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Aurangzeb as Iconoclast? Vaishnava Accounts of the Krishna images’ Exodus from Braj

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This paper studies how Brajbhāṣā Vaishnava narratives describe the role the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb played in the displacement of Krishna images from the Braj heartland in the 1660s and 1670s. While contemporary discourse frequently suggests that the emperor was a villain persecuting beloved Hindu deities, who in turn are victims forcibly moved from their original homeland, the early-modern vernacular narratives we consider here perceive these peregrinations in rather more complex ways. This article foregrounds the case of the best-known dispersed Krishna image: Śrī Nāthajī, a deity of the Vallabha-Sampradāya, now residing in the Mewar area of Rajasthan. It analyses mostly the discourse of the Śrī Nāthajī kī Prākaṭya-Vārtā, or ‘The story of the Appearance of Śrī Nāthajī’, attributed to Vallabha's descendant, Harirāy. The sectarian logic presents Aurangzeb as an ardent, if uncouth, devotee and Śrī Nāthajī as an autonomous agent, not a victim, but rather a victor.

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1 For an instance of a Jaina and a Sanskrit Mahātmya’s response to desecration of their respective images in Sultanate times, see Granoff, Ph., “Tales of Broken Limbs and Bleeding Wounds: Responses to Muslim Iconoclasm in Medieval India”, East and West, 41.1/4 (1991), pp. 189203. For a nuanced view of reactions to the Somnath desecration by Mahmud of Ghaznah, see Thapar, R., Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History (London, 2005).

2 Documentary evidence has shown that under Aurangzeb, but for a short moment of panic, it was very much ‘business as usual’ in the Braj area, see Habib, I., “Dealing with multiplicity: Mughal administration in Braj Bhum under Aurangzeb (1659–1707)”, Studies in People's History, 3.2 (1996), pp. 151164.

3 This article focuses on Hindu discourses only. The complexity of the discourses of iconoclasm in the Islamic world is a different topic that has already begun to be unpacked. Romila Thapar has very lucidly published on this with regard to Mahmud of Ghaznah. See her Somanatha, pp. 36-72. Finbarr Flood, covering a broader swath of the Sultanate period, analyses this in terms of its polemicist tropes, political discourse of conquest and ritual subordination, multi-stage peregrinations and redistribution of objects in asymmetric exchanges, economic discourse of circulation of precious metals, and the spectacle entailed in the reception of the icons on display; see his Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval “Hindu-Muslim” Encounter (Princeton, 2009), pp. 26-37. Flood argues for understanding the phenomenon as an intricate interplay of religious, economic and political factors. As we will see, something similar is going on in Hindu discourses.

4 A representative example is a glossary definition of Śrī Nāthajī in Snell, R., The Hindi Classical Tradition: A Braj Bhāṣā Reader (London, 1994), p. 194.

5 Research showing this is summarised in Pauwels, H., “A Tale of Two Temples: Mathurā’s Keśavadeva and Orchhā’s Caturbhujadeva”, South Asian History and Culture, 2.2 (March 2011), pp. 279280.

6 Ibid., pp. 288-290.

7 1726 VS, Āśvin sudi 15, on a Friday according to Harirāy, Ā. G. (ed.), Śrīnāthjī kī prākaṭya-Vārtā [Go. Śrī Harirāy mahānubhāv kr̥t] (Nathdwara, 1968), p. 52.

8 Ibidem. The text is also known as Śrī Govardhananāthajī kī Prākaṭya-Vārtā, and other variants of that name, see fn. on manuscripts below. See also Smith, F., “Dark Matter in Vārtāland: On the Enterprise of History in Early Puṣṭimārga Discourse”, Journal of Hindu Studies 2 (2009), pp. 2747.

9 McGregor, R. S., Hindi Literature from its Beginnings to the Nineteenth Century (Wiesbaden, 1984), pp. 209210.

10 Shah, R. G., Vallabha Cult and Śrī Harirāyajī: Contributions of Śrī Harirāyajī to Vallabha School (Delhi, 2005), pp. 7788 and plate 9; Caturvedī, V. V., Gosvāmī Harirāyjī aur unkā Brajbhāṣā Sāhitya (Mathura, 1976), pp. 4950, 65-66; Mītal, P. D., Gosvāmī Harirāyjī kā Pad-sāhitya (Mathura, 1962), p. 7.

