This Library has more than 46,000 manuscripts both in Palmleaf and Paper form. The manuscripts are on various language and script. Some of the manuscripts in this collection are interesting to view. These manuscripts can be classified as earliest manuscript, largest manuscript, smallest, with drawing, coiled manuscripts, manuscripts with microscopic letters, interesting calligraphy, interesting base materials etc.,
Most of the early manuscripts are in palm leaf. The method of writing i.e incising with metal pen (stylus) and Blackening with vegetable juice and lamp black was followed. Some palm leaf manuscripts like oldest, largest, and smallest,. Illustrated and other interested manuscripts are exhibited for vision.
This is one of the oldest palm leaf manuscript available in this library. It comes under the group of unique and single manuscript series of the Library. It is a glossary on the Purva Mimamsa Sutras of Jaimini. Mimamsa means, a reverent study leading to the solution of the great problem of life that engaged the attention of the ancient in the past. The word is derived from the root man, which means to think, know and understand. The sage Jaimini systamatised the principles of Purva Mimamsa and gave them a definite shape in the form of the extent sutras.
|» Thiruvaimozhi Vachakamalai
It is a palm leaf manuscript written in manipravala style, with the commentary by Koneri Dasyai, the servant of Koneri. It is a rare commentary on Thiruvoimozhi of Namalvar. The picture of Lord Ranganatha reclining in a serpent couch and Lakshmi seated by his side has been drawn on it with the stylus itself.
A bundle of palm leaf manuscripts in grantha script kept in the showcase contain 24 thousand slokas of Valmiki Ramayana. It is a unique feature to the skill of the ancient scribers. Each palm leaf measures 3"x9". Each side of all these leaves bear thirty lines with miniature grantha letters impossible to read with naked eyes.
Knowledge of Tamil and its literature are not complete without a reading of Kamba Ramayanam. It is a classic work containing celebrated poems. Kambar borrowed the plot for the epic from Valmiki, and he adapted and modified wherever required to the tradition of Tamil culture and Literature. This is one of the biggest palm leaf manuscript bundles in this Library (size 19"x11"x1.5") scribed in Tamil by Vasudeva Pillai (A.D.1719). It consists of seven kandas in 537 leaves.
This is one of the smallest palm leaf manuscripts available in this Library. It is a pocket size edition of a palm leaf work dealing with Astrological facts predictable through five birds in a man.
In the Museum Exhibition some rare interesting illustrated paper manuscripts are available. The manuscripts are in hand made paper of indigenous and imported. These manuscripts may be classified as rare manuscripts, manuscripts with Title sheet illustration and Illustrated manuscripts.
This is the paper manuscript of 1468 A.D., written in Banares. It is a commentary on Sri Sankara's Bhasyam of the Advaitic school of Philosophy. The paper is very soft and thin. Bamathi is the name given to work of Vachaspati Misra by him to celebrate the service rendered by his wife when he was writing the commentary.
This is one of the smallest pocket size paper manuscript available in Sanskrit language written in Devanagari script. Durga Sabtasati is another paper manuscript in small size is also exhibited.
Paper manuscripts made up in the shape of Palm-leaf manuscript. Aloka, is a commentary on the Cintamani on Jayadeva Misra. Leaves 220 on long slips of thick paper, with a string passed through a hole in the middle. This is a Sanskrit work in Bengali script, written on a special kind of paper. It gives the appearance of a palm leaf.
A Muslim poet named Ambar Hussain wrote a commentary for the Hindu Holy book Bhagavad Gita in Marathi language.
|» Rigveda Manuscripts with Illustrated Title Sheet
Illustrations of these manuscripts are depicted in fast colouring in each of the title sheets of Rig-Veda Samhita in Sanskrit. A number of pictures are available in this section describing more than 20 purana stories.
This Illustration shows a royal personage and his preceptor in small illuminations on either side of a horizontal page. On the title page of the Atmarama Grantha of A.D.1820, the two portraits are of Shivaji on the left and Ramadoss his Guru on the right.
A philosophical work by Samartha Ramadoss Swami, Guru of Shivaji, the great Maratha ruler, written in OVI metre in Marathi. This was translated into Tamil and delivered as a lecture by Madhoba Ratnakarar, head of a mutt.
|» Siva Para Panchartana Slokas
This is a wonder in microscopical writing. Kavi Gurudass wrote five slokas in praise of Lord Panchanatheeswara at Thiruvaiyaru. The letters of that Slokas not made by line sketches, but are miraculously modeled out of the word Siva.