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Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg's Verzeichnis der Malabarischen Bücher

  • Albertine Gaur

The Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum has among its collection a small manuscript (no. Sloane 3014; size 19 × 23 cm; foil. 23) entitled Verzeichnis der Malabarischen Bücher. It is written in German in a thin ornate hand on watermarked paper, and is obviously a catalogue of Tamil books, some of them well-known classics. The term Malabarisch (Malabari in English), which the author uses for people and language alike, is the name by which Tamil was generally known among the Portuguese and the Europeans who reached India soon afterwards. At one place (book no. 47) the author calls the language Tamul which, according to Caldwell, was the term employed by the French. The name of the author is not mentioned in the manuscript. There is a note in the Department's Catalogue of Sloane, Birch and Additional Manuscripts dated 1782 which reads: “Verzeichnis der Malabarischen Bücher: i.e. Catalogus linguâ Germanicâ, a Missionariis Evangelicis in urbe Tranquebar, an. 1709 compositus, quo recensentur 112 librorum Malabaricorum, inscriptiones breviores eorumque contenta indicate.” To this the List of Oriental Manuscripts, Vol. I, in the Department of Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts adds: “see Bibliotheca Rostgardiana … vendenda Hafniae, Anno 1726 … pars altera, no. 852.”

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1 i.e. Tamil palm-leaf manuscripts.

2 Caldwell, Robert, A Comparative grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian family of languages, 1875, 1012.

3 See book no. 100.

4 See book no. 105; also a letter written on 16th September, 1706, which is reproduced in Ziegenbalg, , Propagation of the Gospel in the East, 3rd ed., London, 1718, part I, 30.

5 See book no. 110.

6 Rajarigam, D., The history of Tamil Christian literature, Madras, 1958, 21.

7 Propagation of the Gospel in the East, part I, 30.

8 ibid., part II, 7.

9 Lehman, D. Arno, Alte Briefe aus Indien: Unveröffentlichte Briefe von Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, Berlin, 1957, 86.

10 ibid., 120.

11 ibid., 34, 39, 43 (letters written on 5th September, 25th September, and 1st October, 1706).

12 ibid., 72.

13 “An Account of the Malabarians”, in Propagation of the Gospel in the East, p. 29.

14 Auction catalogue, Bibliotheca Rostgaardiana (held in the Royal Library, Copenhagen), p. 449.

15 i.e. Tolkāppiyaṉār.

16 Followers of the Jain faith.

17 i.e. Agastya.

18 Nikaṇṭu means a metrical vocabulary. The author of the above-mentioned work might have been a Jain writer who lived in the 9th century and wrote Cuṭtāmaṇinikaṇṭu. Ziegenbalg's statement, however, which places him at the same time as Tiruvācakam (i.e. 12th century), would leave us with a gap of 300 years.

19 He obviously refers to the Kuṟaḷ. Tiruvaḷḷuvar is the name of the author.

20 Ziegenbalg uses this term throughout the manuscript, thus making a clear distinction between the Hindu gods and the Christian God.

21 i.e. Iśvara, the god Śiva.

22 i.e. the Mahābhārata.

23 i.e. Kṛṣṇa.

24 This could be the amplified adaptation of Villiputtūrar's Bhāratam written by Madalambēḍu Nallā Piḷḷai, who lived approximately at the same time as Ziegenbalg.

25 Ziegenbalg no doubt means Sanskrit written in Grantha characters; see book no. 22.

26 i.e. Hariścandra, King of Ayōdhyā.

27 This seems t o be the older of the two works. The episode itself appears in the Mahābhārata. Ariccantirapurāṇam was a poem from the Saṅgham period.

28 i.e. Vikramāditya.

29 By Upēndrācārya. A handbook of astrology in verse with prose and paraphrases.

30 i.e. Kulōttuṅka who conquered Kaliṅga.

31 i.e. Rāja Rāja Cōṟa.