11 He may have been instrumental in establishing the Mewar king's interest in Śrī Nāthajī, and there is a picture of Raj Singh visiting him preserved in the temple of Viṭṭhalanāthajī in Nathdwara (Shah, Vallabha Cult, p. 82 and plate 11).

12 See Vaudeville, Ch., “The Govardhan Myth in North India”, Indo-Iranian Journal, 22.1 (1980), pp. 2426.

13 See Ambalal, A., Krishna as Shrinathji: Rajasthani Paintings from Nathdvara (Ahmedabad, 1987); see also Horstmann, M. and Mishra, A., “Vaishnava Sampradāyas on the Importance of Ritual: A Comparison of the Two Contemporaneous Approaches by Viṭṭhalnātha and Jīva Gosvāmī”, in Bhakti Beyond the Forest: Current Research of Early Modern Literatures in North India, 2003-2009, (ed.) Bangha, Imre (New Delhi, 2012), pp. 155176; and Bennett, P., “Krishna's Own Form: Image Worship in the Pushti Marga”, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 1.4 (1993), pp. 109134.

14 See Jhaveri, K. M., Imperial Farmans, A.D. 1577 to A.D. 1805, granted to the ancestors of His Holiness The Tilakayat Maharaj (Bombay, 1928). Even though some of the grants seem to be forgeries (Mukherjee, T. and Habib, I., “Akbar and the Temples of Mathura and Environs”, Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, 48 (1988), pp. 238, 248-249), there still are several apparently authentic documents that support the point. We thank J. S. Hawley of Barnard College for bringing this to our attention.

15 Vaudeville, “The Govardhan Myth”, pp. 39, 43 n. 10, p. 44 n. 18-19 and pp. 44-45 n. 21; Barz, R. K., The Bhakti sect of Vallabhācārya (New Delhi, 1976), pp. 216233.

16 For a handy overview chart, see Barz, Bhakti sect, p. 55 and Peabody, N., Hindu Kingship and Polity in Precolonial India (Cambridge, 1991), plate 3.

17 The issues involved in inheritance are actually quite complex, and the story is not one of straightforward primogeniture. Some sense of this is to follow, but the issue is too complex to explore in detail here.

18 Saha, S., “The Movement of Bhakti along a North-West Axis: Tracing the History of the Puṣṭimārg between the Sixteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”, International Journal of Hindu Studies, 11.3 (2004), pp. 138139.

19 Barz, R. K., “Vallabha Sampradāya”, in Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism, (eds.) Jacobsen, K. A., Basu, H., Malinar, A., Naryanan, V. (Leiden, 2009), Vol. 1, p. 613; Dalmia, V., “The ‘Other’ in the World of the Faithful”, in Bhakti in Current Research, 2001-2003: Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Early Devotional Literature in New Indo-Aryan Languages, Heidelberg, 23-26 July 2003, (ed.) Horstmann, Monika (Delhi, 2006), pp. 115138.

20 See E. Bachrach, “Reading the Medieval in the Modern: The Living Tradition of Hagiography in the Vallabh Sect of Contemporary Gujarat”, PhD. diss. (The University of Texas at Austin, 2014).

21 There is a translation of the first part in Vaudeville, “The Govardhan Myth”, pp. 18-27 and a paraphrase (with some significant omissions) of the whole text by Shyamdas, T., The Amazing Story of Shri Nathji, (Vrindaban, 2004).

22 E.g., in the first half of the seventeenth century under the sectarian leadership of Viṭṭhalrāy (ŚNPV 65, pp. 44 - 45).

23 J. S. Hawley, personal communication with Pauwels, 29 September 2012. Contemporary scholars of the tradition have also noted the inconsistency of writing ascribed to Harirāy (in both Braj and Sanskrit) — not only in narrative style, but also in the presentation and analysis of basic theological principles (Shyam Manohar Goswami, personal communication with Bachrach, 15 June 2012).

