[Advaita-l] Need information on learning Vedas online

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 21 14:05:03 CDT 2013

Dr. Bharadwaj:

> But, the unfortunate collateral damage is that they are causing a
> considerable unintended harm to the original structural grandeur of the
> Magnificent Edifice of Sanskrit. Indifferent to the fall-out, they are
> inventing many 'expressions' in Snaskrit twisting them, to make them
> suitable and comparable to the corresponding the loose versions of the
> Western Languages, into forms unthinkable - sometimes weird - in the
> original impeccably structured Language where the very turn of the phrase,
> the very form of expression is as expressive as (sometimes more expressive
> than) the vocabulary chosen for the expression.

I have some of my own reservations about the forms of linguistic expression
used by people who go to Samskrita Bharati courses. However, I would judge
the impact of the group as having a positive outcome that far outweighs the


For a language to be used in day-to day communication, it needs to have room
for change, while still maintaining the integrity of its roots. Honestly, this is one
aspect that even the traditional experts in Samskrita have neglected for a few
centuries now. We are all so used to reverting to a different Indian language for
mundane activity, from Tamil to Kashmiri, saving the usage of Sanskrit only for
specialized discourse. Of course, Samskrita Bharati is trying to make a difference
on this count and that process does have its ups and downs. And classical
saMskRta really does not have readymade vocabulary for cell phones and
computers or even coffee and chocolate, so I see nothing wrong with coining
new words, or borrowing them as is, or with appropriate sound modifications.


Finally, I agree with your observation that understanding the content of the
Sastra texts is not going to be an outcome of acquiring ability for conversational
saMskRta, but at least it is a start. All depends on how the learners apply their
language lessons beyond their immediate focus. 


Venkatesh Murthy:
> > Namaste
> >
> > The Mutts have to take up this matter very seriously. Today they are not
> > doing much to propagate Vaidika Dharma and Sanskrit. What are they doing?
> >
... ...
> >
> > Instead of doing all this they are collecting donations from followers and
> > increasing the bank balance and counting the crores of rupees.
> >
> > It is a sad situation.
> >

I have come to expect this sort of reaction every time some such issue crops
up for discussion. Our Mathas, especially the ones that are run by traditional
standards, are doing a lot for propagating dharma and the saMskRta language.
We fail to appreciate and support them in tangible ways. Instead, we sit and
criticize them for not doing enough. The disconnect is really between the
Indian culture of old and the urban, educated people like us. A pity.   




> > > I live in what I could call a hamlet in southeast USA, where the
> > cumulative
> > > brahmin-by-birth population might not even be quarter-a-century, let
> > alone
> > > the ones who perform sandhyAvandanam and associated nityakarmas. To some
> > > like us, who have an ounce of curiosity/interest at this time in life
> > (and
> > > who knows how life will change) but not the local bandwidth to feel
> > > satiated, it is just a desire to make hay while the sun shines, that we
> > > have to resort to non-traditional media to learn vEdAs or shAstrAs. 


There are two aspects involved here. If the desire is to learn to recite, there
are quite a few people who have themselves been traditionally trained, but
are open to using newer communications technology to teach. A number of
them are based in the USA itself nowadays. A number of US Hindu temple
websites provide direct contact information, so it should not be difficult to
find someone who will be willing to teach you. If you are already conversant
with some basics, then the process of learning in this manner is made a bit
easier. Seeing as you are from a Madhva background, let me suggest the
Puttige matha temples in the US as starting points for you
and http://www.svkshetra.org/contact). 


That said, let me add a caveat from living experience, that in a pedagogical
context, nothing can beat face to face contact with a teacher. The personal
contact also helps establish rapport, so I would recommend doing the first
couple of lessons in person and then continuing online. Many music teachers
ask their long distance students to get a few weeks of in-person classes per
year, to augment the online learning. It can work for music and it can work
for veda recitation as well, provided you and a teacher can make it work. If
you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can indeed have some of
the cake and eat the rest of it too.  


> > > Finally, I may have to disagree that a knowledge of Sanskrit relieves one
> > > from the "crutches of translations" based on what really was meant by
> > > translations, but in the event that they were references to bhAShyas or
> > > commentaries, it would not be an unfair assessment of the current society
> > > that there are few who can claim to have understood prasthAnatrayI
> > > flawlessly without the help of *some* commentary or the other.
> > >

I think Jaldhar literally meant translations into English or other languages,
not commentaries. As you spend time on this list, you will find that some of
us are very particular about word usage and for the most part, we intend
exactly what we say/write. 


Rajaram Venkataramani: 

> > > >
> > > > Is any senior vaidhika in sringeri or any other place protecting
> > vaidhika
> > > > dharma in traditional manner opposed to learning over skype?
> > > >

Let me put it this way. If the goal of the student is to become an expert reciter
or take to paurohitya as a profession, then no senior vaidika anywhere will
endorse Skype or other VOIP technologies for learning. If it is only to obtain a

working knowledge of the veda (a few frequently used sUkta-s, some prayoga ...),
then nowadays, most of them welcome the fact that the interest for learning
exists and they are willing to teach accordingly.





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