Journal of Indian Philosophy 48 (1):79-99 (2020)

The Mughal court was the main sponsor of Persian works on Vedānta, broadly conceived, from the late sixteenth until the mid-seventeenth century. Thereafter, the audience for such works shifted outside the court. Several Hindus literate in Persian composed or circulated Vedāntic writings. This article surveys three hitherto neglected Persian texts treating Vedānta that appear to have been composed independently from court sponsorship. All three are attributed to Banwālīdās Walī. They comprise the Gulzār-i ḥāl [Rose-garden of ecstatic states], which is itself a translation of the Prabodhacandrodaya; a translation of the Rāma Gītā, which is a dialogue between Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa from the Adhyātma Rāmāyaṇa; and the Om-nāma [Book of Oṃ], a poem loosely based on the Yogavāsiṣṭha that incorporates Vedāntic themes. In general, Indo-Persian authors such as Walī associated Vedānta with a non-dualist doctrine, even when they did not specifically refer to Advaita Vedānta. The article discusses the approaches to translation that these texts take. It also reflects on the functions of these Persian translations in a context where conveying the meaning of the source texts was not the only motive.
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-019-09415-z
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