My intention to publish an edition of the Vyavahārasaukhya
goes back many years. During an extended research stay at the
Deccan College Research Institute in Pune in 1953–1955, I obtained,
through the good offices of Professor S.M. Katre and Dr.
M.M. Patkar, a microfilm of a manuscript of this text from the
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune and two from
the Anup Sanskrit Library in Bikaner.
On my return to Belgium, I transcribed the manuscript from
Pune and collated those from Bikaner. After my transfer to the
University of Pennsylvania, I received a microfilm of a codex
from Sarasvati Bhavan in Varanasi, which had been ordered and
prepared years earlier, but mislaid on a shelf until one of my
students retrieved it. This manuscript, too, was collated with the
These circumstances only partly account for the further delay
in completing this edition. Notwithstanding intermittent efforts,
the burdens of teaching and guiding students to the Ph.D. degree,
and other research projects, prevented me from carving an
uninterrupted period of time to work on the Vyavahārasaukhya.
Finally, after reaching retirement, I was able to return to the text
I had processed when the only way I had of typing devanāgarī
script and Roman script with the required diacritic signs were the
fonts, Madhushree and Manjushree respectively, created by Professor
Madhav M. Deshpande.
Much time has been spent since to adapt the earlier format to the modalities of
current computer publishing.
I hope that an edition of the Vyavahārasaukhya, a text attributed
to a famed Hindu minister of the Mughal emperor Akbar, will
provide a new and valuable component in the history of Indian
legal procedure and a window into Sanskrit legal scholarship under
In addition to the institutions that allowed me to make use of
manuscripts in their collections, and the authorities at the Deccan
College who made access to these manuscripts possible, I
wish to thank Professor Patrick Olivelle, who, as on prior occasions,
shared with me his extensive technical expertise in editing
Sanskrit texts. It was Patrick, also, who established contact with
Dr. Federico Squarcini, to whom I am grateful for having the volume
I also wish to thank my colleague at the University of Pennsylvania,
Professor Emeritus William L. Hanaway, for helping me uniformly to transliterate Persian
terms used in the Introduction.
Last, but not least, my thanks go to my loving companion of
fifty-three years, whose sharp eye for detail has saved this volume
from many inconsistencies and inaccuracies. Working on the
Vyavahārasaukhya was yet another imposition on her time and her
own research, in addition to the constant physical and moral support
she provided after major surgery weakened me in the final
stages of this project.
Philadelphia, February 2014