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Dangerous Debates: Jain responses to theological challenges at the Mughal court*


In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Jain leaders faced a series of religious questions at the royal Mughal court. At the request of their imperial Muslim hosts, Jain representatives discussed aspects of both Islam and Jainism on separate occasions, including the veracity of Islam, whether Jains are monotheists, and the validity of Jain asceticism. The Mughals sometimes initiated these conversations of their own accord and at other times acted on the prompting of Brahmans, who had political and religious interests at stake in encouraging imperial clashes with Jain leaders. Jain authors recorded these exchanges in numerous Sanskrit texts, which generally remain unknown to Mughal historians and Sanskrit scholars alike. I examine the Jain accounts of these cross-cultural debates and expound their political, religious, and intellectual implications. These engagements showcase how the Mughals negotiated religious differences with diverse communities in their kingdom. Furthermore, the Sanskrit narratives of these dialogues outline complex theological visions of how Jain beliefs and practices could thrive within a potentially hazardous Islamicate imperial order. More broadly Jain and Mughal discussions provide rich insight into key developments in religious precepts and local identities in early modern India.

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I thank John Cort and Hamsa Stainton for their comments on earlier drafts of this article. I also benefited from presenting this work at the University of Cambridge and at the American Academy of Religion Conference in autumn 2012. I avoid diacritics in the body of the article but retain them for technical terms and references.

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1 Several secondary sources summarize and investigate the various ways in which Jains and Mughals interacted, almost all authored by scholars of Jainism. See, for example, Desai, Mohanlal Dalichand, ‘Introduction’, Bhānucandragaṇicarita (Ahmedabad-Calcutta: Sanchalaka-Singhi Jain Granthamala, 1941), pp. 175; Dundas, Paul, ‘Jain Perceptions of Islam in the Early Modern Period’, Indo-Iranian Journal, Vol. 42, No. 1 (1999), pp. 3546; Gopal, Surendra, ‘The Jain Community and Akbar’ in Khan, Iqtidar Alam (ed.), Akbar and His Age (New Delhi: Northern Book Centre, 1999), pp. 160–66; Jain, Shalin, ‘“Interaction of the Lords”: The Jain Community and the Mughal Royalty under Akbar’, Social Scientist, Vol. 40, Nos. 3–4 (2012), pp. 3357; Krishnamurthi, R., ‘Jains at the Court of Akbar’, Journal of Indian History, Vol. 23 (1944), pp. 137–43; Prasad, Pushpa, ‘Akbar and the Jains’ in Habib, Irfan (ed.), Akbar and His India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 99108.

2 Other Jain communities also formed relations with the Mughals, although these ties were generally more limited than the extensive connections enjoyed by the Tapa Gaccha. Most notably, both ascetic and lay affiliates of the Kharatara Gaccha, another Shvetambara group, frequented the Mughal court. On the interactions of Akbar with the Kharatara monks Jinacandra and Jinasimha, see Babb, Lawrence A., Absent Lord: Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 124–26; and Desai, ‘Introduction’, pp. 10–12. Minister Karmacandra, a prominent lay Kharatara, also served Akbar, and his imperial experiences are narrated in a Sanskrit work titled Mantrikarmacandravaṃśāvalīprabandha. Jain merchants, such as Shantidas of Ahmedabad, forged commercial ties with the Mughals and financed state activities well into Shah Jahan's reign. Mehta, Makrand, Indian Merchants and Entrepreneurs in Historical Perspective with Special Reference to Shroffs of Gujarat: 17th to 19th Centuries (Delhi: Academic Foundation, 1991), pp. 91109; Jain, Shalin, ‘Piety, Laity and Royalty: Jains under the Mughals in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century’, Indian Historical Review, Vol. 40, No. 1 (2013), pp. 7789. M. S. Commissariat reproduces some of Shah Jahan's orders to Shantidas in ‘Imperial Mughal Farmans in Gujarat’, Journal of the University of Bombay, Vol. 9, No. 1 (1940), pp. 1–56. Last, Digambara Jains were certainly present in many Mughal centres, such as Agra, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but the extent of their imperial connections remains unclear. Further research is needed in this area.

