiting temples and meeting people.


I received an invitation to attend a function at Galta, so I took the opportunity to meet the Mahant. He told me to come tomorrow to talk better.


The Mahant postponed our meeting for tomorrow. Visit to the Sanskrit Academy.


Most of the day in Galta. Upon discussing Vijaya Gopala, it became apparent that the background history behind the deity is quite obscure and a proper investigation is most desirable.


Visit to the Oriental Research Institute.


Visit to the City Palace Library.

17-04-15 and 18-04-15

Spent a lot of time searching for temples called Vijaya Gopala. I came to know of four of them so far, a couple of them right at Badi Chaupad, but there is no hint that any of them had any relation with Vidyabhusana. No clues of Vijaya Syamasundara either.


Early in the morning, I left for Karauli. I booked a ticket by the window, but soon after I sat down, a fellow got on demanding that I vacate the seat, which he claimed to be his. I pointed out the seat number and made it clear that I had booked this particular seat, but he started yelling that I was not in the right place. I asked if there was anyone around able to read and count to show it to this fellow, who was either illiterate or just a seasoned jerk, but nobody came forward, so I had to start yelling twice as loudly to make him understand. He shut up and only then someone decided to explain to him how to count the seats. The window was not of much use, since I hardly could open it because the fellow on the front seat was spitting all the way. Five painful hours to reach Karauli and the temple was already closed.


Chanting my rounds and putting my data in order.


Bus to Hindaun, train to Mathura, tempo to Vrindavan, right on time to have Candana Yatra darsana in the main temples.

22-04-15 to 08-06-15

Intense research work to write the introduction of the ‘Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika,’ which implied several visits to various local libraries and a long time of looking for references. After more than a year, I visited the Vrindavan “Research” Institute to see if there was any “improvement.” I wanted to consult a book, but there is no catalogue; I needed to see a microfilm, but there is no projector; I wished to check a few manuscripts, but they were all sent to be repaired…


Bus to New Delhi, where I have several matters to deal with. I was told the 5 am bus is always empty, so I didn’t book a ticket. However, when I got on, there were about twenty people standing and I didn’t get a seat before Faridabad…


Most of the day busy to renew my passport.


Visit to the National Mission for Manuscripts office. I had all my requests declined under the excuse that the staff are on leave. There is no director for more than one year and the coordinator at present is unable even to coordinate answers to the questions he is asked. I kept on asking if I could consult the updated catalogues and he kept on saying that they cannot give me copies of the manuscripts. Ouch, my pencamera is not working anymore…

Visit to the Indira Gandhi Kala Kendra, where the staff were helpful and polite as usual, but I couldn’t see everything I needed before they closed for lunch…


Back to Vrindavan, this time by train.

13-06-15 to 05-08-15

Continuous research and translation work.


Despite a previous resolution that I wouldn’t go anywhere during the rainy season, I had to catch a train to Varanasi to solve a few matters. Ironically, just today it started raining after several weeks without rain…


The train arrived several hours late, as usual. I had received a promise that the Vice-chancellor of the Sanskrit University would facilitate manuscript copies, so in the evening, I called him to mark an appointment. He asked me to come to his house at 11 o’clock tomorrow morning.


Meanwhile, I came to know that the VC who had made the promise was removed from his post due to several fraudulent activities and there was someone else in his place. I arrived at the gate of the VC’s residence right on time, but the gatekeeper informed me that he had left for his office. In the office, I had to fill out a request for meeting him and wait in line. When at last my turn came, there were several people talking to the VC, who then just handed my application to someone else and referred me to the librarian, the same jerk who had previously rejected my applications. So I was caught in the same situation as in the previous attempts. This time the librarian said that my application was not in the proper terms, and that if I get another letter more to his taste, then they might consider my case. After that, I went to meet the head of the department of Buddhist Philosophy to ask a few philosophical questions. He could not answer them but instead asked me a couple of very ‘brilliant’ questions: first if I was Japanese (duh), and then, not being satisfied with the answer, if Brazil was near Japan (duh, duh). Sometimes I simply can’t understand how I could spend ten years in Varanasi…


Since the Sanskrit Faculty in BHU is open today, Sunday, I went there to meet some professors, but it was not much productive because they were in ‘Sunday mood’…


Visit to the central library in BHU. I had written down the accession number of a book and handed it to the staff. The guy argued that the number was wrong. I said that it is exactly as displayed in the OPAC. He retorted that it is not possible because in the OPAC there are no such numbers. I went back to the computer terminal and this time I took a screenshot. When I showed him, he just avoided the matter saying that the book is misplaced and he can’t do anything now… I tried another book in another section, but there was no trace of it on the proper shelf, although I am quite sure that nobody would borrow it. Well, this is just routine in most libraries around, anyway.

I moved on to the Sanskrit Faculty, and this time I managed to have some more intelligible interactions. In the evening, I went to put some copies of my last publication, the Mula-ramayana, in some bookstores. Chowkhamba took five copies, Harmony took two copies, but at Indica the guy just looked at me and said, “We don’t keep this kind of book,” even before I could say or show anything. I couldn’t help but ask which kind of book he meant. He insisted, “We don’t sell religious books.” I softly mentioned that what I have here is a didactic publication meant for scholars. “We don’t sell these either.” At this point, I just walked off as fast as I could. Remark that they boast to be a leading seller of Indological books… And I spent ten years in this place!!!


Visit to the Gopala Mandir to try to meet the Maharaj there, but I missed the time in which he receives visitors. Yet I didn’t miss a nice darsana. Afterwards, I had a pleasant meeting and discussion with a professor at Sanskrit University, who, by the way, is not from Varanasi. Spent the evening making contacts to get access to Kashiraja’s library.


Visit to the Vidya Math, but the library was not open. Another visit to the central library in BHU. I went to see if I could find the supposedly misplaced book. Neither was the number wrong nor was the book misplaced; it just took me a couple of minutes to find it. The staff guy was looking with dismay. Visit to the Udupi Math to ask a few questions.


I met the Maharaj at Gopala Mandir to ask a few questions. He asked me to come back after a couple of hours. Since this is the time it would take to go anywhere and come back, I went to the Bindu Madhava Mandir to have darsana and try to chant some rounds. Too crowded for the latter. Maharaj was very kind to answer my questions and filled my hands with his publications. Enough of Varanasi, and once again, no manuscripts. Extremely hot and no electricity most of the night during this whole week. Night train to Lucknow.


That was the most stinking train I’ve ever taken. I barely could breathe. Arrived early morning but had to walk around for one and a half hours to find a room vacant – and what news – a real dump for an outrageous rate. I knocked at every dharmashala far and wide, all packed up to the top. By the time I could take a shower, it was already time to go to work. Visit to the Lucknow Museum, where the director very politely told me I wouldn’t be able to see anything today because the lady in charge of the manuscript section is on leave. Does this sound familiar? The next stop would be the UP Sanskrit Sansthan. As there was no straight public transportation, I asked an autowala how much he would charge. The rascal asked more than double. I walked to the next crossing and asked another wala, who incidentally was then talking to a couple of policemen, and in front of them asked me even more than the previous guy. I turned to the policemen and remarked, “Just see how they rip off people even in front of you without the least hesitation.” Yet it didn’t occur to them that there was anything wrong… A devotee was passing by on a scooter, saw the whole thing and offered me a lift. In a few minutes, I reached the place, but when I asked to see some manuscripts, they told me that I would need the permission of the director, who – what a wonder – was out of station and they had no idea how long. I was ripped off other three times before the end of the day. Really a memorable first visit to the capital of the state!


Several hours on a public bus to reach Naimisaranya. Spent a painful evening and night without electricity until 6 o’clock in the morning. Extremely hot and full of mosquitoes.


Visited temples and mathas around. Met the Mahant of the main temple here, but when I told him what I am looking for, he was not the least interested and referred me to his assistant, who did not even know what a manuscript is (‘pandulipi’ in Hindi). Met other ‘panditas’ around, but the response was the same…


It seems that here there is electricity only for a few hours early in the morning and that is it... After enquiring from many people and walking up and down many times, at last, I found the only research institute in town, but – surprise, surprise – the director was not in town. Bus to Lucknow.  Spent the night at another dump by the railway station.


