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Gangadhara's Gandhasara and An Unknown Author's Gandhavada- A Book On Perfumery (An Old And Rare Book)

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Item Code: UAQ435
Author: Ramkrishna Tuljaram Vyas
Publisher: Oriental Institute, Vadodara
Language: Sanskrit Only
Edition: 1989
Pages: 123
Other Details 10.00 X 6.90 inch
Weight 530 gm
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Book Description

About the Book

The Gandhasara by Gangadhara (1160 1200 A.D) is a very important and only surviving independent and complete Sanskrit treatise on the technical subject, the manufacture of different articles of cosmetics and perfumery, such as, perfumed water (for bathing as well as drinking). fragant desserts, scented areca-nuts, otto, perfumed oils (for hair-dressing and bodily use), unguents, synthetic musk, different kinds of incenses and incense sticks, scented wicks for lamps, talcum powders, synthetic fragrant resins and exudations, extraction of floral essence, transmission of scent and the method of blending different perfumes.

The various technical processes to be adopted for the preparation of these articles, e.g., bhavana, saturation, pācana, baking, bodha, manifestation of scent, vedha, penetration, dhupana, fumigation, and vasana, transmission of perfume, are explained at great length and appear to be the result of crystallization of tradi tionally received methodologies, en shrined in the Vedas and subsequent lit erature like Rāmāyaṇa, Mahabharata, Purānas and works relating to Ayruveda. Gandhasara, II.16.4 states:


In the introduction of the present work, an attempt is made to trace this tradition right from the Raveda, through the Brah manas, Upanisads, Puranas and, archaeological findings from the Mohenjo Daro and Susrutashita, upto Ins-Akban and Cikitsäsangraha. The relevant portions of different works, which deal with this subject in certain sections, are given in twelve appendices for the benefit of scholars to pursue the subject in depth.

It is interesting that the work (11.7-49 11) prescribes weird substances to prepare incenses for a great variety of purposes, such as, hypnosis, attraction, infatuation, protection of pregnant women, foetus and children, exorcizing ghouls and evil spirits, removal of different types of fever, removal of poisonous insects, reptiles, gnats, flies, mice and the like and bringing elephants under control.

Though replete with solecisms and er rors of various types, the second work Gandhavada is also published with Gandhasara, as it forms part of the same manuscript and constitutes an extension of the same subject. Its subject-matter is of limited appeal and interest, dealing as it does with specific items of perfumes and cosmetics prevalent especially in the southern provinces of India.

The work represents a very remarkable attempt to present a technical subject in Sanskrit verse with a good deal of success. It will prove to be of great help to the cottage industry of manufacturing various items of perfumery and cosmetics, useful in one's daily life, as it prescribes natural and herbal ingredients which modern beauticians have begun to prefer to the synthetic ones, detrimental as they have been proving to the health of human skin and person.


I am delighted to present before the world of scholars two rare, very important and interesting technical works composed about 700 years ago in Sanskrit verse on the manufacture of different articles of perfumery and cosmetics, namely, Gandhasdra by Gangadhara and an unknown author's Gandhardda with Marathi commentary. The former is a well-knit and compact work dealing at length with the processes to be adopted in preparing various items of cosmetics and perfumery. It has a nighanju, giving the synonyms of different substances used in those items. But the latter work is loose and not much important as it deals only with a limited range of items of cosmetics, commonly used in some parts of South India.

Dr. P. K. Gode found a Manuscript codex unicum from Ruddi-collection preserved in the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, containing these two works. He wrote several research articles throwing light on the contents of these two works and tracing the history of this technical subject which were published in eminent research Journals-and were later collected, along with his other articles, in a book entitled "Studies in Indian Cultural History, Vol. 1" published from Vishveshvarananda Vedic Research Institute, Hoshiarpur, in 1961. He did not edit the text for he thought it better to leave it for a Sanskritist. I venture to infer that it might be due to the fact that the text especially of the second work is corrupt and the composition of almost all verses is very loose with irregularities of both diction and metre. The present editor had to strive hard to emend that text and still it cannot be claimed that despite several emendations, which in fact, ideally should have been minimum, the text is restored to its accurate form. Fortunately, the text of the first work did not present much difficulty in editing and seems to be the result of extensive study, deep insight into the subject and hard work on the part of the author Gangadhara, which tended to induce me to undertake the task. It is hoped that the work which is the first of its kind on the subject, insofar as it is the only complete and independent treatise, will occupy its legitimate place in the technical literature in Sanskrit language.

