Sanskrit Āyurvedic manuscripts in the British Isles

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  • It has been said that “of the whole collating project, the hardest part to carry out with complete success is probably the business of finding out what manuscripts there are.”1 This remark, originally intended to apply to classical Latin and Greek works, is even more true for Sanskrit manuscripts, which exist in such relative abundance. There are more Sanskrit manuscripts in Britain than in any other country outside India. A rough estimate puts the number at about 30,000, only half of which have been catalogued. Clearly there are great resources in that country for the study of all aspects of Sanskrit culture, and Ayurveda is no exception. It may be of value, ̄ therefore, to give a survey of the Sanskrit collections in Britain, with reference to Ayurveda, and to give some indication of the ̄ Ayurvedic works in the uncatalogued collections. The five most important collections in Britain, from the point of view of size, are those of the India Office Library and Records in London, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London, Cambridge University Library, and the British Library in London. The catalogues of these collections, where they exist, are listed by Janert2 as numbers 164, 166, 238, 240, 244, 157 and 159, and most of them have sections describing ayurvedic manuscripts. Each of these repositories also has the following uncatalogued collections.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 1990 D. Wujastyk et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Wujastyk, D. (1990). Sanskrit Āyurvedic manuscripts in the British Isles. Journal of the European Ayurvedic Society, 1, 85–118.