My paper dealing with the Andriambahoaka universal sovereigns and the Indonesian heritage that they embodied brought out the eminently religious character of the Malagasy marvelous tales, disarticulated fragments from a Malay myth of origin. As Françoise Raison has noted, the religious value of Ibonia was still perfectly felt in Imerina during the first half of the nineteenth century. I do not hark back to the possibilities offered by the notion of Hikayat--or in Malagasy the Tantara--at once narration and imitation--“semblance,” as it was called in the Arthurian Romance of the Grail. These notions refer to these Shiʿite syntheses, sometimes with gnostic and dualist ideas borrowed from neo-platonism and the ancient Babylonian philosophies of Lights which, introduced into Madagascar by an Indonesian relay, conceived the descendants of Andriambahoaka in the image of that of the imāms descended from Muḥammad through his daughter Fāṭima and her husband ʿAlī--prototype of Ramini, ancestor of the ZafiRaminia and fourth Caliph, but more importantly the first imām, initiator, after the cycle of revelation that Muḥammad closed, of the cycle of explanation, of initiation, of the “return,”, that is, of walayāt.
We are far from this “pedagogical model” that I evoked previously with regard to the other celestial line of the knights seeking the Grail. Far, too, from the unsatisfactory notions of ideology or the “imaginary” such as Georges Duby uses in his recent work, even though his chapter on “L'exemplarité celeste” returns to an infinitely richer universe, very near that which Henry Corbin describes. Can one truly explain from an agnostic point of view facts that are essentially perceived and experienced as religious? In any event going from Ibonia and the marvelous tales of the Andriambahoaka to the historical legends and genealogies in the first chapter of the Tantara ny Andriana of Callet, translated as Histoire des rois, we pass on to something entirely different.