I feel quite enchanted to declare that our esteemed colleague Dr. Lalita Sengupta has presented to the scholarly world a novel piece of her literary creation, namely, Contribution of Darashiko to Hindu-Muslim Philosophy. In this well-prepared and erudite work Dr. Sengupta has dealt throughly with the life and literary activities of the great Muslim scholar, having a royal background, whose attraction to the Sanskrit works and the Hindu Philosophy inherent therein crossed the boundaries of locality, religion or caste. Discussions on different schools of Islamic religion and Sufism have been tactfully but logically made. A comparative deliberation on Hindu and Islamic philosophies has been universally taken up. The result of Dr. Sengupta's march through a not-much-trodden path will undoubtedly enrich the publication section of the DSA (Sanskrit) of Jadavpur University.
28th March, 2004
Manabendu BanerjeeCo-ordinator, DSA (Sanskrit)Jadavpur University
In almost every philosophy and religion of Asia, the mystic or spiritual component is but a regular feature, though this characteristic varies according to the tendency of infusion between the mundane state and the super - mundane one. The propositions of Quran bear a greater significance - this firm belief of the great personalities of Islamic community has not developed from the desire to ignore the rigidity of the theory of Quran. On the contrary it has developed from a firm belief that the sentences of Quran bears a deeper and greater significance than the popular interpretations. This very belief, that the deep realisation of spiritual life has been developed from the teachings of Quran and is consistent with it, has given birth to a spiritual and mystic philosophy and that is Sufism. The Growth and development of mysticism in Islam was noticed first in two Islam - dominated localities, i.e. - ancient Khorasan and Mesopotamia. The seekers of truth as well as the wise ones of Muslim community belonging to these two places came in contact with Indian mysticism. During the Muslim invasion, the entire Khorasan was decorated with Buddhist Bihars and Hindu temples. The description of Hu-en-sang supplies us with this information. There were centres of education in Mesopotamia, Damascus, Baghdad etc. The Hindu scholars were used to teach there Indian science and Hindu Yogis were used to be involved in debate with the Muslim scholars. The Hindu Physicians, Astrologers and Scientists were generally invited to Bagdad. From the period the patronisation was noticed in promoting the translation of the original Sanskrit works. Thus monotheism and practical application of discipline of yoga was introduced in the belt of Sufism of Middle-East.
In the history of Indian philosophy the Middle age was the period of renaissance in the field of philosophy, religion and culture. After the entry of Islam the flow of Indian life experienced three stages - antagonism, mutual appreciation of their qualities and assimilation. The antagonism was prominent at the beginning, but gradually the necessity of proper governance demanded the mutual acquaintance and in the course of time the friendship developed. The Hindu royal officers played a prominent role in establishing as well as expanding the authority of Mughal emperors. The Muslim rulers encouraged the promoting of Hindu temples and the Hindu rulers the Muslim mosques. Moreover, the Bhakti movement and spread of Sufism established the congeniality among the followers of different religions. Even in the field of religion the idea of fraternity and service to the mankind were given prominence parallel to the deep involvement in God. Kabir instructed others to expand the field of unity between the Hindu and Muslim religions. The contemporary devotees and preachers of different religions, e.g. Shri Chaitanya, Guru Nanak, Mirabai, Tukaram etc. are renowned ones for their contribution in this field. Almost at the period the Sufi philosophers preached the theory of world fraternity and service for the mankind. This generous order of Islamic religions and philosophy created the unforeseen emotional trend in the spiritual life of India, the land of co-existence of different religions and philosophies. Sri Girijasankar Roy Choudhury in his Bengali work on Sri Chaianyadeva and his associates expressed the truth that in the new religious movement at the beginning of sixteenth century the Hindus and Muslims were equal participants. As it is true that this religion and philosophy was accepted by Hindus and Muslims, similarly it is also true that the Hindus and Muslims collectively created this religion, preached it and accepted it. The history would supply ample evidences for it. The Vaisnava literature supports the fact. The spiritual life of Yavana Haridas who became famous as Thakur Haridas as well as the incarnation of Brahma, is a strong evidence for this