Vyasa’s Mahabharata: “Sikhandin’s Sex Change” (Sanskrit)

  • Ruth Vanita


The story of Sikhandin is perhaps the best known case of sex change in any ancient Indian text. Sikhandin later became a term to refer to eunuchs and men of doubtful sexuality. The story is remarkable for the cluster of motifs associated with the sex change—rebirth, the cross-dressed girl-child married to another girl, her desire to be a man, and the uncertainty regarding the permanence of the change. Some of these motifs occur in stories of sex change in other mythologies.


Critical Edition Male Friend Single Combat Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute Slave Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    See Ovid, Metamorphoses (Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 1999), 9: 666–797.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Vanita

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations