Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Searching for the Hidden “One”: Muslim and Early European Interpretations of the Indian Upaniṣads

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Numen

The Upaniṣads are commonly regarded as the ultimate summary of the Indian Weltanschauung. This high esteem is the result of a rather convoluted history of reception in different cultural environments. The article draws on their first interpretations in the Muslim and the European horizon, which are closely interconnected by a fascinating story of translation, namely the Sirr-i akbar of the Mughal prince Dārā Shukūh (1615–1659) and the Oupnek’hat by A. H. Anquetil-Duperron (1731–1805). As will be argued, both mediators have a comparable attitude towards the Indian corpus, and their search for the “one” (= God = Allah) is deeply rooted in perceptions of a single “sacred book” containing the ultimate expression of the truth, which is the object of a “hidden” transmission undetected so far. The goal of this article is to present the common features of their approaches based on a detailed historical examination of the available material.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Religious Studies, University of Graz Heinrichstraße 78, A-8010 GrazAustria


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Algar Hamid 1988"“Badaḵšī, Mollā Shah”" Encyclopaedia Iranica Vol 3 4 361 362
2. Anquetil-Duperron Abraham H. 1801 Oupnek’hat (id est, Secretum tegendum). Opus ipsa in India rarissimum, continens antiquam et arcanam, seu Theologicam et Philosophicam, doctrinam, è quattuor sacris Indorum Libris, Rak Beid, Djedjr Beid, Sam Beid, Athrban Beid, excerptam; Ad verbum, è Persico idiomate, Samskreticis Vocabulis intermixto, in Latinum conversum; Dissertationibus et Annotationibus, difficiliora explanantibus, illustratum: studio et opere Anquetil Duperron, IndicopleustaeVol Vol. 1 Strasbourg Levrault
3. App Urs 2010 The Birth of Orientalism Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press [Crossref]
4. App Urs 2012 The Cult of Emptiness: The Western Discovery of Buddhist Thought and the Invention of Oriental Philosophy Rorschach UniversityMedia
5. Arnaudo Marco 2010"“Prose and Proselytism: Extra-European Sources for the Jesuit Writings of the Baroque Period”" Prose Studies Vol 32 2 143 151 [Crossref]
6. Baghdiantz McCabe Ina 2008 Orientalism in Early Modern France: Eurasian Trade, Exoticism, and the Ancien Régime Oxford Berg
7. Bernier François 1891 Travels in the Mogul Empire AD 1656–1668: A Revised and Improved Edition Based upon Irving Brock’s Translation by Archibald Constable Westminster Archibald Constable and Company
8. Bodewitz Hendrik W. 1997–1998"“The Hindu Doctrine of Transmigration: Its Origin and Background”" Indologica Taurinensia Vol 23 24 (Professor Gregory M. Bongard-Levin felicitation volume) 583 605
9. Brereton Joel 1990"“The Upanishads”" de Bary William T., Bloom Irene Approaches to the Asian Classics New York Columbia University Press 115 135
10. Bronkhorst Johannes 2007 Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India Leiden Brill [Crossref]
11. Châtellier Hildegard 1996"“Parcours individuels et crise collective. Trois médiateurs de l’indianisme en Allemagne: Paul Deussen, Leopold von Schröder, Helmuth Glasenapp”" Maillard Christine, Hulin Michel L’Inde inspiratrice. Réception de l’Inde en France et en Allemagne (XIXe & XXe siècles) Strasbourg Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg 29 42