24 In contrast, it is very different in tone from the heavily Gosvāmī, merchant, and Raja-focused nineteenth-century Śrī Mukundarāyajī kī Vārtā, described by Dalmia, V., “The Establishment of the Sixth Gaddī of the Vallabha Sampradāy: Narrative Structure and the Use of Authority in a Vārtā of the Nineteenth Century”, in Studies in South Asian devotional literature: Research papers 1988-1991, presented at the Fifth Conference on Devotional Literature in New Indo-Aryan Languages, held at Paris, École Française d'Extrême-Orient, 9-12 July 1991, (eds.) Mallison, F. and Entwistle, A. (New Delhi, 1994). pp. 94117. It also feels more broad-based popular than the turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Śrī Dvārkādhīśa kī Prākaṭya-Vārtā, ascribed to Brajbhūṣaṇ Mahārāj (1778-1819 or 1835-76 VS), for discussion of which, see below in the second part of the paper.

25 “The Stories of Eighty-Four Vaishnavas” and “The Stories of Two-Hundred and Fifty-Two Vaishnavas” provide hagiographical accounts for the disciples of Vallabha and Viṭṭhalnāth respectively. It should be noted that several of the episodes that appear in the early part of our text also appear in the Caurāsī Vaiṣṇavan kī Vārtā—although none of the episodes that concern us in this article.

26 Taṇḍan, H. N. in his Vārtā-Sāhitya (Aligarh, 1960), p. 107, mentions only editions.

27 The first Śrī Nāthajī kī Nija Prāgaṭya-Vārtā examined by Bachrach (90 folios) was originally from a sectarian temple (havelī) in Bahadrapur (Bhavnagar District, Gujarat), but is now kept in a private collection in Ahmedabad (anonymous). It contains no colophon or date, but appears to be from the late nineteenth century. The second manuscript (75 folios, badly damaged and incomplete) is dated 1855 ce (1912 VS Caitra sudi 13) and is kept in a private temple library in Ahmedabad. Its colophon specifies that it was written for Ācārya Abhirām Mahāśaṅkar by Pārekh Māyācand Kuśaldās. The third manuscript, found in the same temple library (106 folios), contains no colophon or date, but may be from the early nineteenth century. All three texts are similar to each other (the varying number of folios is due to inclusion of non-Vārtā material) and are very similar to the printed Venkateshvar edition (with some omissions).

28 Other manuscripts that we were not able to inspect include the following: Vrindaban Research Institute in its catalogue lists a Govardhananāthajī kī Prākaṭya-Vārtā (101 fols.), dated 1825 (1882 VS; but the last folio, presumably the one with the date, is written in a different hand). A search of the electronic database reveals other manuscripts, significantly none of which are attributed to Harirāyjī: under the title Govardhana-Prākaṭyam, a manuscript (96 folios) preserved at RORI Jodhpur (P.W.D. Road) ms. no. 18019, and one (102 folios) preserved with Śrīmatī Sīmā Gauttam, 27/307 Retvālī in Koṭā, ms. no. 1; under the title Govardhananātha kī Nija Vārtā, a (143 folio) manuscript in RORI Jaipur (Rāmacandrajī kā mandir) ms. no. 12705/2; under the title Govarddhananāthajī ke Pragaṭya ke Prakār, a manuscript (said to be complete in 49 pages) in Rājasthānī Śodh Sansthān, Caupāsanī, Jodhpur, ms. no. 16497 (3), and one (65 fols) in Shri Sanjay Shamra Research Institute in Jaipur, ms. no. 423/175/1, estimated to be from the twentieth century; under the title Govardhananāthajī kī Prākaṭya kī Vārtā, a manuscript (said to be complete in 65 pages) in Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute Jodhpur ms. no. 25457, the scribe is a Vaṃśīdhar Purohit, and in the same collection (said to be complete in 62 folios) ms. no. 20697, written by a Tulārām in Gokul. Finally, it appears that Ambalal had access to a manuscript (Krishna as Shrinathji p. 175). Unfortunately no dates are provided for any of the namami manuscripts. Moreover, without inspecting them in person it is hard to say whether they are of the same text. The variance in number of folios makes one suspect the text as edited (92 pages) has shorter and longer versions in the manuscript material.