3 Jain sources describe these political concessions at length. Mughal materials, particularly extant imperial orders (farmāns), also confirm many of these events. See the farmāns collected and translated in Commissariat, ‘Imperial Mughal Farmans in Gujarat’, pp. 26–56; Desai, ‘Introduction’, Appendix 2, pp. 77–91; Nahar, Puran Chand and Ghosh, Krishnachandra, An Epitome of Jainism, Being a Critical Study of Its Metaphysics, Ethics, and History and Culture in Relation to Modern Thought (Calcutta: H. Duby, 1917), Appendix B; Vidyavijayji, Muniraj, A Monk and a Monarch, Dolarrai R. Mankad (trans.) (Ujjain: Deepchandji Banthia, 1944), pp. 97122. Ellison, B.Findly lists Jahangir's farmāns relating to Jains in ‘Jahāngīr's Vow of Non-Violence’, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 107, No. 2 (1987), p. 253.

4 Although it may seem slightly uneven to characterize these two communities according to religious (Jain) versus political (Mughal) categories, this accurately reflects the terms of their cross-cultural debates. Muslim religious leaders in Mughal India appear not to have been involved in the discussions, which were adjudicated by members of the imperial inner circle.

5 I have identified six major Jain Sanskrit texts to date that address the Mughals in depth. I list them here in chronological order: ‘Jagadgurukāvya of Padmasāgara’ in Hargovinddas and Becardas, (eds), Vijayapraśastimahākāvya (Benares: Harakhchand Bhurabhai, 1911), dated 1589; Jinavijaya, Acharya Muni (ed.), Mantrikarmacandravaṃśāvalīprabandha of Jayasoma with the commentary of Guṇavinaya(Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1980), dated 1594; Sivadatta, Mahamahopadhyaya Pandit and Parab, Kashinath Pandurang (eds), Hīrasaubhāgya of Devavimalagaṇi with his own gloss (Bombay: Tukaram Javaji, 1900), circa early seventeenth century; Desai, Mohanlal Dalichand (ed.), Bhānucandragaṇicarita of Siddhicandra (Ahmedabad-Calcutta: Sanchalaka Singhi Jain Granthamala, 1941), circa early seventeenth century; Vijayapraśastimahākāvya of Hemavijaya with the commentary of Guṇavijaya (Mumbai: Shri Jinashasan Aradhana Trust, 1988), circa 1632; Jinavijaya, Bhikshu (ed.), Vijayadevamāhātmya of Vallabha Pāṭhaka (Ahmedabad: K. P. Modi, 1928), dated 1653.

6 Kharataras wrote the Mantrikarmacandravaṃśāvalīprabandha and the Vijaya- devamāhātmya (even though the latter details the life of a Tapa Gaccha figure), and Tapa Gaccha authors produced the remaining four texts. Paul Dundas dispels the idea that the Hīrasaubhāgya (and, by extension, any Jain hagiography) was intended for consumption at the Mughal court. Dundas, Paul, History, Scripture and Controversy in a Medieval Jain Sect (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 6061.

7 On inscriptions, see the Tapa Gaccha Adishvara inscription printed in Epigraphia Indica (Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 1891/92), Vol. 2, #12, pp. 50–59. Also see the Kharatara epigraphs dated to 1619 at Shatrunjaya: Epigraphia Indica, Vol. 2, #15, #17–20, and #23–24, pp. 60–64 and 67. For later texts, see Doshi, Pandit Bechardas J. (ed.), Devānandamahākāvya of Meghavijaya (Ahmedabad-Calcutta: Sanchalaka Singhi Jain Granthamala, 1937), dated 1699; and Shah, A. P. (ed.), Digvijayamahākāvya of Meghavijaya (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1945), circa 1710, pp. 3031.

8 Gujarati works of potential interest include: Ṛṣabhadās's Hīravijayasūrirāsa, Dayākuśala's Lābhodayarāsa, and Darśanavijaya's Vijayatilakasūrirāsa (1622/23). Vidyavijayji draws on the Hīravijayasūrirāsa in his A Monk and a Monarch.

