The Mahaphasya of Patanjali is a monumental work in the tradition of Paninian grammar. Patanjali explains a large number of the sutras of Panini and Katyayana's varttika thereupon. Composed in a lively and absorbing conversational style, the Mahabhasya has set a model for exegetical writings for all time.
The present volume, published posthumously, is a reproduction of an incomplete manuscript of late Professor Surendranath Dasgupta. It provides English translation and annotations on the first four sections (ahnikas) of the first chapter (prathamadhyaya) of the Mahabhasya with corresponding romanized texts of the sutras and the varttikas. The value of the work lies not so much in the translation of the text but in the very through discussions on all topics in the annotations which take into account several commentaries and later works of the grammatical tradition. This great work will attract attention not merely of scholars of Sanskrit grammar, but also of philosophers of language.
Dr. (Mrs) Surama Dasgupta donated a collection of unpublished works of the late Dr Surendranath Dasgupta to the library of the India Council of Philosophical Research, Lucknow. The present work belongs to that collection.
The work as published here is incomplete in two ways. Firstly, it covers only the first four Ahnikas of Prathmadhyaya of the Mahabahasya. Secondly, even of the four Ahnikas, the second and fourth Ahnikas are incomplete. There were two possible courses open here. First, to get the incomplete. There were two possible courses open here. First, to get the incomplete Ahnikas completed and to append Them to the main work. This way was not followed because of the following reason. The value of the present work lies not so much in the translation of the text but in the very thorough discussions on all topics in the annotations. It was felt that a comparable treatment of the portions left out by Dr Dasgupta could be given only by someone having the width and depth of knowledge of the subject which Dr Dasgupta had. As such a scholar was not readily available, on the advice of Mrs Dasgupta the work is published in the same from in which Dr Dasgupta left it. As Dr Dasgupta dictated different parts of the manuscript contained many errors of different sorts. I thank the editorial reader, Pandit Satkari Mukhopadhyaya of Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, for carefully going through the manuscript, correcting mistakes which remained after my editing, and for preparing the index. We have, however, corrected only obvious mistake in spelling and in grammar.
It is hoped that this great work, incomplete though it is, will attract attention not merely of scholars of Sanskrit grammar, but also of philosophers of language because of the important philosophical discussions on various topics in the annotations.
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