Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reading Sanskrit Improves Brain Functioning

An important finding on the influence of Sanskrit on the speaker is reproduced below. I spotted this article in my files while collecting information  to write a rebuttal to Karunanidhi's recent outburst on the Sanskrit and Vedas. News report on  Karunanidhi's unwarranted call is reproduced at the end of this article. Readers may think I could have left out the Karunanidhi part and just kept this article 'pure', but I want readers who come from places outside Tamilnadu to know the kind of nasty politics that Karunanidhi always does and how he instigates his supporters with hatred towards Sanskrit, Vedas and Hinduism. 


Reading Sanskrit Improves Brain Functioning.

by Brynne Sissom

The MUM Review, 6.Feb. 2002 

The physiological effects of reading Sanskrit are similar to those experienced
during the Transcendental Meditation® technique, according to research recently
completed by Dr. Fred Travis, director of the ERG/psychophysiology lab of
Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA.

Dr. Travis asked his test subjects to read passages from the Bhagavad-Gita in
Sanskrit and in modern foreign languages (Spanish, French, or German). In each
case they could pronounce the sounds but did not know the meaning. He measured
brain wave patterns (ERG), heart and breath rate, and galvanic skin resistance
during two reading sessions and during a 15-minute session of the Transcendental
Meditation technique.

He found that while they read Sanskrit their physiology was similar to those
measured during the Transcendental Meditation technique, but significantly
different from reading a modern language.

Their skin resistance steadily increased during reading Sanskrit and during
practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique (showing greater stability
in their physiology) but remained the same during the reading of a modern

Their ERG alpha power and coherence during reading Sanskrit were also similar to
that during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, and both of
these were higher than when the subjects read a modern language.

Dr. Travis said that these findings support Maharishi's predictions on the
effects of reading Sanskrit. Maharishi, in Vedic Knowledge for Everyone,
predicted that reading the Vedic Literature as it flows and progresses in
perfect sequential order has the effect of regulating and balancing the
functioning of the brain physiology and training consciousness, the mind, to
always flow in perfect accordance with the evolutionary direction of Natural

Dr. Travis found the similarity of physiology during reading Sanskrit and the
Transcendental Meditation technique is especially noteworthy because one reads
with his or her eyes open and engages in active perceptual and cognitive
processes, while the Transcendental Meditation technique is done with one's eyes
closed and entails a reduction of mental activity. This suggests that the state
gained during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique may be
integrated with active mental processes by reading Sanskrit.

Dr. Travis said, "The Transcendental Meditation technique takes the awareness to
pure consciousness at the source of thought. Seeing similar patterns of
physiology during reading Sanskrit as during the Transcendental Meditation
technique suggests that reading Sanskrit enlivens pure consciousness at the
source of thought and integrates that state with reading and speaking. In short,
while practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique locates pure
consciousness, leading to the state of Transcendental Consciousness, reading
Sanskrit integrates inner silence with outer activity, helping to cultivate



Karunanidhi gives veiled threat to Centre on Sanskrit

Chennai, Jun 13

In a veiled caution to the Centre, DMK patriarch Karunanidhi today said "no one should become responsible for a big stir" against Sanskrit on the lines of massive agitations against Hindi held in the state decades ago. "I would like to tell at this juncture that no one should become responsible for a big stir against Sanksrit like the one against the imposition of Hindi," he said, upping the ante against the language without naming any party or the Union government.

Hailing Tamil as an influential and ancient language, he said, "if they say that we will give no place for Tamil... (also) seeking to wipe out the hoary tradition of the language, and if they say that we will only give room for Sanskrit, then every Tamilian should take a whip to root out that hegemony."
He made the remarks at a marriage function of a party leader' daughter here.

"Let us take a valorous vow that we will not give room for hegemony of Sanskrit. There is no place for Sanskrit in Tamil Nadu. Not only in Tamil Nadu, but in any other language speaking state, whoever imposes Sanskrit, we will drive it (the hegemony) away," he said.

DMK chief's comments comes after he had earlier slammed the Centre for being "obstinate in thrusting Sanskrit as it is a convenient route towards fundamentalist Hindutva." He had cited media reports that the Centre may set up a board for Vedic education. He had also referred to introduction of Sanskrit as a third language in CBSE schools and efforts to get Hindi empanelled as an official language to buttress his point that Sanskrit and Hindi were being promoted vigorously.

Hitting back, BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan, in her repartee, had asked him if his party had not used posters in Hindi to grab votes of North Indians during polls. AIADMK also had mocked at the DMK for using Hindi during elections. 


R.Ramanathan said...

Madam is it related to the book release in the link below? It says that Tamil Nadu was the land of the Vedas.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

No. The book in the link is by Dr Nagaswamy. It is on Tamil sources related to prevalence of Sanskrit and Vedas in Tamilnadu form ancient times. What I posted here was originally written in 2003 - on the scientific research on what happens in the brain when one reads Sanskrit. Unfortunately I have not noted down the link to this info on the research.

harinee said...

So much for anti-Sanskrit comments considering his grandkids studied in DAV. DAV school where every Saturday you have compulsory Havan conducted by students and mantras are in Sanskrit. The same DAV run by North Indian Arya Samajis founded by Dayananda Saraswathi who describes India from Himalayas to Vindhyas( so didnt even acknowledge Tamil Nadu as part of India).

Jay said...

I will do one better. I can attest, based on my own personal experience, that by constantly reading/reciting Sanskrit over a long period of time, one will begin slowly BUT SURELY to understand and comprehend Sanskrit words, sentences and import of the slokas.

In the beginning, such Sanskrit slokas seem to be benign and meaningless. But with daily recitation (in my case from age 8 till present, i.e. over 29 years), over this long period, the same slokas and words seem to make sense/meaning without difficulty. And when you then read other Sanskrit texts, you will easily comprehend what they are saying. In other words, I have developed an ability to easily comprehend Sanskrit words and verses.

Today we have something called as 'encryption' technology, which basically takes information from your computer and packages it into a form that can easily be transmitted over optical cables over long distances easily, quickly and without any loss of data and remit it to the recipient again in a form that the recipient can understand. What I have realized is this: in our ancient age, that encryption technology was Sanskrit grammar/language, the medium (internet/optical cables/wireless signal transmitters & repeaters) were the brahmins/rishiis/munis/purohits and the information was vedanta.

Jay said...

Respected Madam,
Will all due respects, you could have found a more neutral source to stress the importance of sanskrit. The report coming from a researcher from "Maharishi" university needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, in my humble opinion.I also wish to inform you that I read your articles on the ancient nature of tamilian culture and language with keen interest and find them enlightening.

thank you,


Jayasree Saranathan said...

Mr Jay,

I think the best way to assess the validity of a test is to look at the scientific nature of methodology of the tests and the authenticity of the results. If you find these two wanting, you can question the finding. It is not fair to undermine this report just because it came from Maharishi university. Infact TM is put under many types of scientific tests even in those times when such tests were not widely is use.

On the other part of your comment on Tamil, thanks.