CSL People

Below are listed the people who have made the Clay Sanskrit Library possible, including those involved in editing and translating volumes. Please click on the volume titles for more information.


John Peter Clay
(Photograph by courtesy of Nora Feller)

John Peter Clay

John P. Clay was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1934. In 1957 John graduated from Oxford University with first class honours in Sanskrit, Avestan and Old Persian. He went on to a long career in global investment banking with Vickers da Costa, New York, the London Stock Exchange and then with Clay Finlay, Inc. In 1999 he decided to give enduring patronage to his real passion: Sanskrit literature. His vision was to create a series that would make all the classics available to the general public for the first time. John lived in New York City with his wife Jennifer, until his passing in June of 2013.

John Peter Clay

26 June 1934 – 24 June 2013

John P. Clay was born in Paterson, New Jersey – a fact of which he was very proud. While this was mere happenstance – his parents had planned to settle in the US, but subsequently returned to London – it had the fortunate outcome of giving him dual British / US nationality, which was an invaluable asset in his later career.

In 1947, John won a scholarship to St Paul’s School for Boys, London, part of a stellar cohort that included: Jonathan Miller, Edwin Pomeroy, Oliver Sacks and Michael Simmons. A high-flying classicist from the start, he was given every support and encouragement, winning an exhibition to read Greats at Balliol College, Oxford, at the age of sixteen. He turned this down, aspiring to a scholarship, but when he reapplied a year later, Balliol would not consider his application. The Queen’s College, Oxford offered the scholarship, and reaped his undying loyalty and, in later years, considerable generosity.

Before going up to Queen’s, John enlisted in the Royal Air Force for his National Service. While this was an obligation, it was also a pleasure, and an opportunity to indulge his love of speed and beautiful machinery. Seconded to the Royal Canadian Air Force, he won his wings as a navigator, specialising in Arctic navigation at the time of the Distant Early Warning (DEW Line) patrols.

Once at Queen’s, John decided that he had gone as far as he wished with Classics, and toyed with a transfer to the Mathematics school.

However Oriental Languages piqued his interest, and he applied his intellect and his prodigious capacity for concentration to learning Sanskrit, Old Persian and Avestan (the language of the Zoroastrian holy Scriptures).

He achieved a First with two years’ study – while at the same time continuing to fly with the University Air Squadron, becoming a leading light of the Motor Club and making lifelong friends.

On leaving Oxford, John joined Vickers da Costa, a firm of stockbrokers based near Pudding Lane in the City. He claimed that, at his interview, the senior partner remarked, “I never know what to ask on these occasions. But I see you were a classicist – if you can translate the inscription on the Monument, you can have the job.” He spent 25 years at Vickers, becoming deputy chairman to Ralph Vickers, and being instrumental in introducing international investors to the Japanese equity market. He also valued his time as an elected member of the Stock Exchange Council.

By the early eighties, with deregulation of the City on the horizon, John was itching to run his own show. He left Vickers and returned to the land of his birth, founding the investment management company Clay Finlay in New York in 1982, with business partner and longterm friend Francis Finlay. As with any fledgling business, the early years demanded extraordinary feats of work, travel and commitment, but success followed, and Clay Finlay eventually had more than $6bn under management.

St.Paul’s School for Boys, London

St.Paul’s School for Boys, London

Royal Canadian 
Air Force

Royal Canadian
Air Force

The Queen’s College, Oxford

The Queen’s College, Oxford

da Costa

da Costa

New York 

New York

Finlay Inc.

Finlay Inc.

