Gitamahatmya! Paratexts in Miniature Bhagavad Gitas with Special Reference to Pictures and Gender
This article studies paratextuality - epigraphs, prefaces, illustrations etc. - in four miniature Bhagavad Gitas. The analysis focuses particular on format, illustrations and gender. In addition to Gérard Genette’s concept of paratexts, the theory includes Roland Barthes’ “Rhetoric of the image” and Ervin Goffman’s Gender Advertisements. The study shows that some publishers have prioritized readability while others have chosen smaller amuletic versions that are more difficult to read. The physical presence of the holy Gita is considered valuable in any case, and even the tiny editions are readable. With one exception, the world is to a large extent seen from a male perspective. However, the gender ideology is presented in a rather indirect way. In one publication, a gender and class hierarchy is reflected in a couple of illustrations. Two other publications have added mantras and ritual prescription that are hardly meant for women. One publisher have only included portions of the Bhagavad Gita, and stanzas where females are described as inferior to males as well as stanzas that explicitly address the four classes, are omitted.
Author: Jon Skarpeid
Barthes, Roland. 1977. “Rhetoric of the Image.” In Image, Music, Text, translated by Stephen Heath, 32–51. New York: Hill and Wang.
Bhagavad Gita. 2013-2014. English translation. Sivakasi: Nightingale.
Bhagavadgita. 1990. Oversatt med en innledning av Jens Braaravig [Translated with an introduction of Jens Braarvig]. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
Bible Nectar. 2011. Second edition. Minibookworld.
Brodbeck, Simon. 2007. “Gendered Soteriology: Marriage and the Karmayoga.” In Gender and Narrative in the Mahabharata, edited by Simon Brodbeck and Brian Black, 144–75. Abingdon: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203029640
Davis, Richard H. 2015. The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography, Lives of Great Religious Books. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Flood, Gavin, and Charles Martin. 2012. The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation. London: W.W. Norton & Company.
Fuller, C.J. 2004. The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India. Revised and expanded edition. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
Genette, Gérard. 1997. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. Translated by Jane E. Lewin and Richard Macksey. Volume 20, Seuils. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gita Nectar. 2011. Second edition. Lima: Minibookworld.
Gita Press. 2016a. “Shrimadbhagvadgita Tabeeji.” Gorakhpur: Gita. http://gitapressbookshop.in/books-by-topics-subjects/shrimadbhagwadgita/shrimadbhagvadgita-tabeeji.html
Gita Press 2016c. “Stri Dharma Prashnottari. Gorakhpur: Gita. http://gitapress.org/english/search_code.asp
Goffman, Erving. 1979. Gender Advertisements. New York: Harper & Row.
Goyandka, Jaydayal. 2017. An Ideal Woman—Sushila. Translated by S.N. Pandey. Gorakhpur: Gita.
India Book of Records. 2015. “Smallest Handwritten Bhgavad Gita.” http://indiabookofrecords.in/smallest-hand-written-bhagavad-gita-2/
Jacobsen, Knut A. 2003. Hinduismen. Oslo: Pax.
Katiyar, Shiv Prakash. 2016. “Gender Disparity in Literacy in India.” Social Change 46 (1): 46-69. https://doi.org/10.1177/0049085715618558
King, Ursula. 1982. “The Iconography of the Bhagavad Gita.” Journal of Dharma 7 (2): 146-163.
Legge, Gordon E., and Charles A. Bigelow. 2011. “Does Print Size Matter for Reading? A Review of Findings from Vision Science and Typography.” Journal of Vision 11: 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1167/11.5.8
Lejeune, Philippe. 1975. Le Pacte Autobiographique, Poétique. Paris: Seuils.
Minibooksworld. 2018a. “Extracts of The Religions.” http://www.minibooksworld.com/product_info.php?cPath=14&products_id=86
Mukul, Akshaya. 2015. Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India. Noida: HarperCollins.
Nightingale. n.d. “Mini Bhagavad Gita.” https://nightingaleshop.com/mini-bhagavad-gita
Padoux, André. 2011. Tantric Mantras: Studies on Mantrasastra. Abingdon: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203814499
Qur’an Nectar. 2011. Second edition. Minibookworld.
Shrimadbhagavadgita. 2014. Sanskrit. Tabeeji edition. Gorakhpur: Gita Press. Seventieth reprint.
Shrimadbhagavadgita. 1933. Bombay: Khemraj Shrikrishnadass Shri Venkateshwar.
Stendhal. 1982. Oeuvres Intimes. Volume 2. Paris: Gallimard.
The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna’s Counsel in Time of War. 1986. Translated into English with an introduction by Barbara Stoler Miller. New York: Bantam Dell.
The Bhagavadgita in the Mahabharata: Text and Translation. 1981. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The Bhagavad Gita. 1962. Translated by Juan Mascaró. Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics.
The Bhagavadgita: With an Introductory Essay, Sanskrit Text, English Translation and Notes. 1948. Translated by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. London: Unwin Hyman Limited.
Weber, Francis J. 1992. “The ABCs of Miniature Bookdom—II.” Miniature Book Society Newsletter, April 1992: 6–7.