I am glad to announce the discovery of an unpublished and unknown manuscript entitled “Gopala-puja.” According to the colophon, this text was composed by Srila Sanatana Gosvami. As the name suggests, it is a concise description of the method of worship of Gopala’s deity, with the mantras, mudras and so on. The manuscript was found in the middle of a single collection of Gaudiya manuscripts that include several well-known texts as well as rare and unpublished ones. At the end of the bundle, there is a note stating that these texts were transcribed between 1919 and 1920 from the original manuscripts in possession of Brindavana Chandra Panigrahi, Parlakamedi, Odisha. Several decades later, this transcribed collection ended up in the Government Oriental Manuscript Library in Chennai, amidst more than 70,000 manuscripts. For the benefit of those interested in reading it, I have uploaded a digital copy of the complete manuscript of Gopala-puja:
Recently, I’ve gone through the first research expedition in Bangladesh, which proved to be very rewarding. Although in the last century fanatic Muslims burnt large numbers of Sanskrit manuscripts in East Bengal, there are still many thousands of them left, albeit in a precarious condition. On the contrary of what one may think at first, I was cordially received in the libraries I visited and promptly given access to the manuscripts. At Dhaka University I was even offered a proposal to work in the manuscript section, which hosts a vast collection of Gaudiya texts and has thousands of unsorted manuscripts. Many of them could be the very same copies dispatched from Vrindavan by Srila Jiva Gosvami more than four centuries ago. Besides copies of several of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s works, I also brought copies of some rare texts.
In the middle of a hectic schedule of expeditions and research, I have also been working on the translation of Vidyabhusana’s “Siddhanta-ratna,” which he composed as a comprehensive introduction to the Govinda-bhasya and is one of the most important treatises on Gaudiya philosophy.
The Baladeva Vidyabhusana Project has the following primary objectives:
- Search for lost manuscripts. (Such as the commentaries on the ten Upanisads, six Sandarbhas, Srimad-Bhagavatam, etc.)
- Digitally preserve manuscripts currently existing in different libraries.
- Digitally preserve all editions of Vidyabhusana’s books.
- Digitally preserve articles written about Vidyabhusana.
- Type all the original texts in a digital Unicode system, which can be converted into Devanagari, Bengali and Oriyan characters.
- Prepare a critical edition of each work.
- Translate all the works into English.
- Publish all translations with the original Devanagari text.
- Investigate and verify existent biographical data of Vidyabhusana, including historical evidence of the alleged conflict between the Gaudiyas and the Ramanandis in Rajasthan.
- Publish a comprehensive biographical work.
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