Did you know that a Mughal Muslim Prince and Heir-Apparent to the throne of the Mughal Indian Empire completed the translation of 50 Upanishads from its original Sanskrit into Persian? His name was Dara Shikoh and he accomplished all of this before his betrayal and death at the age of 44. His translations are called ‘Sirr-e-Akbar’ or ‘The Greatest Mystery’. This Mughal Prince boldly proclaimed that the work referred to in the Qur’an as the “Kitab al-maknun” or ‘The Hidden Book’, is none other than the ‘Vedic Upanishads’. His most famous work, ‘Majma-ul-Bahrain’ or ‘The Confluence of the Two Seas’ was devoted to the mystical and pluralistic affinities between Islamic and Vedic religions and traditions.
His Highness, The Imperial Prince (Shahzada) Dara Shikoh (Persian: دارا شكوه ) (full name and royal title Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba, Jalal ul-Kadir, Sultan Muhammad Dara Shikoh, Shah-i-Buland Iqbal was born on March 20, 1615 and died at 44 years of age on August 30, 1659.
He was the eldest son and heir apparent of the Mughal Emperor of India Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. His name, in the Persian, means ‘Darius the Magnificent’.
Though favoured as the successor by his father and his sister Princess Jahanara Begum Sahib, he was defeated and executed by his younger brother Prince Muhiuddin later to be known as the infamous Emperor Aurangzeb, iconoclast and wrathful agent of destruction of countless Hindu temples and pillager of Krishna’s holy city of Vrindavan.
The two brothers engaged in a brutal struggle for the imperial throne of the vast Mughal Indian Empire. The course of the history of the Indian subcontinent, had Dara prevailed over Aurangzeb, has been a matter of some conjecture among historians.
Yet clearly, if this noble enlightened prince had become the Emperor of India the world today would see a united India of an enlightened egalitarianism based upon a unified diversity of faiths and religious harmony.
Dara Shikoh is widely renowned as an enlightened paragon of the harmonious coexistence between Islam and the Vedic traditions of India. He was an erudite champion of mystical religious exploration. He was a poet, a historian and a prolific writer.He believed in the syncretic cultural interaction among people of all faiths.
If Dara Shikoh had become Emperor, then beautiful Kashmir would today be the epicenter of an effervescent wellspring of learning and culture rather than the potential trigger for nuclear war it is today.
As usual this made him a heretic in the eyes of his fanatic brother Aurangzeb and his Islamist supremacist advisors. He was accused of eccentricity, blasphemy and cast as a mentally unstable person.
Dara was a follower of Lahore’s famous Qadiri Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir, whom he was introduced to by Mullah Shah Badakhshi (Mian Mir’s spiritual disciple and successor) and who was so widely respected among all communities that he was invited by the Sikhs to lay the foundation stone of Sikhism’s most holy site, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab. Dara also maintained a close friendship with the seventh Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai.
Dara devoted much effort towards finding a common mystical foundation between Islam and Hinduism.
Towards this goal he completed the translation of 50 Upanishads from its original Sanskrit into Persian in 1657. His translations are often called Sirr-e-Akbar (The Greatest Mystery), where he states boldly that the work referred to in the Qur’an as the “Kitab al-maknun” or the hidden book, is none other than the Vedic Upanishads. His most famous work, ‘Majma-ul-Bahrain’ or ‘The Confluence of the Two Seas’ was devoted to the mystical and pluralistic affinities between Islamic and Vedic thought and traditions.
The library established by Dara Shikoh still exists to this very day. Located on the grounds of Indraprastha University, Kashmiri Gate, Delhi, it is now a museum.
Dara had been buried in an undisclosed location. During US President Obama’s 2010 visit to India he specifically requested information about the location of Dara Shikoh’s tomb. I will always be grateful to President Obama for clueing me towards the remarkable legacy of Dara Shikoh the Mughal Prince the rightful Emperor of Mughal India.
As the world is confronted by a cynical atheistic drive towards a Global Religious War, it is the wisdom and legacy of great saints and scholars like Dara Shikoh that provide the solution, resolution and end to all sectarian strife, racial conflict and hatred.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A UNIFIED DIVERSITY AMONG ALL PEOPLE OF FAITH THROUGHOUT THE WORLD IS THE ONLY GENUINE AND EFFECTIVE PATH TO A GOLDEN AGE OF UNIVERSAL PEACE AND PROSPERITY!
Humanity is indeed fortunate for the template and blueprint for Religious Harmony bequeathed to us by Dara Shikoh. As soon as we collectively abandon any and all ideas based in racial, cultural, caste, class or religious elitist concepts of superiority, only then can we collectively an easily harness and apply the Dara Shikoh solutions for World Peace. The potential for such a development is thus readily available.
May it Be So and Soon!!! Salaam Alekhum, Shalom, Harih Om Tat Sat!
Internal Betrayal by One’s Own People has been the Primary Cause of Foreign Conquest. This Fact is intentionally obscured by modern historians. It is the most potent weapon in the Arsenal of the Adversary (Kali Yuga Personified/Satan/Shaitan). Thus today it is being used as a weapon against innocent majority populations of the world; be it the ‘White Guilt’, ‘Hindu Bigot’ or the ‘Islam is Terrorism’ Narratives. Poisoning the Heart & Soul of Humanity.