Documents: 7

Sub-project: Indian manuscripts in Switzerland

January 2017

Status: In progress

Description: Switzerland has a considerable number of Indian manuscripts in various libraries, museums and private collections. So far, these manuscripts have rarely been investigated; there does not even exist a general census of the manuscripts. The project « Indian manuscripts in Switzerland » has set itself the goal of making these manuscripts, along with scholarly descriptions, available to scholars and to a broader public.

All Libraries and Collections

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 701
Paper · XI + 200 + IX ff. · 34.8 x 28 cm · Punjab (North-Western India) · 18th century
Bhāgavatapurāṇa, book 10

This is a Panjabi adaptation of the 10th book of the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, in Punjabi/Braj language, in Gurmukhī script. It is a collection of stories of the life of the god Kṛṣṇa, written in verse (caupaī, kabitā, soraṭhā and others). Contrary to the Sanskrit version, the text has no clear chapter structures and has a continuous numeration (880 verses). It is richly illustrated with scenes from the life of the god Kṛṣṇa (more than 200 miniatures), and it is a free verse rendering of the ancient Sanskrit text that was written in ślokas (shlokas), which was extremely popular in India. (ser)

Online Since: 03/22/2018

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 703
Paper · IV + 58 + V ff. · 11.7 x 16.2 cm · Rajasthan · 19th century
Collection of poems

The manuscript, written in modern Devanāgarī script, contains a series of extracts of poems on Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and on nāyikās and nāyakas (heroes and heroines), demonstrating various states and stages of erotic love. Two compositions mention in their colophons the authors or compilers, Rājānāgarī Dāsa (f. 55v) and the Venerable Kuvara Phakīra Siṃha - Kubar Fakīr Singh in hindi spelling (f. 58v). The manuscript is illustrated: five pictures feature Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa (f. 1v, 10r, 26v, 33r and 37v), and two others depict young people in love (f. 52r, 52v). The poems are of different forms, namely, copaī/caupaī, dohā, aralli, and soraṭha. Each of these has a fixed number of lines, syllables per line and other metric specifications. This style was very popular in Northwestern India from about the 18th century onwards. The manuscript was the property of Oliver Henry Perkins (front pastedown), before entering the Bodmer collection at an unknown date. (ser)

Online Since: 03/22/2018

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 704
Paper · IV + 165 + IX ff. · 7.5 x 12.5 cm · first half of the 18th century
Bhagavadgītā and subsidiary texts

This manuscript comprises a collection of four different texts. The main text is the Bhagavadgītā ("Song of the Lord"), a part of the Mahābhārata epic, book 6, which consists of 18 chapters, written here in Devanāgarī in a Kashmiri-influenced style (f. 1v-165r). It is one of the most copied texts in the Hindu tradition and survives in a huge number of manuscripts. Painted portraits of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna alternate in opening its 18 chapters. The Bhagavadgītā is preceded by the Prayāgatīrthasnānasaṃkalpa, apadoddhāraṇastotra (V2r-V4v),"a promise to take bath at Prayāga (Allahabad)", and followed by the Pañcavaktrahanumatkavaca (N1v-N7v), a protective mantra of Hanuman, and finally the Stavarāja (N8r-N8v), a "king of praises", serving also as a sort of colophon to the whole collection of these miscellaneous texts. These three subsidiary texts are all written in common Devanāgarī script. A partly readable note dated 29 August 1781 identifies the manuscript as a “prayer book of a bramin [i.e. brahmin]” given to the unidentified possessor of the manuscript “on his departure from India” (V1r). (ser)

Online Since: 03/22/2018

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 706
Paper · 121 ff. · 11 x 27.5 cm · likely Gujarat · 15th century (?)
Kalpasūtra, i.e. "Book of rituals"

This unbound manuscript contains one of the most copied texts of the Śvetāmbara Jaina tradition, the Kalpasūtra, which was very popular all over India from the 14th century on. It is a collection of life stories of the great Tīrthaṅkāras. The present manuscript, written in Devanāgarī script, begins with the life of Mahāvīra Jīna, and continues with the biography of Pārśvanātha and Neminātha. The text is incomplete, missing folios 32, 85, 97, 103, and 125, which contained paintings that were sold separately. Their subject, however, can be restored through comparison with similar manuscripts. The paintings still in the manuscript (1v, 7r, 9v, 16v, 17v, 21r, 45v, 47v, 51r, 58r, 62v, 70r, 71v, 72v, 77v, 78r, 81v, 92r) depict the most important events of the lives of the Kalpasūtra’s figures. Based on the painting style, the manuscript is close to the 15th century. (ser)

