IeT 49

English Summary*

Lehrschrift über die zwanzig Präverbien im Sanskrit. Kritische Ausgabe der Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti und der tibetischen Übersetzung Ñe bar bsgyur ba ñi śu pa’i ’grel pa. (Editionen von Texten der Cāndra-Schule. Band I). Von Dragomir Dimitrov nach Vorarbeiten von Thomas Oberlies. Marburg 2007 (Indica et Tibetica), vii, 123 pp.


As far back as 1895 the German scholar Bruno Liebich published a seminal monograph entitled Das Cāndra-Vyākaraṇa which paved the way for future studies of the Cāndra system of grammar, that is the school established by the famous Buddhist grammarian Candragomin (fifth c. AD). Among the texts mentioned by Liebich was a short treatise called Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti (“Treatise on the Twenty Prefixes”) which he knew only in its Tibetan version, entitled Ñe bar bsgyur ba ñi śu pa’i ’grel pa. The Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti belongs to a class of supplementary grammatical texts in which the twenty verbal prefixes used in the word formation of Sanskrit are enumerated and exemplified in a systematic way. Liebich cited the beginning of the Tibetan translation and even retranslated it back into Sanskrit. He also quoted the colophon of the Tibetan text, rendered it into German, and described briefly its contents. Thus, for a very long time the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti was known only from its Tibetan translation.

Thanks to the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project (NGMPP), it became possible to locate a paper manuscript of the original Sanskrit text. The credit for first discovering and reporting about this manuscript in 1992 goes to Oberlies who gave fresh impetus to the study of this short grammatical treatise. Only recently the present author was able to locate in the Nepalese treasure house two older palm-leaf manuscripts of the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti. Since, on the one hand, these three witnesses of the Sanskrit original and the five versions of the Tibetan Tanjur containing the Tibetan translation offer a suitable basis for a critical edition of this text, and on the other hand, the Cāndra system of grammar has largely been neglected in the last decades, it was considered worthwhile to prepare and offer this editio princeps of the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti and the Ñe bar bsgyur ba ñi śu pa’i ’grel pa. The present book is in four parts: an introduction, a bilingual edition, philological notes, and a facsimile edition. Three appendices, a bibliography, a list of abbreviations, and this summary complement the book.

The introductory part (I. Einleitung) begins with a brief outline of the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti and some related texts, such as the anonymous Upasargavṛtti another anonymous work called Laghūpasargavṛtti and Kṛṣṇācārya’s Upasargārthasaṃgraha (1. Die Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti). A detailed description of the three Nepalese manuscripts follows (2. Die Sanskrit-Textzeugen), and thereafter the stemmatic relationship of these textual witnesses has been discussed (3. Stemma der Sanskrit-Textzeugen). There is strong evidence for the hypothesis that the paper MS A dated NS 774 (AD 1654) was copied directly from the palm-leaf MS B dated NS 541 (AD 1421). Special attention has been given to the puzzling palm-leaf manuscript copied in NS 574 (AD 1453), which bears the title Prādivṛtti (MS X), but is actually a remarkable, though due to its faultiness, not a particularly helpful witness of the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti (4. Die Handschrift der Prādivṛtti).

In the next section the Tibetan material used in this book, namely the Tanjur editions from Cone, Derge, Ganden, Narthang and Peking are presented (5. Tibetisches Textmaterial), followed by a short discussion on the Tibetan title of the treatise (6. Der tibetische Titel des Werkes). It is interesting to note that Tib. Ñe bar bsgyur ba ñi śu pa’i ’grel pa corresponds to Skt. Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti, the latter being assumed to be the original title of the Sanskrit work, although in the colophons of all three Nepalese manuscripts only Upasargavṛtti is mentioned. The informative colophon of the Tibetan translation is discussed separately (7. Der Übersetzer der Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti). Here some details are supplied about the translator of the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti, the famous interpreter Thar pa Lo tsā ba Ñi ma rgyal mtshan dpal bzaṅ po, who was a pupil of Śes rab seṅ ge (1251 -1315) and a teacher of Bla ma Rdo rje rgyal mtshan (1283-1325). From external evidence it can be inferred that Thar pa Lo tsā ba must have finished this translation no later than in 1335. The question about the authorship of the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti, which the Tibetan sources ascribe to Candragomin himself, is also touched upon here. No particular argument could be found in favour or against this ascription.

