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 inspired by the Loeb Classical Library,[1] and its volumes are bound in teal cloth.

CSL and the JJC Foundation[edit]

The JJC Foundation, a charitable foundation, was established by John P. Clay and his wife, Jennifer. John Peter Clay was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1934. He won a scholarship to attend St Paul’s School, London in 1947. At age sixteen, already a high-flying classicist, John won an exhibition to read Greats at Balliol College, University of Oxford but he turned down this opportunity. In the following year, John was offered a full scholarship by the Queen’s College, Oxford, where he achieved a First-class degree in Sanskrit, Old Persian and Avestan (the language of the Zoroastrian scriptures). John was subsequently appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Queen’s College. Before going up to Oxford, John enlisted in the Royal Air Force for his National Service. Seconded to the Royal Canadian Air Force, John won his wings as a navigator, specializing in Arctic navigation at the time of the Distant Early Warning (DEW Line) patrols. On leaving Oxford, John joined Vickers da Costa, a firm of stockbrokers based in the City of London. He spent 25 years at Vickers, becoming Deputy Chairman and an elected Member of the London Stock Exchange Council. In 1982, John left Vickers and moved to New York City, where he founded the international investment management company Clay Finlay Inc. In the late 1990s, when he was semi-retired, John decided to return to his early passion, Sanskrit literature: he envisioned a pioneering series that would make the classics easily available to the general public for the first time. He shared his ambitions for the Clay Sanskrit Library (CSL) with Richard Gombrich (also an alumnus of St Paul’s School, London), who was the Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University from 1976 to 2004. Richard Gombrich was appointed General Editor of the Clay Sanskrit Library. Somadeva Vasudeva and Isabelle Onians (both Sanskrit scholars) were appointed Associate Editors, and 30 leading academics from 8 different countries were appointed to produce new translations of classical Sanskrit texts. In 2007, Sheldon Pollock joined Richard Gombrich as Co-General Editor, and Richard Gombrich resigned from his post in early 2008. John Clay died in 2013, following complications from multiple sclerosis.

The first 15 volumes of the Clay Sanskrit Library (CSL) were published in 2005. An additional 41 volumes were published between 2006 and 2009, far exceeding John’s original vision of 50 titles. The 56 published volumes represent the richness and wide variety of Sanskrit literature. They include selections from famous epics, novels, poetry, satire and drama. The entire Clay Sanskrit Library is available for purchase through NYU Press,see Selected titles may be purchased individually, in a 56 volume complete set or in mini-sets, grouped thematically.

The JJC Foundation continues John Clay’s vision and commitment. It sponsors a CSL international outreach program through the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, it maintains the website, and is engaged in discussions with the Bodleian Library to produce a Clay Sanskrit Library anthology. The Clay Sanskrit Library provides a vital and unique series of scholarly publications which are much read, studied and enjoyed, helping the Sanskrit tradition to reach new audiences worldwide.

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]