9 Alka Patel and Karen Leonard provide an overview of this trend and disputes concerning the most apt vocabulary in their introduction to Patel, Alka and Leonard, Karen (eds), Indo-Muslim Cultures in Transition (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), pp. 57.

10 See Stewart, Tony's important article, ‘In Search of Equivalence: Conceiving Muslim-Hindu Encounter through Translation Theory’, History of Religions, Vol. 40, No. 3 (2001), pp. 260–87. For insightful work on ṣulḥ-i kull, see Kinra, Rajeev, ‘Handling Diversity with Absolute Civility: The Global Historical Legacy of Mughal Ṣulḥ-i Kull’, The Medieval History Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2 (2013), pp. 251–95; Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, ‘Dimensions of Ṣulḥ-i Kul (Universal Peace) in Akbar's Reign and the Ṣūfī Theory of Perfect Man’ in Khan (ed.), Akbar and His Age, pp. 3–22.

11 Muzaffar Alam has criticized the dichotomy of peaceful or antagonistic as politically motivated on both accounts. Muzaffar Alam, ‘Competition and Co-existence: Indo-Islamic Interaction in Medieval North India’, Itinerario, Vol. 13, No. 1 (1989), p. 37.

12 On the ‘ibādatkhānah's limited life, at least as a house of religious debate, see Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem, ‘Religious Disputations and Imperial Ideology: The Purpose and Location of Akbar's Ibadatkhana’, Studies in History, Vol. 24, No. 2 (2008), pp. 202–3. The best account of this institution remains Rizvi, Saiyid Athar Abbas, Religious and Intellectual History of the Muslims in Akbar's Reign: With Special Reference to Abu’l Fazl (1556–1605) (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1975), pp. 104–40.

13 Particularly see Alam, Muzaffar and Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, ‘Frank Disputations: Catholics and Muslims in the court of Jahangir (1608–11)’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 46, No. 4 (2009), pp. 457511; and Lefèvre, Corinne, ‘The Majālis-i Jahāngīrī (1608–11): Dialogue and Asiatic Otherness at the Mughal Court’, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 55, Nos. 23 (2012), pp. 255–86.

14 Most notably, see the articles associated with the Sanskrit Knowledge Systems Project,, [accessed 31 October 2014].

15 Truschke, Audrey. ‘Cosmopolitan Encounters: Sanskrit and Persian at the Mughal Court’ (Columbia University PhD Thesis, 2012), pp. 108–80.

16 On the validity of Islam, other Jain authors mention that, during his initial sojourn at court, Hiravijaya met with Abu’l Fazl (for example, Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 1.111), although Devavimala's version of their conversation is probably largely imagined. On Vijayasena's defence of Jain monotheism: in addition to the versions given by Hemavijaya and Siddhicandra, Vallabha Pathaka narrates this exchange in Chapter 6 of his Vijayadevamāhātmya, as does an inscription at Shatrunjaya (both are cited below). On Siddhicandra's adherence to asceticism, vernacular texts confirm the argument and exile (Desai, ‘Introduction’, p. 57, note 88), as do Kharatara inscriptions and texts about interceding in the aftermath of this event. Azad, Mohammad Akram Lari, Religion and Politics in India During the Seventeenth Century (Delhi: Criterion Publications, 1990), p. 119.

17 Lefèvre, Corinne and Županov, Ines G., ‘Introduction: Cultural Dialogue in South Asia and Beyond: Narratives, Images and Community (Sixteenth–Nineteenth Centuries)’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 55, Nos. 2–3 (2012), p. 217.

18 Orsini outlines some of the possibilities for considering early modern north India as a multilingual milieu. Orsini, Francesca, ‘How to do Multilingual Literary History? Lessons from Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century North India’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 49, No. 2 (2012), pp. 225–46.

