Tradition of Manuscript Production: Nepalese Recension of the Netratantra in the National Archives of Nepal (HT23)

Location: Campion Hall, Brewer St, Oxford, OX1 1QS
Speaker: Professor Gavin Flood FBA
Date: February 28, 2023
Time: 12.30pm – 13.00pm

Not only has the Kathmandu Valley preserved an ancient compendium of Suśruta (Suśrutasaṃhitā) copied in 878 CE, but also the earliest surviving Śaiva text, Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā copied sometime in the 9th century. Similarly, the National Archives of Nepal houses a well-preserved recension of the Netratantra ‘Tantra of the Eye’, an important text in Kashmir dating from around the early ninth century. Of the four Nepalese Netra-manuscripts, the oldest ‘Mṛtyujidamṛtīśavidhāna’ was copied in 1200 CE. The second oldest ‘Amṛteśvarapūjana’ was commissioned by Abhaya Malla in 1216 CE, most likely to protect his father, King Ari Malla, who was said to be dying. The lecture will attempt to shed light on the manuscript sources (as well as their scribal and palaeographical features) for the study of the Netatrantra.

Rajan Khatiwoda currently holds the position of Chief Scientific Documentation Coordinator in the Nepal Heritage Documentation Project (NHDP) at the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (HAdW). He is also the Honorary Leader of the Kathmandu Office of the Śākta Traditions Project run under the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) and a Research Fellow at OCHS affiliated with the Śākta Traditions research programme. Khatiwoda studied Classical Indology at Heidelberg University, from where he received his PhD in 2017. His dissertation deals with the formation and enforcement of the Mulukī Ain, Nepal’s first legal code promulgated in 1854. From 2013 to 2016, he was part of the Cluster´s Project A14 “Transcultural Legal Flows in 18th- and 19th-Century South Asia.” Since 2014, Khatiwoda is research associate at the South Asian Institute, Heidelberg University, and the Research Unit “Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Pre-modern Nepal,” Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Previously, he worked as a research assistant and cataloguer for the Nepalese-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project (NGMCP) and the Nepal Research Centre (NRC) in Kathmandu for nine years (2004–2013).