Nectar Gaze and Poison Breath: An Analysis and Translation of the Rajasthani Oral Narrative of Devnarayan

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This book offers a detailed study of the Devnarayan ki par, along with the first English translation of this well-known Rajasthani oral narrative. The tale of the god Devnarayan is performed by itinerant singer-priests during night-wakes in front of a very large painted scroll depicting characters and scenes from the story. It is the focus of one of the most popular folk cults of the Rajasthan region of India. Aditya Malik uses the narrative to explore a range of questions relevant to the study of Indian folk culture and Hinduism as a whole: How is orality conceptualized and practiced? What is the relationship between spoken and visual signs? How are ideas about religion, society, and history envisioned within the framework of the narrative? Malik argues that to understand ideas of history in Indian cultural contexts we must go to oral narratives, epics, regional tellings, and local knowledge. By making the Narrative of Devnarayan available in English, he provides an important resource for that task.