Monday, 30 July 2012

The Telugu Encyclopedia - Vijnana Sarvasvamu

Am in Chennai, and am taking the opportunity to visit some libraries. My main aim was to visit the Adyar Library and Research Centre, but it happens to be closed Mondays. Has to be done tomorrow. Instead, I visited the Connemara Public Library in Egmore - very ancient and all that, but their periodical section seems not to keep old issues. They did have The Divine Life published by the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, but no back issues.

Next I visited the main Library of the University of Madras, once again heading straight to the Periodical Section. The ladies in the OPAC centre were quite helpful, though they spoke only Tamil, they did understand English. The OPAC was non-functional, and the card catalogue was inaccessible due to repairs, they said. However, they brought down several issues of The Divine Life, and also of the Indian Antiquary; unfortunately, none of the ones I was looking for. They even took me up to the stacks, where we searched for copies of the Proceeding of the Indian Philosophical Congress, which we found under Indian Philosophical Annual. They did not have a complete set of the Annual - I was looking only for the 1957 one, perhaps a second volume of it, with an article of De Smet's. They did not know whether anyone in the University had a complete set. Sad, because the Annual was published by the Dept. of Philosophy.

Inquiring about the Telugu Encyclopedia, the young man at the main desk directed me to the Library at the Marina Campus, where, he said, the language books were kept. So off to the Marina Campus, a few kilometres further down the beach. Once again, very friendly people, despite the language barrier. Two shelves of Telugu books, all naturally in Telugu. But I was lucky: I chanced upon something that looked like an encyclopedia volume, and so it was: vol. 2 of the famous Telugu Encyclopedia for which I have been searching so long. It is called Vijnana Sarvasvamu, and it is an affair going into 16 volumes. Unfortunately the volumes were scattered all over the two shelves, and the set was not complete. But: I have traced the real name of the Encyclopedia. One of the young students was kind enough to lead me to the Head of the Dept. of Telugu, who told me that a complete set would be found at the Potti Sriramalu Telugu University. Nampalli, Hyderabad. That is good news. Can be tracked down. I am searching for De Smet's contributions - one on St Thomas Aquinas, and the other on Scholasticism. his bibliography dates them 1964. Volume 2 of the encyclopedia was, in fact, of 1964. His contribution will therefore probably be in vols. 3, 4, 6 or 7 which I did not find. (I did not find vols. 12, 14-16 either.)

There is probably a second edition: Vijnana Sarvasvamu. Hyderabad: Vijnana Sarvasva Kendram, Telugu Visvavidyalayam, 1987. See, as of 30 July 2012. A whole set is probably available at the New York Public Library, New York, and Cornell University, Ithaca. 

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