The section on Nanakpanthis, i. XIX, part 2, August It reappeared in Panjab Past and Present, vol. I, part 1, April There has been a good deal of controversy about the authorship of Dabistani Mazahib. The writer himself has nowhere in the book mentioned his name, parentage or date of birth.
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The study of any field requires understanding and analyzing facts as they are. The human brain is a network that utilizes its cognizance and memory to process every piece of information we receive.
One of the reasons why the brain can assimilate, think or analyze things the way it does is its memory or experience it stores. If we think the thought process is independent of memory, which impacts the thinking patterns while undergoing new encounters, it would be a mistake. The world that we experience is a result of what the world actually is and how we perceive it.
So for a writer, is it entirely possible to state a fact as it is? His work will only be his interpretation of the world or the truth. What is the truth that we speak of? Can we ever assimilate the truth that we never witnessed directly? How far can we rely on sources as opposed to direct experiences to know the actual truth?
No, the understanding of the fact truth by us is our notion of it and varies from the reality in varying degrees.
The entire attempt should be to try and reduce if not remove these variations as much as we can. This can be achieved by following a scientific approach to state facts with a rational logic. This approach of understanding truths is very important in order to write an unbiased work.
Writing a work requires an unbiased approach unless the authorial intention is otherwise. This approach of being devoid of all biases is quite essential for comparative studies.
Comparative studies require a clear understanding of various concepts being considered. Then a systematic approach is applied to compare the concepts. A fair comparative study is only possible if we employ an unbiased approach free of pre- conditioning and prejudices. A fair study of different religions is difficult for a follower of a particular belief system religion. They make the religion they follow as the measuring unit with which they compare other systems.
They draw similarities or differences with their belief system. There are different kinds of realities like absolute reality, relative reality, personal reality, collective reality etc. Absolute reality is the ideal reality or factual reality.
Since humans perceive reality depending on their interpretation of it this case of absolute reality is difficult to re-create it in any form in writing, as memory or speech etc.
In the concept of relative realities, the brain measures everything with respect to a standard reality or a base reality. The personal realities are valid for an individual or an individual unit that shares a few set of the aforementioned basic realities or ideologies. The collective reality is the reality that is shared by a collective majority of people. The main idea of any study is to be able to comprehend the absolute reality. There is one more notion of a universal reality, which is applicable to axioms and the like.
It will be interesting to note that, every individual considers his rendition of reality as the absolute if not universal reality. It is this belief that generally keeps the researcher away from the absolute reality. This can be rectified to some extent by following a scientific method of rational approach to reality supported by sound reason.
Generally, people tend to be biased towards something that they believe in, like a religion. So it is not so difficult to understand how difficult it is for a follower of a religion, trained to follow a particular belief system, to pursue a study of another religion unbiasedly. The work in question is Dabistan-i-Mazahib, the author has a dual identity.
There are some scholars who argue that he belongs to a philosophic sect of Sufis or a Persian tradition called Sipasian tradition a heterodoxic form of Zoroastrianism. It is interesting to note that the author, like most of the people of his sect displays chameleon-like identities when needed during the process of approaching some religions. He tries to give a comparative analysis of the religions in some instances.
He tries to draw similarities between Vedanta and Sufi doctrines. In a similar way, he states that the Sikhs derive their mythological materials from the sources such as Yoga-Vasishta. The book ends with a tale of the Azar Kaivani School. It predicts the future of that school of thought. Mostly he tries to establish his School of thought as the point of reference. Though the author declares that he did not include even a trace of partiality or hostility towards any Religion resigning only to the post of a translator, he ends up taking a relativist position by taking the beliefs of his group as a standard of comparison, sometimes establishing its supremacy.
This confirms the Human beings tendency to display the phenomenon of Confirmation-Bias. This is clearly reflected in his Dabistan. He also In the chapters that discuss Christianity, the author records a conversation between a Muselman and a Christian, showing that it is a comparative study. The proposal being accepted, the Nazarene began. There is no mention of your prophet in the Gospel. But now, whence can we know that your prophet is true? The above example gives us a hint to think that the author is thinking in parallel lines with his sect as the point of reference.
But, since the above example is a conversation that is recorded, it is not so obvious. Another example from Dabistan, taken from the section on the Vendantan sect serves as a better example. It is to be known that they hold sleep to be stow a prophetic sight of events, and the vision is called ruya in Arabic; in this third state however, which they call sleep by excellence, no events are seen, but it is being plunged in a profound sleep, and these people do not take it simply for sleep, but they distinguish it as a sort of lethargy, which they call su svapna.
