Clay Sanskrit Library Newsletter : January 2006

A Message from the General Editor

Dear CSL Supporter,

We begin 2006 with the bold resolution to catch up with our production schedule. As you know, our target is to publish 100 volumes by the end of 2009, just four years from now. For a small enterprise such as ours, that is quite an undertaking. However, nearly all volumes have now been commissioned and the experience gained with the first few volumes should stand us in good stead.

Our other urgent aim is to enhance the web site: we both want to put more material on it ourselves, and to make it a forum for discussion. We have begun to put up answers to frequently asked questions, and we would welcome from you any further questions you may have. You may be particularly interested in my defence of our printing Sanskrit in roman characters; it is astonishing how few people realise that no classical Sanskrit literature was first written down in devanagari.

I take it that we all share the goal of increasing interest in and knowledge of Sanskrit worldwide. Though we are strictly a small publishing charity with no resources to undertake other activities, we would be interested in any suggestions how to promote this goal. In particular, our translator, Oliver Fallon, is looking for ways in which we could encourage and help creativity inspired by Sanskrit literary works, e.g. theatrical productions, music, visual arts; so do get in touch with him if you have a helpful and preferably precise suggestion.

Best wishes to all for the New Year,
Richard Gombrich, General Editor

2. New releases in March

These four new volumes will be available in March.

Five Discourses on Worldly Wisdom
Patrick Olivelle
The king despairs of his idle sons, so he hires a learned brahmin who promises to make their lessons in statecraft unmissable. The lessons are disguised as short stories, featuring mainly animal protagonists. Many of these narratives have traveled across the world, and are known in the West as Aesop’s fables.

Maha·bhárata Book Two: The Great Hall
Paul Wilmot
The ‘Great Hall’ relates some of the most seminal events of the epic, culminating in the famous game of dice between the Pándavas and the Káuravas. The Pándavas, happily settled in Indra·prastha, enjoy one glorious success after another. Yudhi·shthira, after erecting the most magnificent hall on earth, decides to perform the Royal Consecration Sacrifice, which will raise his status to that of the world’s greatest sovereign. His brothers travel far and wide and conquer all known kingdoms. Yet just when the Pándavas are beginning to seem invincible, Yudhi·shthira mysteriously gambles everything away in a fateful game of dice to his cousin Duryódhana.

Messenger Poems Kālidāsa, Dhoyī, and Rūpa Gosvāmin
Sir James Mallinson
Sanskrit Messenger poems evoke the pain of separated sweethearts through the formula of an estranged lover pleading with a messenger to take a message to his or her beloved. The plea includes a lyrical description of the route the messenger will take and the message itself. The first was the Cloud Messenger, composed by Sanskrit’s finest poet, Kali·dasa, in the fifth century CE. This inspired the next, the Wind Messenger, composed in praise of King Lákshmana·sena of Gauda (Bengal) in the twelfth century by Dhoyi, one of his court poets. Numerous more followed, including the third in the CSL selection, the sixteenth century Swan Messenger, composed in Bengal by Rupa Go·svamin, a devotee of Krishna.

Ramáyana Book Three: The Forest Vālmīki
Sheldon I. Pollock
The skies darken for the exiles, who have taken refuge in forest hermitages. First one demon, then another, attempts to harm or corrupt them. When these efforts fail, an army of demons is sent, and then a bigger one, but each time Rama again defeats them. Finally Rávana, the supreme lord of the demons, decides to cripple Rama by capturing Sita; he traps her, and carries her off under heavy guard to the island fortress of Lanka. Rama is distraught by grief, and searches everywhere without success.

New Resources on our Site

Sandhi Table (download, 1p, 808kb)
A must-have aid for all learners of Sanskrit for identifying word-breaks and beginnings of words. The table systematically lays out possible combinations of phonetic fusion (sandhi) of adjacent words in Sanskrit. Click on the icon on the left hand side to download.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) (new page & download, 3pp, 96kb)
Some of the frequently asked questions about our project and editorial policy. Also available for download.

Corrections (updated page & download, 2pp, 104kb)
Here we provide a list of corrections for our volumes. We would be delighted to be informed of any mistakes which you may find in our books. Please write to:

Volumes by Category (new page)
This page presents all our current and future volumes arranged into literary genres and other convenient categories. You will find that many titles are listed under multiple headings. We hope that it will be useful for finding the titles that match your interests.