Searching for the Hidden “One”: Muslim and Early European Interpretations of the Indian Upaniṣads

in Numen
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

The Upaniṣads are commonly regarded as the ultimate summary of the Indian Weltanschauung. This high esteem is the result of a rather convoluted history of reception in different cultural environments. The article draws on their first interpretations in the Muslim and the European horizon, which are closely interconnected by a fascinating story of translation, namely the Sirr-i akbar of the Mughal prince Dārā Shukūh (1615–1659) and the Oupnek’hat by A. H. Anquetil-Duperron (1731–1805). As will be argued, both mediators have a comparable attitude towards the Indian corpus, and their search for the “one” (= God = Allah) is deeply rooted in perceptions of a single “sacred book” containing the ultimate expression of the truth, which is the object of a “hidden” transmission undetected so far. The goal of this article is to present the common features of their approaches based on a detailed historical examination of the available material.

Searching for the Hidden “One”: Muslim and Early European Interpretations of the Indian Upaniṣads

in Numen

Sections

References

AlgarHamid. 1988. “Badaḵšī, Mollā Shah.” Encyclopaedia Iranica 3(4): 361362.

Anquetil-DuperronAbraham H. 1801. Oupnek’hat (id est Secretum tegendum). Opus ipsa in India rarissimum continens antiquam et arcanam seu Theologicam et Philosophicam doctrinam è quattuor sacris Indorum Libris Rak Beid Djedjr Beid Sam Beid Athrban Beid excerptam; Ad verbum è Persico idiomate Samskreticis Vocabulis intermixto in Latinum conversum; Dissertationibus et Annotationibus difficiliora explanantibus illustratum: studio et opere Anquetil Duperron Indicopleustae. Vol. 1. Strasbourg: Levrault.

AppUrs. 2010. The Birth of Orientalism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

AppUrs. 2012. The Cult of Emptiness: The Western Discovery of Buddhist Thought and the Invention of Oriental Philosophy. Rorschach: UniversityMedia.

ArnaudoMarco. 2010. “Prose and Proselytism: Extra-European Sources for the Jesuit Writings of the Baroque Period.” Prose Studies 32(2): 143151.

Baghdiantz McCabeIna. 2008. Orientalism in Early Modern France: Eurasian Trade Exoticism and the Ancien Régime. Oxford: Berg.

BernierFrançois. 1891. Travels in the Mogul Empire AD 1656–1668: A Revised and Improved Edition Based upon Irving Brock’s Translation by Archibald Constable. Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company.

BodewitzHendrik W. 1997–1998. “The Hindu Doctrine of Transmigration: Its Origin and Background.” Indologica Taurinensia 23/24 (Professor Gregory M. Bongard-Levin felicitation volume): 583605.

BreretonJoel. 1990. “The Upanishads.” In William T. de Bary and Irene Bloom (eds.) Approaches to the Asian ClassicsNew York: Columbia University Press115135.

BronkhorstJohannes. 2007. Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India. Leiden: Brill.

ChâtellierHildegard. 1996. “Parcours individuels et crise collective. Trois médiateurs de l’indianisme en Allemagne: Paul Deussen, Leopold von Schröder, Helmuth Glasenapp.” In Christine Maillard and Michel Hulin (eds.) L’Inde inspiratrice. Réception de l’Inde en France et en Allemagne (XIXe & XXe siècles)Strasbourg: Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg2942.

