The urge to study Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit literature came to me when I tried to judge how far the theory of the Dark Age in Sanskrit literature was tenable. Sifting the material I was confirmed in the view that here was an invaluable source of information for a clearer and deeper understanding of the epics and Puranas as well as a considerable portion of later Sanskrit literature.
I then resolved to write a short volume on this badly neglected phase of ancient Indian life and ideas. G. K. Narimans Literary history of Sanskrit Buddhism1 and M. Winternitzs History of Indian Literature, Vol. 112 have both dated to a large extent, because much work has been done on the grammatical, linguistic, ideological and literary aspects in the seventy-five intervening years. These have come out in English, French and German which I could incorporate in my work. I acknowledge my inability to study and incorporate much useful work done in Chinese, Italian, Russian and some other languages which I do not know.
This work is simple and quite unambitious. Divided in four chapters it studies the (i) text and content, (ii) religion and philosophy, (iii) society and (iv) literature of the Mahayana texts in Buddhist Hybnid Sanskrit, and also some in pure classical Sanskrit. The very name precludes any detailed study of the vast and rich philosophical texts; it is literature per se that is the subject matter of this volume. The introduction gives a general overview of the subject.