Baḥr al-ḥayāt | Monography or Translations of known period | Survey | Perso-Indica

Monography or Translations of known period
Muḥammad Ġawṯ Gwāliyārī, Baḥr al-ḥayāt


Šayḫ Muḥammad Ġawṯ Gwāliyārī (907/1502-970/1563, see Fażl Allāh 1933, p. 76) was a prominent Sufi of the Šaṭṭārī order. In his youth, he spent thirteen (or sixteen) years meditating and practicing asceticism in the lonely fortress of Čunār (now in eastern Uttar Pradesh). Muḥammad Ġawṯ supported the Mughals, and his elder brother Šayḫ Phūl (or Bahlūl), another Šaṭṭārī master, became the chief Sufi adviser to Bābur’s (r. 1526-1530) successor Humāyūn (r. 1530-1540, 1555-1556), even losing his life in his service. Consequently, Humāyūn’s defeat by Šer Šāh Sūrī in 947/1540 forced Muḥammad Ġawṯ into exile in Gujarat until after Humāyūn’s restoration in 962/1555. While in Gujarat, sometime after 955/1548, Muḥammad Ġawṯ was attacked for claims he made regarding an experience of ascension to the divine presence, an event that may have taken place as early as 932/1526 (Kugle 2003, p. 12). A group of scholars led by the famous ‘Alī Muttaqī joined in denouncing the šayḫ to Sultan Maḥmūd III (r. 1537-1554), demanding a recantation. The intervention of another scholar, Wajīh al-Dīn ‘Alawī (who soon became a Šaṭṭārī disciple), enabled Muḥammad Ġawṯ to avoid condemnation by stipulating that the ascension was not physical but spiritual. He spent the remaining years of his life in Agra, unsuccessfully attempting to enroll the emperor Akbar as a disciple. Muḥammad Ġawṯ is buried in a magnificent mausoleum in Gwalior. His other writings include Jawāhir-i ḫamsa, a compilation of Sufi practices composed in 929/1523 and revised in 956/1549 (Ernst 2008); Kalīd al-maḫāzin, a cosmological treatise based on the author’s mystical experiences; al-Żamā’ir wal-baṣā’ir on Sufi practices; Kanz al-waḥda on metaphysics; and Awrād-i ġawṯiyya (sometimes referred to as Mi`rāj-nāma), where he described his ascension (Ġawṯī 1395/1975, pp. 290-302). Muḥammad Ġawṯ evidently composed Baḥr al-hayāt in Gujarat after 956/1549, since it refers to the Jawāhir-i ḫamsa. Although nearly all copies indicate that the work was written down by a disciple named Ḥusayn Gwāliyārī ibn Muḥammad Sāranī Ḥusaynī, it was dictated by Muḥammad Ġawṯ and is his composition.

The Baḥr al-hayāt is a much revised and expanded version of the Amṛtakuṇḍa material, known in Arabic as the Mir’āt al-ma`ānī, but precise quotations indicate that it is based on the previous Persian translation entitled Ḥawż al-ḥayāt, a title that it explicitly cites. It begins as other versions with an account of the introduction of the text to Muslims by a yogi from Kāmarūpa, i.e., Assam. The yogi is a man who is here called Kāmak (generally written as Kāmā or Kānmā); evidently this is a conflation with the goddess Kāmakhya as the author of the text. Kāmak is elsewhere cited in chapter six as the wife of Shiva and a transmitter of the text from Brahma and Vishnu. Following the script of the frame story from the Mir’āt al-ma`ānī, the yogi loses a disputation with Qāżī Rukn al-Dīn: “Then that man accepted Islam and became occupied in the study of the religious sciences, so that after a short while, he became the exemplar in every science and became a judicial expert. After that deed, he brought this whole book to the Qāżī, and he rendered it from the Indian language, in thirty chapters, into Arabic. Someone else also put it into Persian, in ten chapters” (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, p. 3).