19 This initial visit is recorded in numerous Sanskrit texts, for example: Jagadgurukāvya, vv. 122–89; Hīrasaubhāgya, Chapters 13–14; Bhānucandragaṇicarita, vv. 1.78–128. The Adishvara inscription also relays this meeting, although in less detail: Epigraphia Indica, Vol. 2, pp. 52–53, vv. 14–24. Vidyavijayji draws on vernacular narratives of this first encounter in his A Monk and a Monarch.

20 The Hīrasaubhāgya is undated. For estimates, see Vrat, Satya, Glimpses of Jaina Sanskrit Mahākāvyas (Jaipur: Raj Publishing House, 2003), p. 92; and Dundas, History, Scripture and Controversy, p. 59. References to the Mughals span sargas 10–17, and sargas 13–14 contain the central story of Hiravijaya's first sojourn at Akbar's court.

21 Dundas, History, Scripture and Controversy, pp. 58–72.

22 turuṣkaśāstrāmbudhipāradṛśvā (Hīrasaubhāgya v. 13.120).

23 saphārākurānapramukhāṇi tānyevāmbudhir bahutvāt samudras. . . (Hīrasaubhāgya, commentary on v. 13.120). The meaning of saphārā remains unclear (tafsīr, meaning Qur'anic exegesis ?), but Devavimala clearly intends to refer to a set of Islamic religious texts here.

24 niḥśeṣaśāstropaniṣadyadhītī (Hīrasaubhāgya, v. 13.130), glossed in the commentary as niḥśeṣāṇāṃ sarveṣāṃ śāstrāṇām kurānādiyavanāgamānām upaniṣadi rahasye adhītam adhyayanam asyāstīti.

25 svīyatadīyaśāstre; glossed in the commentary as yavanajātisaṃbandhi and sūriśāsanasaṃbandhi, respectively (Hīrasaubhāgya, v. 13.135).

26 Hīrasaubhāgya, vv. 13.137–43; all translations are my own unless otherwise noted. See the translation of the same passage in Paul Dundas, ‘Jain Perceptions of Islam’, p. 38. This passage is also found in Devavimala's Hīrasundaramahākāvya, a shortened and probably earlier version of the Hīrasaubhāgya. Ratnakirtivijaya, Muni (ed.), Śrīhīrasundaramahakasya of Devavimala (Khambhat: Shri Jaina Granthaprakashana Samiti, 1996, 2 volumes), vv. 13.136–42. On this text, see Dundas, History, Scripture and Controversy, p. 59.

27 Chattopadhyaya, Brajadulal, Representing the Other? Sanskrit Sources and the Muslims (Eighth to Fourteenth Century) (New Delhi: Manohar, 1998), pp. 2843.

28 See, for example, paigambar (paighāmbar) for prophet, doyaki (dūzakh) for hell, and bhisti (bihisht) for heaven.

29 ayaṃ nijaḥ paro veti gaṇanā laghucetasām / udāracaritānāṃ tu vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam (Hīrasaubhāgya, commentary on v. 13.139).

30 Hatcher discusses the provenance of this verse and its modern resonances. Hatcher, Brian A., ‘“The Cosmos is One Family” (vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam): Problematic Mantra of Hindu Humanism’, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 28, No. 1 (1994), pp. 149–62.

31 Hīrasaubhāgya, commentary on v. 13.142. V. Raghavan establishes the date for the Vidagdhamukhamaṇḍana based on its citations in Bhoja's Śṛṅgāraprakāśa. Raghavan, V., ‘The Vidagdhamukhamaṇḍana of Dharmadāsa’ in Hariyappa, H. L. and Patkar, M. M. (eds), Professor P. K. Gode Commemoration Volume (Poona: Oriental Book Agency, 1960).

32 Hīrasaubhāgya, vv. 13.145–50 (also see Hīrasundaramahākāvya, vv. 13.144–49).

33 Dundas, Paul, The Jains (London and New York: Routledge, 2002, second edition), p. 90. Also see Guṇaratna's elaborate arguments in Suali, Luigi (ed.), Ṣaḍdarśanasamuccaya of Haribhadra with Tarkarahasyadīpikā Commentary of Guṇaratna (Calcutta: Asiatic Society, 1905), pp. 112–36, vv. 45–46. For a summary of Jain arguments against the concept of a creator god, see Singh, Nagendra, Encyclopaedia of Jainism, Vol. 4 (New Delhi: Anmol Publications, 2001), pp. 52107.

