The Bhagavad Gita and Beyond

Synchronic Strategy for Sanskrit Narrative Literature


  • Raj Balkaran Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies



Bhagavad Gītā, Mahābhārata, Sanskrit narrative, frame stories


Paying particular attention to narrative frames, this paper explores five avenues of hermeneutic import availed by the interlocking structure of such texts: inception import, association import, exposition import, framing import and impetus import. It demonstrates the utility of this methodology by applying it to shed new light on the Bhagavad Gita’s place within the Mahabharata.

Author Biography

Raj Balkaran, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

Dr Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. His research interests include the ethics of violence, the Indian Goddess, Indian kingship and Sanskrit narrative structure. He is the author of The Goddess and the King (Routledge, 2019), The Goddess and the Sun (Routledge, 2020), and a number of scholarly articles and book chapters. He teaches online courses at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies where he also serves on their Course Development Board.


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How to Cite

Balkaran, R. (2022). The Bhagavad Gita and Beyond: Synchronic Strategy for Sanskrit Narrative Literature. Religions of South Asia, 15(2), 120–141.