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Book – Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights by Frits Staal

‘Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights’ by Frits Staal, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and South & Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

About the book from Penguin flyer

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 civilization 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.

About the book in The Telegraph

It is a courageous attempt to get to the heart of the Vedas. Staal, a logician who is also a bit of a polymath, uses the Oral Tradition and Archaeology to interpret and understand not only the mantras and rituals that make up these ancient texts but also the philosophy and actions on which Vedic society and its people were premised. Staal’s immaculate research also helps dismantle certain erroneous notions about the texts: the Vedas, contrary to popular views, are not a collection of sacred “books”. In fact, they are “oral compositions in a language that was used for ordinary communication”. Incisive and witty, this is a significant addition to the body of work that already exists on the Vedas.

Details about the chapters in the book and more information about Frits Staal can be found at Frits Staal Google Pages

Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights by Frits Staal
Published by: Penguin Books India
Published: April 2008
Price: Rs 495.00