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Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  5 reviews
This is a remarkable book. It untangles the many complexities of the Vedas and combines Staal's scholarly respect for the texts, with explanations that are lucid and occasionally witty. His insights are thoughtful and perceptive. ??"Romila Thapar In this unprecedented guide to the Vedas, Frits Staal, the celebrated author of Agni: The Vedic Ritual of the Fire Altar and Uni ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published August 5th 2009 by Penguin Global (first published April 30th 2008)
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Avinesh Shankar
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is NOT a translation or transliteration of the Vedas. If you want to read the Vedas in English then this is not your book.

This is a great book (hence 4 stars!) though a very dry academic work of linguistics and logic in the historical and geographical context of writing of the Vedas. It is fantastic if you are a linguist or logician but for most of us who are interested in history, spirituality and comparative theology, there is very little here.
Nakul Sashidharan
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
For those who are skeptical about the 'super human' origin of the Vedas, this work might help you out with a starting point.
First half of the book is interesting and informative but the rest is somewhat difficult to comprehend for a common reader; too much of linguistics !!!
Manu Prashanth
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great effort by the author, I believe it is just a beginning to knowing about vedas. Book gives us deep insight into the Vedic world which we are leaving behind in a hurry
Pramod Vemuri
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: stopped
So far, so good.
The first few chapters which covered the pre-history and composition of Vedas were pure joy for me. But my real issue is about how he handles the alternate viewpoints. For instance, Soma as Fly Agaric mushroom has the valid criticism that it's a depressant (unless in small doses), the author talks as if it was never a depressant.

For now, this book is on hold because it's pretty dense as it stands.
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