Marcus Schmücker, "Visnu-Narayana: Changing Forms and the Becoming of a Deity in Indian Religious Traditions" (Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2023)


The contributions to Visnu-Narayana: Changing Forms and the Becoming of a Deity in Indian Religious Traditions (Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2023) deal with the complex history of the Indian deity Visnu-Narayana. This conception of God evolved in various traditions in India, especially in South India, during the first millennium CE. The history of this development is reconstructed here by various means, including philological exegesis, the history of ideas, and iconographic evidence. In their respective discussions, the contributors examine a range of textual material in Sanskrit, Tamil, and Manipravala, including the early Cankam literature of the 3rd to 6th century CE; the Vaisnava text corpus, in particular the Nalayiradivviyapirabandham (6th-9th century CE); Puranic literature, especially the Visnupurana (5th-6th century CE); Pancaratra literature; and the later (10th-14th century CE) literature of the philosophical and theological tradition of theistic Visistadvaita Vedanta, in which Visnu-Narayana plays a central role. Also examined is how Visnu-Narayana came to be seen as a solitary supreme God, with a reconstruction of the theological arguments supporting this monotheism.

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Raj Balkaran

Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see

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