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Why we should study Sanskrit?




Why we should study Sanskrit


 Sanskrit is the most scientific language in the world. It is a multi-dimensional subject.  It is not difficult to be well oriented in Sanskrit within a limited period of time.  Some persons, who are not much acquainted with Sanskrit, or otherwise motivated, try to malign the glory of Sanskrit. Most of the persons are afraid of vastness and depth of Sanskrit Grammar. It is true that some grammatical knowledge is necessary to study Sanskrit.  It is true that  Grammar plays a significant role in Sanskrit, but it  is not all. Renowned Sanskrit  scholar C. Kunhan Raja, after analysing divergent views has said--

‘’The Sanskrit language has been fully analysed and all facts relating to the structure of the language have been collected, classified and interpreted in works on grammar. When we take the entire field, there are many difficult corners within the language; the works on grammar present a picture of these difficult corners also.
In the case of other languages, there has not been such a scientific analysis of the facts; so the difficult corners are not brought to the notice of those who study the languages. They pass such corners as a matter of course and they get accustomed to the thorn-bites, jolts and bumps during the journey. In the case of Sanskrit, all such corners have been properly chartered, and it is very easy to say lead a beginner in the language clear of all such difficulties. That is why I said that Sanskrit is one of the simplest of all languages. On the other hand, what actually takes place is that students are first brought into such corners and frightened, and there has spread this superstition that Sanskrit is the most difficult language…
Sanskrit is like a well-kept garden with fencing around; and with gates leading to it and roads within. Other languages are like open meadows with thorny bushes around and narrow paths in between.’’
To abolish ethnic and communal difference and hatred from India, Sanskrit learning is the only remedy. Swami Vivekanada said --
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 Brahmins.’’ 

Why Sanskrit-study is necessary for all, the report of Sanskrit Commission (1956-57, 1958)—

‘’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 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 Indian heritage has got the power to make those who possess it feel a spiritual and intellectual assurance and self-confidence.’’
It is suicidal to be over-fascinated to foreign language and culture by leaving one’s own highly developed culture and tradition. Clarence Maloney said in this regard--
‘’It would be impossible to find an example of a civilisation or cultural system that was inherently dynamic, creative, long-lasting and made a mark on history in which the elite spoke a foreign language. Such a civilisation does not exist.’’
Comment of our former President Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma is very valuable. He said--
 ‘’On the Practical plane one must acknowledge that in terms of its grammar, phonetics, vocabulary and the Devanagari 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 Devanagari script was not only the most suitable but also that it perfectly satisfied every requirement as an optimal medium of use.

                 The culture of Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature is actually the culture of synthesis and assimilation. The message of Sanskrit literature is one of the humanism, of unity of humankind, 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 the 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 operation and as a language for the new technology.
It would help us to invigorate various languages of India. As Gandhiji 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 vast knowledge held by it.
To quote Jawaharlal, ‘The past has 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.’’
(Legacy of Sanskrit, The Indian Nation, 11th Jan, 1988)

Famous Bengali  litterateur Pramatha Chowdhury very nicely said—
‘Not to be a Pandit, but to be cultured, everybody should know a Classic. And our only Classic is Sanskrit. Is there any comparison of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, works of Kalidasa, dramas of Bhasa,  the Kadambari of Banabhatta, Shataka-kavyas of Bhartrihari in Indian literature?`

Luis Renault said--
        ‘‘There is not a living culture without a living tradition. If India is beloved and cherished among the elite of the West, it is on account of her traditional culture. At this culture is embedded above all in the treasures of Sanskrit. Sanskrit and India are inseparably connected in spite of the transitory haranges of the politicians.’’

