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Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/31/21

Napoleon’s enlistment of several dozen “savants” for his Egyptian Expedition is too well known to require detail here. His idea was to build a sort of living archive for the expedition, in the form of studies conducted on all topics by the members of the Institut d’Égypte, which he founded. What is perhaps less well known is Napoleon’s prior reliance upon the work of the Comte de Volney, a French traveler whose Voyage en Égypte et en Syrie appeared in two volumes in 1787. Aside from a short personal preface informing the reader that the sudden acquisition of some money (his inheritance) made it possible for him to take the trip east in 1783, Volney’s Voyage is an almost oppressively impersonal document. Volney evidently saw himself as a scientist, whose job it was always to record the “état” of something he saw. The climax of the Voyage occurs in the second volume, an account of Islam as a religion.64 Volney’s views were canonically hostile to Islam as a religion and as a system of political institutions; nevertheless Napoleon found this work and Volney’s Considérations sur la guerre actuel de Turcs (1788) of particular importance. For Volney after all was a canny Frenchman, and -- like Chateaubriand and Lamartine a quarter century after him -- he eyed the Near Orient as a likely place for the realization of French colonial ambition. What Napoleon profited from in Volney was the enumeration, in ascending order of difficulty, of the obstacles to be faced in the Orient by any French expeditionary force.

Napoleon refers explicitly to Volney in his reflections on the Egyptian expedition, the Campagnes d’Égypte et de Syrie, 1798-1799, which he dictated to General Bertrand on Saint Helena. Volney, he said, considered that there were three barriers to French hegemony in the Orient and that any French force would therefore have to fight three wars: one against England, a second against the Ottoman Porte, and a third, the most difficult, against the Muslims.65 Volney’s assessment was both shrewd and hard to fault since it was clear to Napoleon, as it would be to anyone, who read Volney, that his Voyage and the Considérations were effective texts to be used by any European wishing to win in the Orient. In other words, Volney’s work constituted a handbook for attenuating the human shock a European might feel as he directly experienced the Orient: Read the books, seems to have been Volney’s thesis, and far from being disoriented by the Orient, you will compel it to you.

Napoleon took Volney almost literally, but in a characteristically subtle way. From the first moment that the Armée d’Égypte appeared on the Egyptian horizon, every effort was made to convince the Muslims that “nous sommes les vrais musulmans,” [Google translate: "We are the real Muslims."] as Bonaparte’s proclamation of July 2, 1798, put it to the people of Alexandria.66 Equipped with a team of Orientalists (and sitting on board a flagship called the Orient), Napoleon used Egyptian enmity towards the Mamelukes and appeals to the revolutionary idea of equal opportunity for all to wage a uniquely benign and selective war against Islam. What more than anything impressed the first Arab chronicler of the expedition, Abd-al-Rahman al-Jabarti, was Napoleon’s use of scholars to manage his contacts with the natives -- that and the impact of watching a modern European intellectual establishment at close quarters.67 Napoleon tried everywhere to prove that he was fighting for Islam; everything he said was translated into Koranic Arabic, just as the French army was urged by its command always to remember the Islamic sensibility. (Compare, in this regard, Napoleon’s tactics in Egypt with the tactics of the Requerimiento, a document drawn up in 1513 -- in Spanish -- by the Spaniards to be read aloud to the Indians: “We shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses [the King and Queen of Spain] may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey,” etc. etc.”68) When it seemed obvious to Napoleon that his force was too small to impose itself on the Egyptians, he then tried to make the local imams, cadis, muftis, and ulemas interpret the Koran in favor of the Grande Armée [Google translate: "Great Army"]. To this end, the sixty ulemas who taught at the Azhar were invited to his quarters, given full military honors, and then allowed to be flattered by Napoleon’s admiration for Islam and Mohammed and by his obvious veneration for the Koran, with which he seemed perfectly familiar. This worked, and soon the population of Cairo seemed to have lost its distrust of the occupiers.69 Napoleon later gave his deputy Kleber strict instructions after he left always to administer Egypt through the Orientalists and the religious Islamic leaders whom they could win over; any other politics was too expensive and foolish.70


-- Orientalism, by Edward W. Said




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Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney
Born: 3 February 1757, Craon, Mayenne
Died: 25 April 1820, Paris
Occupation: Philosopher, historian, orientalist and politician

Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney (3 February 1757 – 25 April 1820) was a French philosopher, abolitionist, writer, orientalist, and politician. He was at first surnamed Boisgirais after his father's estate, but afterwards assumed the name of Volney (which he had created as a contraction of Voltaire and Ferney).[1]

From 1759 to 1778 Ferney was home to French writer and philosopher Voltaire, sometimes referred to as "the patriarch of Ferney." His influence on the town was profound. He built the local church and founded cottage industries that produced some of the finest potters and watchmakers of modern France. The town was eventually renamed "Ferney-Voltaire" in his honor.

In 1759, after having lived in Geneva less than two years, Voltaire purchased the estate of Ferney in France, near the Swiss border. A prime reason for his leaving Geneva was that theatre was forbidden in that Calvinist city, so he had decided to become the enlightened "patriarch" of the little village of Ferney, setting up potteries, a watchmaking industry and, of course, theaters, attracting rich people from Geneva to watch his plays.

During Voltaire's residence, the population of Ferney increased to more than 1,000. Voltaire lived there for the last 20 years of his life before returning to Paris, where he died in 1778.

-- Ferney-Voltaire, by Wikipedia


Life

Early life and the French Revolution


He was born at Craon, Anjou (today in Mayenne), of a noble family. Initially interested in Law and Medicine, he went on to study Classical languages, and his Mémoire sur la Chronologie d'Hérodote (on Herodotus) rose to the attention of the Académie des Inscriptions and of the group around Claude Adrien Helvétius.

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Claude Adrien Helvétius ...(26 January 1715 – 26 December 1771) was a French philosopher, freemason and littérateur...

[H]is father Jean Claude Adrien Helvétius was first physician to Marie Leszczyńska, queen of France. Claude Adrien was trained for a financial career, apprenticed to his maternal uncle in Caen, but he occupied his spare time with poetry. Aged twenty-three, at the queen's request, he was appointed as a farmer-general, a tax-collecting post worth 100,000 crowns a year. Thus provided for, he proceeded to enjoy life to the utmost, with the help of his wealth and liberality, his literary and artistic tastes - he attended, for example, the progressive Club de l'Entresol.

The Club de l'Entresol (Mezzanine Club) was a think-tank, club and discussion group founded in 1724 by Pierre-Joseph Alary and Charles-Irénée Castel de Saint-Pierre on the English model for free discussion of political and economic questions. It met every Saturday, between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., at the home of président Hénault, in place Vendôme in Paris, and was named after the mezzanine there where Alary had an apartment.

It was frequented by 20 of the finest forerunners of the Age of Enlightenment, with regular attendees including Montesquieu, Helvétius, the marquis d'Argenson, Andrew Michael Ramsay, Horace Walpole and Viscount Bolingbroke. It was exclusively male, though other unofficial attendees include Madame du Deffand and the future Madame de Pompadour.

Having got wind of the club's possibly dangerous doctrines, particularly its opposition to mercantilism [Mercantilism is an economic policy that is designed to maximize the exports and minimize the imports for an economy. It promotes imperialism, colonialism, tariffs and subsidies on traded goods to achieve that goal. Historically, such policies frequently led to war and motivated colonial expansion.] and Physiocracy [Physiocracy is an economic theory developed by a group of 18th-century Age of Enlightenment French economists who believed that the wealth of nations derived solely from the value of "land agriculture" or "land development" and that agricultural products should be highly priced. Physiocracy became one of the first well-developed theories of economics.], Louis XV shut it down in 1731. Its closure was also due to pressure from Cardinal Fleury, who had considered its conversion into an academy but finally decided on its closure since it was too critical of his administration.


-- Club de l'Entresol, by Wikipedia


As he grew older, he began to seek more lasting distinctions, stimulated by the success of Pierre Louis Maupertuis as a mathematician, of Voltaire as a poet, and of Montesquieu as a philosopher. His wife, Anne-Catherine de Ligniville, Madame Helvétius, maintained a salon attended by the leading figures of the Enlightenment for over five decades.

In 1758 Helvétius published his philosophical magnum opus, a work called De l'esprit (On Mind), which claimed that all human faculties are attributes of mere physical sensation, and that the only real motive is self-interest, therefore there is no good and evil, only competitive pleasures. Its atheistic, utilitarian and egalitarian doctrines raised a public outcry, and the Sorbonne publicly burned it in 1759, forcing Helvétius to issue several retractions...


De l'esprit and its reception

Helvétius' philosophical studies ended in the production of his famous book De l'esprit (On Mind). It was first published in 1758 and was intended to be the rival of Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws, with Helvétius arguing strongly against Montesquieu's theory that climate influenced the character of nations.

The work attracted immediate attention and aroused the most formidable opposition, especially from the dauphin Louis, son of King Louis XV. The Advocate General Joly de Fleury condemned it in the Parlement of Paris in January 1759. The Sorbonne condemned the book, while the priests persuaded the court that it was full of the most dangerous doctrines. The book was declared to be heretical -– so atheistic that it was condemned by Church and State and was burned. Helvétius, terrified at the storm he had raised, wrote three separate and humiliating retractions. In spite of his protestations of orthodoxy, the book was publicly burned by the Paris hangman.

It had far-reaching negative effects on the rest of the philosophes, in particular, Denis Diderot, and the great work he was doing on the Encyclopedie.
The religious authorities, particularly the Jesuits and the new Pope, began to fear the spread of atheism and wanted to clamp down on the 'modern thought' hard and quickly. De l'esprit became almost a scapegoat for this.

This great publicity resulted in the book being translated into almost all the languages of Europe. Voltaire said that it lacked originality. Rousseau declared that the very benevolence of the author gave the lie to his principles. Grimm thought that all the ideas in the book were borrowed from Diderot. Madame du Deffand felt that Helvétius had raised such a storm by saying openly what everyone thought in secret. Madame de Graffigny claimed that all the good things in the book had been picked up in her own salon.

Helvétius' philosophy belongs to the Egoist school:

1. All man's faculties may be reduced to physical sensation, even memory, comparison, judgment. Our only difference from the lower animals lies in our external organization.

2. Self-interest, founded on the love of pleasure and the fear of pain, is the sole spring of judgment, action, and affection. Human beings are motivated solely by the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. "These two," he says, "are, and always will be, the only principles of action in man." Self-sacrifice is prompted by the fact that the sensation of pleasure outweighs the accompanying pain and is thus the result of deliberate calculation.

3. We have no freedom of choice between good and evil. There is no such thing as absolute right – ideas of justice and injustice change according to customs.

This view of man was largely Hobbesian -– man is a system deterministically controllable by a suitable combination of reward and punishment, and the ends of government are to ensure the maximization of pleasure.

"All men," Helvétius maintained, "have an equal disposition for understanding." As one of the French Enlightenment's many Lockean disciples, he regarded the human mind as a blank slate, but free not only from innate ideas but also from innate natural dispositions and propensities. Physiological constitution was at most a peripheral factor in men's characters or capabilities. Any apparent inequalities were independent of natural organization, and had their cause in the unequal desire for instruction. This desire springs from passions, of which all men commonly well organized are susceptible to the same degree. We thus owe everything to education. Social engineering is therefore an enterprise unconstrained by the natural abilities of men.

This natural equality applied to all men in all nations, and thus the differences in national characteristics were not the result of innate differences between the people therein, but rather a byproduct of the system education and government. "No nation," wrote Helvétius, "has reason to regard itself superior to others by virtue of its innate endowment."...

Since all men have the same natural potential, Helvétius argued, they all have the same ability to learn. Thus, education is the method by which to reform society, and there are few limits to the drastic social improvements that could be brought about by the appropriate distribution of education. Although people seem to possess certain qualities in greater abundance than their neighbours, the explanation for this comes 'from above' -– it is caused by education, law and government. "If we commonly meet in London, with knowing men, who are with much more difficulty found in France," this is because it is a country where "every citizen has a share in the management of affairs in general." "The art of forming men," he concludes, "is in all countries [...] strictly connected to the form of the government", and thus education via governmental intervention is the method of reform.


The crux of his thought was that public ethics has a utilitarian basis, and he insisted strongly on the importance of culture and education in national development. His thinking can be described as unsystematic.

The original ideas in his system are those of the natural equality of intelligences and the omnipotence of education, neither of which gained general acceptance, though both were prominent in the system of John Stuart Mill. Cesare Beccaria states that he was largely inspired by Helvétius in his attempt to modify penal laws. Helvétius also exerted some influence on the utilitarian Jeremy Bentham.

The materialistic aspects of Helvétius, along with Baron d'Holbach, had an influence on Karl Marx, the theorist of historical materialism and communism, who studied the ideas of Helvétius in Paris and later called the materialism of Helvétius and d'Holbach "the social basis of communism"...

British philosopher Isaiah Berlin listed Helvétius, along with Hegel, Fichte, Rousseau, Saint-Simon and Maistre as one of the six "enemies of freedom" who constituted the ideological basis for modern authoritarianism, in his book Freedom and Betrayal: Six Enemies of Human Liberty.


-- Claude Adrien Helvétius, by Wikipedia


Soon after, Volney befriended Pierre Jean George Cabanis, the Marquis de Condorcet, the Baron d'Holbach, and Benjamin Franklin.

He embarked on a journey to the East in late 1782 and reached Egypt, where he spent nearly seven months. Thereafter, he lived for nearly two years in Greater Syria in what is today Lebanon and Israel/Palestine in order to learn Arabic. In 1785 he returned to France, where he spent the following two years compiling his notes and writing his Voyage en Egypte et en Syrie, which was published in 1787, and Considérations sur la guerre des Turcs et de la Russie in 1788.

He was a member both of the Estates-General and of the National Constituent Assembly after the outbreak of the French Revolution.
In 1791 appeared Les Ruines, ou méditations sur les révolutions des empires, an essay on the philosophy of history, containing a vision which predicts the final union of all religions by the recognition of the common truth underlying them all.[2]

The term “natural religion” is sometimes taken to refer to a pantheistic doctrine according to which nature itself is divine. “Natural theology”, by contrast, originally referred to (and still sometimes refers to) the project of arguing for the existence of God on the basis of observed natural facts.

In contemporary philosophy, however, both “natural religion” and “natural theology” typically refer to the project of using all of the cognitive faculties that are “natural” to human beings—reason, sense-perception, introspection—to investigate religious or theological matters. Natural religion or theology, on the present understanding, is not limited to empirical inquiry into nature, and it is not wedded to a pantheistic result. It does, however, avoid appeals to special non-natural faculties (ESP, telepathy, mystical experience) or supernatural sources of information (sacred texts, revealed theology, creedal authorities, direct supernatural communication). In general, natural religion or theology (hereafter “natural theology”) aims to adhere to the same standards of rational investigation as other philosophical and scientific enterprises, and is subject to the same methods of evaluation and critique. Natural theology is typically contrasted with “revealed theology”, where the latter explicitly appeals to special revelations such as miracles, scriptures, and divinely-superintended commentaries and creedal formulations...

[T]his is one over which wars have been fought and throats have been cut.


-- Natural Theology and Natural Religion, by Andrew Chignell and Derk Pereboom


Volney tried to put his politico-economic theories into practice in Corsica, where in 1792 he bought an estate and made an attempt to cultivate colonial produce. Chassebœuf de Volney was thrown into prison during the Jacobin Club triumph, but escaped the guillotine; he was some time professor of history at the newly founded École Normale.[2]

Volney was a deist.[3][4]

Later life

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Bust of Volney by David d'Angers (1825).

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Tomb of Volney, Père Lachaise Cemetery (division 41), Paris

In 1795 he undertook a journey to the United States, where he was accused (1797) by John Adams' administration of being a French spy sent to prepare for the reoccupation of Louisiana by France and then to the West Indies. Consequently, he returned to France. The results of his travels took form in his Tableau du climat et du sol des États-Unis (1803).[2]

He was not a partisan of Napoleon Bonaparte, but, being a moderate Liberal, was impressed into service by the First French Empire, and Napoleon made him a count and put him into the senate. After the Bourbon Restoration he was made a Peer of France, upon recognition of his hostility towards the Empire. Chassebœuf became a member of the Académie française in 1795.[2] In his later years he helped to found oriental studies in France, learning Sanskrit from the British linguist Alexander Hamilton, whom he had helped to protect during the Napoleonic era.

He died in Paris and was buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Thomas Jefferson's translation of Volney's Ruins of Empires

English translations of Volney's Ruins began appearing within a year or so of its first French edition[5] but sometime during Volney's stay in the United States, he and Thomas Jefferson entered into a secret arrangement whereby Jefferson agreed to make a new English translation of the work. Volney visited Monticello for two weeks during June 1796. The two men also met on several occasions at the American Philosophical Society (APS). Jefferson was President of APS at the time and sponsored Volney's induction into the organization. These meetings provided the two men with ample opportunity to conceive and discuss the translation project.[6]

Jefferson, then serving as Vice President under John Adams, appreciated the book's central theme – that empires rise if government allows enlightened self-interest to flourish. This theme, Jefferson believed, represented an excellent summary of the Enlightenment-based principles upon which the U.S. was founded. However, Jefferson insisted that his translation be published only for certain readers, due to the book's controversial religious content. Jefferson was preparing to make a bid for the Presidency of the United States in 1800; he was worried his Federalist opponents would attack him as an atheist, if it were known he translated Volney's supposedly heretical book.[citation needed]

According to the evidence discovered by the French researcher Gilbert Chinard (1881-1972), Jefferson translated the invocation plus the first 20 chapters of the 1802 Paris edition of Volney's Ruins.[7][8] These first 20 chapters represent a review of human history from the point of view of a post-Enlightenment philosopher. Presumably, Jefferson then became too occupied with the 1800 Presidential campaign and didn't have time to finish the last four chapters of the book. In these chapters Volney describes "General Assembly of Nations," a fictionalized world convention wherein each religion defends its version of "the truth" according to its particular holy book. Since no religion is able to scientifically "prove" its most basic assertions, Volney concludes the book with a call for an absolute separation of church and state:

From this we conclude, that, to live in harmony and peace…we must trace a line of distinction between those (assertions) that are capable of verification, and those that are not; (we must) separate by an inviolable barrier the world of fantastical beings from the world of realities…[9]


Since Jefferson did not have time to complete the translation project, the last four chapters were translated by Joel Barlow, an American land speculator and poet living in Paris. Barlow's name then became associated with the entire translation, further obscuring Jefferson's role in the project.[10]

Christ myth theory

Volney and Charles-François Dupuis were the first modern writers to advocate the Christ myth theory, the view that Jesus had no historical existence.[11][12] Volney and Dupuis argued that Christianity was an amalgamation of various ancient mythologies and that Jesus was a mythical character.[13][14] However, in his version of the Christ Myth theory Volney allowed for an obscure historical figure whose life was integrated into a solar mythology.[15][16]

Selected publications

• Travels in Syria and Egypt, During the Years 1783, 1784, & 1785 (Volume 1, Volume 2, 1788)
• The Ruins: Or a Survey of the Revolutions of Empires (1796)
• New Researches on Ancient History (1819)
• The Ruins; Or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires: And The Law of Nature (1890)\

Legacy

• Volney, New York was named after him.
• Prix Volney was founded by Constantin Volney in 1803 and was originally a gold medal worth 1,200 francs.
• Hotel Volney Opera was named after Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney in France.[17][18]
• The Volney Hotel in New York was named after him.[19]
• Rue Volney was named after him.

See also

• Volney prize
• Les Neuf Sœurs
• Society of the Friends of Truth

References

1. https://e-monumen.net/patrimoine-monume ... ney-craon/
2. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Volney, Constantin François Chassebœuf, Comte de". Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 196.
3. Morais, Herbert Montfort. (1960). Deism in Eighteenth Century America. Russell & Russell. p. 120
4. Staum, Martin S. (1996). Minerva's Message: Stabilizing the French Revolution. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 122. ISBN 0-7735-1442-2
5. The British Library English Short Title Catalogue cites several English translations published in London up to the mid-1790s, the earliest being a 1792 edition published by J. Johnson (ESTC T212858). The earliest American edition cited is that printed by William A. Davis in New York in 1796 (ESTC W22036).
6. Jean Gaulmier’s L’Ideologue Volney, Slatkine Reprints, 1980; Gilbert Chinard’s Volney et L’Amerique, Johns Hopkins Press, 1923; and minutes of meetings of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA (1795-98).
7. Gilbert Chinard, "Volney et L’Amerique," Johns Hopkins Press, 1923.
8. "From Thomas Jefferson to Volney, 17 March 1801,"". Founders Online, National Archives, version of January 18, 2019, [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 33, 17 February–30 April 1801, ed. Barbara B. Oberg. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006, pp. 341–342. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
9. See Chapter 24 of the Jefferson-Barlow translation of Ruins of Empires.
10. Levrault of Paris published two editions of the so-called Jefferson-Barlow translation: 1802 and 1817. Bossange Freres of Paris also published an edition in 1820, the year of Volney’s death. In the United States, Dixon and Sickles of New York published the first American edition of the Jefferson-Barlow translation in 1828. The Jefferson-Barlow translation then went through several reprints during the 19th and 20th centuries, including: Gaylord of Boston (1830s), Calvin Blanchard of New York (no date), Josiah Mendum of Boston (1880s), Peter Eckler of New York (1890s & 1910s-20s), and The Truth Seeker Press of New York (1950). See: Jean Gaulmier, cited above, and Nicole Hafid-Martin, Volney: Bibliographie Des Ecrivains Francais, 1999. The Jefferson-Barlow edition is easily identifiable by this simple test: turn to the Invocation at the front of the book. The first sentence should read: "Hail solitary ruins, holy sepulchres and silent walls! you I invoke; to you I address my prayer!" A copy of the Jefferson-Barlow edition is also available on-line at Gutenberg.org (https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1397)
11. Weaver, Walter P. (1999). The Historical Jesus in the Twentieth Century, 1900–1950. Trinity. pp. 45-50. ISBN 1-56338-280-6
12. Jongeneel, Jan A. B. (2009). Jesus Christ in World History: His Presence and Representation in Cyclical and Linear Settings. Peter Lang. p. 172. ISBN 978-3-631-59688-3 "Charles F. Dupuis and Constantin-Francois Chasseboeuf, Comte de Volney, were the first to openly deny the historicity of Jesus; they regarded him as a mythological figure and the Gospels as presentations of a myth of predominantly astral nature."
13. Van Voorst, Robert E. (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 7-11. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9.
14. App, Urs. (2010). The Birth of Orientalism. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 458. ISBN 978-0-8122-4261-4
15. Wells, G. A. "Stages of New Testament Criticism," Journal of the History of Ideas, volume 30, issue 2, 1969
16. Roberts, Geoff (2011) Jesus 888 Troubador Publishing pg 144
17. https://www.facebook.com/countvolney/
18. http://www.hotelvolney.com/en/
19. https://streeteasy.com/building/the-vol ... g_detail=1

Further reading

• Caron, Nathalie. "Friendship, Secrecy, Transatlantic Networks and the Enlightenment: The Jefferson-Barlow Version of Volney’s Ruines (Paris, 1802)." Mémoires du livre/Studies in Book Culture 11.1 (2019). online
• Furstenberg, François. When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees Who Shaped a Nation. New York: Penguin (2014).
• Kim, Minchul. "Volney and the French Revolution." Journal of the History of Ideas 79.2 (2018): 221-242.

External links

• Works by Constantin-François Volney at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney at Internet Archive
• Volney's Travels through Syria and Egypt, using the 'short s'. This version of the text does not use the 'long s', and may be easier for contemporary readers to understand.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 3

Bhagavata Purana
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/1/21

Not to be confused with Devi-Bhagavata Purana or Bhagavad Gita.

Highlights:

Manuscripts survive in numerous inconsistent versions revised through the 18th century creating various recensions both in the same languages and across different Indian languages...

It was the first Purana to be translated into a European language as a French translation of a Tamil version appeared in 1788...

The 18,000 verses of the Srimad Bhagavatam consist of several interconnected, interwoven, and non-linear dialogues, teachings, and explanations espousing Bhakti Yoga that go back and forth in time and across its twelve cantos: "We have alluded to the Bhagavata's identity as a Purana, an important feature of which is its multilevel dialogical structure... the layered arrangement of dialogues, in which a speaker (typically Suka, the main reciter, addressing his interlocutor, King Pariksit) quotes an "earlier" speaker (for example, Narada, addressing King Yudhisthira, Pariksit's uncle, in a dialogue understood to have taken place earlier and elsewhere), who may in turn quote yet another speaker. Two or three such layers are typically operative simultaneously... the compounding of voices serve to strengthen the message delivered; and second, one is left with the sense that one cannot, and indeed need not, trace out the origin of the message."...

This Srimad-Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of God, and it is compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, the incarnation of God...

Contrary to the western cultural tradition of novelty, poetic or artistic license with existing materials is a strong tradition in Indian culture, a 'tradition of several hundred years of linguistic creativity'...Debroy states that although there is no 'Critical Edition' for any Purana, the common manuscript for translations of the Bhagavata Purana - seemingly used by both Swami Prabhupada and himself -- is ...

[S]ignificant are the widespread variations between manuscripts of the same Purana, especially those originating in different regions of India... one of the principal characteristics of the genre is the status of Purana as what Doniger calls "fluid texts" (Doniger 1991, 31). The mixture of fixed form [the Puranic Characteristics] and seemingly endless variety of content has enabled the Purana to be communicative vehicles for a range of cultural positions... [the] idea of originality is primarily Western and belies the fact that in the kind of oral genres of which the Puranas continue to form a part, such originality is neither promoted nor recognised. Like most forms of cultural creation in India, the function of the Puranas was to reprocess and comment upon old knowledge...

Revive spiritual truth...Lift the Earth out of the cosmic ocean...Expound Vedic Knowledge...Demonstrate austerity and penance...Expound Sankhya Philosophy...Expound renunciation...Expound sacrifice...Rule over the Earth in abundance...Shelter from the vast water at the end of the millennium...Inaugurate medical science...Uproot unwanted rulers...Divide Vedic knowledge to make it easier to understand...Expound impersonal philosophy to atheists...Revive Vedic knowledge and sacrifice...Rule over the miscreant kingly order...Support and destroy the universe...

It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami... [He is the son of the sage Vyasa...after one hundred years of austerity by Vyasa, Shuka was churned out of a stick of fire, born with ascetic power and with the Vedas dwelling inside him, just like his father. As per Skanda Purana, Vyasa had a wife, Vatikā (alias Pinjalā), daughter of a sage named Jābāli. Their union produced a son, who repeated everything what he heard, thus receiving the name Shuka (lit. Parrot). Other texts including the Devi Bhagavata Purana also narrate the birth of Shuka but with drastic differences. Vyasa was desiring an heir, when an apsara (celestial damsel) named Ghritachi flew in front of him in form of a beautiful parrot, causing him sexual arousal. He discharges his semen, which fell on some sticks and a son developed. This time, he was named Shuka because of the role of the celestial parrot.]...

[T]he eleventh canto is also referred to as the 'Uddhava Gita' or 'Hamsa Gita'. Like the tenth canto, it has also been translated and published separately, usually as a companion or 'sequel' to the Bhagavad Gita...

Cutler states the Bhagavata is among the most important texts on bhakti, presenting a fully developed teaching that originated with the Bhagavad Gita...

Surendranath Dasgupta describes the theistic Samkhya philosophy taught by Kapila in the Bhagavata as the dominant philosophy in the text...[Kapila (Sanskrit: कपिल) is a given name of different individuals in ancient and medieval Indian texts]...

Scholars describe this philosophy as built on the foundation of non-dualism in the Upanishads, and term it as "Advaitic Theism". This term combines the seemingly contradictory beliefs of a personal God that can be worshiped with a God that is immanent in creation and in one's own self. God in this philosophy is within and is not different from the individual self, states Sheridan, and transcends the limitations of specificity and temporality. Sheridan also describes Advaitic Theism as a "both/and" solution for the questions of whether God is transcendent or immanent, and credits the Bhāgavata with a 'truly creative religious moment' for introducing this philosophy. The text suggests that God Vishnu and the soul (atman) in all beings is one in quality (nirguna)...

The earliest mention of bhakti is found in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad verse 6.23, but scholars such as Max Muller state that the word Bhakti appears only once in this Upanishad; and that being in one last verse of the epilogue it could be a later addition, and that the context suggests that it is a panentheistic idea and not theistic.

Scholarly consensus sees bhakti as a post-Vedic movement...

The philosophy of the Bhagavata is a mixture of Vedanta terminology, Samkhyan metaphysics and devotionalized Yoga praxis...

[T]he Bhagavata Purana...is referred to as the "Fifth Veda". It is important in Indian religious literature for its emphasis on the practice of devotion compared to the more theoretical approach of the Bhagavad Gita, for challenging the ritualism of the Vedas, and for its extended description of a God in human form...

The Srimad Bhagavatam is the very essence of all the Vedanta literature...

In the 15th–16th century Ekasarana Dharma in Assam, a panentheistic tradition whose proponents, Sankardeva and Madhavdeva, acknowledge that their theological positions are rooted in the Bhagavata Purana, purged of doctrines that find no place in Assamese Vaishnavism and adding a monist commentary instead...

While homage to Shakyamuni Buddha is included in by declaring him as an avatar of Vishnu, the interpretation of Buddhism-related stories in the Purana range from honor to ambivalence to polemics wherein prophecies predict some will distort and misrepresent the teachings of the Vedas, and attempt to sow confusion...

The Bhagavatam also encourages theatrical performance as a means to propagate the faith...

French: Bagavadam ou Bhagavata Purana by Maridas Poullé (1769); Le Bhagavata Purana by Eugene Burnouf (1840).


-- Bhagavata Purana, by Wikipedia


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Bhagavata Purana manuscripts from 16th- to 19th-century, in Sanskrit (above) and in Bengali language.

Bhagavata Purana (Devanagari: भागवतपुराण; IAST: Bhāgavata Purāṇa) also known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā-purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata, is one of Hinduism's eighteen great Puranas (Mahapuranas).[1][2] Composed in Sanskrit and available in almost all Indian languages,[3] it promotes bhakti (devotion) to Krishna[4][5][6] integrating themes from the Advaita (monism) philosophy of Adi Shankara, Vishishtadvaita (qualified monism) of Ramanujacharya and Dvaita (dualism) of Madhvacharya.[5][7][8][9]

The Bhagavata Purana, like other puranas, discusses a wide range of topics including cosmology, astronomy, genealogy, geography, legend, music, dance, yoga and culture.[5][10] As it begins, the forces of evil have won a war between the benevolent devas (deities) and evil asuras (demons) and now rule the universe. Truth re-emerges as Krishna, (called "Hari" and "Vāsudeva" in the text) – first makes peace with the demons, understands them and then creatively defeats them, bringing back hope, justice, freedom and happiness – a cyclic theme that appears in many legends.[11]

The Bhagavata Purana is a revered text in Vaishnavism, a Hindu tradition that reveres Vishnu.[12] The text presents a form of religion (dharma) that competes with that of the Vedas, wherein bhakti ultimately leads to self-knowledge, salvation (moksha) and bliss.[13] However the Bhagavata Purana asserts that the inner nature and outer form of Krishna is identical to the Vedas and that this is what rescues the world from the forces of evil.[14] An oft-quoted verse (1.3.40) is used by some Krishna sects to assert that the text itself is Krishna in literary form.[15][16]

The date of composition is probably between the eighth and the tenth century CE, but may be as early as the 6th century CE.[6][17][18] Manuscripts survive in numerous inconsistent versions revised through the 18th century creating various recensions both in the same languages and across different Indian languages.[19]

The text consists of twelve books (skandhas) totalling 332 chapters (adhyayas) and between 16,000 and 18,000 verses depending on the recension.[15][20] The tenth book, with about 4,000 verses, has been the most popular and widely studied.[3] It was the first Purana to be translated into a European language as a French translation of a Tamil version appeared in 1788 and introduced many Europeans to Hinduism and 18th-century Hindu culture during the colonial era.[6][21]

Nomenclature

'Bhagavata Purana' can be translated as 'the history of the devotees of Vishnu'. 'Srimad Bhagavatam' can be translated as 'the glorious devotees of Vishnu'.

• 'Bhagavata' (or 'Bhagavatam' or 'Bhagavat', Sanskrit भागवत) means 'follower or worshipper of Vishnu'.[22]
o 'Bhagavan' (Sanskrit भगवन्) means 'Blessed One', 'God', or 'Lord'.[23] Krishna - the transcendental, primeval Personality of Godhead, avatar of Vishnu - is directly referred to as 'Bhagavan' throughout this scripture. It is stated in canto 1, chapter 3, verse 28, "kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam" which A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada translates as, "Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead."[24]
• 'Purana' (Sanskrit पुराण) means 'ancient' or 'old' (or 'old traditional history').[25] It also means 'complete' and 'completing'[25] in the sense that a Purana 'completes the Vedas'[26]
o 'Maha' (Sanskrit महत्) means 'great', 'large', or 'vast'.[27]
• 'Srimad' (or 'Srimat', Sanskrit श्रीमत्) means 'radiant', 'holy', 'splendid', or 'glorious',[28] and is an honorific religious title.
o 'Sri' (or 'Shri' or 'Shree', Sanskrit श्री) means 'wealth'.[29] Lakshmi - Goddess of Wealth and Vishnu/Krishna's wife - is also referred to as 'Sri'.
o 'Mad' (or 'Mat', Sanskrit मत्) means 'religion' or 'believed'.[30]
o Those with a wealth ('Sri') of religion ('mad') may be honoured with the title of 'radiant', 'holy', 'splendid', or 'glorious' ('Srimad').

Content and structure

The 18,000 verses of the Srimad Bhagavatam consist of several interconnected, interwoven, and non-linear dialogues, teachings, and explanations espousing Bhakti Yoga that go back and forth in time and across its twelve cantos:

We have alluded to the Bhagavata's identity as a Purana, an important feature of which is its multilevel dialogical structure... the layered arrangement of dialogues, in which a speaker (typically Suka, the main reciter, addressing his interlocutor, King Pariksit) quotes an "earlier" speaker (for example, Narada, addressing King Yudhisthira, Pariksit's uncle, in a dialogue understood to have taken place earlier and elsewhere), who may in turn quote yet another speaker. Two or three such layers are typically operative simultaneously... the compounding of voices serve to strengthen the message delivered; and second, one is left with the sense that one cannot, and indeed need not, trace out the origin of the message.

— Ravi M. Gupta and Kenneth R. Valpey, The Bhāgavata Purāna: Selected Readings[31]


Stated authorship and purpose

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Srila Vyasadeva.

From the A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabupada / Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) translation:

This Srimad-Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of God, and it is compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, the incarnation of God. It is meant for the ultimate good of all people, and it is all-successful, all-blissful and all-perfect.