While this account partly follows the Arabic Mir’āt al-ma`ānī in mentioning two translations, the reference to a version in thirty chapters is puzzling, since no surviving version of the text fits that description. The frame stories that follow, based on the Hymn of the Pearl and Suhrawardī’s (d. 587/1191) Risāla fī ḥaqiqat al-`išq, are presented in a highly prolix fashion that includes a passage from the Hymn of the Pearl not found in the Ḥawż al-ḥayāt (the conclusion to the Hymn of the Pearl is missing from the completely new tenth chapter of Baḥr al-ḥayāt, however; see Ernst 2006). It is possible that Muḥammad Ġawṯ had access to an earlier version of the Mir’āt al-ma`ānī that is no longer extant. In any case, Muḥammad Ġawṯ justified this new translation by offering a critique of this earlier Persian translation, based primarily on the inadequate rendering of Indian terms, presumably meaning the mantras: “He [the previous translator] wrote the unintelligible Indian words [i.e., the mantras] in a mixed-up fashion so that the minds of men and imaginations of colleagues did not reach from the words through their meanings to the goal. This faqīr [Muḥammad Ġawṯ] went to Kāmarūp and spent several years in the study and realization of this science to the necessary degree, and he put .it into practice. After some time it occurred to this slave, and several residents of the town of Broach requested, that [because] in this book most of the sciences are established, but most of the words have become unintelligible, he should completely correct it. Therefore, having heard it from the tongue of the yogis, he put it into writing, and named the book Baḥr al-ḥayāt” (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, p. 3). In other words, this is a revision and expansion of the text with reference to oral sources. The text is carefully composed, with half a dozen internal cross references, including a formal quotation from Muḥammad Ġawṯ’s treatise Jawāhir-i ḫamsa (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, p. 16). This systematic editorial work is typical of Muḥammad Ġawṯ’s writing; after revising the Jawāhir-i ḫamsa, he had all of his disciples correct their copies accordingly.

The Baḥr al-ḥayāt is roughly four to five times as long as the Ḥawż al-ḥayāt, which closely follows the Mir’āt al-ma`ānī; because of the addition of new materials, translation of the core text amounts to only one tenth of this new version. This expansion is particularly evident in chapter two, where the examples of divination by breath are increased from half a dozen to over 40; chapter four, where the number of yoga postures, designated with Hindi names different from those found in standard hatha yoga texts, expands from 5 to 22; chapter nine, which replaces the summoning of yogini goddesses with a lengthy series of Sufi meditation practices; and chapter ten, which presents an entirely new series of cosmological narratives. Assuming that the Baḥr al-ḥayāt was adapted directly from the Ḥawż al-ḥayāt, the expansion of chapter nine would not be surprising, since the summoning of yogini goddesses had already been cut from this chapter in some existing manuscripts of the Ḥawż al-ḥayāt, leaving it a mere paragraph in length. Yet one of the creation stories added to chapter ten is a puranic goddess narrative. Other additions to the text include a cosmic vision inserted in chapter two (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, pp. 13-14), a lengthy description of a one-year retreat in chapter three (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, p. 18), some physiological details in chapter five, and the multi-part creation story in chapter ten that is both Qur’anic and Puranic (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, pp. 66-69). Part of this non-classical cosmogony is still circulated among Naths in Rajasthan (Gold 1994, pp. 31-32) and Nepal (Bouillier 1993), and by other groups in Madhya Pradesh (Fuchs 1950, pp. 235-7). It depicts the goddess producing Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva from blisters on the palm of her hand. This account, which evidently draws upon the Devī Bhāgavata Purāṇa, has been satirized by modern Indian reformers (Ambedkar 2008, pp. 90–91; Sarasvati 1908, p. 313).

Those were not the only additions that Muḥammad Ġawṯ made to the text. The seven mantras described in chapter seven are provided with two equivalent ḏikr formulas rather than one. Muḥammad Ġawṯ evidently also had access to a version of the practices recorded in the Kāmarūpančāšikā, since 12 examples of its divination techniques are added in chapter two, and four more in chapter three. The overall effect of this compilation is an effort to take seriously the experiential value of yogic practices, while placing them firmly into the metaphysical world of Sufism. This technique employs extensive quotations from the Qur’an and hadith to make certain points. Chapter nine (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, pp. 55-66) consists almost entirely of Sufi practices, in place of the yoginis. Thus the subjugation of the spirit ruling Mercury (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, p. 65) is an exact copy of the same practice as found in the Jawāhir-i ḫamsa (Gwāliyārī n.d., p. 262). A more complex relation between the two texts is suggested by the “great supplication” (du`ā-i kabīr), which in the Jawāhir-i ḫamsa (Gwāliyārī n.d., p. 326) is presented as the prayer of Adam, originally composed in Hindi – since Adam knew all languages. Indeed, that prayer, which is repeated in full in the Baḥr al-ḥayat (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, p. 59), appears to contain the seven mantras from chapter seven, sandwiched in between the opening standard Arabic phrases and a lengthy sequel of quasi-Syriac words that are not recognizable.

