Thor bu - Curiosia Indo-Tibetica

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Āryamahāpratisarāyā vidyāvidhiḥ of Ratnākaraśānti

[post formerly had *Mahāpratisarācakralikhanavidhi]

Looking through prakīrṇapatras is always rewarding and well worth the frustration of trying to make sense of numeration, scripts, etc. NAK 4-130 = NGMPP B 24/20, although catalogued under the generic title `Varṣapaṇavidhamaḥ' (that is varṣāpaṇavidhayaḥ, `rituals of rain-making'), is one of these bundles with all sorts of works, most of which are indeed linked to nāgas and/or rainmaking.

To my knowledge the *Mahāpratisarācakralikhanavidhi (Tōh. 3118) attributed to the famous pundit has not been traced in Sanskrit. It is highly doubtful that this is indeed the work of Ratnākaraśānti, as so many works seek fame and authority by linking themselves to his prestige. The ms. mentioned above begins with two folios (only three pages are written) of this work, and I do not think that the short vidhi extended beyond a fourth. I have not checked the other folios thoroughly, so it's not impossible that the evasive third is hiding somewhere in the same bundle.*

The work begins with a scribal obeisance:

namo bhagavat[y]ai āryamahāpratisarāyai{ḥ} ||

Then the maṅgala/pratijñā:

natvā pratisarāṃ bhaktyā sarvabuddhābhinanditām |
vibhūtyai sarvasattvānāṃ taccakraṃ likhyate mayā ||

Which in the Tibetan runs as follows:

| sangs rgyas kun gyis mngon bstod pa'i |
| so sor 'brang ma la btud de |
| sems can kun la bsrung ba'i phyir |
| de yi 'khor lo bdag gis bri |

Notice the omission of `bhaktyā' and taking `vibhūtyai' as `bsrung ba'. There are several other inconsistencies in the translation as you read along. The rest of the work concerns itself with drawing an amulet on birch-bark or a cloth with the proper distribution of mantras and dhāraṇīs. And here for some reason I recall a quote from Valéry, something along the lines of: `My work is a work of patience executed by an impatient man'.

*Update: behold, it is there. The title preserved in this ms. is: Āryamahāpratisarāyā vidyāvidhiḥ. No author is given.

**Update 2: The text has been passed on for editing. We'll keep you posted.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good that Thor bu has emerged from its long state of samādhi! Thanks for the post, and for drawing attention to this material.

There is a bit of confusion regarding this MS, by the way. You give the NGMPP reel number as B 29/20; but this is an error (as far as I can tell). You probably mean B 24/20 (which because of some bug isn't showing up in the NGMCP online database/title-list, I'm afraid; hope we have that fixed soon). Note that this MS has also been filmed on reel nr. A 936/8. The apparent discrepancy in number of folios (A 936/8 is recorded on the card as having 54, B 24/20 as having 27 folios) might make one doubt this, but in fact 54 seems to be right for both... The MS is rather incorrect; thus even in the scribal obeisance the scribe has written namo bhagavatai, where you with silent courtesy corrected to namo bhagavatyai.

As you say, the work is unlikely to be by the Kalikālasarvajña himself...

Looking forward to more Vajrayāna posts (or what about that idea of a Twitter stream with daily or more frequent postings of emendations and/or identifications?)!


9:13 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

Dear HI, many thanks for the comment, B 24 (bhagavatai) it is indeed. A study of this ms. would not be worthless. There seem to be at least two copies of the `Varṣāpaṇasaṃgraha' anthology later seen as Tokyo 353 and so forth. One seems `Indian' and the other Nepalese. But what is really quite exciting are those late-Bengali-ish looking folia (unfortunately many are effaced) containing roughly half of the Vajratuṇḍa nāma/˚nāga˚ samaya, a kriyātantra with some nice old features. Don't know if anyone has done any work on this, I don't even know if the Sanskrit is available elsewhere. Material for a future ETW?

4:26 am  
Blogger elisa freschi said...

I guess the mns you describe is in Sanskrit, while the Tibetan text has been preserved somewhere else. Hence, do you think that the differences in the two texts may be due to a different Sanskrit original? Or are they just usual inconsistencies in Sanskrit-Tibetan translations of this sort of texts?
Sorry for the naive question.

9:40 am  
Blogger PDSz said...

Well, both, really. Very difficult to say, especially with such small texts.

12:03 pm  

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