Saturday, February 12, 2011

ORI exhibited 600-year old Manuscripts at museum

Manuscripts are treasure house of ancient knowledge. Written on palm leaves they are invaluable source of information for modern day scholars researching on ancient history that includes philosophy and religion.

Collecting and preserving these manuscripts from all over India has become a onerous task for these scholars, who travel all over India and request people to hand over old manuscripts lying in their homes unused, and even from mutts and temples.

Though majority of these manuscripts are found in the Sates of Karamtaka and Tamil Nadu, they are also often collected from other parts of the country. These manuscripts are being digitized for the benefit of posterity. They are first cleaned and deciphered, before digitizing them. The Oriental Research Institute famously known as ORI is not far behind in collecting, preserving and digitizing these manuscripts.

If one would have visited the museum of National Centre for History of Science on February 8 they have been remained stunned watching such handy, lengthy palm leafs exhibited by ORI. Express here brings some smallest and lengthiest manuscripts of the era.

Lengthiest Manuscript

Padyacudamani by Budhaghosa is considered as the Lengthiest manuscript in the world. This 3-feet manuscript which is written in palm leaf is 600-year-old and the work done is by Virasaiva. The speciality of this manuscript is the language used in this is both Kannada and English.

Kadata is an ancient cloth in which merchants were used to maintain their day-to-day transaction. Adding tamarind to the cloth, making it harder later on the script has written through chalk. The ORI has collected this cloth from Sringeri. This cloth is more than 30 ft and its washable and can be folded also.

Smallest Manuscript

Devisaptasati or Mushti Pustake is the smallest manuscript (3x2 cm) which was displayed in the museum. Its 400-year-old and it can be read using magnifier glass.

Birch Tree

A unique tree grown in Himalayan region is Birch tree. Using cow urine and black powder this birch material will be painted and afterwards with the help of brush the script will be written. Its 200 year-old.

Apart from this the museum has smallest bhagavadgita, gold painted manuscripts, Kautilya Asthashastra and much more.

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