McComas Taylor

McComas Taylor is Reader in Sanskrit at The Australian National University. His research lies at the intersection of contemporary critical theory and narrative text. He has published widely on the construction of ‘true discourse’ and authority in the Sanskritic episteme, with a focus on fable literature and purāṇas.

Recognised at national and international levels for his innovative approach to language teaching and learning in the Age of the Internet, the author’s Joy of Sanskrit (with Grazia Scotellaro, ANU Press) is the world’s first e-textbook for India’s classical language.

He is a long-standing member of the Consultative Committee of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies and serves on the Board of the Dubrovnik International Conference on Sanskrit Epics and Purāṇ.

The Viṣṇu Purāṇa »

Ancient Annals of the God with Lotus Eyes

Authored by: McComas Taylor
Publication date: June 2021
Viṣṇu is a central deity in the Hindu pantheon, especially in his manifestation as the seductive cattle-herding youth, Kṛṣṇa. The purāṇas are sacred texts, which, as the Sanskrit name implies, are collections of narratives from ‘long ago’. The Viṣṇu Purāṇa is thus an ancient account of the universe and guide to life, which places Viṣṇu-Kṛṣṇa at the centre of creation, theology and reality itself. This text, composed about 1,500 years ago, provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the most important themes and narratives that constitute the Hindu imagination: the creation and destruction of the universe, the origin of gods and mortals, the peopling of the world, and the structure and conduct of ideal brahminical society. The Viṣṇu Purāṇa describes the trials of exemplary devotees, the existential struggles between gods and demons, and the exploits of legendary cultural heroes. It also contains many ecstatic songs of praise for the deity. The ever-popular accounts of Kṛṣṇa’s love games with the cattle-herding girls of Vṛṇdāvana, which have proliferated in literature, dance, song and visual arts over the millennia, are found here in authoritative form. This faithful yet fluent blank-verse rendering of this great Hindu classic is the first new English translation in nearly 200 years. It will be welcomed by the scholarly community, while remaining readily accessible to a general readership.

The Joy of Sanskrit »

A first-year syllabus for tertiary students

Publication date: February 2014
The Joy of Sanskrit is a complete first-year course of twenty-five weeks designed for university students. We teach Sanskrit as a living tradition. This is in recognition of the fact that many of our students have backgrounds in Indic religions and Indian cultural practices, including yoga, art, music, dance and song. As a living tradition, we believe that the reception of language (especially the ability to read), should be balanced with its production (writing, speaking, chanting and singing). With this in view, each weekly unit has three parts: 1. simple Sanskrit conversational patterns, 2. a verse from the oral tradition, and 3. the all-important grammar section. The grammar is based on the textbook Introduction to Sanskrit by Prof. Thomas Egenes. Each week includes introductory videos, audio files to help you with correct pronunciation, and an audio commentary on the text book. By the end of the course, you will be able to conduct a coherent conversation on a range of simple topics, you be able to chant accurately twenty-six well-known verses, and you will have a good grasp of all the most common grammatical forms, so that you are ready to begin reading simple narratives. In addition to this Joy of Sanskrit e-text, you will need to purchase Introduction to Sanskrit, Parts 1 and 2. (T. Egenes, Motilal Banarsidass, 3rd edition or later), as it contains all the written exercises and solutions. The Joy of Sanskrit etext is in ePub format, and you will need multimedia-enabled epub reader to access the video and audio content successfully. If you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, open The Joy of Sanskrit in iBooks If you have an Android tablet, you will need this app: epubreader If you have a Mac, Bookreader Lite works very well If you are running Windows, you can read the ePub with Azardi, available here: http://azardi.infogridpacific.com/azardi-download.html You can choose to download the complete Joy of Sanskrit e-text or to download each half as separate files. This textbook is used as course material in: Sanskrit 1 SKRT1002 and SKRT6102 Sanskrit 2 SKRT1003 and SKRT6103
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