Report of Project II

FWF Project P19866 – G15
“Philosophy and Medicine in Early Classical India II”
(August 8th 2007 – November 30th 2010)

1 Report on the scientific work

1.1 Information on the development of the research work

The focus of the project was the first critical edition of the Vimānasthāna chapter (Vi) of the Carakasaṃhitā (CS) on the basis of all available manuscripts (mss.), started in the pilot project P 14451-SPR and continued in project P 17300-G03. Towards this aim, it was possible to increase the number of accessible mss. to altogether 55. The mss. were mostly made available during research trips to India from institutional and private repositories. It was also possible to procure copies of three further mss. of Cakrapāṇidatta’s commentary Āyurvedadīpikā (ĀDī), the oldest completely preserved commentary on the CS (11th c.), which contain at least parts of the commentary on Vi, as well as copies of further mss. of other parts of the CS and of the ĀDī from various Indian institutions. The survey of known mss. of the CS and its commentaries was consequently further augmented and revised (see below, 2.1.2). The full collation of Vi 8.1-14 and 67-157 (approximately half of the text of Vi 8) was completed and proof-read for 52 mss., as was the collation of Vi 8.15-66 for 33 mss. selected on stemmatic grounds. The resulting text, which consists of 6909 words and word stems in compounds, has variants on 6570 of them, i.e., roughly 95% of all words in the reference text (Trikamji’s edition of 1941) have at least one variant reading.