Here, we see the author drawing similarities between the Vedantan and Arabic theories. The fact that the Vedantan sect not having the concept of a prophet that concretizes our theory of Confirmation bias that the author had. There are many religions in the world a rough estimate says . Each religion has a set of rules and beliefs. The objectives, ideologies, and philosophies of several religions show various diversities and similarities. This quality of diversity and similarities mostly fascinates the pursuers of comparative studies of religions.
A very interesting question would be to ask why there are so many religions. What were the causes that necessitated the formation of new religions? The old religion not meeting certain standards that the new age demands due to changes in various spheres psychological, ethical, ideological, social, moral, spiritual etc.
One such religion is Din-e Illahi established by the Mughal emperor Akbar. This religion can be adopted by anyone through choice. According to the rules of this religion, people are free to profess any religion through choice.
This religion borrows ideas from several religions existing at that time. The similarities and differences that religions share are not always obvious.
There are some religions that appear to be opposing each other at several levels but share the same basic ideologies and vice-versa. The difficulty with interpreting religion arises when there are multiple ways of understanding the principles and their reasons.
According to Mahayana Buddhism, there are three ways of understanding any principle: 1. The literal way of understanding, 2. Embedded or subterranean understanding 3. Understanding the applied meaning. The three understandings according to them must be followed in succession. The literal understanding of the meaning of a text is essential to be able to understand its hidden or deeper meaning.
One problem with this approach arises when a seeker adheres to the first or second stages of understanding without progressing to the next stage. This is one of the reasons why there is so much of disagreement on the same principles and their understanding according to them. Religion has some set of rules: moral, ethical and social codes of conduct in addition to its spiritual practices. Some of them are handed down from generations.
Most of them intend to help humanity lead a life that is good and meaningful at various levels. But, is everything that is said or taught in these religions good for us? How do we know what is good? Who gets do decide what is meaningful? What makes sense under varying contexts? There is less to dispute the fact that religions are rigid to some extent. How can certain generalized guiding rules which were laid at different time and space conditions, to probably simplify the dilemmas of what is right and what is not, still be employed for present situations?
Here, the point is not to definitely invalidate all of the preset rules. But to encourage an active inquiry if they are still applicable in the contemporary state of affairs and channel our actions based on the answers we derive to this question. When we start engaging in rational thought about the various practices carried out in the name of religion, we can classify them in a twofold manner.
When the practice has no meaning or has lost its meaning, a careful examination of the type of effect the practice has on the individual, or on a group will classify these practices as helpful or harmful. When the practice stops making sense or, when it is being harmful we clearly understand why following these guidelines is not recommended. Let us register the fact that helpful practices like Zakath  charity etc. The deed of giving charity is undoubtedly a good practice, a virtuous act.
The intention behind doing charity does not affect those who are at the receiving end of it, as much as it affects those who are at the giving end. If charity or any good practice is made with an intention of getting a good afterlife, a better next life, to enunciate sins or gaining positive karma instead of a zeal to help the needy, it will make us people who perform good deeds in this case the act that we do is good instead of making us good people who perform good deeds.
And this is essential being a good person as the goal of most religious practices is the same at least in ideology. So out of these gaps arose new religions and schools of thought that encouraged the humanity to use their rationale.
The study of any field requires understanding and analyzing facts as they are. The human brain is a network that utilizes its cognizance and memory to process every piece of information we receive. One of the reasons why the brain can assimilate, think or analyze things the way it does is its memory or experience it stores. If we think the thought process is independent of memory, which impacts the thinking patterns while undergoing new encounters, it would be a mistake. The world that we experience is a result of what the world actually is and how we perceive it.
Dabistan i Mazahib I
Etc,, etc , etc. PART I. H o w the Dabislan first became known. Discussion on the Dcsatir.
Dabistan I Mazahib
The work, whose authorship is uncertain, was probably composed in about CE. The authorship of Dabestan is debated. The editors, who were not certain of the identity of the author, believed that he was a Sufi , but the edition of the Encyclopaedia Iranica suggests that the author was most likely a Zoroastrian. More recently, Rahim Rezazadeh Malek, who edited a critical edition in , has attributed the text's authorship to the 18th century Perso-Indian heresiographer Kay-Khosrow Esfandiyar. This work was first printed by Nazar Ashraf in a very accurate edition in movable type at Calcutta in an offset reprint of this edition was published by Ali Asghar Mustafawi from Teheran in The distinguished Persian scholar Francis Gladwin translated the chapter on the Persians into English and published it from Calcutta in