 Ex-President of India  Dr. Rajendra Prasad said--
         ‘‘Sanskrit is the language of Indian culture and inspiration, the language in which all her past greatness, her rich thought and her spiritual aspirations are enshrined----. Sanskrit has not only been the treasure-house of her past knowledge and achievements in the realm of thought and art, but it has been principal vehicle of our nation’s aspirations and culrural traditions, besides being the source and inspirations of India’s modern languages. For many centuries in the past Sanskrit provided the principal basis of the unity of India. In that hoary past the whole country had more or less a common pattern of education, common rituals and common  beliefs. It was Sanskrit that provided a common medium of expression and of literary effect.’’

 ‘‘The gulf between technical and spiritual education should be bridged. Sanskrit  is verily that bridge.’’   

‘‘Our whole culture, literature and life would remain incomplete so long as our scholars, our thinkers and our leaders and our educationists remain ignorant of Sanskrit.’’
(By Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Address of Sanskrit Visva Parishad, Benaras, 16.12.1962).


Observations of Pandit Jawaharlal Neheru: 

‘‘If I was asked what is the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her first heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly—it is the Sanskrit language and literature all that it contains.’’
Observations of A. Frazer--

‘‘The acquisition of Sanskrit is indispensable not only for the study of classical books composed in that language, but principally as the mother language of a great number of Indian dialects---.
It is true and obvious that a true and radical reform of a nation in learning and morality (which is the object of a good government) will begin and proceed with the improvement of their own national language.’’
(By A. Frazer--- Report on the Sanskrit College, Calcutta, 31st January)


Observations of Mahatma Gandhi--
‘‘I quite agree that the study of Sanskrit is sadly neglected. I belong to a generation which believed in the study of the ancient languages. I do not believe that such a study is a waste of time and effort. I believe it is an aid to the study of modern languages. This is more true of Sanskrit than any other ancient language so far as India is concerned, and every nationalist should study it because it makes a study of the provincial languages easier than otherwise. It is the language in which our forefathers thought and wrote--. No translation can give the music of the original, which, I hold, has a meaning all its own.’’
(By Mahatma Gandhi---Harijan, 23rd March, 1940.)


Observations of By Dr. K. M. Munshi

‘‘I believe in the great power which Vivekananda used to ascribe to Sanskrit. We are unnecessarily frightened by the difficulty of learning Sanskrit------.
And that it must not be forgotten that such a knowledge of Sanskrit gives one a master-key to the knowledge of the majority of Indian languages not exceeding the Southern group.’’
‘‘The lives of over two hundred million people in our country are associated with the sacred rituals in Sanskrit from birth to death----.Sanskrit thus our great source of strength. The world is in a mess. It could only be redeemed by a wide appreciation of Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavadgita and of the inspiring message of the Upanishads, which teach truth and non-violence and above all, faith in the dignity of man’s personality, in the moral and in God.’’


Observations of other famous scholars:

‘‘There is a great inspiration in Sanskrit literature. This is why the study of Sanskrit has been become essential for free India.’’
 (By Dr. Harekrishna Mahatab)

‘‘My definite opinion is that a well-designed simplification of the syntax and the tense and gender system, Sanskrit is the one language which can be most easily and with the least objection on the part of any Indian converted into a national language.(By Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyer)

‘‘It’s (Sanskrit) suitably to be the medium of legal, philosophical and scientific thought is unrivalled.’’ (By Dr. Sampuranananda)

‘‘Sanskrit is the one national inheritance of India.  The South and the North, the West and the East have equally contributed to it. No part of India can claim it as its exclusive possession. Sanskrit is indeed be said that one who knows Sanskrit is a better India.
The study of Sanskrit is not a luxury and should not be looked upon as such. It is a necessity. Sanskrit, being our greatest single national inheritance, the roots of our national behaviour, pattern of our thought and the source of our ideas being embedded in Sanskrit, a familiarity with it is necessary for anyone who claims to be a true Indian.
Sanskrit alone has the pre-eminence which Hindi could never claim over the regional languages enabling her to maintain and uphold in every region of India the supreme claim of Indian unity.’’
(Sardar K.M. Panikkar, Indian Inheritance, Page-2, Bharatiya Vidyabhavan)

