Hardcover, 187 pages, New Delhi 2016, new
The Vrttamalastuti or 'Praise in the Form of a Garland of Metres Counted by Syllables' is a unique piece of literature composed by Jnanasrimitra, who taught Buddhist philosophy and other subjects at the university of Vikramasila in the first half of the 11th century. This work illustrates 150 metres in the form of a hymn, as indicated by its title. The addressee is the Bodhisattva Manjusri. With great ingenuity Jnanasrimitra manages to include the name of each metre in the respective stanza in such a manner that it becomes a natural part of the praise of Manjusri. Some of the names of the metres have no independent meaning. The author therefore uses various devices so that those words can fit in the praise of Manjusri. The commentary (Vivrti) is a most welcome aid for understanding the intricacies of Jnanasrimitra's composition. It evinces Sakyaraksita's profound scholarship and versatile knowledge. Working on these two texts for past several years, Prof. Michael Hahn published the first edition of the texts from Japan. The present revised edition is the first Indian edition in Devanagari based on that edition. Reading this book itself will be a refreshingly new experience for enthusiastic readers.