The present set of 11 volumes providing a collection of commentaries also showcases an extraordinary variety and nuance of Indian calligraphy. It brings together for the first time the text of the Srimad Bhagavadgita (BG) along with commentaries with original calligraphies ranging from Sankar Bhasya to Bhasanuvad in Hindi prose and Dohas, a popular form Hindi poetic composition. This extremely rare manuscript was preserved at the Shri Ranbir Sanskrit Research Institute, the Dharmath Trust, Jammu a treasure house of Sanskrit manuscripts. Maharaja Ranbir Singh, one of the most respected Dogra rulers of Jammu and Kashmir, was a notable patron of scholarship. This manuscript is of great relevance and importance not only for the national intellectual heritage of India but for scholarship worldwide.
The present set of eleven volumes brings together 21 commentaries of the BG, many of which are unpublished, these include the following commentaries contributed by great scholars : Sankaracaryarya (8thAD), Ananda Rajanak (820-890AD), Rajanaka Ramkanth’s Sarvatobhadra (850AD), Abhinavagupta (950-1016AD), Ramanujacarya (1017-1137AD), Madhvacarya (1199-1278AD), Hanumat/Pisaca Bhasya, Anandagiri (1238-1317AD), Suryapaandit (14thAD), Sadananda (15thAD), Madhusudana Sarasvati (1540-1640AD), Sridhara Svami : (15thAD), Nilakantha : (16thAD), Kesavabhatta Kasmiran (16th AD), Vanmali Misra (1685AD), Girdhari Das (17thAD), Rajanaka Laksmirama (17thAD), Pancholi, Ramcandra Saraswati, Jagdisvara Vedpathi (19thAD), Hindi Bhasya, Doha (19thAD).
This publication represents the contribution of the Dogra rulers of the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir State and, in a way, supplements the massive contribution made by Kashmir to Indian culture over the centuries. Some of the salient features of the commentaries on the BG included in these volumes, reflecting an interpretive range of scholarship, are worth noting. Being a text dealing with existential questions faced in life the text of the BG has received critical treatment from various corners of the world. In the traditional scholarship of India the texts are interpreted from the standpoint of various schools of thought. The resulting commentaries are called Tika / Bhasya which elaborate the essence of the contents of the text. A careful reading of diverse commentaries illuminates various shades of meaning. So far the practice has been to present the text with a single commentary. This is first time that many of the key commentaries by celebrated Indian scholars are brought together for achieving a comprehensive and comparative appreciation of the text of the BG.