This volume, based on a panel convened at the Thirteenth World Sanskrit Conference, held in Edinburgh in 2006, comprises ten papers treating the question of how Sanskrit texts begin and how, through their beginnings, they structure and situate themselves within the wider domain of Sanskrit discursive practices. The papers are a remarkably diverse collection in the subjects they treat and the methodological approaches they adopt. (The title of the book misleadingly implies that it is concerned only with the beginnings of śāstras—technical and philosophical texts; several papers deal instead with the openings of poetic texts.) On the whole, this tremendous diversity is an asset rather than a drawback. The book does not offer the reader a complete, definitive, state-of-the-art understanding of the role of the “beginning” in Sanskrit philosophical and poetic texts—no such understanding exists—but it does provide a wide-ranging and valuable survey of the questions that are posed...

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