Sunday, October 07, 2007
sanskrit-a renaissance in the making
considered to be the language of the gods,sanskrit is one of the world's oldest languages."samskrtah" means selfmade or selfdone. western historians, though, claim that hebrew is the source language of all world languages.according to them, sanskrit,greek and latin belong to the group of indo-european languages which originated in anatolia in turkey otherwise known as asia minor or little asia more than 10,000 years ago.experts claim that sanskrit is more perfect than greek and more copious than latin.
we know that sound is the basis of all knowledge and which was transmitted by word of mouth from time immemorial through the unique guru-shishya relationship.the vedas and upanishads are examples of this phonographic transmission. over period of time they got converted into calligraphic representation by writings on palm leaves and birch-bark strips.dialects in india varied from place to place and scripts like prakrit,brahmi,pali,kharoshti and oriya were synthesised into devanagari script in the north and tamil took a pre-eminent position in the south. after lot of research and study, our scholars have concluded that in the whole world the earliest form of communication of thought was through,greek,latin,sanskrit and tamil. while latin,greek and sanskrit must have had some links,tamil grew independently in southern india.
i was lucky that i learnt sanskrit while in school.i was taught this language by an european jesuit father.he had even written a book on basic sanskrit.proficiency in sanskrit encouraged me to study the vedas and learn vedic mantras with the correct intonation. i used to find such recitation a great stressbuster in my professional life.i was delighted to read recently that it is now being branded as the next big thing to solve all sorts of problems from stress to complex human relationships.even iits have started classes on the vedas.learning sanskrit has a positive influence on both mind and body.the sounds of the language help in unifying thought and action.sanskrit has become an important human relations management tool.
sanskrit is a highly sophisticated language consisting of 180,000words or compounds,some of them drawn from tamil and greek and latin.richly endowed with vowels,great emphasis was placed on accent for the correct meaning.deemed the perfect language,unlike in english where you have nebulous expressions for exact human relationships,sanskrit provides specific names most of which have no equivalent in other languages.its enormous vocabulary helps to achieve perfection in expressing the most complex ideas and conveying the finer nuances in meanings and feelings.in english there is only one word for water.in sanskrit there are about 20 words for 'jalam' which means water.similarly in numbers,there are terms to denote millions,trillions and zillions as well as seconds,microseconds and nanoseconds.our ancestors were walking computers who could do mental calculations with supreme ease and accuracy.vedic mathematics is a sought after subject these days.
a school in kandivli,mumbai,plans to introduce sanskrit for students. even their family members are encouraged to join. the course is being launched in association with bharatiya vidya bhavan. a great opportunity for parents,grandparents and their children to learn an arcane language together. a language which is considered almost dead. a study shows that students who opt for sanskrit score better marks than in any other language.many people do not know the meaning of shlokas that they recite. this is an opportunity for them to understand what they recite.
indalkar, a resident of mumbai,has done an in-depth study of panini's grammatical branch of the vedanga.he has mastered all the 3,959 rules in sanskrit grammar.an award winner for the best guiding teacher in sanskrit,indalkar has presented numerous research papers in national and international conferences.he wants more school students to actively participate in learning the language.according to him,it makes the learning of languages like german and japanese easier.
a mass migration of people took place about 7000 years ago from central asia to northern india and that was the beginning of the indus valley civilization.the aryans as they were called migrated down south and made their settlements.mainly sanskrit was a language of the higher castes.there are a few villages in the south,where even today sanskrit is the lingua franca.there are in all about 50,000 fluent speakers in sanskrit today.
sanskrit is one amongst a few languages that have a scientific structure.well-thought out and systematic with regard to phonetics,grammar and methodology for word formation. because of its sound structure it is the most computer compatible language.and there are many foreigners teaching sanskrit in british,american and german universities.various organisations -educational,social and industrial use sanskrit as mottoes.e.g. life insurance corporation of india has a one-liner in sanskrit."yogakshemam vahaamyaham"(i take care of the welfare of all-lord krishna to arjuna in the bhagavad gita).music diva madonna has made two renderings in sanskrit.
justifiably, sanskrit is regaining its lost place and honour. a sanskrit renaissance is not very far off.