— Srimad Bhavagatam First Canto, Chapter 3, Verse 40[16]


From the Bibek Debroy translation:

This Purana has arisen now, in Kali yuga, when all learning has been destroyed, after Krishna returned to his own abode. It is like the sun and is full of knowledge about dharma.

— The Bhagavata Purana 1, First Skandha, Chapter 1(3) (SB 1.3.43)[32]


A unique and especial emphasis is placed on fostering transcendental loving devotion to Krishna as the ultimate good, i.e. for its own sake rather than for fruitive results or rewards such as detachment or worldly or heavenly gains, a practice known as Bhakti Yoga:

What makes the Bhagavata unique in the history of Indian Religion... is its prioritization of Bhakti. The main objective of this text is to promote Bhakti to Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna referred to variously, and to illustrate and explain it... what makes the Bhagavata special is its emphasis on an intense personal and passionate Bhakti...

— Sisir Kumar Das, A History of Indian Literature[33]


Puranic characteristics

As detailed in the Matsya Mahapurana, all Puranas must cover at least five specific subjects or topics - referred to in Sanskrit as Pancha Lakshana (literally meaning 'consisting of five characteristics'[34][35]) - in addition to other information including specific deities and the four aims or goals of life. From the K.L. Joshi (editor) translation:

The following are the five characteristics of the Puranas: They describe (1) the creation of the universe, (2) its genealogy and dissolution, (3) the dynasties, (4) the Manvantaras, (5) the dynastic chronicles. The Puranas, with these five characteristics, sing the glory of Brahma, Vishnu, the Sun and Rudra, as well as they describe also the creation and dissolution of the Earth. The four [aims of human life] (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa) have also been described in all the Puranas, along with evil consequences following from sin. In the sattvika Puranas there is largely a mention of Hari's glory.

— Matsya Mahapurana, Chapter 53[36]


A sattvic Vaishnava Mahapurana (‘great purana’), the Srimad Bhagavatam adds another five characteristics, expanding this list to ten.[37] From the J.M. Sanyal translation:

Sukadeva spoke, - "O King! In this Bhagavata Purana there are discourses on ten subject matters, namely: [1] Sarga (creation in general by God), [2] Bisarga (creation in particular by Brahma), [3] Sthana (position), [4] Poshana (preservation), [5] Uti (desire actuating an action), [6] Manwantara (pious modes of living by the Saintly persons), [7] Ishanuktha (discourses relating to God and his devotees), [8] Nirodha (merging in), [9] Mukti (liberation), and [10] Asraya (stay upon or in support of). Of the above ten, with a view to obtain true knowledge of the tenth, viz. Asraya, saintly people would have discourse on the nine others, by way of hearing, meeting, and drawing analogy.

— The Srimad-Bhagvatam of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (vol. 1), Book 2, Chapter X, Verses 1-2 (SB 2.10.1-2)[38]


The Bhagavata further elaborates on the differences between lesser and greater Puranas possessing five or ten characteristics, respectively.[39] From the Disciples of Swami Prabhupada / BBT translation:

O brāhmaṇa, authorities on the matter understand a Purāṇa to contain ten characteristic topics: the creation of this universe, the subsequent creation of worlds and beings, the maintenance of all living beings, their sustenance, the rule of various Manus, the dynasties of great kings, the activities of such kings, annihilation, motivation and the supreme shelter. Other scholars state that the great Purāṇas deal with these ten topics, while lesser Purāṇas may deal with five.

— Canto 12, Chapter 7, Verses 9-10[40]


Shlokas / verses

Although the number of original Sanskrit shlokas is stated to be 18,000 by the Bhagavata itself[41] - and by other Puranas such as the Matsya mahapurana[42] - the number of equivalent verses when translated into other languages varies, even between translations into the same language and based on the same manuscript[43] The English translation by Bibek Debroy (BD), for example, contains 78 more verses than the English translation by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada / BBT, despite likely being based on the same manuscript:[43]

Srimad Bhagavatam Chapters and Verses

BBT Translation

Canto / Chapters / Verses / %


1 / 19 / 808 / 5.7
2 / 10 / 393 / 2.8
3 / 33 / 1,416 / 10
4 / 31 / 1,449 / 10.3
5 / 26 / 668 / 4.8
6 / 19 / 851 / 6
7 / 15 / 750 / 5.3
8 / 24 / 931 / 6.6
9 / 24 / 960 / 6.8
10 / 90 / 3,936 / 27.9
11 / 31 / 1,367 / 9.7
12 / 13 / 565 / 4
Total / 335 / 14,094 / 100
Difference (BBT/BD) / -78 / --
Difference (Sanskrit) / -3,906 / --


Srimad Bhagavatam Chapters and Verses

BD Translation

Chapters / Verses / %


19 / 811 / 5.7
10 / 391 / 2.8
33 / 1,412 / 10
31 / 1,450 / 10.2
26 / 738 / 5.2
19 / 855 / 6
15 / 752 / 5.3
24 / 929 / 6.6
24 / 962 / 6.8
90 / 3,948 / 27.9
31 / 1,360 / 9.6
13 /564 / 4
335 / 14,172 / 100
-- / +78 / --
-- / -3,828 / --


In his discussion on the issue of varying numbers of verses in translations of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Debroy states:

[T]here are unabridged translations [of the Bhagavata] in Indian languages. However, to the best of my knowledge, there are only five unabridged translations in English[note 1]... One should not jump to the conclusion that a large number of shlokas are missing [in Debroy's translation]. A few are indeed missing. But, sometimes, it is also a question of how one counts a shloka. With the content remaining identical, the text may be counted as one shloka in one place and as two shlokas elsewhere... Hence, even though there may be no difference between our version of the text and say, that used by Swami Prabhupada, the numbering will vary a bit. (Sometimes there are minor differences in the Sanskrit text).

— The Bhagavata Purana 1, Introduction[43]


Manuscript

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A Bhagavata Purana manuscript.

Contrary to the western cultural tradition of novelty, poetic or artistic license with existing materials is a strong tradition in Indian culture,[44] a 'tradition of several hundred years of linguistic creativity'.[45] There are variations of original manuscripts available for each Purana, including the Srimad Bhagavatam.[44] Debroy states that although there is no 'Critical Edition' for any Purana, the common manuscript for translations of the Bhagavata Purana - seemingly used by both Swami Prabhupada and himself - is the Bhāgavatamahāpurāṇam (Nag Publishers, Delhi),[46] a reprint of Khemraj Shri Krishnadas' manuscript (Venkateshvara Press, Bombay).[43] In regards to variances in Puranic manuscripts, academic Dr. Gregory Bailey states:

[S]ignificant are the widespread variations between manuscripts of the same Purana, especially those originating in different regions of India... one of the principal characteristics of the genre is the status of Purana as what Doniger calls "fluid texts" (Doniger 1991, 31). The mixture of fixed form [the Puranic Characteristics] and seemingly endless variety of content has enabled the Purana to be communicative vehicles for a range of cultural positions... [the] idea of originality is primarily Western and belies the fact that in the kind of oral genres of which the Puranas continue to form a part, such originality is neither promoted nor recognised. Like most forms of cultural creation in India, the function of the Puranas was to reprocess and comment upon old knowledge...

— The Study of Hinduism (Arvind Sharma, Editor), Chapter 6 ('The Puranas: A Study in the Development of Hinduism')[44]


Date of origin

Main article: Origin of the Bhagavata Purana

Academics estimate the date of origin of the Bhagavata Purana to be between 800 and 1000 CE, composed to popularize the worship of Vishnu.

Characters

All tables provided apply to all complete translations of the Bhagavata Purana. All tables can also be sorted by column title.

Avatars of Vishnu

The table below is primarily based on the avatars listed in Canto 1, Chapter 3 (SB 1.3)[47] and Canto 2, Chapter 7 (SB 2.7)[48] of the Srimad Bhagavatam (SB)[note 2]. The number given in parenthesis "()" after a name indicates the order of incarnation as stated in Canto 1. Note that:

• Avatars not listed in the above chapters - such as Hamsa, Hayagriva, and Ajita - are listed based on their primary (or only) appearance in the given cantos.
• Avatars featured or appearing repeatedly throughout the scripture are marked with "--" in the Canto column (except Krishna).
• Avatars only briefly mentioned (e.g. in the lists above) are marked with a blank space in the Canto column.
• Various appearances of Vishnu and Krishna (e.g. during sacrifices and visions) are not listed.
• Duplicates or expansions of the Krishna avatar are not listed (e.g. the 16,100 duplicates to marry 16,100 rescued princesses; and the duplicates of the cowherd boys and calves hidden by Brahma in Canto 10).

Avatar (Incarnation Number) / Description / Function / Canto

Kumaras (1) / Sanaka, Sanatkumara, Sanandana, and Sanatana / Revive spiritual truth / 1, 3, 4
Varaha (2) / Boar / Lift the Earth out of the cosmic ocean (Garbhodaka) / 3
Narada (3) / Sage / Expound Vedic Knowledge / --
Nara-Narayana (4) / Twins / Demonstrate austerity and penance (Prāyaścitta) / 4
Kapila (5) / Sage / Expound Sankhya Philosophy / 3
Dattatreya (6) / Trimurti Guru / Expound renunciation (Sannyasa) / 4
Yajna (7) / Personification of sacrifice / Expound sacrifice (Yajna) / --
Rsabha (8) / First Tirthankara of Jainism / Expound Japa Yoga (materialistic yoga) / 5
Prthu (9) / First consecrated king / Rule over the Earth in abundance / 4
Matsya (10) / Fish / Shelter from the vast water at the end of the millennium / 8
Kurma (11) / Tortoise / Pivot for Mandara Mountain used as a churning rod / 8
Dhanvantari (12) / God of Ayurvedic medicine / Inaugurate medical science / 8, 9
Mohini (13) / Female; represents seductive illusion / Delude demons - and later Shiva - through seduction (maya) / 8
Nrsimha (14) / Half lion, half man / Kill Hiranyakasipu / 7
Vamana (15) / Dwarf / Take away all the lands of Bali in three steps / 8
Parashurama / Bhrgupati (16) / Warrior / Uproot unwanted rulers (21 times) / 9
Vyasadeva (17) / Compiler of Vedic scriptures / Divide Vedic knowledge to make it easier to understand / --
Rama / Ramachandra (18) / Incarnation in previous Treta Yuga / Destroy Ravana / 9
Balarama (19) / Krishna's brother / Diminish the burden of the Earth from asuras / 10
Krishna (20) / Transcendental source of all / Diminish the burden of the Earth from asuras / 1, 10, 11
Buddha (21) / Founder of Buddhism / Expound impersonal philosophy to atheists / --
Kalki (22) / Supreme Chastister / Appear at the end of Kali Yuga to destroy evil / 12
Hayagriva / Half-horse, half-man; personification of Vedas and Sacrifices / Revive Vedic knowledge and sacrifice (Yajna) / 2, 5
Hamsa / Swan / Revive Vedic knowledge / 11
Aniruddha / Grandson of Krishna, son of Pradyumna / Diminish the burden of the Earth from asuras / 10
Pradyumna / Son of Krishna; avatar of Kamadeva (an avatar of Vishnu) / Diminish the burden of the Earth from asuras / 10
Samba / Son of Krishna / Diminish the burden of the Earth from asuras / 10
Suyajna (Hari) / Son of Prajapati / Diminish misery; beget Demigods (e.g. Indra) with Daksina / 7
Manu / Descendant of the ruling Manu dynasty / Rule over the miscreant kingly order (Kshatriyas) / 3
Ananta / Sankarsana / Shesha / Tamasi / Transcendental serpent worshipped by Shiva / Support and destroy the universe / 5
Ajita / Appeared to churn the ocean of milk / Churn the ocean of milk / 8


Notable devotees

The table below does not include devotee avatars of Vishnu such as Narada, Kipila, or Prthu. Devotees featured or appearing repeatedly throughout the scripture are marked with "--" in the Canto column.

Name / Description / Canto

Prahlada / Son of the demon-king Hiranyakashipu / 7
Unnamed Saint / Encountered by Prahlada lying on the ground and covered in dirt; explained the nature of a perfect person / 7
Vidura / Sudra incarnation of Yama; Aryamā officiated the post of Yamarāja in his absence (SB 1.13.15) / 3
Uddhava / Friend and counsellor of Krishna / 3 ,10, 11
Parikshit / King, succeeded his granduncle Yudhishthira; much of the Srimad Bhagavatam consists of narrations to him by Suka Gosvami / 1, 2, --
Suka Gosvami / Sage, son of Vyasadeva, main narrator / --
Maitreya / Sage / 3
Vrtrasura / Demon King (also a villain) who defeated the demigods led by Indra / 6
Dhruva / Boy sage, son of Uttanapada, grandson of Svayambhuva Manu / 4
Pracetas / Varuna Meditated in the ocean to achieve liberation; instructed by Narada 4
Bharata / King that lost liberation due to affection for a deer; reincarnated as a deer and later a human saved by the Goddess Kali from being sacrificed / 5
Priyavrata / King that was attached to his kingdom, but became detached and achieved liberation; his chariot wheels created the seven oceans and islands / 5
Ajamila / Brahmin that lost liberation due to sex-attraction; liberated due to calling his son's name - Narayana (one of Vishnu's names) - upon death / 6
Citraketu / King whose only son was murdered; in his sorrow, learned from Narada the illusion of familial relationships; later cursed by Parvati / 6
Gajendra / Elephant rescued from Makara, the crocodile, by Vishnu riding his mount, Garuda / 8
Yayati / King cursed to suffer old age; passed the curse to his son but learned the futility of sense-pleasure, took back the curse, and achieved liberation / 9
Akrura / Sent by Kamsa in a plot to trick and kill Krishna, but informed him of it / 10
Vasudeva Anakadundubhi and Devaki / Parents of Krishna and Balarama; imprisoned and had their other children murdered by Kamsa / 10
Sandipani Muni / Guru of Krishna and Balarama; Krishna later brought his dead son back from Yama's abode / 10
Nanda and Yashoda / Foster parents of Krishna and Balarama; Nanda was head of the Gopas, a tribe of cowherds / 10
Mucukunda / King granted a boon by Indra to sleep after battling demons; anyone who interrupts his sleep will be burned to ashes / 10
Jambavan / Bear that battled Krishna over the Syamantaka Jewel; surrendered and was blessed by Krishna who married his daughter, Jambavati / 10
Nrga / King turned into a lizard; rescued by Krishna from a well; he had accidentally given away a cow to a Brahmin that was not his / 10
Sudama / Impoverished sage and childhood friend of Krishna; so poor, he could only offer flat rice as a gift to Krishna at Dvaraka / 10
Durvasa / Sage that deliberately insulted Brahma, offended Shiva, and kicked Vishnu to determine which of them was the greatest / 10
Nimi / King instructed by the '9 Yogendras' about Bhakti for Krishna (narrated by Narada to Vasudeva Anakadundubhi, father of Krishna) / 11


Notable demons(villains)

Many demons (villains) are mentioned throughout the Srimad Bhagavatam; cantos listed concern their primary (or only) appearances and/or descriptions. This table is not exhaustive.

Name / Description / Canto

Asvatthama / Killed the sleeping children of Draupadi and attempted to kill the unborn Pariksit, son of Uttara / 1
Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu / Demonic twin-sons of Diti; first incarnations of Jaya and Vijaya cursed by the Four Sanas / Kumaras / 1, 3, 7
Vena / Corrupt and evil king that caused famines; cursed by brahmanas to die before the appearance of Prthu / 4
Vrtrasura / Demon King (also a pure devotee) that defeated the Demigods, led by Indra / 6
Bali-Mahabali / Demon King (a Pure devotee) that conquered the three worlds; Vamana took them back in three footsteps / 8
Ravana and Kumbhakarna / Demonic enemies of Rama (see Ramayana); second incarnations of Jaya and Vijaya / 7, 9
Kamsa / Tyrant King that imprisoned Krishna's parents, murdered Krishna's siblings, and attempted to kill Krishna / 10
Putana / Demon sent by Kamsa to poison baby Krishna / 10
Trnavarta / Whirlwind demon sent by Kamsa to kill baby Krishna / 10
Aghasura / Gigantic serpent demon sent by Kamsa to kill boy Krishna / 10
Bakasura / Gigantic duck demon that swallowed boy Krishna / 10
Dhenuka / Donkey demon, ruler of the Talavana forest near the Yamuna river / 10
Kaliya / Naga (serpent) that poisoned Kaliya Lake and Krishna's cowherd friends / 10
Pralamba / Demon sent by Kamsa, disguised as a cowherd boy / 10
Aristasura / Bull demon, attacked Krishna's cowherd community / 10
Kesi / Horse demon sent by Kamsa to kill young Krishna / 10
Vyomasura / Demon sent by Kamsa, disguised as a cowherd boy abducted Krishna's cowherd friends / 10
Kuvalayapida / Drunken and mad Elephant goaded to kill Krishna on behalf of Kamsa at a wrestling arena / 10
Jarasandha / Kamsa's father-in-law; laid siege to Mathura with 23 armies before Krishna established Dvaraka / 10
Kalayavana / Barbarian King and ally of Jarasandha; tricked by Krishna into kicking Mucukunda and waking him / 10
Shishupala and Dantavakra / Maternal cousins and kings; cousins and enemies of Krishna; third incarnations of Jaya and Vijaya / 7, 10
Rukmi / King and brother of Rukmini; wanted her to marry Shishupala, not Krishna; cheated Balarama at dice / 10
Narakasura / Demon that kidnapped 16,000 princesses; Krishna rescued and married them all / 10
Banasura / Demonic son of Bali who captured Aniruddha; saved by his naked mother from being killed by Krishna / 10
Paundraka / King that imitated Krishna and challenged his position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead / 10
Dvivida / Gorilla friend of Narakasura; for revenge, raped and terrorised people in Krishna's province / 10
Salva / Demonic King, friend of Shishupala and Dantavakra, and an illusionist; attacked Krishna's city, Dvaraka / 10
Viduratha / Brother of Dantavakra; attempted to avenge his brother by attacking Krishna with a sword / 10
Balvala / Demon that had been polluting a sacrificial arena at the holy Naimisaraya forest / 10
Bhasmasura / Demon given a boon by Shiva to kill anyone whose head he touched; tried to kill Shiva with that boon / 10


Cantos

For ease of reference, synopses of cantos cite a legal online copy of the complete 18-volume A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada / Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) translation of the Srimad Bhagavatam, available at the Bhaktivedanta Vedabase. It also provides original Sanskrit verses, transliterations, synonyms, and purports. With the exception of canto 10 (parts 2-4) onwards - translated by the disciples of Swami Prabhupada after his death in 1977 - unless otherwise stated, quoted verses and purports given are identical to the original (incomplete and unaltered) 30-volume translation of cantos 1-10 published by Krishna Books. Other translations of quoted verses have also been provided for comparison. The non-exhaustive overviews given apply to all complete translations.

SB 1.1.3 original Sanskrit:

निगमकल्पतरोर्गलितं फलं
शुकमुखादमृतद्रवसंयुतम् ।
पिबत भागवतं रसमालयं
मुहुरहो रसिका भुवि भावुका: ॥ ३ ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarian juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.

— Canto 1, Chapter 1, Verse 3[49]


Shuka (Sanskrit: शुक IAST: Śuka, also Shukadeva Śuka-deva) is a rishi (sage) in Hinduism. He is the son of the sage Vyasa and the main narrator of the scripture Bhagavata Purana. Most of the Bhagavata Purana consists of Shuka reciting the story to the dying king Parikshit. Shuka is depicted as a sannyasi, renouncing the world in pursuit of moksha (liberation), which most narratives assert that he achieved.

According to the Hindu epic Mahabharata, after one hundred years of austerity by Vyasa, Shuka was churned out of a stick of fire, born with ascetic power and with the Vedas dwelling inside him, just like his father. As per Skanda Purana, Vyasa had a wife, Vatikā (alias Pinjalā), daughter of a sage named Jābāli. Their union produced a son, who repeated everything what he heard, thus receiving the name Shuka (lit. Parrot). Other texts including the Devi Bhagavata Purana also narrate the birth of Shuka but with drastic differences. Vyasa was desiring an heir, when an apsara (celestial damsel) named Ghritachi flew in front of him in form of a beautiful parrot, causing him sexual arousal. He discharges his semen, which fell on some sticks and a son developed. This time, he was named Shuka because of the role of the celestial parrot.

-- Shuka, by Wikipedia


Bibek Debroy translation:

The sacred texts are like trees that yield all the objects of desire and this represents their ripened fruit. It emerged from Shuka's mouth, with the pulp and juice of amrita. Drink the Bhagavata, the store of juices. O those who possess taste! Savour it repeatedly and become happy on earth.

— First Skandha, Chapter 1(3)[50]


First Canto

Consisting of 19 chapters,[51] the first canto opens with an invocation to Krishna and the assertion that the Srimad Bhagatavam, compiled by Vyasadeva, is sufficient alone to realise God. The over-arching narration begins at the onset of Kali Yuga as a dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami (the son of Vyasadeva) and a group of sages headed by Saunaka, as they perform a thousand-year sacrifice for Krishna and his devotees in the forest of Naimisaranya. Questioned by the sages, topics covered by Suta Gosvami include the:

• Birth of Pariksit - protected in the womb by Krishna - in the aftermath of the devastating Kurukshetra War
• Appearance and instruction of Narada to Vyasadeva on the composition of the Srimad Bhagavatam
• Meditation and inspiration of Vyasadeva on the western bank of the river Saravati to compile and revise the Bhagavata
• Teaching of the Bhagavata by Vyasadeva to his already-liberated son, Suta Gosvami
• Departure and disappearance of Krishna, followed by the signs and onset of Kali Yuga
• Retirement of the Pandavas (including King Yudhisthira) and consequent enthronement of Pariksit
• Attempts of Pariksit to stem the influence of Kali before being cursed by a Brahmana boy to die within seven days
• Renunciation of Pariksit, who decided to fast until death (Prayopavesa) on the banks of the Ganges in devotion to Krishna
• Arrival of sages (including Narada and Bhrgu) and their disciples to Pariksit's fast, followed by Suta Gosvami

SB 1.3.38 original Sanskrit:

स वेद धातु: पदवीं परस्य
दुरन्तवीर्यस्य रथाङ्गपाणे: ।
योऽमायया सन्ततयानुवृत्त्या
भजेत तत्पादसरोजगन्धम् ॥ ३८ ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

Only those who render unreserved, uninterrupted, favourable service unto the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, who carries the wheel of the chariot in his hand, can know the creator of the universe in His full glory, power, and transcendence.

— Canto 1, Chapter 3, Verse 38[52]


J.M. Sanyal Translation:

It is only His devotee, who meditates ever with deep concentration upon the Lord holding the irresistibly destructive wheel (Chakra, more commonly called 'Sudarsan-chakra') in His Hand, that knows a bit about Him.

— Book 1, Chapter III, Verse 38[53]


Second Canto

Image
Sukadeva Gosvami addressing Pariksit.

Consisting of 10 chapters,[54] the second canto opens with an invocation to Krishna. The second layer of over-arching narration begins as a dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river (narrated by Sukadeva Gosvami to a group of sages headed by Saunaka in the forest of Naimisaranya). Questioned by Pariksit, the topics covered by Suta Gosvami include the:

• Transcendental, supreme, eternal, and pure nature of Krishna
• Universal Virat-Rupa and Maha-Vishnu forms of Krishna, as well as His scheduled avatars with their purposes
• Process and laws of creation and annihilation of the universe
• God realisation, Bhakti Yoga, devotional duties, and the need for a spiritual master (Guru)
• Vedic knowledge, modes of material nature (gunas), karma, false (i.e. materialistic) ego, and illusion and suffering due to ignorance
• Divisions (caste or varna) of society, common religious affiliations, and faith versus atheism

SB 2.5.35 original Sanskrit:

स एव पुरुषस्तस्मादण्डं निर्भिद्य निर्गत: ।
सहस्रोर्वङ्‌घ्रिबाह्वक्ष: सहस्राननशीर्षवान् ॥ ३५ ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

The lord Maha-Vishnu, although lying in the Causal Ocean, came out of it, and dividing Himself as Hiranyagarbha, He entered into each universe and assumed the virat-rupa, with thousands of legs, arms, mouths, heads, etc.

— Canto 2, Chapter 5, Verse 35[55]


Bibek Debroy translation:

Purusha split the egg and emerged, with thousands of thighs, legs, arms and eyes and thousands of mouths and heads.

— Second Skandha, Chapter 2(5)[56]


Third Canto

Image
Depiction of Lord Brahma's anger and the origin of Lord Shiva from the former's eyebrows, when the Four Kumaras decide immediately to perform penance before helping their father in creation.

Image
Vidura admonishes Dhritarashtra.

Consisting of 33 chapters,[57] the third canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. Vidura, the sudra incarnation of Yama and devotee of Krishna, is the main protagonist narrated. After being thrown out of his home by King Dhritarashtra (his older half-brother) for admonishing the Kaurava's ignoble behaviour towards the Pandavas, Vidura went on a pilgrimage where he met other devotees of Krishna such as Uddhava and the sage Maitreya; their dialogues form a third layer of narration. Topics covered by Sukadeva Gosvami, Uddhava, and Maitreya include the:

• Remembrance, pastimes, qualities, and kingdom (Vaikuntha) of Krishna
• Universal - Virat-Rupa - form of Vishnu to animate dormant material energy for creation (with Kali, explicitly stated to represent His external energy)
• Emergence of Brahma from Garbhodakasayi Vishnu; Brahma's prayers to Krishna, creation of living beings, and manifestation of the Vedas
• Curse of the Four Kamaras on Jaya and Vijaya and their consequent incarnations as the demons Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu
• Appearance of the Varaha avatar to lift the Earth out of the depths of the Cosmic Ocean (Garbhodakasayi) and destroy Hiranyaksa
• Appearance of the Kapila avatar to expound Sankya philosophy and devotional service (Bhakti Yoga) for Krishna
• Principles of material nature, divisions of creation, and calculation of time

SB 3.25.25 original Sanskrit:

सतां प्रसङ्गान्मम वीर्यसंविदो
भवन्ति हृत्कर्णरसायना: कथा: ।
तज्जोषणादाश्वपवर्गवर्त्मनि
श्रद्धा रतिर्भक्तिरनुक्रमिष्यति ॥ २५ ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.

— Canto 3, Chapter 25, Verse 25[58]


J.M. Sanyal translation:

They are so earnest and eagerly attached to mutual discussion on the holy glories of God that the limbs of their bodies become paralysed on account of their being devoid of sensibility due to their zeal for discourses on the illustrious Lord; and so they are possessed of the crowning virtue of kindness which is desired by all good people.

— Book 3, Chapter XV, Verse 25[59]


Fourth Canto

Image
Vishnu appears before Dhruva

Consisting of 31 chapters,[60] the fourth canto continues the dialogues of Sukadeva Gosvami, Uddhava, and Maitreya. There are additional layers of dialogue, such as between the sage-avatar Narada and King Pracinabharhisat (as narrated by Maitreya to Vidura). Focusing on the female descendants of Svayambhuva Manu, topics covered include the:

• Genealogies of the daughters of Svayambhuva Manu and of Dhruva (grandson of Svayambhuva Manu)
• Enmity between Daksa and Shiva, self-immolation of Sati (wife of Shiva and daughter of Daksa), and attack by Shiva on Daksa's ritual
• Liberation of the boy-sage Dhruva, including advice from Narada, his vision of Vishnu, and battles with the Yaksas
• Killing of the tyrant-king Vena by Brahmins before the appearance of the Prthu avatar to restore abundance of the Earth
• Allegorical story, descriptions, and characteristics of King Puranjana, who was reborn as a woman due to thinking of his wife when he died
• Activities of the Pracetas, including meeting with Shiva, instruction from Narada, and ultimate liberation
• Qualities of Krishna, Vaishnava devotion (Bhakti Yoga), the soul (atman), the super-soul (paramatan), and materialistic life

SB 4.16.17 original Sanskrit:

मातृभक्ति: परस्त्रीषु पत्‍न्यामर्ध इवात्मन: । प्रजासु पितृवत्स्‍निग्ध: किङ्करो ब्रह्मवादिनाम् ॥ १७ ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

The king [Prthu] will respect all women as if they were his own mother, and he will treat his own wife as the other half of his body. He will be just like an affectionate father to his citizens, and he will treat himself as the most obedient servant of the devotees, who always preach the glories of the Lord.

— Canto 4, Chapter 16, Verse 17[61]


Bibek Debroy translation:

He will revere other men's wives like his own mother. He will treat his own wife like one half of his own self. Towards his subjects, he will be as gentle as a father. He will be a servant to those who know about the Brahman.

— Fourth Skandha, Chapter 4(16)[62]


Fifth Canto

Image
Rsabha.

Consisting of 26 chapters,[63] the fifth canto focuses on the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. Notable additional layers of dialogue are between the avatar Rsabha and his sons, and between Bharata and King Rahugana (the former was perceived as a fool and made to carry the latter's palanquin). Topics covered include the:

• Appearance, life, and teachings of the publicly-abused avatar Rsabha, the first Tirthankara (spiritual teacher) of Jainism
• Appearance of Hayagriva to return vedic knowledge to Brahma
• Activities, character, teachings, and liberation of King Bharata (incarnated as a deer and then a supposed idiot-Brahmin)
• Activities and descendants of King Priyavrata, whose chariot wheels created the seven oceans and islands (i.e. continents)
• Descriptions of the universe, sun, orbits of the planets, and the heavenly and hellish planets
• Flow of the Ganges and expansion of Narayana as Vasudeva (Krishna), Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha
• Glories of Ananta / Sankarsana / Shesha / Tamasi

SB 5.5.1 original Sanskrit:

ऋषभ उवाच
नायं देहो देहभाजां नृलोके
कष्टान् कामानर्हते विड्भुजां ये ।
तपो दिव्यं पुत्रका येन सत्त्वं
शुद्ध्येद्यस्माद् ब्रह्मसौख्यं त्वनन्तम् ॥ १ ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

Lord Rsabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one’s heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever.

— Canto 5, Chapter 5, Verse 1[64]


J.M. Sanyal translation:

THE AUSPICIOUS RISHABHADEVA said, - "O my sons! Those who have obtained the human body in this land of mortals, should not give themselves up to the enjoyments of ultimately painful worldly pleasures that are partaken of by pigs and other animals living on excreta. O my children! Austerity only is the most excellent thing by which one's being is purified and which again leads to the eternal felicity of Brahma".

— Book 5, Chapter V, Verse 1[65]


Sixth Canto

Image
Vrtrasura attacks Indra

Consisting of 19 chapters,[66] the sixth canto continues with the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. A notable additional layer of dialogue is between Yama and his messengers (called the Yamadatas). With the main focus on the battles of the demon-devotee Vrtrasura and his armies against the demigods led by Indra, as well as the life of King Citraketu, topics covered include the:

• Life of Ajamila, a Brahmin that lost liberation due to sex-attraction but was liberated due to calling his son - Narayana - upon death
• Instructions of Yamaraja to his messengers about justice, punishment, chanting, Vishnu's messengers, and surrender (Bhakti) to Krishna
• Curse of Daksa on Narada, and a genealogy of the daughters of Daksa
• Offence of Indra to Brhaspati, the appearance of Vrtrasura to battle the demigods, their prayers to Narayana, and Vrtrasura's death
• Story of King Citraketua, the murder of his son, instruction from Narada and Angiras, meeting with Krishna, and curse by Parvati
• Vow of Diti to kill Indra, her embryo being cut into 49 pieces by Indra but saved by Vishnu, and her purification through devotion
• Performance of the Pumsavana ceremony for pregnancy with prayers to VIshnu and Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Fortune)

SB 6.3.13 original Sanskrit:

यो नामभिर्वाचि जनं निजायां
बध्नाति तन्‍त्र्यामिव दामभिर्गा: ।
यस्मै बलिं त इमे नामकर्म-
निबन्धबद्धाश्चकिता वहन्ति ॥ १३ ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

Just as the driver of a bullock cart ties ropes through the nostrils of his bulls to control them, the Supreme Personality of Godhead binds all men through the ropes of His words in the Vedas, which set forth the names and activities of the distinct orders of human society [brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra]. In fear, the members of these orders all worship the Supreme Lord by offering Him presentations according to their respective activities.

— Canto 6, Chapter 3, Verse 13[67]


Bibek Debroy translation:

They are bound to him with cords, like bulls with ropes. They are bound and scared. With different names and deeds, they bear the burden and offer sacrifices to him.

— Sixth Skandha, Chapter 6(3)[68]


Seventh Canto

Image
Nrsimha and Prahlada (R).

Consisting of 15 chapters,[69] the seventh canto continues with the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. A notable additional layer of dialogue is between Narada and Yudhishthira about Prahlada, the devotee-son of the demon-King Hiranyakasipu (brother of Hiranyaksa, destroyed by the Varaha avatar in the third canto; the demonic brothers are incarnations of Jaya and Vijaya). Prahlada, protected by Krishna, survives multiple attempts to kill him until the arrival of the Nrsimha avatar to destroy his father, who could not be killed by any weapon, by any man or beast, or in the water, air, or on land. Topics covered include the:

• Vow of demon-King Hiranyakasipu to destroy Vishnu, his austerities to become invincible, and conquering of the entire universe
• Birth, abuse, and teachings of the devotee Prahlada, son of Hiranyakasipu, protected from death by Krishna
• Arrival of the Nrsimha avatar to destroy Hiranyakasipu, later pacified by the prayers of Prahlada
• Perfect society in the form of the four social and four spiritual classes or orders
• Behaviour of a good person, ideal family life, and instructions to be civilised
• Exposition that the absolute truth is a person - Krishna - who is the master and controller of all
• Previous incarnations of Narada, and that Krishna lived with the Pandavas like an ordinary human being

SB 7.14.9 original Sanskrit:

मृगोष्ट्रखरमर्काखुसरीसृप्खगमक्षिका: ।
आत्मन: पुत्रवत् पश्येत्तैरेषामन्तरं कियत् ॥ ९ ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one’s own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals.

— Canto 7, Chapter 14, Verse 9[70]


J.M. Sanyal translation:

A householder should look upon deer, camels, donkeys, monkeys, mice, serpents, birds, and bees and all that enter his house or cornfield for eating the eatables stocked there, as his own sons, because between sons and those there is but very little difference.

— Book Seven, Chapter XIV, Verse 9[71]


Eighth Canto

Image
Vamana with Bali.

