By Cezary Galewicz
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Extra resources for A commentator in service of the empire: Sāyaṇa and the royal project of commenting on the whole of the Veda
3. The elusive person of the commentator: Sāyaňa, his work and his moment Surprisingly, little truly historical information is actually available about this icon of orthodox intellectuals of late medieval India. This is contrasted by a multitude of surviving works that are ascribed to his name. The list of his works includes not only the eighteen bulky Vedic commentaries and five fairly long theoretical introductions to them, but also scholarly 59 60 MACDONELL 1900: 275. R. Sharma’s introduction to the Sāmavidhāna Brāhmaňa, p.
The Quest for the Author: Looking for Sāyaňa 43 tween these two. However, any conclusion in that matter will have to remain a conjecture, at least for the time being. Often do we hear that in Indian intellectual history we meet time and again the widely accepted practice of attributing commentaries actually written by disciples, followers or altogether different authors to earlier acknowledged masters of the field. Attributing texts to famous authors used to be a practice not only in India; it was well known, for instance, in ancient Greece where scrolls giving a famous name as the author of the works contained in them would sell much better and reach a much wider audience.
37 MODAK 1995: 10. 38 Cf. the Nellore inscription referred to in MODAK 1995: 13 and HERAS 1929: 95. 39 NARASIMHACHAR 1916: 2. See also Baladeva Upadhyaya in his introduction to VBhBhS, p. xiii; SSN, p. 13; MODAK 1995: 25. 34 A Commentator in Service of the Empire become half-legendary. There is, in fact, very little “tangible” historical evidence to corroborate this. Little factual information can be found in the usually laconic and general references to Sāyaňa in contemporary historical works.
A commentator in service of the empire: Sāyaṇa and the royal project of commenting on the whole of the Veda by Cezary Galewicz