The most substantial reflection on the process of translation in the text is an extended comparison of metaphysics according to the yogis and the teachings of Islam, which Muḥammad Ġawṯ inserts at the beginning of chapter six, on the nature of the body (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, pp. 31-35). Here the yogic emphasis on the eternity of the soul is confronted with passages from the Qur’an on the spirit’s creation by God (17:85) by God’s own breath (38:72). Strikingly, the former verse had been recognized as authentic by the yogi Bhūjū in his Qur’anically scripted disputation with Samarqandī (d. 615/1218) in the preface. Muḥammad Ġawṯ acknowledges that there is a serious conflict on this issue, and he calls for a comparison (taṭbīq) that will recognize what is correct in the yogis’ experience, their specialized knowledge of the body, which has been lacking in Sufi teaching: “The siddha yogis say, we are in agreement with the realized dervishes on the essence of spirit, and insofar as things descend, appear, and progress, this is true. But in recognizing reality they [the Sufis] have left out the link. The order of jogis has found the link, they preserve and follow it, because from the link of the body, knowledge of reality appears” (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, p. 33). This appeal to experience is the justification for the study of yoga. Muḥammad Ġawṯ is systematic in his juxtaposition of yogic and Sufi techniques, but it is the Sufi framework that dominates the interpretation of yogic experience.

The contents of Baḥr al-hayāt are organized in 10 chapters (bāb) entitled as follows: (i) on the knowledge of the microcosm; (ii) on the influences of the microcosm and its knowledge; (iii) on the knowledge of the heart, the substances, desires, manifestations, and hidden things that appear, and from whence is its reality; (iv) on the knowledge and the quality of discipline (riyāżat, yogic āsana postures) and its states; (v) on the knowledge of the creation of humanity and the kinds of breath and its substances; (vi) on the knowledge of the character of the body and its substances; (vii) on the knowledge of the imagination; (viii) on the description of the corruption of the body, and the appearance of the signs of death; (ix) on the subjugation of spirits; (x) on the story of the creation of the world.

Four copies of the Baḥr al-ḥayāt feature a series of 21 miniature illustrations of yogis in āsana postures: Ms. Dublin, Chester Beatty Library, MS 16, dated probably 1600-1604; Ms. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina, dated 1130/1718; Ms. Hyderabad, Salar Jung, Madhahib Farsi 1, dated 1230/1815; and Ms. Oxford, Bodleian Library, S. Digby Or. 222 (previously described as from an unidentified private collection, see Leach 1995, p. 557), contemporaneous with the Dublin copy. The paintings in the Dublin copy may be the oldest visual presentations of yoga postures in portrait form. The illustration program followed by all four manuscripts is identical, although the later copies show a simpler painting technique and omit some details (e.g., the earrings of the yogis are lacking in the Chapel Hill copy). Leach has plausibly suggested that this text may have been commissioned by the Mughal prince Salīm (later Jahāngīr, r. 1605-1627) during his residence in Allahabad, when his artists produced numerous illustrated books, many on Indian themes; Leach also distinguishes four different artists (called Artist A, Artist B, Artist C, and Artist D) to whom she variously assigns the 21 paintings on the basis of stylistic differences. A similar sketch of ascetics in a dispersed miniature shown at auction (Sotheby’s 1997, p. 102, no. 137) shows one figure with such a close resemblance to one of the yogis in the Dublin copy (Ms. Dublin, Chester Beatty Library, MS 16, f. 19r) that it may be the work of Leach’s Artist B (Leach 1995, p. 557). Comparison with the text of other manuscripts demonstrates that the Dublin copy is missing one folio (and perhaps an illustration also), so that it lacks both the description and the portrait of one posture (number 13, bodhak, in Ernst unpublished, 4.16), and the Chapel Hill copy has the same omission. This means that chapter four actually contains verbal accounts of 22 postures (contrary to its explicit announcement that there are 21). It may also be pointed out that the first illustration occurs in chapter two, following the description (Ernst unpublished, 2.36) of an unnamed kneeling posture assumed while gazing at the nose with eyes crossed; it is not the crosslegged posture described in the beginning of chapter four (number one, alakh, in Ernst unpublished, 4.4), which lacks an illustration, so in fact only 20 of the 22 postures are depicted. A curious feature of the Dublin copy is the binding, which has on the exterior, in four places, a quotation from the Qur’an (56:79): “And none shall touch it but the purified.” This is remarkable, because that verse commonly adorns the bindings of Qur’ans, as a reminder of the Islamic ritual requirements for handling the sacred text. Whether this binding was applied to the Baḥr al-ḥayāt out of respect, accident, or irony, it is difficult to judge.