Consisting of 24 chapters,[72] the eighth canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. A notable additional layer of dialogue is between the Vamana avatar and King Bali about the demon-King Hiranyakasipu. Topics covered include the:

• Details and ages of the four Manus (Svayambhuva, Svarocisa, Uttama, and Tamasa), and of the future Manus
• Elephant Gajendra, rescued from Makara the crocodile by Vishnu riding his mount Garuda, after prayers of surrender
• Battles between the demigods and the demons, the truce brokered by Vishnu, and churning of the ocean of milk by both factions
• Appearance of the Kurma, Dhanvantarti, Mohini, and Ajita avatars (and Lakshmi) during the churning of the ocean of milk
• Second appearance of Mohini to beguile Shiva
• Annihilation of the demons by Indra
• Appearance of the Vamana avatar to take back the three worlds from King Bali in three footsteps, and the surrender of Bali to Him
• Appearance of the Matsya avatar to save devotee-King Satyavrata from the flood (during the time of Hiranyaksa in the third canto)

SB 8.5.30 original Sanskrit:

न यस्य कश्चातितितर्ति मायां
यया जनो मुह्यति वेद नार्थम् ।
तं निर्जितात्मात्मगुणं परेशं
नमाम भूतेषु समं चरन्तम् ॥ ३० ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

No one can overcome the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s illusory energy [māyā], which is so strong that it bewilders everyone, making one lose the sense to understand the aim of life. That same māyā, however, is subdued by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who rules everyone and who is equally disposed toward all living entities. Let us offer our obeisances unto Him.

— Canto 8, Chapter 5, Verse 30[73]


Bibek Debroy translation:

No one is able to overcome his maya. Because of this, people are confounded and do not know the truth. He is the supreme lord who alone conquers his own gunas. He controls beings, without any partiality.

— Eighth Skandha, Chapter 8(5)[74]


Ninth Canto

Image
Parashurama

Consisting of 24 chapters,[75] the ninth canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. With no notable additional layers of dialogue, the primary focus is upon the male dynasties of various ruling figures (the female sides are covered in the fourth canto). Topics covered include the:

• Pastimes of the Rama avatar that destroyed the demon-King Ravana (and Kumbhakarna; incarnations of Jaya and Vijaya)
• Appearance of the Parashurama avatar to repeatedly destroy the corrupt, Godless ruling (Kshatriya) class
• Genealogy and downfall of Saubhari Muni due to sex-desire (after seeing fish copulate), and his liberation through performing austerities
• Story of King Yayati, cursed to suffer old age; after passing the curse to his son, he learned the futility of sense-pleasure and achieved liberation
• Story of King Pururava, beguiled by the Apsara Urvasi, until he sated his lusty desires with a ceremonial fire
• Genealogies of the sons of Svayambhuva Manu, and of the Kings Mandhata, Amsuman, Yayati, Bharata, Ajamidha, Puru, and Pururava
• Genealogy of Krishna, and brief descriptions of His beauty and pastimes

SB 9.24.59 original Sanskrit:

अक्षौहिणीनां पतिभिरसुरैर्नृपलाञ्छनै: । भुव आक्रम्यमाणाया अभाराय कृतोद्यम: ॥ ५९ ॥

Swami Prabhupada translation:

Although the demons who take possession of the government are dressed like men of government, they do not know the duty of the government. Consequently, by the arrangement of God, such demons, who possess great military strength, fight with one another, and thus the great burden of demons on the surface of the earth is reduced. The demons increase their military power by the will of the Supreme, so that their numbers will be diminished and the devotees will have a chance to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

— Canto 9, Chapter 24, Verse 59[76]


Bibek Debroy translation (the J.M. Sanyal translation is missing verse 58 onwards of this chapter):

The lords of the akshouhinis were asuras who were unfit to be kings. They attacked themselves and he sought to reduce the burden of the earth.

— Ninth Skandha, Chapter 9(24)[77]
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Part 2 of 3

Tenth Canto

Image
Baby Krishna.

Consisting of 90 chapters,[78] the tenth canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. Notable additional layers of dialogue all involve the lila (divine play) of the supreme and transcendental Krishna avatar. Thus focusing on the appearance and pastimes of Krishna, topics covered include the:

• Imprisonment of Krishna's parents (Vasudeva Anakadundubhi and Devaki), the murder of His siblings, and attempted murder of baby Krishna by King Kamsa
• Fostering of Krishna and Balarama by Nanda and Yashoda (Gopas, a tribe of cowherds); Yashoda saw the universal form in boy-Krishna's mouth
• Attempts on baby and boy-Krishna's life by various demons, mostly sent by Kamsa (e.g. Putana, Trnavarta, Aghasura, Pralamba, Kesi, etc.)
• Chastisement of Kaliya, swallowing of a forest fire, lifting of Govardhana Hill, stealing of Gopis' clothes, and the Rasa dance
• Defeat of numerous demonic foes (e.g. Kamsa, Jarasandha, Kalayavana, Narakasura, Paundraka, etc.) to diminish the burden of the Earth
• Marriages to over 16,000 wives (and children with each), establishment of Dvaraka, return of the Syamantaka Jewel, and washing of Narada's feet
• Defeat of Banasura and Shiva, daily activities, blessing of Sudama, blessing of His devotees, saving of Shiva from Vrkasura, and summary of glories

SB 10.90.50 original Sanskrit:

मर्त्यस्तयानुसवमेधितया मुकुन्द-
श्रीमत्कथाश्रवणकीर्तनचिन्तयैति ।
तद्धाम दुस्तरकृतान्तजवापवर्गं
ग्रामाद् वनं क्षितिभुजोऽपि ययुर्यदर्था: ॥ ५० ॥

Disciples of Swami Prabhupada translation:

By regularly hearing, chanting and meditating on the beautiful topics of Lord Mukunda with ever-increasing sincerity, a mortal being will attain the divine kingdom of the Lord, where the inviolable power of death holds no sway. For this purpose, many persons, including great kings, abandoned their mundane homes and took to the forest.

— Canto 10, Chapter 90, Verse 50[79]


J.M. Sanyal translation:

Thus attentively listening to and reciting, and meditating on the theme of the glorious achievements of Mukunda, mortals attain to the regions where the destroying influence of death cannot reach, and in order to be transported to which kingdom, even the rulers of the earth betake themselves to the wilderness having deserted their respective kingdoms, to perform rigid austerities.

— Book Ten, Chapter XC, Verse 50[80]


Study

The largest canto with 4,000 verses, the tenth canto is also the most popular and widely studied part of the Bhagavata.[81] It has also been translated, commented on, and published separately from the rest of the Srimad Bhagavatam.[82][83] A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada stated this canto is distinct from the others, albeit while warning against studying it before reading the previous nine:

The Tenth Canto is distinct from the first nine cantos because it deals directly with the transcendental activities of the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. One will be unable to capture the effects of the Tenth Canto without going through the first nine cantos. The book is complete in twelve cantos, each independent, but it is good for all to read them... one after another.

— Canto 1, Preface[84]


Eleventh Canto

Image
Hamsa

Consisting of 31 chapters,[85] the eleventh canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. Notable additional layers of dialogue are between Narada and Vasudeva, and between Krishna and Uddhava (and in turn, other dialogues such as that between the Hamsa (swan) avatar and Brahma). Topics covered include the:

• Curse and destruction of the Yadu Dynasty (through intoxicated in-fighting) at Prabhasa to relieve the burden of the Earth
• Appearance of the Hamsa (swan) avatar to answer the questions of the sons of Brahma
• Discourse of Narada to Vasudeva about the instruction of the '9 Yogendras' to King Nimi about Bhakti for Krishna
• Final teachings of Krishna to Uddhava at Dvaraka (e.g. the story of a young Brahmin avadhuta narrating his 24 gurus to King Yadu)
• Disappearance of Krishna after being shot in the foot by the hunter, Jara
• Flood and destruction of Dvarka

SB 11.7.33-35 original Sanskrit:

पृथिवी वायुराकाशमापोऽग्निश्चन्द्रमा रवि: ।
कपोतोऽजगर: सिन्धु: पतङ्गो मधुकृद् गज: ॥ ३३ ॥
मधुहाहरिणो मीन: पिङ्गला कुररोऽर्भक: ।
कुमारी शरकृत् सर्प ऊर्णनाभि: सुपेशकृत् ॥ ३४ ॥
एते मे गुरवो राजन् चतुर्विंशतिराश्रिता: ।
शिक्षा वृत्तिभिरेतेषामन्वशिक्षमिहात्मन: ॥ ३५ ॥

Disciples of Swami Prabhupada translation:

O King, I have taken shelter of twenty-four gurus, who are the following: the earth, air, sky, water, fire, moon, sun, pigeon and python; the sea, moth, honeybee, elephant and honey thief; the deer, the fish, the prostitute Piṅgalā, the kurara bird and the child; and the young girl, arrow maker, serpent, spider and wasp. My dear King, by studying their activities I have learned the science of the self.

— Canto 11, Chapter 7, Verses 33-35[86]


Swami Ambikananda Saraswati translation:

I have many teachers, O king,
Through my own awareness I have learned from them all,
And now I wander about this earth free from its turmoil.
Let me tell you of my teachers.

The earth, air, and space,
Water and fire,
The sun and moon,
The dove and the python,
The sea,
The moth and the bee,
And the elephant.

The honey gatherer,
The deer and the fish.
The prostitute Pingala
And the osprey,
The infant and the maiden.
The man who makes arrows
And a certain serpent,
The spider, and the insect
Captured by the wasp.

Those, great king, have been my teachers,
They number twenty-four in all.
From them and their ways
I have learned all that I know,
And all of it has been to my benefit.

— Dialogue 2, Verses 33-35[87]


The Uddhava or Hamsa Gita

Containing the final teachings of Krishna to His devotee Uddhava, the eleventh canto is also referred to as the 'Uddhava Gita' or 'Hamsa Gita'. Like the tenth canto, it has also been translated and published separately, usually as a companion or 'sequel' to the Bhagavad Gita.[88][89] 'Hamsa' (Sankrit हांस) means 'swan' or 'spirit',[90] and:

• Is the name of the single class or order of society in Satya Yuga (as compared to four in Kali Yuga), the first and purest of the four cyclical yugas[91]
• Symbolises Brahman (Ultimate Truth, Self, or Atman) in Hinduism[92]
• Is the mount ridden by Brahma
• Is the name of the tenth (i.e. swan) avatar of Krishna that taught the Vedas to Brahma (hence the symbolism of the swan being ridden by Brahma as a mount).

Twelfth Canto

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Kalki

Consisting of 13 chapters,[93] the twelfth and final canto completes the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river, and ends with the over-arching dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and the group of sages led by Saunaka, at the forest of Naimisaranya. Focusing on prophesies and signs of Kali Yuga, topics covered include the:

• Degradation of rulers as liars and plunderers, and the symptoms of the age of Kali (e.g. atheism, political intrigue, low character of royals, etc.)
• Final instructions to and death of Pariksit due to his curse (bitten by a poisonous snake-bird)
• Prayers of sage Markandeya to Nara-Narayana, resistance to Cupid sent by Indra to break his vows, and glorification by Shiva and Uma
• Four categories of universal annihilation
• Appearance of the Kalki avatar to destroy evil at the end of Kali Yuga
• Description of the lesser and greater Puranas, and the eighteen major Puranas
• Description of the Mahapurusa
• Summary and glories of the Srimad Bhagavatam

SB 12.13.11-12 original Sanskrit:

आदिमध्यावसानेषु वैराग्याख्यानसंयुतम् ।
हरिलीलाकथाव्रातामृतानन्दितसत्सुरम् ॥ ११ ॥
सर्ववेदान्तसारं यद ब्रह्मात्मैकत्वलक्षणम् ।
वस्त्वद्वितीयं तन्निष्ठं कैवल्यैकप्रयोजनम् ॥ १२ ॥

Disciples of Swami Prabhupada translation:

From beginning to end, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is full of narrations that encourage renunciation of material life, as well as nectarean accounts of Lord Hari’s transcendental pastimes, which give ecstasy to the saintly devotees and demigods. This Bhāgavatam is the essence of all Vedānta philosophy because its subject matter is the Absolute Truth, which, while nondifferent from the spirit soul, is the ultimate reality, one without a second. The goal of this literature is exclusive devotional service unto that Supreme Truth.

— Canto 12, Chapter 13, Verses 11-12[94]


A Wikipedia editor's translation:

From the beginning to the end, with its [Bhagavata] stories of detachment,
it delights the saintly and the virtuous with the nectar of its many Lila of Hari.
The essence of all the Upanishads this is, the sign that the Brahman [God] is one's Atman [Soul within], it illuminates the One Reality without a second, it is the means of attaining Kaivalya [liberation].

— Bhagavata Purana, 12.13.11 - 12.13.12[95]


Philosophy

While Bhakti Yoga and Dvaita Vedanta are the prominent teachings, states T. S. Rukmani, various passages show a synthesis that also includes Samkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, and Advaita Vedanta.[96]

Bhakti

Main articles: Bhakti and Bhakti yoga

Cutler states the Bhagavata is among the most important texts on bhakti, presenting a fully developed teaching that originated with the Bhagavad Gita.[97] Bryant states that while classical yoga attempts to shut down the mind and senses, Bhakti Yoga in the Bhagavata teaches that the mind is transformed by filling it with thoughts of Krishna.[98]

Matchett states that in addition to various didactic philosophical passages the Bhagavata also describes one of the activities that can lead to liberation (moksha) as listening to, reflecting on the stories of, and sharing devotion for Krishna with others.[99] Bhakti is depicted in the Purana, adds Matchett, as both an overpowering emotion as well as a way of life that is rational and deliberately cultivated.[100]

Samkhya

Image
Kapila Muni.

Main article: Samkhya

Surendranath Dasgupta describes the theistic Samkhya philosophy taught by Kapila in the Bhagavata as the dominant philosophy in the text.[101]

Kapila (Sanskrit: कपिल) is a given name of different individuals in ancient and medieval Indian texts, of which the most well known is the founder of the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. Kapila of Samkhya fame is considered a Vedic sage, estimated to have lived in the 6th-century BCE, or the 7th-century BCE.

Rishi Kapila is credited with authoring the influential Samkhya-sutra, in which aphoristic sutras present the dualistic philosophy of Samkhya. Kapila's influence on Buddha and Buddhism have long been the subject of scholarly studies.

Many historic personalities in Hinduism and Jainism, mythical figures, pilgrimage sites in Indian religion, as well as an ancient variety of cow went by the name Kapila...

Kapila is credited with authoring an influential sutra, called Samkhya-sutra (also called Kapila-sutra), which aphoristically presents the dualistic philosophy of Samkhya. These sutras were explained in another well studied text of Hinduism called the Samkhyakarika. Beyond the Samkhya theories, he appears in many dialogues of Hindu texts, such as in explaining and defending the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence) in the Mahabharata.

The name Kapila is used for many individuals in Hinduism, few of which may refer to the same person.

The Rigveda X.27.16 mentions Kapila (daśānām ekam kapilam) which the 14th-century Vedic commentator Sayana thought refers to a sage; a view which Chakravarti in 1951 and Larson in 1987 consider unreliable, with Chakravarti suggesting that the word refers to one of the Maruts, while Larson and Bhattacharya state kapilam in that verse means "tawny" or "reddish-brown"; as was also translated by Griffith.


In Hinduism, the Maruts (/məˈrʊts/; Sanskrit: मरुत), also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Prisni. The number of Maruts varies from 27 to sixty (three times sixty in RV 8.96.8). They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e. lightning and thunderbolts, as having iron teeth and roaring like lions, as residing in the north, as riding in golden chariots drawn by ruddy horses.

-- Maruts, by Wikipedia


The Śata-piṭaka Series on the Śākhās of the Yajurveda – estimated to have been composed between 1200 and 1000 BCE – mention of a Kapila Śākhā situated in the Āryāvarta, which implies a Yajurveda school was named after Kapila. The term Kapileya, meaning "clans of Kapila", occurs in the Aitareya Brahmana VII.17 but provides no information on the original Kapila. The pariśiṣṭa (addenda) of the Atharvaveda (at XI.III.3.4) mentions Kapila, Āsuri and Pañcaśikha in connection with a libation ritual for whom tarpana is to be offered. In verse 5.2 of Shvetashvatara Upanishad, states Larson, both the terms Samkhya and Kapila appear, with Kapila meaning color as well as a "seer" (Rishi) with the phrase "ṛṣiṃ prasūtaṃ kapilam ... tam agre.."; which when compared to other verses of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad Kapila likely construes to Rudra and Hiranyagarbha. However, Max Muller is of view that Hiranyagarbha, namely Kapila in this context, varies with the tenor of the Upanishad, was distinct and was later used to link Kapila and assign the authorship of Sankya system to Hiranyagarbha in reverence for the philosophical system.

Kapila, states George Williams, lived long before the composition of the Epics and the Puranas, and his name was coopted in various later composed mythologies...

Kapila is mentioned in chapter VIII of the Uttaradhyayana-sutra, states Larson and Bhattacharya, where a discourse of poetical verses is titled as Kaviliyam, or "Kapila's verses".

The name Kapila appears in Jaina texts. For example, in the 12th century Hemacandra's epic poem on Jain elders, Kapila appears as a Brahmin who converted to Jainism during the Nanda Empire era.

According to Jnatadharmakatha, Kapila was a contemporary of Krishna and the Vasudeva of Dhatakikhanda. The text further mentions that both of them blew their shankha (counch) together.

Buddhist literature, such as the Jataka tales, state the Buddha was Kapila in one of his previous lives.

Scholars have long compared and associated the teachings of Kapila and Buddha. For example, Max Muller wrote (abridged), "There are no doubt certain notions which Buddha shares in common, not only with Kapila, but with every Hindu philosopher. (...) It has been said that Buddha and Kapila were both atheists, and that Buddha borrowed his atheism from Kapila."


-- Kapila, by Wikipedia


Sheridan points out that in the Third Canto, Kapila is described as an avatar of Vishnu, born as the son of the sage Kardama Muni, in order to share the knowledge of self-realization and liberation with his mother, Devahuti; in the Eleventh Canto, Krishna also teaches Samkhya to Uddhava,[102] describing the world as an illusion, and the individual as dreaming, even while in the waking state. Krishna expounds Samhkhya and Yoga as the way of overcoming the dream, with the goal being Krishna Himself.[102]

Sheridan also states that the treatment of Samkhya in the Bhagavata is also changed by its emphasis on devotion,[102] as does Dasgupta, adding it is somewhat different from other classical Samkhya texts.[103][102]

Advaita

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Sringeri Sharada Peetham is one of the Hindu Advaita Vedanta matha or monastery established by Adi Shankara.

Main article: Advaita Vedanta

Kumar Das and Sheridan state that the Bhagavata frequently discusses a distinctly advaitic or non-dualistic philosophy of Shankara.[5][8] Rukmani adds that the concept of moksha is explained as Ekatva (Oneness) and Sayujya (Absorption, intimate union), wherein one is completely lost in Brahman (Self, Supreme Being, one's true nature).[96] This, states Rukmani, is proclamation of a 'return of the individual soul to the Absolute and its merging into the Absolute', which is unmistakably advaitic.[96] The Bhagavata Purana is also stated to parallel the non-duality of Adi Shankara by Sheridan.[8] As an example:

The aim of life is inquiry into the Truth, and not the desire for enjoyment in heaven by performing religious rites,
Those who possess the knowledge of the Truth, call the knowledge of non-duality as the Truth,
It is called Brahman, the Highest Self, and Bhagavan.

— Sūta, Bhagavata Purana 1.2.10-11, Translated by Daniel Sheridan[104]


Scholars describe this philosophy as built on the foundation of non-dualism in the Upanishads, and term it as "Advaitic Theism".[8][105] This term combines the seemingly contradictory beliefs of a personal God that can be worshiped with a God that is immanent in creation and in one's own self. God in this philosophy is within and is not different from the individual self, states Sheridan, and transcends the limitations of specificity and temporality. Sheridan also describes Advaitic Theism as a "both/and" solution for the questions of whether God is transcendent or immanent, and credits the Bhāgavata with a 'truly creative religious moment' for introducing this philosophy.[8] The text suggests that God Vishnu and the soul (atman) in all beings is one in quality (nirguna).

Bryant states that the monism in Bhagavata Purana is certainly built on Vedanta foundations, but not exactly the same as the monism of Adi Shankara.[106] The Bhagavata asserts, according to Bryant, that the empirical and the spiritual universe are both metaphysical realities, and manifestations of the same Oneness, just like heat and light are "real but different" manifestations of sunlight.[106]

Dharma

Image
The Dharma wheel.

Main article: Dharma

Kurmas Das states the Bhagavata Purana conceptualizes a form of Dharma that competes with that of the Vedas, suggesting that Bhakti ultimately leads to Self-knowledge, Moksha (salvation) and bliss.[107] The earliest mention of bhakti is found in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad verse 6.23,[108][109] but scholars such as Max Muller state that the word Bhakti appears only once in this Upanishad; and that being in one last verse of the epilogue it could be a later addition, and that the context suggests that it is a panentheistic idea and not theistic.[110][111]

Scholarly consensus sees bhakti as a post-Vedic movement that developed primarily during the Puranas era of Indian history.[112] The Bhagavata Purana develops the Bhakti concept more elaborately, states Cutler,[113] proposing "worship without ulterior motive and with kind disposition towards all" as Dharma.[114][115] T.R. Sharma states the text includes in its scope intellectual and emotional devotion as well as Advaita Vedanta ideas.[116]

The text does not subscribe, states Gupta and Valpey, to context-less "categorical notions of justice or morality", but suggests that "Dharma depends on context".[117] They add that in a positive or neutral context, ethics and moral behavior must be adhered to; and when persistently persecuted by evil, anything that reduces the strength of the "evil and poisonous circumstances" is good.[117] That which is motivated by, furthers, and enables bhakt is the golden standard of Dharma.[117]

Yoga

Main article: Yoga

Sarma states that the Bhagavata Purana describes all steps of yoga practice, and characterizes yoga as bhakti, asserting that the most important aspect is the spiritual goal.[118] According to Sarma and Rukmani, the text dedicates numerous chapters to yoga, such as Canto 10 (chapter 11), which begins with a declaration that Siddhi results from concentrating one's mind on Krishna, adding this substitutes the concept of a "personal god" in the Yogasutras of Patanjali, and contrasts with Patanjali's view that Siddhi is considered powerful but an obstacle to Samadhi.[118][119]

In other chapters of the text, Rukmani states, Śuka describes different meditations on aspects of Krishna, in a way that is similar to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[96] However, adds Bryant, the Bhagavata Purana recommends the object of concentration as Krishna, thus folding in yoga as a form of bhakti and the "union with the divine".[96][120] Bryant describes the synthesis of ideas in Bhagavata Purana as:

The philosophy of the Bhagavata is a mixture of Vedanta terminology, Samkhyan metaphysics and devotionalized Yoga praxis. (...) The tenth book promotes Krishna as the highest absolute personal aspect of godhead – the personality behind the term Ishvara and the ultimate aspect of Brahman.

— Edwin Bryant, Krishna: A Sourcebook[121]


Sheridan as well as Pintchman affirm Bryant's view, adding that the Vedantic view emphasized in the Bhagavata is non-dualist, as described within a reality of plural forms.[122][123]

Significance

The source of many popular stories of Krishna's pastimes for centuries in the Indian subcontinent,[6] the Bhagavata Purana is widely recognized as the best-known and most influential of the Puranas, and as a part of Vedic literature (the Puranas, Itihasa epics, and Upanishads) is referred to as the "Fifth Veda".[124][125][126] It is important in Indian religious literature for its emphasis on the practice of devotion compared to the more theoretical approach of the Bhagavad Gita, for challenging the ritualism of the Vedas, and for its extended description of a God in human form.[5]

Despite their differences, all schools of Vedanta share some common features...

• The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras constitute the basis of Vedanta...
Rejection of Buddhism and Jainism and conclusions of the other Vedic schools (Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, and, to some extent, the Purva Mimamsa.)...

-- Vedanta, by Wikipedia


The Srimad Bhagavatam is the very essence of all the Vedanta literature. One who has enjoyed the nectar of its rasa never has any desire for anything else.

— Bhagavata Purana 12.13.15, Translated by David Haberman[127]


Hindu Festivals

The stories in the Bhagavata Purana are also the legends quoted by one generation to the next in Vaishnavism, during annual festivals such as Holi and Diwali.[128][129]

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) celebrates the promise of Canto 12, Chapter 13, Verse 13 by distributing sets of Srimad Bhagavatam leading up to the full-moon day of the month of Bhādra (Bhādra Purnima) in India and around the world.[130] Disciples of Swami Prabhupada translation:

If on the full moon day of the month of Bhādra one places Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam on a golden throne and gives it as a gift, he will attain the supreme transcendental destination.

— Bhagavata Purana, Canto 12, Chapter 13, Verse 13[131]


Vaishnavism

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Chaitanya (1486–1534 CE)

Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Main articles: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Gauranga, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism

The Bhagavata has played a significant role in the emergence of the Krishna-bhakti (Gaudiya Vaishnavism) movement of Lord Chaitanya (1486–1534 CE), in Bengal.[132] The scriptural basis for the belief that Lord Chaitanya is an avatar of Krishna is found in verses such as the following (Disciples of Swami Prabhupada translation):

In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.

— Canto 11, Chapter 5, Verse 32[133]


Chaitanya is commonly referred to as 'Gauranga' in regards to His golden complexion (as detailed in the Gauranga article, the Sanskrit word 'ākṛṣṇaṁ' means 'not blackish' and 'golden'), and is most notable for popularising the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. In regards to not being explicitly named as an avatar (unlike others such as Kalki) in the Bhagavata, this is also explained (Swami Prabhupada translation):

In this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations as a human being, an animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish or a tortoise, thus maintaining the entire creation in different planetary systems and killing the demoniac principles. According to the age, O my Lord, You protect the principles of religion. In the Age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas.

— Canto 7, Chapter 9, Verse 38[134]


The key word in this verse in regards to Krishna incarnating in the age of Kali Yuga is 'channaḥ' (Sanskrit छन्न), which means ' hidden', 'secret', or 'disguised'.[135] In Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Chaitanya is accepted as a hidden avatar of Krishna that appeared in the age of Kali (also known as 'the iron age' and 'the age of quarrel') as His own devotee to show the easiest way to achieve Krishna Consciousness.[136] Modern Gaudiya movements such as the Gaudiya Math (established by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in 1920) and others established by disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, such as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada in 1966) and the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math (by Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar in 1941), trace their disciplic lineages back directly to Lord Chaitanya.

Other Vaishnava Traditions

In the 15th–16th century Ekasarana Dharma in Assam, a panentheistic tradition whose proponents, Sankardeva and Madhavdeva, acknowledge that their theological positions are rooted in the Bhagavata Purana,[137] purged of doctrines that find no place in Assamese Vaishnavism[138] and adding a monist commentary instead.[139]

In northern and western India the Bhagavata Purana has influenced the Hari Bhakti Vilasa and Haveli-style Krishna temples found in Braj region near Mathura-Vrindavan.[140] The text complements the Pancharatra Agama texts of Vaishnavism.[140] While the text focuses on Krishna "Lord Narayana (Vishnu) himself appears and explains how Brahma and Shiva should never be seen as independent and different from him".[141] The sixth book includes the feminine principle as Shakti, or goddess Devi, conceptualizing her as the "energy and creative power" of the masculine yet a manifestation of a sexless Brahman, presented in a language suffused with Hindu monism.[122]

Jainism and Buddhism

The fifth canto of the Bhagavata Purana is significant for its inclusion of legends about the first Tirthankara of Jainism, Rishabha, as an avatar of Vishnu.[142] Further, his father Nabhi is mentioned as one of the Manus and his mother Marudevi also finds a mention. It further mentions the 100 sons of Rishabha including Bharata.[143] While homage to Shakyamuni Buddha is included in by declaring him as an avatar of Vishnu,[144] the interpretation of Buddhism-related stories in the Purana range from honor to ambivalence to polemics wherein prophecies predict some will distort and misrepresent the teachings of the Vedas, and attempt to sow confusion.[145][146][147] According to T. S. Rukmani, the Bhagavata Purana is also significant in asserting that Yoga practice is a form of Bhakti.[148]
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Part 3 of 3

The Arts

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Image
The Bhagavata Purana was a significant text in the bhakti movement and the culture of India.[149] Dance and theatre arts such as Kathakali (left), Kuchipudi (middle) and Odissi (right) portray legends from the Purana.[150][151]

The Bhagavata Purana played a key role in the history of Indian theatre, music, and dance, particularly through the tradition of Ras and Leela. These are dramatic enactments about Krishna's pastimes. Some of the text's legends have inspired secondary theatre literature such as the eroticism in Gita Govinda.[152] While Indian dance and music theatre traces its origins to the ancient Sama Veda and Natyasastra texts,[153][154] the Bhagavata Purana and other Krishna-related texts such as Harivamsa and Vishnu Purana have inspired numerous choreographic themes.[155]

Many 'Ras' plays dramatise episodes related in the Rasa Panchadhyayi ("Five chapters of the Celestial Dance"; Canto 10, Chapters 29–33) of the Bhagavatam.[156] The Bhagavatam also encourages theatrical performance as a means to propagate the faith (BP 11.11.23 and 36, 11.27.35 and 44, etc.), and this has led to the emergence of several theatrical forms centred on Krishna all across India.[157] Canto 10 of Bhagavatam is regarded as the inspiration for many classical dance styles such as Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri and Bharatnatyam.[158] Bryant summarizes the influence as follows,

The Bhagavata ranks as an outstanding product of Sanskrit literature. Perhaps more significantly, the Bhagavata has inspired more derivative literature, poetry, drama, dance, theatre and art than any other text in the history of Sanskrit literature, with the possible exception of the Ramayana.

— Edwin Bryant, Krishna: A Sourcebook[159]


Manuscripts, commentaries, and translations

Commentaries


The Bhagavata Purana is one of the most commented texts in Indian literature. There is a saying in Sanskrit - vidyā bhāgavatāvadhi - Bhāgavatam is the limit of one's learning. Hence through out the centuries it attracted a host of commentators from all schools of Krishna worshippers. Over eighty medieval era Bhāṣya (scholarly reviews and commentaries) in Sanskrit alone are known, and many more commentaries exist in various Indian languages.[3] The oldest exegetical commentary presently known is Tantra-Bhagavata from the Pancaratra school. Other commentaries include:

Dvaita commentaries

• Bhāgavata Tātparya Nirṇaya by Madhvacharya (13th century CE)
• Pada-ratnavali by Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha (15th century CE) - elaborate commentary
• Bhagvata Tatparya Nirnaya Tippani by Yadupati Acharya (16th century)
• Duraghatabhavadipa by Satyabhinava Tirtha (17th century CE)
• Bhaghavata-Sarodhara by Adavi Jayatirthacharya (18th century CE)
• Srimadbhagavata Tippani by Satyadharma Tirtha (18th century CE)

Acintya-bhedābheda Commentaries

• Caitanya-mata-mañjuṣā - Śrīnātha Cakravartī
• Bṛhad-vaiṣṇava-toṣiṇī - Sanātana Gosvāmī
• Laghu-Vaiṣṇava-toṣiṇī - Jīva Gosvāmī
• Krama-sandarbha - Jīva Gosvāmī
• Bṛhat-krama-sandarbha - Jīva Gosvāmī
• Ṣaṭ-sandarbhas by Jīva Gosvāmī (16th century CE)[160]
• Vaiṣṇavānandinī - Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa
• Sārārtha Darśinī - Vishvanatha Chakravarti (17th century CE) - elaborate commentary
• Dīpika-dīpanī - Rādharamaṇa Gosvāmī
• Gauḍīya-bhāṣya - Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati (20th century CE) - elaborate commentary
• Bhaktivedānta Purports - A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (20th century CE) - elaborate commentary

Viśiṣṭādvaita Commentaries

• Śuka pakṣīyā - Sudarśana sūri
• Bhāgavat chandrikā - Vīrarāghava (14th century CE) - elaborate commentary
• Bhakta rañjanī - Bhagavat prasāda

Suddhādvaita Commentaries

• Subodhini by Vallabha
• Ṭippaṇī - Gosvāmī Viṭṭhalanātha
• Subodhinī prakāsha - Gosvāmī Puruṣhottama
• Bāla prabodhinī - Gosvāmī Giridharlāl
• Viśuddha rasadīpikā - Kishorī prasāda

Dvaitādvaita Commentaries

• Siddhānta pradīpikā - Śuka-sudhī
• Bhāvārtha dīpikā prakāsha - Vamshīdhara
• Anitārtha prakāśikā - Gaṅgāsahāya

Others

• Bhāvārtha-dīpikā by Sridhara Swami (15th century CE)[161]
• Amrtatarangini by Laksmidhara (15th century CE)[162]
• Hanumad-Bhasya
• Vasana-bhasya
• Sambandhoki
• Vidvat-kamadhenu
• Paramahamsa-priya
• Suka-hridaya
• Mukta-phala and Hari-lilamrita by Vopadeva
• Bhakti-ratnavali by Visnupuri
• Ekanathi Bhagavata by Saint Eknath of Paithan (16th century CE, on the 11th Canto in the vernacular language of the Indian state of Maharashtra)
• Narayaneeyam by Melpathur Bhattathiri of Kerala (1586, a condensed Srimad Bhagavatam)
• Bhagavata-Purana by S.S. Shulba (2017, original Sanskrit);[163] other Sanskrit manuscripts are available
• A study of the Bhagavata Purana or Esoteric Hinduism by P.N. Sinha (1901)[164]

Translations

The Bhagavata has been rendered into various Indian and non-Indian languages. A version of it is available in almost every Indian language, with forty translations alone in the Bengali language.[3] From the eighteenth century onwards, the text became the subject of scholarly interest and Victorian disapproval,[159] with the publication of a French translation followed by an English one. The following is a partial list of translations:

Assamese

• Bhagavata of Sankara (1449-1568 CE, primary theological source for Mahapurushiya Dharma in the Indian state of Assam) [165][166][167]

Bengali

• Krishna prema tarangini by Shri Raghunatha Bhagavatacharya (15th Century CE)

Hindi

• Bhagavata Mahapurana published by Gita Press (2017)

Kannada

• Bhagavata Mahapurana by Vidwan Motaganahalli Ramashesha Sastri (foreword by historian S. Srikanta Sastri)[168]

Odia

• Odia Bhagabata by Jagannatha Dasa (15th Century CE)

Telugu

• Andhra Maha Bhagavatam by the poet Pothana (15th century CE). It is considered as "the crown jewel of Telugu literature".

