The दक्षिणाम्नाय श्रीशारदापीठम्, शृङ्गेरी (dakShinAmnAya shrI shAradA pITham of Sringeri) launched with the blessings of Shri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswami, a modest “searchable” database of Shankara bhAShya-s on the three canonical texts of Advaita over six years ago – on the Shankara Jayanti on May, 20, 2014.
Without doubt it is a stupendous and fantastic job carried out by several dedicated workers from The Sringeri Math at Srirangam; The Sri Shankara Advaita Research Centre, Sringeri; Sriranga Digital Software Technologies, Srirangapatna and many others. The first offering of Advaita Sharada is a text searchable, extensively hyperlinked Internet edition of the Sri Shaankara Granthavali, published by the Vani Vilasa Press, Srirangam. It has been under constant improvement ever since and since about a year ago, additional texts like prakaraNa grantha-s, commentaries and sub-commentaries have been added to it. There are also plans to introduce multimedia “Leveraging audio, video, commentaries, sub-commentaries, notes, tags and hyperlinks,” and “to provide a platform for in-depth research and additional learning for seekers, scholars and students.”
The link to the top page is: https://advaitasharada.sringeri.net/
The page comes with 5 Navigation buttons at the top. They are:
The Face Page titled “mukhya priShTam”;
Message from the 36th Pontiff titled “anugraha samdesha”;
The Listing of Searchable books titled “granthah”;
Search Page titled “anveShaNam”; and
Help Page titled “sahayyam.”
The Listing of Books page comes with a toggle button at Top right to show the books as column lists or as a tree.
Our interest is the Search Page.
We have to admit that the search is still a bit rigid. Whatever ‘stem’ is loaded, the search is carried out on those ‘stem’ letters only; even minor differences in spaces, combinations of words, declensions of the words etc. are not intelligently built into the search engine as yet. The look of the “Search Page” got changed two days ago.
As it stands today, it appears as follows (reproduced in 3 sections):
Search can be done using Devanagari script only. There is no scope for transliteration to other codes (Harvard-Kyoto/ITRANS) etc. as on date. In the latest version (since 2 days), one has to click a toggle switch for the Sanskrit Keyboard to become visible. The search button too got moved to the Top along with the button for choice for “All.” (See the picture below).
The facsimile below shows the Search page with the Devanagari keyboard:
Suppose you would like to search the occurrence of the stem “pravilA” (प्रविला) in the prasthAna trayI. You type the letters in the box for the word. Then click the each of the texts listed.
The page will look like the following:
Click on Search (anveShaNam). The following page comes up:
What you see are as shown below:
There are some little inconveniences.
For example the letter kSha (क्ष) is not available for typing directly. One has to type ka, then make it as root, type Sha (ष) in order to get क्ष. I do not know if an easier method is available.
Often words starting with ‘vowels’ may not yield a correct result because the vowel may have combined with its preceding consonant. So one has to be a bit innovative in such times to land on correct searches. There are a few more irritants as one keeps using; nevertheless the hyper links and the references it shows are an immense advantage.