[INDOLOGY] Frits Staal on the sameness of Vedic recitation

David and Nancy Reigle dnreigle at gmail.com
Sun Feb 11 23:45:41 UTC 2024

Dear Michael,

Thanks a lot. That seems to be the quote I was looking for. Very helpful!

Best regards,

David Reigle
Colorado, U.S.A.

On Sun, Feb 11, 2024 at 4:04 PM Allen, Michael S (msa2b) via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear David,
> I don't know about Frits Staal, but Michael Witzel at least has made the
> comparison of Vedic recitation to an audio recording: "The Vedic texts
> were orally composed and transmitted, without the use of script, in an
> unbroken line of transmission from teacher to student that was formalized
> early on. This ensured an impeccable textual transmission superior to the
> classical texts of other cultures; it is, in fact, something like a *tape-recording
> *of ca. 1500–500 BCE. Not just the actual words, but even the long-lost
> musical (tonal) accent (as in old Greek or in Japanese) has been preserved
> up to the present." Source: *"*Vedas and Upanishads," ch. 3 of *The
> Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, * ed. Gavin Flood, 2003, pp. 68-9.
> Best wishes,
> Michael
> Michael S. Allen
> Associate Professor and Interim Associate Chair
> Department of Religious Studies
> University of Virginia
> ------------------------------
> *From:* INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of David
> and Nancy Reigle via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
> *Sent:* Sunday, February 11, 2024 5:23 PM
> *To:* Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
> *Subject:* [INDOLOGY] Frits Staal on the sameness of Vedic recitation
> It is often said the pronunciation of the Vedas in Vedic recitation in all
> parts of India, despite widely different local vernaculars, is the same.
> This statement is attributed to Frits Staal. The idea is that he made
> recordings of Vedic recitation in widely different parts of India and found
> this to be true. As part of the same statement he apparently said that the
> Vedas are the closest thing we have to a 3000-year-old audio recording.
> Does anyone know where he made this statement?
> I have not found it in his monumental 1983 book, *Agni: The Vedic Ritual
> of the Fire Altar*, nor in his more popular 2008 book, *Discovering the
> Vedas*. I thought it might be in his 1961 book, *Nambudiri Veda
> Recitation,* but I did not find it there, either. Incidentally, when I
> could not at first find my copy of this book, I searched the web for
> it, but did not find a digital copy. So when I later found my copy, I
> scanned it, and I will ask our digital expert Lubomir Ondračka to upload
> it to archive.org.
> Best regards,
> David Reigle
> Colorado, U.S.A.
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