New e-Texts of Śaiva Siddhanta Manuscripts in the Muktabodha Digital Library

In 2022, Muktabodha announced a new collaboration with the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP), sponsored by a grant from the Muktabodha India Trust, to transcribe 75 Śaiva Siddhanta manuscripts into searchable e-texts. We are pleased to announce that the first batch of transcriptions from this project are now available through the Muktabodha Digital Library. These ten texts include nine ritual manuals (paddhatis) and a version of a well-known stotra (hymn of praise), the Śivasahasranāmastotra, all from Southern Indian manuscripts.

The figure below shows the original manuscript of the Varuṇapaddhati, one of the ritual texts that has now been transcribed and uploaded to the Muktabodha Digital Library. Panels A and B show the complete manuscript, consisting of multiple palm leaf folios bound together between wooden covers. Panel C shows two individual folios with obvious damage, highlighting the critical need to digitally preserve such texts before they disintegrate altogether.

This particular manuscript of the Varuṇapaddhati includes a commentary attributed to Nigamajnanadeva, a 16th century teacher and scholar noted for his contributions to the development of Śaiva Siddhanta philosophy and practice in Tamil Nadu in South India. According to Dr. T. Ganesan (IFP), the commentary “Explains in detail the concepts and the types of initiation (dīkṣā) and installation (pratiṣṭhā) of śivaliṅga in the temple treated briefly in the Varuṇapaddhati (T. Ganesan, 2009, Publications Hors Serie 9, IFP).

The addition of South Indian Śaivite paddhatis complements the more than fifty-five ritual manuals from Northern India already in the Digital Library collection of e-texts. Expanding the collection in this way provides scholars with a valuable new resource for comparative analyses of these two major hubs of Śaivite philosophy and practice.

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