Lost texts of ancient India

May 2013
1,721
The abode of the lord of the north
#1
Vast Literary corpus from ancient India have survived into our times. However, we also know that many texts where lost in time. Can you list the names of some of these lost texts? Also, is it possible to have a somewhat reliable estimate of how many/ what fraction of texts where lost?
 

Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
3,524
USA
#3
Dhanurveda (Manual of Archery), Sutras of Brhaspati which were canonical to the atheistic schools such as Charvaka comes to mind. Which else?
Only 2 or 3 shakhas of Rig Veda of the 21 survived (I can recollect ShAkAla, BAshkala and Bahvraicha). Of the 109 shAkhAs of Yajur VEda, only MaitrAyani, KAnva and MAdhyandina remain (I might have missed some).
 
Mar 2019
1,463
KL
#4
there are atleast ten million palm leaf manuscripts which are stored in the homes of the indians, i was watching a video and was surprised that indian government hasn't launched a campaign to save the rotting palm leaf manuscripts, according to one scholar only seven percent of the indian texts have been decoded, rest like in the homes rotting away and losing their knowledge, i think a national campaign must be launched and lots of lost indian texts in this way can be retrieved, for instance arthashastra was considered lost for more than a thousand years, since gupta time no one had heard about it, until iin twenthieth century an indian official retrieved the text, same is the case with a bengali scholar going to tibet and retrieving the earliest buddhist bengali texts from tibet.

 
May 2013
1,721
The abode of the lord of the north
#5
Only 2 or 3 shakhas of Rig Veda of the 21 survived (I can recollect ShAkAla, BAshkala and Bahvraicha). Of the 109 shAkhAs of Yajur VEda, only MaitrAyani, KAnva and MAdhyandina remain (I might have missed some).
Is it possible that the lost shakhas of RgV might've been composed by Rishis of different Gothras such as Bhrigus may be, and thus might've been able to offer a completely different perspective of the RgV world?
 

Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
3,524
USA
#6
Is it possible that the lost shakhas of RgV might've been composed by Rishis of different Gothras such as Bhrigus may be, and thus might've been able to offer a completely different perspective of the RgV world?
There are lots of BhArgavas in Rig Veda already. But it is possible we may have missed some portions, not just by Bhrgus, but by others also.
 
Apr 2018
585
India
#7
I am yet to carry out study on the subject. However as of now I can recall these -

1) Indika by Megasthenes - Although this document is not 'Indian' per se, but its importance in the context of Indian history cannot be ignored. The original text is now lost. However it has been reconstructed by J W McCrinde using excerpts from later texts such as Strabo's Geographica, Pliny's Natural History, Arrian's Indica, Diodorus' Bibliotheca Historica etc. This reconstruction in its entirety not universally accepted as authentic. But its something.

2) All the original texts of the Ajivikas - Everything about the Ajivikas is known from later Buddhist and Jain texts. It is hypothesized that they had written down everything including their philosophy, rituals etc. However all of it is either lost or yet to be found.

same is the case with a bengali scholar going to tibet and retrieving the earliest buddhist bengali texts from tibet.
Yes, it was Mahamahopadhyay Haraprasad Shastri who discovered the original manuscript of Charyapada from the Royal Library of Nepal. In this case both the scholar and the manuscript were extremely lucky that it was at least in good hands. Compared to that the earliest text of medieval bengali literature - ShriKrishnaKirtan was discovered from a cowshed of wealthy villager name Debendranath/Debendrabijoy Mukhopadhyay at a village in Bankura dist., Bengal by Basanta Ranjan Roy. It was in pathetic state both the beginning and the ending were missing. It took considerable effort to identify the text.
 

Similar History Discussions