The Secret Vow to the Goddess: A Translation of Nepal’s Svasthanivratakatha, A Premodern Tradition in the Twenty-first Century (Translation Svasthani)

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022

Project Director: Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz (Penn State University)

Co-Director: Alaka Atreya Chudal

Grant No. RQ-266198-19, National Endowment for the Humanities

Preparation for publication of an English translation of Svasthanivratakatha, the primary text for Nepali Hinduism.

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.