International Journal of Hindu Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 105–122 | Cite as

Kṛṣṇa Goes to War: Translating The Bhāgavata’s Battle Scenes

  • Neeraja Poddar


This paper examines the depiction of battle scenes in a singular dated and undispersed illustrated manuscript of the Latter Half of the Tenth Book of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (1688), inscribed with an action-oriented Brajbhāṣā text. While certain conventions and compositional devices are consistently used throughout the manuscript to evoke the drama and chaos of warfare, each battle is nevertheless individualized with the narrative unfolding along a distinctive trajectory. The broader goal is to understand how the narrative is transformed as it is translated.


Malwa Kṛṣṇa Bhāgavata Purāṇa illustrated manuscript battle Tenth Book 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



I am very grateful to Pika Ghosh for her close reading of many drafts of this article and for her invaluable suggestions and comments and to Monika Horstmann for reviewing my translations.


  1. Dehejia, Vidya. 1990. “On Modes of Visual Narration in Early Buddhist Art.” The Art Bulletin 72, 3: 374–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dehejia, Vidya. 1996. “The Treatment of Narrative in Jagat Singh’s Rāmāyaṇa: A Preliminary Study.” Artibus Asiae 56, 3–4: 303–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Del Bontà, Robert J. 2000. “See Kṛṣṇa Run: Narrative Painting for Mummaḍi Kṛṣṇarāja Woḍeyar.’ Ars Orientalis Supplement 1 (Chāchājī: Professor Walter M. Spink Felicitation Volume): 99–113.Google Scholar
  4. Ehnbom, Daniel. 2011. “The Masters of the Dispersed Bhagavata Purana.” In Milo C. Beach, Eberhard Fischer, and B. N. Goswamy, eds., Masters of Indian Painting, 1: 77–88. Zürich: Artibus Asiae Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. Goswami, C. L. trans. 2006 [1971]. Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahāpurāṇa (with Sanskrit Text and English Translation). Part II. Gorakhpur: Gita Press.Google Scholar
  6. Haberman, David L. 1988. Acting as a Way of Salvation: A Study of Rāgānuga Bhakti Sādhana. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Hein, Norvin.. 1986. “A Revolution in Kṛṣṇaism: The Cult of Gopāla.” History of Religions 25, 4: 296–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Niemann, Grahame Ralph. 1981. “Critical Edition of the Bhāgavat Daśam Skandh of Bhūpati.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Cambridge University.Google Scholar
  9. Poddar, Neeraja. 2014. “Krishna in His Myriad Forms: Narration, Translation and Variation in Illustrated Manuscripts of the Latter Half of the Tenth Book of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Ramanujan, A. K. 1991. “Three Hundred Rāmāyaṇas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation.” In Paula Richman, ed., Many Rāmāyaṇas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia, 21–49. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Schapiro, Meyer. 1973. Words and Pictures: On the Literal and the Symbolic in the Illustration of a Text. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The City Palace MuseumUdaipur, RajasthanIndia

Personalised recommendations