Dara Shikuh: Majma‘ ul-Bahrain or the Mingling of the Two Oceans [of Islam and Hinduism]
Introduction: Dara Shikoh (1615-1659) was the eldest son the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He was educated as heir apparent but developed since his youth a strong interest in esoteric aspects of Islam and in mysticism which brought him since his twenties into direct contact with Hindu philosophy, Bhakti religion and ascetic movements. Deeply convinced of the reality of mystical experience, he realized that esoteric understanding of Islam and Hinduism displays a single divine principle behind the variety of outward manifestations. He authored several books, partly with the support of Muslim and Hindu scholars. In his Majma’ al-Bahrain, “the Mingling of the Two Oceans”, he proclaims in 1656 a monistic unity of Islam and Hinduism and other religions. In the following years he translated with the help of Brahmins 52 Upanishads into Persian in which he perceived the same transcendental unity of the absolute as known from the Koran. He was venerated by Hindus and Sufi orders alike, but declared a heretic by the sunni establishment and executed by his orthodox younger brother Aurangzeb in 1659.
(see also AHOI, ch. 5, section Auranzeb)
(quoted from Majma’-Ul-Bahrain or the Mingling of the Two Oceans by Prince Muhammad Dara Shikuh, translated by M. Mahfuz-ul-Haq, Calcutta 1929, pp. 50-53)
X. Discourse on the Vision of God (Rūyat).
The Indian monotheists call the Vision of God, Sāchātkār, that is, to see God with the (ordinary) eyes of the forehead. Know that the Vision of God, either by the Prophets, may peace be on them, or by the perfect divines, may their souls be sanctified, whether in this or the next world and whether with the outer or the inner eyes, cannot be doubted or disputed; and the “men of the Book” (ahl-i-kitāb),the perfect divines and the seers of all religions—whether they are believers in the Ḳur’ān, the Vedas, the Book of David or the Old and the New Testaments—have a (common) faith in this respect. Now, one who disbelieves the beholding of God is a thoughtless and sightless member of his community, the reason being: if the Holy Self is Omnipotent, how can He not have the potency to manifest Himself?This matter has been explained very clearly by the ‘Ulamā of the Sunnī Sect. But, if it is said, that (even) the Pure Self (dhjāt-i-baḥt)can be beheld, it is an impossibility; for the Pure Self is elegant and undetermined, and, as He cannot be determined, He is manifest in the veil of elegance only, and as such cannot be beheld, and such beholding is an impossibility. And the suggestion that He can be beheld in the next and not in this world, is groundless, for if He is Omnipotent, He is potent to manifest Himself in any manner, anywhere and at any time He likes. (I hold) that one who cannot behold Him here (i.e., in this world) will hardly behold Him there (i.e. in the next world); as He has said in the Holy verse: “And whoever is blind in this, he shall (also) be blind in the hereafter.”
The Mu’tazila3 and the Shī’a4 doctors, who are opposed to rūyat (Beholding), have committed a great blunder in this matter, for had they only denied the capability of beholding the Pure Self, there would have been some justification, but their denial of all forms of ruyat (i.e. Beholding) is a great mistake; the reason being that most of the Prophets and perfect divines have beheld God with their ordinary eyes and have heard His Holy words without any intermediary and, now, when they are, by all means, capable of hearing the words of God, why should they not be capable of beholding Him? Verily, they must be so; and, just as it is obligatory to have faith in God, the Angels, the (revealed) Books, the Prophets, the Destiny, the Good and the Evil, and the Holy Places, etc., so it is obligatory and incumbent to have faith in rūyat (Beholding). The unversed Sunnī `Ulamā who have disputed the meaning and wording of the tradition—in which. ‘Ā’isha Ṣiddīḳaasked Prophet (Muḥammad), Peace be on him,: “Didst thou behold thy Lord?” to which the Prophet replied, “It is light that I am beholding”—have read it as [??052] “It is Light, how can I behold it?” But this (tradition) cannot be an argument against beholding God, for if we put the former interpretation it will refer to His “complete beholding” (rūyat-i-tām) in the veil of Light but, if we interpret it as, “It is Light, how can I behold it?,” it will refer to His Pure and Colourless Self. So, it is not a difference in the context but rather a manifestation of the miracle of (our) Prophet who has explained two problems in one tradition. And the Holy verse : “(Some) faces on that day shall be bright, Looking to their Lord” is a clear argument in favour of rūyat, (Beholding), of our Lord, Exalted is His Dignity; (while) the verse : “Vision comprehends Him not, and He comprehends all vision; and He is the knower of subtilities, the Aware”7refers to his colourlessness, that is, the eye cannot behold Him in his Colourless and Absolute capacity, although He beholds all and possesses extreme elegance and colourlessness. And, the word huwa (He), found in the above Holy verse, refers to the invisibility of His Pure Self. Now, the beholding of God is of five kinds: first, in dream with the eyes of heart; secondly, beholding Him with the ordinary eyes ; thirdly, beholding Him in an intermediate state of sleep and wakefulness, which is a special kind of Selflessness; fourthly, (beholding Him) in (a stage of) special determination; fifthly,beholding the One Self in the multitudinous determinations of the internal and external worlds. In such a way beheld our Prophet, may peace be on him, whose `self’ had disappeared from the midst and the beholder and the beheld had merged in one and his sleep, wakefulness and selflessness looked as one and his internal and the external eyes had become one unified whole—such is the state of perfect rūyat (Beholding), which is not confined either to this or the next world and is possible everywhere and at every period.