I was most intrigued by your fascinating account of the special exhibition of Moghul miniatures at the Metropolitan Museum, particularly the “exquisitely rendered” portrait of the divine Plato—one of four illustrations, you say, for a poetic “Life of Alexander” written by an Indian Sufi—in which Plato is depicted as a hermit living in a cave and being visited by Alexander the Great.
One can’t help but think of Plutarch’s own Life of the emperor. As you may remember, he tells us that Alexander once rebuked his master Aristotle for publishing his “esoteric” books, among them the Metaphysics. Aristotle is said to have replied, reassuringly, that though the books had been published they in fact remained unpublished, since no one not already initiated would understand them anyway!
Just think: if a mere Greek historian could write so intriguingly about an exchange between Alexander and a lowly Aristotle, what wondrous things must have passed between the Great and the Divine as reported by an Indian Sufi?!