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In Search of the Cradle of Civilization [Paperback]

Georg Feuerstein , Subhash Kak , David Frawley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 25 2001
For decades, schoolbooks have taught that Sumer was the cradle of civilization. Conventional scholarship has also held that Aryan civilization came to India by way of invasions from the north. But in this ground-breaking book, three renowned scholars show that there was no "Aryan invasion," and that India, not Sumer, was the cradle of civilized humanity. Through exploring the rich symbols, metaphors, and myths of the Vedas, this book also examines the wealth of India's spirituality and itsrelevance for today's world.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

With this work, the authors, all three renowned Yoga and Vedic scholars with multiple publications to their names, set out to challenge the generally held theory that advanced culture began in Sumer in southern Mesopotamia. Relying on a reexamination of redated Vedic literature and denying that an "Aryan invasion" from the north ever took place, which allegedly would have introduced advanced culture into India at a relatively late date, they claim instead that advanced culture already existed in the Indus valley?before the flourishing of Sumer. The work is broad in scope, well documented, and extensively illustrated. Although this book is written for the lay reader, the authors hope that it will stir the scholarly world as well. Public and academic libraries will want to have this title.?Ria Koopmans-de Bruijn, C.V. Starr East Asian Lib., Columbia Univ.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really makes one think (or *re-think*). Jan. 11 2003
By Pyne
Format:Paperback
Barring a couple of weak arguments, the book is simply un-putdownable. A sound example of challenging the Aryan Invasion Theory with scholarship and intuition. The accompanying evidence is fairly compelling. Bravo!
Some reviewers have been tremendously disturbed by the book's claims, but have not been courageous enough to go beyond irrational cursing to explicitly point out which evidence was untenable. This lack of open-mindedness is due to the colonial hangover of the eurocentric historians and professors who are now struggling to explain the new evidence with their outdated "racial-superiority" theories. Excuse their students, who are often these agitated reviewers. And for a more balanced discussion, read Edwin Bryant's "Indo-Aryan Controversy".
New rational and scientific research, however, is bringing out the truth everyday. E.g. see Thomas McEvilley's "The Shape of Ancient Thought". Meanwhile, the suppression of the Indian (Hindu) contributions will continue in the Western academia, and with the help of some Indian scholars at that! To understand their imperialist motives of establishing the "Western superiority", read Ronald Inden's "Imagining India".
Here's an instance of how this works - the currently held belief about the Indian contribution to astronomy is hardly more than transmitting the Babylonian and Greek sources. Modern research has sufficient evidence to, in fact, suggest an opposite direction of transmission! Scholarly works like astronomer Richard Thompson's "Mysteries of the Sacred Universe" thwarts the attempt to show ancient Indian studies (Puranas) as mythological fluff, as supported by the words of Carl Sagan, the eminent astronomer from Cornell, "...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking for the oldest civilization in the world Oct. 29 2001
Format:Hardcover
In my search for better understanding the history of India or better yet, the search for the roots of vedic civilization this book has been my first stepping stone. This book is filled with facts and dates and its own interpretations that guide the reader through to discovering that Indic/vedic civilization is infact the oldest and largest populated civilization of the world, dating back to over 3000 B.C.
It debunks the theory of Aryan invasion. I am totally convinced that Aryans were not some European race that came down to India and suddenly started writing books, prose and vedas, and moved away from their nomadic & barbaric ways.
It has helped me towards the confirmation that Sumerian civilzation (currently the cradle of civilization) was a small 15000 village, as opposed to the Indic civilization at the same time being 300,000 ppl strong. A metropolis compared to Sumer.
Interesting and must read for anyone interested in getting their facts right about 3000 BC area. It is very relevant information to this day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By tepi
Format:Hardcover
George Feuerstein is an excellent writer who is always lively and has many fine books to his credit. In the present book he and his two collaborators - Sanskritist Subhash Kak and Ayurvedic specialist David Frawley - have set out to bring us up to speed on the true nature of Ancient India and the profound importance and continuing significance of Indian thought for world civilization.