John Peter Clay

By 2002 several of the partners wanted to realise their investment, and the firm was sold to Old Mutual. John was regretful, but realistic, and enjoyed some years as Chairman Emeritus, with a seat on the Old Mutual board. However, semi-retirement allowed him to exercise several of his longstanding interests: medical research programmes; philanthropy, of which St. Paul’s and Queen’s were substantial beneficiaries; and Sanskrit. He founded the Clay Sanskrit Library (www.claysanskritlibrary.org), dedicated to making the key Sanskrit texts available in English. The beautifully produced volumes,in their distinctive turquoise jackets, echoed the format of the Loeb Classics series, with the English translation facing the original, but transliterated, text. John believed that these Sanskrit works were as culturally important as the great Greek and Latin texts, and deserved a wider readership among the Indian diaspora and in the West. 56 volumes, each freshly translated to the highest standards of scholarship, are now available, and an anthology is being developed by The Bodleian Library, Oxford University. This unique collection will prove a lasting legacy.

John’s achievements are made more remarkable by the fact that he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 28. His response was largely to ignore his illness, and indeed he played squash, rackets and real tennis into his fifies, as well as driving a series of low-slung sports cars and maintaining a punishing work schedule. A passionate Francophile, he loved good food and, particularly, wine, and was a most generous and amusing host.

His last years were marked by increasing infirmity, but he continued to travel widely, attend functions and entertain family members, friends and colleagues, Old Paulines (OPs), Queen’s alumni (he was proud to be appointed an Honorary Fellow of the College) and business associates from around the world.

John’s first marriage produced three treasured daughters, Teresa (who became a Paulina), Lalage, and Xanthe. His second marriage, to Jennifer Coutts, lasted 41 years to his death, and was a loving and successful partnership which brought him great happiness.

Lalage Clay, daughter
In Loving Memory

Jennifer Coutts Clay

John’s wife and co-founder of the Clay Sanskrit Library (CSL), is an aviation specialist. She is the author of Jetliner Cabins, described as: “The first and only comprehensive study of commercial aircraft design … “ (Air Transport World) ; “A must-read …” (Airliner World) ; “A commercial perspective of the aviation business in the past and present …” (The Hindu) . The third edition of the work, an E-book app containing about 130,000 words and more than 5,000 images, is available on Amazon, Apple iTunes® and Google Play™.

Jennifer held senior positions at British Airways and Pan American; and she was a certified consultant to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. As Principal of J. Clay Consulting, she has worked with short-haul and long-haul airlines, design specialists, legal firms and aviation suppliers. Jennifer’s published articles on aircraft interiors have appeared in numerous industry magazines; she is a founding member of the Pan Am Historical Foundation Museum, and she serves on the Concorde Advisory Committee at the INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York City. More information on www.jetlinercabins.com.

The John P. Clay Sanskrit Librarian

Dr. Camillo A. Formigatti

Dr. Camillo A. Formigatti

The Clay Sanskrit Library (CSL) is proud to announce the appointment of The John P. Clay Sanskrit Librarian at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

Camillo A. Formigatti has a doctorate in Indology from the University of Hamburg and previously worked as Research Associate on the Sanskrit Manuscripts Project at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Formigatti is compiling an anthology of the world of Sanskrit literature brought to life in the Clay Sanskrit Library series. The volume will be illustrated and enriched with images showcasing the ancient manuscript heritage of South Asia as represented in the collections of the Bodleian Library. He is also responsible for the pilot programme of the digital version of the CSL titles (eCSL), the development of the CSL website and the preparation of a survey of the uncatalogued Sanskrit manuscripts kept in the Bodleian Library.


Nicola Denny

Graphics Services

Toby Matthews

Printed by

T.J. International
T.J. International, Cornwall

Outreach Programmes

Matthew Kimberley

Digital Clay Sanskrit Library (eCSL)

Pamela Terry


General Editor

Sheldon I. Pollock

Sheldon I. Pollock
Sheldon Pollock is the Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies. From 2005-2011 he served as the William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Columbia, and before that as the George V
He is the author of The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India andeditor ofCosmopolitanism and Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia.
Ramáyana II: Ayódhya by Vālmīki
Ramáyana III: The Forest by Vālmīki
“Bouquet of Rasa” and “River of Rasa” by Bhānudatta
Rama’s Last Act by Bhavabhūti

