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Penn State (University Park, PA 16802-1503)
Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz (Project Director: December 2018 to present)
Alaka Atreya Chudal (Co Project Director: December 2018 to present)
The Secret Vow to the Goddess: A Translation of Nepal’s Svasthanivratakatha, A Premodern Tradition in the Twenty-First Century

Preparation for publication of an English translation of Svasthanivratakatha, the primary text for Nepali Hinduism. (24 months)

The Secret Vow to the Goddess presents the first published English translation of the Svasthanivratakatha (SVK), one of Nepal’s best-known and most-read and heard storytelling traditions. It originated in the sixteenth century as a short devotional text that tells the story of the Nepali goddess Svasthani. Today it is the primary religious sourcebook for Nepali Hindu myth, practice, and ideology. The text continues to be recited annually still today “in every Hindu household in Nepal” over the course of a month. Its stories serve as a shared cultural vocabulary among Nepal’s Hindu majority. A scholarly, accessible English translation of the SVK, which is currently available only in Nepali languages, will be important for students and scholars of Hinduism, Nepal, and Sanskrit and South Asian vernacular languages and literatures, as well as Hindu goddesses and mythology, print culture, women and gender studies, and ritual and comparative religious studies more broadly.

Project fields:
Nonwestern Religion; South Asian Studies

Scholarly Editions and Translations

Research Programs

$179,125 (approved)
$177,203 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2020 – 12/31/2022