spoken sanskrit

Subhanu Saxena Subhanu.Saxena at INTL.PEPSI.COM
Mon Dec 7 02:34:25 CST 1998

        On 5th December Vidya Kaushik wrote

> Also, to those living in the Austin area or nearby, the following note
> may be of interest to those interested in Sanskrit.  If there are any
> reviews of this short course by people on this list who have taken it
> before, that would be welcome.
(English translation at the end of this posting)
namo namaha

yadA aham bhavataha email(vidyutpatram?) paTHitavAn, mama mahAn Anandaha
abhavat. etaihi mahadbhihi janaihi kR^ishNashAstrimahodayAdibhihi mahat
kAryam krtam. aham api  taihi prachoditaha Asam bahukAlapUrvam. samskrtam
saralam asti, kashTam na. eteshu dineshu chhAtrAha prathamam vyAkaraNam
paTHanti, anantaram pustakAni, nakadA api sambhAshaNam. tadeva kashTam!
kimartham sarve sambhAshaNam na jAnanti? sarve vadanti yat samksrta-bhAshA
mrtA. aham tu manye etat satyam na. yathA vayam chintayAmaha, tathhaiva
bhavishyati. katham asmAbhihi samskrtam paTHanIyam?  yathA bAlAha adhyayanam
kurvanti, tathaiva asmAbhihi karaNiyam. kim tarhi? prathamam sambhAshaNam,
anantaram vyAkaraNam.  yadA bhAshA rakte vahati, tadA tasyAha sAram
avagantum vayam samarthAha.  vyAkaraNena samskrtam shirasi tisthati,
sambhAshaNena hRidaye eva. yadA kadA api avakAshaha milati, aham prArthayAmi
yat sarve prayatnam kurvantu samskrtenaiva vArtAlApam kartum sambhAshaNasya
adhyayanam kartum cha.

English Translation (with some extra comments in brackets)

When I read your email, I was delighted. Krishna Shastry and his colleagues
have done great work (in propogating Sanskrit). I myself was inspired by
them some time ago (as I have mentioned in other posts). Sanskrit is easy
(honest!), not difficult. These days, students tend to study grammer first,
then the books but never conversational language ( I remember my mother's
stories about "raTo" learning by rote declension tables without having a
clue as to what they were learning, and forgetting it all the day after the
exam). This is what makes it difficult. Why is it that people do not know
how to speak Sanskrit? Because everyone says that Sanskrit is a dead
language (And must therefore be taught as such, like Latin and Ancient
Greek).  However, I think that this is not true. A language is as dead as we
believe it to be (or make it). So, how should Sanskrit be studied by us?
Well, as children learn any language, so should we learn Sanskrit. How is
that? Well, learn to speak it first, followed by the grammer (note how all
modern language training techniques follow this model). When a language
flows through our veins, only then can we understand its inner essence.
Through grammer a language gets established in one's head. Through
conversation, in our hearts. Whenver the chance offers itself, I humbly
request the members of this group to try and learn to speak, and speak in

(end of translation)

I have no affiliation with any of Samsktra Bharati's political views (They
used to have some association with the RSS, but I don't think that is still
the case), but there is no doubt of the impact they have made in
rejuvenating spoken Sanksrit.  I believe there are now over 10,000 families
in India who claim to be able to speak in Sanskrit, and the number is
growing still.  You will be surprised how much you can actually learn in a
week. When I was once in Bangalore I was invited to address a group on their
5th day of the course. They were given a chance to ask me questions in
Sanskrit. Their questions were fairly sophisticated (where do you come
from?what is your job? how did you get interested in Veda/Vedanta? Who has
inspired you etc etc).  Not bad for the 5th day. From having run some of
these courses myself, I would say that, for anyone who has some knowledge of
an Indian language, that person can make amazing progress in 10 days . For
most Indian language speakers, the issue is never vocabulary, it is more
grammer.  For those whose mother tongue is something else, a couple of
courses are usually needed to get into it, but again, amazing progress after
the first course, For this group, grammer is not so much the issue as is

Hopefully those with only a passing knowledge of Sanskrit are able to follow
the above Sanskrit passage with help from the translation, to show them that
everything is possible!

jayatu samskrtam! Long live Sanskrit!

bhavatAm mitram


"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
List archives : http://listserv.tamu.edu/archives/advaita-l.html

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list