1.2 Most important results and brief description of their significance (main points)

The testimony of the available mss. provided an unprecedented basis for text-critical work on an individual chapter of the CS. In the process of editing the text of Vi 8, two complementary approaches were integrated: the cladistic analysis of variant readings (i.e., a quantitative approach) and the philological discussion of the variants (i.e., a qualitative approach) with stemmatological considerations. Even though there are a number of limitations regarding the application of cladistic techniques to textual traditions, such as the occurrence of contamination, the utilization of (adapted) tools used in cladistics, a method designed by systematic biologists to reconstruct evolutionary trees of species, proved highly valuable in the development of the hypothetical stemma codicum. The complete set of variant readings to the text of Vi 8.67-157 was repeatedly analysed with the help of the parsimony analysis implemented in the computer program PAUP* 4.0; MacClade 4, specially designed to analyze phylogenetic trees, proved to be a further useful text-genealogical tool. The resulting hypothetical stemma can be viewed on It clearly shows the division of the textual transmission into recensions K and E. The latter is further subdivided into two major branches Z and S, with Z being further divided into the Bengali branch Q and branch R which is highly contaminated by mss. of the Q and S branches. Within Q, Q11, with mss. written in Bengali script, is contaminated especially by readings of K mss., whereas the Devanāgarī script mss. in group Q12 are mainly contaminated by S-branch mss. The cladistic tools and methodology were presented in three papers by Maas (Maas 2009, 2010a and 2010b).
The combination of this innovative method and qualitative philological considerations is far more scientific and objective than the traditional text-critical method or other subjective philological methods, and enabled the team to better judge the historical relationship of different text versions. Furthermore, it was decided to significantly reduce the critical apparatus according to clearly defined criteria, to refrain from presenting the variant readings of all reconstructed exemplars, and to eliminate the evidence of some of the contaminated mss. and the apographs; the apographs of the R branch were treated in a paper by Pecchia, including theoretical considerations of the notions of “(in)utile” mss. and contamination (Pecchia 2010). In this equally novel approach, peculiar variants of individual mss., which could reasonably be judged as scribal mistakes, were eliminated. In many cases, the edition thus records the reconstructed variant readings of the youngest common ancestor of mss. belonging to a certain branch or major group. Readings of sub-groups are in general only recorded if they present a meaningful text or if the sub-group has some special historical significance. Some individual faulty readings and faulty, but strikingly similar readings in mss. that are in all probability stemmatically unrelated are also presented, especially if their origin cannot be explained from any of the other known readings.
The resulting critical edition of Vi 8 greatly improves upon the text as found in Trikamji’s edition of the CS of 1941, which has become the standard authoritative edition, and on the text of the other earlier editions; they all take into account only a very limited part of the ms. tradition and do not apply the methods of text-critical scholarship. In a large number of cases, it has been possible to establish a more original text of Vi 8 with reasonable certainty. First of all, it has been possible to eliminate numerous additions to the text. They comprise certain formulaic expressions, additions of similar or contextually-related items in long enumerations, explanatory or emphatic additions, and various additions clarifying the structure of the text. However, there are also cases of the omission of text. Furthermore, transpositions of text, to achieve more immediately intelligible expressions in the case of syntactical idiosyncrasies of the author (or the early redactors), could also be detected, as well as standardization of vocabulary items, replacement of uncommon words, introduction of regionally current terms, and the compounding of originally uncompounded nouns and vice versa. In some cases, it has been possible to establish a more straightforward original text, as opposed to the vulgate reading which could be shown to go back to a corruption of the text, to a difficult-to-read exemplar, or to a new, more transparent text conjecturally established on the basis of the widely varying readings of the mss. Not infrequently, the accepted printed text could not be found in any of the mss.; in these cases the vulgate’s editor had apparently modified the text. There are also a number of cases where it became obvious that the archetype must have been faulty; in these cases, the original text was conjectured by the editorial team on the basis of the readings found in K and E, sometimes inclusive of the testimony of Z, S, Q and R.
Next to the apparatus presenting the variant readings critically established as described above, the edited text has a second apparatus that contains secondary testimonies to the text, mainly preserved in the ĀDī, that offer readings not found in the mss. or reconstructed from them, and that confirm the readings of the reconstructed archetype, the two recensions or the further branches of transmission when these differ. In a third apparatus, further readings of the printed editions, or readings mentioned in them, are recorded, selected according to clearly defined criteria. This new approach is distinguished from the random reporting of secondary testimonies in commentaries and of readings in other editions, and at the same time from the unnecessarily extensive reporting of all readings found in these sources. As regards the secondary testimonies, the text of Vi 8 as found and reflected in the ĀDī was extracted from it and presented in a separate document in a systematic and visually engaging manner on the template of the critically edited text. It will be published on the project website.
The edited text, structured according to the upper levels of a new topical analysis (see Preisendanz 2007), is now ready for publication. It will be accompanied by * detailed descriptions of the utilized mss., *(2) the survey of CS mss. described below, and * a summarizing characterization of the textual transmission; a first cultural-historical sketch of the ms. tradition based on the archive of available mss. was presented in a paper by Pecchia (Pecchia 2009). Furthermore, *(4) an annotated bibliography of the editions of the CS (see will be provided, which traces the history of the text in print since Gangadhara commenced his publication of the editio princeps in 1868. It contains entries for the 49 known printed editions of the CS and shows that the text of Jivananda Vidyasagara’s late nineteenth-century edition closely follows a K ms. and was copied in some early editions from other parts of India (mainly Mumbai) until the 1930s; the subsequent editions from Varanasi and Western India (Mumbai, Jamnagar, Ahmedabad) follow almost exclusively Gangadhara’s editio princeps and his later edition. Later on, Trikamji’s already mentioned edition of 1941 served as the preferred template for other editors. (5) Finally, a comprehensive glossary of all variants of the plant names and the terms used for other materia medica in Vi 8 will be provided, with reference to selected lexicographical and pharmacological literature. This glossary will provide an important tool for all scholarly work on Indian material medica and its identification, for studies on regional and historical variations as regards the use and nomenclature of medicinal plants, as well as for linguistic studies on Indian plant names. Submission of the manuscript to the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press is scheduled for summer/fall 2011. In a subsequent companion volume, the transmission of the text will be fully treated and discussed, together with cladistic analyses, following the mode of presentation of parts of the transmission history in the mentioned papers by Maas. In this volume, the text of the full collation will be made available as an appendix, to allow the reader to view the complete evidence of all textual witnesses. Additionally, it will be made available on the project website after the publication of the first volume.
All available mss. of the ĀDī were collated for Vi 8. Unfortunately, except for one they are all fragmentary to roughly the same extent, lacking the text on Vi 8 up to Vi 8.48. A working edition of the text will be made accessible on the project website.
The survey of mss. of the CS and “concordance” currently contains (a) bibliographical and (b) basic descriptive data for 293 mss. in international collections. (a) The bibliographical information for all relevant mss. is provided, if applicable, with reference to Janert’s Annotated Bibliography of Catalogues of Indian Manuscripts and Biswas’s Bibliographic Survey of Indian Manuscript Catalogues, and correlated when it could be determined that a single ms. appears in more than one source. (b) The descriptive data include script, extent, folio numbers and date (if any). On this basis, wherever possible a concordance of mss. said to have been used by editors of earlier editions, noted in the catalogues, and available to the project was constructed. In some cases, annotation has been provided. There are five major sections to this survey: * available mss. of the CS (134); *(2) mss. seen by project participants (21); * further mss., (a) as listed in the New Catalogus Catalogorum (45), (b) as listed in further sources (48); *(4) mss. of the ĀDī (41) and (5) mss. of further commentaries (13). The survey is a valuable reference tool for any future textual work on the CS, whereas the available copies of mss. constitute a unique, internationally unsurpassed archive for such research.
For focussed studies on individual topics emerging from the text-critical work see Appendix, List 1. Further work by Preisendanz on the extensively annotated translation has accompanied the establishment of the critical edition. The annotation concerns philological and terminological topics, and aspects of interpretation, synchronically as well as from the point of view of the history of epistemology and dialectics, and cultural history in general. This translation is expected to be completed by the end of 2012 and will be accompanied by a facing condensed version of the critical edition in Devanāgarī script that only records the (reconstructed) readings of K, E, Z, S, Q and R.

