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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting view into linguistic history.
The language of the vedic texts of India is very similar to the language of the Zorastrian texts originating in modern day Iran. This has lead some historians to believe that India had been invaded by an Aryan people (originating in Caucasus). On the contrary some Indian historians have been arguing that the Aryan language could just as well have originated in India and...
Published on 12 May 2008 by Bobby Bob

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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The awakening of Krishna Consciousness: Is ISKCON really a cult?
This work is a compilation of essays written by several authors. The book is described in three sections; an introduction to the historical development of Krishna Consciousness, the doctrinal controversies, and social issues & reformation of bhakti movement.

Hare Krishna movement grew rapidly in sixties during anti-war movement. The popular hippie...
Published on 4 Oct 2010 by Rama Rao


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting view into linguistic history., 12 May 2008
This review is from: The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate (Paperback)
The language of the vedic texts of India is very similar to the language of the Zorastrian texts originating in modern day Iran. This has lead some historians to believe that India had been invaded by an Aryan people (originating in Caucasus). On the contrary some Indian historians have been arguing that the Aryan language could just as well have originated in India and spread outwards.

Bryant's book describes all the evidence and basically ends up concluding that we conclude say anything for certain. But in order to reach this conclusion he has to consider a lot of evidence such as the similarity between Indoeuropean and ancient languages in the middle east, and the nature of Indoeuropean loan words in the Finnic languages, but also the apparent lack of horses found in Indian archeology. In each chapter he lists up arguments for and against the Aryan invasion hypothesis, and thus reader learns a lot about how this kind of historic research is being done, and the kind of answers that linguistics can and cannot provide. The book is academic in style but very readable.

I am not a trained historian, but it looks like the book also has value to the research community, as Bryant has managed to assemble a series of arguments that have not been presented together in this form before.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inconclusive, 23 July 2010
This review is from: The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate (Paperback)
It's a very good summary of the theories relating to Indo-Aryan connections. As always the discussion seems to have arisen out of who taught whom, a sort of language chicken and egg. Though ultimately what does it matter, is beyond me?
A lot of research by some very well known and respected people has been done in this field. But most of these people are Europeans....the theory of the "Indigenous Aryans" I don't think has been researched or developed as much, as a result.
One of the exponents of the indigenous theory is Swami Vivekananda, but given that since him, not many people from the Indian subcontinent have taken up or contributed much to this field is staggering!
In my personal opinion, I don't think I could agree with either. If there was a mass migration from Europe to the subcontinent, well there would surely have been more evidence of it. Or perhaps they started from the Indian subcontinent and migrated through to Europe, again, where is the evidence?
And to be honest, I'm not sure what kind of evidence I would need to see to prove it one way or another. The fact remains this research was initiated by Europeans to explain some of the similarities between their beliefs and languages and those of the supposed barbarians they had just conquered! They wanted to find a reasonable explanation for that and put forth the theory that all Indians at some point or another must've been `civilised' by a European influence. Hence the large scale migration from West to East.
Why have I given full marks to this book then? Well because I'm not a linguist or a historian, but I think Ed Bryant does justice to both theories and I enjoyed reading it immensely.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced and rational book on the AMT, 25 May 2010
By 
V. Hirani "V. Hirani" (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate (Paperback)
I am very anti AIT person. However this book has given me more deeper insight on the views of the Pro-AIT (now called the AMT) Scholars. Thought It hasn't convinced me to change my mind regarding the fallacy of the AMT theory, I am willing to concede some ground on some of the point raised by the pro-AMT on linguistics and the discrepancies between the Indus valley beliefs and Vedic literature.

very thoroughly researched work by Ed Bryant
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The awakening of Krishna Consciousness: Is ISKCON really a cult?, 4 Oct 2010
By 
Rama Rao "Rama" (Annandale, VA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate (Paperback)
This work is a compilation of essays written by several authors. The book is described in three sections; an introduction to the historical development of Krishna Consciousness, the doctrinal controversies, and social issues & reformation of bhakti movement.

Hare Krishna movement grew rapidly in sixties during anti-war movement. The popular hippie counter-culture that was into drugs, alcohol and carefree-sex entered the Krishna movement. Some of them were seeking for directions in life but very few were looking for long term solace. The strict adherence to the rigid practices of Hindu tradition of no meat, no alcohol, no drug, no sex outside marriage, no gambling, and daily religious practices that starts from 4 AM; and public chanting and selling literature at airports was too much for many followers. Many entered this life without giving much thought, but soon got disillusioned, and the old habits of doing drugs kept creeping back in the minds of some followers which may have contributed to some of the problems encountered by the author Nori Muster. Most non-traditional religious groups have undergone persecution because of their beliefs and practices; perhaps they were controversial to conventionally oriented population. There were three major reasons for the conflict of ISKCON with American way of life. Fundamentally the religious beliefs were too different. For one, the traditional Christian belief is that Jesus is the son of God who died for our sins and we must accept him as our savior so that we can spend the rest of existence in eternity in heaven. Those who don't accept Jesus as their savior will remain in hell. ISKCON followers contrasted this thought by worshipping God Krishna. Secondly, the basic notion in Christian life is that a person has only one life to live in this world. The Hindu (and ISKCON) belief is that an individual is born and reborn in a cycle of birth and death according to his karma, and through bhakti and pure devotion to Lord Krishna an individual releases himself from this cycle and reaches salvation. Finally the belief in following a guru or a spiritual master who has attained near perfection in life will lead others in achieving the salvation. These were the main source of irritation and intolerance towards Hare Krishna movement. The appearance in orange robe, shaven head, chanting of Krishna's mantras, women in saris, etc., did not help good community relations either.

