Sunday, August 9, 2009

Re-visiting the greatness of Sanskrit.


Two articles on the greatness of Sanskrit and the struggle to revive the Sanskrit are posted below. Though they are old posts, they do deserve a reading. My thanks to my friend Mr Parthasarathy for sending those articles.

On reading them, I thought of the two great verses – one, which is recited from time immemorial whose author is not known and another composed in the recent past by none other than the Paramacharyal of Kanchi.  These are the Peace verses that the entire world be happy (which scores of people recite at the end of Ramayana parayana), and the Maithrim Bhajatha verse composed by Paramacharyal stressing peace in the world.

Sanskrit is a power-packed language as its words convert the meaning into reality.
The many welfare- verses of Sanskrit not only keep the world moving but also implant a deep love for the welfare of all in the one who recites them.

Particularly I am moved to recite the "Kale varshathu..." everyday after I finish Ramayana Parayana. I am proud to be born in this tradition that made me say these and such other verses.

Kale varshathu parjanya,
Prauthwee sasya shalini,
Deso yam kshobha rahitha,
SAjjana santhu nirbhaya.

Let the monsoon be timely and plentiful,
Let earth be covered with vegetation,
Let the country live without problems,
And let good people never have fear.

The two verses (among scores of similar ones) are posted here.

-         jayasree.


Mangalya Prarthana
[Universal Prayer to well being from the Vedas]
Translated by P. R. Ramachander

Swasthi prajabhya paripalayantham,
Nyayena margena maheem maheesa,
Gobrahmanebhyo shubhamasthu nithyam,
Loka samastha Sukhino bhavantu.

Let good things occur to the king of the country,
Who looks after his people well, in the path of justice,
Let Cows* and Brahmins** have a pleasant life daily,
Let all people of the world have a very pleasant life.
*wealth was measured by cows in those times
** People in search of God

Kale varshathu parjanya,
Prauthwee sasya shalini,
Deso yam kshobha rahitha,
SAjjana santhu nirbhaya.

Let the monsoon be timely and plentiful,
Let earth be covered with vegetation,
Let the country live without problems,
And let good people never have fear.

Aputhra puthrina santhu,
Puthrina santhu pouthrina,
Adhana sadhana,
Santhu jeevanthu sarada satham.

Let sonless people have son,
Let people with son have grand sons,
And let people who are poor or rich,
Live and see one hundred autumns.

Sarvathra sukhina santhu,
Sarve santhu niramaya,
Sarve bhadrani pasyanthu,
Ma kaschid dukha bhag bhaveth.

Let people live with pleasure everywhere,
Let all people live without diseases,
Let every one feel themselves secure,
And let none have at anytime sorrow,

Om Sarvesham swasthir bhavthu,
Om Sarvesham santhir Bhavathu,
Om Sarvesham poornam Bhavathu,
Om Sarvesham Mangalam Bhavathu.

Let comfort be every where,
Let peace be everywhere,
Let there be plenty everywhere,
And let good things happen everywhere.

Om Santhi, Om Santhi, Om Santhi

Let there be peace,
Let there be peace,
Let there be peace.

Maithreem Bhajatha
By Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati
Translation by P. R. Ramachander
[This prayer was written by Paramacharya of Kanchi to be sung in the U.N. Assembly by Smt. M. S. Subbalakshmi during its 50th anniversary and dealt about universal brotherhood and peace as enshrined by the Sanathana Dharma.]

Maithreem Bhajatha Akila Hrith Jeththreem
Atmavat Eva Paraan api pashyata
Yuddham thyajatha, Spardhaam Tyajata, thyajatha Pareshwa akrama aakramanam
Jananee Prthivee Kaamadughaastey
Janako Deva: Sakala Dayaalu
Daamyata Datta Dayathvam Janathaa
Sreyo Bhooyaath Sakala Janaanaam
Sreyo Bhooyaath Sakala Janaanaam
Sreyo Bhooyaath Sakala Janaanaam.

With friendship please serve,
And conquer all the hearts,
Please think that others are like you,
Please forsake war for ever,
Please forsake competition for ever,
Please forsake force to get,
Some one else property,
For mother earth is a wish giving animal,
And God our father is most merciful,
Restrain, donate and be kind,
To all the people of this world.
Let all the people live with bliss,
Let all the people live with bliss,
Let all the people live with bliss.


Killing Sanskrit – the voice of Hinduism

By: Chanchal Malviya
11/5/2007 3:14:05 PM

(Author is a Project Manager at a Multinational company in
India, taking care of their Offshore magazine publishing. Has been an active writer, and have recently completed my book - "From the Laws of Nature - I")

Language is one of the key tools forming the basis of unity among diversities. English has tied this world due to its simplicity. Urdu has tied the Muslims together and Hindi has tied the Hindus together. While there are some positive conclusions about all languages, we will look at Sanskrit as a language for its maturity. Why is it called a scientific language? We will find that the maturity of Indian culture was killed the day Sanskrit lost its importance and it was killed for those who lost the knowledge of Sanskrit. The Long Leaders have continuously worked for bringing Urdu over Sanskrit, making sure that the sense of being matured is lost on the long run – obviously if the Voice dies, one is lost in the world of expressions alone. Voice of Hinduism is Sanskrit and why Hindus, it is a say – Sanskrit is the mother of all languages. Isn't it the moral responsibility of the country to respect and keep the mother healthy?

