Alla.h-Upani.sad

jkirk jkirk at SPRO.NET
Wed Nov 29 15:44:36 EST 2006


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dominik Wujastyk" <ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK>
To: <INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk>
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 1:14 PM
Subject: Re: Alla.h-Upani.sad


>> Having never seen this text before, may I incautiously (I suppose) write 
>> to suggest that it looks to me to resemble a dhikr text used by Sufis, or 
>> imitating such a text, because of the repetition of certain terms/names 
>> found in the kalima, and also by virtue alone of sheer repetition. Is 
>> that possible?
>>
>> Best wishes,
>> Joanna Kirkpatrick
>
>
> This is a good suggestions, but bear in mind there is a large literature 
> of repetitive mantras of this type in the mantrasastra literature.  81 
> century texts like the Mantramaharnava and Mantramahodadhi (different) 
> from Benares are big compendia of similar incantations (of course without 
> the allaa/ilala etc.).  The rasasastra literature too: I'm thinking of 
> sections of Nityanatha's Rasaratnakara and much of pseudo-Nagarjuna's 
> Kaksaputatantra that have huge chunks of this kind of material.  And 
> Buddhist literature has it's share of this type of japa-like mantra too.
>
> I remember being told once, by a Syrian Christian friend, that group 
> chanting of such mantra-like incantations was done in by Syrian sufis.
>
> There's a case here, for sure, for the kind of inter-cultural study that 
> Whitney outlines so well, looking synthetically at a phenomenon that 
> occurs across faiths and culture groups, changing but not wholly.
>
> D
================
Hello Dominik,

Did you mean 18th century, not 81 century? (I do it all the time, only saved 
usually by spell-check).
Yes, am aware of the extensive japa-type mantra literature in India and in 
Buddhism. However, the Allopani.sad was allocated to the court of Akbar, and 
so one could assume it also featured somehow in connection with the 
multi-talented munshis he patronized and his multilateral spiritual 
interests. Thus, its chances of being an attemped translation or imitation 
of Sufi dhikr rather than anything found in Hindu or Buddhist collections 
seems pretty good to me. I can imagine that if a Hindu munshi was trying to 
convert something Islamic to Sanskrit he might be following
the example of japa literature, but if a Muslim scholar wrote it, then he'd 
probably be trying his best to retain an "Islamicity" in his text while 
converting a dhikr or a simulated dhikr to Sanskrit.

Best, Joanna



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