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image of Indo-Iranian Journal

The Paippalāda version of the Atharvaveda existed hitherto, as is generally known, only in a single manuscript originating from Kashmir. It was rendered accessible in an excellent reproduction. Unfortunately the text of this manuscript which is written in Śārada script, is corrupt, in many cases beyond recognition. LeRoy Carr Barret, between the years 1906 and 1940, did the tedious work oftranscribing the Kashmirian manuscript book by book, and added to it his attempts at reconstructing the original wording. It is not Barret's fault that for the most part his efforts and sagacity were doomed to failure, and that rarely convincing results were reached. Nevertheless all scholars who have so far concerned themselves with the Paippalāda version cannot but fully acknowledge and feel grateful for the enormous amount of useful work done by Barret. His edition is distributed in several volumes of the Journal of the American Oriental Society and two independent publications. Thus Raghu Vira's Devanāgarī reproduction of Barret's text, which added some improvements and a specification of parallel passages was very welcome. Yet, inspite of what was achieved by Barret and Raghu Vira, everyone who has dealt with the Paippalāda version from a philological or linguistic point of view has, again and again, been driven to despair. There were only rare cases in which the details inferred from the text could be relied on.


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