34 Hīrasaubhāgya, commentary on v. 13.145.

35 Hīrasaubhāgya, v. 13.151 and commentary. For a full translation of the end of this passage, see Dundas, ‘Jain Perceptions of Islam’, p. 39.

36 Granoff, Phyllis, ‘Authority and Innovation: A Study of the Use of Similes in the Biography of Hiravijaya to Provide Sanction for the Monk at Court’, Jinamanjari, Vol. 1 (1990), pp. 5355. Cort, John E., ‘Who is a King? Jain Narratives of Kingship in Medieval Western India’ in Cort, John E. (ed.), Open Boundaries: Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), pp. 105–6.

37 See, for example, Madhusūdana's Prasthānabheda. Nicholson, Andrew J., Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), p. 190.

38 Dundas, ‘Jain Perceptions of Islam’, p. 41.

39 Nicholson, Unifying Hinduism, p. 196.

40 See Mughal criticisms of atheism in Blochmann, H. (ed.), Ā’īn-i Akbarī of Abū al-Fazżl ibn Mubarak (Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1867–77, 2 volumes), Vol. 2, pp. 113–14.

41 Siddhicandra's Bhānucandragaṇicarita is undated but ends in the mid 1610s. Hemavijaya wrote 16 chapters of his 21-chapter work in the early seventeenth century, and Guṇavijaya completed the remaining five chapters in addition to a full commentary in 1632 (introduction to Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, pp. 2–3).

42 Rajputs were often present at the Mughal court, and Persianate court histories confirm the frequent attendance of Brahmans as well. Lees, W. N. and Ali, A. (eds), Muntakhab al-Tavarikh of ‘Abd al-Qādir Badā’ūnī (Calcutta: College Press, 1865), Vol. 2, pp. 256–57.

43 Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, vv. 12.142–45; darśana, here translated as ‘sight’, is likely a śleṣa (double entendre) also meaning Jain philosophy.

44 Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, vv. 12.148–49.

45 For example, see Haribhadra's arguments against a creator God in several Brahmanical schools of thought in his Śāstravārtāsamuccaya. Bossche, Frank Van Den, ‘God, the Soul, and the Creatix: Haribhadra Sūri on Nyāya and Sāṃkhya’, International Journal of Jaina Studies, Vol. 6, No. 6 (2010), pp. 149.

46 Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, v. 12.178.

47 On the interpretation of the Bhaktāmarastotra, see Cort, John. E., ‘Jain Questions and Answers: Who Is God and How is He Worshiped?’ in Lopez, Donald S. (ed.), Religions of India in Practice (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), pp. 599600. On the recitation of the Bhaktāmarastotra at the imperial court, see Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 2.156. This episode takes place during a ceremony to reverse a curse on Akbar's infant granddaughter (Truschke, ‘Cosmopolitan Encounters’, pp. 148–49).

48 See Ṣaḍdarśanasamuccaya of Haribhadra, vv. 45–46 (the Jain devatā is jinendra), and ‘Ṣaḍdarśananirṇaya of Merutuṅga’ in Shah, Nagin J. (ed.), Jainadārśanikaprakaraṇasaṅgraha (Ahmedabad: LD Institute of Indology, 1973), p. 7 (the Jain deva is jina). On Haribhadra's use of the term devatā here, see Nicholson, Unifying Hinduism, pp. 157–58. On Haribhadra's work more generally, see Qvarnström, Olle, ‘Haribhadra and the Beginnings of Doxography’ in Wagle, N. K. and Qvarnström, Olle (eds), Approaches to Jaina Studies: Philosophy, Logic, Rituals and Symbols (Toronto: Center for South Asian Studies, 1999), pp. 169210.

