Short bio

Nina Mirnig (born 1982) received her BA (2004), M.St. (2005) and D.Phil. (2010) in Oriental Studies/Sanskrit from Oxford University. After completing her graduate studies, she held a post-doctoral position at the Institute for Indian Studies at Groningen University, a Gonda Fellowship at the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden, and was a research associate at Cambridge University. She joined the Institute in 2015 as part of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Special Research Programm "Visions of Community" (SFB F42-G18) and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Project "Śivaliṅga Worship on the Eve of the Tantric Age" (P-27838-G15). Since 2019 she has been an Elise Richter Fellow (Senior Postdoc), leading a research project on the religious, cultural and political landscape of early medieval Nepal (FWF V 755-G).
Her research interests include the development and history of early Śaivism and its institutions and literary traditions (in particular early Śaiva tantras and manuals as well as the Śivadharma corpus), South Asian epigraphy, the cultural history of early medieval Nepal, as well as rituals and beliefs concerning death and afterlife in Hinduism. She has published a monograph on early Śaiva Tantric death rites (Mirnig 2018) and is preparing a critical edition and translation of the Śivadharmaśāstra chapters 1–5 and 9, including an introductory study on early layers of śivaliṅga-worship. Her current work focuses on the religio-political history and culture of early medieval Nepal, with special focus on the study of Sanskrit Licchavi inscriptions (c. 5th–8th cent. CE). In her approach, she is eager to develop collaborative approaches that combine text-based philological studies with archaeology and art history.

At the University of Vienna she teaches courses on Śaivism, Tantra and South-Asian epigraphy.


Edited volumes


  • “Adapting Śaiva Tantric Initiation for Exoteric Circles: The Case of the Lokadharmiṇī Dīkṣā and its History in Early Medieval Sources“, in Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions: Essays in Honour of Alexis Sanderson, (eds) Dominic Goodall, Shaman Hatley, Harunaga Isaacson, Srilata Raman. Leiden: Brill. (forthcoming).
  • “Rudras on Earth on the Eve of the Tantric Age: The Śivadharmaśāstra on creating Śaiva lay and initiatory communities“, in Tantric Communities in Context, (eds) Nina Mirnig, Marion Rastelli, Vincent Eltschinger. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, pp. 471–510. (2019).
  • “Glimpses into the Past through Inscriptions: The Ancient History of Nepal’s National Shrine Pashupatinath”, The Britain-Nepal Society Journal 41 (2017 edition).
  • Umā and Śiva's Playful Talks in Detail (Lalitavistara): On the Production of Śaiva Works and their Manuscripts in Medieval Nepal”; together with Florinda De Simini. In The South Asian Manuscript Book. Material, Textual and Historical Investigations, (eds) V. Vergiani, D. Cuneo and C.A. Formigatti. De Gruyter: Berlin. (2017)
  • Early Strata of Śaivism in the Kathmandu Valley: Śivaliṅga Pedestal Inscriptions from 466–645 CE,” in the Indo-Iranian Journal, Volume 59 4/4, Brill. (2016)
  • “Exploring ancient Pashupati: the results of preliminary surveys and excavations at Bhandarkhal 2014–2016”; Coningham, R.A.E., Acharya, K.P., Davis, C.E., Manuel, M.J., Kunwar, R.B., Hale, D., Tremblay, J., Gautam, D. and Mirnig, N., Ancient Nepal 192, pp. 28–51. (2016)
  • “Hungry Ghost or Divine Soul? Post-Mortem Initiation in Medieval Śaiva Tantric Death Rites,” in Ultimate Ambiguities. Investigating Death and Liminality, (eds) Peter Berger and Justin Kroesen. Berghahn Books. (2015)
  • “Favoured by the Venerable Lord Paśupati. Tracing the Rise of a new Tutelary Deity in Epigraphic Expressions of Power in Early Medieval Nepal,” in the Indo-Iranian Journal, Volume 53, 3/4, Brill. (2013)
  • “Śaiva Siddhānta Śrāddha. Towards an Evaluation of its Performance in the Early Medieval Period,” in Puṣpikā. Tracing Ancient India Through Texts and Tradition. Contributions to Current Research in Indology. Oxbow Books, Oxford. (2013)


  • Hans T. Bakker, Peter C. Bisschop, Yuko Yokochi, eds., in cooperation with Nina Mirnig and Judit Toerzsoek (2014), The Skandapurāṇa. Volume IIB. Adhyāyas 31-52. The Vāhana and Naraka Cycles. Critical Edition with and Introduction and annotated English Synopsis. Brill, 2014.

Manuscript Descriptions for the Cambridge Digital Library