Background

The foremost objective of Tara Prakashana is to preserve knowledge in its original form. Only then we can disseminate them to the needy. Knowledge texts exist in various languages & forms. The most ancient media amongst them are "Palm Leaves". Original texts are extremely significant due to the fact that, one syllable / letter interpreted wrongly can give a completely different meaning. Any media that can be adopted to preserve the original text has to last for many hundred years to come by. This will be the best gift for the generation of scholars and students to come.

Who is Achaarya Madhva?

Among the various scholars and spiritual leaders in India during the last millennium, Shri Achaarya Madhva (1238-1317) had a profound impact on society. His philosophy is known variously as Dvaita, Bheda-vada, Tattva-vada, or Bimba-Pratibimba-vada. Shri Madhvacharya analyzed all aspects of the holy texts such as Vedas, Upanishads, Itihasas, Purana, Tantras and Prakaranas and showed the structure of the spiritual world that serves as a backbone of the diversities of this world. This insightful knowledge demonstrated to mankind the meaning of life and the importance of logic and faith in God.

What is Sarvamoola Grantha?

Thirty-six of Shri Achaarya Madhva's seminal and ground-breaking works, including commentaries on various important scriptures such as sUthraprasthAna, gItA prasthAna, upanishad prashtAna, shruthi prasthAna, prakaraNa granthas, ithihAsa prasthAna, purAna prasthAna, AchAra granthas and stOtra granthas are collectively called the Sarvamoola granthas. These works, directly authored by Shri Acharya Madhva (and transcribed by his disciple, Shri Hrishikesha Tirtha) form the foundation of Tattva-vada, or Bimba-Pratibimba-vada school of philosophy. They were inscribed on palm-leaves, and have been carefully maintained at the Palimaru matha for over 700 years.

Current state of manuscripts

Many leaves are cracked and small pieces have been chipped off from many places. In some sections of this bundle, substantial parts of the leaves are missing. To fill the empty space, a white wooden box was placed (a few years ago) around the ends of the leaves to maintain the balance and weight of the bundle. Considerable damage also exists around the binding holes due to friction between the cord and the edge of the hole. The deterioration is due to the age of the manuscript and inappropriate storage that resulted in staining, mechanical damage, splitting and cleavage of the palm leaves. As a result, the manuscript is very brittle and difficult to handle without further damage. The palm leaves also have darkened over time and are now dark brown in color. The text is barely readable in places, as seen in the figure. Further, a part of some leaves crumble into pieces every time the manuscript is opened.

How did we preserve Sarvamoola Grantha?

Dr. P.R. Mukund, professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and spiritual disciple of Shri Bannanje Govindacharya, formed a team with imaging experts Dr. Roger Easton and Dr. Keith Knox. Dr. Easton is a Professor at RIT's Imaging science department, and Dr. Knox is a Technical Fellow at Boeing Corporation. They were joined by Dr. Ajay Pasupuleti, Dr. Mukund's disciple, and traveled to Udupi in December 2005 on a trip funded by a private donation. This was followed by another trip in June 2006, during the course of which high-resolution imaging equipment and associated cameras, filters and translation tables were setup in Udupi and all leaves of the Sarvamoola granthas were imaged. This trip was funded by RIT. They obtained images of the palm leaves using a Sensys scientific digital camera from Photometrics, Inc. that had been purchased in 1999 for use on other manuscripts by RIT. The images were captured using near-infrared radiation, which enhances the contrast between the ink and the palm leaf. Images of each palm leaf was captured in ten sections, processed, and digitally stitched. Various image processing algorithms were applied using Adobe Photoshop as well as custom software developed by Dr. Knox. The entire Sarvamoola granthas that contained 336 palm leaves with text incised on both sides of every leaf was imaged by taking more than 7500 images in five days. Dr. Knox's custom-developed software and Adobe Photoshop were used to process the images. The text is now clearly readable, and several unreadable areas of the work have been enhanced and rendered readable. This enhanced version has been preserved by prints and stored in Udupi's Palimar matha for use by scholars. Work is also underway to preserve the entire work on Silicon wafers; by using a process called aluminum metallization, the image is transferred to a wafer by creating a negative of the image and depositing metal on the silicon surface. These wafers are both fireproof and waterproof, and can be read using only magnifying lenses (no need of computers or electronic equipment).

More details: http://nanoark.com/what-we-do-products-services-waferfiche.php

Poojya Shri Bannanje Govindacharya's message

Click here to listen to Shri Bannanje Govindacharya on the significance of Sarvamoola Grantha and the successful completion of this project.

Press coverage of Sarvamoola Grantha project

Please check the "In the News" section.