Clay Sanskrit Library

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.

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


The Clay Sanskrit Library (CSL) is the product of the JJC Foundation, a charitable foundation established by John P. and Jennifer Clay, along with New York University Press.[2] John Peter Clay was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1934. He won a scholarship to attend St Paul’s School, London in 1947. In 1951, he was offered a full scholarship by the Queen’s College, Oxford, where he achieved a First-class degree in Sanskrit, Old Persian and Avestan. He was later appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Queen’s College. On leaving Oxford, Clay joined Vickers da Costa, a stockbroking firm 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, he left Vickers and moved to New York City, where he founded the international investment management company Clay Finlay Inc.[3]

In the late 1990s, when he was semi-retired, Clay decided to return to his early passion, Sanskrit literature: he envisioned a series that would make the classics easily available to the general public for the first time. He shared his ambitions for the 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.[4] Richard Gombrich was appointed General Editor of the Clay Sanskrit Library.[4] Sanskrit scholars Somadeva Vasudeva and Isabelle Onians were appointed Associate Editors, and thirty academics from eight countries were appointed to produce new translations of classical Sanskrit texts. In 2007, Sheldon Pollock joined Gombrich as Co-General Editor, and Gombrich resigned in early 2008.[3] In 2009, the CSL ended its initial project[5][2] and in 2010 Pollock joined the Murty Classical Library of India,[6] which seeks to publish works in Sanskrit as well as other Indian languages. John Clay died in 2013,[2] following complications from multiple sclerosis.[3] In early 2016, Camillo Formigatti (formerly of the University of Cambridge[3]) became John Clay Sanskrit Librarian at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford,[7][8] where previously in 2010 the JJC Foundation had sponsored a CSL international outreach program led by Matt Kimberly.[3][9]

Publication HistoryEdit

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

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 Clay’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. Selected titles may be purchased individually, in a 56 volume complete set or in mini-sets, grouped thematically.[10]

JJC, in conjunction with NYU Press, created the Digital Clay Sanskrit Library (eCSL) for ebook platforms: Amazon's Kindle Apple's iBooks, Google Play and KOBO. The eCSL collection comprises 20 volumes. Further information is available at The Clay Sanskrit Illustrated Compendium, is produced by Dr. Camillo Formigatti, the John Clay Sanskrit Librarian. The lavishly illustrated Compendium contains excerpts from the CSL collection. These excerpts are paired with manuscripts from the Bodleian Library from the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions, and Mughal miniatures. It is scheduled for release by the Bodleian Library at the end of 2019.

John. P. Clay Sanskrit ScholarshipEdit

CSL and The Queen’s College, Oxford is funding the John P Clay Graduate Scholarship in Manuscript and Text Cultures: Sanskrit. In October 2018 the Scholarship was awarded to Tara (Fabienne) Heuze.

List of volumesEdit


  • 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 poetryEdit


Other narrativeEdit


  1. ^ Banks 2005–2006.
  2. ^ a b c Schuessler, Jennifer (2 January 2015). "Murty Classical Library Catalogs Indian Literature". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "CSL People". Clay Sanskrit Library. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b Regier 2006.
  5. ^ Kuruvilla, Elizabeth (24 January 2015). "The modern revivalists". Live Mint. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  6. ^ Shekhar, Divya; Aravind, Indulekha (3 March 2016). "Rohan Murty says American Indologist Sheldon Pollock to stay". The Economic Times. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  7. ^ Evison, Gillian (25 January 2016). "John Clay Sanskrit Librarian". Bodleian Libraries Blog. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Contact us". Weston Library, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 28 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Clay Sanskrit Library". Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Clay Sanskrit Library". NYU Press. Retrieved 30 March 2017.


External linksEdit