The Landscape of Paradise and the Embodied City: The <i>Padmāvat</i>, Part 1

Aditya Behl

in Love's Subtle Magic

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195146707
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199978878 | DOI:
The Landscape of Paradise and the Embodied City: The Padmāvat, Part 1

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This chapter uses several notions of landscape—interior, imaginative, and concrete—to read the suggestive poetics of the first half of Malik Muhammad Jāyasī's Padmāvat. In narrating the ascetic quest of the hero Ratansen and his winning of the beautiful Padmāvatī, Jāyasī's distinctive use of coded language creates a suggestive map of the body as a city within the paradisal isle of Singhal-dvīpa. On one level, the imagined landscapes of the embodied city of Ratansen's quest can be interpreted as metaphors for the stages of an interior journey toward spiritual realization. On another level, they suggest the appropriation of the territory traversed by the hero into the spiritual jurisdiction of Sufi authority. Using aspects of Jāyasī's spiritual lineage, the chapter then sets the text against facets of the Chishti ascetic regimen, especially the sanctification of the north Indian landscape by Chishti Sufi masters such as Shaikh Ashraf Jahāngir Simnānī. It emphasizes the competitive aspects of this spiritual ideology, especially as represented in encounters with local ascetics that end with their conversion and submission to Islam.

Keywords: Hindavī Sufi romances; Malik Muhammad Jāyasī; Ratansen; coded language; Singhal-dvīpa; spiritual realization; Chishti ascetics; Islam

Chapter.  14978 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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