Clay Sanskrit Library

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Sample page layout from Budhasvāmin's The Emperor of the Sorcerers

The Clay Sanskrit Library is a series of books published by New York University Press and the JJC Foundation. Each work features the text in its original language (transliterated Sanskrit) on the left-hand page, with its English translation on the right. The series was modeled on the Loeb Classical Library,[1] and its volumes are bound in teal cloth.

CSL and the JJC Foundation[edit]

The JJC Foundation was founded by John P. Clay and his wife, Jennifer. John Clay, who was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1934, went to Oxford University in the 1950s, where he studied classics and Sanskrit literature. He went on to a long career in global investment banking with Clay Finlay, Inc, New York, and Vickers da Costa, New York. But in 1999 he decided that he wanted to return to his real passion, Sanskrit literature, and envisioned a series that would make all the classics available to the general public for the first time. He shared his vision for the Clay Sanskrit Library with Richard Gombrich, Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University from 1976 to 2004, and Richard Gombrich agreed to serve as general editor of the series. They invited Somadeva Vasudeva and Isabelle Onians (themselves Sanskrit scholars) as associate editors for the series, as well as thirty leading academics from eight different countries to produce new translations of classical Sanskrit literature. John Clay now lives in New York City. In 2007 Sheldon Pollock joined Richard Gombrich as co-general editor. Richard Gombrich resigned from the post in early 2008.

The first books in the series were published in 2005. At present, there are 46 volumes available.

In the summer of 2009, the series became financially insolvent and all further publications were cancelled. Among the projects still incomplete at the time of the bankruptcy was the Clay Sanskrit edition of the Mahabharata. As a result, only fifteen of the projected thirty-two volumes were ever produced, and those not in any particular order.

There is now an effort to revive the series under a different moniker and the stewardship and editorial guidance of Sheldon Pollock as the Murty Classical Library of India. This has been supported by a $5 million donation to Harvard University Press by the family of the billionaire founder of Infosys, Narayana Murthy. The intention is not just to restart the project of publishing classical Indian literature in English translation, but to expand it to works in many languages other than Sanskrit.

List of volumes[edit]


  • Maha·bhárata II: The Great Hall (Sabhāparvan): 588 pp, Paul Wilmot, 2006, ISBN 978-0-8147-9406-7
  • Maha·bhárata III: The Forest (Vanaparvan) (volume four of four): 374 pp, William J. Johnson, 2005, ISBN 978-0-8147-4278-5
  • Maha·bhárata IV: Viráta (Virāṭaparvan): 516 pp, Kathleen Garbutt, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8147-3183-3
  • Maha·bhárata V: Preparations for War (Udyogaparvan) (volume one of two): 450 pp, Kathleen Garbutt, with a foreword by Gurcharan Das, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8147-3191-8
  • Maha·bhárata V: Preparations for War (Udyogaparvan) (volume two of two): 789 pp, Kathleen Garbutt, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8147-3202-1
  • Maha·bhárata VI: Bhishma (Bhīṣmaparvan) (volume one of two) Including the “Bhagavad Gita” in Context: 615 pp, Alex Cherniak, Foreword by Ranajit Guha, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8147-1696-0
  • Maha·bhárata VI: Bhishma (volume two of two): 582pp, Alex Cherniak, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8147-1705-9
  • Maha·bhárata VII: Drona (Droṇaparvan) (volume one of four): 473 pp, Vaughan Pilikian, 2006, ISBN 978-0-8147-6723-8
  • Maha·bhárata VII: Drona (Droṇaparvan) (volume two of four): 394 pp, Vaughan Pilikian, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8147-6776-4
  • Maha·bhárata VIII: Karna (Karṇaparvan) (volume one of two): 604 pp, Adam Bowles, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8147-9981-9
  • Maha·bhárata VIII: Karna (Karṇaparvan) (volume two of two): 624 pp, Adam Bowles, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8147-9995-6
  • Maha·bhárata IX: Shalya (Śalyaparvan) (volume one of two): 371 pp, Justin Meiland, 2005, ISBN 978-0-8147-5706-2
  • Maha·bhárata IX: Shalya (Śalyaparvan) (volume two of two): 470 pp, Justin Meiland, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8147-5737-6
  • Maha·bhárata X & XI: Dead of the Night & The Women (Sauptikaparvan & Strīparvan): 416 pp, Kate Crosby, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8147-1727-1
  • Maha·bhárata XII: Peace (Śāntiparvan): “The Book of Liberation” (volume three of five): 626 pp, Alex Wynne, 2009, ISBN 0-8147-9453-X
Ramáyana by Valmíki
  • Ramáyana I: Boyhood (Bālakāṇḍa): 424 pp, Robert P. Goldman, 2005, ISBN 0-8147-3163-5
  • Ramáyana II: Ayódhya (Ayodhyākāṇḍa): 652 pp, Sheldon I. Pollock, 2005, ISBN 0-8147-6716-8
  • Ramáyana III: The Forest (Araṇyakāṇḍa): 436 pp, Sheldon I. Pollock, 2006, ISBN 0-8147-6722-2
  • Ramáyana IV: Kishkíndha (Kiṣkindhākāṇḍa): 415 pp, Rosalind Lefeber, 2005, ISBN 0-8147-5207-1
  • Ramáyana V: Súndara (Sundarakāṇḍa): 538 pp, Robert P. Goldman & Sally J. Sutherland Goldman, 2006, ISBN 0-8147-3178-3

Classical poetry[edit]

Kālidāsa's The Recognition of Shakúntala, ed. Somadeva Vasudeva


Other narrative[edit]


  1. ^ Eric Banks, "100 Paths to Nirvana", Bookforum December /January 2006.

External links[edit]