Memory of the World Register

India - Saiva Manuscript in Pondicherry

Within a collection of 11 000 manuscripts that concern mainly the religion and worship of the Hindu God Siva, is included the largest collection in the world of manuscripts of texts of the Śaiva Siddhānta. In the 10th century CE, this religious tradition, a major current of Hinduism, was spread right across the Indian subcontinent and beyond, as far as Cambodia in the East. It long represented the mainstream of Tantric doctrine and worship and appears to have influenced every Indian theistic tradition. Its surviving texts, the majority of them unpublished, range from the 6th century CE to the colonial period. This unique collection thus furnishes much of the dwindling evidence remaining today for scholars to reconstruct a chapter in the religious annals of humanity. The collection is presently housed in the French institutions of research in Pondicherry. We have now framed a collaborative Indo-French project with the Indian government’s National Mission for Manuscripts. Our ultimate objective: to put the whole Śaiva collection online and so make it available to scholars throughout the world.

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