Events & News | Perso-Indica


October 31, 2011 - Publication Announcement - Event
Svevo D’Onofrio - Fabrizio Speziale (eds.)

Muḥammad Dārā Šikōh (1615-1659), La congiunzione dei due oceani

Milano: Adelphi, 2011, 169 p. €14,00 - ISBN: 978-88-459-2559-7

It is a well-known fact that Indian thought burst on the European philosophical scene following the enthusiasm aroused in Schopenhauer by the first Western translation of the Upaniṣads, published by Anquetil-Duperron at the turn of the 19th century. What is less known is that Anquetil-Duperron had based his Latin rendering on a former Persian translation, completed in 1657 and sponsored by the Mughal prince Muḥammad Dārā Šikōh (1615-1659). The Muslim dynasty of the Mughals, who ruled over much of India from 1526, had already shown remarkable interest and open- mindedness towards Indian knowledge, particularly during the reign of emperor Akbar, but his great-grandson Dārā Šikōh pushed himself even further. A member of the Sufi order of the Qādiriyya and a follower of the doctrines of the great Muslim mystic Ibn ‘Arabī, Dārā Šikōh, through his daily association with Hindu yogis and pundits, reached the conclusion that «there is no difference whatsoever, except verbal, in their way of understanding and realizing the Truth» with respect to the Sufis. In support of his view, in 1655 he wrote The Confluence of the Two Oceans, where he tries to show the close correspondence between the concepts and principles of the Hindu and Muslim spiritual traditions. It was a bold and dangerous stance: a few years later, when his brother Aurangzeb seized the throne and put an end to the long tradition of religious tolerance of the Mughal emperors, the enlightened syncretism of this book cost Dārā Šikōh his head. This Italian translation of Dārā Šikōh’s treatise – based on a new critical edition of the text – dramatically improves on the existing translations in Western languages, also owing to the comparison of the original Persian text with its Sanskrit rendering. It is further enriched by a long introduction where the editors sketch the fascinating history of the intense cultural exchanges between the Hindu and Muslim worlds.