theory. The Sufi philosophy is one of the main orders of Islamic philosophy. Many Sufi devotees tried to establish the fact that Sufi philosophy is not detrimental to Islamic philosophy. We may mention here the names of Hujwairi, Abu-Hamid; Muhammad-al-Gajjali etc. in this respect. In the thirteenth century, the Golden age of Sufism, three Persian Sufi poets Fariduddin Akhtar, Jalaluddin Rumi and Sheikh Sadi influenced many Sufi philosophers and devotees of later period. The field of mutual antagonism, which was already created by the political battle, became contracted by this sincere endeavour of these devotees and gradually the vast area of interest was created about the spiritual, moral and human treasure in different religion and philosophy. In order to induce the interest for the search of truth in both the Hindus and Muslims collectively, Emperor Akbar promoted the endeavour to translate the different works on theology of both sects. Definitely Akbar was unique among the Muslim rulers and even perspicacious stalwarts. The objective of Akbar is mentioned by Abul Fajal in the introduction of the Persian translation of Mahabharata. We may cite here the opinion of S.A.A. Rizvi - "Discussing Akbar's motives for ordering the translations, he claimed that the Emperor sought to heal the religious differences amongst his subjects. Akbar did not discriminate between Hindu and Muslim, friend and foe. He felt that the reliably translated texts from both religions would form a basis for a united search for truth. He had also discovered that often the common people among the Hindus were forced to rely on distorted interpretation of texts, while the theologians kept the standard works to themselves. Akbar therefore concluded that the translation of these texts into simple language would enable the people to understand the true spirit of their religion." But it would not be proper to compare Darashiko with Akbar. Emperor Akbar made his people obliged to follows his new religion "Din Elahi" as he started this venture after securing the political power completely. Prince Darashiko, on the other hand, had no such power, even he was not able to create any moral pressure upon his subjects. Truly Dr. Gulam Muhammad Refai has said that the political as well as the social objective of Darashiko was greater than that of Akbar. Dara never wanted to create a new religion and thus consequently create division among people. On the contrary he wanted to know the basic similarities between these two philosophies and religions. Darashiko has said that the basic cause of conflicts, running through centuries between these two sects, is that none of them has realised that both of them are monotheists. Though Darashiko was not successful in his personal and political life, he was able to draw the attention of many wise persons for his esteemed philosophy and honest endeavour, and at the same time made himself more refined. These personages were Baba Lal, Mullah Shah Badakshani, Sheikh Muhibullah Illahabadi, Shah Dilruba, Sarmad etc. Actually Darashiko was a source of intellectual, cultural and social movement. The friendship between the Sufi devotees and Hindu yogis were deep-rooted. Most of the spiritual process of the Hindus were accepted by the Sufi devotees. Muhibullah, the famous Sufi devotee of Illahabad said that it is adverse to the actual ideal of Islam to differentiate between Hindus and Muslims. Kalimullah, the Sufi devotee of Delhi, thinks that it is the duty of all philosophies and religions to teach and show the proper process of memorisation of the name of God, not the conversion to a different religions. Many historians have discussed the life of Darashiko, his works etc. Dr. Rama Chaudhury, the famous educationalist, also has drawn our attention on the comparative discussion of Sufism and Vedanta philosophy. Even recently some scholars have thrown light on Darashiko. But in our view the contribution of Darashiko in the synthesis of Hindus and Muslim philosophy seems the most relevant even today, and so the effort is given here in analysing the philosophies as well as Darashiko's works.
In preparing this work I am profoundly grateful to Dr. Manabendu Banerjee as well as Dr. Bijoya Goswami along with my other colleagues, without whose co-operation and sympathy it would be impossible for me to carry on this research project under D.S.A. scheme of the Department of Sanskrit, Jadavpur University. I am really thankful for my family members for their strong support they provided for me. It is the dearth of my knowledge in Persian Language, which has caused me to follow the information available from secondary sources. So the responsibility for any error of facts, judgement or technical irregularity, however, lies solely with me.
May 21, 2004Deptt. of Sanskrit,Jadavpur University,Kolkata-700032
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