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Revealing Śiva’s Superiority by Retelling Viṣṇu’s Deeds

Sanne Dokter-Mersch defended her thesis on Thursday 15 April 2021.

S. Dokter-Mersch
15 April 2021
Leiden Repository

In her dissertation Revealing Śiva’s Superiority by Retelling Viṣṇu’s Deeds – Viṣnu’s Manifestation Myths in the Skandapurāṇa, Sanne Dokter-Mersch examines three myths in the Skandapurāṇa, a Sanskrit Purāṇa composed in the sixth to seventh century. Although myths about god Śiva and devotion to him are central in the text, it also contains narratives about other gods. This dissertation focusses on those myths in which god Viṣṇu manifests himself as Man-Lion (Narasiṃha), Boar (Varāha) and Dwarf (Vāmana) in order to conquer the enemies of the gods. At the time of composition of the Skandapurāṇa, Śiva and Viṣṇu each had their own religious ideology and devotees, which raises the questions why the composers of this Śaiva Purāṇa dedicated so much attention to Viṣṇu and how these manifestation myths are retold. With the help of different (narratological) methods, Dokter-Mersch addresses these questions by looking at the manifestation myths as part of a literary genre, the Purāṇas.


  • prof. dr. P.C. Bisschop;
  • prof. Y. Yokochi (Kyoto University)
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