General Editor Emeritus

Richard Gombrich

Richard Gombrich
Richard Gombrich is Boden Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit, Oxford University and Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies (OCBS).
Love Lyrics
“Fifty Stanzas of a Thief” by Bilhaṇa


Diwakar Acharya
Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics – Oxford University
Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Indological Studies, Kyoto University, Japan.
The Little Clay Cart by Śūdraka

Greg Bailey
Reader in Sanskrit, La Trobe University, Melbourne.
Love Lyrics by Amaru, Bhartṛhari & Bilhaṇa
Maha·bhárata XIV: The Horse Sacrifice

Adam Bowles
BA in Sanskrit 1997; PhD (La Trobe) in Asian Studies 2004.
Maha·bhárata VIII: Karna (volume one of two)
Maha·bhárata I: The Beginning (volume one of three)
Maha·bhárata VIII: Karna (volume two of two)

Yigal Bronner
Yigal Bronner is an Associate Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in Sanskrit poetry and poetics.
“Self-Surrender,” “Peace,” “Compassion,” and “The Mission of the Goose”: Poems and Prayers from South India by Appayya Dīkṣita, Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita, Vedānta Deśika

Alex Cherniak
Lecturer in Sanskrit, University of Tel Aviv.
Maha·bhárata VI: Bhishma (volume one of two) Including the “Bhagavad Gita” in Context
Maha·bhárata VI: Bhishma (volume two of two)

Michael Coulson
Michael Coulson (1936-1975) taught Sanskrit at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Sanskrit: an introduction to the classical language and Three Sanskrit plays, translated with an introduction.
Rákshasa’s Ring by Viśākhadatta
Málati and Mádhava by Bhavabhūti

Linda Covill
Linda Covill translates and edits Sanskrit literature for the JJC Foundation, co-publishers (with NYU Press) of the Clay Sanskrit Library.
Wolfson College, Oxford.
Handsome Nanda by Aśvaghoṣa

Whitney Cox
Lecturer in Sanskrit, Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Kate Crosby
Senior Lecturer in Buddhist Studies, Department of Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Maha·bhárata X-XI: Dead of Night & The Women
Maha·bhárata XII Peace (volumes one & two of five)

Csaba Dezső
Csaba Dezső is Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit in the Department of Indo-European Linguistics at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.
Much Ado About Religion by Bhaṭṭa Jayanta
The Quartet of Causeries by Śyāmilaka, Vararuci, Śūdraka & Īśvaradatta
The Bawd’s Counsel by Dāmodaragupta
The Parrot’s Seventy Tales by Cintāmaṇi Bhaṭṭa

Wendy Doniger
Wendy Doniger is Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago.
The Lady of the Jewel Necklace” and “The Lady Who Shows Her Love” by Harṣa

Paul Dundas
Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit, University of Edinburgh.
The Slaying of Shishu·pala by Māgha

Oliver Fallon
Teacher of Sanskrit, St James School, London.
Bhatti’s Poem: The Death of Rávana by Bhaṭṭi

R.C.C. Fynes
R. C. C. Fynes is Principal Lecturer, Faculty of Art and Design, De Montfort University. He is the author of The Lives of the Jain Elders.
The Epitome of Queen Lilávati (volume one) by Jinaratna
The Epitome of Queen Lilávati (volume two) by Jinaratna

Kathleen Garbutt
Kathleen Garbutt translates and edits Sanskrit literature for the JJC Foundation, co-publishers (with NYU Press) of the Clay Sanskrit Library.
BA (Oxon) in Sanskrit 2004.
Maha·bhárata IV: Viráta
Maha·bhárata V: Preparations for War (volume one of two)
Maha·bhárata V: Preparations for War (volume two of two)