29 There are examples of contemporary creation of such texts in order to legitimise local worship sites, such as Harirāy, Śrīgovardhanaprākaṭyam nāma Puruṣasaṃbhavamahākāvyam Mahākavi Harirāyaviracitam (Jodhpur, 1987). The author of this Sanskrit text with a similar title is confusingly not the same Harirāy who wrote our Vārtā, but a contemporary Gosvāmī of the Caupāsanī shrine. In the forewords to this 1987 edition, it is repeatedly stressed that this text proves the respectable origins of the image venerated there. This modern example, where we know a different Harirāy is the author may caution us that there may be conflation at work also in our text.

30 Harirāy, Ā. G., Śrīnāthajī kī Prākaṭya Vārtā (Nathdwara, 1968).

31 Pāṇḍyā, Mohanlāl Viṣṇulāl, Śrī Govardhananāthjī ke Prākaṭya kī Vārtā Brajbhāṣā meṃ [Gosvāmī Śrī Harirāyjī Mahārāj kr̥t] (Bombay, 1905). Pāṇḍyā mentions the contemporary Maharajas Govarddhanlāl and Jīvanlāl (p. 3). The dedication is dated 1878 (1935 VS), so presumably it is the 1878 text mentioned separately by Taṇḍan, Vārtā-Sāhitya, p. 107.

32 Ibid., p. 107; Stark, U., An Empire of Books: The Naval Kishore Press and the Diffusion of the Printed Word in Colonial India (Ranikhet, 2007), p. 395.

33 Ibid., p. 394.

34 This is the same author who edited the Pr̥thvīrāj-Rāso, as discussed by Cynthia Talbot forthcoming. We are grateful to Cynthia Talbot for alerting us to this (personal communication, 25 July 2014).

35 On these issues, see Clémentin-Ojha, C., Le trident sur le palais: Une cabale anti-vishnouite dans un royaume hindou à l'époque colonial (Paris, 1999) and Dalmia, V. The Nationalization of Hindu Traditions: Bhāratendu Hariśchandra and Nineteenth-Century Banares (Delhi, 1997), pp. 362366.

36 Ibid., pp. 383-384.

37 The publication is called Vallabhakula Chala Kapaṭa Darpana Athavā Vallabhakula kā Kaccā Ciṭṭhā (“The mirror of lies and treachery of the Vallabhites or the detailed account of the deeds of the Vallabhites”). Vaudeville, Ch., “Multiple Approaches to a Living Hindu Myth: The Lord of the Govardhan Hill”, in Hinduism Reconsidered, (eds.) Sontheimer, G. and Kulke, H. (New Delhi, 1997), p. 220.

38 The author even provides a sketch of the image, comparing it with a Jaina Baṭuk Bhairava from the Mathura Museum. In addition to describing Tantric rites (vāmamārga), he details the Vallabhakula's (Vallabha's descendants’) “moral turpitudes”. Ibid., pp. 221-222.

39 Martin, N., “Mīrābai in the Academy and the Politics of Identity”, in Faces of the Feminine in Ancient, Medieval, and Modern India, (ed.) Bose, Mandakranta (New York, 2000), pp. 162182.

40 Bachrach witnessed theatrical performances of narratives from the Śrī Nāthajī kī Prākaṭya-Vārtā in Ahmedabad city between 2009 and 2012. These performances were in Gujarati, with the occasional citation of a Braj line from printed versions of the Braj text. This article will note some of the scenes that Bachrach witnessed in performance.

41 Mīrābāī is mentioned in the other Vārtās, but not in a positive light, see especially the Vārtā of Krishnadās Adhikārī (prasaṅga 1, translated in Barz, Bhakti Sect), pp. 213-214.

