Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Sanne Mersch

PhD candidate

Dr. S. Mersch
+31 71 527 2727

Sanne Mersch is a researcher at the Institute for Area Studies.

More information about Sanne Mersch

Fields of interest

Purāṇa literature, classical Hinduism, Śaivism, philology, Sanskrit manuscripts

Research project

From Universe of Viṣṇu to Universe of Śiva

PhD research

Counter-Narratives: Parallel Themes in Ś́aiva and Vaiṣṇava Mythology

Supervisor: prof. dr. P.C. Bisschop

After several centuries of religious dominance by Vaiṣṇavism as the foremost Hindu tradition in Northern India, including the privilege of being supported by royal courts, Śaivism rapidly took over to become the major tradition in the 6th-7th century. It is in this period that one of the founding documents of Śaivism came into existence: the Skandapurāṇa. Not only is it a source of new Śaiva material, such as yet unseen myths about god Śiva and his wife Pārvatī, but it also contains myths and narratives that have been taken over from other Hindu traditions. This PhD research will address those myths and narratives that have been incorporated by the Skandapurāṇa from Vaiṣṇava texts, primarily the Viṣṇupurāṇa and the Harivaṃśa, and have been remodeled after Śaiva believes; and how Śiva himself is portrayed in these early Vaiṣṇava texts. Having investigated how, why and by whom these myths were incorporated and remodeled, the research aims at answering the question of what role myths and narratives played in the shift of Vaiṣṇavism towards Śaivism as the primary Hindu tradition in medieval Northern India.


Jan 2016 –today                                     

PhD-candidate at Leiden Institute of Area Studies, Leiden University

Sep 2011 – Aug 2013  Research Master ‘Area Studies: Asian Studies’ (cum laude), Leiden University and Universität Hamburg
Sep 2007 – Aug 2011 Bachelor ‘Comparative Indo-European Linguistics’, Leiden University


PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS India en Tibet

No relevant ancillary activities

This website uses cookies.  More information.