Gnostic Animals: Animal symbolism in the Nizārī Ismāʿīlī Satpanth Ginān tradition

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This paper explores the complex animal symbolism present in the Satpanth literary tradition of the Gināns-a tradition that comprises compositions in as many as 36 languages. Ismāʿīlī Pīrs and Sayyids used this symbolism in their verses not only to convey their esoteric messages, but also to attract their audience. This paper explores the animal symbolism in the gināns as an important historical source (of literary nature) on the Satpanth tradition-a hitherto unexploited source bearing high potential to reveal new complexities about the nature and history of the Ismāʿīlī Da'wa in the South Asian regions. To draw all its major arguments and inferences, this paper utilizes the centuries-old lyrics of the gināns recorded in the Khojkī (a script) manuscripts, lithographs, and printed volumes.