I take this opportunity to thank the University Authorities for providing sufficient grant towards the publication of this work. I also thank Shri P. H. Joshi, Research Officer and Dr. M. L. Wadekar, Asstt. Editor, Critical Edition's Wing, Oriental Institute for assisting me in understanding certain Marathi terms used in the commentary on Gandhavada. I am thankful to Smt. V. S. Lele, Tem porary Research Assistant, Smt. Dr. Usha Brahmachari, Research Officer, Smt. Minakshi Dhawadshikar, Temporary Research Assistant, Oriental Institute for helping me in reading the proofs and preparing the index and errata.

I must gratefully place on record the unflinching co-operation of Shri P. N. Shrivastava, Manager, M. S. University of Baroda Press and his colleagues for completing the printing expeditiously and neatly.

Vijaya Daśami,

Vikram Samvat-2045.



1 Description of Manuscript :

Late Pandit Rangacharya Raddi presented a number of manuscripts to the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poon. It was, therefore, called Raddi collection. Dr. P. K. Gode discovered from the Raddi collection an old manuscript which contained two works, namely, (1) Gandhasara by Gangadhara (2) Gandhavada with Marathi commentary. The latter was probably composed by some other author. The manuscript has in all forty nine folios, that is, 98 pages out of which folios 1 to 27 contain Gandhasāra and folios 276 to 49 contain Gandhavada with Marathi commentary. The manuscript is written on country-made paper in Devanagari script very clearly by one hand. Each folio is 27 × 11 c.ms in size, There are generally eleven lines to each page and each line consists usually of forty five letters.

The manuscript begins as follows from folio 14 :

श्रीगणेशाय नमः ॥ श्रीगुरुभ्यो नमः ॥

विरिंचिविष्णुप्रमुखामराप्सरोगंधर्वयक्षोरगराजसेवितः । शैलात्मजाबाहुलताप्रसाधितः स व्योमकेशो मुदमादधातु नः ।। १ ।।

” विरिंचिवक्त्राम्बुजराजहंसीं देवीं नमस्कृत्य च गन्धयक्षं । गंधागमज्ञांश्च मितैर्वचोभिर्वक्ष्ये ससार शुभगंधसारे ॥ ३ ॥

परिसंप्रसर्पन्मधुगन्धलुब्धलोलालिमाला कुलकर्णतालं । भजे गजास्यं गिराजातनूजं विघ्नच्छिदं निर्जरवृंदसेव्यं ॥ २ ।।

On folio 46 the first chapter entitled :-paribhasaprakaranam or the chapter dealing with technical terms and the technique for manufacturing various per fumes, having ninety one verses, ends with a colophon as follows :

" इति गंगाधरकृती गंधसारे परिभाषाप्रकरणं प्रथमं ॥ "

Similarly on folio 22 the second chapter, consisting of three hundred ninety two verses, ends as follows :

" इति गंगाधरकृतौ गंधसारे गंधोदकादिनानागंधोपयोगिप्रकरणं द्वितीये ॥ *

On folio 27* and 27b the third chapter of one hundred and twenty verses and also the whole work, Gandhasāra, ends with the colophon ;-

इत्थं शीलितगंधशास्त्रसतताभ्यासात्समासादित प्रज्ञोन्मेष विशेषशा लिभणितिगंगाधरः कोविदः ।

शास्त्रं दुर्गमविप्रकीर्णविततं संगृह्य वाक्यैर्व्यधात् ग्रन्थं सारमयं तनोत्वयमिहाचंद्रार्कतारं स्थितिं ॥ १९ ॥

ये सारमये तनोतिर स्थिति ॥ १५ ॥ अगुना बाई नारा सम थेन गंधसारेण श्री पार्वतीपतिः ।। २० ।।

इति श्रीगंगाधरस्य कृती सारे निपरिसारे निषेदुपरि (री)क्षादिप्रकरण तृतीय।

In continuation of the completed work, called Gandhasara, the next work, Gandhavāda with the Marathi commentary begins on the same folio, ic, 270 written by the same hand as under :

"वरनविनदन मिलिता जलजदनलदसहिता ।

मदमदनगरुविहिता मधुतगरकरजमृदिता करालविबोधिता निशाकरसंयुता ॥ हरये नमः || गंधवादु । नखपलबभागपल गंधे कृष्णागरपलं

लता वसंतसेविता भुजंगविजूभिता ॥

नखद्विपलकं चैव द्विपलं जातिकोसकं

मांसी शैलजतालीस उशीर शतपत्रकं ।। १ ।।

It ends on folio 494 with a big table (a table of contents) of 10 x 6 columns) on the full page preceded by another table of 7x5 columns and the colophon on folio 48° and 484 which reads :– " इति बुका गंधराज आणि तेलिया गालिया तथा सुगंध तथा काचिया तेल तथा कस्तूरीची

परीक्षा व करणी व गवादिची करणी तथा कर्पूरकरणी तथा धूपकरणी गोलिया तथा उदवति विका मेलावा परिपूर्ण जाला असे ।। इति गंधवाद संपूर्ण ।। "

Thus, it is to be noted that the work Gandhavada ends with two tables given after the colphon.

