This book is intended to serve as an introduction to the elephant-lore of Hindus. It consists primarily of a translation of the ''Elephant-Sport'' (Matanga-Lila) of Nilakantha, with notes, introduction, and glossary. The Matanga-Lila is without doubt the best available Sanskrit work on elephantology. It is a brief and succinct treatise in 263 stanzas, divided into twelve chapters of uneven length (ranging from only three stanzas up to fifty-one). Nothing is known of the Nilakantha who is mentioned as its author. According to the editor, Ganapati Sastri, the three manuscripts he used are about two hundred years old. But the work is probably very much older. For aught we know it may go back a thousand years or even to a much earlier date. This, however, is purely conjectural; all we can say is that there is no positive trace of modernity in the work. The elephant-lore of our text is based on a genuine traditional knowledge which grew up among those whose business it was to deal with elephants, and that this tradition has persisted to modern times.
Back of the book
This is the first attempt at a description of the grammar and lexicon of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit (BHS). Most North Indian Buddhist texts are composed in it. It is based primarily on an old Middle Indic vernacular not otherwise identifiable. But there seems reason to believe that it contains features which were borrowed (originally, or in the course of historical development, or both) from other Middle Indic dialects. In other words, even strikingly, however, BHS was also extensively influenced by Sanskrit, from the very beginning of the tradition as it has been transmitted to us, and increasingly as time went on. Many (especially later) products of this tradition have often, though misleadingly, been called simply 'Sanskrit', without qualification.
The most striking peculiarity of this language is that from the very beginning of its tradition it was modified in the direction of standard Sanskrit, while still retaining evidences of its middle Indic origin. In all its texts, even the oldest, at least as shown by our manuscripts and editions, Sanskritisms are constantly presented cheek by jowl with Middle Indic forms, and often with hybrids which strictly are neither one nor the other. These Sanskritisms are much too common to be comparable with stray Sanskrit loanwords or loan-forms which may have been occasionally adopted in many a genuine Middle Indic vernacular.
In principle, the author has excluded from the grammar and dictionary all forms which are standard Sanskrit, and all words which are used in standard Sanskrit with the same meanings.
|Preface: Description Of Sources||vii|
|3||The Tanjore Manuscript||ix|
|4||Other Sanskrit sources||x|
|5||Modern works on the elephant||xi|
|6||Zimmer's German Translation of ML.||xii|
|1||The place of elephant-lore in Indian literature||1|
|2||Theoretical and practical elements in the ''science''||5|
|3||Modern elephant-lore: good and bad points of elephants||9|
|4||Modern elephant-lore: ''castes''||11|
|5||Modern elephant-lore: catching of elephants||16|
|6||Contents of the Matanga-lila||22|
|7||The must of elephants||29|
|Translation Of The Elephant-Sport||41|
|Chapter I: On the origin of elephants||41|
|Chapter II: On favorable marks||54|
|Chapter III: On unfavorable marks||58|
|Chapter IV: On marks of longevity||60|
|Chapter V: On marks of the stages of life||62|
|Chapter VI: On determination of measurements||69|
|Chapter VII: On details of price||73|
|Chapter VIII: On marks of character||74|
|Chapter IX: On kinds of must||80|
|Chapter X: On the catching of elephants||87|
|Chapter XI: On the keeping of elephants and their daily and seasonal regimen||92|
|Chapter XII: On the qualities of elephant drivers, etc.||105|
|Emendations Of The Text||126|