The Orientalist impulse to see India as the source of all mysticism has led to exaggerated notions of “Hindu influence” on Sufi texts and practices. From the remarks presented above, it is clear that Muḥammad Ġawṯ applied a strongly Islamic hermeneutic to the yogic practises in the Baḥr al-ḥayāt, so that this text cannot be fairly described as a blueprint for the Hinduization of Islam. But the anxiety about maintaining Islamic boundaries has spilled over even to accounts of the most famous work by Muḥammad Ġawṯ, the Jawāhir-i ḫamsa, which consists almost entirely of prayers and invocations in Arabic – with the exception of the Hindi formula attributed to the Čištī master Farīd al-Dīn Ganj-i Šakkar (Ernst 2008), and the “great supplication” mentioned above. Nevertheless, the 19th century missionary Hughes described the Jawāhir-i ḫamsa as “largely made up of Hindu customs which, in India, have become part of Muhammadanism” (Hughes 1973 [1885], s.v. “Daʿwah,” p. 73). More recently, Ahmad likewise argued that this text “introduced Hindu mystic practices and litanies into the Muslim mystic discipline” (Ahmad 2012, p. 159), implausibly maintaining that it “is different from all other works produced by the Muslim mystics of India” (Ahmad 2012, pp. 163-164) and consequently attributing its occult practices to Buddhist tantrism. These observations ignore the long history of the miraculous in Sufism, the prevalence of talismanic magic in Arabic works such as the Šams al-ma`ārif attributed to al-Būnī (d. 622/1225 or 630/1232; Hamès 2016), and the great importance of the occult both in esoteric movements (Ḥurūfīs, Nuqṭawīs) and at the Safavid and Mughal courts (Moin 2012). So at least with works such as the Jawāhir-i ḫamsa, it is no longer tenable to describe them as Hindu just because they contain occult practices.

It is ironic that, in contrast to European Orientalists, later Sufis in the Šaṭṭārī tradition saw Muḥammad Ġawṯ’s achievement as an Islamization of yogic practice, using the metaphor of clothing to describe the process of translation, as this biographical account by Muḥammad Ġawṯī Šaṭṭārī shows: “The Baḥr al-ḥayāt is the translation of the handbook text of the society of Jogis and Sannyasis, in which occur interior practices, visualization exercises, descriptions of holding the breath, and other types of discipline, by which spiritual armies obtain victory over the soldier of the body. These two groups are the chief ascetics, recluses, and monastics of the people of idolatry and infidelity. By the blessings of these very practices and chants (aḏkār), having arrived at the rank of false spirituality (istidrāj) and the excellent rank of visions, they have obtained comprehension of the solution of the riddles of men’s minds, and information to resolve the enigmas of questioners’ thoughts. He (Muḥammad Ġawṯ) separated all these subjects from the Sanskrit expression that is the tongue of the infidels’ flimsy books, dressed them in Persian clothing, loosed the belt of infidelity from the shoulder of those concepts, and adorned them with the prostration of unity and islām, thus freeing them from the dominance of blind adherence with the overwhelming strength of true faith. The master of realization bestowed aid and assistance with Sufi chants and practices. In truth (al-ḥaqq), he made a single casket (ḥuqqa) of precious jewels, and a case for kingly rubies, from the lowly bridle of the beasts of “they are like cattle, nay, more erring” (Qur’ān 7.171), replacing it with an ennobling crown for the Lord of “religion, for God, is islām” (Qur’ān 3.19) (Ġawṯī 1395/1975, p. 300; Ġawṯī 2012, p. 351). Nonetheless, this account concludes with a note of anxiety about the potential conflicts the texts may cause for Muslim readers: “It is to be hoped that anyone hearing the characteristics of the book will be freed from painful doubts appearing from listening to the description of this text, by reading it quickly and well, and that he will become a witness of the paradise of certainty” (Ġawṯī 1395/1975, p. 300). Muḥammad Ġawṯ and at least some of his followers evidently succeeded in putting these doubts to rest.