The last table of 10 x6 columns contains in the final 6th column these words :





This fact indicates clearly that the purpose of giving the two tables at the end of the work Ganahavada was to provide an exhaustive table of contents, without, however, mentioning the page or follo-numbers. It also shows that the two tables are in fact not two separate statements but the second is the conti nuation of the first. Most of the topics mentioned in these tables do correspond, though not accurately, with those dealt with in the text. For instance, the table of contents indicates that the first thirteen sections, consisting of several sanskrit verses and commentary in Marathi on them, deal with different combinations of recipes for the manufacture of buka, but in fact only twelve sections deal with the topic. Similarly the table of contents indicates that only three sections, namely, 14th to 16th, deal with kastürikarani or preparation of artificial musk, whereas, in fact, sections 13th and 14th give the procedure for ascertaining the genuineness of musk and sections 15th to 17th deal with its manufacture. Again according to the table, section 17 prescribes the process of preparation of karpura or camphor (Camphora officinarum) and sections 18 and 19 prescribe the method of preparing Javadi, a kind of scented paste, but in fact section 18 prescribes the methods of preparing silárasa, section 19 that of karpura, specially designated as udaya bhaskara and sections 20, 21 deal with the preparation of javadi. There are other similar anomalies regarding the number of section and the actual topic with which the section deals. But on the whole, the contents, as stated in the tables, correspond generally well with the topics discussed in the text, with the difference that according to the tables there are in all ninety six sections, whereas in reality there are ninety three sections, as can be seen from the numbers given to each section in the edited text.

Another distinguishing characteristic of this manuscript is the tabular presentation of the subject-matter, first stated in verses. There are in all eight tables:

1 Buka is fragrant power black or red in colour to be applied on the forehead on special occasions, like religious discourses or religious congre gation for the purpose of kirtana or chanting of the Lord's names etc. This custom might have orginated in southern India. In Pandharapur (Karnataka) the devotees of Panduranga and Vitthala used to apply buka on their forehead as a mark of their being vaisnavas, and this practice is still prevalent in Maharashtra where the word is pronounced as bukka. Dubois states that the practice of tracing different marks on forehead prevailed among the secterian Brahmins living south of the Krishna river.

Abbe J. A. Dubois, Hindu manners, customs and caremonies, Oxford, London, 1972, p. 109. 2 Javadi is scented paste used for the purposes as for bukka, but it could also be used as a cosmetic, of this sort. They serve the purpose of brief systematic presentation of the aromatic substances to be used in different combinations for the manufacture of specific items of cosmetics and perfumes, They range from smaller table of 4x3 columns to the biggest one of 8x8 columns. Incidentally, only in the biggest table each column also contains figure indicating the quantity of the aromatic substance. Since these tables form an organic part of the text, they are given at their appropriate place where they naturally explain the synoptic statements clothed in verse.

The present manuscript is not the ur-text but appears to be a transcription probably from the autographs of the two different authors by secunda-manu, a professional technician engaged in the manufacture of the various items of cosmetics and perfumes for his practical use and guidance and who therefore was not at home with Sanskrit language, much less with its idiom and rules of metrical composition. I am inclined to htink that the scribe-technician had before him two works entitled Gandhasára by Gangadhara and Gandhavada by some unknown author. The first work is divided into three chapters, namely, (1) Paribhașă prakaranam consisting of 91 verses, dealing with the technical processes called bhavanam, pacanam, bodhah, vedhah, dhupanam and vasanam etc., all described in detail, (2) Gandhodakadinandgandhopayogiprakararam of 392 verses, subdivided into 21 sections, such as, gandhodakam, mukhavāsaḥ, pärijätoh, gandhatailam, udvartanam, jalavasoḥ, patavāsaḥ, dhupaḥ, dipavarttik, uddhūlanam, gandharenuh, niryasah, syandah, gandhasankramanam and dravya melanaprakaralı etc.

A remarkable feature of the section dealing with dhupah or incenses is the prescription of weird recipes for the manufacture of incenses for the purpose of hypnotizing or attracting people, protection of pregnant women and new-born babes, exorcizing evil spirits and ghouls, removal of all sorts of fever, keeping off worms, reptiles, gnats, flies, bugs, mice and poisonous insects and captivation of elephants. Some interesting instances are given below –

कुक्कुर बिडालशोणितसूकरमांसाहितैलकाकमुखैः । तुरगखुरवालयुक्तैर्धूपो जनमोहनो भवति ।। II. 49.

