Churning Selves

Intersecting Biographies in the Nīlakaṇṭhavijaya

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.24.2022.01.03

Keywords:

self, sharedness, Sanskrit kāvya, Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita, modern South India

Abstract

The Sanskrit campū Nīlakaṇṭhavijaya is arguably the most popular literary work of Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita. It narrates the mythical story of the churning of the Ocean of Milk, with an emphasis on the part played by Dīkṣita’s personal god—Śiva. A close reading reveals that this text is preoccupied with themes of agency and subjectivity. The multiple characters of the story are not conventional archetypes. Rather, they inhabit shared worlds and come across as having distinct yet intersecting identities. Gods, demons, snakes and even Venom are given very human biographies and social milieux. And all these biographies flow into that of the titular Nīlakaṇṭha, presenting an implicit model of the self. But who is the Nīlakaṇṭha of the title?

References

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Published

2022-08-18

How to Cite

Ariav, Talia, and Naresh Keerthi. 2022. “Churning Selves: Intersecting Biographies in the Nīlakaṇṭhavijaya”. Cracow Indological Studies 24 (1):29-60. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.24.2022.01.03.

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