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Govardhan, Emperor Jahangir visiting the ascetic Jadrup

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December 31, 1615
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Mirza Firuz Shah
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People
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Jahangir 1605–1627

Govardhan, Emperor Jahangir visiting the ascetic Jadrup

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It is not only great Sufis — from the world of Islam — that the painters rendered with deep feeling and understanding, I hasten to add, but also sanyasis and sadhus of different persuasions, different beliefs. Those penetrating studies of sadhus by the Mughal painter Govardhan come easily to mind, as do renderings of sages in meditation that un-named painters turned out in the tiny Pahari states of Mankot and Bandralta in the Jammu region. Along with all this, however, my mind went also to images in which a prince and a recluse come together: the classical encounter between a shah and a gadaa, between worldly power and spiritual majesty. A large number of studies have survived, some charged with extraordinary intensity. Surprisingly, one of the most engaging images from the period of Jahangir (ruled 1605-1627) — surprising because he was no Akbar — is that in which he is seen visiting the Hindu sanyasi, Jadrup Gossain. There is a record of the visit in the emperor’s own words in his Memoirs. Thus, to quote him: "I had frequently heard that an austere sanyasi of the name of Jadrup many years ago retired from Ujjain to a corner of the desert and employed himself in the worship of God. I had a great desire for his acquaintance, and when I was at the capital of Agra, I was desirous of sending for and seeing him. In the end, thinking of the trouble it would give him, I did not send for him. When I arrived in the neighbourhood of the city, I alighted from the boat and went… kos on foot to see him. The place he had chosen to live in was a hole on the side of a hill which had been dug out and a door made. At the entrance, there is an opening … and the distance from this door to a hole which is his real abode is 2 gaz … A person of thin body alone can enter it with a hundred difficulties. It has no mat and no straw. In this narrow and dark hole, he passes his time in solitude. In the cold days of winter, though he is quite naked, with the exception of a piece of rag that he has in front and behind, he never lights a fire." The Mulla of Rum (Jalal-ud-din) has put into rhyme the language of a dervish: "By day our clothes are the sun, By night our mattress and blanket the moon’s rays." The emperor, then, goes on to say about the sanyasi that "he does not desire to associate with men. He … has thoroughly mastered the science of the Vedanta, which is the science of Sufism. I conversed with him for six gharis; he spoke well, so much so as to make a great impression on me."


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.

MUGHAL IMAGES

The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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