12. Coudert Allison 1994"“The Kabbala Denudata: Converting Jews or Seducing Christians”" Popkin Richard H., Weiner Gordon Jewish Christians and Christian Jews Dordrecht Kluwer 73 96 [Crossref]
13. d’Onofrio Svevo 2006 “Un commento persiano alle Upaniṣad: Il Serr-e akbar di Dārā Šikōh: Dottorato di Ricerca in Studi Indologici e Tibetologici.” Ph.D. thesis, University of Turin
14. d’Onofrio Svevo 2010"“A Persian Commentary to the Upanisads: Dara Šikōh’s ‘Sirr-i Akbar’”" Hermann Denis, Speziale Fabrizio Muslim Cultures in the Indo-Iranian World During the Early Modern and Modern Periods Berlin Klaus Schwarz 533 563
15. d’Onofrio Svevo, Speziale Fabrizio 2011 Muḥammad Dārā Šīkoh. La congiunzione dei due oceani (Majma῾ al-baḥrayn), a cura di Svevo d’Onofrio e Fabrizio Speziale Milano Adelphi Edizioni
16. Damme Stéphane Van 2014"“Capitalizing Manuscripts, Confronting Empires: Anquetil-Duperron and the Economy of Oriental Knowledge in the Context of the Seven Year’s War”" Kontler László, Romando Antonella, Sebastiani Silvia, Török Borbála Zsuzsanna Negotiating Knowledge in Early Modern Empires: A Decentered View New York Palgrave 109 127
17. Shukūh Dārā 1961 [1381 A.H.] Upānishād. Tarjuma-yi Muḥammad Dārā Shukūh farzand-i Shāh Jahān az matn-i Sānskrīt. Bā muqaddama wa ḥawāshī wa taʿlīqāt wa lughatnāma wa iʿlām. Bi saʿī wa ihtimām-i Tārā Chand, Muḥammad-Riḍā Jalālī Nāʾīnī Jild awwalVol vol. 1 4th Edition Tihrān ʿIlmi [First edition: 1948/1368 a.h.]
18. Deussen Paul 1897 Sechzig Upanishad’s des Veda, aus dem Sanskrit übersetzt und mit Einleitungen und Anmerkungen versehen Leipzig F. A. Brockhaus
19. Deussen Paul 1980 Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda Bedekar V. M., Palsule G. B. Delhi Motilal Barnassidas
20. Diderot Denis, Le Rond d’Alembert Jean 1751 Encyclopédie; ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiersVol Vol. 1 Paris Briasson Damm
21. Diderot Denis, Le Rond d’Alembert Jean 1752 Encyclopédie; ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiersVol Vol. 2 Paris Briasson Damm
22. Elias Jamal E. 2014"“Seeing the Religious Image in the Historical Account: Icons and Idols in the Islamic Past”" Fleming Benjamin, Mann Richard Material Culture and Asian Religions: Text, Image, Object London Routledge 284 301
23. Ernst Carl W. 2003a"“The Islamization of Yoga in the Amrtakunda Translations”" Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol 13 2 199 226 [Crossref]
24. Ernst Carl W. 2003b"“Muslim Studies of Hinduism? A Reconsideration of Arabic and Persian Translations from Indian Languages”" Iranian Studies Vol 36 2 173 195 [Crossref]
25. Ernst Carl W. 2005"“Situating Sufism and Yoga”" Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 3rd Series Vol 15 1 15 43 [Crossref]
26. Ernst Carl W. 2016 Refractions of Islam in India: Situating Sufism and Yoga New Delhi Sage
27. Fallahzadeh Mehrdad 2005 Persian Writing on Music: A Study of Persian Musical Literature from 1000 to 1500 A.D. Uppsala Uppsala Universitet
28. Faruqui Munis Daniyal 2012 Princes of the Mughal Empire, 1504–1719 Cambridge Cambridge University Press [Crossref]
29. Friedmann Yohanan 1975"“Medieval Muslim Views of Indian Religions”" Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol 95 214 222 [Crossref]
30. Gallegos Gabilando Simón 2010"“Philosophie et colonialisme chez Anquetil-Duperron”" Vol 2 127 141 url: accessed 19 April 2015
31. Ganeri Jonardon 2007 The Concealed Art of the Soul: Theories of Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and Epistemology Oxford Oxford University Press [Crossref]
32. Geoffroy Eric, Gaetani Roger 2010 Introduction to Sufism: The Inner Path of Islam Bloomington World Wisdom