It is also not uncommon to for a disillusioned follower such as Nori Muster to do an "expose" that sounds like the ranting of a confused follower who doesn't know what she is looking for in life. Why did it take 10 years for her get out of ashram life in ISKCON if she experienced widespread abuse of power and authority against women? Her comments that Hindu scriptures were anti-woman are ludicrous. The "facts" she has provided about of illegal activities by ISKCON followers is hearsay evidence. Examples include; "her male Sankirtana leader would drop the women off at bars, where they would wait by the exit and offer to do anything a man wanted in exchange for money." "I once saw her grab money out of a traveler's wallet, stash it in her bag,..." "Another woman told me that when she was a new bhaktin they trained her shoplift for the deity department." "She and an older woman would go on shopping sprees where they stole beaded saris, jewelry, and other expensive items to decorate the altars." "The culture of wife beating was widespread in ISKCON,.." No other devotees have come forward to corroborate these stories. How do we know the authenticities of stories she heard from other women in ISKCON is a fact and not fiction? It is understandable that some men and women having come from hippie culture went back to that life, and certainly the ISKCON movement has nothing to do with that. It is unfortunate that some pedophiles also made their way into this movement which brought considerable shame to the ISKCON organization. The spousal abuse and denigration of women have occurred among hippies. I attend temple services at Watseka Avenue (New Dwaraka) when I am in Los Angeles, and I also worship at New Vrindaban, I have not heard from any long term residents of any widespread abuse against women.

There are many other essays which are far more interesting. Steven Rose's "Who is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu" is a short but beautifully written article about the life of Lord Chaitanya. William Deadwyler's article entitled; "Cleaning house and cleaning hearts: reform and renewal in ISKCON," is a very well written article that describes the shortcomings of a fast growing religious movement when no devotee is ready to take over leadership responsibilities at a temple. "Fifteen years later: A critique of gurukula by Gabriel Deadwyler (Yudhisthira Das) is one of the best articles. You get to see through the eyes of a child growing up in the gurukula system and the immense amount of harm it brought to many young ISKCON children. "But somehow demons got involved and abused some of the children, and that is why we gurukula alumni are not full time devotees, and why some of us have even become antagonistic toward ISKCON." This reflects on the state of affairs in some of the schools operated by ISKCON. It was also harmful for young adolescents, some as old as 15 years old not have any communication with opposite sex virtually separating the kids from their peers. These children's were not prepared to interact with the rest of the world. A strict code of authoritarianism compounded with physical and sexual abuse was tragic. The two "revaluation" stories under the title "On leaving ISKCON: personal story" by Steven Gelberg, and "On staying in ISKCON: personal story" by Mukunda Goswami and Anuttama Das Adhikari is a little more scholarly and illuminating.

Anyone who attends the temple services regularly at a Krishna temple comes to a conclusion that ISKCON is not a cult but a devotional (bhakti) movement from Hindu tradition, brought into Western culture immersed in materialism, by a devout Krishna follower.

1. Hare Krishna in America
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time, 1 July 2010
This review is from: The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate (Paperback)
It doesn't matter how "reasonable" the AIT proponents try to present themselves to be, or whatever obfuscations or manipulations of argument they resort to to keep this contemptible, racially-motivated theory alive - these days the trend seems to be to rehash the theory as AMT rather than AIT in the desperate pretence to give the impression of being objective or reasonable. No matter how much time is STILL wasted on this nonsense, the simple unavoidable fact regardless of the desperate needs of Eurocentric supremacists to maintain some feeling of importance in world history through deluded and warped liguistic or archeaological interpretations is that all references in the entirety of Vedic literature, whether geographic or otherwise, only make total sense in the context of India and India alone! Absolutely nothing in Indian history or consciousness has ever made any reference to a foreign geographic or cultural basis for Vedic philosophy and culture, whether through migration or invasion; there is no archaeological or undisputable genetic evidence of any real weight to support such a contention and linguistic observations are pseudoscience at best. The Occam principle in fact supports the most logical conclusion, and something that has never been questioned in Indian history (before being assaulted by foreign agendas), which is that Vedic thought and religion originated in India. There was NO invasion and logic completely defies the contention that there was.

The *fact* that this theory was first propounded not as a serious objective study but as a way of justifying European colonialist and Christian oriented ambitions to denigrate the achievements and history of Indians and make them more pliable for dominance should immediately discount it as something to be taken seriously, but unfortunately it appears to have become so embedded in Western consciousness and appeals so much to their insidious need for racial and cultural supremacy that so called "scholars" still cling to it like a child to a comfort blanket. They need to come to terms with the fact that Western culture is not the creator or sustainer of everything good in the world, and no matter how much effort is expended in propagating this laughable fallacy, whether through the Aryan invasion/migration myth or other means, Western dominance will prove to be a minor (and, sad to say, largely unpleasant) blip on the timeline of the world.

Indians should forget about trying to appear "objective" for the sake of courtesy to European supremacists because that courtesy will never be returned. Aryan Invasion is a myth, has always been a myth and always will be a myth, created for insidious purposes rather than the search for truth and it's about time it was consigned to the dustbin of history, along with European colonialism, the flat earth theory and the humourous Biblical claim that the Earth is only 4,000 odd years old.

Please note that the rating refers more to the subject matter rather than the book itself - although having said that, any effort at presenting both arguments "objectively" provides more credibility to the AIT then it deserves (i.e. more than zero) which reflects on both the book and the author and somewhat justifies this rating.
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