With formal training in English, History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies, 
I make sense of mythological stories mostly from ancient India. 

My 2019 book, “The Goddess and The King in Indian Myth”, decodes the mythology of the Indian Great Goddess, Durga.

It’s available HERE.



2015     Ph.D., Religious Studies, University of Calgary. Thesis: “Mother of Power, Mother of Kings: Reading Royal Ideology in the Devī Māhātmya.” Supervisor: E. Rohlman. Examiner: G. Bailey (La Trobe University).

2012     Academic Year Sanskrit Language Program,  American Institute of Indian Studies, Pune, India

2010    MA, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, Department of South Asian Studies Collaborative Program. Thesis: “Violence and Nonviolence in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa: The Dance of War and Peace.” Supervisor: Ajay K. Rao.

2007    Honours, BA (With Distinction), University of Toronto. Major: Comparative Religion; Minors: English, History, South Asian Studies.



2019    Balkaran, Raj. The Goddess and The King in Indian Myth: Ring Composition, Royal Power, and The Dharmic Double Helix. Routledge Hindu Studies Series, Ed. Gavin Flood. 

2020    The Sun and the King in Indian Myth: Uncovering the Sūrya Māhātmya.
In Review.

2021    Mapping Markandeya: Synchronic Strategies for Engaging Ancient Indian Myth
Manuscript in preparation.


2019    Balkaran, Raj. “A Tale of Two Boons.” Excerpts from the Devī Māhātmya translated for The Purana Reader, edited by Dheepa Sundaram and Deven Patel. Cognella Academic Publishing. In press. 

2019    Balkaran, Raj. “The Story of Saṃjñā, Mother of Manu” In Gender and Indian Philosophy, edited by Veena R. Howard. Bloomsbury Publishing.

2018     Balkaran, Raj. “The Splendour of The Sun” In Nine Nights of the Goddess, edited by Hillary Rodrigues, Moumita Sen and Caleb Simmons. State University of New York Press, pp. 23-38. 

2018     Balkaran, Raj. “The Safeguard of Sovereignty.” In Papers from the 16th World Sanskrit Conference Proceedings. Delhi: DK Publishers, p. 67-95.


2019 Balkaran, Raj. “Visions and Revisions of the Hindu Goddess: Breaking Through the Breast-Tooth Binary.” Religions. Special Edition edited by Patricia Dold: “On Violence: Voices and Visions from Hindu Goddess Traditions.” Manuscript under review.

2019 Balkaran, Raj. “Birdcalls Across Itihāsa: How the Birds of the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa Answer and Epic Riddle.” Manuscript under review.

2018    Balkaran, Raj. “The Sarus’ Sorrow: Voicing Nonviolence in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa.” In Journal of Vaishnava Studies 26.2: 143-161. 

2017     Balkaran, Raj. “Joseph’s Journey: Uncovering Israel’s Unconscious.” In Journal of Genius and Eminence 2.2: 96-104, Special Volume: “The Hero’s Journey: A Tribute to Joseph Campbell and his 30th Anniversary of Death.” 

2017     Balkaran, Raj. The Essence of Avatāra: Probing Preservation in The Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa.” In Journal of Vaishnava Studies 26.1: 25. 

2012    Balkaran, Raj and Walter Dorn. “Violence in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa: Just War Criteria Prefigured in an Ancient Indian Epic.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 80.3: 1-32. 

2010    Dorn, A.W., R. Balkaran, S. Feldman, and S. Gucciardi. “The Justifications for War and Peace in World Religions. Part II: Religions of Indic Origin (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism)”. Journal of Defense Research and Development Canada 2010.034: 172. 


2018     Balkaran, Raj, Ed. “Teaching Tales: Harnessing the Power of Storytelling in the Hindu Studies Classroom and Beyond.” Special Issue of the “Spotlight on Teaching” column of the American Academy of Religion’s online magazine, Religious Studies News.


2018    Parliament of The World’s Religions (Toronto, Canada).
2018    Madison Conference on South Asia (Madison, WI).
2018    International Association for Cognitive Semiotics Conference (Toronto, Canada).
2018    17th World Sanskrit Conference (Vancouver, Canada). 
2017    American Academy of Religion (Boston, MA). 
2016   American Academy of Religion (San Antonio, TX).
2016    Annual Conference on South Asia (Madison, WI).
2015    Annual Conference on South Asia (Madison, WI).
2015   IKOS Conference (Paris, France).
2015   15th  World Sanskrit Conference (Bangkok, Thailand).
2014   American Academy of Religion PNW Regional Conference (Calgary, Canada).
2013   American Academy of Religion PNW Regional Conference (Seattle, Washington, USA).
2012   American Academy of Religion PNW Regional Conference (Portland, Oregon, USA).
2009  International School for Jain Studies Research Colloquium (Delhi, India).



2010-  University of Toronto: Course Instructor, School of Continuing Studies
2017    Ryerson University
2014    University of Calgary


2018-   New Books Network (Hindu Studies Channel)          

2018    “When Storytelling Becomes a Pedagogical Tool” The Wire. Sudhakshina Rangaswami
2018    “Lead with the Destination, Not the Engine,” Erraticus (hosted by Jeffrey Howard), April 17.       
2017    “Millennial Messenger” Podcast Series (hosted by Arjun Sawhney), VUSAC – Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council, Spring.
2016    CBC Ideas, “Generation Mars” (hosted by Stephen Humphrey), June 7.
2015    The Nikki Clarke Show, Nov 3.
2014    “Good Morning Calgary” Radio Interview, RED FM (106.7 FM), January 28.
2011    “Sacred Storytelling.” Blog Interview: Shivers Up The Spine, Aug 18.
2011    “Tales of India.”  Video Interview. Toronto Body Mind, Jul 27.
2011    “Raj Yoga” by Jeff Wiebe. The Lethbridge Journal(Vol. 4, Issue No. 5.), Mar 3.