33. Gerhard Michael 2012"“Suspected of Buddhism — Śaṅkara, Dārāṣekoh and Schopenhauer”" Barua Arati, Gerhard Michael, Kossler Matthias Understanding Schopenhauer Through the Prism of Indian Culture: Philosophy, Religion, and Sanskrit Literature Berlin De Gruyter 31 61 [Crossref]
34. Göbel-Groß Erhard 1962 Sirr-i akbar. Die persische Upaniṣadenübersetzung des Moġul-prinzen Dārā Šukoh. Eine Untersuchung der Übersetzungsmethode und Textauswahl nebst der Praśna-Upaniṣad Sanskrit-Persisch-Deutsch Marburg Philipps-Universität Marburg
35. Halbfass Wilhelm 1988 India and Europe: An Essay in Philosophical Understanding Albany State University of New York Press Originally published as Indien und Europa. Perspektiven ihrer geistigen Begegnung (Basel: Schwabe)
36. Hanefeld Erhardt 1976 Philosophische Haupttexte der älteren Upaniṣaden Wiesbaden O. Harrassowitz
37. Hanegraaff Wouter J. 1998 New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought Albany State University of New York Press
38. Hottinger Arnold 1998 Akbar der Große (1542–1605). Herrscher über Indien durch Versöhnung der Religionen Munich W. Fink
39. Jouhki Jukka 2006"“Orientalism and India”" J@rgonia Vol 4 8 1 20
40. Kapani Lakshmi 2011 Schopenhauer et la pensée indienne, similitudes et differences Paris Herman
41. Keller Carl A. 1999"“Perceptions of Other Religions in Sufism”" Waardenburg Jacques Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey Berlin de Gruyter 181 194
42. Keppens Marianne, Bloch Esther 2010"“Rethinking Religion in India”" Bloch Esther, Keppens Marianne, Hegde Rajaram Rethinking Religion in India: The Colonial Construction of Hinduism Routledge South Asian Religion Series, 4 London Routledge 1 22
43. Khan Iqtidar Alam 1997"“Akbar’s Personality Traits and World Outlook: A Critical Reappraisal”" Habib Irfan Akbar and his India Oxford Oxford University Press 79 96
44. Killingley Dermot 2008"“Ezour-Védam: Europe’s Illusory First Glimpse of the Veda”" Religions of South Asia Vol 2 1 23 43 [Crossref]
45. King Richard 1999 Orientalism and Religion: Post-colonial Theory, India and “The Mystic East.” London Routledge
46. Kinra Rajeev 2009"“Infantilizing Bābā Dārā: The Cultural Memory of Dārā Shekuh and the Mughal Public Sphere”" Journal of Persianate Studies Vol 2 2 165 193 [Crossref]
47. Kinra Rajeev 2013"“Handling Diversity with Absolute Civility: The Global Historical Legacy of Mughal Sulh-i Kull”" The Medieval History Journal Vol 16 2 251 295 [Crossref]
48. Kippenberg Hans G. 1997 Die Entdeckung der Religionsgeschichte. Religionswissenschaft und Moderne Munich C. H. Beck
49. Knysh Alexander D. 2006"“Ṣūfism and the Qur’ān”" McAuliffe Jane D. Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Leiden Brill Vol vol. 5 137 159
50. Knysh Alexander D. 2010 Islamic Mysticism: A Short History Leiden Brill
51. Lanjuinais Jean-Denis 1823 La Religion des Indoux, selon les Vedah ou Analyse de l’Oupnek’hat Paris Dondey-Dupre
52. Lévi Éliphas 1860 Histoire de la magie. Avec une exposition claire et précise de ses procédés, de ses rites et de ses mystères Paris Germer Baillière
53. Mahfuz-ul-Haq M. 2006 [1929] Majma῾-ul-Bahrain or the Mingling of the Two Oceans: Edited in the Original Persian with English Translation, Notes and Variants by Mahfuz-ul-Haq New Delhi Adam Publishers (Reprint of the original edition 1929)
54. Meyer Urs Walter 1994 Europäische Rezeption indischer Philosophie und Religion, dargestellt am Beispiel von Arthur Schopenhauer Frankfurt am Main Peter Lang
