He dwells not only in temples and mosques –

The whole creation is his abode.

The whole world is bewitched by his tale,

but wise are those who are lost in his love.

–Sarmad Kashani

Sarmad Kashani was born to an Armenian Jewish family in Kashan, Persia. His date of birth is estimated to be around 1590. In 1631, he migrated to Thatta, Sindh and later on he went to Delhi. The Mughal prince Dara Shikoh became his disciple. When Aurangzeb usurped the throne, he felt threatened by Sarmad’s disobedient, unorthodox ways of being and planned on punishing him. A trial of Sarmad was held in the presence of a religious council that ordered Sarmad’s execution.

Sarmad was executed because of his critique of multiple religious, social and political institutions of his time. Even today, religion is used to eliminate those who pose any kind of threat to the power structures.