CoudertAllison. 1994. “The Kabbala Denudata: Converting Jews or Seducing Christians.” In Richard H. Popkin and Gordon Weiner (eds.) Jewish Christians and Christian JewsDordrecht: Kluwer7396.

d’OnofrioSvevo. 2006. “Un commento persiano alle Upaniṣad: Il Serr-e akbar di Dārā Šikōh: Dottorato di Ricerca in Studi Indologici e Tibetologici.” Ph.D. thesis University of Turin.

d’OnofrioSvevo. 2010. “A Persian Commentary to the Upanisads: Dara Šikōh’s ‘Sirr-i Akbar’.” In Denis Hermann and Fabrizio Speziale (eds.) Muslim Cultures in the Indo-Iranian World During the Early Modern and Modern PeriodsBerlin: Klaus Schwarz533563.

d’OnofrioSvevo and Fabrizio Speziale. 2011. Muḥammad Dārā Šīkoh. La congiunzione dei due oceani (Majma῾ al-baḥrayn) a cura di Svevo d’Onofrio e Fabrizio Speziale. Milano: Adelphi Edizioni.

DammeStéphane Van. 2014. “Capitalizing Manuscripts, Confronting Empires: Anquetil-Duperron and the Economy of Oriental Knowledge in the Context of the Seven Year’s War.” In László KontlerAntonella RomandoSilvia Sebastiani and Borbála Zsuzsanna Török (eds.) Negotiating Knowledge in Early Modern Empires: A Decentered ViewNew York: Palgrave109127.

Dārā Shukūh. 1961 [1381 A.H.]. Upānishād. Tarjuma-yi Muḥammad Dārā Shukūh farzand-i Shāh Jahān az matn-i Sānskrīt. Bā muqaddama wa ḥawāshī wa taʿlīqāt wa lughatnāma wa iʿlām. Bi saʿī wa ihtimām-i Tārā Chand Muḥammad-Riḍā Jalālī Nāʾīnī. Jild awwal [vol. 1]. 4th Edition. Tihrān: ʿIlmi [First edition: 1948/1368 a.h.].

DeussenPaul. 1897. Sechzig Upanishad’s des Veda aus dem Sanskrit übersetzt und mit Einleitungen und Anmerkungen versehen. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus.

DeussenPaul. 1980. Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda. V. M. Bedekar and G. B. Palsule (trans.). Delhi: Motilal Barnassidas.

DiderotDenis and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert. 1751. Encyclopédie; ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences des arts et des métiers. Vol. 1. Paris: Briasson Damm.

DiderotDenis and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert. 1752. Encyclopédie; ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences des arts et des métiers. Vol. 2. Paris: Briasson Damm.

EliasJamal E. 2014. “Seeing the Religious Image in the Historical Account: Icons and Idols in the Islamic Past.” In Benjamin Fleming and Richard Mann (eds.) Material Culture and Asian Religions: Text Image ObjectLondon: Routledge284301.

ErnstCarl W. 2003a. “The Islamization of Yoga in the Amrtakunda Translations.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 13(2): 199226.

ErnstCarl W. 2003b. “Muslim Studies of Hinduism? A Reconsideration of Arabic and Persian Translations from Indian Languages.” Iranian Studies 36(2): 173195.

ErnstCarl W. 2005. “Situating Sufism and Yoga.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society3rd Series15(1): 1543.

ErnstCarl W. 2016. Refractions of Islam in India: Situating Sufism and Yoga. New Delhi: Sage.

FallahzadehMehrdad. 2005. Persian Writing on Music: A Study of Persian Musical Literature from 1000 to 1500 A.D. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet.

FaruquiMunis Daniyal. 2012. Princes of the Mughal Empire 1504–1719. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

FriedmannYohanan. 1975. “Medieval Muslim Views of Indian Religions.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 95: 214222.

Gallegos GabilandoSimón. 2010. “Philosophie et colonialisme chez Anquetil-Duperron.” Montesquieu.it 2: 127141. url: http://www.montesquieu.it/files/Riviste/numero2.pdf (accessed 19 April 2015).

GaneriJonardon. 2007. The Concealed Art of the Soul: Theories of Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

GeoffroyEric and Roger Gaetani. 2010. Introduction to Sufism: The Inner Path of Islam. Bloomington: World Wisdom.

