[INDOLOGY] Book Announcement: Krishna's Mahabharatas

Sohini Pillai Sohini.Pillai at kzoo.edu
Tue Mar 26 14:01:14 UTC 2024

Dear Colleagues,

(With apologies for cross-posting!)

I'm excited to share that my new book Krishna’s Mahabharatas: Devotional Retellings of An Epic Narrative<https://global.oup.com/academic/product/krishnas-mahabharatas-9780197753552?cc=us&lang=en&prevNumResPerPage=100&prevSortField=1&resultsPerPage=100&sortField=1&start=100> (AAR’s Religion in Translation series), is now available from Oxford University Press. The publisher's description of the book is below.

If you order the book directly from OUP's website<https://global.oup.com/academic/product/krishnas-mahabharatas-9780197753552?cc=us&lang=en&> you can save 30% with the promotion code AAFLYG6. Please note, however, that due to OUP’s systems changeover, they will not be able to take orders until the systems go live in mid to late April

With best wishes,

Book Description:

Recognized as the longest poem ever composed, the ancient Sanskrit Mahabharata epic tells the tale of the five Pandava princes and the cataclysmic battle they wage with their one hundred cousins, the Kauravas. This story is one of the most popular and widely-told narratives in South Asia, let alone the world. Between 800 and 1700 CE, a plethora of Mahabharatas were created in Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu, and several other regional South Asian languages.

Krishna's Mahabharatas: Devotional Retellings of an Epic Narrative is a comprehensive study of premodern regional Mahabharata retellings. This book argues that Vaishnavas (devotees of the Hindu god Vishnu and his various forms) throughout South Asia turned this epic about an apocalyptic, bloody war into works of ardent bhakti or “devotion” focused on the beloved Hindu deity Krishna. Examining over forty retellings in eleven different regional South Asian languages composed over a period of nine hundred years, it focuses on two particular Mahabharatas: Villiputturar's fifteenth-century Tamil Paratam and Sabalsingh Chauhan's seventeenth-century Bhasha (Old Hindi) Mahabharat.

Through close comparative readings, this book reveals the similar ways poets from opposite ends of the Indian sub-continent transform the story of the Sanskrit Mahabharata into devotional narratives centered on Krishna. At the same time, it also shows how these Mahabharatas are each unique pieces of religious literature that speak to different local audiences in premodern South Asia.


Sohini Sarah Pillai, PhD (she/her/hers)

Assistant Professor of Religion
Director of Film and Media Studies
Kalamazoo College


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