The director of the Lucknow Museum had told me to come today, but he himself did not. The lady in charge of the manuscripts, the hell of a psycho, flatly refused to show me even their list without written permission from the director. Here we go… I called the UPSS, but no news about the director. On the way back, I asked a shopkeeper how to go to the station, but he turned his face away without replying. Enough of Lucknow, one of the most disgusting places I’ve ever seen. Train to New Delhi.


Visit to the IGNCA. I could see only the reference section of the library because the librarian was on leave…

20-08-15 and 21-08-15

The whole day reading catalogues and microfilms at IGNCA.

22-08-15 and 23-08-15

Libraries closed, so weekend off to do homework.

24-08-15 and 25-08-15

The whole day at IGNCA trying to locate materials that were not exactly where they were supposed to be… Yet I have to give credit to the staff for being very helpful.


Bus to Vrindavan, right on time for the Jhulan Yatra. Three weeks out felt like many months.

27-08-15 to 26-09-15

Visit to several local libraries. Finishing the introduction to the Gaura-gana-tattva-svarupa-candrika and getting it ready for printing.


The whole day on a train to Haridwar. When it was just 5 km away from the final stop, the engine failed and we had to stop for a couple of hours…


Moving around making contacts and visiting temples.


The whole day on a bus to Joshimath. Felt badly nauseous and had a hard time. Arrived in the evening and visited the local temples. Got a cheap room in a lodge but couldn’t sleep because there were bedbugs on the bed.


Bus to Badrinath. Again no sleep at night, this time because I was freezing. At least it was too cold for any bedbug…


Visit to the Badrinath temple library. I asked to see the catalogue, but the guy in charge claimed they had none. I pointed out the numbers on each book. After a moment of silence, he said that he would have to search for the catalogue. By good fortune, the manuscripts were in the same almirah as the catalogue, but when I said that this is what I am looking for, he retorted that they have no manuscripts… Even this far up on the hills it is the same thing…


Bus to Deoprayag. I asked for directions in the local temple to reach the Naksatra Vedhashala, where they have a manuscript library, but the pujari said that the people there were out of station. I pondered for some time and decided to verify it, although I would have to climb a hill and it was already dark. It paid off, as indeed the owner was at home and was very helpful.


I was told that the first bus to Haridwar would come at 6:30 AM and that there would be plenty of vacant seats. It actually came at 7 o’clock and there was no seat. I had to squeeze on the motor with my luggage.


I had a waiting list train ticket to Delhi, which unfortunately didn’t get confirmed and I was forced to take a public bus to Delhi. The driver was probably a drunkard and at some point the bus almost collapsed, which made my head hit the window very badly.


The whole day at the IGNCA library.


Visit to the National Archives. The Oriental Records Section in charge is a Muslim, and when I requested to see the catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts and records, he tried to evade the matter saying that if I am doing research, I should ask my guide where I can find materials instead of coming here to see if they have anything. I replied that my ‘guide’ did send me here to search. He opened a voluminous hand list and started flipping the pages at random. “This, this and this is about Sanskrit, but as I don’t know much on the matter, I can’t let you read it. Come another day and talk to the director.” If I had not seen this almost daily for quite a few years, I’d probably have become really enraged. I just walked off and took the first train to Jaipur.


I was missing Govindaji. The whole day at the City Palace Library.


Visit to the Sanjaya Museum.


Visit to the Oriental Research Institute and the Sanskrit Academy.


Another visit to the City Palace Library.


Meeting with a local pandita who owns a manuscript library.


Visit to the Maharaj Sanskrit College.


I had planned to go to Bikaner but just realized that today navaratra starts and it is unlikely that I will find anyone working in these days… Train to Udaipur.


Visit to the Devasthan Vibhag.


Bus to Nathdwara.

16-10-15 and 17-10-15

I was looking for some Pustimarg scholar to put a few questions but found no one…


Bus to Udaipur and train to Mathura.

19-10-15 to 18-11-15

Kartika in Vrindavan, studying, translating, doing parikrama and trying to get the “Gaura-gana” printed. In a lapse of sense, I decided to give a chance to a local printer. They cut the paper in the wrong size and set the pages in the wrong order…


Starting a new expedition despite some health issues. Tempo to Mathura, train to Chitrakoot. There was a joined family on the train that simply refused to turn any light off or stop talking loudly for even a minute until they got down late in the morning. I got zero sleep.




Visit to the Sanskrit College. Of course, the principal was not there.


Train to Varanasi.


Visit to the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. For years my applications for copies of manuscripts have always been rejected. This time I sent an application by mail in advance requesting to read a few manuscripts. The librarian rejected it because I’m submitting too many applications… I was advised to meet the State Governor to report the matter.


Visit to the BHU library.


Due to the Sampurnanand rascals, I couldn’t book a ticket in advance, and at the last moment, all I could get was a lower berth on a train to Barddhaman, which was many hours late. Of course, there were several people without reservation sitting there. Besides being freezing cold, someone decided to keep the window open. Needless to say, I got zero sleep.


Madly crowded bus to Navadvip, squeezing with my luggage. There were Devi processions all over Navadvip and the roads were blocked. I had to walk with luggage all the way to the ghat (3 Km) to catch a boat to Mayapur. Arrived in pieces.


Meeting with a local scholar.


Visit to Navadvip to meet some Gosvamis. No one was available, though.


Boat to Navadvip, bus to Barddhaman, and train to Bolpur. In the manuscript section at Visva-Bharati, I came to know that the reference numbers I had were useless because they made a new list. The so-called list has no head and no legs, was handwritten in such a way in Bengali characters that there is hardly anyone able to understand it, and, as if it were not enough, the new numbers also don’t help much, since the manuscripts are not kept in order anyway…  At least I met some local devotees who may try to help in the matter.


Train to Kolkata, crowded like hell. In Kolkata, there was a Jain procession blocking the road on which I was supposed to catch a bus. It cost me a few km walk with luggage. I have a feeling that this expedition started with the left foot…


Visit to Kolkata University. I requested to consult a few manuscripts, and they replied that usually, they take one week to locate them… Despite my previous experiences, I tried once again the Bagbazar Reading Library. For the first time, they let me read the catalogue, and there was no drama! Contrary to what they claimed, and as I suspected, they indeed have some good Gaudiya books.


Visit to the Chaitanya Library, which is supposed to open at 7 AM. I arrived at 7:30 and had to stand at the gate until they opened at 8 AM and then rush before they close at 8:30… Visit to the Chaitanya Research Institute, but the librarian was not there…


I attempted to visit the Asiatic Society, but someone at the gate stopped me saying that years ago I had taken some pictures without permission. They made a drama and didn’t let me go inside. My request to speed up the process at Kolkata University was only partially successful, as they located only some of the manuscripts. Moreover, they made it clear that they won’t allow any copies whatsoever…  All the time while I was reading, I could hear a lady growling and roaring like hell the next door. It was the manuscript section in charge… Visit to the Sanskrit College, but neither the librarian nor the staff were present.


Train to Balasore. Ksiracora Gopinatha’s darsana gives solace after a couple of weeks of struggle.


Train to Puri.


Still trying to have a look at what is left in some of the local temples. At Bhattacarya’s house, there are a few bundles of manuscripts, but the Mahanta is just letting them rot and is adamant about not letting anybody read them…

07-12-15 and 08-12-15

Visiting temples and meeting people.


Meeting with a research officer of the Jagannatha Sanskrit University.


Train to Bhubaneswar. Visit to the State Museum library. Visit to the State Archives.


Train to Vijayawada.


Darsana at Mangalagiri. Train to Chennai.


I didn’t know what to expect, but Chennai is dry, sunny and hot, despite the devastating flood just a few days ago. I got a dump nearby the University and couldn’t sleep because the bed was full of bugs.


Visit to the Government Oriental Manuscript Library. For three years they have been failing to locate the mss I want to consult. This time they promised they will make it.


GOML again. I was flabbergasted to see that they managed to find the mss! Visit to the Sanskrit Dept. of the Madras University.


Local train to Kanchipuram.


Visiting temples and meeting people.


Bus to Villupuram. Another dump by the station and again no sleep at night, as most of the other ‘guests’ preferred to spend the night talking loudly, laughing hysterically and watching TV at maximum volume.


