The source of all the pictures of INDIEN 72 and 73 is BnF
The manuscripts Indien 72 and Indien 73 in the BnF collection both contain a collection moral or didactic stanzas entitled Nīticāram (“The gist of moral teachings”).1 In both these copies of the same work, the root-text (mūlam) is accompanied by a commentary (urai), that is, each individual stanza is followed immediately by its commentary.
While the copyist of Indien 72 (Fig. 2) wrote his text in strict scriptio continua, filling each line of the page up to the end, the copyist of Indien 73 (Fig. 1) used a lay-out device to ease the use of his manuscript.
Each page contains the text and commentary of one stanza only. Moreover, the page is divided into two columns.
The root-text (mūlam) is found in the left column, while the final word at the end of the fourth line is etu, the abbreviated form of eṉpatu (Fig. 3), literally “that which says”, designating the word, phrase, sentence, or verse (as in the present manuscript), which precedes it, and introducing the commentary that follows.
The commentary (urai) is found in the right column, while at the end of the fourth line is given the verse number.
Another visual aid to the reader is the indentation of the final letter of the shorter lines (Fig. 3, see lines 2-3).
Such user-friendly Tamil manuscripts are quite uncommon. Another example is known in the BnF collection: Indien 66, a copy of the Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai, in which, likewise, root-text and commentary are distributed in two columns.2
- An alternative title, Nīticākaram (“The ocean of moral teachings”) is found also in Indien 73.
- See https://www.manuscript-cultures.uni-hamburg.de/mom/2012_07_mom_e.html