1.3 Information on the running of the project, use of the available funding, changes to the original project plan

The project ran from August 1, 2007 until November 30, 2010. It could be extended beyond the originally granted period of 36 months because (1) the expenses for conference and research travel were lower than calculated and (2) a trip to Great Britain for both project participants, to link up and cooperate with scholars at the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing of the University of Birmingham, which is the home of two major projects, the St John’s Gospel editions and the Canterbury Tales Project, turned out to be unnecessary. Dr. Philipp Maas was employed until September 30, 2010, Dr. Cristina Pecchia until October 31, 2010, both as full-time post-docs. In the framework of several work contracts for the collation of mss., the proof-reading of the collation, and the description of mss., Mr. Christian Ferstl supported the project throughout. Mr. Vitus Angermeier, M.A., assisted in the collation of mss. and in the preparation of the survey of mss. while continuing his PhD work on early classical Āyurveda as academic assistant in training at the research institution. He also assisted in the designing and technical implementation of the project website.
Travels funds were used for trips to Freiburg, Germany, in 2007 (conference; Maas, Pecchia), to Coimbatore in 2008 (convention and expo, with a pre-convention workshop and convention conference), with subsequent research and lecture trips in India (project team), and to Kyoto in 2009 (conference, with a project-organized panel; project team), with subsequent research and lecture trips to Korea and India (Maas, Preisendanz).
The projected critical edition also of Vi 1-7, which has approximately the same extent as chapter 8, could not be achieved because of the unexpected increase of the ms. material, the time required for acquiring familiarity with the cladistic methodology and for its implementation, and the additional work done on the ĀDī and the glossary. However, of the 48 mss. available to the project and containing Vi 1-7 or parts of it, 19 were already collated towards the critical edition of the text of these chapters in the already granted follow-up project where only a further 11 mss. have been selected for collation.