For the first time in almost twenty years in India, I caught the wrong train thanks to consistently wrong information. It dropped me 40 Km in the opposite direction and I lost a couple of hours in two buses to reach Cuddalore. Too much travelling, too much stress and hardly any sleep for more than a week made my health collapse. In bed with fever and several other symptoms, possibly due to the flood after effects.


Local train to Chidambaram.


Bus to Sirkazhi.


Bus to Mayiladutturai.


Bus to Nagapattinam.


Bus to Kumbakonam.


A motorbike accident put me out of action. I will have to cancel the next destinations until I am able to walk again.


After a whole night on a train without much sleep, after catching a riksha to the ghat, after crossing the river, after catching a bus, and after tottering all the way to the reception carrying a heavy bag, I was flatly refused a room at the ISKCON Mayapur Guest House. "We can't give a room to a single male." I hardly could believe what I heard. The staff called the administration to say that I am a foreigner and a brahmacari and ask if they could give me a room. Rejected: they won't give any accommodation to a foreign brahmacari, and that is it. They did not even attempt to offer any suggestions or assistance so that I could get a place to stay somewhere else. How ironic that I receive invitations to stay for free in several Gaudiya Mathas, in the houses of friends, and even in Babaji's ashrams around Mayapur and Navadvip, yet I was thinking that it would be better to stay nearby the temple to attend the programs and thus also give some contribution to the complex. Little did I know that I am not welcome even if I pay, and that only because I am a brahmacari. Srila Prabhupada would be so proud that devotees are coming from the other side of the planet and are shown the gate... As I have been to Mayapur so many times, I had no difficulty in immediately getting a good room outside, but I feel sorry for other foreign visitors who might have been coming for the first time, and being unacquainted with the place, after so much trouble might end up in some of the low-class lodges around, which are known to also work as brothels. Apparently, the administration in ISKCON Mayapur doesn't mind if brahmacaris might have to stay in such places, but staying in the temple guest house is unacceptable.


After such a turbulent expedition, I am more than glad to be back in Vrindavan, where a lot of work was awaiting me. There were several destinations in between and I did get some job done, but I didn't feel like keeping records.

27-02-16 to 23-04-16

Doing some translations for the Sri Sri Radha-Shyamsundar Temple and working on the next publications.


Trip to Jaipur.


The whole day visiting temples and meeting people. Visit to Galta, but the Mahanta was not there.


Visit to the City Palace Library. Things have been deteriorating there and I couldn’t consult the books I wished because they have no functional catalogue at present.


I met the Mahant of Govindadev Mandir, but as usual, there was not a sign that he will ever take any interest in this project. Someone had promised to help in the matter but actually did nothing and almost sent me to the dogs when I inquired.


Visit to the Sanjay Museum.


Visit to the Sanskrit Academy.


I called a professor from Jaipur University on the phone to ask if I could meet him to put a few questions related to my research project. He asked me who the hell I think I am to speak to him in this way (!?)


Sunday. I had booked waiting list tickets to Bikaner for two different trains for today, but somehow I didn’t get a seat in either.


Visit to the Maharaj Public Library, where they supposedly have some books I need, but although they have a catalogue, the books are not kept in any order. I had to give up after wasting a lot of time roaming in the stack... And of course, the staff are clueless about anything related to books...

Night train to Bikaner.


Visit to the Rajasthan State Archives. At last, the director gave me permission to have access to the library. Thanks to some friends’ arrangements, this time I received the hospitality of a local family, which spared me from the usual headaches with accommodation.


Struggling a lot to figure out what is what in the middle of millions of records, mostly in old Rajasthani. I was shown a ‘catalogue’ fallen apart and highly unintelligible. When I asked some basic questions about the collections and the classification, the staff told me that the only person who knows about these things is on leave...


After wasting the last couple of days trying to figure out their ‘catalogues’ – which are nearly useless for most purposes and do not even have accurate centuries mentioned – at around 11 AM I requested to see a bundle of documents. Every half an hour or so I received a “it’s coming” notice. By 4 PM the clerk was “kind enough” to tell me that he was going to phone the guy who works in the stack to come to work. By the time I received the said bundle, it was almost time to close... Before I left, I met the director and told him why I couldn’t finish my job, and he chastised me for not complaining to him several hours earlier, as if I knew what was going on... I had already booked a ticket for tonight, so I had to go.


In the afternoon, the research officer of the Archives calls me on the phone indignant because the director reprimanded him... I had to stop in a few places and ended up on a very delayed train. Reached Vrindavan around 11 PM.

June - July, 2016

Visits to several libraries in Mathura, Alwar (Rajasthan) and a few other places. Working intensely on the next publications.


For years I’ve been visiting the Madana-mohana Mandir with the hope of having a look at the library, and the Mahant has been always refusing under several lame excuses, such as the old story of the lost key. Being a regular visitor, I developed what I believed to be a friendly relationship with the family and was often bringing them prasada from different places in India and even carrying prasada for their relatives in Jaipur. After years of hearing their complaints about health problems, I requested an acquainted chiropractor to treat the Mahant and his wife, and for two months he gave them free treatment several times a week at their home. Not that we expected anything in return, except perhaps for a pinch of humanity, but taking the opportunity of the Hariyali Teej, today I went to the temple and once again inquired about the library. The Mahant told me straight away that he has absolutely no time to show me anything, which obviously means that he will never let me see the library, as we are speaking of a 70 year-old whom I’ve never seen doing anything except for sitting idly any time of the day. People like these make me think that I’ve adopted the wrong religion. No surprise that hardly anyone visits this temple. Note that this is the oldest Gaudiya temple in Vrindavan, established by Sanatana Gosvami.

06-08-16 to 06-09-16

Getting the Tattva-dipika ready to print.


Tempo to Mathura, train to Bharatpur, train to Jodhpur.


Visit to the Oriental Research Institute. At this point, everything is quite predictable. Vide the previous entries on Jodhpur…


Train to Jaipur.

10-09-16 to 12-09-16

There is a viral epidemic around and I was unlucky. Three days in bed with a fever.


Most of the day in Galta. Several hours of talk with the Mahant.


Visit to the Rajasthan Sanskrit Academy. Visit to the City Palace Library.


Train to Mathura.


Train to Dehradun.


Not much impressed by the local libraries, but the number of bedbugs in the guest houses nearby the station is a record.


Bus to Janaki Chatti.


Visit to Yamunotri.


The whole day on a bus back to Dehradun.


The whole day on a train back to Mathura.


Train to Udaipur.


Visit to the Oriental Research Institute. On the contrary of their other offices, the librarian here is always gentle. On the other hand, he has the habit of keeping talking to me while I am reading the manuscripts, or at least trying to…

28-09-16 to 01-10-16

Nathdwara. Despite my efforts, there is no clue that I am anywhere closer to having access to Vallabhacarya’s manuscript library.


Train to Ajmer.


Visit to Pushkar.


Train to Jaipur.


Visit to the Balanand Math. On my last visit, the Mahant had told me to come after one week. Now he told me to come after one month because he is “too busy.” In this case also, we are speaking of a 70-year-old who sits idly the whole day in a temple that is hardly ever visited by anyone and there is hardly ever anything happening.


I had an appointment at the Oriental Research Institute in Bharatpur in the morning, but due to misinformation displayed at the station, I got on the wrong train and ended up in another direction. As I couldn’t make it on time, I decided better to head towards Kaurali to see Madana Mohana ji, since my train was going to that district. I recollected that when I quickly passed by some months earlier, I lamented for not being able to stop for a couple of days as I usually do every year. Somehow my wish was fulfilled…


Back to Vrindavan, where the Tattva-dipika has just arrived from the press.

09-10-16 to 20-11-16

Working on the next publication. For three years I’ve been applying to see a ms at the VRI, but they persistently refuse. At last, we exposed them in the media and lodged a complaint in the Prime Minister's office.


Train to Lucknow. Beginning the winter expedition.


Arrived at the UP Sanskrit Sansthan at noon. The lady in charge of the manuscript section was not there and nobody knew her whereabouts. After some time I came to know that she was in the bank and would come back in a “few hours.” I was told to wait and so did I until 4 PM when she showed up. She agreed to show me the mss I wished, but there was a “small” inconvenience – they were not kept in any specific order and I would have to see them one by one. By 5:30 it was already time to close and we found nothing. She “invited” me to come tomorrow.


