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.

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