Two pages from a manuscript of the Yog Basisht: the brothers Punya and Pavana seated by the Ganges; the sage Uddalaka rejects transport to heaven Sub-Imperial Mughal, circa 1650(2)
Lot 271
Two pages from a manuscript of the Yog Basisht: the brothers Punya and Pavana seated by the Ganges; the sage Uddalaka rejects transport to heaven Sub-Imperial Mughal, circa 1650(2)
£4,000 - 6,000
US$ 6,400 - 9,600

Lot Details
Two pages from a manuscript of the Yog Basisht: the brothers Punya and Pavana seated by the Ganges; the sage Uddalaka rejects transport to heaven Sub-Imperial Mughal, circa 1650(2)
Two pages from a manuscript of the Yog Basisht: the brothers Punya and Pavana seated by the Ganges; the sage Uddalaka rejects transport to heaven
Sub-Imperial Mughal, circa 1650
gouache and gold on paper, panels with Persian text in nasta'liq script in black ink, outer borders depicting animals amidst flowers in gold, text verso in seventeen lines, in mounts
288 x 178 mm.(2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance: Private German collection.

    The Yog Basisht is a Persian translation of the Sanskrit philosophical text Yogavasishta Maharamayana, a 12th/13th Century discourse in which the sage Vasistha discusses with Prince Rama the best way to reconcile the duties of a ruler with a contemplative life, using examples of other rulers.

    The Emperor Akbar had already commissioned a translation, but Prince Salim, during the period when he was in revolt at Allahabad (1600-1603), ordered a new, shortened version. His own copy, dated 1602, is now in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (see L. Y. Leach, Mughal and other Indian Paintings in the Chester Beatty Library, London 1995, no. 2.1-41).

    The first miniature depicts Punya and his brother Pavana seated beneath a tree by the Ganges. Punya, who had achieved a much higher level of mystical knowledge, is persuading his brother of the futility of his grieving over the recent death of their father, when they have already had numberless fathers as a result of the transmigration of souls. The second depicts the holy man Uddalaka, who was so absorbed in meditation that he did not notice the approach of four apsarases with a litter to take him to heaven. As he was intent on his own moksa, the release from transmigration, he then rejected their offer.
    The paintings are based on illustrations in Prince Salim's Dublin manuscript, with some changes. (See L. Y. Leach, op. cit., vol. I, p. 180, 2.20 & p. 179, pl. 22, 2.25).
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