Thor bu - Curiosia Indo-Tibetica

Textual and visual odds and ends from India, Tibet, and around.

My Photo
Location: Kolozsvár/Cluj, Budapest, Oxford, ibi ubi

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The date of the Gūḍhapadā (updated)

Much can be said of the Gūḍhapadā, and doubtless much will be said once we get down to work on this massive (180-folio!) commentary on the Mañjuśrīnāmasaṅgīti [henceforth MNS]. The only known ms. of this work is kept at the Royal Asiatic Society as no. Hodgson 34. There is no Tibetan translation, or if there is, it is certainly not canonical. The author is named as one Advayavakra(!), perhaps a slip for Advayavajra. The colophon (see the image) says that 'he came here, to Kashmir'.

Until today I thought that the work had gained little currency (only one ms. survives, no Tibetan translation) and was not at all influential (nobody seems to mention it or quote from it). I am happy to report that I was very wrong.

Leafing through the so-called Vanaratna codex (see Isaacson 2008) I noticed that the colophon (40r) of the Amṛtakaṇikā (henceforth AK), Raviśrī's commentary on the MNS,  contains two verses not attested elsewhere (that is to say the mss. used in the Sarnath edition and the Cambridge ms., Add. 1108/13). I am not very familiar with the script, so I will not give the full reading, only pāda b of the first verse, which says:

'ślāghyā* gūḍhapadāśritādbhutabṛhatkāśmīrapañjī sakhā(?)'

[*make sure you read the comments by HI on how to construe this]

In other words Raviśrī not only mentions the title, but also tells us that it is a Kashmirian work. Moreover, he seems to have been a fan ('ślāghyā'* [see above]), and openly admits to have drawn upon it. Oh, and he also says that the work is 'massive'. Everything seems to match.

As far as I know Raviśrī's dates are not settled with satisfying certainty. However, he must precede roughly 1200 CE, because the Uddyota, Vibhūticandra's sub-commentary to the AK, by definition must have been written after the AK. The mahāpaṇḍita came to Tibet for the first time in 1204 (see Stearns 1996), therefore Raviśrī should roughly date to the middle/second half of the twelfth century or before.

Since our Advayavajra not only knows the Kālacakra, but also quotes lenghtily from the notorious Ādibuddha, he must date after roughly the mid-11th century. Therefore the date of the Gūḍhapadā must fall between cca. 1040 to cca. 1160 CE.

Well, maybe I should have entitled this entry 'The (very rough) date of the GP'.

Isaacson 2008 -- Harunaga Isaacson, "Himalayan Encounter: The Teaching Lineage of the Marmopadeśa (Studies in the Vanaratha codex 1)". (pdf) Manuscript Cultures Newsletter 1.

Stearns 1996 -- Cyrus Stearns, "The Life and Tibetan Legacy of the Indian Mahāpaṇḍita Vibhūticandra". JIABS 19.1.

UPDATE: One more thing. I have somewhat incautiously regarded the two verses transmitted in the Vanaratna codex as auctorial, simply because they sounded like it. Here is some further evidence to back that up: Vibhūticandra has some lemmata from the verse we are interested in, including the line mentioning the GP. The end of the Uddyota is unfortunately not very legible on the only ms.* I have at hand, which is Tokyo Univ. Lib. 18 (see for yourself here - you will have to navigate to the end of the codex by yourself). The Sarnath edition gives: ...... dapadam āśritā|

But if you squint a little you can almost make out: + ślāghyā gūḍhapadām āśritā| I would be happier if it read gūḍhapadā āśritā or gūḍhapadāśritā, but there we are. I think this shuts the case. The remaining question now is: why on earth did other mss. of the AK decide to get rid of these two verses?

*A plea: if you happen to have the other two mss. of the Uddyota (1. Āśā sāphu kuṭi DH 366, or 5254 in the catalogue • 2. NAK 3-655 = NGMPP A 117/10) I'd be very grateful if you could tell me what they read just before 'ślāghyā'.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, don't have those Uddyota MSS at present.

Minor correction: the folio of the Vanaratna codex from which you are quoting is not 38v but 40r.

