Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights

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Penguin Books India, 2008 - History - 419 pages
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In this unprecedented guide to the Vedas, Frits Staal, the celebrated author of Agni: The Vedic Ritual of the Fire Altar and Universals: Studies in Indian Logic and Linguistics examines almost every aspect of these ancient sources of Indic civilisation. Staal extracts concrete information from the Oral Tradition and Archaeology about Vedic people and their language, what they thought and did, and where they went and when. He provides essential information about the Vedas and includes selections and translations. Staal sheds light on mantras and rituals, that contributed to what came to be known as Hinduism. Significant is a modern analysis of what we can learn from the Vedas today: the original forms of the Vedic sciences, as well as the perceptive wisdom of the composers of the Vedas. The author puts Vedic civilisation in a global perspective through a wide-ranging comparison with other Indic philosophies and religions, primarily Buddhism. For Staal, originally a logician, the voyage of discovering the Vedas is like unpeeling an onion but without the certainty of reaching an end. Even so, his book shows that the Vedas have a logic all their own. Accessible, finely-argued, and with a wealth of information and insight, Discovering the Vedas is for both the scholar and the interested lay reader.
  

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Contents

Archaeology and the Oral Tradition
31
the Mind 33 Indic Representations of Spoke
49
Sémaveda
107
Yajurveda
118
ANALYSING THE VEDAS
189
Ritual
222
Secrets of the Sadas
242
WHAT CAN WE LEARN
255
Vedic Insights
288
After the Vedas
303
Euclids Proof of Baudhfiyanas
349
Readings
352
Source Notes
354
Bibliography
384
Copyright Acknowledgements
402
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Frits Staal is professor of philosophy and South Asian languages at the University of California, Berkeley.

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