2 Personnel development – importance of the project for the scientific careers of those involved

(1) The project provided Dr. Maas with the opportunity to greatly enhance his skills in Sanskrit codicology, textual criticism and critical editing, and especially to explore the employment of new methods and software relevant to these areas. He could establish himself as an acclaimed specialist in the area of cladistics applied to textual studies, and through his papers and lectures on topics of Indian medicine also found his place in the international community of scholars on the history of Indian medicine, thus adding a further field of specialization to his already existing specialization in the history of Indian philosophy. Maas’s multiple expertise made him the successful candidate for an assistant professor position at the research institution where he is employed since October 1, 2010. (2) The work on the critical edition enabled Pecchia to bring her familiarity with editorial techniques, methods of textual criticism and text genealogy to a high level of competence. Through her papers and lectures, she has entered this field as well as the field of the history of medicine new to her. Furthermore, work in the project allowed Pecchia to provide her research on the logical–epistemological tradition of Buddhism, her other field of specialization, with a larger perspective. Because of her fine and substantial contributions to the project she will be re-employed in the follow-up project and afterwards be an excellent candidate for future employment in a wide range of research projects aiming at the critical edition of Sanskrit texts. (3) The project enabled the applicant to continue her research on various aspects of the CS (dialectics, early logic, epistemology, metaphysics, soteriology and ethics; religious and cultural background; conceptions of the human body) in an atmosphere of stimulating teamwork and fruitful – national and international – cooperation, and to provide it with a new, more reliable textual basis and additional perspectives through the collaboration with scholars of Āyurveda coming from other disciplines as well as with traditional and modern Indian scholars of Āyurveda. Furthermore, the project provided her with an opportunity to contribute to South Asian Studies in general by increasing the number of reliably and critically edited Sanskrit texts and by the application of the latest professional methodologies in textual scholarship to one of the largest text corpora in existence, in the form of editing part of a foundational and multi-facetted Sanskrit treatise. The recognition of the project’s success resulting inter alia in the granting of a further follow-up project greatly benefited her institution, also with regard to the training of students and promotion of young scholars, and further enhanced the international prestige of Austrian South Asian Studies.

3 Effects of the project outside the scientific field

The cooperation with the “Classical Āyurveda Text Study Group”, which was founded at a workshop in Vienna organised during the pilot project, was fruitfully continued, with the group as well as with individual members. A workshop on the critical edition of Jejjaṭa’s commentary on the CS with Professors Tsutomu Yamashita (Kyoto) and Kenneth Zysk (Copenhagen) was held in March 2009. On the organization of symposia and conferences see 4, list 5.1 below. Work in progress and results of the project were the topic of several seminars and colloquia for M.A. and Ph.D. students, or integrated into them, conducted by the project director at the research institution. Methodological issues and project-related topics were treated by Maas in lecture courses at the Indological Institute, University of Bonn. Invited project-related seminar lectures were presented at the Institut für Indologie und Zentralasienwissenschaften, Universität Leipzig (January 16, 2008), the Center for Innovation in Science and Social Action, Thiruvananthapuram (August 25, 2008) and the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune (August 28, 2008) (6th P.K. Gode Memorial Lecture) [Preisendanz], at Seoul National University (September 9, 2009) [Maas] and the St. Petersburg State University (May 17, 2010) [Preisendanz].

Information on project participants

Not funded by the FWF Funded by the FWF (project)
Co-workers Number Person-months Co-workers Number Person-months
Non-scientific co-workers 1,5 running technical, secretarial and organisational assistance Non-scientific co-workers    
diploma students 2 individual work contracts diploma students 2 individual work contracts
PhD students 1 2 PhD students 1 11,5
Post-doctoral co-workers 1 1 Post-doctoral co-workers 2 38, 39
co-workers with “Habilitation”     co-workers with “Habilitation”    
professors 1 10 professors    

Attachments to this Final Report