Maulana Azad wrote his essay on Sarmad when he was twenty-three. His essay was hailed as a masterpiece. Some scholars have traced in this essay the genesis and growth of Azad s religious thought and political life. With his wide learning and penetrating insights, V N Datta gives altogether a different perspective by arguing that Azad saw in his essay on Sarmad a lucid mirror of his own life and experiences. He seeks to answer why Azad wrote his essay; what gave impulse to his thoughts, and what were the leading ideas of his essay, which were to nourish and sustain his thinking and political life subsequently.