This blog aims at bringing out the past glory and history of India, Hinduism and its forgotten values and wisdom. This is not copyrighted so as to reach genuine seekers of these information. Its my prayer that only genuine seekers - and not vandals & plagiarists - come to this site.
Gajananam bhuta ganathi sevitam,
kapittha jambu palasara bhaksitam, uma sutam shoka vinasha karanam, namami
vignesvara pada pankajam. The first shloka that is taught to
a child is this Ganesha shloka. But does everyone know what it means? Well,
that is one of the primary reasons why V Lakshmi Kumari, a housewife signed up
for Sanskrit classes.
“We read so many mythological texts without knowing
the meaning. I did not want to blindly recite a shloka or read the Ramayana
without knowing what it meant,“ says Lakshmi, who has been learning Sanskrit
for the last two years.
According to Dr R
Ramachandran, a professor of Sanskrit at Vivekananda College, the number
of families who can read, write and speak in Sanskrit has increased over the
years. In fact, he says that today , there are close to 150 families in Chennai
who can speak in Sanskrit fluently . “The number of
people who sign up for spoken Sanskrit classes has increased over the years.
The class starts with a simple song, first-timers find that easy because they
just have to repeat the lines. Then we introduce objects that we use on a
day-to-day basis and then, move on to simple sentences. Finally , we get to the
grammar part of it, but we don't make it very complicated,“ says Ramachandran,
who is also the vice president of Samskrita Bharati, a non-profit organisation
working to revive Sanskrit. Anybody can sign up for Sanskrit classes.
“Previously , the perception was that Sanskrit is
used only while reciting shlokas for poojas. But that is changing now. Sanskrit these days is used for research in the field of
science, math, chemistry and even management. A lot of parents send
their children to learn Sanskrit these days, because they never learnt the
language themselves, and are now realising its importance,“ he adds.
A TOUGH LANGUAGE?
One might think that the complex nature of the
words, complicated sentence structure, and tough grammar makes Sanskrit a tough
language to master. But Lakshmi says otherwise. “In the initial stages,
learning any new language can seem daunting. But once you get a hang of it, it
becomes enjoyable. Sanskrit in particular, is a rich and sweet language. One
just needs to develop interest. You will find a lot of teachers in Chennai who
take Sanskrit classes. In fact, I am going to take my first class this
September,“ she adds.
Sixteen-year-old Ram Prakash and his 12-year-old brother
Raghav Prakash have been learning Sanskrit for a year now and have begun
speaking the language at home, too. “I took up Sanskrit in my 9th grade and
found it really tough. But the language was engaging, which is why I signed up
for spoken Sanskrit classes. Sanskrit is a language
that has a lot of rules, but that's the best part. The language has helped me
improve my pronunciation and has helped me understand the meaning of the
shlokas I recite. My brother and I are in the fourth level in spoken
Sanskrit and I'm competent enough to read books now, albeit a little slowly ,“
says Ram Prakash.
NOT A COMMUNITY-BASED LANGUAGE ANYMORE
In ancient India, scholars used Sanskrit as the main
language of written and verbal communication. In fact, the language was
referred to as devabhasha -the language of Gods,
and it was spoken by only a certain community . But that has changed over the
years. Ramachandran says that Sanskrit has become the janbhasha
-the language of the people, now. “Sanskrit is no longer a
community-based language. From Muslims to Christians,
we have students from different communities who are interested in signing up
for spoken Sanskrit lessons. We, in fact, go to villages to teach the language
and reach the masses,“ he says.
M Afreen, who is in her
eighth grade, has been learning Sanskrit for a year now. She says, “I wanted to
learn a new language, which is why I chose Sanskrit. It is the oldest language
in our country and is rooted to our culture. My father is not very encouraging
of me learning Sanskrit, but then I tell him, that there is nothing wrong in
learning a language that belongs to this country . I love the language and I
will continue to learn it,“ she says.