English

• The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1970–77, includes transliterations, synonyms, and purports). Unabridged and translated into 40 languages, there are two versions:
o Pre-1978: Original and incomplete 30-volume translation of cantos 1-10 (Swami Prabhupada disappeared (died) before completing the translation)
o Post-1978: Revised and expanded 18-volume translation, completed by the Bhaktivedenta Book Trust (BBT) and disciples of HDGACBVSŚP after the death of Swami Prabhupada[169]
• A prose English translation of Shrimadbhagabatam by M.N. Dutt (1895, unabridged)[170]
• Bhagavata Purana by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (1950, unabridged)[171]
• The Srimad Bhagavatam by J.M. Sanyal (1970, abridged)
• The Bhagavata Purana by Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare (1976, unabridged)
• Srimad Bhagavata by Swami Tapasyananda (1980, unabridged)
• A Translation by B.P. Yati Maharaj of Mayapur Sri Chaitanya Math
• Reading from Bhagabata by Gananath Das which has been translated from Odia Bhagabata
• Bhagavata Mahapurana by C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri (2006, unabridged, Gita Press)[172]
• Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with the Sārārtha darśini commentary of Viśvanātha Cakravartī by Swami Bhānu (2010)
• Srimad Bhagavata Purana by Anand Aadhar (2012)[173]
• The Bhagavata Purana by Bibek Debroy (2019, unabridged)
• Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with the Krama sandarbha commentary of Jīva Gosvāmī by Swami Bhānu (2019)

English (partial translations and paraphrases)

• Kṛṣṇa: The Supreme Personality of Godhead by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (part translation, condensed version: summary study and paraphrase of Canto 10)
• Vallabhacarya on the Love Games of Krishna by James D. Redington (English translation of Vallabha's commentary on the Rāsa-Panchyādhyāyi)
• The Bhagavata Purana; Book X by Nandini Nopani and P. Lal (1997)
• Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X by Edwin F. Bryant (2004)[174]
• The Wisdom of God: Srimat Bhagavatam by Swami Prabhavananda (part translation, part summary and paraphrase)
• The Uddhava Gita by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati (2000, prose translation of Canto 11)
• Bhagavata Purana by Ramesh Menon (2007, a 'retelling' based on other translations)
• Bhakti Yoga: Tales and Teachings from the Bhagavata Purana by Edwin F. Bryant (2017, selections of verses and commentary)
• Brihad Vaishnava Toshani by Bhanu Swami
• Laghu Vaishnava Toshani by Bhanu Swami

French

Bagavadam ou Bhagavata Purana by Maridas Poullé (1769)
• Le Bhagavata Purana by Eugene Burnouf (1840)


See also

• Bhagavan
• Vishnu
• Bhakti
• Narayana
• Krishna
• Nava rasas
• Puranas
• Vedanta

Notes

1. Debroy states unabridged translations are by Manmatha Nath Dutt (1896); Swami Prabhupada (1977); Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare (1976); Swami Tapasyananda (1980); and C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri (2006)
2. Chapters cited from vedabase.io are used with permission of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

References

Citations


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3. Bryant 2007, pp. 112
4. (Sheridan 1986, p. 53)
5. Kumar Das 2006, pp. 172–173
6. Bryant 2007, pp. 111–113
7. Brown 1983, pp. 553–557
8. Sheridan 1986, pp. 1–2, 17–25
9. Katz 2000, pp. 184-185.
10. Rocher 1986, pp. 138–151
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12. Constance Jones and James Ryan (2007), Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Infobase, ISBN 978-0816054589, page 474
13. Kumar Das 2006, p. 174
14. Barbara Holdrege (2015), Bhakti and Embodiment, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415670708, page 114
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18. (Sheridan 1986, p. 6)
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20. Richard Thompson (2007), The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana 'Mysteries of the Sacred Universe', Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120819191
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वदन्ति तत्तत्त्वविदस्तत्त्वं यज्ज्ञानमद्वयम् | ब्रह्मेति परमात्मेति भगवानिति शब्द्यते || Source: Bhagavata Purana Archive
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121. Bryant 2007, pp. 114
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158. Varadpande 1987, p. 98
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• Dasgupta, Surendranath (1949). A history of Indian philosophy. IV: Indian pluralism. Cambridge University Press.
• Datta, Amaresh (2006). The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature. vol. 1. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-1803-1.
• Doniger, Wendy, ed. (1993), Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts, State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-7914-1381-0
• Haberman, David L.; Rūpagōsvāmī (2003). Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (ed.). The Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu of Rūpa Gosvāmīn. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1861-3.
• Jarow, Rick (2003). Tales for the dying: the death narrative of the Bhāgavata-Purāṇa. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-5609-5.
• Kumar Das, Sisir (2006). A history of Indian literature, 500–1399. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-2171-0.
• Matchett, Freda (1993). "The Pervasiveness of Bhakti in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa". In Werner, Karel (ed.). Love Divine: Studies in Bhakti and Devotional Mysticism. Routledge. pp. 95–116. ISBN 978-0-7007-0235-0.
• Matchett, Freda (2001). Kṛṣṇa, Lord or Avatāra?. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7007-1281-6.
• Matchett, Freda (2003). "The Purāṇas". In Flood, Gavin D. (ed.). The Blackwell companion to Hinduism. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 129–144. ISBN 978-0-631-21535-6.
• Rocher, Ludo (1986). The Puranas. Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz. pp. 138–151. ISBN 978-3-447-02522-5.
• Rukmani, T. S. (1993). "Siddhis in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and in the Yogasutras of Patanjali – a Comparison". In Wayman, Alex (ed.). Researches in Indian and Buddhist philosophy: essays in honour of Professor Alex Wayman. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 217–226. ISBN 978-81-208-0994-9.
• Sheridan, Daniel (1986). The Advaitic Theism of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. Columbia, Mo: South Asia Books. ISBN 978-81-208-0179-0.
• van Buitenen, J. A. B (1996). "The Archaism of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa". In S.S Shashi (ed.). Encyclopedia Indica. New Delhi: Anmol Publications. pp. 28–45. ISBN 978-81-7041-859-7.
• Varadpande, Manohar Laxman (1987). History of Indian theatre. vol. 3. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 978-81-7017-221-5.
• Katz, Steven T. (2000). Mysticism and Sacred Scripture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195357097.
Further reading[edit]
• Mani, Vettam. Puranic Encyclopedia. 1st English ed. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1975.
• C Mackenzie Brown (1983), The Origin and Transmission of the Two "Bhāgavata Purāṇas": A Canonical and Theological Dilemma, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 51, No. 4, pages 551-567
• Edwin Bryant (2004), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X, Penguin, ISBN 978-0140447996
• Sanjukta Gupta (2006), Advaita Vedanta and Vaisnavism: The Philosophy of Madhusudana Sarasvati, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415395359
• Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149990
• Ithamar Theodor (2015), Exploring the Bhagavata Purana, IB Tauris, ISBN 978-1784531997

External links

English


• Swami Prabhupāda's version Bhaktivedanta Vedabase
• Gita Press version
• The Translation of Sankaradeva's Gunamala - the 'pocket-Bhagavata' (Assam version)
• Translation of Sankaradeva's Veda-Stuti (The Prayer of the Vedas), Bhagavata, Book X, from Sankaradeva's Kirttana Ghosa, the 'Bhagavata in miniature'
• Bhagavata Purana Research Project, Oxford University
• A prose English translation of Srimad Bhagavatam, MN Dutt (Open access limited to the US and parts of Europe)
• Bhagavata Purana Research Project, (Srimad Bhagavatam English Version)
Sanskrit original
• GRETIL etext: The transliterated Sanskrit text for the entire work
• Bhagavata Purana (Sanskrit)
• Searchable transliterated PDF file of the entire Bhagavata-Purana from sanskritweb.net
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Dara Shikoh [Shukoh] [Shucoh]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/20/21

In the early progress of researches into Indian literature, it was doubted whether the Vedas were extant; or, if portions of them were still preserved, whether any person, however learned in other respects, might be capable of understanding their obsolete dialect. It was believed too, that, if a Brahmana really possessed the Indian scriptures, his religious prejudices would nevertheless prevent his imparting the holy knowledge to any but a regenerate Hindu. These notions, supported by popular tales, were cherished long after the Vedas had been communicated to Dara Shucoh [Shikoh], and parts of them translated into the Persian language by him, or for his use. [Extracts have also been translated into the Hindi language; but it does not appear upon what occasion this version into the vulgar dialect was made.] The doubts were not finally abandoned, until Colonel Polier obtained from Jeyepur a transcript of what purported to be a complete copy of the Vedas, and which he deposited in the British Museum. About the same time Sir Robert Chambers collected at Benares numerous fragments of the Indian scripture: General Martine: at a later period, obtained copies of some parts of it; and Sir William Jones was successful in procuring valuable portions of the Vedas, and in translating several curious passages from one of them. [See Preface to Menu, page vi. and the Works of Sir William Jones, vol. vi.] I have been still more fortunate in collecting at Benares the text and commentary of a large portion of these celebrated books; and, without waiting to examine them more completely than has been yet practicable, I shall here attempt to give a brief explanation of what they chiefly contain.

-- Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus, by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Esq.

Image
Dara Shikoh
دارا شُکوہ
Shahzada of the Mughal Empire
Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba
Miniature portrait of Dara Shikoh c.1640
Born: 20 March 1615[1], Ajmer, Rajputana, Mughal Empire
Died: 30 August 1659 (aged 44)[2], Delhi, Mughal Empire
Burial: Humayun’s Tomb
Spouse: Nadira Banu Begum
Issue: Sulaiman Shikoh; Mumtaz Shikoh; Sipihr Shikoh; Jahanzeb Banu Begum
Full name: Muhammad Dara Shikoh
House: Timurid
Father: Shah Jahan
Mother: Mumtaz Mahal
Religion: Islam

Dara Shikoh (Persian: دارا شِکوہ‎), also known as Dara Shukoh, (20 March 1615 – 30 August 1659)[1][3] was the eldest son and heir-apparent of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.[4]

Image

Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram (Persian: شهاب‌الدین محمد خرم‎; 5 January 1592 – 22 January 1666), better known by his regnal name, Shah Jahan (Persian: شاه جهان‎, lit. 'King of the World'), was the fifth Mughal emperor, and reigned from 1628 to 1658. Under his reign, the Mughal Empire reached the peak of its cultural glory. Although an able military commander, Shah Jahan is best remembered for his architectural achievements. His reign ushered in the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan commissioned many monuments, the best known of which is the Taj Mahal in Agra, in which is entombed his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Image

The Taj Mahal (/ˌtɑːdʒ məˈhɑːl, ˌtɑːʒ-/; lit. 'Crown of the Palace', [taːdʒ ˈmɛːɦ(ə)l]) is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658) to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643, but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2020 would be approximately 70 billion rupees (about U.S. $956 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year and in 2007, it was declared a winner of the New 7 Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.

-- Taj Mahal. by Wikipedia

His relationship with Mumtaz Mahal has been heavily adapted into Indian art, literature and cinema. He owned the royal treasury and several precious stones such as the Kohinoor, worth around 23% of the world GDP during his time, and has thus often been regarded as the wealthiest Indian in history.

Shah Jahan is considered the most competent of Emperor Jahangir's four sons. Jahangir's death in late 1627 spurred a war of succession, from which Shah Jahan emerged victorious after much intrigue. He put to death all of his rivals for the throne and crowned himself emperor in January 1628 in Agra, under the regnal title "Shah Jahan" (which was originally given to him as a princely title). His rule saw many grand building projects, including the Red Fort and the Shah Jahan Mosque. Foreign affairs saw war with the Safavids and conflict with the Portuguese, and positive relations with the Ottoman Empire. Domestic concerns included putting down numerous rebellions, and the devastating famine from 1630-32.

In September 1657, Shah Jahan fell seriously ill. This set off a war of succession among his four sons in which his third son, Aurangzeb, emerged victorious and usurped his father's throne. Shah Jahan recovered from his illness, but Emperor Aurangzeb put his father under house arrest in Agra Fort from July 1658 until his death in January 1666. He was laid to rest next to his wife in the Taj Mahal.

-- Shah Jahan, by Wikipedia

Dara was designated with the title Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba ("Prince of High Rank")[5] and was favoured as a successor by his father and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum. In the war of succession which ensued after Shah Jahan's illness in 1657, Dara was defeated by his younger brother Prince Muhiuddin (later, the Emperor Aurangzeb). He was executed in 1659 on Aurangzeb's orders in a bitter struggle for the imperial throne.[6]

Dara was a liberal-minded unorthodox Muslim as opposed to the orthodox Aurangzeb; he authored the work The Confluence of the Two Seas, which argues for the harmony of Sufi philosophy in Islam and Vedanta philosophy in Hinduism. A great patron of the arts, he was also more inclined towards philosophy and mysticism rather than military pursuits.
The course of the history of the Indian subcontinent, had Dara Shikoh prevailed over Aurangzeb, has been a matter of some conjecture among historians.[7][8][9]

Early life

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Dara's brothers (left to right) Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb and Murad Baksh in their younger years, ca 1637

Muhammad Dara Shikoh was born on 11 March 1615[1] in Ajmer, Rajasthan.[10] He was the first son and third child of Prince Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram and his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal.[11] The prince was named by his father.[12] 'Dara' means owner of wealth or star in Persian while the second part of the prince's name is commonly spelled in two ways: Shikoh (terror) or Shukoh (majesty or grandeur).[13] Thus, Dara's full name can be translated as "Of the Terror of Darius" or "Of the Grandeur of Darius", respectively.[13] Historian Ebba Koch favours 'Shukoh'.[13]

Dara Shikoh had thirteen siblings of whom six survived to adulthood: Jahanara Begum, Shah Shuja, Roshanara Begum, Aurangzeb, Murad Bakhsh, and Gauhara Begum.[14] He shared a close relationship with his older sister, Jahanara. As part of his formal education, Dara studied the Quran, history, Persian poetry and calligraphy.[15] He was a liberal-minded unorthodox Muslim unlike his father and his younger brother Aurangzeb.[15]

In October 1627,[16] Dara's grandfather Emperor Jahangir died, and his father ascended the throne in January 1628 taking the regnal name 'Shah Jahan'.[17]
Image

Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim[4] (Persian: نورالدین محمد سلیم), known by his imperial name Jahangir (Persian: جهانگیر) (31 August 1569 – 28 October 1627), was the fourth Mughal Emperor, who ruled from 1605 until his death in 1627. His imperial name (in Persian) means 'conqueror of the world', 'world-conqueror' or 'world-seizer' (Jahan: world; gir: the root of the Persian verb gereftan: to seize, to grab).

-- Jahangir, by Wikipedia

In 1633, Dara was appointed as the Vali-ahad (heir-apparent) to his father.[18] He, along with his older sister Jahanara, were Shah Jahan's favourite children.[19]

Marriage

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The marriage of Dara Shikoh and Nadira Begum, 1875-90[??]

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Wedding procession of Dara Shikoh, with Shah Shuja and Aurangzeb behind him. Royal Collection Trust, London.

During the life time of his mother Mumtaz Mahal, Dara Shikoh was betrothed to his half-cousin, Princess Nadira Banu Begum, the daughter of his paternal uncle Sultan Parvez Mirza.[20] He married her on 1 February 1633 at Agra; midst great celebrations, pomp and grandeur.[21][20] By all accounts, Dara and Nadira were devoted to each other and Dara's love for Nadira was so profound that unlike the usual practice of polygyny prevalent at the time, he never contracted any other marriage.[21] The imperial couple had seven children together, with two sons, Sulaiman Shikoh and Sipihr Shikoh and a daughter Jahanzeb Banu Begum, surviving to play important roles in future events.[21]

A great patron of the arts, Dara ordered for the compilation of some refined artwork into an album which is now famous by the name of 'Dara Shikhoh Album.'[22] This album was presented by Dara to his 'dearest intimate friend' Nadira in 1641.[23]

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A Prince in Iranian Costume by Muhammad Khan
British Library Add. Or. MS 3129, f.21v
Copyright © The British Library Board

A high-quality version of this image can be purchased from British Library Images Online. For more information email imagesonline@bl.uk

This manuscript is a fine example of Moghul mastery of painting and calligraphy and dates from the 17th century.

The Dara Shikoh album is a collection of paintings and calligraphy assembled during the 1630s by Dara Shikoh (1615-59), the eldest son of the Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-58, the builder of the Taj Mahal), and presented to his wife Nadira Banu Begum in 1641-42.

The album follows the typical Moghul album format and has alternate openings of pairs of calligraphic specimens and paintings, all mounted within gold-painted borders, and is bound in tooled and gilt covers. It is one of the few Moghul albums to have survived almost complete.

Dara Shikoh himself was executed in 1659 by his younger brother Aurangzib, who had emerged victorious in the wars waged between Shah Jahan's four sons. After Nadira Banu's death, the album was taken into the royal library and the inscriptions connecting it with Dara Shikoh were deliberately, but fortunately not completely, erased. One painting in the album is signed and dated by the artist Muhammad Khan AH 1043 (or AD 1633-1634).

The young man wearing the elaborate turban favoured in the Iranian court of Isfahan is pouring wine from a Moghul jewelled gold flask into a similarly ornamented cup.

-- Dara Shikoh album, by British Library

Dara had at least two concubines, Gul Safeh (also known as Rana Dil) and Udaipuri Mahal (a Georgian or Armenian slave girl).[24] Udaipuri later became a part of Aurangzeb's harem after her master's defeat.[25]

Military service

As was common for all Mughal sons, Dara Shikoh was appointed as a military commander at an early age, receiving an appointment as commander of 12,000-foot and 6,000 horse in October 1633. He received successive promotions, being promoted to commander of 12,000-foot and 7,000 horse on 20 March 1636, to 15,000-foot and 9,000 horse on 24 August 1637, to 10,000 horse on 19 March 1638, to 20,000-foot and 10,000 horse on 24 January 1639, and to 15,000 horse on 21 January 1642.

On 10 September 1642, Shah Jahan formally confirmed Dara Shikoh as his heir, granting him the title of Shahzada-e-Buland Iqbal ("Prince of High Fortune") and promoting him to command of 20,000-foot and 20,000 horse. In 1645, he was appointed as subahdar (governor) of Allahabad. He was promoted to a command of 30,000-foot and 20,000 horse on 18 April 1648, and was appointed Governor of the province of Gujarat on 3 July.[26]

As his father's health began to decline, Dara Shikoh received a series of increasingly prominent commands. He was appointed Governor of Multan and Kabul on 16 August 1652, and was raised to the title of Shah-e-Buland Iqbal ("King of High Fortune") on 15 February 1655. He was promoted to command of 40,000-foot and 20,000 horse on 21 January 1656, and to command of 50,000-foot and 40,000 horse on 16 September 1657.

The struggle for succession

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Dara Shikoh with his army[27]

On 6 September 1657, the illness of emperor Shah Jahan triggered a desperate struggle for power among the four Mughal princes, though realistically only Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb had a chance of emerging victorious.[28] Shah Shuja was the first to make his move, declaring himself Mughal Emperor in Bengal and marched towards Agra from the east. Murad Baksh allied himself with Aurangzeb.

At the end of 1657, Dara Shikoh was appointed Governor of the province of Bihar and promoted to command of 60,000 infantry and 40,000 cavalry.(roughly equivalent to general)

Despite strong support from Shah Jahan, who had recovered enough from his illness to remain a strong factor in the struggle for supremacy, and the victory of his army led by his eldest son Sulaiman Shikoh over Shah Shuja in the battle of Bahadurpur on 14 February 1658, Dara Shikoh was defeated by Aurangzeb and Murad during the Battle of Samugarh, 13 km from Agra on 30 May 1658. Subsequently, Aurangzeb took over Agra fort and deposed emperor Shah Jahan on 8 June 1658.

Death and aftermath

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Humayun's Tomb, where the remains of Dara Shikoh were interred in an unidentified grave.

After the defeat, Dara Shikoh retreated from Agra to Delhi and thence to Lahore. His next destination was Multan and then to Thatta (Sindh). From Sindh, he crossed the Rann of Kachchh and reached Kathiawar, where he met Shah Nawaz Khan, the governor of the province of Gujarat who opened the treasury to Dara Shikoh and helped him to recruit a new army.[29] He occupied Surat and advanced towards Ajmer. Foiled in his hopes of persuading the fickle but powerful Rajput feudatory, Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Marwar, to support his cause, Dara Shikoh decided to make a stand and fight Aurangzeb's relentless pursuers but was once again comprehensively routed in the battle of Deorai (near Ajmer) on 11 March 1659. After this defeat he fled to Sindh and sought refuge under Malik Jiwan (Junaid Khan Barozai), an Afghan chieftain, whose life had on more than one occasion been saved by the Mughal prince from the wrath of Shah Jahan.[30][31] However, Junaid betrayed Dara Shikoh and turned him (and his second son Sipihr Shikoh) over to Aurangzeb's army on 10 June 1659.[32]

Dara Shikoh was brought to Delhi, placed on a filthy elephant and paraded through the streets of the capital in chains.[33][34] Dara Shikoh's fate was decided by the political threat he posed as a prince popular with the common people – a convocation of nobles and clergy, called by Aurangzeb in response to the perceived danger of insurrection in Delhi, declared him a threat to the public peace and an apostate from Islam. He was assassinated by four of Aurangzeb's henchmen in front of his terrified son on the night of 30 August 1659 (9 September Gregorian). After death the remains of Dara Shikoh were buried in an unidentified grave in Humayan's tomb in Delhi.[35][36] On 26 February 2020 the government of India through Archaeological Survey of India decided to find the burial spot of Dara Shikoh from the 140 graves in 120 chambers inside Humayun's Tomb. It is considered a difficult task as none of the graves are identified or have inscriptions. [37]

Niccolao Manucci, the Venetian traveler who worked in the Mughal court, has written down the details of Dara Shikoh's death. According to him, upon Dara's capture, Aurangzeb ordered his men to have his head brought up to him and he inspected it thoroughly to ensure that it was Dara indeed. He then further mutilated the head with his sword three times. After which, he ordered the head to be put in a box and presented to his ailing father, Shah Jahan, with clear instructions to be delivered only when the old King sat for his dinner in his prison. The guards were also instructed to inform Shah Jahan that, “King Aurangzeb, your son, sends this plate to let him (Shah Jahan) see that he does not forget him”. Shah Jahan instantly became happy (not knowing what was in store in the box) and uttered, “Blessed be God that my son still remembers me”. Upon opening the box, Shah Jahan became horrified and fell unconscious.[38]


Intellectual pursuits

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A page from the Majma-ul-Bahrain, Victoria Memorial, Calcutta.

Dara Shikoh is widely renowned[39] as an enlightened paragon of the harmonious coexistence of heterodox traditions on the Indian subcontinent. He was an erudite champion of mystical religious speculation and a poetic diviner of syncretic cultural interaction among people of all faiths. This made him a heretic in the eyes of his orthodox younger brother and a suspect eccentric in the view of many of the worldly power brokers swarming around the Mughal throne. Dara Shikoh was a follower of the Armenian Sufi-perennialist mystic Sarmad Kashani,[40]

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Single Leaf of Shah Sarmad (centre) seated with Shahzada Dara Shikoh

Sarmad Kashani or simply as Sarmad (ca 1590–1661) was a Persian speaking Armenian mystic and poet who travelled to and made the Indian subcontinent his permanent home during the 17th century. Originally Jewish, he may have renounced his religion to adopt Islam. Sarmad, in his poetry, states that he is neither Jewish, nor Muslim, nor Hindu.

-- Sarmad Kashani, by Wikipedia

as well as Lahore's famous Qadiri Sufi saint Mian Mir,[41] whom he was introduced to by Mullah Shah Badakhshi (Mian Mir's spiritual disciple and successor). Mian Mir was so widely respected among all communities that he was invited to lay the foundation stone of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by the Sikhs.

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Dara Shikoh (with Mian Mir and Mullah Shah Badakhshi), ca. 1635

Baba Sain Mir Mohammed Sahib (c. 1550 – 22 August 1635), popularly known as Mian Mir or Miyan Mir, was a famous Sufi Muslim saint who resided in Lahore, specifically in the town of Dharampura (in present-day Pakistan). He was a direct descendant of Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab.
Omar (/ˈoʊmɑːr/), also spelled Umar /ˈuːmɑːr/; Arabic: عمر بن الخطاب‎ ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb [ˈʕomɑr-, ˈʕʊmɑr ɪbn alxɑtˤˈtˤɑːb], "Umar, Son of Al-Khattab"; c. 584 CE – 3 November 644 CE), was one of the most powerful and influential Muslim caliphs in history. He was a senior companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He succeeded Abu Bakr (632–634) as the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate on 23 August 634. He was an expert Muslim jurist known for his pious and just nature, which earned him the epithet Al-Farooq ("the one who distinguishes (between right and wrong)"). He is sometimes referred to as Omar I by historians of early Islam, since a later Umayyad caliph, Umar II, also bore that name.

Under Omar, the caliphate expanded at an unprecedented rate, ruling the Sasanian Empire and more than two-thirds of the Byzantine Empire. His attacks against the Sasanian Empire resulted in the conquest of Persia in less than two years (642–644). According to Jewish tradition, Omar set aside the Christian ban on Jews and allowed them into Jerusalem and to worship. Omar was eventually killed by the Persian Piruz Nahavandi (known as ’Abū Lu’lu’ah in Arabic) in 644 CE.

Omar is revered in the Sunni tradition as a great ruler and paragon of Islamic virtues, and some hadiths identify him as the second greatest of the Sahabah after Abu Bakr. He is viewed negatively in the Shia tradition.

-- Omar, by Wikipedia

He belonged to the Qadiri order of Sufism. He is famous for being a spiritual instructor of Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He is identified as the founder of the Mian Khel branch of the Qadiri order. His younger sister Bibi Jamal Khatun was a disciple of his and a notable Sufi saint in her own right.

Mian Mir was a friend of God-loving people and he would shun worldly, selfish men, greedy Emirs and ambitious Nawabs who ran after faqirs to get their blessings. To stop such people from coming to see him, Mian Mir posted his mureeds (disciples) at the gate of his house.

Once, Jahangir, the Mughal emperor, with all his retinue came to pay homage to the great faqir. He came with all the pomp and show that befitted an emperor. Mian Mir's sentinels however, stopped the emperor at the gate and requested him to wait until their master had given permission to enter. Jahangir felt slighted. No one had ever dared delay or question his entry to any place in his kingdom. Yet he controlled his temper and composed himself. He waited for permission. After a while, he was ushered into Mian Mir's presence. Unable to hide his wounded vanity, Jahangir, as soon as he entered, told Mian Mir in Persian: Ba dar-e-darvis darbane naa-bayd ("On the doorstep of a faqir, there should be no sentry"). The reply from Mian Mir was, "Babayd keh sage dunia na ayad" (So that selfish men may not enter).

The emperor was embarrassed and asked for forgiveness. Then, with folded hands, Jahangir requested Mian Mir to pray for the success of the campaign which he intended to launch for the conquest of the Deccan. Meanwhile, a poor man entered and, bowing his head to Mian Mir, made an offering of a rupee before him. The Sufi asked the devotee to pick up the rupee and give it to the poorest, neediest person in the audience. The devotee went from one dervish to another but none accepted the rupee. The devotee returned to Mian Mir with the rupee saying: "Master, none of the dervishes will accept the rupee. None is in need, it seems."

"Go and give this rupee to him," said the faqir, pointing to Jahangir. "He is the poorest and most needy of the lot. Not content with a big kingdom, he covets the kingdom of the Deccan. For that, he has come all the way from Delhi to beg. His hunger is like a fire that burns all the more furiously with more wood. It has made him needy, greedy and grim. Go and give the rupee to him."...

According to Tawarikh-i-Punjab (1848), written by Ghulam Muhayy-ud-Din alias Bute Shah, Mian Mir laid the foundation of the Sikh shrine Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), at the request of Guru Arjan Dev. This is also mentioned in several European sources, beginning with The Punjab Notes and Queries. Even the Report Sri Darbar Sahib (1929), published by the Harmandir Sahib temple authorities, have endorsed this account.

However, this legend is unsubstantiated by historical evidence. Sakinat al-aulia, a 17th-century biography of Mian Mir compiled by Dara Shikoh, does not mention this account. It appears only in the later accounts, and may have been invented to strengthen the Sikh-Muslim relationship.


After having lived a long life of piety and virtuosity, Mian Mir died on 22 August 1635 (7 Rabi' al-awwal, 1045 according to the Islamic Calendar). He was eighty-eight years old.

His funeral oration was read by Mughal prince Dara Shikoh, who was a highly devoted disciple of the Saint.

-- Mian Mir, by Wikipedia

Dara Shikoh subsequently developed a friendship with the seventh Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai.
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Guru Har Rai, the Seventh Guru (Early-18th-century Pahari painting)

Guru Har Rai (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਇ, pronunciation: [gʊɾuː ɦəɾ ɾaːɪ]; 16 January 1630 – 6 October 1661) revered as the seventh Nanak, was the seventh of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He became the Sikh leader at age 14, on 3 March 1644, after the death of his grandfather and the sixth Sikh leader Guru Hargobind. He guided the Sikhs for about seventeen years, till his death at age 31.

Guru Har Rai is notable for maintaining the large army of Sikh soldiers that the sixth Sikh Guru had amassed, yet avoiding military conflict. He supported the moderate Sufi influenced Dara Shikoh instead of conservative Sunni influenced Aurangzeb as the two brothers entered into a war of succession to the Mughal Empire throne.

After Aurangzeb won the succession war in 1658, he summoned Guru Har Rai in 1660 to explain his support for the executed Dara Shikoh. Guru Har Rai sent his elder son Ram Rai to represent him. Aurangzeb kept Ram Rai as hostage, questioned Ram Rai about a verse in the Adi Granth – the holy text of Sikhs at that time. Aurangzeb claimed that it disparaged the Muslims. Ram Rai changed the verse to appease Aurangzeb instead of standing by the Sikh scripture, an act for which Guru Har Rai is remembered for excommunicating his elder son, and nominating his younger son Har Krishan to succeed him. Har Krishan became the eighth Guru at age 5 after Guru Har Rai's death in 1661. Some Sikh literature spell his name as Hari Rai...


Guru Har Rai had brothers. His elder brother Dhir Mal had gained encouragement and support from Shah Jahan, with free land grants and Mughal sponsorship. Dhir Mal attempted to form a parallel Sikh tradition and criticized his grand father and sixth Guru Hargobind. The sixth Guru disagreed with Dhir Mal, and designated the younger Har Rai as the successor.

Authentic literature about Guru Har Rai life and times are scarce, he left no texts of his own and some Sikh texts composed later spell his name as "Hari Rai". Some of the biographies of Guru Har Rai written in the 18th century such as by Kesar Singh Chhibber, and the 19th-century Sikh literature are highly inconsistent.

Guru Har Rai provided medical care to Dara Shikoh, possibly when he had been poisoned by Mughal operatives. According to Mughal records, Guru Har Rai provided other forms of support to Dara Shikoh as he and his brother Aurangzeb battled for rights to succession. Ultimately, Aurangzeb won, arrested Dara Shikoh and executed him on charges of apostasy from Islam. In 1660, Aurangzeb summoned Guru Har Rai to appear before him to explain his relationship with Dara Shikoh.

In the Sikh tradition, Guru Har Rai was asked why he was helping the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh whose forefathers had persecuted Sikhs and Sikh Gurus. Guru Har Rai is believed to have replied that if a man plucks flowers with one hand and gives it away using his other hand, both hands get the same fragrance...

He started several public singing and scripture recital traditions in Sikhism. The katha or discourse style recitals were added by Guru Har Rai, to the sabad kirtan singing tradition of Sikhs. He also added the akhand kirtan or continuous scripture singing tradition of Sikhism, as well as the tradition of jotian da kirtan or collective folk choral singing of scriptures.

-- Guru Har Rai, by Wikipedia

Dara Shikoh devoted much effort towards finding a common mystical language between Islam and Hinduism. Towards this goal he completed the translation of fifty Upanishads from their original Sanskrit into Persian in 1657 so that they could be studied by Muslim scholars.[42][43] His translation is often called Sirr-e-Akbar ("The Greatest Mystery"), where he states boldly, in the introduction, his speculative hypothesis that the work referred to in the Qur'an as the "Kitab al-maknun" or the hidden book, is none other than the Upanishads.[44] His most famous work, Majma-ul-Bahrain ("The Confluence of the Two Seas"), was also devoted to a revelation of the mystical and pluralistic affinities between Sufic and Vedantic speculation.[45] The book was authored as a short treatise in Persian in 1654–55.[46]

The library established by Dara Shikoh still exists on the grounds of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Kashmiri Gate, Delhi, and is now run as a museum by Archaeological Survey of India after being renovated.[47][48]


Patron of arts

Image
A Prince in Iranian Costume by Muhammad Khan. Dara Shikoh Album, Agra, 1633–34.

He was also a patron of fine arts, music and dancing, a trait frowned upon by his younger sibling Muhiuddin, later the Emperor Aurangzeb. The 'Dara Shikoh' is a collection of paintings and calligraphy assembled from the 1630s until his death. It was presented to his wife Nadira Banu in 1641–42[49] and remained with her until her death after which the album was taken into the royal library and the inscriptions connecting it with Dara Shikoh were deliberately erased; however not everything was vandalised and many calligraphy scripts and paintings still bear his mark. Among the existing paintings from the Dara Shikoh Album, are two facing pages, compiled in the early 1630s just before his marriage, showing two ascetics in yogic postures, probably meant to be a pair of yogis, Vaishnava and Shaiva. these paintings are attributed to the artist Govardhan. The album also contains numerous pictures of Muslim ascetics and divines and the pictures obviously reflects Dara Shikoh's interest in religion and philosophy.[50]

Dara Shikoh is also credited with the commissioning of several exquisite, still extant, examples of Mughal architecture – among them the tomb of his wife Nadira Begum in Lahore,[51]

Image
Tomb of Nadira Begum

-- Tomb of Nadira Begum, by Wikipedia


the Shrine of Mian Mir also in Lahore,[52]

Image
Mian Mir's shrine is one of the most important Sufi shrines in Lahore

-- Shrine of Mian Mir, by Wikipedia


the Dara Shikoh Library in Delhi,[53]

Image
Dara Shikoh Library

Dara Shikoh was the most-liked son of the Mughal Emperor of Shah Jahan. He was be convinced to be the successor to the Mughal throne. Like father Shah Jahan, Dara Shikoh also reveal a keen interest in architecture. He made a abode of his own near the Kashmiri gate, which housed the greta Dara Shikoh Library. Once a private library of Mughal Prince, today recline on the verge of decay, with in the campus of Ambedkar University Delhi. The library has been transformed into a makeshift museum under the protection and care of the Archeological Survey of India. The library was trusted to be of multiple purposes during the Mughal era. Dara Shikoh who was supposed to replace the throne was killed by his stepbrother, Aurangzeb, during the time of battle for the throne. Since then the library has become of least importance. This very day, it doesn’t exhibit books but it steadily does narrate the chronicles of Mughal Era.