As I really don’t have time to squander, I caught an early morning train to Allahabad. At Ganganath Jha Research Institute, the fellow in charge of the ms section was on leave, so I was told to write an application... Someone from the Prayag Hindi Sahitya Sammelan promised to help with the staff in the ms section, but he was also not in the office due to health issues. I was on the way to visit the State Archives library when someone informed me that the ms section in charge was also on leave... And note that there is an absurd number of holidays in this country and in any case these folks hardly do any work...


As things didn’t go well, I had to catch a train to Varanasi at 4 o’clock in the morning. Visit to the Gopal Mandir, where last time the present Acharya had promised that he would show me his ms library list. Although I refreshed his mind about the matter, this time he declared that the list is “private” and “confidential” and therefore he won’t show me anything. At this point, I shouldn’t be so surprised anymore, but it is really shocking that even such a so-called Vaisnava leader and guru doesn’t have the slightest hesitation to break his word, let alone show even a pinch of sympathy for the work I do. Since I was there, I decided to stay for prasada. Soon after I was served, the cooks started yelling hysterically because one of them had given a plate to a sadhu and therefore there would not be prasada enough. The argument became more and more heated and culminated with one of the “cooks” kicking the sadhu’s plate full of prasada. I’d like to have filmed the whole incident to share on Youtube some of the most barbaric scenes I’ve witnessed in life, particularly from people I judged to be Vaisnavas. I used to have respect for the Pustimarg.


Visit to the Sanskrit University. Trying to get some assistance to get something from the ms library.


The whole day in BHU. Visit to the ms section.


Visit to the Vidya Math


I had booked a ticket to Kolkata months ago, but the train was more than eighteen hours late, which means it would depart in the mid of the night and arrive in the mid of the next night. After checking the options and recollecting the feeling of sitting or standing for hours in a railway station at night in the winter, I cancelled it.


I had to book nothing less than five tickets until I was lucky to get a confirmed one, that too for a train five hours late.

30-12-16 to 02-12-16

Moving around in Navadvipa meeting some Gaudiya scholars. 


I’ve been unusually unlucky with trains these days: I had a waiting list ticket (number 1) in one of the few trains from Navadvipa that can be booked, but I didn’t get a seat. When I came to know it, it was already too late to catch an early morning local train, and this spoiled my whole plan for today. Reached Kolkata late in the evening after a couple of local trains.


I had to meet a librarian today, but he didn’t show up.

05-12-16 to 06-12-16

The whole day seeing manuscripts at Pathbari.


Visit to the National Library. I patiently waited for one hour after submitting a slip to see a book but got no response. I was referred to one of the library supervisors, who had to go himself to the stack and came back with the book after another ten minutes. They lost my slip and could not explain why they let me wait... Visit to the Sanskrit College. I went inside the library, but there was no one. I looked around. No one. I stood for some minutes and then thought it better to sit down, as God knows how long this may take... Since I was sitting in the library, I just picked a catalogue that was at hand so that I could do something meaningful instead of sitting idly. After some time, one of the workers showed up and started to make a case asking me who let me in and who gave me permission to pick a book. I explained that I was waiting for a long time, etc., but my reply didn’t appeal to her. She called the section in charge, who came in yelling at me that he won’t let me read anything.


Train to Balasore.


Meeting people in Remuna. Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s birthplace memorial is almost ready. Surprisingly, the trust also founded an “international research centre.” So far no clues of anything implied by these words...


Train to Puri.

11-12-16 to 17-12-16

Meeting people and visiting libraries.


Train to Vijayawada.


Darsana at Mangalagiri. Train to Chennai.


Visit to the Oriental Manuscript Library. I wrote down the accession number of a text and handed it to the staff. After some time, the guy came back with a manuscript of a different text, although the number was the same. I pointed out that there was a mismatch with the information in the catalogue, and the guy told me that I wrote down the correct number but the wrong title (!?), as if people looked for numbers instead of texts... The case went to the librarian, who just advised me to search for another text, since they have so many. Like that, as if it were an ice cream shop and there was no issue if they don’t have this or that flavor...


Visit to the library of the Sanskrit department of the Madras University.

22-12-16 to 25-12-16

Kumbakonam, Tanjore, Tiruvarur, Trichy.

26-12-16 to 01-01-17

Srirangam. Vising places and attending the Vaikuntha Ekadasi festival. Investigated a rumor about the local samadhi of Laksmipati Tirtha.


Karaikkudi, Tirumayam, Tirukostyur.

03-01-17 to 04-01-17

Ramanathapuram, Rameswaram.

05-01-17 to 06-01-17

Madurai, Sivakasi, Srivilliputur.

07-01-17 to 09-01-17

Tirunelveli, Srivaikuntham, Nanguneri.

10-01-17 to 11-01-17

Nagercoil, Tiruvattar, Kanyakumari.


Trivandrum. Visit to the Oriental Research Institute to have a look at the Travancore collection. The director – a Muslim lady – was very polite and in a few minutes, I was shown all the mss I wanted to consult and was allowed to get copies without any drama. I wished I could meet more people like these in the libraries I visit...



14-01-17 to 15-01-17

Chenganur, Tiruvalla, Changanassery.





18-01-17 to 31-01-17

In Udupi, visiting libraries and meeting scholars.


Visit to the Maharaja Sanskrit College in Mysore. When I arrived, one side of the two-sided door of the library was closed and the other was open. Behind the closed side, there was a notice and the timing, so I stopped for a second to read it. Exactly at that moment, the librarian popped from inside and when she saw me she jumped and screamed as if she had seen a ghost. I remained standing in the same place and looked steadily at her, probably with an expression of “what the heck” on my face. After a moment, she again jumped and screamed in the same fashion - albeit in a much more artificial way – and at last exclaimed, “Are baap!” (Oh, gosh!) I replied, “yah main bhi bolta hun. itna natak kyon?” (I also say the same thing. Why all this drama?). She tried to compose herself and said that I should have knocked at the door. I pointed out that I was more than a step away from the door and had practically not even arrived at the library yet. As she shut up, I said that I wanted to see the catalogues. As the readers could have already predicted, she replied that she will show them to me only after I get permission from the principal, who, of course, is out of station. I left feeling relieved that I won’t have to see this psycho again so soon. I then went to the Oriental Research Institute, where the staff were way cooler.


Another visit to the Oriental Institute library.


Visit to Srirangapatnam.

04-02-17 to 06-02-17

Visit to several research centres and libraries in Bangalore.

07-02-17 to 09-02-17




11-02-17 to 16-02-17


17-02-17 to 18-02-17


19-02-17 to 21-02-17



Back to Vrindavan.

March, 2017

Working intensely to get the Viveka-satakam ready to be printed.

April to June

Working day and night in the translation of the Brahma-sutra-karika-bhasya.


Bus to Faridabad and metro to New Delhi. Arrived at the Bangladesh High Commission quite late and came to know that the information on their website is far from being accurate. They were asking me for things like a confirmed air ticket, a hotel booking, and a letter from my embassy allowing me to go to Bangladesh (!?) By the time I deposited the fees in the bank, the visa section was already closed.


Another trip to the HC, some 30 km away from the place where I am staying. Despite the “information” on their website that they return one’s passport with the visa on the next working day, they told me to come the day after tomorrow.


Visit to the National Mission for Manuscripts. The staff declined to let me consult a scanned manuscript in their database giving all kinds of lame excuses. The director arrived a bit later but then promptly arranged for me to see that ms on his own computer. We also had a discussion about the present situation regarding the policies for accessing their collection. I heard lots of promises.


I was told to be at the HC at 5 pm to collect my passport. They opened the gate only after 6:30 pm. After waiting in a long line, they told me to come tomorrow because they couldn’t get my visa ready. I protested saying that my ticket is for tomorrow and whatever the case I want my passport back. Surprisingly, they considered my case and after another half an hour of waiting, they gave me the passport with a valid visa. I had the intention to go back by an evening train, but it was too late. Metro to Faridabad and bus to Vrindavan. Arrived after 11 pm.


Train to Varanasi, which arrived with eight hours of delay under the excuse of the rain, although I didn’t see water anywhere on the way.


I could hardly get any rest before catching another train to Howrah.