We call Sanskrit as the mother of all language for reasons. One, Sanskrit is the oldest language known to humanity. Two, Sanskrit is yet the most scientific and most matured language. Third, as it is scientific it develops a level of intelligence in its speaker. Fourth, knowledge is very easily transferred through this language as the language is such that it allows memory to grow sharper – this was proven in ancient days when most of the learning used to happen verbally and none of the student used to forget that was taught, as the language allowed them to bring concepts and words to same space, not allowing much possibility of varied and modified presentations.

Such is the language of Sanskrit that even one word of it can allow an individual to write books in other languages. That is how we find our Sanskrit readers and saints of
India to be the most effective speakers on the globe. What is stopping us then to evolve this science back?

If we look at language construct of English, we find all vowels of English using one of the "Matras' of Sanskrit the so called vowels as "a', "e', "i', "o', "u'. Thus, the basis of English also seems to be Sanskrit and English has realized only 5 vowels out of many "Matras' of Sanskrit. We have similar language constructs in nearly for all languages, Sanskrit being the oldest surely has produced them all.

We have Vedas as the oldest book in Sanskrit. Seeing the maturity of Vedas, it is quite understandable that Sanskrit and its relation to such high philosophy must be another few thousands years old that what is predicted by modern Historians. In fact, it is known to Hindus that Sanskrit being a natural and scientific language must have existed since creations. Anyway, the world's greatest creations Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Geeta, AyurVeda, Purana, Mahabharat, and Ramayan – all had been in Sanskrit. This in no way can be falsified that Sanskrit was the speaking language of ancient
India. And amazingly these languages have survived ages and yet are in original form.

The derived languages of
India are very close to Sanskrit, but yet they do not gain an importance as high as Sanskrit. Children learning Sanskrit, by the natural virtue of the language, tend to develop intelligence and memory far more than children getting educated in any other language. In effect of the scientific nature of the language, communication of children improves. The language being natural, inculcates a sense of natural understanding, thus creating children of higher understanding about nature, life and God.

The word "Sanskrit' is a combination of two words – "Sanskar' and "Krit'; "Krit' meaning "Inculcating' and "Sanskar' meaning "Essence of Moral Values'. Thus by its meaning Sanskrit means a language that has the capacity to indoctrinate higher values in an individual.

Despite of these amazing facts about Sanskrit, our political leaders have shown nearly no interest in promoting Sanskrit in schools. Instead, they have hideously driven strategies to kill this language, as is always visible from their policies. It is now, up to every Parents to decide, how they want to bring up their children – their children exposed to the drawbacks of western education system thereby falling into a directionless path and developing loss of individuality or they want them to hold on values and develop a sense of identity through highest morale and understanding about matter, life and God.

Sanskrit can play an amazing role in reshaping the highest philosophy into practice. Sanskrit in no way comes against the modern scientific knowledge, rather it envelops them in true shape, and it delivers them with the sense of natural parameter attached. Hindu scriptures in Sanskrit goes doubtlessly to inculcate patience, tolerance, concentration, confidence, faith, positive attitude and strong will in any individual who religiously study and practice it.

It is under a prolonged conspiracy that despite of means to grow high morale personalities, we find youths of modern age adopting dead personalities. It was Mughals who destroyed Sanskrit literatures whatever they could with barbarism, which was followed by British who deceived the whole mass about superiority of English and deprived the fighting group of their precious strength – Sanskrit. With loss of
Sanskrit, India is loosing its cultural strength, its valuable high morale youths, and its character of producing Gods on this land.


Sanskrit, a synonym for Communalism

In a column analyzing the BJP victory in Karnataka, Indian Express columnist Seema Chisthi wrote the following paragraph.
The much-Sanskritised chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, who had also campaigned in Karnataka, was calmly in conversation with the TV anchor, commenting on national issues. Very difficult to engage on matters outside Gujarat usually, he signalled his stepping onto a national stage on Sunday — a Sanskritisation (a phrase coined by a Kannadiga sociologist M.N. Srinivas, incidentally) in political terms, which could have violent consequences for not just his party, but also for how politics may take shape quickly, and feverishly, before 2009.[He who holds Bangalore

Usually you see the word saffronization associated with the Hindutva folks, not Sanskritization. This word, which was used as a pejorative during the anti-Brahmin movement, is not in vogue in public commentary these days, but the revival is with mischievous intent. Narendra Modi and Sanskritization, well you get the association. Now the name of a language has become a synonym for communal politics.
In fact this attempt to brand Sanskrit as a non-secular entity happened once before, believe it or not - by the Central Board of Secondary Education. It was an attempt to pull the rug off India's cultural heritage and history by branding an entire language as not-secular.

