This little book is a small portion of an Introduction approxi­mately 300 pages in print, to the first Edition and the English Translation (both prepared by me) of an ancient text, Mānsāra, on architecture, sculpture and cognate subjects. In 1834 in his Essay on the architecture of the Hindus, Mr. Rām Rāz referred to the contents of the first few chapters of the Mānsāra from fragmentary manuscript he had access to. Since the publica­tion of this Essay, scholars interested in the subject have been curious to know more about this "monumental work" as Dr. F. W. THOMAS, M.A., PH.D., calls it. But for some reason or other, nobody had made any attempt to deal with this huge text in any way for a period of 80 yers, when I undertook the task in 1914. The text comprises more than 10,000 lines and has undergone five recensions. In five different scripts there are eleven badly preserved manuscripts. The important various readings collected from these manuscripts have amounted to about 500 pages, the text itself together with appendices being about 600 pages of 20 lines to a page. It is written in a language which Sanskritists like Dr. G. BŪHLER call the "most barbarous Sanskrit".1 It can hardly be called Sanskrit, which etymologically means the refined language of the Aryans, of their Vedas, Epics, Dramas, and other sweet literature. The text is replete with obsolete expressions and technical terms, of which there is no elucidation in any of the existing dictionaries. With a view to enabling scholars to cope with this sort of expressions which are by no means restricted to the vāstuśāstras, but are frequently met with in the inscriptions  and the general literature, the authorities of the University of London suggested "to make a full dictionary of all the architect­ ural terms used iri the Mānsāra with explanations in English and illustrative quotations from cognate literature"2. I was entrusted with this tremendous task, and I have prepared to my satisfaction a dictionary of approximately 1000 pages containing not only all the architectural terms used in the Mānsāra but also those found in the known vāstuśāstras and all the published inscriptions and other cognate archaeological records. I have, therefore, not explained the technical terms frequently mentioned in this dissertation. Concerning the date of the Mānsāra, it is premature to assert anything definitely. If I have to express my impression at this stage, I might say that the Mānsāra could not have reached its present shape later than 500 A.D.

Thus this dissertation has no merits to be judged by its own size, which is due to want of leisure on the part of my promotor, or even by its contents which are not showy in the present shape. No one but those who have taken part in similar labours can at all realize the tedious toil which I had to undergo, or will care to look back at the thorny ways which I had to discover and clear for myself through the continuous struggles of four years, before I could achieve the information recorded in the following pages. The object of this summary of the Mānsāra is, however, nothing more than to introduce the various topics in brief and facilitate the understanding of my Translation of the Text. It might at the same time throw a little light, for the first time, upon one of the most useful and hitherto unknown branches of Sanskrit studies.

Another object of this preface is to acknowledge aids and encouragement I have received in connection with my work in Leiden and London.

I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Govern­ ment of H.M., the Queen of the Netherlands for making the necessary amendments to the University-regulations enabling me to take the doctor's degree at the University of Leiden. To the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy I am grateful for their recognition of my qualifications and their recommendation based thereon. In this connection I am sincerely thankful to Prof. Dr. J.PH. VOGEL, Prof. Dr. J. HUIZINGA, Prof. Dr. C. VAN VOLLENHOVEN, Prof. Dr. G. KALFF, and other professors of the University who took so lively an interest in the matter of my taking the doctor's degree here. To Prof. Dr. VOGEL, as my promotor, I am also grateful for the troubles he has undergone in going through this disser­ tation. I am further indebted to him as well as to Prof. Dr. C.C. UHLENBECK, Prot. Dr. J. HUIZINGA, Prof. Dr. C. SNOUOK HURGRONJE, Prof. Dr. G. KALFF and Prof. Dr. G. J. TlIIERRY for helping me with advice on many an occasion.

For many friendly services I shall ever remain grateful to Mr. E L.G. DEN DOOREN DE JONG, iur. cand., and Miss CH. L. DU RY VAN BEEST HOLLE, Assistant to the Zootomical Laboratory, who have been very kindly looking after my comfort, convenience, and prosperity in Holland with great zeal and fraternal affection. In connection with my whole undertaking, my sincere obligations are due to the Secretary of State for India in Council for granting me all facilities and help needed for a pioneer in this most diffi­cult and useful branch of Sanskrit researches. Both to Dr. T.W. ARNOLD, M.A., Litt.D., C.I.E., and to Mr. N.C. SEN, the well wishing friends and educational advisers to Indian students, I shall ever remain sincerely grateful, not only for their kind recommendation through which I have been getting all pecuniary aids from the India Office in London, but also for their helpful advice and genial sympathy, and still more for their affectionate care and anxiety to make me successful and ,,happy". I owe to Dr. F.W. THOMAS, M.A., Ph.D., the Librarian of the India Office, more obligations than I could ever express. I am indebted to him for all the materials of my work, the much needed consultation, the constant encouragement, the scholarly sympathy, the parental affection, and my success and reward. As a student of the University of London I had the privilege of consulting Dr. L.D. BARNETT, M.A., Litt.D. He rendered me a good deal of substantial aid and much needed encouragement for which I am very grateful to him.

To Mr. R.E. FIELD , the popular warden of 21, CROMWELL ROAD, London, and his estimable wife Mrs. FLORENCE FIELD I shall ever remain indebted for very many friendly services in connection with my present work. To the latter I owe the precious motto "never to give up''. Miss. E.J. BECK, the Honorary Secretary of the National Indian Association in London, who has been very kindly looking after me with great affection, was the first to read this dissertation in its original form and suggested many improvements. Like many other Indian students, I owe to this talented lady more obligations than I could ever express. And to Miss DORA J.M. DOVE , another well wishing friend of Indian students, I am sincerely grateful for her kind help and genial sym­ pathy.

Leiden , June 1918.


  • 1. Ep. Ind. Vol. I. p. 377; cf. also Sir R.G. BHANDARKAR, Ind. Ant. Vol. XII, pp. 140, 141.
  • 2. Academic Registmr's letter, n°. 1295.2, dated June 6, 1917.