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Maharishi University of Management academician searches for rare Sanskrit text
by Global Good News staff writer
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22 May 2012
'The story starts here at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA.'
Thus began Dr Peter Freund when he spoke of the university's acquisition of two very rare Sanskrit texts. The story started in Iowa but quickly turned into a logistical puzzle and an exciting cross-continental chase.
The story started with the publication of a CD of Vedic Pandits chanting. The CD looked anew at the branch of Vedic Literature called Shiksha, Dr Freund said. The Pandits did not limit themselves to the published text verses, instead they looked at all known manuscripts of Shiksha texts in India and around the world.
This inclusion of new and previously unknown texts inspired Dr Freund and others in the Maharishi Vedic Science programme at Maharishi University of Management. Especially because the texts of Shiksha are closely related to the advanced technique of the Transcendental Meditation programme called Yogic Flying, Dr Freund and a group of students began to investigate how they could acquire these rare Shiksha texts for the Vedic Reserve website, an online Sanskrit library. Dr Freund is the university's tape librarian and the creator of the Vedic Reserve website.
They found a book called Veda Laksana: Vedic Ancillary Literature by Parameshwara Aithal. This book has over 1,600 entries and lists all the known Shiksha texts in the world. Though the book was the source of the rare texts chanted on the Vedic Pandit CD, only the beginning and ending verses were recorded.
Dr Freund remarked that this was fine for the CD publication, but for Maharishi University of Management's Reading Vedic Literature programme and the online library, more was needed.
'For the reading programme in Maharishi Vedic Science, we need the complete text.'
Dr Freund and students in Maharishi Vedic Science focused on obtaining Kaundinya Shiksha, the rarest of the Shiksha texts, of which there is only one copy in the world.
'We wrote to the library in Mysore, India where this manuscript was housed,' Dr Freund said, 'asking for a copy of the manuscript, but there was no reply. We had no recourse. There was no other copy available anywhere in the world, so we thought we must have to go there in person to see if it is at all possible to obtain a copy of this rare manuscript. That was one thread of the start of the story.'
Stay tuned for the next article in this series, which recounts this exciting global academic scavenger hunt.
See related articles:
∙ Three rare Sanskrit texts sought for vast 'Vedic Reserve' online library: Resource for students, scholars
∙ Vedic Reserve website set to add 20,000 pages of rare Sanskrit texts
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