55. Mir Mustansir 2003"“Names of the Qur’ān”" McAuliffe Jane D. Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Leiden BrillVol vol. 3 505 515
56. Mirandola Pico della 1942 De hominis dignitate. Heptaplus. De ente et uno. A cura di Eugenio Garin Florence Valecchi
57. Mischel Franz 1992 Das Oupnek’hat. Die aus den Veden zusammengefaßte Lehre von dem Brahm. Aus der sanskrit-persischen Übersetzung des Fürsten Mohammed Daraschekoh … ins Deutsche übertragen Dresden Heinrich
58. Müller Friedrich Max 1879 The Upanishads, Part 1 Sacred Books of the East, 1 Oxford Clarendon Press
59. Müller Friedrich Max 1902 The Life and Letters of the Right Honourable Friedrich Max Müller: Edited by His WifeVol Vol. 1 London Longmans, Green, and Co
60. Oddie Geoffrey A. 2010"“Hindu Religious Identity with Special Reference to the Origin and Significance of the Term ‘Hinduism.’ c. 1787–1947”" Bloch Esther, Keppens Marianne, Hegde Rajaram Rethinking Religion in India: The Colonial Construction of Hinduism Routledge South Asian Religion Series, 4 London Routledge 41 55
61. Olivelle Patrick 1998 The Early Upanisads: Annotated Text and Translation New York Oxford University Press
62. Piantelli Mario 1986"“La Māyā nelle Upaniṣad di Schopenhauer”" Annuario filosofico Vol 2 163 203
63. Pines Shlomo, Gelblum Tuvia 1989"“Al-Bīrūnī’s Arabic Version of Patañjali’s ‘Yogasūtra’: A Translation of the Fourth Chapter and a Comparison with Related Texts”" Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies Vol 52 2 265 305 [Crossref]
64. Radtke Bernd 1988"“Bāṭen”" Encyclopedia Iranica Vol 3 8 859 861
65. Renard John 2003"“Khaḍir⁄Khiḍr”" McAuliffe Jane D. Encyclopaedia of the Qurʼān Leiden BrillVol vol. 3 81 83
66. Renard Philipp 1995"“Historical Bibliography of Upanisads in Translation”" Journal of Indian Philosophy Vol 23 223 246 [Crossref]
67. Rixner Thaddae Anselm 1808 Versuch einer neuen Darstellung der uralten indischen All-Eins-Lehre Nuremburg In der Steinischen Buchhandlung
68. Rocher Ludo 1984 Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century Amsterdam J. Benjamins [Crossref]
69. Sachau Edward 1910 Alberuni’s India: An Account of the Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Geography, Chronology, Astronomy, Customs, Laws and Astrology of India about AD 1030: An English Edition with Notes and IndicesVol Vol. 1–2 London Trübner
70. Said Edward W. 1976"“Raymond Schwab and the Romance of Ideas”" Daedalus Vol 105 151 167
71. Said Edward W. 1978 Orientalism New York Pantheon
72. Scarabel Angelo 2007 Il Sufismo: Storia e dottrina Rome Carocci
73. Schimmel Annemarie 1975 Mystical Dimensions of Islam Chapel Hill University of North Carolina Press
74. Schimmel Annemarie 1976 Pain and Grace: A Study of Two Mystical Writers of Eighteenth-Century Muslim India Leiden Brill
75. Schimmel Annemarie 1994"“Dārā Šokōh”" Encyclopaedia Iranica Vol 7 1 2 5
76. Schimmel Annemarie 2003 Sufismus. Eine Einführung in die islamische Mystik 2nd ed. Munich C. H. Beck
77. Schmidt-Biggemann Wilhelm 2004 Philosophia perennis: Historical Outlines of Western Spirituality in Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Thought Dordt Springer Originally published as Philosophia perennis. Historische Umrisse abendländischer Spiritualität in Antike, Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1998)
78. Schmitt Charles B. 1966"“Perennial Philosophy: From Agostino Steucho to Leibniz”" Journal of the History of Ideas Vol 27 505 532 [Crossref]
79. Schmitt Nathaniel 1922"“Traces of Early Acquaintance in Europe with the Book of Enoch”" Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol 42 44 52 [Crossref]
