‘’The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than the either’’ –
Sir William Jones
To think of India’s inception is to think of its people, its culture, and its language. And to think of India’s language is to think of learning Sanskrit language. While many people on top social networking sites in India deal with its decline, a debate needs to happen on its revival in this digital learning era.
Language of Gods:
As the ancient language of Hinduism, its first use in history is in the form of a communicating language by the Heavenly Gods – giving it the name of ‘Devabhasha’ or ‘the language of the Gods’. The word Sanskrit comes from “sam + krit” where (sam) prefix means (samyak) ‘entirely’ or ‘wholly’ or ‘perfectly,’ and krit means ‘done.’
Spoken by the Mortals:
It’s spread among the mortals can be traced to the arrival of Aryans (a nomadic people skilled in warfare and poetry and who came from Central Asia, entering India between 2000-1500 BC. ) who communicated in this language as well. In addition to it, the foundations of Hinduism, i.e. the ”Vedas” are also in Sanskrit.
Influencing the World:
As a result of its simplicity, Sanskrit later on went to become the source of growth of the literary development and knowledge for other languages of the world. And, most scholars believe that it is perhaps the only language that has retained its original form, structure and vocabulary. Even to this date.
(credit: scoop whoop.com)
Latin and Greek have been rich carriers of words relating to polity, judiciary and science. Similarly, a number of Sanskrit words relating to religion and mystic philosophy have been adding into English since 1800. This occurred when Europeans began to translate the Hindu scriptures.
Hence in the early signs of Globalization, the West took India’s spiritual heritage with open arms:
- ‘Ahimsa’, a synonym of Gandhi’s ideology, and ‘yoga’, the latest health fad in the West, have a Sanskrit origin. The first, meaning non-violence, comes from ‘a’ (without) and ‘himsa’ (violence).
- Yoga is a direct borrowing from Sanskrit, meaning yoke, discipline. It refers to an ancient lifestyle followed by saints involving postural and meditative breathing exercises.
- ‘Mahatma’, a title for a wise or holy person held in reverence (as in the case of Gandhi), itself comes from ‘mahatman’, meaning great soul.
Several more Sanskrit words have come into English via long chains of borrowing over the centuries, through Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic, the various European languages and, even Japanese.
- ‘Sugar’ has travelled all the way from Medieval French, Italian and Latin and finally Sanskrit ‘sharkara’ (gravel, granulated sugar).
- ‘Pepper’ is from Sanskrit ‘pippali’ (peppercorn). However, before that it travelled from Old English via Latin and Greek.
Learning Sanskrit can be made easier by getting familiar with these examples in this free desktop wallpaper
In the Digital Era…
Seems like all Indian governments have stressed on the importance of learning in schools. Furthermore, e-learning is also now seen as a tool to spread this knowledge by the government.
Some ways include:
- Digital campuses – Uploading Sanskrit text to e-book or in the form of live books along with translation. Similarly, it needs to offer tools such as pronunciation, writing, dictionary, comprehension, grammar, Sanskrit to Hindi dictionary, sandhi generator and animated stories for children.
- Digitization of Manuscripts – Teach this language systematically by highlighting its ancient and divine aspects. Such online courses could charge somewhere around 40 dollars or about 2,500 Indian rupees.
- E-Learning – Many websites include Sabakuch e-Learning website, are now setting up their own catalogue of reading material with ease of access and implementing time-saving methods for learners. This is including the audio mp3 notes or video lessons, free of cost.
- Attach Value – Also, incentives such as some scholarship or degree/diploma should be given. This would help those who have learnt the language. It also helps them to take their career further.
Concluding Remarks –
Probably the most noteworthy way to conclude would be to read the message in this image of a ”shloka’‘ below: