Gayāmahātmya | Monography or Translations of known period | Survey | Perso-Indica

Monography or Translations of known period
Ānandghan Ḫwuš, Gayāmahātmya

[Preliminary Entry] Gayāmāhātmya is a Persian adaptation of the Sanskrit Gayāmāhātmya, which describes the holy sanctuary at Gayā in Bihar, one of the seven ancient holy cities of India and a major pilgrimage site, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, and the rites connected with this place. It is taken from the Vāyupurāṇa and was compiled by Ānandghan Ḫwuš at the request of Jonathan Duncan or Mister Jonathan Ġaẓānfar Jang in 1204/1791. Ānandghan Ḫwuš is probably the same Ānandghan of Delhi, who resided in Benares during the years 1791–1792 and translated the complete Sanskrit Matsyapurāṇa into Persian at the end of the 18th century at the request of said J. Duncan.

Gayāmāhātmya contains a Vaishnavite legend that explains the mythical root of Gayā’s sanctity. This legend relates that the giant demon, Gayā Asura, performed a rigid penance for a thousand years, for which the gods granted him the reward of being the holiest so that whoever saw or touched him would go to Heaven. Yama, the God of Hell, found that he was monarch of an empty realm and appealed to the gods, and they persuaded Gayā Asura to allow a sacrifice to be performed on his body. After the ceremony, Vishnu struck Gayā with his club and removed all his fatigue and pain. Gayā Asura begged the gods in his prayer to abide for all time on his body so that it would become the holiest of spots, within the limits of which all people may obtain salvation by offering Srādha. His prayer was accepted, and his body became the holy ground of Gayā.

S. Kh.


i) Place of copying; ii) Period of copying; iii) Copyist; iv) Commissioner;
v) Information on colophon; vi) Description of miniatures/illustrations; vii) Other remarks; viii) Information on catalogue(s)

London, British Library, India Office Library, 1864, 56 ff.

, ii)

5 rabī‘ al-awwal 1206/12 November 1791

, iv) Mister Jonathan Ġaẓānfar Jang, vii)

The Sanskrit original of the Vāyupurāṇa has been edited in the Bibl. Ind., Calcutta, 1879-1888.

, viii)

Ethé 1980, pp. 1095-1096, Nr. 1962


French translation:  Gayā Māhātmya, Claude Jacques, ed., Pondichéry, Institut Français d'Indologie, 1962.

English translation:  Gayā Māhātmya, Babu Hari Ram Sijwar - Garain Gayapal eds., Diksh, 1909.


Ethé, Herman, 1980, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the India Office Library, London, India Office Library, pp. 1095-1096.

Jacques, Claude, 1962, Gayāmāhātmya: Edition Critique Traduction Française et Introduction, Pondichery, Institut Français d'Indologie.

Johnson, W. J., 2009, A Dictionary of Hinduism, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Mujtabai, Fathullah, 1978, Aspects of Hindu Muslim Cultural Relations, New Delhi, National Book Bureau, p. 79.

 Parmeshwaranand, Swami, 2001, Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Purāṇas, New Delhi, Sarup & Sons,  vol. 1, p. 585.

Main Persian Title: Gayāmahātmya
Year / Period of Composition: 1204/1791

هزاران هزارشکر و نیاز مر آن بی نیاز را که بزرگ همه بزرگان است و نجات بخشنده-الخ

Commissioner: Jonathan Duncan or Mister Jonathan Ġaẓānfar Jang