80. Schmitt Tassilo 2001 Die Bekehrung des Synesios von Kyrene Munich Saur [Crossref]
81. Schopenhauer Arthur 1965 Parerga und Paralipomena. Kleine philosophische Schriften 2.2. Textkritisch bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Wolfgang von Löhneysen Stuttgart Cotta-Insel
82. Schwab Raymond 1934 Vie d’Anquetil-Duperron, suivie des usages civils et religieux des Parses par Anquetil-Duperron, avec une préface de Sylvain Lévi et deux essais du Jivanji Jamshedi Modi Paris Leroux
83. Serebriany Sergei D. 2007 [1997]"“Marginal Notes on India and Europe”" Franco Eli, Preisendanz Karin Beyond Orientalism: The Work of Wilhelm Halbfass and Its Impact on Indian and Cross-Cultural Studies Poznań Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, 59 Delhi Motilal Barnasidas 71 102
84. Slaje Walter 2009 Upanischaden. Arkanum des Veda Frankfurt Verlag der Weltreligionen
85. Smith Richard J. 2001"“Jesuit Interpretations of the Yijing (Classic of Changes) in Historical and Comparative Perspective”" Revised paper, originally prepared for the conference “Matteo Ricci and After: Four Centuries of Cultural Interactions between China and the West,” sponsored by the City University of Hong Kong and Beijing University 13–16 October, 2001 url: accessed 13 April 2015
86. Speziale Fabrizio 2010"“Les traités persans sur les sciences indiennes: médicine, zoologie, alchimie”" Hermann Denis, Speziale Fabrizio Muslim Cultures in the Indo-Iranian World during the Early-Modern and Modern Periods Berlin Klaus Schwarz Verlag 53 67
87. Stausberg Michael 1998 Faszination Zarathushtra. Zoroaster und die Europäische Religionsgeschichte der Frühen NeuzeitVol Vol. 1–2 Berlin de Gruyter
88. Stuckrad Kocku von 2004 Was ist Esoterik? Kleine Geschichte des geheimen Wissens Munich C. H. Beck
89. Thomas David, Roggema Barbara, Sala Juan Pedro Monferrer 2009 Christian Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History Leiden Brill [Crossref]
90. Tinguely Frédéric 2008 Un libertin dans l’Inde moghole: les voyages de François Bernier, 1656–1669 Paris Chandeigne
91. Vassie Roderic 1992"“‘Abd al-Raḥman Chishtī and the Bhagavadgita: ‘Unity of Religion’ Theory in Practice”" Lewisohn Leonard The Heritage of Sufism: The Legacy of Medieval Persian Sufism London Khaniqahi Nimatullahi Publications 367 377
92. Walker Daniel P. 1954"“The Prisca Theologia in France”" Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol 17 204 259 [Crossref]
93. Wink Andé 1997 Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic WorldVol Vol. 2: The Slave Kings and the Islamic Conquest, 11th–13th Centuries Leiden Brill
94. Wink André 2009 Akbar Oxford Oneworld
95. Winter Franz 2005"“Eine summa orientalis systematis: A. H. Anquetil-Duperron und der Entwurf einer indischen Urphilosophie im Vorwort seiner Upanishaden-Übersetzung”" Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens Vol 49 71 105
96. Winter Franz 2008 Das frühchristliche Mönchtum und der Buddhismus Frankfurt Peter Lang
97. Winter Franz 2014"“The Dawn of India in Europe: Abraham H. Anquetil-Duperron’s Latin Translation of the Indian Upanishads in the Framework of Esoteric Currents of his Time”" Brach Jean-Pierre, Choné Aurélie, Maillard Christine Capitales de l’esotérisme européen et dialogue des cultures Paris Orizons 99 108
98. Wisnowsky Robert 2002"“Heavenly Book”" McAuliffe Jane D. Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Leiden BrillVol vol. 2 412 413

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Numen — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation