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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 11, 2016

A Note on the Analysis of Two Early Rājasthānī Dādūpanthī Manuscripts

Jaroslav Strnad

Abstract

The study of literary traditions of medieval India is, to a large extent, dependent on the analysis of extant manuscripts as primary sources of information. Knowledge of their absolute and relative chronology, together with the development of their internal structure and format, can throw more light on their uses and roles in the process of the formation of the communities that produced them. Possible methodological approaches and tools for acquiring and evaluating the desired sets of data are here demonstrated on a small sample of text, a collection of sākhīs or couplets attributed to the sant Kabīr (ca. 1440–1518) and included in manuscript textual corpora compiled by members of the communtity of Dādūpanth in seventeenth century Rājasthān. A comparison of the internal structure of two kindred sākhī collections, namely a so far unedited Dādūpanthī manuscript and the existing edition of the Kabīr granthāvalī of Śyāmasundaradāsa[1] (1928), combined with data in the colophons of the former, and along with other circumstantial information, allows us to postulate their relationship to other preexisting models that bring us to the very beginnings of the scriptural traditions of Dādūpanth. The gradual accumulation and internal rearrangement of the material that is evident in the manuscript copy under study reveals the emergence of the idea of a pañc-vāṇī, or a compendium of texts by the five most revered sants, in the later history of Dādūpanth considered to be canonical.

Acknowledgemnts

For helpful comments on an earlier draft I offer my thanks to Monika Horstmann, Linda Hess, and Jack Hawley. I am grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their useful suggestions.

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Published Online: 2016-6-11
Published in Print: 2016-5-1

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