Slightly more substantive correction: what you transcribe as mayā cannot be so read in Vanaratna's hand. The first of those two akṣaras is quite certainly sa, not ma; the second is probably khā, and certainly not yā. (To see what
mayā really would look like in this hand, cast your eye just a little further ahead: 40r2 ends with prāpi mayāpi yad adva-.)

No time for more, have to catch a plane. This from Muenchen airport; have been in the PRC, from which such sites as Thor bu or Sārasvataṃ cakṣuḥ cannot be reached (without extraordinary measures), which is why I have only now had the chance to catch up on indological blogs and comment.


7:26 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

Dear HI,

Many thanks for the comments. I've corrected the folio no. and added sakhā as a presumably correct reading. How would you interpret it though? Is it saying that the Gūḍhapadā was commented _by_ a Kashmiri commentary? I really have to get used to the script...

Safe flight!

1:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to be slow in getting back to you.

> I've corrected the folio no. and added sakhā as a presumably correct reading

Well, what you now have, it seems, is
mayā (sakhā?). But what is written is (probably) simply sakhā, and though the text remains quite difficult to interpret, and not beyond suspicion, mayā is not only definitely not written, but also in my view hardly comes into consideration as a possible emendation. That is to say, I think it very unlikely that Raviśrī would appear in the verse in the form of an instrumental first person pronoun as well as in the form of the genitive raviśriyaḥ (which we have in the fourth pāda of this verse, which you did not transcribe).

Three more comments, which don't come near exhausting, of course, all that there is to discuss here. First, I think it probable, though not certain (in view of the unclarity/doubts which remain for me), that ślāghyā is not an adjective to Gūḍhapadā, as you took it, but to ṭippaṇikā, the subject of the whole verse, again in the last pāda, which refers of course to the Amṛtakaṇikā itself.

Secondly, you did not mention, I think, that the Tibetan translation of the Amṛtakaṇikā attests (at least in Derge) this verse (and the next one). That should help a bit.

Thirdly, apart from this verse there is a(nother) reference to a bṛhatkāśmīrapañjikā in the Amṛtakaṇikā, at p. 25 of the edition (cf. Hodgson 35 f. 25r4; note the different reading from the edition!). This might help test your theory that what is alluded to is the text of Hodgson 34.

So much for now... Thanks for the post—keep them coming!


7:05 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

Sorry it took so long to publish this comment. I had to recover it from the spam bin!

I must say the more I read it the more uncertain I become about that penultimate verse.

1. ślāghyā does of course go with ṭippaṇikā. rather ugly mistake from my part.

2. hmmm, `dka' 'grel rgyas pa dbang por ldan'... *sākṣā? unmetrical; *vaśā? difficult to explain the corruption. wish I were more familiar with this script and the typical corruptions it's prone to. I'm also starting to have problems with āśritā; would be much happier if it read ˚ābhidhā˚ or something.

>>> Thirdly, apart from this verse there is a(nother) reference to a bṛhatkāśmīrapañjikā in the Amṛtakaṇikā, at p. 25 of the edition (cf. Hodgson 35 f. 25r4; note the different reading from the edition!). This might help test your theory that what is alluded to is the text of Hodgson 34.

I think you mean 15r4. Indeed, the punctuation in the Vanaratna codex is much more appropriate. No word of six-armed Hevajras there. On the other hand what comes after that does have an echo in the GP.

1:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Partly as an experiment (at reaching out over the (fire)wall), just one further note: you may know that Stefania Merzagora submitted as her doctoral thesis in L'Orientale (Napoli) some years ago a re-edition of the AK (bibliographical details can be found e.g. in Orofino 2009 and Sferra 2009, both in the volume edited by Edward A. Arnold As Long as Space Endures).
I understand that the thesis (which I have not seen) is being further revised for publication. Goodness knows we could use a better edition of the work, as your post also demonstrates!


5:08 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

This is great news, I wasn't aware of the thesis. I think that using the Gūḍhapadā would be very rewarding in light of what is being pieced together slowly in the comments to this post.

Good to know that the great firewall can be opened for a good purpose.

6:53 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home