पुरनिम्बपत्र सर्वस्वचाघृतैविरचितो धूपः ।

गर्भिण्याः बालानां सततं रक्षाकरः कथितः ।। II 58 गदनिम्बपत्रमेध्यापुरः सर्षपयवहरीतकीभिः ।

कपिलाघृतयुक्ताभिः सर्वज्वरनाशनो धूपः ॥ II. 60.

सर्जरससक्तुर्मे दोर्जत मालमरुष्करं सुरबिल्वम् ।

एतैर्धूपो रचितः कीटभुजङ्गममशकमक्षिकादिहरः ॥ II 61.

(3) Nighantuprakaranam of 120 verses, provides a list of synonyms of the aromatic substances, along with their pariksd or the procedure for testing their genuineness. These three chapters, deal as they do with related topics, the homogeneity of which is obvious, evince that they are parts of a single work. This work is transcribed with less errors as compared with the transcription of the second work entitled, Gandhavada. Most of the errors in the first manuscript are of the kind of haplography and lipography. Solecisms occur frequently. Haplographical errors are rectified by employing angular parenthesis like: [s], whereas solecisms and other errors committed by amanuensis, due to phonetic confusion³ are corrected by the use of semi-circular parenthesis, such a5, पचपन् (ट्), कारीश (प) के. समु (म्मु ) दिते. Moreover, hypermetrical errors are mentioned in the foot-notes together with suggestious for restoring the exact form of the metre. For intance, in after the prefix & is hypermetrical to be dropped. Errors in numbering of verses and passages are indicated in the footnotes and generally are rectified in the text itself.

All the above-mentioned errors of solecisms traceable practically in every verse also occur in the second work, Gandhavada and are similarly rectified as far as possible. But the Sanskrit language and the metrical composition, to which Marathi commentary is sub-joined, are much more slack and inferior in comparison with those of the first work, Gandhasara. This fact proves that the two works were composed by different authors at different time and place. A full discussion of this problem will be undertaken in the next section. It needs to be mentioned here how remiss the scribe is seen in transcribing this manu script. He has, perhaps inadvertently, committed the error of dittography more than once, as can be seen from the following instances of repetition -

The major portion of verse 2, the whole of verse 3 and seven syllables of verse 4 in section 23 written at the end of folio 336 which are given below are repeated at the beginning of folio 344;

3 Such errors indicate the fact that the transcriber, at times, wrote the manuscript at the dictation of someone else.

........पृथक् गद्याणकं नवम् । कोष्ठ जातीपलं वाला लवङ्गं तजनागरम् ।। २ ।।

जिटीकासज्जा म्हणसार्धं चतुः पृथक्शाणं गुडञ्च नवशाणकम् । शाणं कर्पूरकञ्चैव गन्धराजालकं तथा ॥ ३ ॥

धान्याजीरं चतु:शा........

On folio 37 the words:-

......स्रजः कृष्ण नखकोष्ठं चतुःपलम् ॥ २ ॥

are immediately repeated on the same folio.

Again the words occuring at the end of folio 37, as given immediately repeated at the beginning of folio 38:---

खोलडे टॉक ३ ।

गुह्या पल १। देवदारु पल १। अगरु पल १। वाला पल १ ।

तेलिया पल १ ।।

On folio 386, in the verse 34, the words- are immediately

repeated. Moreover, the text beginning with, and ending with After, consisting of four verses and commentary on them, running into eight lines on folio No. 456 is repeated verbatim on folio 46, Thus the whole section 78 is repeated after sections 79 and 80.

Another flagrant anomaly in this second part of the manuscript is the devious manner of providing the Sanskrit text in verse and the Marathi commentary, the accepted form of the contents. For instance, sections 10 and 11 do not give the text in Sanskrit verse but in archaic Hindi doha. The sections 17 and 18, 24 to 43, 59 to 76, 80 and 86 to 93 consist of mere Marathi commentary, without the text in Sanskrit verse, whereas section 82 consists of a single sanskrit verse without Marathi commentary. The most fantastic part of the con tents is section 79. It consists of one verse in Sanskrit and Marathi commentary on it. Both the verse and the commentary on it seem to be an excercise in pun by using homonyms and investing them with fantastic semantic value :

4 Some verses from the section dealing with dhapas from the second chapter of Gandhasara, such as II. 30, 31, 32, 33, 40, 41 are taken up for commenting at sections 79, 80, 81 of the Gandhavada whose author must have before him the autograph of the former. This fact provides the promise for the inference that the former work should be dated earlier than the latter.

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