The Baḥr al-ḥayāt is not just a translation. The multiple additions that Muḥammad Ġawṯ has attached to the previous recension of the Ḥawż al-ḥayāt, both from Indian and Sufi sources, make it an entirely new and independent work. Muḥammad Ġawṯ calls it “this strange and wonderful book,” noting that “in this book most of the sciences are established” (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, p. 3). Considering the range of subjects addressed in the BH, to describe it as encyclopedic is not an exaggeration. Yet the broad range of topics discussed is in good part due to the interventions of Muḥammad Ġawṯ. He cites the marvelous book as an authority, and he invokes the teachings of the yogis over two dozen times to illustrate his arguments. But they do not fully comprehend the important experiences they have attained; in the view of Muḥammad Ġawṯ, “they do not know the theory of this practice” (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, p. 44). And that theory is what he has supplied in this expanded version.

The last point to be considered is the ending of the treatise, at first sight surprisingly inconclusive, inasmuch as it is presented as a question: “Form exists because of human company, but where does the human come from?” In terms of the rhetoric established earlier in the text, this final question should not be seen as an admission of failure. Rather, it is a way of focusing the reader’s attention on crucial issues that are explained; for every rhetorical question there are many emphatic answers. The form of the question is furnished by several lines of a Persian poem by Awḥadī Marāġa’ī (d. 738/1338) quoted at the beginning of the Baḥr al-ḥayāt: “On this side is no place, and on that side is creation; / what shaper of desire made links between these two? // Shaper of form and meaning, tell: how much / passion for the Creator is from portraits? . . . One must recognize the Sustainer of the soul; / what is the soul itself, and what is the Sustainer?” (Gwāliyārī 1311/1894, pp. 3, 8). The highly didactic function of this poem rests precisely on the obvious questions, the answers to which are forcefully suggested by the framing of the question. Muḥammad Ġawṯ employs the same technique in several other places, but most obviously in the long title of chapter 3 on the heart, which ends with the phrase, “Where is the reality of that from?” Rhetorical answers to such questions are highlighted dozens of times by formulas that are either impersonal (“let it be unveiled”) or in the third person (“one makes known”). In the Sufi conventions adhered to by a serious dervish such as Muḥammad Ġawṯ, these ego-less formulas substitute for first person declarations, and they should be translated as “I now reveal” or the equivalent. Anyone puzzled by the question at the end of the Baḥr al-ḥayāt has only to turn the pages of this book to find obvious answers. 

Marginal comments in two manuscripts (Ms. Aligarh, Mawlana Azad Library, Habibganj 21/112 Farsiyya taṣawwuf, and Ms. Islamabad, Liaquat National Memorial Library 46), which overlap considerably in content, indicate that a tradition of studying the Baḥr al-ḥayāt continued within the Šaṭṭārī order, linking the teachings of the text to another writing by Muḥammad Ġawṯ, the Kalīd-i maḫāzin. Šāh Muḥammad Riḍā Šaṭṭārī Qādirī Lāhūrī (d. 1118/1706) incorporated yogic practices from Baḥr al-ḥayāt into his Sufi treatise Ādāb-i murīdī (Ms. Islamabad, Ganj Bakhsh, 5319 ‘irfān). There are also indications in the manuscripts that the descriptions of 22 āsana postures in chapter four were originally accompanied by Hindawī verses (sabda) that illustrated the effects of each exercise, and functioned as another kind of commentary. The popularity of Muḥammad Ġawṯ’s Jawāhir-i ḫamsa in its Arabic translation ensured that practices with yogic elements, such as the “great supplication,” were known from North Africa to Indonesia. Likewise, the extended quotations from the Baḥr al-ḥayāt in a handbook of Sufi practices produced in Libya, Muḥammad al-Sanūsī’s (d. 1276/1859) al-Silsabīl al-ma`īn, transmitted these teachings to audiences far beyond its original readership (Ernst 2012).




i) Place of copying; ii) Period of copying; iii) Copyist; iv) Commissioner;
v) Information on colophon; vi) Description of miniatures/illustrations; vii) Other remarks; viii) Information on catalogue(s)
Manuscripts: 

Lahore, Muhammad Iqbal Mujaddidi, R. no. 484, 73 ff.

