Clay Sanskrit Library Newsletter: September 2007


The four volumes to be released this autumn embody the broad spectrum of Sanskrit literature covered by the Clay Sanskrit Library. Judit Törzsök’s double bill presents her fresh translation of the entertaining fables of ‘Friendly Advice’ as well as ‘King Víkrama’s Adventures.’ With many helpful notes this volume is ideal for Sanskrit learners and younger Sanskritists. Linda Covill’s Buddhist romance (and anti-romance) brings one of India’s oldest kāvya works to a modern English readership. Justin Meiland’s translation of the concluding part of ‘Shalya’ describes graphically the downfall of Dur·yódhana. Sheldon Pollock, now our joint General Editor, gives us the classic dramatization of the famous Ramáyana story in his ‘Rama’s Last Act.’ You can download excerpts of these volumes and more on our website.

“Friendly Advice” by Nārāyaṇa & “King Víkrama’s Adventures”
Judit Törzsök
“Friendly Advice” combines numerous animal fables with human stories. In one tale an intrusive ass is simply thrashed by his master, but the meddlesome monkey ends up with his testicles crushed. This volume also contains the compact version of “King Víkrama’s Adventures,” thirty-two popular tales about a generous emperor, told by thirty-two statuettes adorning his lion-throne.
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Handsome Nanda by Aśvaghoṣa
Linda Covill
Nanda has it all—youth, money, good looks and a kittenish wife who fulfils his sexual and emotional needs. He also has the Buddha, a dispassionate man of immense insight and self-containment, for an older brother. When Nanda is made a reluctant recruit to the Buddha’s order of monks, he is forced to confront his all-too-human enslavement to his erotic and romantic desires.
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Maha·bhárata Book Nine: Shalya (volume two of two)
Justin Meiland
In one of the most famous passages in the “Maha·bhárata,” Dur·yódhana, the heroic but flawed king of the Káuravas, meets his end when he is dishonorably defeated in battle by his arch enemy, Bhima. Framing a fascinating account of the sacred sites along the river Sarásvati, the duel poignantly portrays the downfall of a once great hero in the face of a new order governed by Krishna, in which the warrior code is brushed aside in order to ensure the predestined triumph of the Pándavas.
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Rama’s Last Act by Bhavabhūti
Sheldon I. Pollock
“Rama’s Last Act” by Bhava·bhuti is counted among the greatest Sanskrit dramas. The work at once dramatizes the “Ramáyana”—it is one of the earliest theatrical adaptations of Valmíki’s epic masterpiece—and revises its most intractable episode, the hero’s rejection of his beloved wife. Human agency in the face of destiny, the power of love, and the capacity of art to make sense of such mysteries are the themes explored in this singular literary achievement of the Indian stage.
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You can consult new ancillary pages containing various text-critical notes to the Sanskrit text of the following volumes on this Book Extras page. We hope they will be useful to Sanskritists and those who would like to pay as much attention to the Sanskrit as to the English translation.

The Birth of Kumára
Text-critical Notes (HTML)

Maha·bhárata Book IV: Viráta
Variant Readings (HTML)

Maha·bhárata Book VIII: Karna (volume one of two)
Emendations to the Sanskrit Text (HTML)

Maha·bhárata Book IX: Shalya (volume one of two)
List of textual variants and emendations (HTML)


You can read the review of the current CSL volumes of the ‘Maha·bhárata’ written by Simon Brodbeck here (PDF), published in Religions of South Asia.


Read “The Clay Sanskrit Library and Electronic Publishing,” an insightful article on electronic publishing written by Stuart Brown, our XML maestro.

We have a new page listing all current and future CSL volumes in alphabetical order of Sanskrit authors’ names.