The Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology is a unique institution that is dedicated to the preservation, restoration and collection of ancient Indian manuscripts and artifacts. It provides scholars a wonderful opportunity for research and study. This prestigious Institution came into being as a result of the efforts of two visionaries – a revered Jain saint- Agamprabhakar Muni Shri Punyavijayji Maharaj, and a philanthropic industrialist Shri Kasturbhai Lalbhai.
Agamprabhakar Muni Shri Punyavijayji Maharaj, besides being a revered Jain saint, was an erudite scholar and a dedicated researcher. In the course of his frequent travels through Gujarat and Rajasthan he came across numerous ancient hand and written manuscripts. All of them required proper conservation, preservation & cataloguing. He made it his life’s mission to ensure that the priceless heritage of manuscripts was properly preserved, studied and made available to the scholars. With this objective in view, he scientifically reorganized several Bhandaras and catalogued their collections. Moreover, he acquired numerous manuscripts from various sources where proper facilities for their preservation did not exist. As such collections grew, he became increasingly aware of the need for a suitable place where these rare and ancient manuscripts could not only be housed and properly taken care of, but also studied in depth and be made available to the scholars for reference and research.
Sheth Kasturbhai Lalbhai was a leading Industrialist. He was a devout Jain, had great respect and regards for Muni Shri Punyavijayji and was closely associated with him. It was but natural, that Muni Shri expressed his wish to Sheth Kasturbhai on the urgent need for setting up an Institution for the preservation of manuscripts and their use for research.
Sheth Kasturbhai was a man of rare foresight and wide ranging interests. He had been instrumental in promoting and setting up of numerous educational institutions in Gujarat. He took Muni Shri Punyavijayji’s idea to heart and founded the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology in 1957. Initially work started at in the L. D. Vanda in the walled city of Ahmedabad.
To set up this institute in a special building, Sheth Kasturbhai, with the whole-hearted support of his family-members, came forward with a handsome donation. Muni Shri Punyavijayji most graciously gave his complete collection of over 10,000 rare Manuscripts, many of them illustrated, and over 7,000 rare books. This formed the nucleus of the L. D. Institute of Indology’s core collection.
Āgamprabhakar Muni Shri Punyavijayji Maharaj, a revered Jain saint, was an erudite scholar and a dedicated researcher. In the course of his frequent travels through Gujarat and Rajasthan he came across numerous old manuscripts. All of them required proper conservation, preservation & cataloguing. He made it his life’s mission to ensure that the priceless heritage of manuscripts was properly preserved, studied and made available to the scholars. With this objective in view, he scientifically reorganized several bhandaras and catalogued their collections. Moreover, he acquired numerous manuscripts from various sources where proper facilities for their preservation did not exist. As such collections grew, he became increasingly aware of the need for a suitable place where these rare and ancient manuscripts could not only be housed and properly taken care of, but also studied in depth and be made available to the scholars for reference and research.
Activities at the Institute
In pursuance of its aims the Institute has fivefold activity:
- It guides students for doctoral and post-doctoral studies. In the last 50 years the Institution has been able to guide successfully as many as 56 students in their Ph.D. research work.
- The in-house research scholars of the Institute are continuously provided all facilities for advancement of their studies.
The Institute has been publishing a research Journal started in 1970, SAMBODHI. It is one of the rare journals devoted to publishing papers on pure research in the area of Indology. This Journal publishes the research papers of the scholars working in the Institute. The Journal also invites contributory research articles from eminent scholars of the country and abroad. The articles are published in English, Gujarati and Hindi. Sometimes unpublished short articles are also published. Annual Journal of Institute- SAMBODHI is published regularly since 40 years. 34 volumes of ‘Sambodhi’ have been published.
- The Institution also organizes lectures of renowned scholars on various subjects under a well-known platform called SANGOSTHI. Every year about 20 such lectures are arranged.
- The Institution organizes exhibitions, lectures, seminars, symposia and audio-visual programmes on various subjects related to Indological researches. Art critics like Prof. Karl Khandalavala, Prof. Mulkraj Anand, Shri S. Gorakshakar and such dignitaries have visited the Institute and the Museum and given illuminating discourses.
- L. D. Museum has its own auditorium for slide-shows, exhibitions and lectures. The museum is arranging educative as well as popular exhibitions of paintings and sculptures.
The Institute has been chosen as one of the regional centers by National Mission for Manuscripts, an ambitious program for the preservation, restoration, cataloguing and propagation of ancient Indian wisdom contained in the scores of hundreds of thousands of manuscripts lying in various public and private collections, of the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. Under this mission, the institution is both a Manuscripts Resource Centre and Manuscript Preservation and Restoration Centre.