Online Since: 03/22/2018

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 708
Paper · 82 ff. · 21 x 31 cm · Northern India, likely around Kedarnath · between 1700 and 1800, likely towards 1800
Kedārakalpa

This is an 18th century manuscript of the text called Kedārakalpa, representing itself as a part of the Nandīpurāṇa. The manuscript describes and depicts in its 61 exquisite miniature paintings a religious pilgrimage in Himalayas, Kedarnath region, as done by a group of yogis. It is a śaiva text, i.e. main deity is god Śiva, and the main purpose of the text is to incite people to go on that sacred śaiva pilgrimage. (ser)

Online Since: 06/22/2017

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 709
Paper · III + 476 + II ff. · 9.3 x 14.5 cm · Kashmir and Vṛṇdavan · 1776 or 1777
Collection of texts related to the worship of Viṣṇu

This is a composite manuscript, written in Devanāgarī script bearing the influence of the Kashmiri style, bringing together a number of ritual texts dealing with the worship of Viṣṇu. 1. (ff. 1_1r-1_6r) preparatory texts and rituals (without a single name or title), starting with a likely Pāñcarātra-influenced set of ritual practices, namely, nyāsas, and dhyānas, i.e. assignment of deities, and syllables to various parts of the body and the visualisation of the main deity. 2. (ff. 1_6r-1_149v) Bhagavadgīta: the main text in this miscellaneous collection. The Bhagavadgītā ("Song of the Lord" - Viṣṇu/ Kṛṣṇa), which is a part of the Mahābhārata, book 6 from 18, is one of the most copied texts in the Hindu tradition, and this part of the Mahābhārata epic survives in a huge number of manuscripts. 3. (ff. 2_1r-2_107v) Copies of other parts of the Mahābhārata, Śāntiparvaṇ, which all are related to Viṣṇu. 4. (ff. 3_1r-6_31v) 2 parts of Pāñcarātrika Sanatkumārasaṃhitā, dealing with the praise of Viṣṇu, plus mantras including (ff. 4_1r-4_21r) Pāṇḍavagītāstotra, (ff. 5_1r-5_20v) Gopālapaṭala, (ff. 6_1r-6_23r) Gopālalaghupaddhati and other texts. 5. (ff. 7_1r-7_37v) Parts of the tantras, a. Saṃmohanatantra, dealing with the praise of Viṣṇu, i.e. Gopālasahasranāmastrotra; b. Gautamītantra, the part called Gopālastavarāja. 6. (ff. 8_1r-10_8r) Two different texts: 1. Niṃbarkakavaca, which is a production of the Nimbarka worship lineage of Vaiṣṇavas. 2. Part of ritual texts of Sāmaveda, dealing with the 5 saṃskāras, plus various vedic mantras, such as Gāyatrī, in its vaiṣṇava forms. 7. (ff. 11_1r-11_11v) Part of the Bhaviṣyotarapurāṇa dealing with the worship of the stones related to Viṣṇu from the Gaṇḍakī river (common name is shaligram). The manuscript contains 3 illuminated titles and 12 miniatures, most of which depict Kṛṣṇa. According to the colophon (ff. 11_11v-11_12r), the text was written in Kashmir, in a monastery called Ahalyamath, in 1833 Saṃvat, that is 1776 or 1777 CE, by a person called Gaṇeśa[bhaṭṭa?] Nandarāma. The second part of the colophon (partially missing), however, links the history of the manuscript to Vrindavan. (ser)

Online Since: 06/14/2018

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 728-3
Paper · 1 f. · 6.5 x 17.6 cm · North-Western India · 19th century
Śrīyogarāja, Guhyaṣoḍhā

This is a text called Guhyaṣoḍhā written by Śrīyogarāja [the name means « Glorious king of yoga », and is an honorific title rather than a proper name], and it is in part based on the very ancient tantric text called the Rudrayāmal. Guhya[kālī]ṣoḍhā / Guhyaṣoḍha means a text featuring a sequence of mantras that a tāntrika would need to recite in order to "purify" himself and the mantra that precedes the recitation of the root-mantra of the deity. This text traverses the religious space at the intersection of Hinduism and Buddhism. (ser)

Online Since: 09/26/2017

Documents: 7