Robert P. Goldman
Robert P. Goldman is Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He is director and general editor of the massive translation project of the critical edition of Valmíki’s Ramáyana and has also translated Book Five, Súndara, with Sally P. Goldman, with whom he has co-authored Deva·vani·pravéshika: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language.
Ramáyana I: Boyhood by Vālmīki
Ramáyana V: Súndara by Vālmīki

Sally J. Sutherland Goldman
Sally J. Sutherland Goldman is Lecturer in Sanskrit, University of California at Berkeley.
She and Robert P. Goldman together wrote Deva·vani·pravéshika: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language.
Ramáyana V: Súndara by Vālmīki

Dominic Goodall
Dominic Goodall is Head of the Pondicherry Centre of the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO).
The Bawd’s Counsel by Dāmodaragupta
Raghu’s Lineage (two volumes) by Kālidāsa

Friedhelm Hardy
Friedhelm Hardy (1943–2004) was Professor of Indian Religions at King’s College London. He is the author of The Religious Culture of India: Power, Love and Wisdom and Viraha-Bhakti: The Early History of Kṛṣṇa Devotion in South India.
Seven Hundred Elegant Verses by Govardhana

Robert A. Hueckstedt
Professor, Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Virginia.
The Deeds of King Harsha by Bāṇa

Harunaga Isaacson
Harunaga Isaacson is Professor of Indology, University of Hamburg.
Raghu’s Lineage (two volumes) by Kālidāsa

William J. Johnson
William J. Johnson is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Cardiff University. He is the author of The Sauptikaparvan of the Mahābhārata: The Massacre at Night and The Bhagavadgītā, translated with an introduction and notes.
Maha·bhárata III: The Forest (volume four of four)
Maha·bhárata III: The Forest (volume one of four)

Matthew Kapstein
Director of Tibetan Religious Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris) and Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies, University of Chicago.
The Rise of Wisdom Moon by Kṛṣṇamiśra

Rosalind Lefeber
Rosalind Lefeber is Lecturer Emerita in Sanskrit at the University of Toronto.
Ramáyana IV: Kishkíndha by Vālmīki

Sir James Mallinson
Sir James Mallinson translates and edits Sanskrit literature for the JJC Foundation, co-publishers (with NYU Press) of the Clay Sanskrit Library.
BA (Oxon) in Sanskrit with Old Iranian 1991, MA (School of Oriental and African Studies) 1993, DPhil (Oxon) 2002.
The Emperor of the Sorcerers (volume one) by Budhasvāmin
The Emperor of the Sorcerers (volume two) by Budhasvāmin
Messenger Poems by Kālidāsa, Dhoyī, and Rūpa Gosvāmin
The Ocean of the Rivers of Story (volume one of seven) by Somadeva
The Ocean of the Rivers of Story (volume two of seven) by Somadeva
The Ocean of the Rivers of Story (volume three to seven of seven) by Somadeva

Justin Meiland
Justin Meiland is BA (Oxon) in Sanskrit and Pali 1997, MA (Bristol) in Buddhist Studies 1999, DPhil (Oxon) 2003.
Maha·bhárata IX: Shalya (volume one of two)
Garland of the Buddha’s Past Lives (volume one of two) by Āryaśūra
Maha·bhárata IX: Shalya (volume two of two)
Maha·bhárata III: The Forest (volume two of four)
Garland of the Buddha’s Past Lives (volume two of two) by Āryaśūra

Patrick Olivelle
Patrick Olivelle is Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions, University of Texas.
Five Discourses on Worldly Wisdom by Viṣṇuśarman
Life of the Buddha by Aśvaghoṣa

Indira Peterson
Indira Peterson is Professor of Asian Studies, Mount Holyoke College.
The Hunter and the Hero by Bhāravi

