Brahman Sanskrit intellectuals enjoyed a century of relations with the Mughal elite. Nonetheless, such cross-cultural connections feature only sporadically in Persian chronicles, and Brahmans rarely elaborated on their imperial links in Sanskrit texts. In this essay I analyze a major exception to the Brahmanical silence on their Mughal connections, the Kavīndracandrodaya (“Moonrise of Kavīndra”). More than seventy Brahmans penned the poetry and prose of this Sanskrit work that celebrates Kavīndrācārya’s successful attempt to persuade Emperor Shah Jahan to rescind taxes on Hindu pilgrims to Benares and Prayag (Allahabad). I argue that the Kavīndracandrodaya constituted an act of selective remembrance in the Sanskrit tradition of cross-cultural encounters in Mughal India. This enshrined memory was, however, hardly a uniform vision. The work’s many authors demonstrate the limits and points of contestation among early moderns regarding how to formulate social and historical commentaries in Sanskrit on imperial relations.
Veṇīdatta, A. Camps and J-C. Muller(eds), The Sanskrit Grammar and Manuscripts of Father Heinrich Roth S.J. (1620-1668): Facsimile Edition of Biblioteca Nazionale, Rome, Mss. Or. 171 and 172, (Brill, Leiden1988).
ChaudhuriJatindra Bimal, 'Some Unknown or Less Known Sanskrit Poets Discovered from the Subhāṣita-sāra-samuccaya', in D.R. Bhandarkar, K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, B.M. Barua, B.K. Ghosh and P.K. Gode(eds), b.c. Law Volume, (Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona1946) 145-158.
D’OnofrioSvevo, 'A Persian Commentary to the Upaniṣads: Dārā Šikōh’s Sirr-i Akbar', in Fabrizio Speziale and Denis Hermann(eds), Muslim Cultures in the Indo-Iranian World During the Early-Modern and Modern Periods, (Klaus Schwarz, Berlin2010) 533-563.
DelvoyeFrançoise Nalini, 'Les chants dhrupad en langue Braj des poètes-musiciens de l’Inde moghole', in Françoise Mallison(ed), Littératures médiévales de l’Inde du nord, (Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, Paris1991) 139-185.
EatonRichard M., 'Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States', in David Gilmartin and Bruce B. Lawrence(eds), Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia, (University Press of Florida, Gainesville2000) 246-281.
GodeP.K., 'Some Evidence About the Location of the Manuscript Library of Kavindracharya Sarasvati at Benares in a.d. 1665', in C. Kunhan Raja(ed), Jagadvijayacchandas, (Anup Sanskrit Library, Bikaner1945) 47-57.
GodeP.K., 'The Identification of Gosvāmi Nṛsiṃhāśrama of Dara Shukoh’s Sanskrit Letter with Brahmendra Sarasvatī of the Kavīndra-Candrodaya—Between a.d. 1628 and 1658', in Studies in Indian Literary History, (Singhi Jain Sastra Sikshapith, Bombay1954) 447-451.
GuhaSumit, 'Conviviality and Cosmopolitanism: Recognition and Representation of “East” and “West” in Peninsular India c.1600-1800', in Corinne Lefèvre, Ines Županov and Jorge Flores(eds), Cosmopolitismes en Asie du Sud. Sources, itinéraires, langues (xvie-xviiie siècle), (Editions de l’EHESS, Paris2015).
LefèvreCorinneSplendours and Miseries of Scholar-Intellectuals at the Mughal Court: A View from the Majālis-i Jahāngīrī (1608-1611)2012Paper presented at Cosmopolitanism in the Early Modern World: The Case of South Asia (16th-18th centuries) in Paris
PollockSheldon, 'Sanskrit Literary Culture from the Inside Out', in Sheldon Pollock(ed), Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia, (University of California Press, Berkeley2003) 39-130.
PollockSheldon, 'The Languages of Science in Early Modern India', in Sheldon Pollock(ed), Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Asia: Explorations in the Intellectual History of India and Tibet, 1500-1800, (Duke University Press, Durham2011) 19-48.
SarmaSreeramula Rajeswara, 'Persian-Sanskrit Lexica and the Dissemination of Islamic Astronomy and Astrology in India', in Gherardo Gnoli and Antonio Panaino(eds), Kayd: Studies in History of Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrology in Memory of David Pingree, (Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente, Rome2009) 129-150.
TruschkeAudrey, '“Regional Perceptions: Writing to the Mughal Courts in Sanskrit.”', in Corrine Lefèvre, Ines Županov and Jorge Flores(eds), Cosmopolitismes en Asie du Sud. Sources, itinéraires, langues (xvie-xviiie siècle), (Editions de l’EHESS, Paris2015).
A.K. Sastry, Kavindracharya List (Baroda: Central Library, 1921). As Gode reminds us, however, this document is not to be taken as a fully accurate picture of Kavīndra’s library. P.K. Gode, “The Kavīndracārya-Sūcī: Is It a Dependable Means for the Reconstruction of Literary Chronology?” New Indian Antiquary 6/2 (1943): 41-42. Today, many of Kavīndra’s manuscripts are housed in the Anup Sanskrit Library, the Sarasvati Bhavan in Varanasi, and the Library of the Maharaja of Jammu.
See, e.g., S. Jain, “Piety, Laity and Royalty: Jains Under the Mughals in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century.”Indian Historical Review40/1 (2013): 74, and Truschke, Culture of Encounters: chap. 5.
D. Sharma, “Kavīndrakalpalatā, a Hindī Work by Kavīndrācārya Sarasvatī.”Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute26 (1945): 153-54. Kavīndra also has verses in his Kavīndrakalpalatā that mention other Mughal figures, including Murad, possibly Jahanara, and even one “Sayyad Hayat Khān” (mentioned by Sharma in “Kavīndrakalpalatā”: 154).