GerhardMichael. 2012. “Suspected of Buddhism — Śaṅkara, Dārāṣekoh and Schopenhauer.” In Arati BaruaMichael Gerhard and Matthias Kossler (eds.) Understanding Schopenhauer Through the Prism of Indian Culture: Philosophy Religion and Sanskrit LiteratureBerlin: De Gruyter3161.

Göbel-GroßErhard. 1962. Sirr-i akbar. Die persische Upaniṣadenübersetzung des Moġul-prinzen Dārā Šukoh. Eine Untersuchung der Übersetzungsmethode und Textauswahl nebst der Praśna-Upaniṣad Sanskrit-Persisch-Deutsch. Marburg: Philipps-Universität Marburg.

HalbfassWilhelm. 1988. India and Europe: An Essay in Philosophical Understanding. Albany: State University of New York Press. Originally published as Indien und Europa. Perspektiven ihrer geistigen Begegnung (Basel: Schwabe).

HanefeldErhardt. 1976. Philosophische Haupttexte der älteren Upaniṣaden. Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz.

HanegraaffWouter J. 1998. New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. Albany: State University of New York Press.

HottingerArnold. 1998. Akbar der Große (1542–1605). Herrscher über Indien durch Versöhnung der Religionen. Munich: W. Fink.

JouhkiJukka. 2006. “Orientalism and India.” J@rgonia 4(8): 120.

KapaniLakshmi. 2011. Schopenhauer et la pensée indienne similitudes et differences. Paris: Herman.

KellerCarl A. 1999. “Perceptions of Other Religions in Sufism.” In Jacques Waardenburg (ed.) Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical SurveyBerlin: de Gruyter181194.

KeppensMarianne and Esther Bloch. 2010. “Rethinking Religion in India.” In Esther BlochMarianne Keppens and Rajaram Hegde (eds.) Rethinking Religion in India: The Colonial Construction of Hinduism (Routledge South Asian Religion Series 4) London: Routledge122.

KhanIqtidar Alam. 1997. “Akbar’s Personality Traits and World Outlook: A Critical Reappraisal.” In Irfan Habib (ed.) Akbar and his IndiaOxford: Oxford University Press7996.

KillingleyDermot. 2008. “Ezour-Védam: Europe’s Illusory First Glimpse of the Veda.” Religions of South Asia 2(1): 2343.

KingRichard. 1999. Orientalism and Religion: Post-colonial Theory India and “The Mystic East.” London: Routledge.

KinraRajeev. 2009. “Infantilizing Bābā Dārā: The Cultural Memory of Dārā Shekuh and the Mughal Public Sphere.” Journal of Persianate Studies 2(2): 165193.

KinraRajeev. 2013. “Handling Diversity with Absolute Civility: The Global Historical Legacy of Mughal Sulh-i Kull.” The Medieval History Journal 16(2): 251295.

KippenbergHans G. 1997. Die Entdeckung der Religionsgeschichte. Religionswissenschaft und Moderne. Munich: C. H. Beck.

KnyshAlexander D. 2006. “Ṣūfism and the Qur’ān.” In Jane D. McAuliffe (ed.) Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ānLeiden: Brillvol. 5137159.

KnyshAlexander D. 2010. Islamic Mysticism: A Short History. Leiden: Brill.

LanjuinaisJean-Denis. 1823. La Religion des Indoux selon les Vedah ou Analyse de l’Oupnek’hat. Paris: Dondey-Dupre.

LéviÉliphas. 1860. Histoire de la magie. Avec une exposition claire et précise de ses procédés de ses rites et de ses mystères. Paris: Germer Baillière.

Mahfuz-ul-HaqM. 2006 [1929]. Majma῾-ul-Bahrain or the Mingling of the Two Oceans: Edited in the Original Persian with English Translation Notes and Variants by Mahfuz-ul-Haq. New Delhi: Adam Publishers (Reprint of the original edition 1929).

MeyerUrs Walter. 1994. Europäische Rezeption indischer Philosophie und Religion dargestellt am Beispiel von Arthur Schopenhauer. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

MirMustansir. 2003. “Names of the Qur’ān.” In Jane D. McAuliffe (ed.) Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ānLeiden: Brillvol. 3505515.

