[Advaita-l] Need information on learning Vedas online

Dr D Bharadwaj dr.d.bharadwaj at gmail.com
Wed Aug 21 21:31:39 CDT 2013

I agree with you Sri Vidyasankar, that the whole Samskrita Bharathi
initiative is in general ok.

I do not ask for its ban. I do not see any need to bridle them either. In
fact, as I had said, I am one of its patrons. I defend (and defended) the
Samskrita Bharati on many other counts too. There is no case for crying
foul here.

Nothing much to worry, either, imo. Anyway, ultimately, no collective
effort aimed at any ' collective reforms' (not just of a language but may
be of any deep aspect of a hoary culture) will succeed as much in pushing
the collectivity in the direction of its (the effort's) thrust, as in
bringing about *something else*, ( guided to the last detail beautifully by
unstoppable, invincible Will of the ISvara) which is the resultant of the
'qualified absorption' of the impact of the big effort by the whole.

Now, in its present first stage, Samskrita bharati has a set strong, highly
dedicated, self-less volunteers personally motivated by Sri Krishna Sastry
himself. This is the necessary condition of any reformist organization to
attain a fair amount of success. This is not sufficient. There is a
bottleneck ahead. As the time passes, if the original founder's spirit
survives in the organization to a reasonable level, even when, inevitably,
the turn of second tier (not directly trained by the spirited founder)
comes to be helm of the day to day affairs, it is then that the spirit
begins to catch on, making a bit of impact generally in the collective

The kind of (actual quality of) the damage that could happen if Samskrita
Bharati succeeds (with the collectivity in its efforts to make sanskrit as
sarala as it intends) can be understood only by those that comprehensively
understood the pure, pristine, classical samskritam as bhAShA, not of a
nation alone, but of a unfathomably deep, hoary culture and that it is the
live, responsible carrier of the culture. Such people are very few.

I will give an example here. Samskrita Bharati starts the course with
samskritiszation of the western way of saying one's name.

We are taught to say, in samskritam, 'my name is so-and-so'.
But here, in this country, for ages, we say 'I am called so-and-so'. Even
today I know some very cultured people consciously maintaining the practice
of saying 'I am called...'.

Now, what is the big difference for a casual observer?? None. But, if we
see with a discerning eye, there is a whole lot of the Indian Cultures's
profound perception of 'name'   packed into this Indian speech form. We
never come across in any Indian Work of worth and true value in Samskrit,
anybody saying their name in a the shallow, 'mama nama so-and-so' form.

This is just one example...there are many....

Now, there is nothing grammatically wrong in the 'mama nama so-and-so' form
(or with the other such forms promoted by SB). But now by popularizing
these western forms, we are unintentionally, unknowingly, callously pumping
a different 'culture' into the a unique BhAShA that is the very carrier,
the (as of now) only live carrier of our great culture.

IMO, the samskrita bhashaa, which is pure and pristine till now,
fortunately not 'popular',  not distorted by the trampling masses of the
present passing unfortunate culture, not yet 'massified' (to use Toffler's
terminology), is still the carrier of, replete with, the unique richness,
profundity, greatness and truth of the original culture of this ArSha
bhUmi. Pure pristine saMskRta bhAShA is a source of the Truth. A boon for
the earnest seeker. Its pristine purity is more important to preserves than
most can comprehend.

If I may be forgiven for talking about myself here, I would like to add
that I gained real time in finding what I need to, for my life's
saarthakata, after I learnt how to 'understand' the RShi hRdayam, the true
way to approach the ArSha Texts, by understanding the right way, SaMskRtam
as a bhAShA .

The fall-out of the zealous enthusiasm of the Samsktita Bharati, which I
had termed (perhaps not to the liking of a few here) as 'collateral damage'
and which I chose to perceive as 'heavy', is just an elaboration only of my
opinion. is just a dispassionate personal observation mine, of a situation
as I happened to see. There is cause no for worry, imho. The impact of this
movement also will of course be absorbed with aplomb by the wide, vast,
profound, strong, resilient, dynamic, live, deathless Indian Spirit.



Dr. D. Bharadwaj

On Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 12:35 AM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> negative.
> 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.
> Shreekrishna:
> > > > 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
> (http://www.krishnavrunda.org/contactus.html
> 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.
> Vidyasankar
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