Primary Texts

Many primary texts are available online but the hard part can be finding precisely where.

More broadly here a few starting points---

  • Googlebooks. Googlebooks has put up a number of primary texts, although their search engine sometimes has problems processing and transliterating non-roman characters. Try searching under a variety of texts names as well as by publisher. Note that those outside the U.S. will likely not have full access to non-copyrighted materials.
  • Internet Archive. Individuals can post non-copyrighted material here. Easily searchable and available worldwide.
  • Hathi Trust is well-intentioned but to date much more restrictive than googlebooks. Hint—if you have a university affiliation, you can often sign-in and get fuller access.
  • The Digital Library of India (also here).
  • For more ideas on finding books online see Princeton’s tips.

Sanskrit Texts

  • GRETIL. A growing collection of electronic Sanskrit texts. Highly useful because the texts are searchable.
  • Indology and Sanskrit Library offer a number of GRETIL-like Sanskrit e-texts and related materials.
  • Jain e-library has some useful scanned texts online.
  • SARIT allows you to search various Sanskrit texts online. A list of their searchable texts is here.


Use these with caution since they are generally quite old. Many texts have been retranslated in far superior editions.

  • Bibliotheca Hindu Intratext and Sacred Texts. Mainly Sanskrit materials with a religious focus.
  • Persian Packhum. A range of Indo-Persian texts in translation are readable on their website although not available for download. Note that the bizarre spelling of names and foreign words can make searching challenging.
  • offers a variety of Old and Middle Persian texts in translation.
  • Delhi University's online library offers a number of books available as pdfs--a mix of primary and secondary sources.

Access Outside of U.S. borders

Several major attempts to digitize printed materials are based in the United States and primarily intended for a U.S.-based audience. Most notably googlebooks does not offer the same availability to those outside of U.S. borders as it does to those accessing the website from within the U.S. We can combat this problem. Two ideas:

  • If you are outside of the U.S., mask your IP address, i.e., don't tell the websites that you visit where you are located. You can do this either via a proxy server or, often more successfully, via VPN. The latter often costs money, although there are free programs if you google around.
  • For everyone, post public domain materials that you have scanned on websites that everyone around the world can access, such as this website.