, viii)

Mujaddidi — Ansari — Mahmood 2015, p. 232

.

Ahmedabad, Dargāh `Aliyya Čištiyya, S. no. 273, 11 ff.

.

Karachi, National Museum, 1972-104

, viii)

Munzavī 1364š./1985, vol. 4, p. 2146

.

Hyderabad, Telangana Government Oriental Manuscript Library & Research Institute, taṣawwuf fārsī 713

, ii)

1 rabī` al-awwal 1239 / 5 November 1823

, viii)

Kanturi 2012, vol. 1, p. 404

.

Ahmedabad, Pir Muhammad Shah Library, no. 1218, 168 ff

.

Phulwari Sharif, Ḫānqāh Mujībiyya

, ii)

1022/1613

, viii)

Ahmad 2012, p. 175.

.

London, India Office, Ethé 2802/6, ff.131b-139b

, ii)

1043/1633-1634

, vii)

Chapter 9 only, in an anthology of devotional and meditation texts

, viii)

Ethé 1903, col. 1513

.

Aligarh, Mawlana Azad Library, Subhanullah 29767/28 [4], ff. 38

, ii)

1156/1743-1744

, viii)

Ḥusayn 1930, p. 13

.

London, British Library, Add. 5651/2, ff. 36-39

, vii)

part of chapter 2 only

, viii)

Rieu 1879, vol. 1, p. 59b

.

Aligarh, Mawlana Azad Library, Habibganj 21/112 Farsiyya taṣawwuf, ff. 76

, ii)

9 ṣafar 1156/4 April 1743

, iii) Ġulām Ḥusayn wuld-i Sulṭān Muḥammad Banī Isrā’īl Kūlawī, iv) Yūsuf Ḫān Jīv.

London, British Library, India Office, Ashburner 197, ff. 75

, viii)

Ross – Browne 1902, p. 116

.

Karachi, National Museum, 1961-908

, viii)

Munzavī 1364š./1985, vol. 4, p. 2146

.

Karachi, National Museum, 1961-909

, viii)

Munzavī 1364š./1985, vol. 4, p. 2146

.

New Delhi, Jamia Hamdard Library, 1689

, vii)

A copy of Ms. Hyderabad, Salar Jung Museum, taṣawwuf 66/16, contining only the first page of the text; his copy bears the seal of Mīrān Sayyid Ḥusaynī Saqqāf ibn Ja`far Ta`ẓīm Turk Qādirī, 1233/1817-8

, viii)

Persian Research Centre 1999, p. 417

.

Achalpur, Kitāb-ḫāna-yi Jāmi` Masjid

, ii)

1 rabī` al-awwal 1239 / 5 November 1823

, iii) `Uyūż Beg Ḫān, viii)

Qāsimī 1386/2007, p. 66, no. 58

.

Karachi, National Museum, 1973-235, pp. 82

, ii)

1254/1838-1839

, viii)

Munzavī 1364š./1985, vol. 4, p. 2146

.

Sargodha, Bahluwal, Mawlana Qudrat Allah collection

, i) Kashmir, ii)

1278/1861-1862

, viii)

Munzavī 1364š./1985, vol. 4, p. 2146

.

Islamabad, Ganj Bakhsh, 6298, pp. 112

, ii)

6 ša`bān 1279/26 January 1863

, viii)

Munzavī 1363š./1984, vol. 3, p. 1488

.

Islamabad, Liaquat National Memorial Library, 46, pp. 142

, viii)

Munzavī 1364š./1985, vol. 4, p. 2146

.

London, British Library, Or. 12188, pp. 165

, viii)

Meredith-Owens 1968, p. 37

.

London. 2002 Ethé, India Office, British Library, pp. 165

, vii)

missing parts of chapters 3 and 9 and all of chapter 10, marginal notations of Hindi terms in devanagari script

, viii)

Ethé 1903, cols. 1113-4

.

Ahmedabad, Pir Muhammad Shah Library, ff. 33

, vii)

labelled Hawż al-hayat on obverse of first page; the text ends in the middle of chapter 4

, viii)

Qureshi 1985, p. 295

.

Hyderabad, Telangana Government Oriental Manuscript Library & Research Institute (Asafiyya), Tarikh Persian 607

, viii)

Ahmad 1963, p. 277

.