MirandolaPico della. 1942. De hominis dignitate. Heptaplus. De ente et uno. A cura di Eugenio Garin. Florence: Valecchi.

MischelFranz. 1992. Das Oupnek’hat. Die aus den Veden zusammengefaßte Lehre von dem Brahm. Aus der sanskrit-persischen Übersetzung des Fürsten Mohammed Daraschekoh … ins Deutsche übertragen. Dresden: Heinrich.

MüllerFriedrich Max. 1879. The Upanishads Part 1. (Sacred Books of the East 1). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

MüllerFriedrich Max. 1902. The Life and Letters of the Right Honourable Friedrich Max Müller: Edited by His Wife. Vol. 1. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.

OddieGeoffrey A. 2010. “Hindu Religious Identity with Special Reference to the Origin and Significance of the Term ‘Hinduism.’ c. 1787–1947.” In Esther BlochMarianne Keppens and Rajaram Hegde (eds.) Rethinking Religion in India: The Colonial Construction of Hinduism (Routledge South Asian Religion Series 4) London: Routledge4155.

OlivellePatrick. 1998. The Early Upanisads: Annotated Text and Translation. New York: Oxford University Press.

PiantelliMario. 1986. “La Māyā nelle Upaniṣad di Schopenhauer.” Annuario filosofico 2: 163203.

PinesShlomo and Tuvia Gelblum. 1989. “Al-Bīrūnī’s Arabic Version of Patañjali’s ‘Yogasūtra’: A Translation of the Fourth Chapter and a Comparison with Related Texts.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 52(2): 265305.

RadtkeBernd. 1988. “Bāṭen.” Encyclopedia Iranica 3(8): 859861.

RenardJohn. 2003. “Khaḍir⁄Khiḍr.” In Jane D. McAuliffe (ed.) Encyclopaedia of the QurʼānLeiden: Brillvol. 38183.

RenardPhilipp. 1995. “Historical Bibliography of Upanisads in Translation.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 23: 223246.

RixnerThaddae Anselm. 1808. Versuch einer neuen Darstellung der uralten indischen All-Eins-Lehre. Nuremburg: In der Steinischen Buchhandlung.

RocherLudo. 1984. Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins.

SachauEdward. 1910. Alberuni’s India: An Account of the Religion Philosophy Literature Geography Chronology Astronomy Customs Laws and Astrology of India about AD 1030: An English Edition with Notes and Indices. Vol. 1–2. London: Trübner.

SaidEdward W. 1976. “Raymond Schwab and the Romance of Ideas.” Daedalus 105: 151167.

SaidEdward W. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon.

ScarabelAngelo. 2007. Il Sufismo: Storia e dottrina. Rome: Carocci.

SchimmelAnnemarie. 1975. Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

SchimmelAnnemarie. 1976. Pain and Grace: A Study of Two Mystical Writers of Eighteenth-Century Muslim India. Leiden: Brill.

SchimmelAnnemarie. 1994. “Dārā Šokōh.” Encyclopaedia Iranica 7(1): 25.

SchimmelAnnemarie. 2003. Sufismus. Eine Einführung in die islamische Mystik. 2nd ed. Munich: C. H. Beck.

Schmidt-BiggemannWilhelm. 2004. Philosophia perennis: Historical Outlines of Western Spirituality in Ancient Medieval and Early Modern Thought. Dordt: Springer. Originally published as Philosophia perennis. Historische Umrisse abendländischer Spiritualität in Antike Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 1998).

SchmittCharles B. 1966. “Perennial Philosophy: From Agostino Steucho to Leibniz.” Journal of the History of Ideas 27: 505532.

SchmittNathaniel. 1922. “Traces of Early Acquaintance in Europe with the Book of Enoch.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 42: 4452.

SchmittTassilo. 2001. Die Bekehrung des Synesios von Kyrene. Munich: Saur.

