The experiences and knowledge from our past are recorded in manuscripts which have been handed down to us over several thousand years. The Government of India, through the Department of Culture, took note of the importance of this vast tangible heritage and, in order to preserve and conserve as well as to make access to this wealth easy, established the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM). In order to disseminate the knowledge content of manuscripts, the Mission has taken up several programmes such as lectures, seminars and workshops. The Mission has published the proceedings of the above-said programmes under the following series: “Samrakshika” (on conservation), “Tattvabodha” (comprising lectures based on manuscripts delivered by eminent scholars), “Samikshika” (research-oriented papers presented in the seminars), and “Kritibodha” (transcribed and edited texts prepared at advanced level manuscriptology workshops conducted by NMM.
NMM has taken up a project for publishing rare and unpublished manuscripts in three formats — (a) Facsimile, (b) Critical edition with annotation and (c) Critical edition with translation. This series has been named as “Prakashika”. Suparnadhyaya critically edited by Prof. G.C. Tripathi comes under this Prakashika series.
Suparnadhyaya, Suparnadhyanam or simply Sauparnam is a later Vedic text of Indian dramatic tradition, lesser known to scholars primarily due to the fact that it was never translated into English language. This play, normally enacted during the festival of Indradhvaja, has a plot which is woven around the story of the incredible dexterity and strength of Garuda and his wondrous deed of bringing soma (amrita) from Indra’s heaven for the sake of Snakes, after defeating Indra’s guards and ridiculing his divine weapon. This story finds a mention even in Mahabharata. This short play is in a metrical form, interspersed with occasional prose-pieces.
This text has come down to us in an incorrect form due to faulty manuscript tradition. In this volume, the author has tried to restore the text with the help of higher textual criticism and has given due justification for his amendments. It presents the text with English and Hindi translations for the benefit of those readers who are not conversant with Sanskrit.