42 This is one of the episodes that Bachrach witnessed in youth performance in Ahmedabad city.

43 ŚNPV 25, p. 21; Vaudeville, “The Govardhan Myth”, p. 38.

44 Smith, W. L., Patterns in North Indian Hagiography (Stockholm, 2000), pp. 111113.

45 Bachrach witnessed a Vallabhan youth performance of this scene in Ahmedabad, which was intended to be humorous. The youth playing the part of Aurangzeb's character wore a massively oversized costume beard. Accordingly, the emperor became an object of ridicule, pathetic rather than threatening.

46 This point emerged in discussion at the presentation of this paper at Columbia University on 29 September 2012.

47 See Burchett, P., “Bitten by the Snake: Yogīs, Tantra, and Mantra in the Poetry of the Bhakti Saints”, Journal of Hindu Studies, 6.1 (2013), pp. 120.

48 F. Smith, “Dark Matter”, p. 46 n. 27.

49 Bachrach's survey of the manuscripts as well as field research in the contemporary community shows that similarly in both cases this meta-text is absent.

50 They were accompanied by a third Gosvāmī, who was responsible for the cooking, with some help of the women (ŚNPV, p. 68).

51 See also Hallissey, R. C., The Rajput Rebellion against Aurangzeb: A Study of the Mughal Empire in Seventeenth-Century India (Columbia, 1977).

52 Incidentally, the mother of Raj Singh was Janade Karmeti, daughter of Raj Singh Rāṭhauṛ of Merta (see Menaria, M., Mahākavi Ranchoḍ Bhaṭṭ praṇītaṃ Rājapraśastiḥ Mahākāvya [Udaipur, 1973], p. 13; Sarga 5). She is known from an inscription at the tank Janasagar constructed by her son in her name near Udaipur, dated 1677 (1735 VS).

53 Sharma, G. N., Mewar and the Mughal Emperors (1526-1707 A.D.) (Agra, 1962), pp. 145151; This is written up in the Futuḥāt-e ‘Ālamgirī fols. 47v-79r; see Ahmad, T.‘s translation, Ishvardas Nagar's Futuhat-i-Alamgiri (Delhi, 1978), pp. 118130.

54 Sharma, Mewar, pp. 151-153.

55 The historical model of the chivalrously returned Mughal Begum, may be Aurangzeb's granddaughter, the daughter of the rebel prince Muhammad Akbar (see below on his rebellion). Upon her father's defeat she had ‘together with her brother, been sent in safety to a small village with the trusted Brahmin, Durgadas (Futuḥāt-e ‘Ālamgirī fol. 83v; translation, p. 136). Her name is given as Khujista Bano, but she seems to be the same lady, now named Saif un-Nissa Begum, whom the author of the work, Isardās Nāgar, eventually was involved in restoring to Aurangzeb as part of the reconciliation with Durgadas, many years later, in 1694 (Futuḥāt-e ‘Ālamgirī fol. 166v-8r; translation, pp. 281-283). According to Isardās, when Aurangzeb heard that Durgadas had arranged for her to study the Qur‘ān with a lady from Ajmer during her ‘exile’, he became more softly inclined towards Durgadas. Perhaps the Vārtā version is a conflation of Durgadas with Raj Singh and of this later incident of the restoration of Aurangzeb's granddaughter with the account of ‘the Begum gone astray’ during the confusion of the battles. If that is the case, the Vārtā text must have been written after 1694. Note that in Ma’āṡir–e ‘Ālamgirī, Sāqi Must‘ad Ḳhān tells the story differently. He says that when Muhammad Akbar had fled on 16 January 1681, he left his family and children behind (although apparently there are some missing lines. Ch. 24 for the year 1680-1; Fol. 202, see Sarkar, J. N. (trans.), Maāsir-i-Ālamgiri: A History of the Emperor Aurangzeb-‘Ālamgir (reign 1658-1707) (Calcutta, 1947), p. 125). Three daughters, Safiyyat un-Nissa, Zaliyyat un-Nissa and Najibat un-Nissa as well as his wife Salima Banu Begum and others, were brought before Aurangzeb and sent back to Delhi (ibid. fol. 203). Since none of these names fits the lady in Isardās’ story exactly, it is possible that they were other sisters, thus the accounts are perhaps not mutually exclusive. According to Sāqi, reconciliation with the Rana came about half a year later on 14 June 1681 (Ibid., fol. 208; translation p. 128). He does not mention the reconciliation with Durgadas in 1694.