Vaughan Pilikian
Vaughan Pilikian translates and edits Sanskrit literature for the JJC Foundation, co-publishers (with NYU Press) of the Clay Sanskrit Library.
MA (Cantab) in Classics 1996; MPhil (Oxon) Sanskrit 2001; Frank Knox Scholar (Harvard) 2001-3. Poetry: At Eclipse (2002). Films: Actaeon (2003), Mummers (2003) and The Curse Map (2004).
Maha·bhárata VII: Drona (volume one of four)
Maha·bhárata VII: Drona (volumes three to four of four)
Maha·bhárata VII: Drona (volume two of four)

Velcheru Narayana Rao
Velcheru Narayana Rao is Krishnadevaraya Professor of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
How Úrvashi Was Won by Kālidāsa

Tamar Reich
Tamar Reich is Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Florida.
Maha·bhárata XV-XVIII: Final Departures

David Shulman
David Shulman is Renée Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
How Úrvashi Was Won by Kālidāsa
“Self-Surrender,” “Peace,” “Compassion,” and “The Mission of the Goose”: Poems and Prayers from South India by Appayya Dīkṣita, Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita, Vedānta Deśika

Lee Siegel
Professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Hawai’i.
Gita·govínda: Love Songs of Radha and Krishna by Jayadeva

Andrew Skilton
Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Indian Religions, University of Cardiff.
“How the Nagas Were Pleased” and “The Shattered Thighs” by Harṣa and Bhāsa
Maha·bhárata XIII: Good Counsel (three volumes)

David Smith
David Smith is Reader in Indian Religions at Lancaster University. He is the author of Ratnákaras Hara·víjaya: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Court Epic, The Dance of Siva: Religion, Art and Poetry in South India and Hinduism and Modernity.
Princess Kadámbari (volume one of three) by Bāṇa
Triumph of Shiva by Ratnākara
The Birth of Kumára by Kālidāsa
Princess Kadámbari (volumes two and three of three) by Bāṇa

Joel Tatelman
Joel Tatelman is Senior Editor at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He has also published The Glorious Deeds of Purna, a translation and study of the Púrnavadána.
Heavenly Exploits (Buddhist Biographies from the Dívyavadána)

Judit Törzsök
Judit Törzsök is Lecturer in Sanskrit, Université Charles-de-Gaulle, Lille.
Rama Beyond Price by Murāri
“Friendly Advice” and “King Víkrama’s Adventures” by Nārāyaṇa

Gary Tubb
Gary Tubb is Professor in South Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Chicago. He is the author of Scholastic Sanskrit: A Handbook For Students, published in 2007.
In the Court of King Bhoja by Ballāla

Somadeva Vasudeva
Somadeva Vasudeva is Assistant Professor in Sanskrit at Columbia University, New York.
MA (London) in Sanskrit and Prakrit 1993; DPhil (Oxon) 2000; Institut Français, Pondicherry, 1998 to 2000.
Three Satires by Nīlakaṇṭha, Kṣemendra, and Bhallaṭa
The Recognition of Shakúntala by Kālidāsa
The Quartet of Causeries by Śyāmilaka, Vararuci, Śūdraka & Īśvaradatta
Lyrical Verse Explained
Moonlight of Glory by Someśvaradeva
Nava·sahasánka and the Serpent Princess by Padmagupta
Twenty-four Chronicles (two volumes) by Merutuṅga

Paul Wilmot
Paul Wilmot translates and edits Sanskrit literature for the JJC Foundation, co-publishers (with NYU Press) of the Clay Sanskrit Library.
BA (Oxon) Sanskrit and Tibetan 2003; MSt (Oxon) Oriental Studies 2004.
Maha·bhárata II: The Great Hall
Maha·bhárata I: The Beginning (volume two of three)

Alexander Wynne
Alexander Wynne is Lecturer in Buddhist Studies at Mahidol University, Bangkok.