Bus to Sealdah, local train to Bongaon, a crowded mess as usual. I crossed the border in a few minutes and went to Haridas Thakur Pathbari in Benapole.

11-07-17 to 13-07-17

There is indeed a library in the temple premises, and a claim that they also have some manuscripts. Yet it remains closed year-round except during some festive occasions when the person who has the key shows up. Raining every day, so I got stuck here.


Bus to Jessore. Train to Rajshahi. I arrived at the manuscript section of the Museum maintained by the Rajshahi University quite in time to meet the person in charge, who was very helpful and immediately brought a set of their catalogues.


I was somewhat delayed in the morning because of a very annoying “rule” that visiting foreigners can go out only escorted by the police. No surprise they do not receive many tourists... I met the director of the Museum to get permission to do my work. I spent the rest of the day reading the catalogues but couldn’t see the mss because the staff were busy with other things.


After the police “procedure,” I went once again to the Museum and soon got to see all the mss I wanted, and they let me copy most of them. I still had time for a visit to the reference library and in the evening went to visit some temples in the area.


Early morning train to Dhaka. I was packed in a compartment and everyone around was eating meat with their hands. If I had anything on my stomach, I would have probably vomited. Arrived in the evening and was invited to attend a program with the students at Dhaka University, which ended quite late. Went to bed around midnight.


Visit to Dhaka University and meeting with the head librarian, who received me very politely and asked if I could help in classifying their unsorted manuscript collection. I purchased a set of the available catalogues.


The whole day reading catalogues.


Visit to the manuscript section of the University. The whole day consulting mss. The staff are quite helpful and prompt, and most mss seem to be in quite good condition. It has been raining heavily every day, and to move around is tough.

21-07-17 to 22-07-17

Day off. Taking part in some activities in the local ISKCON temple and preaching programs.

23-07-17 to 26-07-17

Daily visits to Dhaka University, whenever the rain allowed.


I spent one hour in the line at the railway station just to hear that no tickets were available for tonight. I booked a bus ticket and only at the last minute came to know that it was cancelled. Caught a bus to Benapole at 1:30 AM.


There were hundreds of people in the line to cross the border to India, and I got stuck there the whole day.


Local train to Kolkata. Train to Varanasi.

30-07-17 to 02-08-17

Visiting libraries and meeting people.


Train to Mathura.


Back to Vrindavan.

05-08-17 to 10-09-17

Revising and glossing the Karika-bhasya.


Morning train to Jaipur, which was late and arrived in the evening. There was a curfew downtown due to some serious riots and the market and everything else were closed. The network is off and not many people are outside.


Night train to Bikaner, one of the dirtiest I’ve seen so far. I also couldn’t sleep because the other passengers didn’t shut up the whole night.


I arrived at the Rajasthan State Archives at 11 AM, and the door of the director’s office was closed. I asked if he would come, and the staff told me that he would be coming in 5 or 10 minutes. I sat at the entrance until 1:30 PM when one of the workers asked another – with scorn and in Rajasthani, probably thinking I wouldn’t understand – why I was sitting there, to which the other replied, “He is just sitting idly.” I told them a few things and walked off. Just in case, I passed by the research room and came to know that the section in charge is “on leave,” so there would be no point in waiting for the director anyway. Vide the previous entries for Bikaner for more about this “wonderful” place.


After a long time, at last, the director arrived and instructed the staff to assist me. Yet they “surprisingly” failed to locate the volumes I needed the most, and of course, suggested that I look at something else... As I already knew, the staff know nothing about the collections and their contents, so I am on my own to find my stuff. Several hours later, I requested copies of a couple of documents. After some time the peon came with the Xerox copies and charged me 2 rupees. When the section in charge heard that, he was outraged, “Only 2 rupees?!” I wouldn’t be surprised if they come up with a new table of fees for foreigners... In the evening I walked a few km to meet a pandita who was recommended to me as an expert in historical records. Unfortunately, he is already very aged and due to politics is not allowed in the Archives.


The whole day looking for documents, among thousands of them, apparently without any definite order. I was so concentrated that it took me hours to realize that they had not even turned on the fan for me, so I was sweating a lot and ended up with a headache. I found important documents, but some seem to be missing. They suggested that I look at the bundles one by one to check if by chance the documents I want were not put in the wrong bundle. This would probably take a day of Brahma, as we are speaking of hundreds of bundles and millions of records... I could not book a train ticket in advance because I didn’t know how long this ordeal would take, and now there were no seats available for several days, so I had to catch a night bus to Jaipur, which was extremely uncomfortable and resulted in zero sleep again.


Too broken down to do much, so I just had darsana of Govindaji and spent the rest of the day indoors.


Visit to the Sanjay Sharma Museum.


Most of the day in Galta, long discussion with the Mahant.


Visit to the City Palace library.


The whole day at the Sanjay Sharma Museum.


Making contacts and arranging some meetings.


Yet another visit to the Sanjay Sharma Museum and City Palace library.


The whole day in the City Palace reading manuscripts.


In connection with the court case regarding the Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi’s authorship, a Babaji came from Radha-kunda to meet the Gosvamis of the Govinda deva Mandir to request a copy of an ancient manuscript preserved there. I accompanied him after telling him about my previous experiences, but somehow he didn’t take it very seriously. As he showed them the documentation and explained the situation, in a minute the junior Gosvami there was blasting at him like hell. Some highlights of the discussion – “Who is this Prabodhananda?,” “Who is this Radha-kunda Mahant?,” “Radha-ras... what?,” “I’ve checked in our list. We don’t have it.” Let alone copying anything, we were not allowed even to see the list.

25-09-17 to 26-09-17



Bus to Hindaun, train to Mathura, auto-riksa to Vrindavan.

October and November

Getting the Karika-bhasya ready to print.


Train to Allahabad.


Visit to the Allahabad Museum. The manuscript section in charge was out of station and therefore I couldn’t see anything. Visit to the Ganganath Jha Research Institute. The principal was not there and therefore I couldn’t see anything. Visit to the Hindi Sammelan. The director was not there. Visit to the State Archives. Guess what? The manuscript section in charge was out of station. Not to speak of manuscripts, I hardly get the chance to see even the people supposed to “work” with them. Yet in the last place, the librarian was kind enough to let me see the catalogue. When I was given a volume written “part one,” I asked how many of them there are. At first, I was told “two,” then “three,” and at last “only one.” Go figure.


Another visit to the Hindi Sammelan. Check my previous entries for a picture of the buffoonery. So for the first time, I managed to meet the director and he called the librarian and gave express directions that they should let me consult the manuscripts I wished. There were also some whispered directions that I couldn’t get. Since they never show mss to anyone, they were totally clueless about how to locate them. After one hour of running up and down, to and fro, they insisted that the numbers I wrote were wrong. I replied that we can easily sort this out by referring to their catalogue. Another half an hour trying to find it... A peon whispered to me, “ye sab bekar, kamchor hain,” (they are all useless slackers). At last, they brought the first part of the catalogue with a smirk of victory on their faces because the titles I asked for are not there. I retorted that the references are from the second part. Elementary, Watson. Now they were adamant that there was no second part and that I was definitely mistaken. They were already sure to get away when someone from the staff popped bringing the second part. “All of a sudden” they remembered that they actually have another part of the catalogue and remarked that the numbers I wrote are indeed correct... Another hour passed while they were “excavating” the library. When I finally got the mss and started reading, they came with a camera and asked me to pose. This was the whispered part... As if it were not enough, they requested that before leaving I should write down a positive review acknowledging their efficiency! When I was done with the mss and they had gone for a tea break, I quickly left without writing the review they deserve. Another visit to the GJ Research Institute. This time I could meet the director, who was quite polite and immediately approved my case. Yet in the ms section, they told me to come tomorrow...


Another visit to the GJ Research Institute. By the time I had looked at a few mss, it was 1 PM and upon requesting to see another one, I was told that it was lunchtime and that I should come tomorrow... Well, it was already too much of an accomplishment for a single day...


Train to Varanasi.


The whole day in the BHU library. In the evening I met the Sankaracarya of Varanasi in order to see the rest of his manuscript collection. He told me that they would look for my mss tomorrow and asked me to come the day after tomorrow.


I had requested to digitize a book at the BHU library and the senior librarian had told me to come today. When I remarked that there was a holiday today, he dismissed the matter assuring me that there would be no holiday. When I arrived in the library I was told that he wouldn’t come today because it is holiday...


