Sanskrit

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Sanskrit was considered as "Dev Bhasha", " Devavani "or the language of the Gods by ancient Indians. The word sanskrita, meaning "refined" or "purified," is the antonym of prakrita, meaning "natural," or "vulgar." It is made up of the primordial sounds, and is developed systematically to include the natural progressions of sounds as created in the human mouth. Jawaharlal Nehru has said that Sanskrit is a language amazingly rich, efflorescent, full of luxuriant growth of all kinds, and yet precise and strictly keeping within the framework of grammar which Panini laid down two thousand years ago. It spread out, added to its richness, became fuller and more ornate, but always it stuck to its original roots. The ancient Indians attached a great deal of importance to sound, and hence their writing, poetry or prose, had a rhythmic and musical quality. Our modern languages of India are children of Sanskrit, and to it owe most of their vocabulary and their forms of expressions. The Sanskrit grammarians wished to construct a perfect language, which would belong to no one and thus belong to all, which would not develop but remain an ideal instrument of communication and culture for all peoples and all time.

SANSKRIT - The Language of Ancient India.

Sanskrit (meaning "cultured or refined"), the classical language of Hinduism, is the oldest and the most systematic language in the world. The vastness and the versatility, and power of expression can be appreciated by the fact that this language has 65 words to describe various forms of earth, 67 words for water, and over 250 words to describe rainfall. Sanskrit was a complete success and became the language of all cultured people in India and in countries under Indian influence. All scientific, philosophical, historical works were henceforth written in Sanskrit, and important texts existing in other languages were translated and adapted into Sanskrit. For this reason, very few ancient literary, religious, or philosophical documents exits in India in other languages. The sheer volume of Sanskrit literature is immense, and it remains largely unexplored.

(source: Virtue, Success, Pleasure, Liberation - By Alain Danielou p.17).(For more about Indian influence in Southeast Asia, please refer to chapter on Suvarnabhumi)


Sir William Jones (1746-1794) came to India as a judge of the Supreme Court at Calcutta. He pioneered Sanskrit studies. His admiration for Indian thought and culture was almost limitless. He observed as long ago as 1784:

" The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either: yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs, and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all without believing them to have sprung from some common source which perhaps no longer exists..."

(source: Discovery of India - By Jawaharlal Nehru pg 165). Hindu literature is so vast, that he said: "human life would not be sufficient to make oneself acquainted with any considerable part of Hindu literature." (source: Hindu Superiority - By Har Bilas Sarda p.205).

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