The library is believed to be constructed during the year 1643 during the rule of Shah Jahan. Dara Shikoh on his own overlooked the construction of the library. After Shah Jahan’s illness and inability to rule it, a war broken out between all the sons of Shah Jahan. This was a usual practice to decide the inheritor of the throne. Shah Jahan’s favourite son who was Dara Shikoh was believed to be the next king. Although, he got defeated by Aurangzeb, who went to rule the Mughal empire. After Dara Shikoh’s death, the library was ignored. Historians believe that after prince’s death the library was hand over to Portuguese governess of the Mughal children, Donna Juliana. It was later bought by Nawab Safdarjung in the 18th century. After that the complex was later turned into a British residency captured by Sir David Ochterlony. After this the complex has been turned into a municipal school. Although, the surrounding Mughal complex was later situated to the Ambedkar University Delhi, within which Library lies. In the year 2011, the Delhi Government which was led by Sheila Dixit merged with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to renovate the library into a state museum. The museum reflects 2,200 artefacts and remains from the Mughal era including coins and statues.

-- Dara Shikoh Library, by Sushant Travels


the Akhun Mullah Shah Mosque in Srinagar in Kashmir[54]

Image

Akhund Mullah Shah Masjid or Akhoon Mullah Masjid or Dara Shikoh Masjid, known as Mala Shah Mashid in Kashmiri, is a mosque built by Dara Shikoh in 1649 for his spiritual mentor. Located in Srinagar, it is a mosque inside a mosque. The prime sanctuary is entirely separated from the main building through a courtyard that surrounds it. There is a stone lotus that crowns the podium of the mosque.

-- Akhund Mullah Shah Masjid, by Wikipedia


and the Pari Mahal garden palace (also in Srinagar in Kashmir).[55]

Image

Pari Mahal, also known as The Palace of Fairies, is a seven-terraced garden located at the top of Zabarwan mountain range, overlooking the city of Srinagar and the south-west of Dal Lake in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is an example of Islamic architecture and patronage of art during the reign of the then Mughal Emperor khan Shah Jahan.

The Pari Mahal, or Palace of Fairies, was built as a library and residence for the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh in the mid-1600s. Dara Shikoh was said to have lived in this area in the years 1640, 1645, and 1654. It was further used as an observatory, used for teaching astrology and astronomy. The gardens have since become the property of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pari Mahal has also been used as a top-secret interrogation centre and as a base for high-level bureaucrats.


-- Pari Mahal, by Wikipedia


In popular culture

• The issues surrounding Dara Shikoh's impeachment and execution are used to explore contradictory interpretations of Islam in a 2008 play, The Trial of Dara Shikoh,[56] written by Akbar S. Ahmed.[57]
• He is also the subject of a 2010 play called Dara Shikoh, written and directed by Shahid Nadeem of the Ajoka Theatre Group in Pakistan.[58]
• Dara Shikoh is the subject of the 2007 play Dara Shikoh, written by Danish Iqbal and staged by, among others, the director M S Sathyu in 2008.[59]
• He is also a character played by Vaquar Sheikh in the 2005 Bollywood film Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story, directed by Akbar Khan.
• Dara Shikoh is the name of the protagonist of Mohsin Hamid's 2000 novel Moth Smoke, which reimagines the story of his trial unfolding in contemporary Pakistan.[60]
• The television series Upanishad Ganga had two episodes titled "Veda – The Source of Dharma 1" and "Veda – The Source of Dharma 2", featuring Dara Shikoh played by actor Zakir Hussain.[61]
• Gopalkrishna Gandhi wrote a play in verse titled Dara Shukoh on his life.[62]
• Bengali Writer Shyamal Gangapadhyay wrote a novel on his life Shahjada Dara Shikoh which received Sahitya Academy Award in 1993.[63]
• Assamese writer and politician, Omeo Kumar Das wrote a book called Dara Shikoh: Jeevan O Sadhana.
• Uzbek writer Hamid Ismailov wrote a novel called A Poet and Bin-Laden the second part of which devoted to the life of Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb.
• An Assamese novel, Kalantarat Shahzada Dara Shikoh, was written by author Nagen Goswami.
• "Dara Shikoh" – a poem by poet Abhay K published in 2014 lamented the fact that there were no streets named after Dara.[64]
• New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) changed Dalhousie Road's name to Dara Shikoh Road on February 6, 2017.[65]
• In 2016 Bharatvarsh TV series, Rohit Purohit played the role of Dara Shikoh.
• In The 2017 novel 1636: Mission to the Mughals he is one of the central characters.
• Ranveer Singh has been cast as Dara Shikoh in the upcoming Karan Johar directorial Takht, stated for a 2020 release.
• Dara Shikoh award awarded by Indo-Iranian society. The award includes a sum of Rs. 1 lakh, a shawl and citation. Sheila Dixit former Delhi CM (1998–2013) was a recipient in 2010.

Full title

Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba, Jalal ul-Kadir, Sultan Muhammad Dara Shikoh, Shah-i-Buland Iqbal

Governorship

Image
Shah Jahan Receiving Dara Shikoh

• Lahore 1635–1636
• Allahabad 1645–1647
• Malwa 1642–1658
• Gujrat 1648
• Multan Kabul 1652–1656
• Bihar 1657–1659

Ancestry

Ancestors of Dara Shikoh


Image

Works

• Writings on Sufism and the lives of awliya (Muslim saints):
o Safinat ul- Awliya
o Sakinat ul-Awliya
o Risaala-i Haq Numa
o Tariqat ul-Haqiqat
o Hasanaat ul-'Aarifin
o Iksir-i 'Azam (Diwan-e-Dara Shikoh)
• Writings of a philosophical and metaphysical nature:
o Majma-ul-Bahrain (The Mingling of Two Oceans)[78]
o So’aal o Jawaab bain-e-Laal Daas wa Dara Shikoh (also called Mukaalama-i Baba Laal Daas wa Dara Shikoh)
o Sirr-e-Akbar (The Great Secret, his translation of the Upanishads in Persian)[79]
o Persian translations of the Yoga Vasishta and Bhagavad Gita.

See also

• Majma-ul-Bahrain
• Mughal–Safavid War (1649–1653)
• Akbar
• Nur Jahan

References

1. The Jahangirnama : memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India. Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in association with Oxford University Press. 1999. p. 461. ISBN 978-0-19-512718-8.
2. Sarkar, Sir Jadunath (1972). Sir Jadunath Sarkar birth centenary commemoration volume: English translation of Tarikh-i-dilkasha (Memoirs of Bhimsen relating to Aurangzib's Deccan campaigns). Dept. of Archives, Maharashtra. p. 28.
3. Awrangābādī, Shāhnavāz Khān; Shāhnavāz, ʻAbd al-Ḥayy ibn; Prashad, Baini (1952). The Maāthir-ul-umarā: being biographies of the Muhammādan and Hindu officers of the Timurid sovereigns of India from 1500 to about 1780 A.D. Asiatic Society. p. 684.
4. Thackeray, Frank W.; editors, John E. Findling (2012). Events that formed the modern world : from the African Renaissance through the War on Terror. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-59884-901-1.
5. Khan, 'Inayat; Begley, Wayne Edison (1990). The Shah Jahan nama of 'Inayat Khan: an abridged history of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, compiled by his royal librarian : the nineteenth-century manuscript translation of A.R. Fuller (British Library, add. 30,777). Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780195624892.
6. Mukhoty, Ira. "Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh's fight for the throne was entwined with the rivalry of their two sisters". Scroll.in.
7. "India was at a crossroads in the mid-seventeenth century; it had the potential of moving forward with Dara Shikoh, or of turning back to medievalism with Aurangzeb".Eraly, Abraham (2004). The Mughal Throne : The Saga of India's Great Emperors. London: Phoenix. p. 336. ISBN 0-7538-1758-6.
"Poor Dara Shikoh!....thy generous heart and enlightened mind had reigned over this vast empire, and made it, perchance, the garden it deserves to be made". William Sleeman (1844), E-text of Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official p.272
8. Dara Shikoh Britannica.com.
9. Dara Shikoh Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia, by Josef W. Meri, Jere L Bacharach. Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0-415-96690-6. Page 195-196.
10. Mehta, Jl (1986). Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 426. ISBN 9788120710153.
11. Nath, Renuka (1990). Notable Mughal and Hindu women in the 16th and 17th centuries A.D. Inter-India Publications. p. 113. ISBN 9788121002417.
12. Khan, 'Inayat; Begley, Wayne Edison (1990). The Shah Jahan nama of 'Inayat Khan: an abridged history of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, compiled by his royal librarian : the nineteenth-century manuscript translation of A.R. Fuller (British Library, add. 30,777). Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 9780195624892.
13. Koch, Ebba (1998). Dara-Shikoh shooting nilgais: hunt and landscape in Mughal painting. Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. p. 43. ISBN 9789998272521.
14. Sarker, Kobita (2007). Shah Jahan and his paradise on earth: the story of Shah Jahan's creations in Agra and Shahjahanabad in the golden days of the Mughals. K.P. Bagchi & Co. p. 187. ISBN 9788170743002.
15. Magill, Frank N. (2013). The 17th and 18th Centuries: Dictionary of World Biography. Routledge. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-135-92414-0.
16. Schimmel, Annemarie; Schimmel (2004). The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture. Reaktion Books. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-86189-185-3. jahangir october 1627.
17. Edgar, Thorpe; Showick, Thorpe. The Pearson General Knowledge Manual 2018 (With Current Affairs & Previous Years' Questions Booklet). p. C.37. ISBN 9789352863525.
18. Sarkar, Sir Jadunath (1972). Sir Jadunath Sarkar birth centenary commemoration volume: English translation of Tarikh-i-dilkasha (Memoirs of Bhimsen relating to Aurangzib's Deccan campaigns). Dept. of Archives, Maharashtra. p. 12.
19. Koch, Ebba (1998). Dara-Shikoh shooting nilgais: hunt and landscape in Mughal painting. Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. p. 7. ISBN 9789998272521.
20. Sarker, Kobita (2007). Shah Jahan and his paradise on earth: the story of Shah Jahan's creations in Agra and Shahjahanabad in the golden days of the Mughals. K.P. Bagchi & Co. p. 80. ISBN 9788170743002.
21. Hansen, Waldemar (September 1986). The peacock throne : the drama of Mogul India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 121. ISBN 9788120802254.
22. Koch, Ebba (1998). Dara-Shikoh shooting nilgais: hunt and landscape in Mughal painting. Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. p. 29. ISBN 9789998272521.
23. Mukhia, Harbans (2009). The Mughals of India. Wiley India Pvt. Limited. p. 124. ISBN 9788126518777.
24. Krieger-Krynicki, Annie (2005). Captive Princess: Zebunissa, Daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb. ISBN 978-0-19-579837-1.
25. Kishori Saran Lal (January 1988). The Mughal harem. Aditya Prakashan. p. 30. ISBN 9788185179032.
26. Sakaki, Kazuyo (1998). Dara Shukoh's Contribution to Philosophy of Religion with Special Reference to his Majma Al-Bahrayn (PDF). OCLC 1012384466.
27. "Dara Shikuh with his army". 17th Century Mughals & Marathas. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
28. Sarkar, Jadunath (1984). A History of Jaipur. New Delhi: Orient Longman. pp. 113–122. ISBN 81-250-0333-9.
29. Eraly, The Mighal Throne : The Saga of India's Great Emperors, cited above, page 364.
30. Hansen, Waldemar (9 September 1986). The Peacock Throne: The Drama of Mogul India. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 9788120802254 – via Google Books.
31. Francois Bernier Travels in the Mogul Empire, AD 1656–1668.
32. Bernier, Francois (9 September 1996). Travels in the Mogul Empire, AD 1656–1668. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120611696 – via Google Books.
33. Chakravarty, Ipsita. "Bad Muslim, good Muslim: Out with Aurangzeb, in with Dara Shikoh". Scroll.in.
34. "The captive heir to the richest throne in the world, the favourite and pampered son of the most magnificent of the Great Mughals, was now clad in a travel-tainted dress of the coarsest cloth, with a dark dingy-coloured turban, such as only the poorest wear, on his head, and no necklace or jewel adorning his person." Sarkar, Jadunath (1962). A Short History of Aurangzib, 1618–1707. Calcutta: M. C. Sarkar and Sons. p. 78.
35. Hansen, Waldemar (1986). The Peacock Throne : The Drama of Mogul India. New Delhi: Orient Book Distributors. pp. 375–377. ISBN 978-81-208-0225-4.
36. Sarkar, Jadunath (9 September 1947). "Maasir-i- Alamgiri (1947)" – via Internet Archive.
37. "Believed to be Inside Humayun's Tomb, Dara Shikoh's Burial Site Set to Make Experts' Panel 'Walk in Dark'".
38. Manucci, Niccolao (1989). Mogul India Or Storia Do Mogor 4 Vols (Vol 1). Set. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors (P) Limited. pp. 356–57. ISBN 817156058X.
39. The Hindu see for example this article in The Hindu.
40. Katz, N. (2000) 'The Identity of a Mystic: The Case of Sa'id Sarmad, a Jewish-Yogi-Sufi Courtier of the Mughals in: Numen 47: 142–160.
41. Dara Shikoh The empire of the great Mughals: history, art and culture, by Annemarie Schimmel, Corinne Attwood, Burzine K. Waghmar. Translated by Corinne Attwood. Published by Reaktion Books, 2004. ISBN 1-86189-185-7. Page 135.
42. Khalid, Haroon. "Lahore's iconic mosque stood witness to two historic moments where tolerance gave way to brutality". Scroll.in.
43. Dr. Amartya Sen notes in his book The Argumentative Indian that it was Dara Shikoh's translation of the Upanishads that attracted William Jones, a Western scholar of Indian literature, to the Upanishads, having read them for the first time in a Persian translation by Dara Shikoh.Sen, Amartya (5 October 2005). The Argumentative Indian.
44. Gyani Brahma Singh 'Brahma', Dara Shikoh – The Prince who turned Sufi in The Sikh Review[permanent dead link]"the reference in Al Qur’an to the hidden books – ummaukund-Kitab – was to the Upanishads, because they contain the essence of unity and they are the secrets which had to be kept hidden, the most ancient books."
45. Arora, Nadeem Naqvisanjeev (20 March 2015). "Prince of peace" – via http://www.thehindu.com.
46. "Emperor's old clothes". Hindustan Times. 12 April 2007.
47. Dara Shikoh's Library, Delhi Archived 11 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine Govt. of Delhi.
48. Nath, Damini (8 February 2017). "Battling time, Dara Shikoh's Library cries out for help" – via http://www.thehindu.com.
49. Dara Shikoh album British Library.
50. Losty, J P (July 2016). "Ascetics and Yogis in Indian Painting: The Mughal and Deccani Tradition": 14.
51. Nadira Banu's tomb A view of Nadira Banu's tomb
52. Mazar Hazrat Mian Mir Archived 2 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine entertaining description of the monument and its history
53. Dara Shikoh Library Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine description of Dara Shikoh library
54. "Ancient Monuments of Kashmir: Plate XII". Kashmiri Overseas Association, Inc. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
55. "Google Image Result for lh4.ggpht.com/_w4GEiBHJ-rc/R_oNe0nuZNI/AAAAAAAAQWI/P08iBhPrYts/Pari+Mahal.jpg". google.co.uk.[permanent dead link]
56. ‘The Trial of Dara Shikoh’ – A Play in Three Acts Text of the play with an Introduction by the author.
57. Published as Akbar Ahmed: Two Plays. London: Saqi Books, 2009. ISBN 978-0-86356-435-2, ‘The Trial of Dara Shikoh’ – A Thought-Provoking Play Archived 15 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine A review of the play.
58. Ajoka’s Dara – an ancient story of modern day proportions Archived 14 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Daily Times (Pakistan), 19 April 2010
59. "For king and country". The Hindu.
60. Hamid, Mohsin. (2000). Moth Smoke. p. 247.
61. "Episode-guide". upanishadganga.com. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
62. "Dara Shukoh". Goodreads. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
63. "Movie Mogul, Maybe". outlookindia.com. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
64. Dara Shikoh and other poems The Caravan, May 1, 2014
65. "Dalhousie Road renamed after Dara Shikoh: Why Hindutva right wingers favour a Mughal prince". 7 February 2017.
66. Kobita Sarker, Shah Jahan and his paradise on earth: the story of Shah Jahan's creations in Agra and Shahjahanabad in the golden days of the Mughals (2007), p. 187
67. Sarker (2007, p. 187)
68. Jl Mehta, Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India (1986), p. 418
69. Mehta (1986, p. 418)
70. Frank W. Thackeray, John E. Findling, Events That Formed the Modern World (2012), p. 254
71. Thackeray, Findling (2012, p. 254)
72. Mehta (1986, p. 374)
73. Soma Mukherjee, Royal Mughal Ladies and Their Contributions (2001), p. 128
74. Mukherjee (2001, p. 128)
75. Subhash Parihar, Some Aspects of Indo-Islamic Architecture (1999), p. 149
76. Shujauddin, Mohammad; Shujauddin, Razia (1967). The Life and Times of Noor Jahan. Caravan Book House. p. 1.
77. Ahmad, Moin-ud-din (1924). The Taj and Its Environments: With 8 Illus. from Photos., 1 Map, and 4 Plans. R. G. Bansal. p. 101.
78. MAJMA' UL BAHARAIN or The Mingling Of Two Oceans, by Prince Muhammad Dara Shikoh, Edited in the Original Persian with English Translation, notes & variants by M.Mahfuz-ul-Haq, published by The Asiatic Society, Kolkata, Bibliotheca Indica Series no. 246, 1st. published 1929. See also this Archived 9 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine book review by Yoginder Sikand, indianmuslims.in.
79. See the section on his Intellectual Pursuits.

Bibliography

• Eraly, Abraham (2004). The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India's Great Emperors. Phoenix, London. ISBN 0753817586.
• Hansen, Waldemar [1986]. The Peacock Throne: The Drama of Mogul India. Orient Book Distributors, New Delhi.
• Mahajan, V.D. (1978). History of Medieval India. S. Chand.
• Sarkar, Jadunath (1984). A History of Jaipur. Orient Longman, New Delhi.
• Sarkar, Jadunath (1962). A Short History of Aurangzib, 1618–1707. M. C. Sarkar and Sons, Calcutta.

External links

• Bernier, Francois Travels in the Mogul Empire, AD 1656–1668
• Gyani Brahma Singh, Dara Shikoh – The Prince who turned Sufi[permanent dead link] in The Sikh Review
• Manucci, Niccolo Storia de Mogor or Mogul Stories''
• Sleeman, William (1844), E-text of Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official
• Srikand, Yoginder Dara Shikoh's Quest for Spiritual Unity
• Dara Shikoh Library
• The Dara Shikoh Album British Museum Online Gallery
• Majmaul Bahrain by Dara Shikoh English translation with original Persian text [1]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 2

Vedanta
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/7/21

I have a larger vision or fantasy of original Indian Buddhism as an ocean with many icebergs, each representing the local textual traditions...of the different parts of the Indian world. Those icebergs are mostly gone...We have the Pali canon...the partial Sanskrit canon...They had a common core but they had many different texts in and around that basic commonality... and... there's no hope of finding them mainly for a simple physical reason, the climate of...India proper is such that organic materials...never last for more than a few hundred years. There are really no really old manuscripts in India proper. You only get the ancient manuscripts from the borderlands of India, in this case Gandhara which has a more moderate climate.

-- One Buddha, 15 Buddhas, 1,000 Buddhas, by Richard Salomon


Fragm. LIV.

Pseudo-Origen, Philosoph, 24, ed. Delarue, Paris, 1733, vol. I. p. 904.

Of the Brahmans and their Philosophy.

(Cf. Fragm. xli., xliv., xlv.)

Of the Brachhmans in India.


There is among the Brachhmans in India a sect of philosophers who adopt an independent life, and abstain from animal food and all victuals cooked by fire, being content to subsist upon fruits, which they do not so much as gather from the trees, but pick up when they have dropped to the ground, and their drink is the water of the river Tagabena. [Probably the Sanskrit Tungavena, now the Tungabhadra, a large affluent of the Krishna.] Throughout life they go about naked, saying that the body has been given by the Deity as a covering for the soul. [Vide Ind. Ant. vol. V. p. 128, note. A doctrine of the Vedanta school of philosophy, according to which the soul is incased as in a sheath, or rather a succession of sheaths. The first or inner case is the intellectual one, composed of the sheer and simple elements uncombined, and consisting of the intellect joined with the live senses. The second is the mental sheath, in which mind is joined with the preceding, or, as some hold, with the organs of action. The third comprises these organs and the vital faculties, and is called the organic or vital case. These three sheaths (kosa) constitute the subtle frame which attends the soul in its transmigrations. The exterior case is composed of the coarse elements combined in certain proportions, and is called the gross body. See Colebrooke's Essay on the Philosophy of the Hindus, Cowell's ed. pp. 395-6.]

They hold that God is light, [The affinity between God and light is the burden of the Gayatri or holiest verse of the Veda.] but not such light as we see with the eye, nor such as the sun or fire, but God is with them the Word, — by which term they do not mean articulate speech, but the discourse of reason, whereby the hidden mysteries of knowledge are discerned by the wise. This light, however, which they call the Word, and think to be God, is, they say, known only by the Brachhmans themselves, because they alone have discarded vanity, which is the outermost covering of the soul. [[x], which probably translates ahankara, literally 'egotism,' and hence 'self-consciousness,' the peculiar and appropriate function of which is selfish conviction; that is, a belief that in perception and meditation 'I' am concerned; that the objects of sense concern Me — in short, that I AM. The knowledge, however, which comes from comprehending that Being which has self-existence completely destroys the ignorance which says 'I am.']

The members of this sect regard death with contemptuous indifference, and, as we have seen already, they always pronounce the name of the Deity with a tone of peculiar reverence, and adore him with hymns. They neither have wives nor beget children. Persons who desire to lead a life like theirs cross over from the other side of the river, and remain with them for good, never returning to their own country. These also are called Brachhmans, although they do not follow the same mode of life, for there are women in the country, from whom the native inhabitants are sprung, and of these women they beget offspring. With regard to the Word, which they call God, they hold that it is corporeal, and that it wears the body as its external covering, just as one wears the woollen surcoat, and that when it divests itself of the body with which it is enwrapped it becomes manifest to the eye. There is war, the Brachhmans hold, in the body wherewith they are clothed, and they regard the body as being the fruitful source of wars, and, as we have already shown, fight against it like soldiers in battle contending against the enemy. They maintain, moreover, that all men are held in bondage, like prisoners of war, [Compare Plato, Phaedo, cap. 32, where Sokrates speaks of the soul as at present confined in the body as in a species of prison. This was a doctrine of the Pythagoreans, whose philosophy, even in its most striking peculiarities, bears such a close resemblance to the Indian as greatly to favour the supposition that it was directly borrowed from it. There was even a tradition that Pythagoras had visited India.] to their own innate enemies, the sensual appetites, gluttony, anger, joy, grief, longing desire, and such like, while it is only the man who has triumphed over these enemies who goes to God. Dandamis accordingly, to whom Alexander the Makedonian paid a visit, is spoken of by the Brachhmans as a god because he conquered in the warfare against the body, and on the other hand they condemn Kalanos as one who had impiously apostatized from their philosophy. The Brachhmans, therefore, when they have shuffled off the body, see the pure sunlight as fish see it when they spring up out of the water into the air.

-- Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian; Being a Translation of the Fragments of the Indika of Megasthenes Collected by Dr. Schwanbeck, and of the First Part of the Indika of Arrian, by J.W. McCrindle, M.A.


Highlights:

Literally meaning "end of the Vedas", Vedanta reflects ideas that emerged from, or were aligned with, the speculations and philosophies contained in the Upanishads...

The main traditions of Vedanta...except Advaita Vedanta and Neo-Vedanta, are related to Vaishavism [Vishnu as the Supreme Lord.] and emphasize devotion, regarding Vishnu or Krishna or a related manifestation, to be the highest Reality. While Advaita Vedanta attracted considerable attention in the West due to the influence of Hindu modernists like Swami Vivekananda, most of the other Vedanta traditions are seen as discourses articulating a form of Vaishnav theology....

The word Vedanta literally means the end of the Vedas and originally referred to the Upanishads. Vedanta is concerned with the jñānakāṇḍa or knowledge section of the vedas which is called the Upanishads...

The Upanishads may be regarded as the end of Vedas in different senses:

1. These were the last literary products of the Vedic period.
2. These mark the culmination of Vedic thought.
3. These were taught and debated last, in the Brahmacharya (student) stage...

Despite their differences, all schools of Vedanta share some common features...

• The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras constitute the basis of Vedanta...
• Rejection of Buddhism and Jainism and conclusions of the other Vedic schools (Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, and, to some extent, the Purva Mimamsa.)...

The Brahma Sutras attempted to synthesize the teachings of the Upanishads...

Shankara, in formulating Advaita, talks of two conceptions of Brahman: The higher Brahman as undifferentiated Being, and a lower Brahman endowed with qualities as the creator of the universe...

The Upanishads present an associative philosophical inquiry in the form of identifying various doctrines and then presenting arguments for or against them...

The notion of "inconceivability" (acintyatva) is used to reconcile apparently contradictory notions in Upanishadic teachings...He is all-pervading and thus in all parts of the universe (non-difference), yet he is inconceivably more (difference)...

Little is known of schools of Vedanta existing before the composition of the Brahma Sutras (400–450 CE)...

Though attributed to Badarayana, the Brahma Sutras were likely composed by multiple authors over the course of hundreds of years. The estimates on when the Brahma Sutras were complete vary...

[T]he cryptic nature of aphorisms of the Brahma Sutras have required exegetical commentaries.[109] These commentaries have resulted in the formation of numerous Vedanta schools, each interpreting the texts in its own way and producing its own commentary...

Little with specificity is known of the period between the Brahma Sutras (5th century CE) and Adi Shankara (8th century CE). Only two writings of this period have survived...

Early Vaishnava Vedanta retains the tradition of bhedabheda, equating Brahman with Vishnu or Krishna...

Dvaita Vedanta was propounded by Madhvacharya (1238–1317 CE). He presented the opposite interpretation of Shankara in his Dvaita, or dualistic system. In contrast to Shankara's non-dualism and Ramanuja's qualified non-dualism, he championed unqualified dualism...

Neo-Vedanta, variously called as "Hindu modernism", "neo-Hinduism", and "neo-Advaita", is a term that denotes some novel interpretations of Hinduism that developed in the 19th century, presumably as a reaction to the colonial British rule. King (2002, pp. 129–135) writes that these notions accorded the Hindu nationalists an opportunity to attempt the construction of a nationalist ideology to help unite the Hindus to fight colonial oppression. Western orientalists, in their search for its "essence", attempted to formulate a notion of "Hinduism" based on a single interpretation of Vedanta as a unified body of religious praxis. This was contra-factual as, historically, Hinduism and Vedanta had always accepted a diversity of traditions...

The neo-Vedantins argued that the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy were perspectives on a single truth, all valid and complementary to each other. Halbfass (2007, p. 307) sees these interpretations as incorporating western ideas into traditional systems, especially Advaita Vedanta. It is the modern form of Advaita Vedanta, states King (1999, p. 135), the neo-Vedantists subsumed the Buddhist philosophies as part of the Vedanta tradition and then argued that all the world religions are same "non-dualistic position as the philosophia perennis", ignoring the differences within and outside of Hinduism...

Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Aurobindo have been labeled neo-Vedantists (the latter called it realistic Advaita), a view of Vedanta that rejects the Advaitins' idea that the world is illusory. As Aurobindo phrased it, philosophers need to move from 'universal illusionism' to 'universal realism', in the strict philosophical sense of assuming the world to be fully real.

A major proponent in the popularization of this Universalist and Perennialist interpretation of Advaita Vedanta was Vivekananda, who played a major role in the revival of Hinduism. He was also instrumental in the spread of Advaita Vedanta to the West ...

Matilal criticizes Neo-Hinduism as an oddity developed by West-inspired Western Indologists and attributes it to the flawed Western perception of Hinduism in modern India. In his scathing criticism of this school of reasoning, Matilal (2002, pp. 403–404) says:

The so-called 'traditional' outlook is in fact a construction...

The influence of Vedanta is prominent in the sacred literatures of Hinduism, such as the various Puranas, Samhitas, Agamas and Tantras...

Gavin Flood states, "... the most influential school of theology in India has been Vedanta, exerting enormous influence on all religious traditions and becoming the central ideology of the Hindu renaissance in the nineteenth century. It has become the philosophical paradigm of Hinduism 'par excellence'."...

While the Bhairava Shastras are monistic, Shiva Shastras are dualistic...

Arthur Schopenhauer, who called them the consolation of his life. He drew explicit parallels between his philosophy, as set out in The World as Will and Representation, and that of the Vedanta philosophy as described in the work of Sir William Jones...

German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstücker was among the early scholars to notice similarities between the religious conceptions of the Vedanta and those of the Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza, writing that Spinoza's thought was "... so exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus, did his biography not satisfy us that he was wholly unacquainted with their doctrines"...

Max Müller noted the striking similarities between Vedanta and the system of Spinoza, saying, "The Brahman, as conceived in the Upanishads and defined by Sankara, is clearly the same as Spinoza's 'Substantia'."

Helena Blavatsky, a founder of the Theosophical Society, also compared Spinoza's religious thought to Vedanta, writing in an unfinished essay, "As to Spinoza's Deity...it is the Vedantic Deity pure and simple."


-- Vedanta, by Wikipedia


Vedanta (/vɪˈdɑːntə/; Sanskrit: वेदान्त, IAST: Vedānta; also Uttara Mīmāṃsā) is one of the six (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy. Literally meaning "end of the Vedas", Vedanta reflects ideas that emerged from, or were aligned with, the speculations and philosophies contained in the Upanishads, specifically, knowledge and liberation. Vedanta contains many sub-traditions on basis of a common textual connection called the Prasthanatrayi: the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.

All Vedanta schools, in their deliberations, concern themselves with, but differ in their views regarding, ontology, soteriology and epistemology.[1][2] The main traditions of Vedanta are:[3]

1. Bhedabheda (difference and non-difference), as early as the 7th century CE,[4] or even the 4th century CE.[5] Some scholars are inclined to consider it as a "tradition" rather than a school of Vedanta.[4]
o Dvaitādvaita or Svabhavikabhedabheda (dualistic non-dualism), founded by Nimbarka[6] in the 7th century CE[7][8]
o Achintya Bheda Abheda (inconceivable one-ness and difference), founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534 CE),[9] propagated by Gaudiya Vaishnava
2. Advaita (monistic), most prominent Gaudapada (~500 CE)[10] and Adi Shankaracharya (8th century CE)[11]
3. Vishishtadvaita (qualified monism), prominent scholars are Nathamuni, Yāmuna and Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE)
4. Dvaita (dualism), founded by Madhvacharya (1199–1278 CE)
5. Suddhadvaita (purely non-dual), founded by Vallabha[6] (1479–1531 CE)

Modern developments in Vedanta include Neo-Vedanta,[12][13][14] and the growth of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya.[15] All of these schools, except Advaita Vedanta and Neo-Vedanta, are related to Vaishavism [Vishnu as the Supreme Lord.] and emphasize devotion, regarding Vishnu or Krishna or a related manifestation, to be the highest Reality.[16][17] While Advaita Vedanta attracted considerable attention in the West due to the influence of Hindu modernists like Swami Vivekananda, most of the other Vedanta traditions are seen as discourses articulating a form of Vaishnav theology.[18]

Etymology and nomenclature

The word Vedanta is made of two words :

• Veda (वेद) - refers to the four sacred vedic texts.
• Anta (अंत) - this word means "End".

The word Vedanta literally means the end of the Vedas and originally referred to the Upanishads.[19][20] Vedanta is concerned with the jñānakāṇḍa or knowledge section of the vedas which is called the Upanishads.[21][22] The denotation of Vedanta subsequently widened to include the various philosophical traditions based on to the Prasthanatrayi.[19][23]

The Upanishads may be regarded as the end of Vedas in different senses:[24]

1. These were the last literary products of the Vedic period.
2. These mark the culmination of Vedic thought.
3. These were taught and debated last, in the Brahmacharya (student) stage.[19][25]


Vedanta is one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Indian philosophy.[20] It is also called Uttara Mīmāṃsā, which means the 'latter enquiry' or 'higher enquiry'; and is often contrasted with Pūrva Mīmāṃsā, the 'former enquiry' or 'primary enquiry'. Pūrva Mīmāṃsā deals with the karmakāṇḍa or ritualistic section (the Samhita and Brahmanas) in the Vedas.[26][27][a]

Vedanta philosophy

Common features


Despite their differences, all schools of Vedanta share some common features:

• Vedanta is the pursuit of knowledge into the Brahman and the Ātman.[29]
The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras constitute the basis of Vedanta, providing reliable sources of knowledge (Sruti Śabda in Pramana);[30]
• Brahman, c.q. Ishvara (God, Vishnu), exists as the unchanging material cause and instrumental cause of the world. The only exception here is that Dvaita Vedanta does not hold Brahman to be the material cause, but only the efficient cause.[31]
• The self (Ātman/Jiva) is the agent of its own acts (karma) and the recipient of the consequences of these actions.[32]
• Belief in rebirth and the desirability of release from the cycle of rebirths, (mokṣa).[32]
Rejection of Buddhism and Jainism and conclusions of the other Vedic schools (Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, and, to some extent, the Purva Mimamsa.)[32]

Prasthanatrayi (the Three Sources)

The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras constitute the basis of Vedanta. All schools of Vedanta propound their philosophy by interpreting these texts, collectively called the Prasthanatrayi, literally, three sources.[21][33]

1. The Upanishads,[ b] or Śruti prasthāna; considered the Sruti, the "heard" (and repeated) foundation of Vedanta.
2. The Brahma Sutras, or Nyaya prasthana / Yukti prasthana; considered the reason-based foundation of Vedanta.
3. The Bhagavad Gita, or Smriti prasthāna; considered the Smriti (remembered tradition) foundation of Vedanta.

The Brahma Sutras attempted to synthesize the teachings of the Upanishads. The diversity in the teaching of the Upanishads necessitated the systematization of these teachings. This was likely done in many ways in ancient India, but the only surviving version of this synthesis is the Brahma Sutras of Badarayana.[21]

All major Vedantic teachers, including Shankara, Bhaskara, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Vallabha, and Madhva have composed commentaries not only on the Upanishads and Brahma Sutras, but also on the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita, due to its syncretism of Samkhya, Yoga, and Upanishadic thought, has played a major role in Vedantic thought.[35]

Metaphysics

Vedanta philosophies discuss three fundamental metaphysical categories and the relations between the three.[21][36]

1. Brahman or Ishvara: the ultimate reality[37]
2. Ātman or Jivātman: the individual soul, self[38]
3. Prakriti/Jagat:[6] the empirical world, ever-changing physical universe, body and matter[39]

Brahman / Ishvara – Conceptions of the Supreme Reality

Shankara, in formulating Advaita, talks of two conceptions of Brahman: The higher Brahman as undifferentiated Being, and a lower Brahman endowed with qualities as the creator of the universe.[40]

• Parā or Higher Brahman: The undifferentiated, absolute, infinite, transcendental, supra-relational Brahman beyond all thought and speech is defined as parā Brahman, nirviśeṣa Brahman or nirguṇa Brahman and is the Absolute of metaphysics.
• Aparā or Lower Brahman: The Brahman with qualities defined as aparā Brahman or saguṇa Brahman. The saguṇa Brahman is endowed with attributes and represents the personal God of religion.