At that time the Central Board of Secondary Education decided not to offer Sanskrit as an elective because
1.       If they offered Sanskrit, they would have to offer Arabic and Persian since they were also classical languages. If Sanskrit alone was offered ignoring Arabic and Persian, then it would not be secular education, so went the reasoning.
2.       If they offered Sanskrit, they would also have to offer other languages like French and German and even Lepcha.

The Supreme Court in a landmark verdict rejected the accusation that teaching Sanskrit was against secularism. To make that judgment, the Court first defined secularism as neither pro-God or anti-God, but the ability to treat devout, agnostic and atheist alike and to be neutral in religious matters. To be a secular person you don't have to reject your religious beliefs; you could deeply religious as well as secular. To illustrate the case, the Court cited two Indians - Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda - to "dispel the impression that if a person is devout Hindu or devout Muslim he ceases to be secular."
Regarding the language, the Court wrote that Sanskrit was the language in which Indian minds expressed the noblest ideas. It was also the language in which our culture, which includes the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, the teachings of Sankaracharya to Vallabhacharya and classics of Kalidasa to Banabhatta were expressed. Without understanding Sanskrit, the Court wrote, you cannot understand Indian philosophy on which our culture is based.

There were two other reasons (a) Sanskrit is in the Eighth Schedule, while French, German, Arabic, Persian and Lepcha are not and (b) Article 351 of the Indian Constitution.

Now Seema Chisthi is taking us two decades back, once again to imply that Sanskrit = Communal, thus giving a language such a narrow definition that it would disconnect an ancient nation from its rich cultural heritage. Soon Sanskrit speakers, students of history, and Indian philosophy will be branded communal and the volunteers of Samskrita Bharati will be compared to Mohammed Afzal. Lets watch to see if our eminent journalists, defenders of secularism and guardians of enlightenment pick this up.

Spanner in Reviving Sanskrit

This January, the Indian Govt. cut funding for a Sanskrit program because it is now a sin to learn an ancient language and the reason: India has a large Muslim population.

Such camps, run by volunteers from Hindu nationalist groups, are designed to promote a language long dismissed as dead, and to instill in Hindus religious and cultural pride. Many Sanskrit speakers, though, believe that the camps are a steppingstone to a higher goal: turning back the clock and making Sanskrit modern India's spoken language.

Their endeavors are viewed with suspicion by many scholars here as part of an increasingly acrimonious debate over the role of Sanskrit in schools and society. The scholars warn against exploiting Indians' reverence for Sanskrit to promote the supremacy of Hindu thought in a country that, while predominantly Hindu, is also home to a large Muslim population and other religious minorities.

"It is critical to understand Sanskrit in order to study ancient Indian civilization and knowledge. But the language should not be used to push Hindu political ideology into school textbooks," said Arjun Dev, a historian and textbook author. "They want to say that all that is great about India happened in the Hindu Sanskrit texts."[Summer Camps Revive India's Ancient Sanskrit]

When the Supreme Court of India writes judgements admiring the language in which Indian minds expressed noblest ideas, it takes the UPA Govt. to accuse that it is communal. Instead of whining about the Govt. the best course of action would be to organize a Samskrita Bharati camp in your area.

 Related posts in this blog:-

Sanskrit dictionary - the biggest work in lexicography

Sanskrit and other languages

Can Mantras be chanted in Tamil in temples?

'Anna daanam' or 'Soru daanam' – which is correct?


rishi vasanth said...

very great initiative this is.
i am immensely pleased.
idam thava krishi harshaneeyam
bahudaa suprayojanam
krupena sweekuru mama vandanam

Ved Premi said...

In the Svasti Mantram, the line
"Go brahmnaebhyah shubham astu nityam" is wrongly translated.

See Aurobindo's "The Secret of the Veda" for a discussion of the terms "go-mati and "asva-mati".

In vedic terms, "go" means "rays of knowledge", and not the literal meaning of "a cow".

And a "brahmana" is "one who preserves knowledge and passes it on to future generations", nothing to do with any "varna".

A better translation in general would be:
Prosperity of the populace protected and fostered
On the path of righteousness walk the rulers and the people
Knowledge and the preservers of knowledge are ever ensured of well-being
Then all the worlds are happy and peaceful.

Very appropriate in todays world, where "leaders", politcal and commercial, are walking the path of destroying the populace.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

@ Ved Premi,
Thanks for the comment. The Go-Brahmin was originally mentioned as such only. What Sri Arabindo has said is for the condition of today. There is no denying the fact that the cow and Brahmins were held in high esteem until a few hundreds of years ago. I can quote many verses from Tamil sangam texts and inscriptions also. Let us not shy away from the fact of the past just because the past has been interpreted in a vitiated way by vested interests. Even a single Brahmin who lives up as a Brahmin can transform the world. We have 2 such Brahmins in Tamilnadu today - Sri Velukkudi Krishnan and Sri AM Rajagopalan - who are inspiring and educating people from all walks of life to lead a dharmic life. Such Brahmins must live longer for the sake of mankind. They will.

For more information on how Brahmins lived in this land, read by series on "were Brahmins bad?" in this site. There 10 articles posted so far. The next will be posted in a couple of days.