32 This is not a name but a title. Muni means a holy man.

33 This is certainly not the name of the author, alaṅkāra means rhetoric.

34 i.e. a form of the god Viṣṅu.

35 i.e. Grantha, the script used for writing Sanskrit in the Tamil country.

36 i.e. Skanda.

37 Ziegenbalg, See, Genealogy of the Malabari gods, ed. Germann, W., Madras, 1867.

38 In his Genealogy of the Malabari gods (p. 32) Ziegenbalg speaks of Paṇṭāraṅkaḷ as followers of the Liṅgadhari (Vira-Śaiva) sect which was founded by Basava at the beginning of the 11th century but at p. 151 he describes a Pantaram as a Śudra. In actual fact they are just a type of wandering mendicant.

39 This could be a Syrian Christian work. Titles beginning with a Ñāṉa (or as Ziegenbalg writes it Gnána) often indicate an orientation of this kind.

40 i.e. Viṣṇu.

41 i.e. Śrīraṅgam, a Vaiṣṇava pilgrimage.

42 i.e. a Tamil version of the Sanskrit Pañcatantra.

43 Here the author obviously refers to Kampaṉ's Rāmāyaṇnam.

44 The goddess is, according to mythology, the wife of Skanda, who is also identical with Kārttikeya, who in turn is called Subrahmaṇya in the south.

45 The correct spelling is Coromandel.

46 i.e. Vaiṣṇavites.

47 i.e. Hanumān.

48 This could be Ācāra-kōvai by Peruvāyiṉ Muḷḷiyār, one of the kīṛ-kaṇakku poems. Ziegenbalg's “author” is probably only a contemporary commentator.

49 He probably means his guru.

50 i.e. one of the names of śiva. See Genealogy of the Malabari gods, 50.

51 See Genealogy …, 19.

52 He probably means Maṉaiyaṭicāstiram.

53 Mylapur, a suburb of Madras where according to the legend St. Thomas was speared to death by four soldiers.

54 This work is in praise of Ampikai as worshipped in Madurai. It is ascribed to Kulacēkara Pāṇṭiyaṉ or Ukra-kumāra Pāṇṭiyaṉ. It consists in fact of thirty-one stanzas.

55 See book no. 48; there Ziegenbalg spells the name as Kuru Namatschiweīer.

56 i.e. Sītā.

57 This too seems to be a part of Kampaṉ's Rāmāyaṇam.

58 A treatise on the legend and ritual of the Ekātaci festival, a fast in honour of Viṣṇu.

59 i.e. Garuda.

60 i.e. Udyōga-panam of Villiputtūr's Bhāratam.

61 See Genealogy of the Malabari gods, 129.

62 Probably Ñāṇacarantūl cāstiram, a Śaiva tract on divination from breath.

63 Frauen-Regel; see Genealogy of the Malabari gods, 129.

64 “Die Kunst etwas orakelmäβig durch Punkte auszuforschen … ”, see Grimm, , Deutsches Wörterbuch, Vol. VII, Leipzig, 1889.

65 i.e. Nāṭyaśāstra.

66 The author obviously means among Malabari women.

67 The author's name is actually Nārāyaṇa Tācar.

68 i.e. the Danish East India Company.

69 Pardao or Pardau, a silver coin issued under Joan V (1706–1750) for the Portuguese Indies and struck principally at Goa. It was valued at half a rupia.

70 The author is in fact Varatarāja Paṇṭitar, the same who wrote book no. 67.

71 Auvaiyār was a Caṅkam poetess, but there is a legend which calls her an incarnation of the goddess Sarasvati.

72 See Genealogy of the Malabari gods, 141.

73 ibid., 49, 50.

74 Mahamēru, the centre of the world. See Genealogy of the Malabari gods.

75 i.e. Nantikēcuraṉ; see Genealogy

76 i.e. Tirumūla Tēvar; see Genealogy

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