SchopenhauerArthur 1965. Parerga und Paralipomena. Kleine philosophische Schriften 2.2. Textkritisch bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Wolfgang von Löhneysen. Stuttgart: Cotta-Insel.

SchwabRaymond. 1934. Vie d’Anquetil-Duperron suivie des usages civils et religieux des Parses par Anquetil-Duperron avec une préface de Sylvain Lévi et deux essais du Jivanji Jamshedi Modi. Paris: Leroux.

SerebrianySergei D. 2007 [1997]. “Marginal Notes on India and Europe.” In Eli Franco and Karin Preisendanz (eds.) Beyond Orientalism: The Work of Wilhelm Halbfass and Its Impact on Indian and Cross-Cultural Studies (Poznań Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 59) Delhi: Motilal Barnasidas71102.

SlajeWalter. 2009. Upanischaden. Arkanum des Veda. Frankfurt: Verlag der Weltreligionen.

SmithRichard J. 2001. “Jesuit Interpretations of the Yijing (Classic of Changes) in Historical and Comparative Perspective.” Revised paper, originally prepared for the conference “Matteo Ricci and After: Four Centuries of Cultural Interactions between China and the West,” sponsored by the City University of Hong Kong and Beijing University13–16 October, 2001. url: http://cohesion.rice.edu/humanities/asia/emplibrary/jesuits%20and%20yijing%20article%20061003.pdf (accessed 13 April 2015).

SpezialeFabrizio. 2010. “Les traités persans sur les sciences indiennes: médicine, zoologie, alchimie.” In Denis Hermann and Fabrizio Speziale (eds.) Muslim Cultures in the Indo-Iranian World during the Early-Modern and Modern PeriodsBerlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag5367.

StausbergMichael. 1998. Faszination Zarathushtra. Zoroaster und die Europäische Religionsgeschichte der Frühen Neuzeit. Vol. 1–2. Berlin: de Gruyter.

StuckradKocku von. 2004. Was ist Esoterik? Kleine Geschichte des geheimen Wissens. Munich: C. H. Beck.

ThomasDavidBarbara Roggema and Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala. 2009. Christian Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History. Leiden: Brill.

TinguelyFrédéric. 2008. Un libertin dans l’Inde moghole: les voyages de François Bernier 1656–1669. Paris: Chandeigne.

VassieRoderic. 1992. “‘Abd al-Raḥman Chishtī and the Bhagavadgita: ‘Unity of Religion’ Theory in Practice.” In Leonard Lewisohn (ed.) The Heritage of Sufism: The Legacy of Medieval Persian SufismLondon: Khaniqahi Nimatullahi Publications367377.

WalkerDaniel P. 1954. “The Prisca Theologia in France.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 17: 204259.

WinkAndé. 1997. Al-Hind the Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Vol. 2: The Slave Kings and the Islamic Conquest 11th–13th Centuries. Leiden: Brill.

WinkAndré. 2009. Akbar. Oxford: Oneworld.

WinterFranz. 2005. “Eine summa orientalis systematis: A. H. Anquetil-Duperron und der Entwurf einer indischen Urphilosophie im Vorwort seiner Upanishaden-Übersetzung.” Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens 49: 71105.

WinterFranz. 2008. Das frühchristliche Mönchtum und der Buddhismus. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

WinterFranz. 2014. “The Dawn of India in Europe: Abraham H. Anquetil-Duperron’s Latin Translation of the Indian Upanishads in the Framework of Esoteric Currents of his Time.” In Jean-Pierre BrachAurélie Choné and Christine Maillard (eds.) Capitales de l’esotérisme européen et dialogue des culturesParis: Orizons99108.

WisnowskyRobert. 2002. “Heavenly Book.” In Jane D. McAuliffe (ed.) Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ānLeiden: Brillvol. 2412413.

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 133 133 5
Full Text Views 94 94 71
PDF Downloads 9 9 4
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0