49 Nicholson notes that Maṇibhadra, a commentator on Haribhadra's Ṣaḍdarśanasamuccaya, defines āstika as those who affirm ‘the existence of another world (paraloka), transmigration (gati), virtue (puṇya), and vice (pāpa)’ (Nicholson, Unifying Hinduism, p. 155). On nāstika-āstika as an ethical distinction, see Nicholson, Unifying Hinduism, p. 175. For Haribhadra's description of the Lokāyatas, the one school he identifies as nāstika (atheist or materialist), see Ṣaḍdarśanasamuccaya, vv. 80–87.

50 Akbar's court had ties with Vaishnava groups dating back to the 1560s and issued land grants to Chaitanya communities. Tarapada Mukherjee and Irfan Habib, ‘Akbar and the Temples of Mathura and Its Environs’, Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Vol. 48 (1987), pp. 235–36.

51 Compare to a similar approach used by the Kharatara writer Samayasundara in his Artharatnāvalī (The String of Jewels of Meaning) where he interprets a single sentence to have many meanings, the final of which praises Akbar. ‘Artharatnāvalī (also called Aṣṭalakṣārthī) of Samayasundara’ in Kapadia, Hiralal Rasikdas (ed.), Anekārtharatnamañjūṣā (Bombay: Jivanchand Sakerchand Javeri, 1933), pp. 6566.

52 Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, v. 12.174a.

53 Cort, ‘Who is a King?’, p. 102.

54 Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, v. 12.211.

55 Hashim, Muhammad (ed.), Jahāngīrnāmah(Tehran: Bunyad-i Farhang-i Iran, 1980), p. 19.

56 Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, vv. 12.180–210. Folkert traces the earliest portrayal of the samavasaraṇa to the Aupapātika. Folkert, Kendall W., Scripture and Community: Collected Essays on the Jains, Cort, John E. (ed.) (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993), pp. 150–51.

57 Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, vv. 12.186–87. Compare to the imagery in the Āvaśyakaniryukti (cited in Dundas, The Jains, p. 35).

58 Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, commentary on vv. 12.185–86. Also see Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, v. 12.190.

59 Compare Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, vv. 12.182–83, and Blochmann (ed.), Ā’īn-i Akbarī, Vol. 2, p. 108. Abu’l Fazl also notes Arhat's first aspect as ‘the supreme lord without qualities’ (nirguṇa parameśvara) (Blochmann (ed.), Ā’īn-i Akbarī, Vol. 2, p. 99).

60 Vijayapraśastimahākāvya, v. 12.212.

61 Ibid, v. 12.216.

62 Ibid, v. 12.220.

63 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.20; the full debate is vv. 4.19–47. Ramdas Kachhwaha is here called Ramadasa Maharaja. For more details on his relationship to the Mughal court, see Desai, ‘Introduction’, p. 39, note 54; and Rahim, Maulavi Abdur and Ashraf, Maulavi Mirza (eds), Ma’āair al-Umarā of Shāhnavāz Khān (Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1888–91, 3 volumes), Vol. 2, pp. 155–57. Ramdas appears again in the Bhānucandragaṇicarita as serving Jahangir (Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.218).

64 Ramdas Kachhwaha was involved with procuring tax-free lands for various Vaishnava temples. Chatterjee, Kumkum, ‘Cultural Flows and Cosmopolitanism in Mughal India: The Bishnupur Kingdom’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 46, No. 2 (2009), p. 155. Mukherjee and Habib note that Ramdas Kachhwaha is mentioned in several farmāns (Mukherjee and Habib, ‘Akbar and the Temples of Mathura’, pp. 240–41).

65 I am grateful to Daniele Cuneo for this suggestion. Note that Siddhicandra avoids Perso-Arabic vocabulary throughout his Bhānucandragaṇicarita. Thus, it is unsurprising that he declined to employ a less ambiguous phrase here, such as ahl-i kitāb.

66 For example, for such uses in a Tamil text, see Narayanan, Vasudha, ‘Religious Vocabulary and Regional Identity: A Study of the Tamil Cirappuranam’ in Gilmartin, David and Lawrence, Bruce B. (eds), Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000), pp. 8081.

