Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching

By Kirin Narayan | Go to book overview

A Note on Transliteration

Transliteration for the Hindu tradition brings up divergences between Sanskrit and Hindi conventions, and between scholarly and everyday Indian usage. I have settled on a compromise for the interested nonspecialist reader, sacrificing technical precision for readability. So I use ch and chh instead of the common c and ch; sh for both ś and ṣ. In most cases I drop the ending "a" of Sanskrit transcription, unless this is a word which has become well known in its Sanskrit form: dharma, for example, instead of the dharam which was actually pronounced. For deities, names, and titles I have followed a standard nontechnical form that omits diacritical marks: hence Krishna rather than Krṣṇā, Ram rather than Rāma, Swamiji rather than Svāmījī. I have not italicized words like Guru, ashram, and karma which are now also in English currency. Characters in stories are named without italics or diacritics: a sādhu becomes the Sadhu and so on.

A few guidelines for conventions I actually use: a should be pronounced as in "but"; ā as in "car"; i as in "lick" and ī as in "leek"; u as in "put" and ū as in "soon." A t is soft, as in "path," while t is hard, like "pat." In all cases, an h following a consonant means that it is aspirated. An ṛ and ṇ involve a retroflex flap.

A hazard of settling on a system of transliteration that seeks to accommodate different conventions is that occasionally the sources I cite use spellings different from mine. I hope that my readers will bear with any inconsistencies in the text.

-xi-

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Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • A Note on Transliteration xi
  • Introduction 2
  • I - Orientations 13
  • 1. There's Always a Reason 16
  • 2. Lives and Stories 37
  • 3. Sādhus 63
  • 4 - The Listeners 88
  • II - Storytelling Occasions 111
  • 5. Loincloths and Celibacy 113
  • 6. False Gurus and Gullible Disciples 132
  • 7. Death and Laughter 160
  • 8. Heaven and Hell 189
  • 9. The Divine Storyteller 208
  • III - Conclusions 229
  • 10. The World of the Stories 231
  • 11. Storytelling as Religious Teaching 242
  • Epilogue 248
  • Appendix I: Glossary of Commonly Used Hindi Terms 251
  • Appendix II: Map of India 253
  • Notes 255
  • Index 283
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