I went again to the Sankara Math. From the Swami’s servant’s expression and tone, they had looked for no ms. He asked me what time my train would depart and was pensive for a moment until he had a “better” idea. He decided that he would have to ask “someone” if they had found the mss I want. After being absent for a moment, he came back with a forced smirk saying that unfortunately, they couldn’t find my mss and that nothing can be done. Several years of investing time and money to come here again and again ended up in this way. Train to Barddhman.


I met some devotees on the train and they kindly gave me a lift to Navadvip.

06-12-17 to 08-10-17

I had to meet a few people in Navadvip and Mayapur, but none of them were in town.


Train to Kolkata.


Train to Balasore, tempo to Remuna.


Visit to Vidyabhusana’s supposed birthplace memorial.


Train to Bhubaneswar. I had a few things to do in town and decided to spend the night in a “guest house” behind the station. As soon as the sun set, dozens of bedbugs popped up. Needless to say, I got no sleep at all.


Train to Puri before sunrise.

14-12-17 to 16-12-17

Visiting places and meeting people.


Train to Vijayawada.



19-12-17 to 20-12-17









Chengalpattu, Singaperumal, Madurantakam.


Bus to Tirucchirapalli.

26-12-17 to 09-01-18

Srirangam, Nammakal, Karur, Tanjore.


Mannargudi, Vaduvur.


Tiruturaipoondi, Sikkal.


Chidambaram, Srimushnam.


Kattumanar, Chelgapattu.


Tenganur, Kanchipuram.




Train to Hindaun, bus to Karauli.


Bus to Jaipur.


I wish to meet the Galta Mahant, but his phone is always switched off. Upon asking about him in one of his temples downtown, I was told that I could meet him at Galta today at noon, as there is some function going on. I went all the way up and down the hill under the scorching noon sun just to hear that there was no function at all and that the Mahant was out of station. This is the third or fourth time this happens.


Visit to the Sanjay Sharma Museum.


Visit to the Maharaja Public Library.


Visit to the City Palace Library.


Another visit to the Sanjay Sharma Museum.


Another visit to the City Palace.


Another visit to the Sanjay Sharma Museum.


Met some panditas. I came to know that Anantadas Babaji recently sent some of his disciples and a lawyer in another attempt to request the help of the mahant of Govinda deva Mandir. He replied that only if he receives an order from the Supreme Court he would give them a copy of the manuscript they need.



27-04-18 to 01-05-18


02-05-18 to 04-05-18

Baroda. Visit to the Oriental Institute and other places.

05-05-18 to 28-05-18


29-05-18 to 30-05-18


31-05-18 to 01-06-18






June and July

In Vrindavan, mostly working on the Siddhanta-ratna.


Most of the month in Kathmandu visiting several manuscripts libraries.


Back in Vrindavan. Translating the Siddhanta-ratna and chasing the same old folks who have manuscript collections here and there.

06-10-18 to 08-10-18

Visiting some government libraries in New Delhi.


Jaipur. Visit to the Sanjay Sharma Museum.


Visiting a few places and meeting people in Jaipur.


In Vrindavan, working on the Siddhanta-ratnam.

01-01-19 to 05-01-19

Visiting libraries and meeting scholars in Chennai.


At the gate of a major Sri temple, a fellow selling books approached me and offered a book by Rangaramanuja. I replied that I have it. He then showed me one by Raghavendra Tirtha. I replied that I also have it. I pointed out that he had just shown me a Sri text and then a Madhva one and asked him about his affiliation. He claimed to be a Sri Vaisnava. I had a look at the other books and saw some by Sankara. I asked why he was selling those too, since he is a Sri Vaisnava. He became indignant and started arguing that there is no disagreement between Ramanuja and Sankara and that ISKCON people are the only ones who say such a thing and criticize the latter. Wow! This is the first time I hear that their philosophical divergence is an ISKCON discovery! I asked if he had read the Sri-bhasyam. “Yes.” I again asked whether he had also read Sankara’s commentary. “Yes.” I then asked him to explain why the latter’s philosophy is called Mayavada. He couldn’t answer and just started yelling at me. I walked away to avoid wasting more time.

07-01-19 to 26-01-19

Srirangam. Translating, meeting scholars and attending the temple celebrations.

27-01-19 to 14-02-19

Udupi. Translating, meeting scholars and visiting libraries. One day I met a Madhva scholar, PhD holder, in one of the Mutts and we had a discussion in spoken Sanskrit. To my shock, he also started to defend Sankara saying that his philosophy had been badly distorted and that many of his conclusions are actually correct. As right now I am going through the third consecutive chapter on Advaita refutation in the Siddhanta-ratnam, I didn’t hesitate to correct his claims and bring to his attention that there is no way a Vaisnava could adjust to many of Sankara’s tenets. He preferred to change the topic...

March to June

In Vrindavan, getting the Siddhanta-ratnam ready to print.


Short visit to Tamil Nadu.

August to September

In Vrindavan, working on the Vedanta-syamantaka.

13-09-19 to 14-09-19



Bus to Jaipur.


Visit to the Govindadeva Mandir. I asked the staff about the library, and they told me that they have instructions not to show manuscripts to illiterate people like me. I didn't say a word but just thought ‘atmavan manyate jagat.’


I phoned the Galta Mahant, but he didn’t pick up the call. Although I had seen this movie quite a few times, I went all the way uphill on foot and upon reaching the temple I was told that he was busy and won’t meet anyone.


The whole day in the Sanjay Sharma Museum sorting out manuscripts.


Visit to the Oriental Institute. I arrived right in the middle of an altercation between the officer and the peon. They ignored me and kept on with the argument, which soon turned into shouts, verbal abuses, and punches. Another “enlightening” visit to them. Check the previous entries on their offices in Jodhpur, Bikaner, Bharatpur, and Alwar.

October and November

In Vrindavan, getting the Vedanta-syamantaka ready to print.

08-12-19 to 14-12-19


15-12-19 to 16-12-19


17-12-19 to 18-12-19


19-12-19 to 21-12-19

Chennai. Visit to the University of Madras.

22-12-19 to 23-12-19




25-12-19 to 25-01-20

In Srirangam, translating and researching.



27-01-20 to 28-01-20


29-01-20 to 08-02-20

In Udupi, visiting libraries, meeting scholars, purchasing books, translating and researching.

09-02-20 to 10-02-20

Mysore. Visit to the Oriental Research Institute to see some manuscripts. Visit to the Sanskrit College, whose library, as usual, was closed.

11-02-20 to 12-02-20

Mantralaya. The present Acarya was out of station, so I couldn't see his library as I intended.

13-02-20 to 14-02-20


March 2020 to September 2021

Locked up in my room in Vrindavan amidst lockdowns and curfews. Worked way too much, and sitting in front of the computer day and night without a break took a toll on my health.


First official short expedition post-lockdown. Train from Mathura to Hindaun, tempo to Karauli.


Moving around and meeting locals in an attempt to find out what happened to the manuscript collection of the royal family. A pandit claimed that it was fully burnt due to the negligence of the palace staff. I went to meet another pandit to see his private collection, but he was not at home. His wife was very eager to know what I wanted, but as soon as I explained it, she lost all interest and even refused to give me his phone number.


Arrived in Jaipur. Tried to locate a few Jain temples to see their libraries. No one was available.


Visit to the Balanand Math, where the NMM has listed a manuscript collection. The Mahant flatly denied having a single manuscript.


Train to Udaipur.

04-10-21 to 08-10-21

In Nathdwara, visiting libraries and purchasing books.


Visit to Kankroli, where there is a manuscript library that remains closed because only the Mahant has the key, but he lives in Baroda… Bus to Udaipur and train to Jaipur.


Visit to the Sanjay Sharma Museum to consult multiple manuscripts.


Visit to the Rajasthan Sanskrit Academy.


Train to Mathura.

13-10-21 to 15-11-21

In Vrindavan, once again pursuing the matter with local manuscript holders.


Train to Prayagraj.