67 I am grateful to Don Davis for this point.

68 For example, see the use of vedabāhya by Madhusūdana in the late sixteenth century. Hanneder, Jürgen, ‘A Conservative Approach to Sanskrit Śāstras: Madhusūdana Sarasvatī's “Prasthānabheda’, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 27, No. 6 (1999), pp. 576 and 579. Also see the use of vedabāhya by Dhuṇḍirāja in the early eighteenth century. Deshpande, Madhav, Sanskrit and Prakrit: Sociolinguistic Issues (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1993), pp. 4849.

69 Vijayadevamāhātmya, v. 6.28a.

70 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.23b.

71 Ibid, vv. 1.68–71.

72 Ibid, vv. 2.58–60. It is unclear whether Siddhicandra intends to refer to Haribhadra's Ṣaḍdarśanasamuccaya or Rājaśekhara's later work of the same name. In any case, the two share certain portions of text (Folkert, Scripture and Community, pp. 359–60).

73 For example, compare the argument that a creator must have a body. Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.32, and Sastri, Swami Dvarikadasa (ed.), Ślokavārttika of Kumārilabhaṭṭa with the Nyāyaratnākara commentary of Pārthasārathi Miśra (Varanasi: Tara Publications, 1978), p. 462, vv. 47–48. Also compare the contention that God could not create for the sake of amusement (krīḍā) (Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.43, and Ślokavārttika, p. 463, v. 56).

74 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.35. Malliṣeṇa makes a similar argument in his Syādvādamañjarī, a twelfth-century commentary on Hemacandra's Anyayogavyavacchedikā. Dhruva, A. B. (ed.), Syādvādamañjarī of Śrīmalliṣeṇasūri with the Anyayogavyavacchedadvātriṃśika of Hemacandra (Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1933), p. 22.

75 Also see Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.37 (‘all beings are creators’, sarvabhāveṣu kartṛtvam).

76 Ibid, vv. 4.39–41.

77 Ibid, v. 4.42.

78 Ibid, v. 4.43.

79 For instance, Atmaram describes God as all enlightened beings that merge together to form a single entity. He originally promoted these arguments against Dayananda Sarasvati, and they later appeared in anti-Christian literature. Cort, John E., ‘Indology as Authoritative Knowledge: Jain Debates about Icons and History in Colonial India’, in Hatcher, Brian and Dodson, Michael (eds), Trans-Colonial Modernities in South Asia (London: Routledge, 2012).

80 Epigraphia Indica, Vol. 2, p. 54, v. 29, reading the suggested alternative of pratyakṣa (note 10). Hemavijaya authored this inscription.

81 For example, Jagadgurukāvya, vv.175–76 (on rejecting money); Hīrasaubhāgya, vv. 14.6–7; and Jagadgurukāvya, vv. 169–70 (on the perils of carpets).

82 Cort, John E., ‘Genres of Jain History’, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 23, No. 4 (1995), pp. 487–88.

83 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, vv. 4.90 and 4.104. Siddhicandra also refers to his Persian skills in his commentary on the Kādambarī. Parab, Kashinath Pandurang (ed.), Kādambarī of Bāṇabhaṭṭa and His Son (Bhuṣaṇabhaṭṭa) with the Commentaries of Bhānuchandra and His Disciple Siddhichandra (Bombay: Pandurang Jawaji, 1940), p. 483, v. 5 of ṭīkā. Siddhicandra's teacher, Bhanucandra, lauds his pupil as famous for knowing all virtuous Persian books in his commentary on the Vasantarājaśākuna. Vasantarājaśākuna of Vasantarāja with ṭīkā of Bhanucandra (Mumbai: Khemraj Sri Krishnadasa Sreshthina, 1987), p. 1, v. 9 of ṭīkā.

84 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, vv. 4.238–39.

85 Ibid, vv. 4.247–48.

86 Nur Jahan was known as Nur Mahal between 1611 and 1616.

87 Findly, Ellison B., Nur Jahan, Empress of Mughal India (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 8990.

88 Although, as I discuss above, inscriptions and vernacular works confirm that this event occurred, even if some of its details are exaggerated in the Bhānucandragaṇicarita.

89 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.269.

