Endangered Archives

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EAP729: Cataloguing, digitisation, and preservation of ancient palm leaf and paper manuscripts archived in Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF)

The Chinmaya International Foundation holds 3,600 rare paper manuscripts and 200 palm-leaf manuscripts, containing information on arts, mathematics, religion, spirituality, architecture, science, technology and medicine, dating back to the late 16th century. Due to their age and exposure to natural elements, these manuscripts are disintegrating - their urgent preservation, cataloguing and digitisation will benefit researchers and scholars worldwide.

Some of the manuscripts are in a poor condition requiring curative conservation and preservation. The damaged scripts are cleaned with soft cloth and lemon grass oil is painstakingly applied to each leaf. The leaves are aired for three days and then stored in acid free paper, wrapped in cloth and stored according to subject and date in the chamber.

The manuscripts are concerned with different subject such as mathematics, Ayurveda, rituals, Dharmasastra, philosophy, Sanskrit grammar, Sanskrit literature, astrology, and Vedas. The language and scripts also varies – Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil and in Devanagari, Grantha and old Malayalam, respectively. These manuscripts could open up new avenues of study for researchers and scholars studying both ancient and contemporary aspects of the subjects.

The manuscripts will be digitised and copies deposited with the Chinmaya International Foundation and the British Library.

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EAP729/1: Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF)

"The Chinmaya International Foundation houses a collection of manuscripts, containing information on arts, mathematics, religion, spirituality, architecture, science, technology and medicine, dating back to the late 16th century. Of the current collection, 30% dates back to the 16th to 18th century. There are a great number that are without dates and are difficult to correctly date. An estimate by knowledgeable, subject experts has suggested that the manuscripts are beyond three to four hundred years old."

EAP729/1/2: Paper Manuscripts

EAP729/1/2/660: Yogapradīpa (Light on Yoga)

Extent: 23 tiff images
Level: File
Scope and Content:

A text on the Yoga philosophy. Jain manuscript. 142 verses. Topic: yogaśāstra. Creation date of original material: predates the eighteenth century.

For further information -
Researchers Jason Birch & Jacqueline Hargreaves have written in detail about this manuscript on their blog - The Luminescent.

Language(s) Sanskrit
Script(s) Devanagari
Legal & Ethical Usage Policy CC 4.0. CC-BY-ND-NC. Sourced and preserved at Chinmaya International foundation all rights are being held by CIF