Another important question dealt with in this introduction concerns the fact that there are actually two different versions of the Tibetan translation of the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti (8. Die Versionen des Ñe bar bsgyur ba ñi śu pa’i ’grel pa). Probably the older version is the one included in the Ganden, Peking and Narthang editions of the Tanjur, whereas in the Derge and Cone editions of the Tanjur another version is to be found, which bears traces of later editorial work. A number of similar cases in the Tanjur, e.g., the Tibetan translation of Daṇḍin’s Kāvyādarśa, appear to strongly support this hypothesis. Next the relationship between the five Tibetan sources is discussed on the basis of their differing readings and it is then shown in the form of a stemma (9. Stemma der tibetischen Textzeugen). The last section of the introduction deals with the peculiarities of the Tibetan text (10. Besonderheiten der tibetischen Übersetzung). Due to the peculiar technique applied by Thar pa Lo tsā ba in his translation, it is often not literal, does not give an exact impression of the Sanskrit text, and proves therefore to be of little or no help at all with regard to the corrupt passages in the Sanskrit text.

The second part of the book contains the bilingual edition itself (II. Textausgabe). The preliminary notes concerning the presentation of the texts (1. Vorbemerkung zur Textausgabe) are followed by the critical edition of the Sanskrit treatise and its Tibetan translation (2. Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti and 3. Ñe bar bsgyur ba ñi śu pa’i ’grel pa). The Sanskrit and the Tibetan texts are given on facing pages with the critical apparatus supplied at the bottom of the page. Both texts are printed in the Latin script, which in the case of an edition of a technical text such as the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti offers some advantages, especially over the Devanāgarī script.

In the third part of the book the most problematic erroneous or corrupt readings are philologically analysed (III. Philologische Bemerkungen). The passages in the Sanskrit text are discussed first (1. Bemerkungen zu der Ausgabe der Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti). This section also includes comprehensive references to the other related treatises on the prefixes. Many passages in these treatises agree literary with the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti and thus often prove helpful in emending the corrupt text transmitted in our Nepalese manuscripts. In the second section, the noteworthy readings of the Tibetan text are discussed (2. Bemerkungen zu der Ausgabe der Ñe bar bsgyur ba ñi śu pa’i ’grel pa).

In the fourth part of the book a facsimile of the three Nepalese manuscripts and a diplomatic transcript are presented (IV. Faksimile und diplomatische Abschrift). This part allows direct access to the Sanskrit material used for the present critical edition. The elaborate facsimile edition may also prove useful for the purposes of palaeographical studies, not least because the three Nepalese manuscripts presented here bear dates.

In addition the book includes three appendices (Anhange). The first appendix (Anhang 1) contains a concordance which helps in locating the Sanskrit and the Tibetan texts in the manuscripts and xylographs used in the present bilingual edition. In the second appendix all readings of orthographical nature are collected which have been deemed unnecessary to mention in the critical apparatus to the Sanskrit text (Anhang 2). In the third appendix lists of prefixes prepared by Rudolph von Roth are reproduced (Anhang 3).

At the end of the book are a bibliography (Literaturverzeichnis), a list of abbreviations (Abkürzungsverzeichnis) and this summary.

After Liebich first drew attention to the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti, it has taken more than a century for conditions to become ripe enough to undertake and present this editio princeps of the Viṃśatyupasargavṛtti and the Ñe bar bsgyur ba ñi śu pa’i ’grel pa. Although this long-awaited edition is now complete, critical editions of many other much more important treatises belonging to the Cāndra system of grammar are overdue. May the second volume of the series “Editionen von Texten der Cāndra-Schule” published by the Indica et Tibetica Verlag follow soon.


* I would like to thank my friend Dr. Jayandra Soni (Marburg) very much for checking the English of this summary.