On Kavīndrācārya

ACP=@ArmchairPseph

ACP: He was a close associate of Dara Shikoh

Me: I’m reading the kavIndrasucipatra,an index of books of his library.

ACP:And a festschrift with verses from all Sanskrit intellectuals of the day was written in his honour,and he negotiated with Shah Jahan on behalf of Hs. There were a lot of mentions of him in the book. Can’t recall offhand/search easily since I read the book in print + will have to pick it up again from the library

ACP: From my notes from the book(author(of this post’s) note:Both of us strongly disagree with the book’s thesis)(Can’t recall offhand/search easily since I read the book in print + will have to pick it up again from the library)

ACP: On Kavīndra’s interactions with the Mughals as a Sanskrit intellectual see Pollock, “Death of Sanskrit,” 407-8 and as a Hindi intellectual see Busch, “Hidden in Plain View,” 289-92.

ACP: My notes from the book further continue:

Under Shah Jahan the Brahmanical profile at the Mughal court became more pronounced with the entry of Kavīndrācārya Sarasvatī and Jagannātha Paṇḍitarāja. These two intellectuals interacted with the Mughals in different ways that demonstrate continuities with earlier Mughal patronage of Sanskrit literati but also important changes in cross-cultural relations. Kavīndra initially approached Shah Jahan in order to negotiate the relinquishment of taxes on certain Brahmanical pilgrimage sites, most notably Varanasi and Prayag. The exact chronology of what occurred is murky because no direct narrative accounts of Kavīndra’s time at Shah Jahan’s court are known in either Sanskrit or Persian. However, information gleaned from Sanskrit and Hindi verses praising Kavīndra attests that he spent time in Mughal company teaching Sanskrit texts to both Shah Jahan and Dara Shikuh. Among other works, he instructed them in Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya.87 Kavīndra also persuaded Shah Jahan to rescind a pilgrimage tax, much to the joy of the Brahmanical community

He was the one who taught Dara Shikoh the Yoga Vashishta? Don’t remember, you will find it in my collected DMs in the devayasna drafts

Moreover, in the 1640s-50s Kavīndra moved outside of the central royal court and joined the retinue of a Mughal noble, Danishmand Khan, and later of the French traveler, Francois Bernier.93 For reasons we do not yet fully understand, Sanskrit intellectuals shifted away from the central imperial context during Shah Jahan’s reign and found new homes in regional and subimperial courts.94 Additionally, Kavīndra’s association with Europeans reflects wider changes in the cultural landscape of early modern India.

Me:

Kavīndra initially approached Shah Jahan in order to negotiate the relinquishment of taxes on certain Brahmanical pilgrimage sites, most notably Varanasi and Prayag

Kavīndra also persuaded Shah Jahan to rescind a pilgrimage tax, much to the joy of the Brahmanical community

Yes,that much I too gathered

ACP: Kavindra also served the Mughals as a poet and musician and was paid by them (which was controversial among v1s in his time)

 Aurangzeb appears to have halted Shah Jahan’s stipend to Kavīndra, which prompted him to seek out Danishmand Khan’s assistance

Shah Jahan named Kavīndra sarvavidyānidhāna (Treasure House of All Knowledge) in recognition of his extensive learning.
Me: Anything about the loss of his library?
ACP: Don’t remember,perhaps there was.
The conversation ends here. Also,if anyone is interested in the kavIndrasucipatra,an index of books in his library, a link of it on archive.org exists here.

On manu sm.rti

Me: So,does iPengu here have a point when he says

One of the problems of Manu Samhita is that people focus on punishments there but if we instead concentrate on moral values it promotes then it becomes perfectly Hindu in every way.

SV: Actually people don’t “focus” on the penal codes of Manu,they just quote those and pretend they belong to a more civilized jurisprudence and penal codes(which is patently false but let that pass). And such pretnce is used to give you reason to ignore the Hindu dharma “saastras. What we should get at is not really the “morality” of Manu because there is today a “moral scheme” based on a certain worldview which needs to be combated before you get to the morality itself.

The basic questions of whether nature should be seen as the teacher or ideals(which change with time) as guidance,whether human should be trusted or system,should be raised whose answers can be found in dharma. Penal code or moral code will be corollaries to these axiomatic things.

Me: You still get the point that is made, SV?

SV: Well he is saying look at the moral code not penal code. I fear that won’t get us anywhere as an exercise because of the underlying worldview and assumptions of the moral codeonce you take cognizance of the fact that its implications will be not in “good practices for people” but an actual guide to jurispudence and penal codes. maanava dharma “saastra was never the former,so even seeing it that way would be problematic. And for the latter,it’s a more systematic and systemic work.

Me:

maanava dharma “saastra was never the former

Was never a moral code,you mean?

SV: It was never meant as a micro level moral code for individuals,but a guide for those designing the collective moral codes.

SV: Individual,var.na,gender,etc are all explained not in prescriptive terms,but as insights into understanding things at a collective level. For instance as R Ganesh says explain the tree to explain a forest. That does not amount to giving codes for the tree but giving insight into understanding tree thereby forest.

SV: The prescriptive codes for individuals don’t come from these but from the specific code books of each group,lineage,etc

SV: Similarly with the word sanaatana,it is sanaatana because it applies at all times to all peoples,because it is talking about unchanging principles of nature.