Ramanuja, in formulating Vishishtadvaita Vedanta, rejects nirguṇa – that the undifferentiated Absolute is inconceivable – and adopts a theistic interpretation of the Upanishads, accepts Brahman as Ishvara, the personal God who is the seat of all auspicious attributes, as the One reality. The God of Vishishtadvaita is accessible to the devotee, yet remains the Absolute, with differentiated attributes.[41]

Madhva, in expounding Dvaita philosophy, maintains that Vishnu is the supreme God, thus identifying the Brahman, or absolute reality, of the Upanishads with a personal god, as Ramanuja had done before him.[42][43] Nimbarka, in his dvaitadvata philosophy, accepted the Brahman both as nirguṇa and as saguṇa. Vallabha, in his shuddhadvaita philosophy, not only accepts the triple ontological essence of the Brahman, but also His manifestation as personal God (Ishvara), as matter and as individual souls.[44]

Relation between Brahman and Jiva / Atman

The schools of Vedanta differ in their conception of the relation they see between Ātman / Jivātman and Brahman / Ishvara:[45]

• According to Advaita Vedanta, Ātman is identical with Brahman and there is no difference.[46]
• According to Vishishtadvaita, Jīvātman is different from Ishvara, though eternally connected with Him as His mode.[47] The oneness of the Supreme Reality is understood in the sense of an organic unity (vishistaikya). Brahman / Ishvara alone, as organically related to all Jīvātman and the material universe is the one Ultimate Reality.[48]
• According to Dvaita, the Jīvātman is totally and always different from Brahman / Ishvara.[49]
• According to Shuddhadvaita (pure monism), the Jīvātman and Brahman are identical; both, along with the changing empirically-observed universe being Krishna.[50]

Image
Epistemology in Dvaita and Vishishtadvaita Vedanta. Advaita and some other Vedanta schools recognize six epistemic means.

Epistemology

Main article: Pramana

Pramana

Pramāṇa (Sanskrit: प्रमाण) literally means "proof", "that which is the means of valid knowledge".[51] It refers to epistemology in Indian philosophies, and encompasses the study of reliable and valid means by which human beings gain accurate, true knowledge.[52] The focus of Pramana is the manner in which correct knowledge can be acquired, how one knows or does not know, and to what extent knowledge pertinent about someone or something can be acquired.[53] Ancient and medieval Indian texts identify six[c] pramanas as correct means of accurate knowledge and truths:[54]

1. Pratyakṣa (perception)
2. Anumāṇa (inference)
3. Upamāṇa (comparison and analogy)
4. Arthāpatti (postulation, derivation from circumstances)
5. Anupalabdi (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof)
6. Śabda (scriptural testimony/ verbal testimony of past or present reliable experts).

The different schools of Vedanta have historically disagreed as to which of the six are epistemologically valid. For example, while Advaita Vedanta accepts all six pramanas,[55] Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita accept only three pramanas (perception, inference and testimony).[56]

Advaita considers Pratyakṣa (perception) as the most reliable source of knowledge, and Śabda, the scriptural evidence, is considered secondary except for matters related to Brahman, where it is the only evidence.[57][d] In Vishistadvaita and Dvaita, Śabda, the scriptural testimony, is considered the most authentic means of knowledge instead.[58]

Theories of cause and effect

All schools of Vedanta subscribe to the theory of Satkāryavāda,[4] which means that the effect is pre-existent in the cause. But there are two different views on the status of the "effect", that is, the world. Most schools of Vedanta, as well as Samkhya, support Parinamavada, the idea that the world is a real transformation (parinama) of Brahman.[59] According to Nicholson (2010, p. 27), "the Brahma Sutras espouse the realist Parinamavada position, which appears to have been the view most common among early Vedantins". In contrast to Badarayana, Adi Shankara and Advaita Vedantists hold a different view, Vivartavada, which says that the effect, the world, is merely an unreal (vivarta) transformation of its cause, Brahman.[e]

Overview of the main schools of Vedanta

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Shankaracharya

The Upanishads present an associative philosophical inquiry in the form of identifying various doctrines and then presenting arguments for or against them. They form the basic texts and Vedanta interprets them through rigorous philosophical exegesis to defend the point of view of their specific sampradaya.[60][61] Varying interpretations of the Upanishads and their synthesis, the Brahma Sutras, led to the development of different schools of Vedanta over time.

According to Gavin Flood, while Advaita Vedanta is the "most famous" school of Vedanta, and "often, mistakenly, taken to be the only representative of Vedantic thought,"[1] and Shankara a Saivite,[62] "Vedanta is essentially a Vaisnava theological articulation,"[63] a discourse broadly within the parameters of Vaisnavism."[62] Within the Vaishnava traditions four sampradays have special status,[2] while different scholars have classified the Vedanta schools ranging from three to six[19][45][6][64][3][f] as prominent ones.[g]

1. Bhedabheda, as early as the 7th century CE,[4] or even the 4th century CE.[5] Some scholars are inclined to consider it as a "tradition" rather than a school of Vedanta.[4]
o Dvaitādvaita or Svabhavikabhedabheda (Vaishnava), founded by Nimbarka[6] in the 7th century CE[7][8]
o Achintya Bheda Abheda (Vaishnava), founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534 CE),[9] propagated by Gaudiya Vaishnava
2. Advaita (monistic), many scholars of which most prominent are Gaudapada (~500 CE)[10] and Adi Shankaracharya (8th century CE)[11]
3. Vishishtadvaita (Vaishnava), prominent scholars are Nathamuni, Yāmuna and Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE)
4. Dvaita (Vaishnava), founded by Madhvacharya (1199–1278 CE)
5. Suddhadvaita (Vaishnava), founded by Vallabha[6] (1479–1531 CE)
6. Akshar-Purushottam Darshan, based on the teachings of Swaminarayan (1781-1830 CE) and propagated most nottably by BAPS[66][67][68][69]

Bhedabheda (difference and non-difference)

Main article: Bhedabheda

Bhedābheda means "difference and non-difference" and is more a tradition than a school of Vedanta. The schools of this tradition emphasize that the individual self (Jīvatman) is both different and not different from Brahman.[4] Notable figures in this school are Bhartriprapancha, Nimbārka (7th century)[7][8] who founded the Dvaitadvaita school, Bhāskara (8th–9th century), Ramanuja's teacher Yādavaprakāśa, Caitanya (1486–1534) who founded the Achintya Bheda Abheda school, and Vijñānabhikṣu (16th century).[70][h]

Dvaitādvaita

Image
Nimbarkacharya's icon at Ukhra, West Bengal

Main article: Dvaitadvaita

Nimbārka (7th century)[7][8] sometimes identified with Bhāskara,[71] propounded Dvaitādvaita.[72] Brahman (God), souls (chit) and matter or the universe (achit) are considered as three equally real and co-eternal realities. Brahman is the controller (niyanta), the soul is the enjoyer (bhokta), and the material universe is the object enjoyed (bhogya). The Brahman is Krishna, the ultimate cause who is omniscient, omnipotent, all-pervading Being. He is the efficient cause of the universe because, as Lord of Karma and internal ruler of souls, He brings about creation so that the souls can reap the consequences of their karma. God is considered to be the material cause of the universe because creation was a manifestation of His powers of soul (chit) and matter (achit); creation is a transformation (parinama) of God's powers. He can be realized only through a constant effort to merge oneself with His nature through meditation and devotion. [72]

Achintya-Bheda-Abheda

Image
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Main article: Achintya Bhedabheda

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 – 1533) was the prime exponent of Achintya-Bheda-Abheda.[73] In Sanskrit achintya means 'inconceivable'.[74] Achintya-Bheda-Abheda represents the philosophy of "inconceivable difference in non-difference",[75] in relation to the non-dual reality of Brahman-Atman which it calls (Krishna), svayam bhagavan.[76] The notion of "inconceivability" (acintyatva) is used to reconcile apparently contradictory notions in Upanishadic teachings. This school asserts that Krishna is Bhagavan of the bhakti yogins, the Brahman of the jnana yogins, and has a divine potency that is inconceivable. He is all-pervading and thus in all parts of the universe (non-difference), yet he is inconceivably more (difference). This school is at the foundation of the Gaudiya Vaishnava religious tradition.[75]

Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism)

Main article: Advaita Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta (IAST Advaita Vedānta; Sanskrit: अद्वैत वेदान्त), propounded by Gaudapada (7th century) and Adi Shankara (8th century), espouses non-dualism and monism. Brahman is held to be the sole unchanging metaphysical reality and identical to the individual Atman.[43] The physical world, on the other hand, is always-changing empirical Maya.[77][ i] The absolute and infinite Atman-Brahman is realized by a process of negating everything relative, finite, empirical and changing.[78]

The school accepts no duality, no limited individual souls (Atman / Jivatman), and no separate unlimited cosmic soul. All souls and their existence across space and time are considered to be the same oneness. [79] Spiritual liberation in Advaita is the full comprehension and realization of oneness, that one's unchanging Atman (soul) is the same as the Atman in everyone else, as well as being identical to Brahman.[80]

Vishishtadvaita (qualified non-dualism)

Image
Ramanujacharya depicted with Vaishnava Tilaka and Vishnu statue.

Main article: Vishishtadvaita

Vishishtadvaita, propounded by Ramanuja (11–12th century), asserts that Jivatman (human souls) and Brahman (as Vishnu) are different, a difference that is never transcended.[81][82] With this qualification, Ramanuja also affirmed monism by saying that there is unity of all souls and that the individual soul has the potential to realize identity with the Brahman.[83] Vishishtadvaita, like Advaita, is a non-dualistic school of Vedanta in a qualified way, and both begin by assuming that all souls can hope for and achieve the state of blissful liberation.[84] On the relation between the Brahman and the world of matter (Prakriti), Vishishtadvaita states both are two different absolutes, both metaphysically true and real, neither is false or illusive, and that saguna Brahman with attributes is also real.[85] Ramanuja states that God, like man, has both soul and body, and the world of matter is the glory of God's body.[86] The path to Brahman (Vishnu), according to Ramanuja, is devotion to godliness and constant remembrance of the beauty and love of the personal god (bhakti of saguna Brahman).[87]

Dvaita (dualism)

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Madhvacharya

Main article: Dvaita

Dvaita, propounded by Madhvacharya (13th century), is based on the premise of dualism. Atman (soul) and Brahman (as Vishnu) are understood as two completely different entities.[88] Brahman is the creator of the universe, perfect in knowledge, perfect in knowing, perfect in its power, and distinct from souls, distinct from matter.[89] [j] In Dvaita Vedanta, an individual soul must feel attraction, love, attachment and complete devotional surrender to Vishnu for salvation, and it is only His grace that leads to redemption and salvation.[92] Madhva believed that some souls are eternally doomed and damned, a view not found in Advaita and Vishishtadvaita Vedanta.[93] While the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta asserted "qualitative monism and quantitative pluralism of souls", Madhva asserted both "qualitative and quantitative pluralism of souls".[94]

Shuddhādvaita (pure nondualism)

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Vallabhacharya

Main articles: Shuddhadvaita and Pushtimarg

Shuddhadvaita (pure non-dualism), propounded by Vallabhacharya (1479–1531 CE), states that the entire universe is real and is subtly Brahman only in the form of Krishna.[50] Vallabhacharya agreed with Advaita Vedanta's ontology, but emphasized that prakriti (empirical world, body) is not separate from the Brahman, but just another manifestation of the latter.[50] Everything, everyone, everywhere – soul and body, living and non-living, jiva and matter – is the eternal Krishna.[95] The way to Krishna, in this school, is bhakti. Vallabha opposed renunciation of monistic sannyasa as ineffective and advocates the path of devotion (bhakti) rather than knowledge (jnana). The goal of bhakti is to turn away from ego, self-centered-ness and deception, and to turn towards the eternal Krishna in everything continually offering freedom from samsara.[50]

History

The history of Vedanta can be divided into two periods: one prior to the composition of the Brahma Sutras and the other encompassing the schools that developed after the Brahma Sutras were written.

Before the Brahma Sutras (before the 5th century)

Little is known[96] of schools of Vedanta existing before the composition of the Brahma Sutras (400–450 CE).[97][5][k] It is clear that Badarayana, the writer of Brahma Sutras, was not the first person to systematize the teachings of the Upanishads, as he quotes six Vedantic teachers before him – Ashmarathya, Badari, Audulomi, Kashakrtsna, Karsnajini and Atreya.[99][100] References to other early Vedanta teachers – Brahmadatta, Sundara, Pandaya, Tanka and Dravidacharya – are found in secondary literature of later periods.[101] The works of these ancient teachers have not survived, but based on the quotes attributed to them in later literature, Sharma postulates that Ashmarathya and Audulomi were Bhedabheda scholars, Kashakrtsna and Brahmadatta were Advaita scholars, while Tanka and Dravidacharya were either Advaita or Vishistadvaita scholars.[100]

Brahma Sutras (completed in the 5th century)

Main article: Brahma Sutras

Badarayana summarized and interpreted teachings of the Upanishads in the Brahma Sutras, also called the Vedanta Sutra,[102][l] possibly "written from a Bhedābheda Vedāntic viewpoint."[4] Badarayana summarized the teachings of the classical Upanishads[103][104][m] and refuted the rival philosophical schools in ancient India. Nicholson 2010, p. 26 The Brahma Sutras laid the basis for the development of Vedanta philosophy.[105]

Though attributed to Badarayana, the Brahma Sutras were likely composed by multiple authors over the course of hundreds of years.[5] The estimates on when the Brahma Sutras were complete vary,[106][107] with Nakamura in 1989 and Nicholson in his 2013 review stating, that they were most likely compiled in the present form around 400–450 CE.[97][n] Isaeva suggests they were complete and in current form by 200 CE,[108] while Nakamura states that "the great part of the Sutra must have been in existence much earlier than that."[107]

The book is composed of four chapters, each divided into four-quarters or sections.[21] These sutras attempt to synthesize the diverse teachings of the Upanishads. However, the cryptic nature of aphorisms of the Brahma Sutras have required exegetical commentaries.[109] These commentaries have resulted in the formation of numerous Vedanta schools, each interpreting the texts in its own way and producing its own commentary.[110]

Between the Brahma Sutras and Adi Shankara (5th–8th centuries)

See also: Vedas, Upanishads, and Darsanas

Little with specificity is known of the period between the Brahma Sutras (5th century CE) and Adi Shankara (8th century CE).[96][11] Only two writings of this period have survived: the Vākyapadīya, written by Bhartṛhari (second half 5th century,[111]) and the Kārikā written by Gaudapada (early 6th[11] or 7th century[96] CE).

Shankara mentions 99 different predecessors of his school in his commentaries.[112] A number of important early Vedanta thinkers have been listed in the Siddhitraya by Yamunācārya (c. 1050), the Vedārthasamgraha by Rāmānuja (c. 1050–1157), and the Yatīndramatadīpikā by Śrīnivāsa Dāsa.[96] At least fourteen thinkers are known to have existed between the composition of the Brahma Sutras and Shankara's lifetime.[o]

A noted scholar of this period was Bhartriprapancha. Bhartriprapancha maintained that the Brahman is one and there is unity, but that this unity has varieties. Scholars see Bhartriprapancha as an early philosopher in the line who teach the tenet of Bhedabheda.[21]

Gaudapada, Adi Shankara (Advaita Vedanta) (6th–9th centuries)

Main articles: Advaita Vedanta and Gaudapada

Influenced by Buddhism, Advaita vedanta departs from the bhedabheda-philosophy, instead postulating the identity of Atman with the Whole (Brahman),

Gaudapada

Gaudapada (c. 6th century CE),[113] was the teacher or a more distant predecessor of Govindapada,[114] the teacher of Adi Shankara. Shankara is widely considered as the apostle of Advaita Vedanta.[45] Gaudapada's treatise, the Kārikā – also known as the Māṇḍukya Kārikā or the Āgama Śāstra[115] – is the earliest surviving complete text on Advaita Vedanta.[p]

Gaudapada's Kārikā relied on the Mandukya, Brihadaranyaka and Chhandogya Upanishads.[119] In the Kārikā, Advaita (non-dualism) is established on rational grounds (upapatti) independent of scriptural revelation; its arguments are devoid of all religious, mystical or scholastic elements. Scholars are divided on a possible influence of Buddhism on Gaudapada's philosophy.[q] The fact that Shankara, in addition to the Brahma Sutras, the principal Upanishads and the Bhagvad Gita, wrote an independent commentary on the Kārikā proves its importance in Vedāntic literature.[120]

Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara (788–820), elaborated on Gaudapada's work and more ancient scholarship to write detailed commentaries on the Prasthanatrayi and the Kārikā. The Mandukya Upanishad and the Kārikā have been described by Shankara as containing "the epitome of the substance of the import of Vedanta".[120] It was Shankara who integrated Gaudapada work with the ancient Brahma Sutras, "and give it a locus classicus" alongside the realistic strain of the Brahma Sutras.[121][r] His interpretation, including works ascribed to him, has become the normative interpretation of Advaita Vedanta.[122][s]

A noted contemporary of Shankara was Maṇḍana Miśra, who regarded Mimamsa and Vedanta as forming a single system and advocated their combination known as Karma-jnana-samuchchaya-vada.[125][t] The treatise on the differences between the Vedanta school and the Mimamsa school was a contribution of Adi Shankara. Advaita Vedanta rejects rituals in favor of renunciation, for example.[126]

Early Vaishnavism Vedanta (7th–9th centuries)

Early Vaishnava Vedanta retains the tradition of bhedabheda, equating Brahman with Vishnu or Krishna.

Nimbārka and Dvaitādvaita

Main article: Dvaitadvaita

Nimbārka (7th century)[7][8] sometimes identified with Bhāskara,[71] propounded Dvaitādvaita Bhedābheda.[72]

Bhāskara and Upadhika

Bhāskara (8th–9th century) also taught Bhedabheda. In postulating Upadhika, he considers both identity and difference to be equally real. As the causal principle, Brahman is considered non-dual and formless pure being and intelligence.[127] The same Brahman, manifest as events, becomes the world of plurality. Jīva is Brahman limited by the mind. Matter and its limitations are considered real, not a manifestation of ignorance. Bhaskara advocated bhakti as dhyana (meditation) directed toward the transcendental Brahman. He refuted the idea of Maya and denied the possibility of liberation in bodily existence.[128]

Vaishnavism Bhakti Vedanta (12th–16th centuries)

Main articles: Vaishnavism and Bhakti

See also: Bhakti movement

The Bhakti movement of late medieval Hinduism started in the 7th-century, but rapidly expanded after the 12th-century.[129] It was supported by the Puranic literature such as the Bhagavata Purana, poetic works, as well as many scholarly bhasyas and samhitas.[130][131][132]

This period saw the growth of Vashnavism Sampradayas (denominations or communities) under the influence of scholars such as Ramanujacharya, Vedanta Desika, Madhvacharya and Vallabhacharya.[133] Bhakti poets or teachers such as Manavala Mamunigal, Namdev, Ramananda, Surdas, Tulsidas, Eknath, Tyagaraja, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and many others influenced the expansion of Vaishnavism.[134] These Vaishnavism sampradaya founders challenged the then dominant Shankara's doctrines of Advaita Vedanta, particularly Ramanuja in the 12th century, Vedanta Desika and Madhva in the 13th, building their theology on the devotional tradition of the Alvars (Shri Vaishnavas),[135] and Vallabhacharya in the 16th century.

In North and Eastern India, Vaishnavism gave rise to various late Medieval movements: Ramananda in the 14th century, Sankaradeva in the 15th and Vallabha and Chaitanya in the 16th century.

Ramanuja (Vishishtadvaita Vedanta) (11th–12th centuries)

Rāmānuja (1017–1137 CE) was the most influential philosopher in the Vishishtadvaita tradition. As the philosophical architect of Vishishtadvaita, he taught qualified non-dualism.[136] Ramanuja's teacher, Yadava Prakasha, followed the Advaita monastic tradition. Tradition has it that Ramanuja disagreed with Yadava and Advaita Vedanta, and instead followed Nathamuni and Yāmuna. Ramanuja reconciled the Prasthanatrayi with the theism and philosophy of the Vaishnava Alvars poet-saints.[137] Ramanuja wrote a number of influential texts, such as a bhasya on the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, all in Sanskrit.[138]

Ramanuja presented the epistemological and soteriological importance of bhakti, or the devotion to a personal God (Vishnu in Ramanuja's case) as a means to spiritual liberation. His theories assert that there exists a plurality and distinction between Atman (souls) and Brahman (metaphysical, ultimate reality), while he also affirmed that there is unity of all souls and that the individual soul has the potential to realize identity with the Brahman.[83] Vishishtadvaiata provides the philosophical basis of Sri Vaishnavism.[139]

Ramanuja was influential in integrating Bhakti, the devotional worship, into Vedanta premises.[140]

Madhva (Dvaita Vedanta)(13th–14th centuries)

Dvaita Vedanta was propounded by Madhvacharya (1238–1317 CE).[u] He presented the opposite interpretation of Shankara in his Dvaita, or dualistic system.[143] In contrast to Shankara's non-dualism and Ramanuja's qualified non-dualism, he championed unqualified dualism. Madhva wrote commentaries on the chief Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutra.[144]

Madhva started his Vedic studies at age seven, joined an Advaita Vedanta monastery in Dwarka (Gujarat),[145] studied under guru Achyutrapreksha,[146] frequently disagreed with him, left the Advaita monastery, and founded Dvaita.[147] Madhva and his followers Jayatirtha and Vyasatirtha, were critical of all competing Hindu philosophies, Jainism and Buddhism,[148] but particularly intense in their criticism of Advaita Vedanta and Adi Shankara.[149]

Dvaita Vedanta is theistic and it identifies Brahman with Narayana, or more specifically Vishnu, in a manner similar to Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta. But it is more explicitly pluralistic.[150] Madhva's emphasis for difference between soul and Brahman was so pronounced that he taught there were differences (1) between material things; (2) between material things and souls; (3) between material things and God; (4) between souls; and (5) between souls and God.[151] He also advocated for a difference in degrees in the possession of knowledge. He also advocated for differences in the enjoyment of bliss even in the case of liberated souls, a doctrine found in no other system of Indian philosophy.[150]

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Achintya Bheda Abheda) (16th century)

Achintya Bheda Abheda (Vaishnava), founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534 CE),[9] was propagated by Gaudiya Vaishnava. Historically, it was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who founded congregational chanting of holy names of Krishna in the early 16th century after becoming a sannyasi.[152]

Modern times (19th century – present)

Swaminarayan and Akshar-Purushottam Darshan (19th century)


The Akshar-Purushottam Darshan, which is philosophically related to Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita,[153][69][154][v] was founded in 1801 by Swaminarayan (1781-1830 CE), and is contemporarily most notably propagated by BAPS.[155] Due to the commentarial work of Bhadreshdas Swami, the Akshar-Purushottam teachings were recognized as a distinct school of Vedanta by the Shri Kashi Vidvat Parishad in 2017[66][67] and by members of the 17th World Sanskrit Conference in 2018.[66][w][68] Swami Paramtattvadas describes the Akshar-Purushottam teachings as "a distinct school of thought within the larger expanse of classical Vedanta,"[156] presenting the Akshar-Purushottam teachings as a seventh school of Vedanta.[157]

Neo-Vedanta (19th century)

Main articles: Neo-Vedanta, Hindu nationalism, and Hindu reform movements

Neo-Vedanta, variously called as "Hindu modernism", "neo-Hinduism", and "neo-Advaita", is a term that denotes some novel interpretations of Hinduism that developed in the 19th century,[158] presumably as a reaction to the colonial British rule.[159] King (2002, pp. 129–135) writes that these notions accorded the Hindu nationalists an opportunity to attempt the construction of a nationalist ideology to help unite the Hindus to fight colonial oppression. Western orientalists, in their search for its "essence", attempted to formulate a notion of "Hinduism" based on a single interpretation of Vedanta as a unified body of religious praxis.[160] This was contra-factual as, historically, Hinduism and Vedanta had always accepted a diversity of traditions. King (1999, pp. 133–136) asserts that the neo-Vedantic theory of "overarching tolerance and acceptance" was used by the Hindu reformers, together with the ideas of Universalism and Perennialism, to challenge the polemic dogmatism of Judaeo-Christian-Islamic missionaries against the Hindus.

The neo-Vedantins argued that the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy were perspectives on a single truth, all valid and complementary to each other.[161] Halbfass (2007, p. 307) sees these interpretations as incorporating western ideas[162] into traditional systems, especially Advaita Vedanta.[163] It is the modern form of Advaita Vedanta, states King (1999, p. 135), the neo-Vedantists subsumed the Buddhist philosophies as part of the Vedanta tradition[x] and then argued that all the world religions are same "non-dualistic position as the philosophia perennis", ignoring the differences within and outside of Hinduism.[165] According to Gier (2000, p. 140), neo-Vedanta is Advaita Vedanta which accepts universal realism:

Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Aurobindo have been labeled neo-Vedantists (the latter called it realistic Advaita), a view of Vedanta that rejects the Advaitins' idea that the world is illusory. As Aurobindo phrased it, philosophers need to move from 'universal illusionism' to 'universal realism', in the strict philosophical sense of assuming the world to be fully real.


A major proponent in the popularization of this Universalist and Perennialist interpretation of Advaita Vedanta was Vivekananda,[166] who played a major role in the revival of Hinduism.[167] He was also instrumental in the spread of Advaita Vedanta to the West via the Vedanta Society, the international arm of the Ramakrishna Order.[168]

Criticism of Neo-Vedanta label

Nicholson (2010, p. 2) writes that the attempts at integration which came to be known as neo-Vedanta were evident as early as between the 12th and the 16th century−

... certain thinkers began to treat as a single whole the diverse philosophical teachings of the Upanishads, epics, Puranas, and the schools known retrospectively as the "six systems" (saddarsana) of mainstream Hindu philosophy.[y]


Matilal criticizes Neo-Hinduism as an oddity developed by West-inspired Western Indologists and attributes it to the flawed Western perception of Hinduism in modern India. In his scathing criticism of this school of reasoning, Matilal (2002, pp. 403–404) says:

The so-called 'traditional' outlook is in fact a construction. Indian history shows that the tradition itself was self-conscious and critical of itself, sometimes overtly and sometimes covertly. It was never free from internal tensions due to the inequalities that persisted in a hierarchical society, nor was it without confrontation and challenge throughout its history. Hence Gandhi, Vivekananda and Tagore were not simply 'transplants from Western culture, products arising solely from confrontation with the west. ...It is rather odd that, although the early Indologists' romantic dream of discovering a pure (and probably primitive, according to some) form of Hinduism (or Buddhism as the case may be) now stands discredited in many quarters; concepts like neo-Hinduism are still bandied about as substantial ideas or faultless explanation tools by the Western 'analytic' historians as well as the West-inspired historians of India.


Influence

According to Nakamura (2004, p. 3), the Vedanta school has had a historic and central influence on Hinduism:

The prevalence of Vedanta thought is found not only in philosophical writings but also in various forms of (Hindu) literature, such as the epics, lyric poetry, drama and so forth. ... the Hindu religious sects, the common faith of the Indian populace, looked to Vedanta philosophy for the theoretical foundations for their theology. The influence of Vedanta is prominent in the sacred literatures of Hinduism, such as the various Puranas, Samhitas, Agamas and Tantras ... [96]


Frithjof Schuon summarizes the influence of Vedanta on Hinduism as follows:

The Vedanta contained in the Upanishads, then formulated in the Brahma Sutra, and finally commented and explained by Shankara, is an invaluable key for discovering the deepest meaning of all the religious doctrines and for realizing that the Sanatana Dharma secretly penetrates all the forms of traditional spirituality.[173]


Gavin Flood states,

... the most influential school of theology in India has been Vedanta, exerting enormous influence on all religious traditions and becoming the central ideology of the Hindu renaissance in the nineteenth century. It has become the philosophical paradigm of Hinduism "par excellence".[20]


Hindu traditions

Vedanta, adopting ideas from other orthodox (āstika) schools, became the most prominent school of Hinduism.[21][174] Vedanta traditions led to the development of many traditions in Hinduism.[20][175] Sri Vaishnavism of south and southeastern India is based on Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta.[176] Ramananda led to the Vaishnav Bhakti Movement in north, east, central and west India. This movement draws its philosophical and theistic basis from Vishishtadvaita. A large number of devotional Vaishnavism traditions of east India, north India (particularly the Braj region), west and central India are based on various sub-schools of Bhedabheda Vedanta.[4] Advaita Vedanta influenced Krishna Vaishnavism in the northeastern state of Assam.[177] The Madhva school of Vaishnavism found in coastal Karnataka is based on Dvaita Vedanta.[149]

Āgamas, the classical literature of Shaivism, though independent in origin, show Vedanta association and premises.[178] Of the 92 Āgamas, ten are (dvaita) texts, eighteen (bhedabheda), and sixty-four (advaita) texts.[179] While the Bhairava Shastras are monistic, Shiva Shastras are dualistic.[180] Isaeva (1995, pp. 134–135) finds the link between Gaudapada's Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism evident and natural. Tirumular, the Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta scholar, credited with creating "Vedanta–Siddhanta" (Advaita Vedanta and Shaiva Siddhanta synthesis), stated, "becoming Shiva is the goal of Vedanta and Siddhanta; all other goals are secondary to it and are vain."[181]

Shaktism, or traditions where a goddess is considered identical to Brahman, has similarly flowered from a syncretism of the monist premises of Advaita Vedanta and dualism premises of Samkhya–Yoga school of Hindu philosophy, sometimes referred to as Shaktadavaitavada (literally, the path of nondualistic Shakti).[182]
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Influence on Western thinkers

An exchange of ideas has been taking place between the western world and Asia since the late 18th century as a result of colonization of parts of Asia by Western powers. This also influenced western religiosity. The first translation of Upanishads, published in two parts in 1801 and 1802, significantly influenced Arthur Schopenhauer, who called them the consolation of his life.[183] He drew explicit parallels between his philosophy, as set out in The World as Will and Representation,[184] and that of the Vedanta philosophy as described in the work of Sir William Jones.[185] Early translations also appeared in other European languages.[186] Influenced by Śaṅkara's concepts of Brahman (God) and māyā (illusion), Lucian Blaga often used the concepts marele anonim (the Great Anonymous) and cenzura transcendentă (the transcendental censorship) in his philosophy.[187]

Similarities with Spinoza's philosophy

German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstücker was among the early scholars to notice similarities between the religious conceptions of the Vedanta and those of the Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza, writing that Spinoza's thought was

... so exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus, did his biography not satisfy us that he was wholly unacquainted with their doctrines [...] comparing the fundamental ideas of both we should have no difficulty in proving that, had Spinoza been a Hindu, his system would in all probability mark a last phase of the Vedanta philosophy.[188]


Max Müller noted the striking similarities between Vedanta and the system of Spinoza, saying,

The Brahman, as conceived in the Upanishads and defined by Sankara, is clearly the same as Spinoza's 'Substantia'."[189]


Helena Blavatsky, a founder of the Theosophical Society, also compared Spinoza's religious thought to Vedanta, writing in an unfinished essay,

As to Spinoza's Deity – natura naturans – conceived in his attributes simply and alone; and the same Deity – as natura naturata or as conceived in the endless series of modifications or correlations, the direct outflowing results from the properties of these attributes, it is the Vedantic Deity pure and simple.[190]


See also

• Badarayana
• Monistic idealism
• List of teachers of Vedanta
• Self-consciousness (Vedanta)
• Śāstra pramāṇam in Hinduism