By fully taking into account the mass of evidence which has been accumulating over the past century, evidence from archaeology, satellite surveys, linguistic studies, etc., which a Eurocentric and reactionary 'educational' establishment continues to ignore, the authors have written an exciting and revolutionary book which pretty well renders obsolete all previous studies of Ancient India. In other words, it is a book which clearly demonstrates that much of what we have been taught about Ancient India (and which our highly paid academics continue to teach) is complete nonsense. But perhaps this will surprise no-one.
The book falls into two parts. In the first we learn that there was no such thing as an 'Aryan invasion' of India. It is a myth based upon a few idle conjectures of Max Muller along with a couple of scraps of misinterpreted evidence, an ideology masquerading as historical 'fact' (as is so much else today) because it fitted in so well with the Imperialist ambitions and racialism of the West.
India has always been multi-racial and multi-cultural, and the 'Aryans' were there all along. The cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro were abandoned, not because of any supposed 'Aryan invasion,' but for the simple reason that the vast and sustaining Sarasvati river dried up c.1900 B.C., and the people of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization had to relocate further East to the region of the Ganges.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is not a book for beginners Dec 15 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I decided that it was time to extend my studies of the antiquity beyond that of the Middle East into India, I looked at the reviews of several books on Indian history, and the title of this book captured my attention because the current focus of my studies is on the development of the earliest civilizations. Having read only a few of the reviews, I did not realize that I had acquired a book on a rather controversial subject.
In retrospect perhaps, I should have been more careful as my knowledge of Indian history was somewhat sparse. Because the thesis of this is primarily based upon a reconciliation of the archaeological record with the Vedic scriptures, I now realize that it is important to read it with a more complete knowledge of Ancient India than I had. That is not to criticize the book in any way, because it contains a plethora of information about which I was almost completely ignorant. I think it was also helpful to my understanding that the book is separated into two parts, with Part One focussing on the analysis of the archaeological findings, and Part Two focussing on cultural and spiritual legacy of Ancient India.
Part One includes an overview of Vedic writings themselves, a detailed discussion on the 19th century theory of the Aryan invasion, the cities of the Indus valley, the reconstruction after the catastrophic drying up of the Sarasvati River at around 1900BC, and what the Vedic scriptures have to say about "The Land of the Seven Rivers". The later chapters on the Indus Sarasvati script, and the Neolithic town of Merhgarh is rounded out by a final chapter giving seventeen arguments about why the Aryan invasion never happened.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pathbreaking Book
This was the first book to debunk the Aryan Invasion Theory, and it remains the best in presenting the scholarship from a variety of areas and showing step by step how the old... Read more
Published on May 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Found it very useful
I must first make it clear that the book neither presents a Hindu-centric view of history or claims to show that India is the cradle of mankind or that there have been no movements... Read more
Published on April 12 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Again Amazon deletes the one star reviews.
Remember to always subtract 2 stars from any Amazon rating since they delete the one star ratings and allow the authors and their friends to submit multiple 5 star reviews with... Read more
Published on April 10 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars From Eurocentrism to Hindu-centrism
This is a very interesting thesis, and one to reckon with, but one has to remain suspicious of the basic reasoning given the difficulty of correctly assessing the evidence as rival... Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by John C. Landon
5.0 out of 5 stars Has new findings on Indian archaeology and history
The books was the first to present the new archaeological findings that there have been no massive movements of people in India after 4500 BC. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Synthesis!
I enjoyed reading the book. It helped me navigate through the many contested theories of India's earliest history, and it always provided reasoned arguments. Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is propaganda archeology
In a nutshell, this book argues the Indus Valley civilization is in fact the early Vedic civilization and rejects Aryan migration theories altogether. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2003 by "deepapgeorge"
5.0 out of 5 stars Really makes one think (or *re-think*).
Barring a couple of weak arguments, the book is simply un-putdownable. A sound example of challenging the "Aryan Invasion Theory" with scholarship as well as intuition. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2003 by Pyne
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening!
This book helps one make sense of Indian history and traditions. By a skilful synthesis of the latest scientific evidence from a variety of fields, the authors present a proper... Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed the book
Cradle was a solid work that has shed light on the origins of culture as well as taught me more about the Indian heritage.
Published on Aug. 27 2002
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