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El Ardor

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  167 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Roberto Calasso explores the ancient texts known as the Vedas. Little is known about the Vedic people, who lived over three thousand years ago in northern India: They left behind no objects, images, or ruins. They created no empires. Even the soma, their likely hallucinogenic ritualistic plant, is unknown.
Paperback, 528 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Anagrama (first published October 1st 2010)
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May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before starting, in choosing to read Roberto Calasso’s Ardor, I was jumping into a something much deeper that was ever intended for a casual reader. If my analysis suggests that I am in over my head, that is likely. My first recommendation is that you do first, what I did last. Find out some things about Roberto Calassso. He is an Italian writer and has been the longtime director of Italy’s most prestigious publishing house Adelphi. Under his directions writers like Milos Kundera have reached a ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian

The gods sacrificed the sacrifice through the sacrifice.
~Rigveda 1.164.50

Vedic era was supposed to be existed in ancient India before the existence of all civilizations, before the evolution of all religions, before the birth of all Prophets, sometimes even before the inception of God. Vedic people left behind only texts, that too in an almost extinct language, Sanskrit. That is the biggest riddle. No other language is compatible to explain verses in Sanskrit. There are many authentic translati
Thomaz Amancio
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O ardor, de Roberto Calasso, é, não necessariamente nessa ordem:
I - Uma baita análise do pensamento védico, em seus pressupostos, constituição e consequências.
II - Uma ambiciosa tentativa de elaborar uma "grande narrativa" sobre o mundo contemporâneo, a partir do conceito de sacrifício.
III - Um livro indispensável para quem se interessa por questões relacionadas a ritual, mitologia e pensamento religioso.
IV - Um ótimo texto para se ler junto com Twin Peaks, pensando nos nexos entre as duas obras
Ted Morgan
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interior introduction to Hinduism and to religion as such. Subtle and demanding.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off, this book is a MUST if you enjoyed Roberto Calasso's previous work "Ka: Stories of the Mind and Gods of India" (much like what "Atlas Shrugged" is to "The Fountainhead".)

Few people on the planet have the appetite for reading something very abstract/abstruse like "satapatha brahmana" much less write a commentary on it fathoming the depths of ancient thought. This work is a rare feat of delivering the essence of it (just like how the soma plant is pressed to get its essence) in an acces
Federica Ceccarelli
"L'ardore" è un meraviglioso testo di antropologia culturale. Calasso ci guida in un viaggio incredibile, alla scoperta di terre e forme di pensiero lontanissime dal nostro Occidente capitalistico, tanto nel tempo quanto nello spazio. Una qualche conoscenza preliminare del pensiero indiano rende la lettura più semplice, ma non è indispensabile; lo stile di Calasso è snello, ricco ma non ridondante, tecnico ma non paternalistico. Lettira altamente consigliata a chiunque provi interesse per filoso ...more
Edmundo Mantilla
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Maravilloso y necesario.
Very lucid, wonderful book. My first introduction to Vedic beliefs and religion in general: this book is a great introduction to the overall atmosphere of the time.

I am primarily writing this review to clear up some of the concepts in my head and do apologize for any mischaracterisations or simplifications.

The Vedics were an ancient people- living in and around Northern South Asia around 3000 years ago. They called themselves the 'Aryas' or the nobles (from where we get the word Aryan from). The
Fernando Aguinaco
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ardor es uno de los significados de la palabra en sánscrito tapas. Uno de los tres elementos del yoga de la acción (ver yogasutra de Patanjali II.1). Este libro es un extenso comentario del Sataphata Brahmana, texto védico que como escribe Calasso en su conclusión: "Es como meterse en el centro irradiante de la India. Pero no era a esto a lo que aspiraba la idea -abandonada más tarde- del comentario. Al contrario, era un intento de salir de toda coordenada geográfica y temporal para volver a obs ...more
Martha Ruano
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinante la forma en que Calasso nos lleva a la India de los Vedas. Desmenuza rituales y enfatiza el sacrificio desde su origen hasta la actualidad mientras expone las diferentes interpretaciones y estudios que se han hecho sobre el tema a lo largo de la historia. Lo mejor es la conclusión.
Alessandro Mazzucchelli
A non-academic but highly documented approach to the India of the Vedas. We perceive that it is the work and passion of a lifetime. I started to consult it in search of very specific things, useful for my next book and then I couldn't resist reading it from top to bottom. I share Calasso's considerations on our current society, less some notes on Judaism and Christianity, but both his and mine are opinions :-). The author is also the owner of Adelphi, in my opinion one of the best Italian publis ...more
Michael Baranowski
A very erudite and wonderfully written examination of and commentary on the Vedas. Too much for me, but for someone with a deeper interest in ancient Indian culture than I possess it would be excellent.
Ishmael Soledad
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not my usual fodder but I am glad I managed to make it through this one. I'll admit I found it hard going at first; perhaps the unfamiliarity of the names and words, more likely the content itself being a bit of a challenge.

Intriguing. More than worth the effort.
Richard Anderson
Stretches the mind.
Alexandra Mergen
Especially enjoyed the connections between Vedic and Western philosophers and Calasso's insights into contemporary significance. A must-read for a yoga teacher interested in Vedic history.
Davide Orsato
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La sola postfazione vale l’intiero volume
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On page 147 Calasso mentions an occasion when Louis Renou witnessed the simplest of Vedic sacrifices in Pune. Renou found the activity of adhvaryu overwhelming in detail. Which Calasso likens to arguments in Brahmanas as "always starting, being interrupted, being forced to change direction, weaving the fabric of the work by resuming it at different points".

That exact comparison can be made to Ardor's own syntax. Calasso often starts a tale or introduces a concept with a few sentences only to int
Nikhil Kasarpalkar
A masterpiece of Vedic commentary by Roberto Callaso. A mesmerizing journey into ancient Vedic thought, its rituals and its relevance today.
Ilka Tampke
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly brilliant. Illuminating.
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Roberto Calasso (born 30 May 1941 in Florence) is an Italian publisher and writer. He was born into a family of the local upper class, well connected with some of the great Italian intellectuals of their time. His maternal grandfather Giovanni Codignola was a professor of philosophy at Florence University. Codignola created a new publishing house called La Nuova Italia, in Florence, just like his ...more

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“ardor which is tapas; the name Indra” 2 likes
“Choosing the tree to cut down, from which to make the yūpa, the sacrificial “post,” which in itself epitomizes the totality of the sacrifice, is like choosing any other victim: it is the act in which the mystery of election is revealed. The ritualist therefore considers it with great care, so that the sacrificer must bring all his keenness into play. What tree will he choose? Not the closest one in the forest. That would be too crude and too simple. It would be as if all you had to do was take one step forward to be chosen—and one step back not to be. But nor will the sacrificer choose the tree farthest away. The last would then be the most likely—and all, if they wanted to avoid being chosen, would rush to the most conspicuous positions. Here again the choice would lose its mystery. No, the sacrificer will choose “on the nearer side of the farther” and “on the farther side of the nearer.” And where in the forest does the farther begin? Where does the nearer reach its limit? No one can know this. Not even the sacrificer, until that inscrutable moment when he will say to the tree, in that grim, unctuous tone that all victims recognize: “We favor you, O divine lord of the forest.”
This way of dealing with the mystery of election brings us face-to-face with an implacable difference and peculiarity, from the brahminic point of view.”
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