Visit to the Ganganath Jha Campus. I arrived late in the morning and was told that the director would come only after 1 PM. After I had waited for a couple of hours, someone from the staff was kind enough to tell me that he would not be coming at all…


Train to Varanasi. Visit to the Sanskrit University, where the staff changed and I could consult a manuscript without any drama. Visit to the Kashi Vidyapith. I had been trying to contact them for over one year, but no landline works, and despite my requests from several people, nobody was interested in going there. To make it short: the librarian was on leave for a whole week and the staff refused to show me anything. Exactly what I intended to avoid…


Purchasing books.


Visit to the Nagari Pracharini Sabha, where I wished to consult a manuscript but was told to come on Monday.


Sunday. Meeting with some old acquaintances.


Another visit to the Nagari Sabha. I explained that the entry for the manuscript I wished to consult was obtained from the NMM and was not found in the Sabha’s catalogue. They insisted to make me sit there and go through all catalogues, just to confirm that the entry is in fact not there. When I requested them to check the stack, they told me to come tomorrow… Late in the morning, the librarian was back at the Vidyapith and kinda approved my application to consult and copy manuscripts, but under a restricted time due to the lack of staff. He appointed someone to make sure I wouldn’t damage anything. Right. I was told to come at 3 PM. I decided to go back to my room, on the other extreme of the city, instead of hanging around for several hours. I arrived at the library on time just to see the gate closed: some students were holding a protest and put a padlock from outside the entrance gate. I was standing in the street wishing I had been locked inside the library. Soon they broke the padlock, but that was a good excuse to suspend all work. I was told to come tomorrow...


Again at the Vidyapith, I finally made it inside the manuscript room just to find out that there is no order whatsoever. Adding injury to misery, the staff announced that the librarian allowed only 30 minutes to finish my task. I gasped. The time was over and I found nothing of what I needed. I had to explain the situation to the librarian. He excused himself saying that this is the first time they allow anyone in the manuscript section and decided to give me another couple of hours, but the day after tomorrow…


Visit to the Goenka Library.


Another visit to the Nagari Sabha. This time there was someone else in the library, and although I explained the whole thing, he flatly refused to check the stack for any entry not found in the catalogue. I left for the Vidyapith and frantically searched for the manuscripts. By the time I located a few and shot them, the library was already closing. I had to again beg for an extension. Granted.


Again at the librarian’s office, he told me that since I am working on manuscripts, I should know very well that it is a copyright violation to copy them. I looked at him in disbelief. He also insisted that there should not be any acknowledgement in my work, lest they end up facing legal troubles. Wow! Apparently, he had a meeting with his staff, who convinced him to not allow me to copy anything else. He was not interested in getting the facts right, since he has such well-informed assistants… I had to be content with sitting there and reading. Yet only after locating the manuscripts…


I got an extra couple of hours for reading, which barely served to have a random look at the manuscripts.

December 2021 to September 2022

In Vrindavan, getting the Nāmārtha-sudhā and the Prameya-ratnāvalī ready to be published. Extensive research work for the front matter of the latter. Multiple visits to local manuscript owners who keep on wasting my time.


Arrived in Karauli


Meeting with local panditas.


Visit to the palace.


Arrived in Jaipur. Two and a half years later, some govt. run libraries are still closed under the excuse of the pandemic.


Visit to some Jain temples that hold manuscript collections.


Once again, I climbed the Galta hill up and down both ways (and the sun was feeling as scorching hot as in the summer) just to hear that the Mahanta was out of station. After ten years, this regular ritual is becoming less and less appealing.

26-11-22 to 02-12-22

In Jagannatha Puri, visiting libraries and meeting people. After a whole week of fruitlessly looking for the house of a supposed manuscript holder, I concluded that it was another NMM’s will-o’-the-wisp.



04-12-22 to 07-12-22

Tirupati. Visit to the Oriental Research Institute et al.

08-12-22 to 09-12-22

Arakkonam, Kanchipuram.





12-12-22 to 14-12-22

Chennai. Meeting with the VC of Madras University.



16-12-22 to 14-01-23

In Srirangam, researching and translating. They reopened the temple library and are boldly advertising a digitization project. I was curious about it, as I know that long back they shifted all the manuscripts to Tanjavur. They brought freshly hand-copied versions of palm leaves, which they are now digitizing... When I said that this is a waste of resources, they became hysterical and started screaming at me.



16-01-23 to 17-01-23


18-01-23 to 19-01-23




21-01-23 to 23-01-23

Kollam, Ambalapuzha, Chertala.



25-01-23 to 30-01-23

Guruvayur, Triprayar, Irinjalakuda.

31-01-23 to 06-02-23

Udupi. Visiting libraries and meeting scholars.

07-02-23 to 09-02-23

In Rajapur, a village in Maharashtra where I expected to retrieve a manuscript copy listed over a hundred years ago. I missed it for a few months, as the owner gave the whole collection to the government last year.

February to September 2023

In Vrindavan, working on the Vrajaiśvarya-kādambinī and Śyāmānanda-śatakam, researching and tackling manuscript holders in Vraj.


Visit to the NMM and IGNCA.


Arrived in Patna. Unaware of the metro construction, I took a route that cost me a couple of hours to reach the Caitanya Mandir, 7 km away from where I am lodged, by the railway junction. I was told to come tomorrow morning.


Arrived at the Mandir right on time and the mahant was kind enough to give me access to the manuscript collection. Yet I soon realized that the available list is useless for all purposes, which forced me to go through 60 bundles containing over a thousand manuscripts. This implied opening and wrapping them one by one. I didn’t stop even for a moment, and by the time I finished, it was already night. 


Another morning visit to the Mandir, where I spent a few hours having a better look at some of the mss and digitizing them. In the evening, I got a message from the Railway: my train to Kolkata has been cancelled.


Having no better option, I had to catch a morning train that arrived in Kolkata in the evening, thus costing me a whole day of work.


Visit to the Kolkata University. The manuscript section is under renovation and I was told to come after a couple of months. I had other libraries to visit, but it started to rain heavily.


Train to Bardhaman. Visit to the University library. Upon requesting to see the catalogues of their manuscripts, I was told to wait while they dug the stacks. It so happens that they don’t have a set, although according to their OPAC they should have one. After waiting for a while,  I went to the manuscript section and explained the situation. Fortunately, they do have a set there. After going through the catalogues and writing down a list, I was told to submit an application and wait for a few days. I then proceeded to the Bengali Dept., where they have a different ms collection. At my request to copy a single, short, and incomplete manuscript, they first claimed that “it is against the rules of the university to allow copies.” As I had just come from the central library and the librarian didn’t say anything of the sort, and as I was quite sure that the same university doesn’t have different sets of rules, I braced myself for an upcoming session of clownery. Next, they said that I should “write an application and get permission from the registrar.” I didn’t argue and walked almost 2 km to the registrar’s office, where they, obviously, said that this is none of the registrar’s business and even called the said dept. in front of me to make their point. After another 2 km back to that dept., they now decided that my application should be signed by the dean of the Faculty. Upon visiting the dean’s office, I was told that he is out of station and should come tomorrow.


When I arrived at the dean’s office, I had to wait for almost an hour, as he was having a meeting. At last, he called me but declined to sign my application on similar grounds, as if it were a very grave matter… When I mentioned that there was no such commotion in the central library, the dean promptly started attacking the librarian, whom he claims is “violating the university rules.” He then said that I should rather “go to meet the registrar for this purpose.” I lightly hinted that I had already gone through one round of that and it didn’t go well. I added that I don’t mind going for another round, but chances are that the registrar may become annoyed if they send people to pester him for petty things such as photocopies, as if he didn’t have other things to do. I was already half a block away went a peon came running after me: the dean changed his mind and decided that the person in charge of library matters is the head of the dept. of chemistry and that he is the one who should sign my application. Unfortunately, he was in a meeting and I will have to come on Monday…


