Manuscript Revealed How Weapons Were Operated In Mahabharata

The 63-folio manuscript in palm leaves, believed to be rewritten about 120 years ago, is the only manuscript retrieved so far in the country that tells how to use all the deadly weapons mentioned in the Mahabharata in about 48 well-described mantras.

“It was Cheriya Narayanan Namboodiri’s wish to digitize all his manuscript collections — 1,300 bundles — for the benefit of researchers, students and the future generation. The particular manuscript was noticed while we were digitizing the collections using the most reliable method, reprography,” said A R Krishnakumar, project manager at Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS). Krishnakumar is part of a team from the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi that has been bestowed with the responsibility of digitizing all the manuscripts available with both public and private parties in the country. “People may wonder why the manuscripts should be digitized. It is because they would throw light on our history, culture, customs, ancient religions besides giving information on the environment, health and science of ancient times,” said Krishnakumar.

“Till now, we haven’t even used 15% of the information from the manuscripts being written on ayurveda. Yet ayurveda is considered to be one of the most accepted system of medicine in the world. Now imagine if the knowledge in five lakh-odd bundles of manuscripts are made available to the society, how much more effective would ayurveda be,” he added.

“We had digitized a portion of the manuscripts available with libraries, colleges, universities and other institutions in Kerala a few years ago. We started the second phase of the initiative from Vaidyamadham at Mezhathur in Palakkad district. Our next destination is Kanippayyur Mana near Kunnamkulam, famous for thachu sasthra (architectural science), and other centres that have hundreds of manuscripts preserved with them. Thankfully, all these private parties are now coming forward to share the knowledge they have been preserving from the past,” said senior reprographic officer of IGNCA Krishnakumar B.

Krishnakumar, adding that the knowledge in manuscripts is not limited only to the subject of ayurveda, but covers nuances in the subjects of chemistry, physics, and astrology in detail.

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