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Sufis, Nath-yogis and Indian literary texts: Some lines of congruence

Mishra, V. (1985) Sufis, Nath-yogis and Indian literary texts: Some lines of congruence. Religious Traditions, 6 (1). pp. 42-65.

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Abstract

Henry Corbin's call for "un dialogue dans la metahistoire" is the kind of seductive invitation for the construction of a philosophia perennis which, in the hands of the literary critic examining philosophical tracts, may lead to disastrous reductionism. Of course, I agree that comparative studies of any kind must seek to explore certain perennial suppositions, either in the belief-systems themselves or in the methodology applied to study them. Where I demur is when the claim is made that the correspondence between systems also explains, inevitably, praxis or application, in other words when it is stated that, say, because there is a Vedantic monism, all other systems of "monism" (Neoplatonism, Ibn 'Arabi 19s pantheism, Chuang Tzu's tso wang) have, in terms of cultural response, the same meaning. There is clearly a case to be made for a dialogue as Corbin suggests but the case must also be based on a cautious examination of the systems being compared. And "system", like other related terms, is a dangerous word here for it hides the quite divergent sub-systems which may exist under the one presumably "systematic" umbrella. One of these metahistorical dialogues took place between Sufism and various Tantric systems in Medieval India. Their symbiosis and expression in three Indian literary 'texts' written by people who may be loosely called 'Indian Sufis' are the concerns of this paper. Before examining the literary 18texts 19 themselves, a somewhat diachronic study of the interactions must be attempted.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Religious Studies. University of Sydney
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/13464
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