After a miserable weekend in a room infested with mosquitoes in this unpleasant city, later in the morning, I again visited the dean’s office just to pick up my application, which had not been forwarded to anyone, and was told to go myself to get it signed by the chemistry HOD, who was giving a class and won’t be available before 2 PM. At this point, I already had enough and it would be indeed a good idea to meet the registrar to say quite a few things. Some 2 km later, I came to know that he wouldn’t be coming today. I decided to go to meet the chemistry HOD just to check what he had to say on the matter, which turned out to be an incredible load of rubbish. He stuck to the “not allowed” claim, but when I asked whether this was written somewhere, he couldn’t answer. I repeated the question, and he still gave no answer. To clarify, it was the peon of the Bengali dept. who told the HOD that “the University” doesn’t allow copies, and she repeated this to the dean, who said the same to the chemistry HOD, who now thinks himself very well informed about “rules.” I quoted to him the 5 laws of library science displayed on their website, such as “books are for use,” and “don’t waste the reader’s time,” and he looked surprised as if he had never heard about these before. He then started talking about copyrights. I asked whether he knew for how many years copyrights are applicable in India. He couldn’t answer. I repeated the question, and he again failed to give an answer and started saying that perhaps “they” don’t want to allow me to digitize the manuscript because it is too old and damaged, but added that I am free to read and copy by hand for as long as I wish. Fantastic! So, when a manuscript is too old and damaged, a digitization that would barely take 5 minutes is not allowed, but they have no restrictions if one needs to handle the manuscript for hours a day for a week or so to copy it manually! As it was so clear that there was no rule whatsoever, and as I realized the number of days and thousands of rupees spent here just to hear all this nonsense, I was just about to lose my cool. The man was even cheeky enough to give me back my application and direct me to go to the Bengali HOD to get it marked and then go again to meet the dean to get his signature or whatever. I don’t think I’ve ever met this level of incoherence and incompetence inside a university, not to speak of disrespect for scholarship and academic work, so it would be appropriate to bring the matter to the state and central governments. Without delay, I went back to my room, packed, and left. Arrived in Navadwip late in the evening.

10-10-23 to 12-10-23

Visit to libraries in the area, including the Sanskrit Research Institute, where no research is done…


Arrived in Bishnupur late in the morning and went to visit the Acharya Jogesh Purakriti Bhavan, which hosts whatever mss were left in town. The curator doesn’t seem to know much about the collection and insisted that they have no list at all, which I later found out to be a black lie. When I questioned about the govt. project to digitize the mss, he responded that 12 lakhs of rupees had been granted for the task, but they “suddenly” ran out of money after digitizing just a fraction of the mss… I didn’t get to see anything today because he had other things to do.


As today is a local holiday, I spent time visiting the multiple ancient temples in the town.


Another visit to the Purakriti Bhavan, where I had to wait over an hour until they could locate the few mss I wanted to see. 

16-10-23 to 18-10-23

Back in Kolkata, where I visited several libraries.


Back in Delhi after many hours on an AC couch insanely freezing, which made me fall sick for several days. At the end of last month, I had submitted an application at the NMM requesting to consult a few mss, which they had agreed to. Now they claim that they know nothing about my application and that the director is abroad.

20-10-23 to 30-11-23

In Vrindavan, researching and translating. After a whole decade of struggle, at last I could copy a few mss from the Nimbarka College, which I had been refused earlier. I literally had to wait for the whole previous staff to be removed. It took me dozens of visits, each of them involving a 2 km walk.

01-12-23 to 02-12-23


03-12-23 to 06-12-23

Remuna. Visit to a research centre in Nilagiri.

07-12-23 to 10-12-23




12-12-23 to 14-12-23

Markapur, Srisailam.

15-12-23 to 17-12-23

Kadapa, Ontimitta, Siddhavatam.

18-12-23 to 22-12-23

Tirupati, Tirumala, Srikalahasti.

23-12-23 to 28-12-23





Vriddhachalam, Sirkazhi.





02-01-24 to 03-01-24


04-01-24 to 05-01-24



Tenkasi, Papanasam.

07-01-24 to 08-10-24


09-01-24 to 11-01-24

Nagercoil, Panagudi, Tovallai.

12-01-24 to 13-01-24

Thrissur, Irinjalakuda.

14-01-24 to 15-01-24






18-01-24 to 20-01-24

Chikmagulur, Belur.

21-01-24 to 27-01-24




29-01-24 to 30-01-24

Madgaon, Mardol.


Miraj, Kolhapur.

01-02-24 to 02-02-24

Jalgaon. Exactly one year ago, I had visited the Rajapur Sanskrit Pathshala to look for a manuscript, but they had recently given their whole collection to the MJ College in Jalgaon, which only now I could visit. The librarian was polite and cooperative, but there was a catch: the mss are still unsorted. I literally had to go through 700 mss, one by one, opening and closing the wraps. Ironically, after a few hours, I found the ms was looking for at the bottom of the last box. I had been meditating on this ms copy for more than ten years

February to March 2024

In Vrindavan, working on the Gopala-tapani.

18-03-24 to 23-03-24

Nathdwara and Kankroli. I was told to be there before Holi to meet the Mahant at Kankroli, and so did I. Yet he was not aware of the whereabouts of their manuscript list and asked me to give my contact info to be called later on…


I was staying in the temple guest house but was told to vacate because it was booked for Holi. I shifted to a lodge, where the owner demanded that I pay several days in advance with promises that my reservation was secured and that he definitely would not ask me to vacate. Yet on the eve of Holi, “all of a sudden,” he remembered that my room was booked and demanded that I vacate. I had to catch the first train to Jaipur.


Most of the day in the Sanjay Sharma Museum.


Visit to the Oriental Research Institute. Visit to several Jain temples, where they keep telling me stories and asking me to come another day.


Visit to the Sanskrit Academy.


Visit to Galta. The same up and down the hill ritual to no avail, as the Mahant was again out of station.


In the morning, I called a certain Prof. Jain, who told me to come to his place at 5 PM to see his database. After catching a couple of buses and walking several blocks, I arrived at his address, some 10 km away from where I was lodged, just to hear that he was not there and would come back after some 90 minutes. I literally spent a couple of hours walking around and then tried again at around 7 PM. He had not yet arrived and I was told that it might take another 90 minutes. I just had enough for today and went all the way back. With the traffic jam and all, it was almost 9 PM when I reached my lodge. Just tried my luck, as I heard from several people and also noticed myself that the guy was a jerk… 


Visit to the Balanand Math. Just learnt that the Mahant passed away and the new one has no clue about the library there.

01-03-24 to 02-03-24

Meeting people here and there.


Moved to the Sanjay Sharma Museum, primarily to sort out their collection of Bengali mss.


For the past three years, I had been trying to gain access to the library in a Jain temple near Badi Chaupar, but all I got was a “Yes, yes, we will call you later.” It took a while to make contacts and reach the right person, who took me inside, got all the doors open, and let me copy what I needed. The “yes, yes” dude was pissed off…

05-04-24 to 07-04-24

Going through some of the collections of the SSM.


Early morning bus to Karauli, which was incredibly crowded due to the Amavasya.


Meeting with the Prince. We had a long discussion about the holdings in the palace and he instructed the staff to make due arrangements so that I may have a look.

10-04-24 to 14-04-24

I waited for several days for the said arrangements, but instead of that, the staff now decided that they have no manuscripts at all, and meanwhile, the Prince went out of station.


Left early in the morning for Bharatpur. I had called the Oriental Institute in-charge yesterday and he told me that their office would open around 11 AM. By 12 o’clock it was still closed, so I called him again. Only then he informed me that the peon, who has the key, has gone to his village and is not picking the phone… Wasted the whole day with those clowns and will have to waste more time reporting them.

16-04-24 to 28-04-24

In Vrindavan starting another project.


Visit to the NMM office, where my application to consult a few mss remains ignored and the director was again absent and didn’t pick my call. I wrote to the IGNCA administration requesting that the whole data be made available in the library like all their collections. Curiously, as soon as the NMM director came to know this, he called me on the phone screaming hysterically at me and speaking all sort of nonsense, including stating that he doesn’t give a damn for my application, although he himself told me to write it. Go figure.

30-04-24 to 01-05-24

Visit to the Kurukshetra University.

02-05-24 to 04-05-24

Visit to the Sanskrit College and State Library in Shimla.



06-05-24 to 07-05-24

Visit to the Sanskrit College in Amritsar. The principal had never heard of Gaudiya Vaisnavas. 


Visit to the Ranbir Sanskrit Research Institute in Jammu. Clueless staff and messy handwritten lists.


Katra, Vaishno Devi.


Visit to several libraries in Jammu.






Visit to the Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute in Hoshiarpur. Helpful staff and organized library. In a few minutes they located the material I needed to consult and let me shoot it. I wish there were plenty of places like this.