Notes

1. Historically, Vedanta has been called by various names. The early names were the Upanishadic ones (Aupanisada), the doctrine of the end of the Vedas (Vedanta-vada), the doctrine of Brahman(Brahma-vada), and the doctrine that Brahma is the cause (Brahma-karana-vada).[28]
2. The Upanishads were many in number and developed in the different schools at different times and places, some in the Vedic period and others in the medieval or modern era (the names of up to 112 Upanishads have been recorded).[34] All major commentators have considered twelve to thirteen oldest of these texts as the Principal Upanishads and as the foundation of Vedanta.
3. A few Indian scholars such as Vedvyasa discuss ten; Krtakoti discusses eight; six is most widely accepted: see Nicholson (2010, pp. 149–150)
4. Anantanand Rambachan (1991, pp. xii–xiii) states, "According to these [widely represented contemporary] studies, Shankara only accorded a provisional validity to the knowledge gained by inquiry into the words of the Śruti (Vedas) and did not see the latter as the unique source (pramana) of Brahmajnana. The affirmations of the Śruti, it is argued, need to be verified and confirmed by the knowledge gained through direct experience (anubhava) and the authority of the Śruti, therefore, is only secondary." Sengaku Mayeda (2006, pp. 46–47) concurs, adding Shankara maintained the need for objectivity in the process of gaining knowledge (vastutantra), and considered subjective opinions (purushatantra) and injunctions in Śruti (codanatantra) as secondary. Mayeda cites Shankara's explicit statements emphasizing epistemology (pramana–janya) in section 1.18.133 of Upadesasahasri and section 1.1.4 of Brahmasutra–bhasya.
5. Nicholson (2010, p. 27) writes of Advaita Vedantin position of cause and effect - Although Brahman seems to undergo a transformation, in fact no real change takes place. The myriad of beings are essentially unreal, as the only real being is Brahman, that ultimate reality which is unborn, unchanging, and entirely without parts.
6. Sivananda also mentions Meykandar and the Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy.[65]
7. Proponents of other Vedantic schools continue to write and develop their ideas as well, although their works are not widely known outside of smaller circles of followers in India.
8. According to Nakamura and Dasgupta, the Brahmasutras reflect a Bhedabheda point of view,[5]the most influential tradition of Vedanta before Shankara. Numerous Indologists, including Surendranath Dasgupta, Paul hacker, Hajime Nakamura, and Mysore Hiriyanna, have described Bhedabheda as the most influential school of Vedanta before Shankara.[5]
9. Doniger (1986, p. 119) says "that to say that the universe is an illusion (māyā) is not to say that it is unreal; it is to say, instead, that it is not what it seems to be, that it is something constantly being made. Maya not only deceives people about the things they think they know; more basically, it limits their knowledge."
10. The concept of Brahman in Dvaita Vedanta is so similar to the monotheistic eternal God, that some early colonial–era Indologists such as George Abraham Grierson suggested Madhva was influenced by early Christians who migrated to India, [90] but later scholarship has rejected this theory.[91]
11. Nicholson (2010, p. 26) considers the Brahma Sutras as a group of sutras composed by multiple authors over the course of hundreds of years. The precise date is disputed.[98] Nicholson (2010, p. 26) estimates that the book was composed in its current form between 400 and 450 CE. The reference shows BCE, but it´s a typo in Nicholson´s book
12. The Vedanta–sūtra are known by a variety of names, including (1) Brahma–sūtra, (2) Śārīraka–sutra, (3) Bādarāyaṇa–sūtra and (4) Uttara–mīmāṁsā.
13. Estimates of the date of Bādarāyana's lifetime differ. Pandey 2000, p. 4
14. Nicholson 2013, p. 26 Quote: "From a historical perspective, the Brahmasutras are best understood as a group of sutras composed by multiple authors over the course of hundreds of years, most likely composed in its current form between 400 and 450 BCE." This dating has a typo in Nicholson's book, it should be read "between 400 and 450 CE"
15. Bhartŗhari (c. 450–500), Upavarsa (c. 450–500), Bodhāyana (c. 500), Tanka (Brahmānandin) (c. 500–550), Dravida (c. 550), Bhartŗprapañca (c. 550), Śabarasvāmin (c. 550), Bhartŗmitra (c. 550–600), Śrivatsānka (c. 600), Sundarapāndya (c. 600), Brahmadatta (c. 600–700), Gaudapada (c. 640–690), Govinda (c. 670–720), Mandanamiśra (c. 670–750)[96]
16. There is ample evidence, however, to suggest that Advaita was a thriving tradition by the start of the common era or even before that. Shankara mentions 99 different predecessors of his Sampradaya.[112] Scholarship since 1950 suggests that almost all Sannyasa Upanishads have a strong Advaita Vedanta outlook.[116] Six Sannyasa Upanishads – Aruni, Kundika, Kathashruti, Paramahamsa, Jabala and Brahma – were composed before the 3rd Century CE, likely in the centuries before or after the start of the common era; the Asrama Upanishad is dated to the 3rd Century.[117] The strong Advaita Vedanta views in these ancient Sannyasa Upanishads may be, states Patrick Olivelle, because major Hindu monasteries of this period belonged to the Advaita Vedanta tradition.[118]
17. Scholars like Raju (1992, p. 177), following the lead of earlier scholars like Sengupta,[120] believe that Gaudapada co-opted the Buddhist doctrine that ultimate reality is pure consciousness (vijñapti-mātra). Raju (1992, pp. 177–178) states, "Gaudapada wove [both doctrines] into a philosophy of the Mandukaya Upanisad, which was further developed by Shankara." Nikhilananda (2008, pp. 203–206) states that the whole purpose of Gaudapada was to present and demonstrate the ultimate reality of Atman, an idea denied by Buddhism. According to Murti (1955, pp. 114–115), Gaudapada's doctrines are unlike Buddhism. Gaudapada's influential text consists of four chapters: Chapters One, Two, and Three are entirely Vedantin and founded on the Upanishads, with little Buddhist flavor. Chapter Four uses Buddhist terminology and incorporates Buddhist doctrines but Vedanta scholars who followed Gaudapada through the 17th century, state that both Murti and Richard King never referenced nor used Chapter Four, they only quote from the first three.[10] While there is shared terminology, the doctrines of Gaudapada and Buddhism are fundamentally different, states Murti (1955, pp. 114–115)
18. Nicholson (2010, p. 27) writes: "The Brahmasutras themselves espouse the realist Parinamavada position, which appears to have been the view most common among early Vedantins."
19. Shankara synthesized the Advaita–vāda which had previously existed before him,[123] and, in this synthesis, became the restorer & defender of an ancient learning.[124] He was an unequaled commentator,[124] due to whose efforts and contributions,[123] Advaita Vedanta assumed a dominant position within Indian philosophy.[124]
20. According to Mishra, the sutras, beginning with the first sutra of Jaimini and ending with the last sutra of Badarayana, form one compact shastra.[125]
21. Many sources date him to 1238–1317 period,[141] but some place him over 1199–1278 CE.[142]
22. Vishishtadvaita roots:
* Supreme Court of India, 1966 AIR 1119, 1966 SCR (3) 242: "Philosophically, Swaminarayan was a follower of Ramanuja"[154]
* Hanna H. Kim: "The philosophical foundation for Swaminarayan devotionalism is the viśiṣṭādvaita, or qualified non-dualism, of Rāmānuja (1017–1137 ce)."[153]
23. "Professor Ashok Aklujkar said [...] Just as the Kashi Vidvat Parishad acknowledged Swaminarayan Bhagwan’s Akshar-Purushottam Darshan as a distinct darshan in the Vedanta tradition, we are honored to do the same from the platform of the World Sanskrit Conference [...] Professor George Cardona [said] "This is a very important classical Sanskrit commentary that very clearly and effectively explains that Akshar is distinct from Purushottam."[66]
24. Vivekananda, clarifies Richard King, stated, "I am not a Buddhist, as you have heard, and yet I am"; but thereafter Vivekananda explained that "he cannot accept the Buddhist rejection of a self, but nevertheless honors the Buddha's compassion and attitude towards others".[164]
25. The tendency of "a blurring of philosophical distinctions" has also been noted by Burley.[169]Lorenzen locates the origins of a distinct Hindu identity in the interaction between Muslims and Hindus,[170] and a process of "mutual self-definition with a contrasting Muslim other",[171] which started well before 1800.[172]

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o Sharma, Chandradhar (1996). The Advaita Tradition in Indian Philosophy: A Study of Advaita in Buddhism, Vedānta and Kāshmīra Shaivism. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-8120813120. OCLC 1041414621.
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Web sources

• Mohanty, Jitendra N.; Wharton, Michael (2011). "Indian philosophy - Historical development of Indian philosophy". Britannica. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
• van Buitenin, J.A.B. (2010). "Ramanuja - Hindu theologian and philosopher". Britannica. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
• Doniger, Wendy; Stefon, Matt (2015). "Vedanta, Hindu Philosophy". Britannica. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
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• Stoker, Valerie (2011). "Madhva (1238-1317)". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
• Ranganathan, Shyam. "Hindu Philosophy". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
• Nicholson, Andrew J. "Bhedabheda Vedanta". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2016-08-26.

Further reading

• Parthasarathy, Swami. "The Eternities". Vedanta Treatise.
• Deussen, Paul (2007) [1912]. The System of Vedanta (Reprint ed.).
• Smith, Huston (1993). Forgotten Truth: The Primordial Tradition.
• Potter, Karl; Bhattachārya, Sibajiban. "Vedanta Sutras of Nārāyana Guru". Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies.
• Comparative analysis of commentaries on Vedanta Sutras. https://archive.org/download/in.ernet.d ... edanta.pdf
• Aurobindo, Sri (1972). "The Upanishads". Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Archived from the original on 2007-01-04.
• Parthasarathy, Swami. Choice Upanishads.
• Vrajaprana, Pravrajika. "A Simple Introduction". Vedanta.
• "VedantaHub.org". - Resources to help with the Study and Practice of Vedanta.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:03 am

Gentoo Code
by Wikipedia
February 7, 2021


The first Specimen here inserted is from the Book of Munnoo, which the Reader will observe stands foremost in the List of those which furnished the subsequent Code.

-- A Code of Gentoo Laws, Or, Ordinations of the Pundits, From a Persian Translation, Made From the Original, Written in the Shanscrit Language, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

The Gentoo Code (also known as A Code of Gentoo Laws or Ordinations of the Pundits) is a legal code translated from Sanskrit (in which it was known as vivādārṇavasetu) into Persian by Brahmin scholars; and then from Persian into English by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, a British grammarian working for the East India Company.[1][2] Vivādārṇavasetu is a digest of Hindu law in 21 sections (taraṅga) compiled for Warren Hastings by the pandits.[3] The translation was funded and encouraged by Warren Hastings as a method of consolidating company control on the Indian subcontinent. It was translated into English with a view to know about the culture and local laws of various parts of Indian subcontinent. It was printed privately by the East India Company in London in 1776 under the title A Code of Gentoo Laws, or, Ordinations of the Pundits. Copies were not put on sale, but the Company did distribute them. In 1777 a pirate (and less luxurious) edition was printed; and in 1781 a second edition appeared. Translations into French and German were published in 1778. It is basically about the Hindu law of inheritance (Manusmriti).[4]

The Manusmṛiti ... was one of the first Sanskrit texts to have been translated into English in 1776, by Sir William Jones, and was used to formulate the Hindu law by the British colonial government...

Over fifty manuscripts of the Manusmriti are now known, but the earliest discovered, most translated and presumed authentic version since the 18th century has been the "Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) manuscript with Kulluka Bhatta commentary". Modern scholarship states this presumed authenticity is false, and the various manuscripts of Manusmriti discovered in India are inconsistent with each other, and within themselves, raising concerns of its authenticity, insertions and interpolations made into the text in later times...

The title Manusmriti is a relatively modern term and a late innovation, probably coined because the text is in a verse form...

[T]he text version in modern use, according to Olivelle, is likely the work of a single author or a chairman with research assistants.

Manusmriti, Olivelle states, was not a new document, it drew on other texts, and it reflects "a crystallization of an accumulated knowledge" in ancient India....

The text is composed in metric Shlokas (verses), in the form of a dialogue between an exalted teacher and disciples who are eager to learn about the various aspects of dharma....

The verses 12.1, 12.2 and 12.82 are transitional verses. This section is in a different style than the rest of the text, raising questions whether this entire chapter was added later. While there is evidence that this chapter was extensively redacted over time, however it is unclear whether the entire chapter is of a later era....

The structure and contents of the Manusmriti suggest it to be a document predominantly targeted at the Brahmins (priestly class) and the Kshatriyas (king, administration and warrior class).[34] The text dedicates 1,034 verses, the largest portion, on laws for and expected virtues of Brahmins, and 971 verses for Kshatriyas...

Chapter 7 of the Manusmriti discusses the duties of a king, what virtues he must have, what vices he must avoid. In verses 7.54 - 7.76, the text identifies precepts to be followed in selecting ministers, ambassadors and officials, as well as the characteristics of well fortified capital. Manusmriti then lays out the laws of just war, stating that first and foremost, war should be avoided by negotiations and reconciliations. If war becomes necessary, states Manusmriti, a soldier must never harm civilians, non-combatants or someone who has surrendered, that use of force should be proportionate, and other rules. Fair taxation guidelines are described in verses 7.127 to 7.137...

Sinha, for example, states that less than half, or only 1,214 of the 2,685 verses in Manusmriti, may be authentic. Further, the verses are internally inconsistent. Verses such as 3.55-3.62 of Manusmriti, for example, glorify the position of women, while verse such as 9.3 and 9.17 do the opposite. Other passages found in Manusmriti, such as those relating to Ganesha, are modern era insertions and forgeries...

There are so many contradictions in the printed volume that, if you accept one part, you are bound to reject those parts that are wholly inconsistent with it. (...) Nobody is in possession of the original text...

Scholars doubt Manusmriti was ever administered as law text in ancient or medieval Hindu society. David Buxbaum states, "in the opinion of the best contemporary orientalists, it [Manusmriti] does not, as a whole, represent a set of rules ever actually administered in Hindustan. It is in great part an ideal picture of that which ... ought to be law".

Donald Davis writes, "there is no historical evidence for either an active propagation or implementation of Dharmasastra [Manusmriti] by a ruler or any state – as distinct from other forms of recognizing, respecting and using the text. Thinking of Dharmasastra as a legal code and of its authors as lawgivers is thus a serious misunderstanding of its history".


-- Manusmriti, by Wikipedia


The Pandits and the Maulvis were associated with judges to understand the civil law of Hindus and Muslims.

Citations

1. Jones, William (9 November 2006). Sir William Jones, 1746-94: A Commemoration. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 9781584776888 – via Google Books.
2. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Halhed, Nathaniel Brassey" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
3. Halhed, Nathaniel Brassey (9 November 1776). A code of Gentoo laws, or, Ordinations of the pundits : from a Persian translation, made from the original written in the Shanscrit language. London: [s.n.] – via Trove.
4. Halhed, Nathaniel Brassey (1971). A Code of Gentoo laws, or, Ordinations of the Pundits. London. p. 96. Retrieved 9 November 2019.

See also

• List of ancient legal codes

External links

A Code of Gentoo laws at archive.org
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:09 am

Impeachment of Warren Hastings
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/11/21

Image
Warren Hastings in 1768

The impeachment of Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of Bengal, was attempted between 1787 and 1795 in the Parliament of Great Britain. Hastings was accused of misconduct during his time in Calcutta, particularly relating to mismanagement and personal corruption. The impeachment prosecution was led by Edmund Burke and became a wider debate about the role of the East India Company and the expanding empire in India. The trial became a debate between two radically opposed visions of empire—one represented by Hastings, based on ideas of absolute power and conquest in pursuit of the exclusive national interests of the colonizer, versus one represented by Burke, of sovereignty based on a recognition of the rights of the colonized.[1]

The trial did not sit continuously and the case dragged on for seven years. When the eventual verdict was given Hastings was overwhelmingly acquitted. It has been described as "probably the British Isles' most famous, certainly the longest, political trial".[2]

Background

Appointment


Born in 1732, Warren Hastings spent much of his adult life in India after first travelling out as a clerk of the East India Company in 1750. Hastings developed a reputation as an "Indian" who sought to use traditional Indian methods of governance to run British India rather than the policy of importing European-style law, government and culture favoured by many of his colleagues and representatives of other colonial powers in India. After working his way through the ranks of the Company he was appointed in 1773 as Governor General, a new position that had been created by the North government in order to improve the running of British India. The old structure of rule had come under strain as the Company's holdings had expanded in recent decades from isolated trading posts to large swathes of territory and population.[3]

The powers of the Governor General were balanced out by the establishment of a Calcutta Council which had the authority to veto his decisions. Hastings spent much of his time in office marshalling his own supporters on the Council in an effort to avoid being outvoted.

Disputes and war

Main article: Second Mysore War

Image
Hastings' initial accuser Sir Philip Francis

Hastings soon ran into opposition on the Council. His principal enemy was the Irish-born politician Philip Francis. Francis developed a strong dislike of Hastings and was convinced that the Governor General's policies were self-serving and destructive. This was a belief shared with some other members of the Council whom he was able to influence. Francis and Hastings' personal rivalry continued for many years and led to a duel between them in 1780 in which Francis was wounded, but not killed.[4] Francis returned to Britain in 1781 and began raising questions about Hastings' conduct. He found support from many leading opposition Whigs.

In 1780 Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore, went to war with the company after British forces captured the French-controlled port of Mahé. Taking advantage of Britain's involvement in the American War of Independence and the support of French forces Hyder went on the offensive and enjoyed success during the opening stages of the war, inflicting a serious defeat at the Battle of Pollilur and at one point threatening Madras itself with capture. The Commander in Chief Eyre Coote went south with reinforcements and defeated Hyder's army in a series of battles which helped to steady the position in the Carnatic. Hyder was unable to secure victory and the war ended in a stalemate. It was halted by the Treaty of Mangalore in 1784 which largely restored the status quo ante bellum. Even so, the British position in India had been severely threatened.

The war shook public confidence and raised questions about the supposed mismanagement by the Company's agents in India. It proved to be a catalyst for the growing campaign in London against Hastings which gathered strength during the ensuing years.

First attacks

The Company had already gone through scandals in the 1760s and 1770s and the wealthy nabobs who returned to Britain from India were widely unpopular. Against this backdrop the criticisms circulated by Francis and others provoked a general consensus that the 1773 India Act hadn't been sufficient to rein in the alleged excesses. The Indian question again became a contentious political issue. The Fox–North Coalition fell from power after it attempted to bring in a radical East India Bill in 1783.[5] The following year the new government of William Pitt passed an India Act of 1784 which established a Board of Control and which finally stabilised the governance of India.

Hastings was personally attacked by Charles James Fox during the presentation of his India Bill.[6] When Pitt introduced his Bill he failed to mention Hastings at all, seen as expressing a lack of confidence, and made wide-ranging criticisms of the Company.[7] He suggested that recent wars in India had been ruinous and unnecessary. Hastings was particularly upset by this, as he was an admirer of Pitt.[8] By now, Hastings wished to resign and return home unless the role of Governor General was given greater freedom to exercise power—which was unlikely to be granted him. He handed over to an Acting Governor General, John MacPherson until a permanent replacement was appointed.

Return to Britain

Image
The MP Edmund Burke led the prosecution of Hastings.

Hastings sailed for home on 6 February and reached Britain in June 1785.[9] During the voyage he wrote a defence of his conduct The State of Bengal and presented it to Henry Dundas.[10] Hastings anticipated he would face attacks in Parliament and the press but expected them to be short-lived and to fall away once he was there in person to defend himself.[11] Initially this proved to be the case as he enjoyed an audience with King George III and a unanimous vote of thanks by the directors of the East India Company.[12] Hastings even hoped to be awarded an Irish peerage.[13] However, in Parliament Edmund Burke announced he "would at a future date make a motion respecting the conduct of a gentleman just returned from India".[11]

In early 1786 Burke began his first move by raising questions over Hastings' role in the Maratha War. The attacks on Hastings were largely made by opposition Whigs hoping to embarrass the government of William Pitt. Pitt and other government ministers such as Dundas defended Hastings and suggested that he had saved the British Empire in Asia.[14] Philip Francis made eleven specific charges against Hastings, and others later followed. They covered various subjects such as the Rohilla War, execution of Nanda-Kumar and Hastings' treatment of the Rajas of Benares Chait Singh. Pitt broadly defended Hastings, but declared his punishment of the Rajah had been excessive. In the wake of this an anti-Hastings motion was passed in the Commons 119–79.[15]

Encouraged by Pitt's failure to adequately support Hastings, his opponents pressed on with their campaign. The situation quickly deteriorated for Hastings. It soon became clear that he was heading towards an impeachment. Hastings recruited Edward Law, 1st Baron Ellenborough to act in his defence.[16] On 21 May 1787 Hastings was arrested by the Serjeant-at-Arms and taken to the House of Lords to hear the charges against him.[17]

Hastings was to be prosecuted in the House of Lords by an Impeachment Committee. Impeachment was a relatively rare process of prosecuting those in high public office. Previous figures who had faced such trials included the Duke of Buckingham, a favourite of James I, and the Earl of Strafford, whose impeachment failed (but was followed up by a legislative bill of attainder that resulted in Strafford's execution).

Impeachment

Image
The trial of Warren Hastings, 1788

Opening

Hastings' trial began on 13 February 1788 and took place in Westminster Hall with members of the House of Commons seated to his right and the Lords to his left and a large audience of spectators, including royalty, in the boxes and public galleries.[18] The proceedings began with a lengthy address by Edmund Burke, who took four days to cover all the charges against Hastings.[19] Burke took the proceedings very seriously but, we have it from Macaulay, for many spectators the trial resembled a social event.[19] Hastings himself remarked that “for the first half hour, I looked up to the orator in a reverie of wonder, and during that time I felt myself the most culpable man on earth.”[19]

Hastings was granted bail in spite of Burke's suggestion that he might flee the country with the wealth he had allegedly stolen from India.[16] Further speeches were made over the coming weeks by other leading Whigs such as Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Charles James Fox. In total there were nineteen members of the Impeachment Committee.[2]

Public opinion changes

Image
The testimony of Lord Cornwallis, Hastings' successor as Governor General, was a major boost to his defence.

In spite of the early excitement about the trial public interest in it began to wane as it dragged on over months and years. Other major events dominated the news particularly once the French Revolution began in 1789. Sheridan now complained he was "heartily tired of the Hastings trial" despite being one of its instigators.[20] As the trial progressed, public attitudes about Hastings also began to shift. Hastings had initially been overwhelmingly portrayed as guilty in the popular press, but doubts were increasingly raised. Increased support for Hastings may have been a result of declining perceptions of his accusers. In a cartoon James Gillray portrayed Hastings as the "Saviour of India" being assaulted by bandits resembling Burke and Fox.[21]

A major lift for the defence came with the testimony on 9 April 1794 of Lord Cornwallis who had recently returned from India, where he succeeded Hastings as Governor General. Cornwallis rejected the accusations that Hastings' actions had damaged Britain's reputation and observed that Hastings was universally popular with the inhabitants.[22] When asked if he had "found any just cause to impeach the character of Mr Hastings?" he replied "never".[23]

A further blow for the prosecution came with the evidence of William Larkins the former Accountant General of Bengal. They had rested their hopes on his revealing widespread corruption but he denied that Hastings had amassed any illicit money and made a defence of his conduct. Various other figures came forwards as character witnesses to support Hastings.[24] Burke's reply to the defence lasted nine days from late May to mid-June 1794.[25]

Verdict

On 23 April 1795 the Lord Chancellor Lord Loughborough oversaw the delivery of the verdict. A third of the Lords who had attended the trial's opening had since died[20] and only twenty-nine of the others had sat through enough of the evidence to be permitted to pronounce judgement.[26] Loughborough asked each of the peers sixteen questions relating to individual charges. On most charges he was unanimously found not guilty. On three questions five or six peers gave guilty verdicts, but Hastings was still comfortably cleared by majority vote.[27] This overwhelming verdict had been expected for some time and caused little surprise.

Burke, who had invested a large amount of time and energy into the prosecution, was frustrated by the ultimate failure of the impeachment. He had warned the Lords that it would be "to the perpetual infamy" of the House if they voted to acquit and remained convinced of Hastings' guilt until his death in 1797.[28]

Aftermath

Image
Westminster Hall where the trial took place

Hastings was financially ruined by the impeachment and was left with debts of £70,000.[26] Unlike many other Indian officials he had not amassed a large fortune while in India and he had to fund his legal defence, which had cost an estimated £71,000, out of his own funds.[20] His defence lawyer was Richard Shaw(e) who built his mansion Casino House in Herne Hill at least in part from the proceeds, employing John Nash and Humphry Repton as landscape designer (responsible for the water garden the remnants of which survive as Sunray Gardens in 2012). [29] Meanwhile, Hastings appealed to the British government for financial assistance and was eventually compensated by the East India Company with a loan of £50,000 and a pension of £4,000 a year.

Although this did not solve all his financial worries, Hastings was ultimately able to fulfill his lifelong ambition of purchasing the family's traditional estate of Daylesford in Gloucestershire which had been lost in a previous generation. Hastings held no further public office, but was regarded as an expert on Indian matters and was asked to give evidence to parliament on the subject in 1812. After he had finished giving his testimony, the members all stood up in an almost unprecedented act for anyone other than the royal family.[20]

Hastings' successors as Governor General, beginning with Lord Cornwallis, were granted the much wider powers that Hastings had sought while in Calcutta. Pitt's India Act served to move much of the supervisory role for India away from the East India Company directors and officials in Leadenhall Street to a new political Board of Control based in London.

The overwhelming failure to secure a conviction, and the stream of testimony that came out of India praising him, have led commentators to ask why Hastings, who appeared to many observers to have given dedicated service to the company and to have curbed its worst excesses, ended up being prosecuted in the first place.[30] A number of factors may have played a part, including partisan politics, although Pitt joined the opposition in supporting the Impeachment.

There has been particular focus on the role played by Pitt—particularly his sudden withdrawal of outright support for Hastings in 1786 which galvanised the opposition into pursuing the case. It is possible that Pitt believed "he ran the very genuine risk of being accused by the opposition of shielding a notorious criminal from justice, for political reasons".[31] Henry Dundas was himself later impeached in 1806 and acquitted in the final ever impeachment in Britain.

Footnotes

1. Mukherjee, Mithi (2005). "Justice, War, and the Imperium: India and Britain in Edmund Burke's Prosecutorial Speeches in the Impeachment Trial of Warren Hastings" (PDF). Law and History Review. 23 (3): 589–630.
2. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 207)
3. (Peter Whiteley 1996, pp. 103–114)
4. (Robert Harvey 1998, p. 380)
5. (Peter Whiteley 1996, pp. 217–218)
6. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 193)
7. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 194–195)
8. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 196–198)
9. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 198–199)
10. (Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall 1889, p. 180)
11. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 201)
12. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 201–202)
13. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 202–203)
14. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 204)
15. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 204–205)
16. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 210)
17. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 205)
18. (James L. Newell 2006, p. 137)
19. The World’s Famous Orations. Ireland (1775–1902). "III. At the Trial of Warren Hastings" Edmund Burke (1729–97)
20. Garrard & Newell p. 138
21. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 214)
22. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 212)
23. (Mary Wickwire 1980, p. 183)
24. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 212–214)
25. archive.org: "The speeches of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke on the impeachment of Warren Hastings : to which is added a selection of Burke's epistolary correspondence" (1890 ed. G. Bell, London)
26. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 215)
27. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 214–215)
28. (Patrick Turnbull 1975)
29. "Casino House". The Dulwich Society. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
30. (James L. Newell 2006, p. 138)
31. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 206)

Bibliography

• John Garrard; James L. Newell (2006). Scandals in Past and Contemporary Politics. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-6551-4.
• Robert Harvey (1998). Clive: The Life and Death of a British Emperor. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-26569-4.
• Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall (1889). Warren Hastings. Macmillan and Company.
• Mukherjee, Mithi. "Justice, War, and the Imperium: India and Britain in Edmund Burke's Prosecutorial Speeches in the Impeachment Trial of Warren Hastings." Law and History Review 23.3 (2005): 589-630 online.
• Brian Smith. "Edmund Burke, the Warren Hastings trial, and the moral dimension of corruption." Polity 40.1 (2008): 70-94 online.
• Patrick Turnbull (September 1975). Warren Hastings. New English Library.
• Peter Whiteley (1996). Lord North: The Prime Minister Who Lost America. Continuum. ISBN 978-1-85285-145-3.
• Franklin B. Wickwire; Mary Wickwire (April 1980). Cornwallis, the imperial years. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-1387-4.

Impeachment Documents

• Warren Hastings; Edmund Burke (1786). Articles of Charge of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Against Warren Hastings, Esq., Late Governor General of Bengal: Presented to the House of Commons, in the Months of April and May 1786. London: J. Debrett.
• Warren Hastings (1796). The History of the Trial of Warren Hastings, Esq. Late Governor-General of Bengal, Before the High Court of Parliament in Westminster-Hall: On an Impeachment by the Commons of Great-Britain, for High Crimes and Misdemeanors : Containing the Whole of the Proceedings and Debates in Both Houses of Parliament, Relating to that Celebrated Prosecution, from Feb. 7, 1786, Until His Acquittal, April 23, 1795. London: J. Debrett.
• John Logan (1788). A Review of the Principal Charges Against Warren Hastings Esquire, Late Governor General of Bengal. London: John Stockdale.
• Warren Hastings (1788). The answer of Warren Hastings to the Articles: Delivered at the bar of the house of Peers, on Nov. 28, 1787. London: John Murray.
• Joseph Gurney; Warren Hastings (1859). E. A. Bond (ed.). Speeches of the managers and counsel in the trial of Warren Hastings. I. London: Longman.
• Joseph Gurney; Warren Hastings (1860). E. A. Bond (ed.). Speeches of the managers and counsel in the trial of Warren Hastings. II. London: Longman.
• Joseph Gurney; Warren Hastings (1860). E. A. Bond (ed.). Speeches of the managers and counsel in the trial of Warren Hastings. III. London: Longman.
• Joseph Gurney; Warren Hastings (1861). E. A. Bond (ed.). Speeches of the managers and counsel in the trial of Warren Hastings. IV. London: Longman.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:04 am

Sarmad Kashani
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/20/21


In 1953, shortly after arriving in Delhi, Nehru sent Freda to Burma as the Indian representative of a UNESCO mission. For the first time in her life Freda found herself in a rich and exclusively Buddhist country. The impact was immediate and galvanic. Surrounded by hundreds of pagodas and thousands of monks roaming the streets in saffron robes, she instantly felt she had come home.

“When I set foot on that soil, the Golden Temple, the monks with their begging bowls, suddenly it was déjà vu. Without understanding anything much about Buddhism, I knew. This is The Way, this is what I have been looking for. I saw the whole thing,” she said. Freda was forty-two years old. Her long, diligent quest to find her true spiritual path was finally over. It had taken thirty-eight years, since her first days of sitting in her local church in Derby before school trying to meditate. Curiously, in spite of her remarkable effort and conscientiousness in searching and trying out the world’s great religious traditions, she had never come across Buddhism before, even though the Buddha had been born, taught, and attained enlightenment in India. His message had thrived there for over seven hundred years, until the Mughals invaded in the thirteenth century. They had swept in from the Middle East, destroying the renowned Nalanda University, hailed as the greatest center of learning in Asia, and setting fire to the largest Buddhist library in the ancient world, which allegedly burned for three months. Thousands of Buddhist monks and scholars fled into obscurity in the Himalayan kingdoms, from where Buddhism spread to the Far East and Southeast Asia. From then on, the Buddha was incorporated into the pantheon of Hindu gods and was regarded as a mythological figure.

Burma now boasted some of the most accomplished Buddhist meditation masters on the planet. Freda wasted no time seeking them out. As usual she went straight to the top.

Sayadaw U Thittila Aggamahapandita was vice president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists and spoke excellent English. He agreed to teach Freda personally for eight weeks. The regime was tough and exceptionally rigorous, demanding she be aware of each detail involved in every activity – walking, eating, brushing teeth, putting on shoes, blinking. Every breath was accompanied by awareness. And then awareness itself was watched by awareness….

“I remember Sayadaw U Pandita telling me, ‘If you get a realization, or a flash, it may not be sitting on your meditation cushion in front of an image of the Buddha. It will probably be somewhere you least expect it.”

That’s precisely what happened. Freda had what she called her enlightenment experience “while I was walking with the Commission through the streets of Kyaukme, in northern Burma. Suddenly I saw the flow of things, the meaning and the connection. It was the first real flash of understanding. I can’t explain exactly what it was because it was beyond words. But it opened so many gates and showed me things I’d been trying to find for a very long time,” she explained. She revealed to a few close friends that her Damascene experience had lasted for hours and was accompanied by great bliss.

A window had been opened, a transcendental window giving a glimpse into another reality. The afterschock was dramatic. “We got a phone call back in Delhi that Mummy had collapsed and we had to bring her home from Burma immediately,” says Ranga. “Of course we had no money, so we went around to Nehru and Indira’s house and they provided the plane fare to fetch her home and an ambulance to meet her at the airport.” Continuing her tour was now out of the question.

“When she arrived, it was shocking. Mummy didn’t recognize anyone. For weeks she stayed in her bed, getting up just to go to the bathroom. That’s as far as she would go. She wouldn’t talk or register anything in the outside world. She’d eat the food put in front of her like an automaton. If you looked at her, it was like looking into a stone wall. She never saw you. It was as though she were catatonic. It was terrifying for all of us – except Papa. He didn’t seem concerned at all. He said it was all happening as it should and that it would work out all right. He was correct. After about six weeks she began to show signs of improvement. Her face became more expressive and she began to interact with us. But it took about three months before she was back to normal.”

Gradually she resumed her work and tried to get back to her old life, but she had irrevocably changed. After Burma she was going in a different direction, and nothing was going to be the same. The first to feel the impact was BPL. Their marriage of twenty years had been founded on love, intellectual compatibility, and their shared vision of an independent India. That last job had been completed. Freda knew with certainty that that phase of her life was over. Her heart and her path now belonged to the Buddha.

She calmly sat her husband down and announced, “I’ve been searching all my life, but it’s the Buddhist monks who have been able to show me what it is that I have been looking for. I am a Buddhist from now on – and I have taken a personal vow of a brahmacharya,” she said, referring to the vow of celibacy said to induce spiritual purity and enhance one’s capacity for divine happiness.

BPL took the news remarkably well....

Another reason that BPL took Freda’s news with such equanimity was that his inner life was running along parallel lines. For some time he had been following his own spiritual quest and was undergoing his own enlightenment experience. It bore all the hallmarks of his originality. “He would sit still for hours without moving. He would babble in voices we didn’t understand. He’d go up onto the roof and stand for hours with his arms outstretched toward a shrine of a Sufi saint,” said Kabir. “We called the doctor, but Papa just smiled at him. ‘What I’m going through is beyond you,’ he told him. The doctor nevertheless insisted on examining him. ‘You won’t find a pulse,’ said Papa. He was right. The astonished doctor left.

“Father started going on walks, discovering the graves of Sufi saints in the area, telling us where they were, both marked and unmarked. He started to do automatic writing. Word got out and people started coming to the house with their problems. Papa would listen, then begin writing, and eventually hand them sheets of paper with answers to their troubles on them. In time he became quite a healer and was known as Baba Bedi, the name given to a holy man.”


Having lost touch with its glorious heritage of classical scholarship, the Muslim world today is divided in squabbles between two opposing camps, who despite their respective deviations, are both attempting to usurp the right to represent orthodox Islam. The Wahhabis and Salafis are the product of a British strategy to undermine Islamic tradition and create fundamentalism. While the Sufis are their most vocal and articulate critics, rightly pointing out their corruptions, they themselves are part of a similar conspiracy, again with close ties to Western intelligence and the occult.

The New Age movement, following the teachings of a leading disciple of H. P. Blavatsky, believes that the coming of the Age of Aquarius will herald the beginning of world peace and one-world government, headed by the Maitreya, who is said to be awaited also by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, though he is known by these believers respectively as Christ, Messiah, the fifth Buddha, Krishna or Imam Mahdi. The New Age’s expectation of the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims has been nurtured through its relationship with Sufism.

Essentially, the pretext of the occult is that in the future the world will be united in peace by eliminating all sectarianism, when the world will be brought together under a single belief system. The basis of that belief will be the occult tradition, which it is claimed has been the underlying source of all exoteric religions. As such, since at least the middle of the eighteenth century, occultists have marketed Sufism as being the origin of Freemasonry.


According to Idries Shah, the twelfth century Qadiriyya Sufi order was the origin of the Rosicrucians, the most important occult movement after the Renaissance, who later evolved into the Freemasons. As detailed in Black Terror White Soldiers, the Rosicrucians were responsible for orchestrating the advent of Sabbatai Zevi, who took the Jewish world by storm in 1666 when he declared himself their expected messiah. However, Zevi disappointed the vast majority of his followers when he subsequently converted to Islam. Nevertheless, an important segment followed him into Islam as well, and to this day consist of a powerful community of secret Jews known as Dönmeh.

The Dönmeh of Turkey maintained associations with a number of Sufi orders, like Whirling Dervishes founded by Jalal ad-Din Rumi, and the Bektashis. Strongly heretical, the Bektashi venerated Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, repudiated many of the legal rulings of Islam, and combined Kabbalistic ideas with elements of ancient Central Asian shamanism.

Through the influence of Bektashi Sufism, the Dönmeh developed the belief of Pan-Turkism, later adopted by the Young Turks, a Dönmeh and Masonic organization responsible for overthrowing the Ottoman Caliphate in 1908. Pan-Turkism begins with Alexander Csoma de Körös (1784 – 1842), the first in the West to mention mysterious Buddhist realm known as Shambhala, which he regarded as the origin of the Turkish people, and which he situated in the Altai mountains and Xinjiang.