‘‘Such is the marvellous continuity between the past and the present in India, that in spite of repeated social convulsions, religious reforms and foreign invasions, Sanskrit may be said to be the only language that is spoken over the whole extent of that vast country. We can hardly understand how, at so easily a date, the Indians had developed ideas which to us sound decidedly modern. Some of the riddles of the future find their solution in the wisdom of the past.’’
                                                                                                          (By F. Maxmullar)

‘‘Sanskrit, it is of a wonderful structure more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.’’
                                                                                                    (By Sir William Jones)

‘‘Justly it is called Sanskrit, i.e. perfect, finished. Sanskrit combines these various qualities, possessed separately by other tongues; Greecian copiousness, deep-toned Roman force, the divine afflatus characterising the Hebrew tongues. Judged by an organic standard of the principal elements of language, the Sanskrit excels in grammatical structure and is indeed the most perfectly developed of all idioms not excepting Greek and Latin.’’
(By Prof. Schegel)

‘‘It’s exceeding age, it’s remarkable conservation of premitive materials and forms, it’s unequalled transparency of structure give it an undisputable right to the first place among the tongues of the Indo-European family.’’
(By Prof. Whitney)

‘‘The intellectual debt of Europe to Sanskrit literature has been undeniably great.  It may perhaps become greater still in the years that are to come.’’
(By Prof. Macdonell)

‘’It is impossible to conceive a language so beautifully musical or so magnificently grand.’’
(By Prof. H. H. Wilson)

‘‘India, though it has, as we have seen, more than 500 spoken dialects, has only one sacred language and only one sacred literature, accepted and revered by all---, however diverse in race, dialect, rank and reed. That language is Sanskrit and that literature is Sanskrit literature… ...the only quarry whence the requisite materials may be obtained for improving the vernaculars or for expressing important religious and scientific ideals.’’
                                                                                                   (By Monier Williams)

‘‘It is an astounding discovery that Hindusthan possessed, in spite of the changes of realms and changes of time, a language of unrivalled richness and variety, a language, the present of all these dialects that Europe has finally called classical—the source alike of Greek flexibility and Roman strength; a philosophy, compared with which, in point of age, the lessons of Pythagoras are but of yesterday, and in point of daring speculation Plato’s boldest efforts were tame and commonplace. This literature, with all its colossal proportions which can scarcely be described without the semblance of bombast and exaggeration claimed, of course, a place for itself. It stood alone and it was able to stand alone.’’
                                                                                                              (W. C. Taylor)

‘‘Sanskrit is more perfect and copious than Greek and Latin and more exquisite and eloquent than either.’’
(By Prof. Bopp—Edinburgh Review, Vol. XXXIII, page—43)

‘‘The literature of the Sanskrit language incontestably belongs to a highly cultivated people, whom we may with great reason consider to have been the most informed of all the East, It is at the same time, a scientific and a poetic literature is one of the richest in prose and poetry.’’
‘‘The Vedas are without doubt the oldest works composed in the Sanskrit. Even the most ancient Sanskrit writings allow the Vedas as already existing. No country except India and no language except the Sanskrit can boast of a possession so ancient and venerable, no nation except the Hindus can stand before the world with such a heirloom in its possession, unapproachable in grandeur and infinitely above all in glory. The Vedas stand alone in their solitary splendour serving as a beacon of Divine light for the onward march of humanity.’’
 (Prof. Heeren’s Researches, vol.II—page 201, 127).

‘‘India lives because of the world purpose which she has to fulfil, because the world will be enriched by what she can give to it. The Indian youths of to-day are the custodians. Proud of their guardianship let them cast aside false shame of themselves and of their own, as also all fear and sloth.’’
(By Sir John Woodroffe)

‘‘Sanskrit literature although a symbol of Indian culture is much more than this, it is universal and belongs to the world.’’
(By Dr. Ludwick Sternback)

Comments

Unknown said…
It is very motivational post.
😃😃😃

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