Adheesh Sathaye

Jun 26, 2020

Crossing the Lines of Caste

Viśvāmitra and the Construction of Brahmin Power in Hindu Mythology

Oxford University Press 2015

What does it mean to be a Brahmin, and what could it mean to become one? The ancient Indian mythological figure Viśvāmitra accomplishes just this, transforming himself from a king into a Brahmin by cultivation of ascetic power. The book, Crossing the Lines of Caste, examines legends of the irascible Viśvāmitra as occurring in Sanskrit and vernacular texts, oral performances, and visual media to show how the "storyworlds" created by these various retellings have adapted and reinforced Brahmin social identity over the millennia. Adheesh Sathaye is Associate Professor, Sanskrit Literature And Folklore, University of British Columbia. You can check out his online class "Narrative Literature in Premodern India" here.
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