Maha·bhárata XII: Peace: “The Book of Liberation” (volumes four to five of five)
Maha·bhárata XII: Peace: “The Book of Liberation” (volume three of five)

Foreword Writers

Mani Shankar Aiyar
Mani Shankar Aiyar is a former member of Lok Sabha and has held several Union Cabinet ministerial positions in Petroleum & Natural Gas, Panchayati Raj, Youth Affairs & Sports and Development of North Eastern Region. He is the author of several books. His latest book, A Time of Transition: Rajiv Gandhi to the 21st Century, was published by Penguin Books India in 2009.

U.R. Ananthamurthy
U.R. Ananthamurthy is a leading writer and critic. He was the winner of Jnanpith award in 1994 and was former President of the Sahitya Akademi. His prolific works encompass many genres, including novels, short stories, plays, poems and essays.

Partha Chatterjee
Partha Chatterjee is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. His most recent publications include A Princely Impostor? The Strange and Universal History of the Kumar of Bhawal (2003) and The Politics of the Governed: Popular Politcs in Most of the World (2004).

Gurcharan Das
Gurcharan Das, former CEO of Procter & Gamble India, is author of the international bestseller India Unbound: From Independence to the Global Information Age as well as several plays, a novel, and numerous essays and countless columns.

Anita Desai
Anita Desai is a Booker-nominated novelist of many works, including Fire on the Mountain and The Village by the Sea.

Ranajit Guha
Ranajit Guha is the founding editor of Subaltern Studies and author of History at the Limit of World-History (2002), Dominance without Hegemony: History and Power in Colonial India (1997), and Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India (1999).

Girish Karnad
Girish Karnad is not only a celebrated playwright, but also a poet, actor, director, critic, translator and cultural administrator. He has written eight major plays, of which “Tughlaq” is the most famous, as well as working on many popular and art films as actor, director and/or scriptwriter.

Sudipta Kaviraj
Sudipta Kaviraj is Professor of South Asian Politics in the Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Culture at Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books on South Asian society, culture and history, including The Unhappy Consciousness (1993), and has edited Politics in India (1998) and co-edited (with Sunil Khilnani) Civil Society: History and Possibilities (2000).

J.N. Mohanty
J.N. Mohanty is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Temple University. His latest book, Essays on Consciousness and Interpretation (Edited with an Introduction by Tara Chatterjee), will be published by OUP India in June 2009.

Kiran Nagarkar
Kiran Nagarkar is an award-winning novelist, playwright and critic. His latest novel, God’s Little Soldier, has been published in many languages.

Gieve Patel
Gieve Patel trained as a doctor before he became established as an artist. He has written books of poetry, plays and held several exhibitions of his paintings internationally.

Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen is a Nobel laureate and currently the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous publications, including Development as Freedom.

Romila Thapar
Romila Thapar is Professor Emerita of Ancient Indian History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is the author of numerous books on Indian history, including Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300 (Penguin, 2002).

Editorial Assistants

Dániel Balogh
Málavika and Agni·mitra by Kālidāsa

Tomoyuki Kono
Eszter Somogyi

Málavika and Agni·mitra by Kālidāsa


Ridi Faruque (Our former administrator)

Chris Gibbons (Our former administrator)


Robert Beer

Web Design

Astrid Johnston + Jai Redden
ast & red (our former web developer)

Jarin Tabata
Sinisnap Design (Our former web designer and developer)


Isabelle Onians
Isabelle Onians is a translator and editor of Sanskrit literature for the JJC Foundation, co-publishers (with NYU Press) of the Clay Sanskrit Library.
BA (London) in Greek and Latin 1994; MPhil (Oxon) in Classical Indian Religions 1996; Leader, Tibet 2000 expedition (Oxford and Royal Geographic Society); DPhil (Oxon) 2002; Gonda Fellow (Leiden) 2004.
What Ten Young Men Did by Daṇḍin
“A Bawd’s Life” and “The Ornamental Onion” by Kṣemendra & Harijīvanamiśra
The Magical Vine of the Bodhisattva’s Many Lives by Kṣemendra