56 Menaria, Rājapraśastiḥ, pp. 39-40; Sarga 23.

57 Hallissey, The Rajput Rebellion, pp. 84-89.

58 Menaria, Rājapraśastiḥ, p. 233; Sarga 22.8-9.

59 This presumably is the Jagadīśa temple, built by Jagat Singh, which, Joffee has argued, was conspicuously built to rival Mughal construction. See J. Joffee, Art, Architecture and Politics in Mewar, 1628-1710”, Ph.D. Diss. (University of Minnesota, 2005), pp. 91-94.

60 The term used is mācātoṛ (bed-breaker) explained in a footnote in Sarkar's translation as “a kind of soldier among the Rajputs (very indolent and much addicted to opium, but active and brave when roused)”. See Ma’āṡir–e ‘Ālamgirī, Chapter 23 for the year 1679-80; fol. 186; translation, p. 115.

61 Bards receive traditional presents at the occasion when the groom strikes the toraṇa at the gate of the bride's house.

62 Śyāmaldās, Vīr Vinod: Mevāḍ kā Itihās (Jodhpur, 2007 [1886]), p. 1466, with a Marwari Gīt Chand commemorating the occasion quoted in fn. 2.

63 According to this chronicler, on 24 January, Aurangzeb personally went to Udaisagar and ordered three temples destroyed; and a few days later, on 29 January, another commander who had been pursuing the Rana brings some of the spoils and reports destroying 122 other temples near Udaipur. See Ma’āṡir-e ‘Ālamgirī, Chapter 23 for the year 1679-80; fol. 188; translation, pp. 116-117.

64 See the relevant fols. 47v-79r; Futuhat-i-Alamgiri, pp. 118-130.

65 Ibid., pp. 130-131; this is also mentioned in another chronicle, Mirāt-e Aḥmadī (p. 464), as quoted by Śyāmaldās, Vīr Vinod, pp. 1.469.

66 See Menaria, Rājapraśastiḥ, p. 237; Sarga 22.26-9; also quoted in Sharma, Mewar, p. 151, is the Braj work Rāj-vilās canto 15.

67 See Menaria, Rājapraśastiḥ, pp. 260-261; Sarga 24. 25-7.

68 Futuḥāt-e ‘Ālamgirī fol. 80r-3v, translation, pp. 132-136

69 Sharma, Mewar (Agra, 1962), pp. 156-157.

70 Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya Līlā, 18.36-7.

71 Ibid.

72 On the building of the temple, see Vaudeville, “The Govardhan Myth”, pp. 37-38.

73 For older examples of the trope of travelling ‘deities’, we can also turn to the South during the Sultanate, where the travails of the deity Śrī Raṅganātha after capture are portrayed as a ‘pilgrimage tour’. Davis, R. H., Lives of Indian Images (Princeton, 1997), pp. 127132. There is a mythological component to this trope, as of course in the scriptures Krishna himself flees Mathura from the approaching Yavanas, to end up in Dwarka (Ibid., p. 130 on the basis of Viṣṇu-Purāṇa 5.23).

74 This text is based on a manuscript of the Kankroli Sarasvatī Bhaṇḍār (119/4) written by the panḍyā of the son of the author, Govardhan Tulārām who moved from Nathdwara to Kankroli. The editor reports also that preserved in the same library are two manuscripts written by the grandson of the author (ms. 119/5 and 13), as well as yet more modern texts. See Śarmā, V. B., Śrī Dvārkādhīśa kī Prākaṭya-Vārtā (Kankroli, 1956), Introduction, p. 4.

