Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Literature
1-Sanskrit Language of India-2
See also Sanskrit Literature of India-3 for individual people and their works
Others on Sanskrit Language
Without the study of Sanskrit one cannot
become a true Indian and a true learned man.
If you have to adopt a language, why should
you not have the world's greatest language? (while discussing on the bill on the National
Language of Bharat in the Constituent Assembly.)
If I was asked, what is the greatest treasure
which India possesses and what is her finest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly that
it is the Sanskrit language and literature and all that it contains. This is the magnificent
inheritance and so long as this endures and influences the life of our people, so long will
the basic genius of India continue. If our race forgot the Buddha, the Upanishads and the great
Epics (Raamaayan and Mahaabhaarat), India would cease to be India.
If Sanskrit would be divorced from the everyday
life of the masses of this country, a light would be gone from the life of the people and the
distinctive features of Hindu culture which have won for it an honored place in world-thought
would soon be affected to the great disadvantage and loss both of India and of the world.
The intellectual debt of Europe on Sanskrit
literature has been undeniably great. It may perhaps become greater still in the years that
are to come. We (Europeans) are still behind in making even our alphabet a perfect one.
Sanskrit is the greatest language in the world.
Indeed the role of Sanskrit in modern India is very
great. In the words of Max Muller, "A people that can feel no pride in the past, in its history
and literature, loses the mainstay of its national character. When Germany was in the very depth of
its political degradation, it turned to its ancient literature and drew hope for the future from the
study of the past.
Sanskrit was at one time the only language
of the world. It is more perfect and copious than Greek and Latin.
What is wrong with Sanskrit? (when questioned
as to why he was among those who sponsored Sanskrit as the official language of the Indian Union)
Even Albert Einstein was well-versed in Sanskrit.
One day he tried talking to an Indian Scientist Dr BN Gupta, in Sanskrit. When Dr BN Gupta
confessed that he did not the language, Dr Einstein was amazed at the poor response of the young
Indian Scientist and said, "You hail from India which is the home of Hindu Philosophy, yet
you have not cared to learn that language. Come along, see my library which treasures classics
Our whole culture, literature and life would
remain incomplete so long as our scholars, our thinkers and our educationists remain ignorant
Sanskrit is not the language of any particular
sect or creed. It is the language of every Indian.
Sanskrit is the language of every man, to
whatever race he may belong.
Sanskrit has molded the minds of our people
to the extent to which they themselves are not conscious. Sanskrit literature is national
in one sense, but its purpose has been universal. That is why it commanded the attention
of people who were not followers of a particular culture.
In the case of an Indian youth, he virtually
ceases to be an Indian if he does not have the atmosphere of Sanskrit in his temperament,
either directly or indirectly. It is exceedingly important, in order to preserve the sense
of self-respect of an Indian educated person, that he should have an acquaintance with
Sanskrit and its literature. Young men and women passing out of the High Schools and the
Universities without any knowledge of their national heritage as preserved in Sanskrit
lack the very essential means to approach the outside world confidently and with a sense
of self-respect. The main reason for this is that this Indian heritage has got the power
to make those of possess it feel a spiritual and intellectual assurance and self-confidence.
The reasons for studying Sanskrit today
are the same as they aver were: that the vast array of Sanskrit texts preserves for us
a valuable part of the cultural heritage of mankind, including much beautiful literature
and many interesting, even fascinating, ideas.
There is no language in India which can
take the place of Sanskrit because no other language has the same intimate contact with
the inner spirit of our lives. We may carry the dead weight of English as long as we choose
but it is not and can never be an Indian language. It has no roots in our soil. "Sanskrit
and Sanskrit alone is associated with the life of the people over the whole country. It is
heard in the family circle, in the market place and in the temple. Let us not play with
this great heritage. It can never be replaced but once we lose it, we shall cease to be
Indians. Even our political independence will be of hardly much value either to ourselves
or to the world at large.
On the practical plane one must acknowledge that in terms of its grammar, phonetics, vocabulary and the Devanaagaree script, Sanskrit becomes a wonderfully efficient vehicle of communication. It is not surprising that recent empirical studies about the relative suitability of different languages and scripts for use in Computer programming and operation indicated that Sanskrit in Devanaagaree script was not only the most suitable but also that it perfectly satisfied every requirement as an optimal medium for use." The culture of Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature is actually the culture of synthesis and assimilation. The message of Sanskrit literature is one of humanism, of unity of mankind, of values, of peace and mutual understanding and of harmonious development of the individual and the society. Acquaintance with such literature can only elevate and widen one's outlook. Far from being obscurantist, the Sanskrit literature can be a positive force for progress and growth in the right direction.
It would help us to remain not too far behind those other countries that have surged far ahead of us in reaping the benefits of study of Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature. It would help reviving the ethos of India because synthesis, harmony, and reconciliation comprise the essence of the culture of Sanskrit. It would help us to unlock the treasure- house of scientific insights and research results concerning positive sciences in our ancient literature. It would help us in using Sanskrit as a medium par excellence in Computer operations and as a language for the new technology.
It would help us to invigorate various languages of India. As Gandhi Ji said, "Sanskrit is like the river Ganga for our languages. I always feel that if it were to dry up, the regional languages also would lose their vitality and power. It seems to me that an elementary knowledge of Sanskrit is essential. It is not sentiment on my part that makes me say so but practical consideration of the utility to our country of this great language and the vast knowledge held in it." To quote Jawaharlal, "The past is gone and the present is with us and we work for the future."
But I have no doubt that whatever shape
that future may take, one of the biggest, the strongest and the most powerful and the
most valued of our legacies will be the Sanskrit language.:
Sanskrit is thus for India the symbol and
substance of its national unity and as a connecting bond with Asia and the world to study
Sanskrit and disseminate Sanskrit among the people would not only be a tribute to Kali Daas
but a way of preparing ourselves for the future.
The Sanskrit language is the "devabh".
It is the language of the Sat Yug based on the true and perfect relation of Vaidik and Arth.
Everyone of its vowels and consonants has a particular and inalienable force which exists by
the nature of things and not by development or human choice.
Sanskrit ought still to have a future as a
language of the learned and it will not be a good day for India when the ancient tongue
ceases entirely to be written or spoken.
The ideal would be in a few years, to have
a rejuvenated Sanskrit as the representative language of India, that is a spoken Sanskrit.
Sanskrit is behind all the languages of India and it should be that.
When the great philologists and scholars of
computational linguistics whole-heartedly accept Sanskrit as the best and most scientific
language of the world, on what basis can one say that Sanskrit is a dead language? "Sanskrit
being a natural language, there is no question of its death. It is alive in the heart and mind
of the people of India." As Professor Sampurnanand has said, "Sanskrit is not merely
alive, it is also a medicine to make the dead alive."
The only safety, I tell you men who belong
to the lower castes, the only way to raise your condition is to study Sanskrit. Why do
you not become Sanskrit scholars? Why do you not spend millions to bring Sanskrit education
to all castes of India? That is the question. The moment you do these things, you are equal
to the Brahmin.... The very sound of Sanskrit words give a prestige and a power and a strength
to the race. Sanskrit and prestige go together in India. As soon as you have that, none dares
say anything against you. That is the one secret; take that up.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 10/31/12