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 reverence.37 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.