Under this program, launched in 2003-04, the Institute has already published two volumes of manuscripts catalogues covering nearly 7900 manuscripts and the work for four more volumes covering 16,000 manuscripts is in progress. Institute aims to publish the catalogues of all the existing manuscripts by the year 2010. The work of developing an electronic register for manuscripts and setting up of a well equipped manuscripts Preservation and Restoration Laboratory is on hand.
The Institute is already training scholars and personnel from other resource and preservation centers in the arts and skill of reading and editing manuscripts in such different ancient scripts as Br¹hm», ˜arad¹, Grantha, Mo©» and Persian as well as in that of preservation and restoration.
Library at the LD Institute
Printed Books: There are more than 50,000 printed books are collected in Library and further the Institute is continuously enriching its collection by acquiring newly published books by various means like purchase, getting as gifts and transaction basis. The Institute is also listed in Government organizations for free supplying of books viz Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan etc. This is a specialized biggest library for the Indological studies and research in India. Many Indian and abroad scholars regularly and frequently visit for their higher studies and research. The Books are mainly related to Jainism, Buddhism and Vedic studies in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, Maru-Gurjar, Apabhrasha, Gujarati and Rajasthani Literature as well as Lexicons, Dictionaries, History, Culture, Archaeology, Art, Architecture, Iconography, Paleography, Epigraphy, Geography, Astronomy, Astrology, Ayurveda, Ancient Herbal and other Medicines, Ancient Sciences, Tantra, Mantra etc.
Xeroxed and Microfilmed Copies of Manuscripts: Late Muni Jambuvijayji, a great Saint Scholar of India, made Xeroxing and microfilming work of various Gyan Bhandars. The LDII also possess the Xeroxed and Microfilmed copies of these Manuscripts.
Manuscripts Section: The Institute has a rich collection of nearly 75,000 rare manuscripts including a substantial number received as gift for the purpose of preservation and custody. Many manuscripts are written on Palm leaf, Birch-bark (Bhojpatra) and handmade paper. Some of the manuscripts are written in gold and silver inks and are full of multi-color miniatures. The collection cover a wide range of subjects such as the Vedas, the Agamas, Tantra, Jaina Religion & Philosophy, Systems of Indian Philosophy, Grammar, Prosody, Poetics, Lexicography, Medicine etc. These manuscripts are in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apabhramsa, old Gujarati, Hindi and Rajasthani languages. A large number of these manuscripts are illustrated both in vivid colors as well as black & white.
Some of the important and rare manuscripts preserved well in the Institute are: Yajurveda, Tripuri Upanishad by Shankaracharya, Bhaguri’s Smruti Samucchaya, Rangavijaya’s Gurjardesha Rajvanshavali Bauddhadipanca-darshana, Ramcandra’s Mahavidyalankara, Ruchidutta’s commentary on Tattavacintamani-Cintamani-Subodhika, Rajashehara’s Nyayakandalipanjika, Gopikanta’s Nyayadeepa, commentaries on Kumarasambhava, Kiratarjuniyam, Raghuvansha etc. Yavana-nqma-mala of some Mantri’s son, Himasagar’s Pashimadisha Chanda in Persian, Vilasavati Natika Rajimatiprabandha Nataka, Vivekamanjari, Sita Carita, Yoganibandhana, Rama Shataka, Hamsanidan, Sagachandrodaya, Pharasiprakash (Dictionnary), Yadusundara, etc.
Some of rare, illustrated mansucripts in the Institutes are: Shaliihotradi having 128 illustration of horses, Vyayamachintamani, illustrating different poses of physical exercises, Meghadoota (only one such manuscript known up till now), Uttaradhyayanasutra, Upadeshamala, Kalpassutra, Kumarasambhava, Gajastambha (having 42 illustrations of elephant), Badshah-chitravali illustrating the Muslim Kings, Gajachakra-Ashvacakra, having 50 illustrations, Madhumalati, Dhola-Maru having 65 illustrations, Gita-Govinda, Tulsi Ramayana etc.
Over the years, the collection of manuscripts, sculptures and paintings increased substantially, leading to the realization by the Governing Body of the need to build a museum as a distinct, but separate department of the Institute of Indology. Thus, as a result, there stands adjacent to the Institute of Indology, a magnificent building also designed by Shri B. V. Doshi, constructed at a cost of Rs, 30 lacs which is to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi.
LD Institute of Indology
Nr. Gujarat University
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