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  • Heavenly Orchestrations: The World of the Legendary Pīrs of Bengal

    Tony K. Stewart

    Chapter from the book: Stewart, T. 2019. Witness to Marvels: Sufism and Literary Imagination.


    In the opening story, Allah consults with Muhammad how to make the world safe for practicing Sufis. A celestial nymph takes birth as Sandhyvati, daughter of a Hindu king. God miraculously impregnates her with Satya Pīr when she sniffs a special flower. The king exiles to the forest his unmarried daughter, but from her womb Satya Pir protects her. Her virgin birth produes only a fleshy mass. She hurls it into the river where a turtle swallows and incubates it. Satya Pir emerges, avatar of Narayan, descended to combat persecution. He grows up tutored by saint Khoyaj Khijir. For centuries, this and similar marvelous tales have been recited and sung, accompanied by scroll paintings to illustrate. The question is: what do they accomplish?

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    Stewart, T. 2019. Heavenly Orchestrations: The World of the Legendary Pīrs of Bengal. In: Stewart, T, Witness to Marvels. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.76.b

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on Sept. 13, 2019


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