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Contribution to Books

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Publication Title

Visions and Revisions in Sanskrit Narrative Studies in the Sanskrit Epics and Purāṇas (eds Raj Balkaran & McComas Taylor


It is well known that, contrary to the transmission of the Vedas, the purāṇas continually incorporated ever more information as they circulated as oral texts for centuries. This flexible nature has led to their denotation along with epics as ‘fluid texts’ or textual and/or cultural ‘process[es]’. Integral to popular consumption of purāṇic lore were the exegetes—expounders who were trained in reciting and interpreting the purāṇas and who incorporated material both oral and written in their delivery in temples or other performance spaces. Bailey notes that ‘fully understanding the purāṇa as a cultural phenomenon in the development and transmission of Hindu civilisation requires an understanding of how these texts were transmitted to an audience and received’ (2010: 141). While it is difficult to reconstruct such historical recitational contexts, it is possible to gain some understanding 1 Coburn (1984) makes a distinction between scripture as immutable and story as dynamic. Classifying the purāṇas, others—such as Doniger (1991: 31–41); Bailey (2003: 139–68; 2010); Matchett (2003: 129–32); Narayana Rao (2004); and Bonazzoli (1983: 269–73)—underscore the importance of medieval purāṇic transmission through their performative traditions. VISIONS AND REVISIONS IN SANSKRIT NARRATIVE 338 through the contemporary oral performance repertoire of purāṇas. Moreover, apart from the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (BhP), there is a dearth of scholarship on this aspect of purāṇas in the study of contemporary Hinduism.

Original Citation

Adluri, Sucharita. “Textures of Purāṇic Transmission: A Contemporary Vernacular Exposition of a Sanskrit Purāṇa.” Visions and Revisions in Sanskrit: Narrative Studies in the Sanskrit Epics and Purāṇas, edited by Raj Balkaran and Taylor McComas, ANU Press, 2023, pp. 337–67,


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