90 Rumi famously relays this tale in his Masnavī. Oddly, Niccolao Manucci, a traveller to India during the reigns of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, seems to have picked up a quite different version of this tale. Irvine, William (trans.), Storia do Mogor or Mogul India, 1653–1708, Vol. 2 (London: J. Murray, 1907–1908, 4 volumes), pp. 469–70.

91 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.271.

92 Ibid, vv. 4.275–79.

93 Ibid, vv. 4.280–83.

94 Ibid, v. 4.289.

95 . . . arhanmatajñena śāhinā (Ibid, v. 4.306).

96 Ibid, vv. 4.301–5. In v. 4.304a, read syādvāda eva sarvatra.

97 See Bhānucandragaṇicarita, vv. 4.307–13 for Siddhicandra's response (v. 4.311 on syādvāda in particular). No doubt Jahangir's interpretation could be said to be misconstruing syādvāda, but Siddhicandra did not make this case.

98 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, vv. 4.316–17a.

99 Ibid, v. 4.326.

100 Here I summarize Bhānucandragaṇicarita, vv. 4.317b–33. Note that there are precedents for the Mughals turning to violent spectacles as a means of resolving religious conflict, such as the sannyasi (ascetic) battle overseen by Akbar and the proposed trial by fire for the Jesuits.

101 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.334.

102 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, v. 4.313b.

103 Here Siddhicandra likely refers to the imperial order that Jahangir issued in 1616 that promised Jains freedom to travel and worship (the farmān is reproduced in Commissariat, ‘Imperial Mughal Farmans in Gujarat’, p. 15; also see his translation and discussion on pp. 26–27).

104 Bhānucandragaṇicarita, vv. 4.352–53.

105 Jahāngīrnāmah, p. 250.

106 Nawshahi, ʻArif and Nizami, Muʻin (eds), Majālis-i Jahāngīrī of ‘Abd al-Sattār ibn Qāsim Lāhawrī (Tehran: Markaz-i Pizhuhishi Miras-i Maktub, 2006), p. 111. On this second ban being short-lived, see Azad, Religion and Politics in India, pp. 119–21; and Findly, Nur Jahan, pp. 197–99. Whether these bans also affected Kharatara ascetics remains unclear, but we have little evidence for imperial interactions with any Jain religious leaders after 1620. Nonetheless, the Mughals continued to have relations with lay Jains, most notably merchants (Jain, ‘Piety, Laity and Royalty’, pp. 67–89).

107 For example, see Ashis Nandy's discussion of religion as a ‘way of life’ versus as an ideology: Nandy, Ashis, ‘The Politics of Secularism and Recovery of Religious Tolerance’ in Bhargava, Rajeev (ed.), Secularism and Its Critics (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 322–23.

108 Kaviraj, Sudipta, ‘On Thick and Thin Religion: Some Critical Reflections on Secularisation Theory’ in Katznelson, Ira and Jones, Gareth Stedman (eds), Religion and the Political Imagination (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 336–55.

109 Nonetheless, we should not fail to recognize what Anand Taneja has called the ‘hospitality’ often displayed by early modern Indians who welcomed religious debates. Taneja, Anand Vivek, ‘Saintly Visions: Other Histories and History's Others in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 49, No. 4 (2012), p. 582.

110 For example, Zelliot, Eleanor, ‘Medieval Encounter Between Hindu and Muslim: Eknath's Drama-Poem Hindu-Turk Samvad’ in Eaton, Richard M. (ed.), India's Islamic Traditions, 711–1750 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 6482.

111 Blochmann (ed.), Ā’īn-i Akbarī, Vol.1, pp. 233–35 (see variant reading in note 9 on p. 233).

112 For an overview of tensions between Akbar and the ‘ulama’, see Rizvi, ‘Dimensions of Ṣulḥ-i Kul’; and Richards, John F., The Mughal Empire (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 3641.

* I thank John Cort and Hamsa Stainton for their comments on earlier drafts of this article. I also benefited from presenting this work at the University of Cambridge and at the American Academy of Religion Conference in autumn 2012. I avoid diacritics in the body of the article but retain them for technical terms and references.

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