Illustrated manuscripts: 

Dublin, Chester Beatty Library, MS 16, ff. 64.

, i) Allahabad, iv) alīm (Jahāngīr), vi)

Illustrated with 21 miniatures of yogic postures.

, viii)

Arnold 1936, vol. 1, pp. 80-82; vol. 3, p. 98.
Leach 1995, pp. 556-64.

.

Oxford, Bodleian Library, S. Digby Or. 222, ff. 20-60

.

Chapel Hill NC, University of North Carolina, Rare Book Collection PK3791 .A46 1718, pp. 1-123

, ii)

11 rabī` al-awwal 1130/12 February 1718

, iii) Sayyid Muḥammad `Alī al-Ḥusaynī, vi)

21 miniature illustrations of yoga postures, following the same program as Ms. Dublin, Chester Beatty Library, MS 16

, viii)

Fogg 1996, p. 157

.

Hyderabad, Salar Jung Oriental Library, Madhahib Farsi 1, ff. 66

, ii)

1230/1815

, vi)

21 miniatures of yogic postures, following the same program as Chester Beatty Library, MS 16

, viii)

Ashraf 1983, vol. 8, pp. 338-339

.

Lithographs:  Baḥr al-ḥayāt, Delhi, n.p.. 1890. Baḥr al-ḥayāt, Bombay, Fayż al-Karīm Press, 1310/1892. Baḥr al-ḥayāt,

Mīr Ḥasan, ed.

, Delhi, Maṭba`-i Riżvī, 1311/1894, pp. 72,

On p. 15, the editor has inserted 11 lines of verse on divination by breath from the Muḥīṭ, i.e., Muḥīṭ-i ma`rifat, on the grounds of their obvious similarity with this text; likewise, a section on āsana from the Muḥīṭ-i ma`rifat is included on pp. 70-71

.

Editions:  “Šarḥ-i aḥvāl o āṯār-i Šāh Muḥammad Ġawṯ Gwāliyārī, va taṣḥīḥ-i matn-i Baḥr-i ḥayāt”,

Muḥammad Idrīs A`vān

, Tehran, PhD dissertation, Persian Language and Literature Group, Academy of Foreign Languages, Scientific Research Unit, Islamic Azad University, 1351/1972. 
“Muqaddima, taṣḥīḥ wa ta`līq bar kitāb-i Baḥr al-ḥayāt az Muḥammad Ġawṯ Gwāliyārī”,

Nawšīn Khuddāmī, ed.

, Tehran, MA thesis, Dānišgāh-i Āzād-i Islāmī, Wāḥid-i Tihrān-i Markazī, Dāniškada-i Adabiyyāt wa `Ulūm-i Insānī., 1394/2016. 
Commentary:

Marginal comments in Ms. Aligarh, Mawlana Azad Library, Habibganj 21/112 Farsiyya taṣawwuf, with additional comments included in the text itself in chapters one to three.

Marginal comments in Ms. Islamabad, Liaquat National Memorial Library 46.


English translation: Chapter four of the Bahr al-hayat, by Muḥammad Ġawṯ Gwaliyari, translated from the Persian by Carl W. Ernst, an adjunct to the Smithsonian exhibit, "Yoga: The Art of Transformation," 2014, https://archive.asia.si.edu/explore/yoga/default.asp

Urdu translation: Ḥayāt samandar, trans. Šāh Alī, Ms. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Oriental Manuscript Research Library (Āṣafiyyya), 1997 Tasawwuf Urdu, ff. 1-47 (introduction, chapters i and ii), 63b-92a (chapters vii and iii).

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Carl W. Ernst


Originally published: 24 July 2019
How to quote this article:

Ernst, Carl W., 2019, "Baḥr al-ḥayāt", Perso-Indica. An Analytical Survey of Persian Works on Indian Learned Traditions, F. Speziale - C. W. Ernst, eds.

available at http://www.perso-indica.net/work/bahr_al-hayat.

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Pseudepigraphic work, Illustrated work
Main Persian Title: Baḥr al-ḥayāt
English Translation of Main Persian Title: The Ocean of Life
Year / Period of Composition: 956/1549
Place: Bharuch,  Ahmedabad  - Gujarat 
Other Languages of Work: Old Hindi/Hindavi
Local Informants: Siddha jogis (yogis)
Quoted sources on India (Unknown or not existent):
Amṛtakuṇḍa
Kāmarūpañčāšikā