The Gonda fellowship allows her to work on the critical edition of the Samayamātṛkā that she is preparing on the basis of the Śāradā manuscript preserved in the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute and on manuscripts of the Stein collection preserved in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, also considering the readings of the two existing editions (the one prepared by Paṇḍit Durgāprasād and Kāśināth Pāṇḍurang Parab in 1888 for the Kāvyamālā series, also reproduced in the Minor Works of Kṣemendra, 1961 and the edition prepared by Ramasankar Tripathi published in 1967 with a Hindi commentary).
At least 34 works are attributed to Kṣemendra of which 16 texts, from very different genres, have come down to us including versified epitomes of the epics and of the cycle of the Bṛhatkathā, three treatises on poetics and metrics and five satirical poems: besides the Samayamātṛkā, these satirical kāvyas are the Deśopadeśa, the Narmamālā, the Kalāvilāsa and the Darpadalana.
In the Samayamātṛkā (1049-1050), Kṣemendra tells us how a cunning matron provides instructions to a young courtesan in the tricks of the trade. The general subject is not unprecedented as it is also the theme of Dāmodaragupta’s Kuṭṭanīmata. However, Kṣemendra does not limit himself to offering a pale copy of the Kuṭṭanīmata and produces with the Samayamātṛkā a highly original literary work.
The text is far from easy and still riddled with uncertain readings. The author frequently plays with the polysemy of words. Moreover, he uses a number of terms whose meanings are obscure to us, probably because they are peculiar to an idiomatic register of Sanskrit in use among Kashmirian scholars, and he also works some words from the Kashmirian vernacular into his Sanskrit.
To maximize our understanding of the Samayamātṛkā it is necessary to compare it with other literary texts from Kashmir, both to clarify unclear passages and to gain a better appreciation of Kṣemendra’s style. The reading of the other satires of Kṣemendra also proves helpful as we find many parallels between the Samayamātṛkā, the Deśopadeśa and the Kalāvilāsa.