Csoma de Körös’s mention of Shambhala became the basis of the mystical speculations offered by H. P. Blavatsky, which she regarded as the homeland of the Aryan race. Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society, and came to be regarded as an oracle of Freemasonry and the godmother of the occult. Blavatsky became largely responsible for initiating the popularity of Buddhism as a font of the Ancient Wisdom. However, contrary to popular perceptions, Tibetan Buddhism is a strange amalgam of Buddhist ideas, along with Hindu Tantra and Central Asian shamanism, it was for this reason that Blavatsky regarded it as the true preservation of the traditions of magic.

-- The Sufi Conspiracy, by David Livingstone


By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the first of the hippies and the Beat Generation were arriving in India, and many found their way to BPL’s door. “Then the house got full of really strange people. Papa always made it quite clear to all of them, however, that he was not a saint, nor was he going to behave like one. ‘I’ll smoke my cigarettes and drink my whiskey as normal – and not be bound by anyone,’ Papa said. Gradually he stopped writing automatic messages and started speaking words that he begun coming through him. At first his voice and way of talking were strange, but then the style evolved and he talked like himself,” said Kabir.....

The next event to send shock waves through the family was when Freda, for reasons of her own, sent Guli to boarding school miles away in North India. Her daughter was just five years old. It seemed not only cruel but a terrible dereliction of maternal duty, and out of character with her essentially kind, caring nature. In addition, she performed the deed in what appeared a particularly brutal way.

Guli, now a tall, sociable woman who has dedicated her life to teaching children with special needs, lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, outside Boston, Massachusetts. She recalls every detail of the traumatic event. "When Mummy told me her idea, I told her outright, 'I am not going to boarding school!' We children were all strong characters, who had been taught to speak up. She arranged everything extremely well. We often went touring, and this year Mummy took me to visit an old family friend, Auntie Mera (who had adopted thirteen children) in Naina Tal, in the foothills of Uttar Pradesh. When we got there, she asked if I wanted to see All Saints School, which was nearby and run by Christian nuns. I said yes. I remember the oak tree in the garden, which was huge, and I got very animated and chatty with the nuns. I turned around to tell Mummy something and she was gone. I was absolutely devastated. I cried for three days. The nuns, British Anglican missionaries, were so kind. They really cared for me."

Guli grew to love her school. "It turned out to be the best experience. I studied the scriptures and I know everything about the bible. I loved the hymns and the feeling of the chapel, not that I ever felt the need to become a Christian. There was never any talk about conversion!"....

Whenever she could, she traveled to Burma to continue her meditation training under his strict, watchful eye. Sometimes she took Kabir, her "special child" with her, encouraging him to shave his head and don Buddhist robes as a child monk. Secretly she hoped that one day he would be ordained. That destiny was not to be his, however.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

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Sarmad Kashani
Single Leaf of Shah Sarmad (centre) seated with Shahzada Dara Shikoh
Born: c. 1590, Armenia, Safavid Armenia
Died: 1661, Mughal Empire
School: Sufi
Main interests: Mysticism atheism syncretism poetry Sufi metaphysics
Influences: Mulla Sadra, Mir Findiriski
Influenced: Dara Shukoh, Abul Kalam Azad

Sarmad Kashani or simply as Sarmad (ca 1590–1661) was a Persian speaking Armenian mystic and poet who travelled to and made the Indian subcontinent his permanent home during the 17th century. Originally Jewish, he may have renounced his religion to adopt Islam.[1] Sarmad, in his poetry, states that he is neither Jewish, nor Muslim, nor Hindu.[2]

Early life

Sarmad was born in Armenia around 1590, to a family of Jewish Persian-speaking Armenian merchants.[3] Sarmad had an excellent command of Persian, essential for his work as a merchant, and composed most of his works in this language.[2] He produced a translation of the Torah in Persian.[4] He studied under Mulla Sadra ...
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Mulla Sadra

Ṣadr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī, also called Mullā Ṣadrā (Persian: ملا صدرا‎; Arabic: صدر المتألهین‎) (c. 1571/2 – c. 1635/40 CE / 980 - 1050 AH), was a Persian Twelver Shi'i Islamic mystic, philosopher, theologian, and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century. According to Oliver Leaman, Mulla Sadra is arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years.

Though not its founder, he is considered the master of the Illuminationist (or, Ishraghi or Ishraqi) school of Philosophy, a seminal figure who synthesized the many tracts of the Islamic Golden Age philosophies into what he called the Transcendent Theosophy or al-hikmah al-muta’āliyah.

Transcendent theosophy or al-hikmat al-muta’āliyah (حكمت متعاليه), the doctrine and philosophy developed by Persian philosopher Mulla Sadra (d.1635 CE), is one of two main disciplines of Islamic philosophy that are currently live and active.

The expression al-hikmat al-muta’āliyah comprises two terms: al-hikmat (meaning literally, wisdom; and technically, philosophy, and by contextual extension theosophy) and muta’āliyah (meaning exalted or transcendent). This school of Mulla Sadra in Islamic philosophy is usually called al-hikmat al-muta’āliyah. It is a most appropriate name for his school, not only for historical reasons, but also because the doctrines of Mulla Sadra are both hikmah or theosophy in its original sense and an intellectual vision of the transcendent which leads to the Transcendent Itself. So Mulla Sadra’s school is transcendent for both historical and metaphysical reasons.

When Mulla Sadra talked about hikmah or theosophy in his words, he usually meant the transcendent philosophy. He gave many definitions to the term hikmah, the most famous one defining hikmah as a vehicle through which “man becomes an intelligible world resembling the objective world and similar to the order of universal existence”.

Mulla Sadra's philosophy and ontology is considered to be just as important to Islamic philosophy as Martin Heidegger's philosophylater was to Western philosophy in the 20th century. Mulla Sadra brought "a new philosophical insight in dealing with the nature of reality" and created "a major transition from essentialism to existentialism" in Islamic philosophy.

A concept that lies at the heart of Mulla Sadra's philosophy is the idea of "existence precedes essence", a key foundational concept of existentialism. This was the opposite of the idea of "essence precedes existence" previously supported by Avicenna and his school of Avicennism as well as Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi and his school of Illuminationism.
Sayyid Jalal Ashtiyani later summarized Mulla Sadra's concept as follows: "The existent being that has an essence must then be caused and existence that is pure existence ... is therefore a Necessary Being."

For Mulla Sadra, "existence precedes the essence and is thus principle since something has to exist first and then have an essence." This is primarily the argument that lies at the heart of Mulla Sadra's philosophy. Mulla Sadra substituted a metaphysics of existence for the traditional metaphysics of essences, and giving priority Ab initio to existence over quiddity.

Mulla Sadra effected a revolution in the metaphysics of being by his thesis that there are no immutable essences, but that each essence is determined and variable according to the degree of intensity of its act of existence.

In his view reality is existence, in a variety of ways, and these different ways look to us like essences. What first affects us are things that exist and we form ideas of essences afterward, so existence precedes essence. This position referred to as primacy of existence (Arabic: Isalat al-Wujud‎).

Mulla Sadra's existentialism is therefore fundamentally different from Western, i.e. existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre said that human beings have no essence before their existence because, there is no Creator, no God. This is the meaning of "existence precedes essence" in Sartre's existentialism.

Another central concept of Mulla Sadra's philosophy is the theory of "substantial motion" (al-harakat al-jawhariyyah), which is "based on the premise that everything in the order of nature, including celestial spheres, undergoes substantial change and transformation as a result of the self-flow (fayd) and penetration of being (sarayan al-wujud) which gives every concrete individual entity its share of being. In contrast to Aristotle and Ibn Sina who had accepted change only in four categories, i.e., quantity (kamm), quality (kayf), position (wad’) and place (‘ayn), Sadra defines change as an all-pervasive reality running through the entire cosmos including the category of substance (jawhar)." Heraclitus described a similar concept centuries earlier (Πάντα ῥεῖ - panta rhei - "everything is in a state of flux"), while Gottfried Leibniz described a similar concept a century after Mulla Sadra's work.


-- Transcendent theosophy, by Wikipedia

Mulla Sadra brought "a new philosophical insight in dealing with the nature of reality" and created "a major transition from essentialism to existentialism" in Islamic philosophy, although his existentialism should not be too readily compared to Western existentialism. His was a question of existentialist cosmology as it pertained to God, and thus differs considerably from the individual, moral, and/or social, questions at the heart of Russian, French, German, or American Existentialism.

Mulla Sadra's philosophy ambitiously synthesized Avicennism, Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi's Illuminationist philosophy, Ibn Arabi's Sufi metaphysics, and the theology of the Sunni Ash'ari school and Shi'a Twelvers.

His main work is The Transcendent Philosophy of the Four Journeys of the Intellect, or simply Four Journeys.

Mulla Sadra was born in Shiraz, in what is now Iran, to a notable family of court officials in 1571 or 1572, In Mulla Sadra's time, the Safavid dynasty governed over Iran. Safavid kings granted independence to Fars Province, which was ruled by the king's brother, Mulla Sadra's father, Khwajah Ibrahim Qavami, who was a knowledgeable and extremely faithful politician. As the ruler of the vast region of Fars Province, Khwajah was rich and held a high position....Sadra was Khwajah's only child. In that time it was customary that the children of aristocrats were educated by private teachers in their own palace. Sadra was a very intelligent, strict, energetic, studious, and curious boy and mastered all the lessons related to Persian and Arabic literature, as well as the art of calligraphy, during a very short time. Following old traditions of his time, and before the age of puberty, he also learned horse riding, hunting and fighting techniques, mathematics, astronomy, some medicine, jurisprudence, and Islamic law. However, he was mainly attracted to philosophy and particularly to mystical philosophy and gnosis.

In 1591, Mulla Sadra moved to Qazvin and then, in 1597, to Isfahan to pursue a traditional and institutional education in philosophy, theology, Hadith, and hermeneutics. At that time, each city was a successive capital of the Safavid dynasty and center of Twelver Shi'ite seminaries. Sadra's teachers included Mir Damad and Baha' ad-Din al-`Amili.

Mulla Sadra became a master of the science of his time. In his own view, the most important of these was philosophy. In Qazvin, Sadra acquired most of his scholarly knowledge from two prominent teachers, namely Baha' ad-Din al-`Amili ...
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Shaykh bahaey (right) and Mirfendereski

Bahāʾ al‐Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn al‐ʿĀmilī (also known as Sheikh Baha'i, Persian: شیخ بهایی‎) (18 February 1547 – 1 September 1621) was an Arab Iranian Shia Islamic scholar, philosopher, architect, mathematician, astronomer and poet who lived in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in Safavid Iran. He was born in Baalbek, Ottoman Syria (present-day Lebanon) but immigrated in his childhood to Safavid Iran with the rest of his family. He was one of the earliest astronomers in the Islamic world to suggest the possibility of the Earth's movement prior to the spread of the Copernican theory. He is considered one of the main co-founders of Isfahan School of Islamic Philosophy. In later years he became one of the teachers of Mulla Sadra.

He wrote over 100 treatises and books in different topics, in Arabic and Persian. A number of architectural and engineering designs are attributed to him, but none can be substantiated with sources. These may have included the Naqsh-e Jahan Square and Charbagh Avenue in Isfahan. He is buried in Imam Reza's shrine in Mashad in Iran....

Shaykh Bahāʾī completed his studies in Isfahan. Having intended to travel to Mecca in 1570, he visited many Islamic countries including Iraq, Syria and Egypt and after spending four years there, he returned to Iran...

According to Baháʼí Faith scholar ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd Ishráq-Khávari, Shaykh Baha' al-Din adopted the pen name (takhallus) 'Baha' after being inspired by words of Shi'a Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (the fifth Imam) and Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (the sixth Imam), who had stated that the Greatest Name of God was included in either Du'ay-i-Sahar or Du'ay-i-Umm-i-Davud. In the first verse of the Du'ay-i-Sahar, a dawn prayer for the Ramadan, the name "Bahá" appears four times: "Allahumma inni as 'aluka min Bahá' ika bi Abháh va kulla Bahá' ika Bahí"...

The following are some his works in astronomy: (1) Risālah dar ḥall‐i ishkāl‐i ʿuṭārid wa qamar (Treatise on the problems of the Moon and Mercury), on attempting to solve inconsistencies of the Ptolemaic system within the context of Islamic astronomy. (2) Tashrīḥ al‐aflāk (Anatomy of the celestial spheres), a summary of theoretical astronomy where he affirms the view that supports the positional rotation of the Earth. He was one of Islamic astronomers to advocate the feasibility of the Earth's rotation in the 16th century, independent of Western influences. (3) Kholasat al-Hesab (The summa of arithmetic) was translated into German by G. H. F. Nesselmann and was published as early as 1843.

Shaykh Baha' al-Din's fame was due to his excellent command of mathematics, architecture and geometry. A number or architectural and engineering designs are attributed to him, but none can be substantiated with sources.

Shaykh Baha' al-Din is also attributed with architectural planning of the city of Isfahan during the Safavid era. He was the architect of Isfahan's Imam Square...
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Imam Square

Imam Mosque...
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Royal Mosque (Imam Mosque), general view from Naqsh-i Jahan Square — Isfahan.

and Hessar Najaf. He also made a sun clock to the west of the Imam Mosque. There is also no doubt about his mastery of topography. The best instance of this is the directing of the water of the Zayandeh River to different areas of Isfahan. He designed a canal called Zarrin Kamar in Isfahan which is one of Iran's greatest canals. He also determined the direction of Qiblah (prayer direction) from the Naghsh-e-Jahan Square...

Shaykh Baha' al-Din was also an adept of mysticism. He had a distinct Sufi leaning for which he was criticized by Mohammad Baqer Majlesi. During his travels he dressed like a Dervish and frequented Sufi circles. He also appears in the chain of both the Nurbakhshi and Ni'matullāhī Sufi orders. In the work called "Resāla fi’l-waḥda al-wojūdīya" (Exposition of the concept of Wahdat al-Wujud (Unity of Existences), he states that the Sufis are the true believers, calls for an unbiased assessment of their utterances, and refers to his own mystical experiences. His Persian poetry is also replete with mystical allusions and symbols. At the same time, Shaykh Baha' al-Din calls for strict adherence to the Sharia as a prerequisite for embarking on the Tariqah and did not hold a high view of antinomian mysticism.

-- Baha' al-din al-'Amili, by Wikipedia

and Mir Damad, whom he accompanied when the Safavid capital was transferred from Qazvin to Isfahan in 1006 A.H./1596 C.E.
Mir Damad (Persian: ميرداماد‎) (d. 1631 or 1632), known also as Mir Mohammad Baqer Esterabadi, or Asterabadi, was a Twelver Shia Iranian philosopher in the Neoplatonizing Islamic Peripatetic traditions of Avicenna. He also was a Suhrawardi, a scholar of the traditional Islamic sciences, and foremost figure (together with his student Mulla Sadra) of the cultural renaissance of Iran undertaken under the Safavid dynasty. He was also the central founder of the School of Isfahan, noted by his students and admirers as the Third Teacher (mu'alim al-thalith) after Aristotle and al-Farabi.

His major contribution to Islamic philosophy was his novel formulation regarding gradations of time and the emanations of the separate categories of time as descending divine hypostases. He resolved the controversy of the createdness or uncreatedness of the world in time by proposing the notion of huduth-e-dahri (atemporal origination) as an explanation grounded in Avicennan and Suhrawardian categories, whilst transcending them. In brief, excepting God, he argued all things, including the earth and all heavenly bodies, share in both eternal and temporal origination. He influenced the revival of al-falsafa al-yamani (Philosophy of Yemen), a philosophy based on revelation and sayings of prophets rather than the rationalism of the Greeks, and he is widely recognized as the founder of the School of Isfahan, which embraced a theosophical outlook known as hikmat-i ilahi (divine wisdom).


Mir Damad’s many treatises on Islamic philosophy include Taqwim al-Iman (Calendars of Faith, a treasure on creation and divine knowledge), the Kitab Qabasat al-Ilahiyah (Book of the Divine Embers of Fiery Kindling), wherein he lays out his concept of atemporal origination, Kitab al-Jadhawat and Sirat al-Mustaqim. He also wrote poetry under the pseudonym of Ishraq (Illumination). He also wrote a couple of books on mathematics, but with secondary importance.

Among his many other students besides Mulla Sadra were Seyyed Ahmad-ibn-Reyn-al-A’bedin Alavi, Mohammad ibn Alireza ibn Agajanii, Qutb-al-Din Mohammad Ashkevari and Mulla Shams Gilani.

Mir Damad's philosophical prose is often accounted as being among the most dense and obstrusely difficult of styles to understand, deliberately employing as well as coining convoluted philosophical terminology and neologisms that require systematic unpacking and detailed commentary. He was called Mir Damad (Groom of the King) because he married Shah Abbas's daughter and hence his fame was based on that event.

Image
Abbas the Great. Portrait by an unknown Italian painter.

Abbas the Great or Abbas I of Persia (Persian: شاه عباس بزرگ‎; 27 January 1571 – 19 January 1629) was the 5th Safavid Shah (king) of Iran, and is generally considered as one of the greatest rulers of Persian history and the Safavid dynasty. He was the third son of Shah Mohammad Khodabanda.

Although Abbas would preside over the apex of Iran's military, political and economic power, he came to the throne during a troubled time for the Safavid Empire. Under his weak-willed father, the country was riven with discord between the different factions of the Qizilbash army, who killed Abbas' mother and elder brother. Meanwhile, Iran's enemies, the Ottoman Empire (its archrival) and the Uzbeks, exploited this political chaos to seize territory for themselves. In 1588, one of the Qizilbash leaders, Murshid Qoli Khan, overthrew Shah Mohammed in a coup and placed the 16-year-old Abbas on the throne. However, Abbas soon seized power for himself.

Under his leadership, Iran developed the ghilman system where thousands of Circassian, Georgian, and Armenian slave-soldiers joined the civil administration and the military. With the help of these newly created layers in Iranian society (initiated by his predecessors but significantly expanded during his rule), Abbas managed to eclipse the power of the Qizilbash in the civil administration, the royal house, and the military. These actions, as well as his reforms of the Iranian army, enabled him to fight the Ottomans and Uzbeks and reconquer Iran's lost provinces, including Kakheti whose people he subjected to widescale massacres and deportations. By the end of the 1603–1618 Ottoman War, Abbas had regained possession over Transcaucasia and Dagestan, as well as swaths of Eastern Anatolia and Mesopotamia. He also took back land from the Portuguese and the Mughals and expanded Iranian rule and influence in the North Caucasus, beyond the traditional territories of Dagestan.

Abbas was a great builder and moved his kingdom's capital from Qazvin to Isfahan, making the city the pinnacle of Safavid architecture. In his later years, following a court intrigue involving several leading Circassians, Abbas became suspicious of his own sons and had them killed or blinded.


-- Abbas the Great, by Wikipedia

Mir Damad was also the architect of the Masjide Shah (Shah Mosque) in Isfahan which employed highly advance mathematical calculations which required the knowledge of the speed of sound at that time. The geometry of the dome is as such that all sound dissipated from the base will echo in hundreds of carefully calculated and masterly executed interior corners of the dome which will ultimately collide in the center of the dome. The geometrical analysis of the dome is of absolute sophistication and the design of the dome is a magnificent piece of art and furthermore the construction of such dome in the 17th century to a precision where all sound waves must travel and collide in an imaginary point above.

Image
Royal Mosque (Imam Mosque), general view from Naqsh-i Jahan Square — Isfahan.

-- Mir Damad, by Wikipedia

Shaykh Baha was an expert in Islamic sciences but also a master of astronomy, theoretical mathematics, engineering, architecture, medicine, and some fields of secret knowledge. Mir Damad also knew the science of his time but limited his domain to jurisprudence, hadith, and mainly philosophy. Mir Damad was a master of both the Peripatetic (Aristotelian) and Illuminationist schools of Islamic philosophy. Mulla Sadra obtained most of his knowledge of philosophy and gnosis from Damad and always introduced Damad as his true teacher and spiritual guide.

After he had finished his studies, Sadra began to explore unorthodox doctrines and as a result was both condemned and excommunicated by some Shi'i ʿulamāʾ. He then retired for a lengthy period of time to a village named Kahak, near Qom, where he engaged in contemplative exercises. While in Kahak, he wrote a number of minor works, including the Risāla fi 'l-ḥashr and the Risāla fī ḥudūth al-ʿālam .

In 1612, Ali Quli Khan, son of Allāhwirdī Ḵhān and the powerful governor of Fārs, asked Mulla Sadra to abandon his exile and to come back to Shiraz to teach and run a new madrasa devoted to the intellectual sciences. He died in Basra after the Hajj and was buried in the present-day city of Najaf, Iraq...

Although Existentialism as defined nowadays is not identical to Mulla Sadra's definition, he was the first to introduce the concept. According to Mulla Sadra, "existence precedes the essence and is thus principal since something has to exist first and then have an essence." It is notable that for Mulla Sadra this was an issue that applied specifically to God and God's position in the universe, especially in the context of reconciling God's position in the Qur'an with the Greek-influenced cosmological philosophies of Islam's Golden Era.

Mulla Sadra's metaphysics gives priority to existence over essence (i.e., quiddity). That is to say, essences are variable and are determined according to existential "intensity" (to use Henry Corbin's definition). Thus, essences are not immutable. The advantage to this schema is that it is acceptable to the fundamental statements of the Qur'an, even as it does not necessarily undermine any previous Islamic philosopher's Aristotelian or Platonic foundations.

Indeed, Mulla Sadra provides immutability only to God, while intrinsically linking essence and existence to each other, and to God's power over existence. In so doing, he provided for God's authority over all things while also solving the problem of God's knowledge of particulars, including those that are evil, without being inherently responsible for them — even as God's authority over the existence of things that provide the framework for evil to exist. This clever solution provides for freedom of will, God's supremacy, the infiniteness of God's knowledge, the existence of evil, and definitions of existence and essence that leave the two inextricably linked insofar as humans are concerned, but fundamentally separate insofar as God is concerned.

Perhaps most importantly, the primacy of existence provides the capacity for God's judgement without God being directly, or indirectly, affected by the evil being judged. God does not need to possess sin to know sin: God is able to judge the intensity of sin as God perceives existence.


One result of Sadra's existentialism is "The unity of the intellect and the intelligible" (Arabic: Ittihad al-Aaqil wa l-Maqul. As Henry Corbin describes: "All the levels of the modes of being and perception are governed by the same law of unity, which at the level of the intelligible world is the unity of intellection, of the intelligizing subject, and of the Form intelligized — the same unity as that of love, lover and beloved. Within this perspective we can perceive what Sadra meant by the unitive union of the human soul, in the supreme awareness of its acts of knowledge, with the active Intelligence which is the Holy Spirit. It is never a question of an arithmetical unity, but of an intelligible unity permitting the reciprocity which allows us to understand that, in the soul which it metamorphoses, the Form—or Idea—intelligized by the active Intelligence is a Form which intelligizes itself, and that as a result the active Intelligence or Holy Spirit intelligizes itself in the soul's act of intellection. Reciprocally, the soul, as a Form intelligizing itself, intelligizes itself as a Form intelligized by the active Intelligence...

Mulla Sadra held the view that Reality is Existence. He believed that an essence was by itself a general notion, and therefore and does not, in reality, exist.

To paraphrase Fazlur Rahman on Mulla Sadra's Existential Cosmology: Existence is the one and only reality. Existence and reality are therefore identical. Existence is the all-comprehensive reality and there is nothing outside of it. Essences which are negative require some sort of reality and therefore exist. Existence therefore cannot be denied. Therefore, existence cannot be negated. As Existence cannot be negated, it is self-evident that it Existence is God. God should not be searched for in the realm of existence but is the basis of all existence. Reality in Arabic is "Al-Haq", and is stated in the Qur'an as one of the Names of God.

To paraphrase Mulla Sadra's Logical Proof for God:

1. There is a being
2. This being is a perfection beyond all perfection
3. God is Perfect and Perfection in existence
4. Existence is a singular and simple reality
5. That singular reality is graded in intensity in a scale of perfection
6. That scale must have a limit point, a point of greatest intensity and of greatest existence
7. Therefore, God exists

Sadra argued that all contingent beings require a cause which puts their balance between existence and non-existence in favor of the former; nothing can come into existence without a cause. Since the world is therefore contingent upon this First Act, not only must God exist, but God must also be responsible for this First Act of creation.

Sadra also believed that a causal regress was impossible because the causal chain could only work in the matter that had a beginning, middle, and end:

1) a pure cause at the beginning 2) a pure effect at the end 3) a nexus of cause and effect

The Causal Nexus of Mulla Sadra was a form of Existential Ontology within a Cosmological Framework that Islam supported. For Mulla Sadra the Causal "End" is as pure as its corresponding "Beginning", which instructively places God at both the beginning and the end of the creative act. God's capacity to measure the intensity of Existential Reality by measuring Causal Dynamics' and their Relationship to their Origin, as opposed to knowing their effects, provided the Islamically-acceptable framework for God's Judgement of Reality without being tainted by its Particulars. This was an ingenious solution to a question that had haunted Islamic philosophy for almost one thousand years: How is God able to judge sin without knowing sin?

-- Mulla Sadra, by Wikipedia

and Mir Findiriski before migrating to the Mughal Empire as a merchant.[5]
Mir Fendereski or Mir Findiriski (Persian: میرفِنْدِرِسْکی)‎ (1562–1640) was a Persian philosopher, poet and mystic of the Safavid era. His full name is given as Sayyed Mir Abulqasim Astarabadi (Persian: سید ابولقاسم استرآبادی), and he is famously known as Fendereski. He lived for a while in Isfahan at the same time as Mir Damad, spent a great part of his life in India among yogis and Zoroastrians, and learnt from them. He was patronized by both the Safavid and Mughal courts. The famous Persian philosopher Mulla Sadra also studied under him.

Mir Fendereski remains a mysterious and enigmatic figure about whom we know very little. He was probably born around 1562-1563 and died age of eighty.

Mir Fendereski was trained in the works of Avicenna as he taught the Avicennian medical and philosophical compendiums of al-Qanun (The Canon) and Al-Shifa (The Cure) in Isfahan.

A number of works are attributed to him, although these have not been studied in detail. In his extensive commentary on the Persian translation of the Mahabharata (Razm-Nama in Persian) ...
The Mahābhārata (Sanskrit: महाभारतम्, Mahābhāratam, pronounced [mɐɦaːˈbʱaːrɐtɐm]) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their successors.

It also contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or puruṣārtha (12.161). Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, the story of Savitri and Satyavan, the story of Kacha and Devyani, the story of Ṛṣyasringa and an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, often considered as works in their own right.

Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahābhārata is attributed to Vyāsa. There have been many attempts to unravel its historical growth and compositional layers. The bulk of the Mahābhārata was probably compiled between the 3rd century BCE and the 3rd century CE, with the oldest preserved parts not much older than around 400 BCE. The original events related by the epic probably fall between the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. The text probably reached its final form by the early Gupta period (c. 4th century CE).

The Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as "the longest poem ever written". Its longest version consists of over 100,000 śloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines (each shloka is a couplet), and long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa. W. J. Johnson has compared the importance of the Mahābhārata in the context of world civilization to that of the Bible, the Quran, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the works of William Shakespeare. Within the Indian tradition it is sometimes called the fifth Veda.

-- Mahabharata, by Wikipedia

and the philosophical text of the Yoga Vasistha ...
Yoga Vasistha (Sanskrit: योग-वासिष्ठ, IAST: Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha) is a philosophical text attributed to Valmiki, although the real author is Vasistha. The complete text contains over 29,000 verses. The short version of the text is called Laghu Yogavasistha and contains 6,000 verses. The text is structured as a discourse of sage Vasistha to Prince Rama. The text consists of six books. The first book presents Rama's frustration with the nature of life, human suffering and disdain for the world. The second describes, through the character of Rama, the desire for liberation and the nature of those who seek such liberation. The third and fourth books assert that liberation comes through a spiritual life, one that requires self-effort, and present cosmology and metaphysical theories of existence embedded in stories.[3] These two books are known for emphasizing free will and human creative power. The fifth book discusses meditation and its powers in liberating the individual, while the last book describes the state of an enlightened and blissful Rama.

Yoga Vasistha teachings are structured as stories and fables, with a philosophical foundation similar to those found in Advaita Vedanta, is particularly associated with drsti-srsti subschool of Advaita which holds that the "whole world of things is the object of mind".
The text is notable for expounding the principles of Maya and Brahman, as well as the principles of non-duality, and its discussion of Yoga. The short form of the text was translated into Persian by the 15th-century.

Yoga Vasistha is famous as one of the historically popular and influential texts of Hinduism. Other names of this text are Maha-Ramayana, Arsha Ramayana, Vasiṣṭha Ramayana, Yogavasistha-Ramayana and Jnanavasistha.

-- Yoga Vasistha, by Wikipedia

he complains about the quality of the translation, which implies that he was familiar with Sanskrit. He was among a group of Persians at the Mughal court to engage with Indian thought.

Some of his most famous works are "Resâle Sanaie", "Resâleh dar kimiyâ" and "Šahre ketabe mahârat", in Persian language. He was also a poet and composed a long philosophical ode (qaṣida ḥekmiya) in imitation of and response to the Persian Ismaʿili thinker Nasir Khusraw. His best-known work is titled al-Resāla al-ṣenāʿiya, an examination of the arts and professions within an ideal society. The importance of this treatise is that it combines a number of genres and subject areas: political and ethical thought, mirrors for princes, metaphysics, and the critical subject of the classifications of the sciences.

-- Mir Fendereski, by Wikipedia

Travels in the Mughal Empire

Hearing that precious items and works of art were being purchased in India at high prices, Sarmad gathered together his wares and traveled to the Mughal Empire where he intended to sell them. In Thatta, in present day Sindh, Pakistan, one of his close disciples was a Hindu called Abhay Chand. Although there is debate on the nature of their relationship[6][7] very little is known about the life of Abhay Chand and no historical records to confirm the details of their encounter, except Sarmad's own poetry. Some scholars have argued that, while Sarmad employed Abhay Chand to translate the Torah as well as Old Testament and New Testament, it is possible that Abhay Chand converted to Islam or Judaism.[8] It is important to note that, in later years, Sarmad grew critical of all religions and took a more spiritual position, which is closer to the Sufi tradition.[9]

At some stage, he abandoned his wealth, let his hair grow, stopped clipping his nails and began to wander the city streets.[10] Although it is widely speculated that Sarmad and Abhay Chand moved to Lahore, then to Hyderabad, settling finally in Delhi, however there are no credible sources to confirm the events.

Life in Delhi

The reputation as a poet and mystic he had acquired during the time the two travelled together, caused the Mughal crown prince Dara Shikoh to invite Sarmad at his father's court. On this occasion, Sarmad so deeply impressed the royal heir that he vowed to become his disciple.

Sarmad has been witnessed by the French physician and traveler, François Bernier, who reported Sarmad as a naked faqir.[11]


Death

After the War of Succession with his brother Dara Shikoh, Aurangzeb (1658-1707) emerged victorious, killed his former adversary and ascended the imperial throne. He had Sarmad arrested and tried for heresy. Sarmad was put to death by beheading in 1661.[12][13] His grave is located near the Jama Masjid in Delhi, India.

Sarmad was accused and convicted of atheism and unorthodox religious practice.[14]

Aurangzeb ordered his Ulema to ask Sarmad why he repeated only "There is no God", and ordered him to recite the second part,"but God".[15] To that he replied that "I am still absorbed with the negative part. Why should I tell a lie?" Thus he sealed his death sentence. Ali Khan-Razi, Aurangzeb's court chronicler, was present at the execution. He relates some of the mystic's verses uttered at the execution stand: "The Mullahs say Ahmed went to heaven, Sarmad says that heaven came down to Ahmed." ... "There was an uproar and we opened our eyes from the eternal sleep. Saw that the night of wickedness endured, so we slept again."

Abul Kalam Azad on Sarmad

Abul Kalam Azad, one of the leading political personalities involved in the Indian independence movement, compared himself to Sarmad, for his freedom of thought and expression.[16]

See also

• Dabestan-e Mazaheb

References

1. Prigarina, Natalia. "SARMAD: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SUFI" (PDF). Institute of Oriental Studies, Russia. Retrieved 24 May2016.
2. For some examples of his poetry, see: Poetry Chaikhana Sarmad: Poems and Biography.
3. See mainly: Katz (2000) 148-151. But also: Sarmad the Armenian and Dara Shikoh; Khaleej Times Online - The Armenian Diaspora: History as horror and survival.
4. Fishel, Walter. "Jews and Judaism at the Court of the Mugal Emperors in Medieval India," Islamic Culture, 25:105-31.
5. Puri, Rakshat; Akhtar, Kuldip (1993). "Sarmad, The Naked Faqir". India International Centre Quarterly. 20: 65–78 – via JSTOR.
6. Sikand, Yoginder (2003). Sacred Spaces: Exploring Traditions of Shared Faith in India. Penguin Books India. ISBN 9780143029311.
7. V. N. Datta (27 November 2012), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sarman, ISBN 9788129126627, Walderman Hansen doubts whether sensual passions played any part in their love [sic]; puri doubts about their homosexual relationship
8. Goshen-Gottstein, Alon (1 August 2017). The Jewish Encounter with Hinduism: History, Spirituality, Identity. Springer. ISBN 9781137455291.
9. Ridgeon, Lloyd V. J. (2008). Sufism: Hermeneutics and doctrines. Routledge. ISBN 9780415426244.
10. See the account here Archived 2009-04-18 at the Wayback Machine.
11. Bernier, Francois (1996). Travels in the Mogul Empire, AD 1656-1668. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120611696.
12. For the motivations behind his trial as well as a detailed explanation of proceedings, see: Katz (2000) 151-153.
13. Cook 2007.
14. "Votary of freedom: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sarmad". Tribune India. 7 October 2007.
15. Najmuddin, Shahzad Z. (2005). Armenia: a Resumé: with Notes on Seth's Armenians in India. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4120-4039-6.
16. Votary of freedom - Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sarmad by V. N. Datta, Tribune India, 7 October 2007

Bibliography

• Cook, D. (2007) Martyrdom in Islam (Cambridge) ISBN 9780521850407.
• Tr. by Syeda Sayidain Hameed (1991). "The Rubaiyat of Sarmad" (PDF). Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
• Ezekial, I.A. (1966) Sarmad: Jewish Saint of India (Beas) ASIN B0006EXYM6.
• Gupta, M.G. (2000) Sarmad the Saint: Life and Works (Agra) ISBN 81-85532-32-X.
• Katz, N. (2000) The Identity of a Mystic: The Case of Sa'id Sarmad, a Jewish-Yogi-Sufi Courtier of the Mughals in: Numen 47: 142-160.
• Schimmel, A. And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration Of the Prophet In Islamic Piety (Chapel Hill & London).

External resources

• Sarmad, Mohammed Sa'id
• Majid Sheikh, Sarmad the Armenian and Dara Shikoh
• Sarmad, a mystic poet beheaded in 1661
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