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32                        AKBAR, EMPEROR OF INDIA.

flattery and his conception of the imperial dignity as con-
ferred by the grace of God, I must speak of the interesting
attempts of the Jesuits to win over to Christianity the most
powerful ruler of the Orient.

As early as in the spring of 1578 a Portuguese Jesuit
who worked among the Bengals as a missionary appeared
at the imperial court and pleased Akbar especially because
he got the better of the Ulemas in controversy. Two years
later Akbar sent a very polite letter to the Provincial of
the Jesuit order in Goa, requesting him to send two Fathers
in order that Akbar himself might be instructed "in their
faith and its perfection/' It is easy to imagine how gladly
the Provincial assented to this demand and how carefully
he proceeded with the selection of the fathers who were to
be sent away with such great expectations. As gifts to
the Emperor the Jesuits brought a Bible in four languages
and pictures of Christ and the Virgin Mary, and to their
great delight when Akbar received them he laid the Bible
upon his head and kissed the two pictures as a sign of


In the interesting work of the French Jesuit Du Jarric,
published in 1611, we possess very detailed accounts of the
operations of these missionaries who were honorably re-
ceived at Akbar's court and who were invited to take up
their residence in the imperial palace. The evening as-
semblies in the 'Ibadat Khana in Fathpur Sikri at once
gave the shrewd Jesuits who were schooled in dialectics,
an opportunity to distinguish themselves before the Em-
peror who himself presided over this Religious Parliament
in which Christians, Jews, Mohammedans, Brahmans,
Buddhists and Parsees debated with each other. Abul Fazl
speaks with enthusiasm in the Akbarname of the wisdom
and zealous faith of Father Aquaviva, the leader of this Jes-
uit mission, and relates how he offered to walk into a fiery
87 J. T. Wheeler, IV, I, 162; Noer, I, 481.