75 This document is reproduced in Śāstrī, K.V., Kāṃkrolī kā Itihās (Kankroli, 1956), p. 135.

76 All this in the fifteenth Ullās (Ibid., pp. 60-64).

77 In the sixteenth Ullās (Ibid., pp. 65-68).

78 See Ambalal, Krishna as Shrinathji, p. 62.

79 We could add the example of Śrī Viṭṭhalanāthajī of the second house, who was brought to Kotah apparently as early as 1581, later he was moved from there by Harirāy, the author of the Vārtā, to Khamnor (Khimnaur) in 1662; yet later he joined Śrī Nāthajī in Nathdwara (Ibid., p. 55). Also Śrī Madanamohanajī of the seventh house was stolen at some point and then seems to have left Braj for Sindh, only to surface later in Nathdwara (Ibid. p. 59). All total this amounts to four of the nine major images having been removed from Braj for other reasons than Aurangzeb's ‘iconoclasm’. However more careful research on the primary sources is needed. Slightly different is the history of Mukundarāyajī who ended up in Benares thanks to the machinations of a charismatic guru, see Dalmia, V., The Establishment of the Sixth Gaddī (New Delhi, 1994).

80 Celer, J. R., Vr̥nd Granthāvalī (Agra, 1971), pp. 135137. For the battles, see Rapson, E. J, Haig, W. and Burn, R., Cambridge History of India (Cambridge, 1987), p. 203.

81 Ibid., Kavitta 143, p. 137.

82 Ibid., Dohā 144-145, p. 137.

83 Ibid., Dohā 147, p. 138.

84 Ibid., 148-151, pp. 138-139.

85 Ibid., 152-162, pp. 139-143.

86 Ibid., prose passage, p. 143.

87 Ibid., 185-200, pp. 147-150. The Mewar kings also were ardent Krishna devotees and may have preceded Rup Singh in their association with the Vallabhans, as Maharana Jagat Singh I (r. 1628-52) is said to have been ‘converted’ by a Gosvāmī of the third gaddī, which is backed up by a land grant, see Saha, S., “The Movement of Bhakti along a North-West Axis: Tracing the History of the Puṣṭimārg between the Sixteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”, International Journal of Hindu Studies 11.3 (2007), p. 309. This did not immediately entail an import of images though: as we have seen, the image of Śrī Nāthajī (of the first house) was not installed until the reign of Jagat Singh's son Raj Singh I (r. 1653-80). Also, the third gaddī’s nidhisvarūpa, Śrī Dvārkānāthajī, when it left Gokul went first to Ahmedabad in 1670 and did not come to be installed in Kankroli, where it resided until 1720 (Ambalal, Krishna as Shrinathji, p. 57).

88 Worship of the goddess too is mentioned in this way, thus a description of Vijai Daśamī in 1712 VS (after his military victory; Celer, Vr̥nd Granthāvalī, 222-226, pp. 155-156) where he also distributes salaries to his soldiers and compensation to the wounded and bereft.

89 Peabody, N., “In Whose Turban Does the Lord Reside? The Objectification of Charisma and the Fetishism of Objects in the Hindu Kingdom of Kota”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 33.4 (Oct., 1991), pp. 735737, 743.

90 Peabody, Hindu Kingship, p. 170.

91 Flood, Objects of Translation, p. 4.

92 E. A. Richardson, “Mughal and Rajput Patronage of the bhakti Sect of the Maharajas, The Vallabha Sampradaya, 1640-1760 A.D.”, Ph.D. Diss. (University of Arizona, 1979), pp. 60-70.

*This paper was first presented in 2012 by Heidi Pauwels at a workshop at Columbia University, NY, organised by Sudipta Kaviraj. Many thanks are due to him and all those who offered insightful comments at the oral presentation, in particular Jack Hawley of Barnard College and Samira Sheikh of Vanderbilt, who after the presentation put Heidi on track of Emilia Bachrach's as yet unpublished work on the same Vārtā text. This led to a very fruitful collaboration on sorting out the manuscript situation of the text.

The original version of this article was published with an error in the author's email address on the last page. A Corrigendum detailing this has been published and the error rectified in the online and print PDF and HTML copies.

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