Sanskrit Lesson 1 – Science behind the Sacred Sanskrit

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Let us start this Sanskrit Learning Series by looking at a few popular facts attributed to Sanskrit Language.

  • What makes Sanskrit so different from all other human spoken languages?
  • Why is the Sanskrit grammar described to be so scientific, structured and accurate?
  • What makes Sanskrit so special that it is called the Deva Bhasha, language of the Gods?
  • Why is Sanskrit said to be the only human spoken language which is unambiguous and suitable to be used in Computers?
  • Why is Sanskrit said to be context sensitive in meaning, context free in grammar, and without any need for evolution?
  • Why Sanskrit does not require any loan words?
  • How is it possible that we can frame sentences, write books in Sanskrit such that the same text can have different meaning when read in a different context?

In this series on learning Sanskrit, we will first try to understand the greatness of the Sanskrit language, the  reason which makes Sanskrit stand apart among all the thousands of human spoken languages. The reason for its beautiful structure, accuracy, great potential and representation of knowledge. But please note that this series is unlike any conventional Learn Sanskrit courses. The approach followed here would be more like watching a suspense thriller movie rather than a boring documentary. So if you are looking for something like a ‘Learn Sanskrit in 5 days‘ tutorial or ‘Sanskrit for dummies‘ quick book, I am afraid this is not for you. My efforts here are so that you appreciate the beauty of this language, and in doing so, learn it as well, slowly but surely.

If you are new to Sanskrit, what is being taught in this lesson here, which is one the core features of Sanskrit alone, will leave you spell bound, for if you do not know Sanskrit yet, you will understand and realize its greatness now and here. But before that…

Without being consciously aware about it, I was extremely happy to realize that the day on which I started writing this series was Guru Poornima (Jul 22, 2013), the birthday of Maharshi Veda Vyas. Even though my name is Gurudev, I am a student forever, and my infinite respect and salutes to all the Great Gurus of the past, present and future. My teachers are numerous, almost all of them taught me through their writings via books, and nature has been my greatest teacher. Gurudevobhava. Here we go.

Sanskrit Lesson 1

Why Hindu Gods have hundreds or more than thousand Sanskrit names?

Usually a person has one official name, may be a pen name, some pet names, nick names and so on. So you might be known by at the most 4 or 5 different names. But how about 108 names or even say 1000 names?

If you are a Hindu or know Hinduism closely, you will be aware that in the vedic culture there are deities with just too many names. There are multiple lists of 108 names, 1000 names of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. How can somebody be known by so many different names?

The answer is that each of these names describe different attributes and properties of those Gods or Goddesses. If we take Ganesha for instance

  • Ekadatanta refers to his attribute of having one tusk
  • Gajavadana refers to his attribute of having an Elephant face
  • Mushaka Vaahana refers to his attribute of Mouse being his vehicle
  • Vaktratunda refers to his attribute of having a broken tusk
  • Vigneshwara refers to his attribute of being the remover of obstacles and so on.
  • Ganesha itself refers to his attribute of being the Lord of Ganas, the semi divine beings.

If everything refers to his attributes, then what is the real name of Ganesha? Interesting, isn’t it? Let’s move on.

Create multiple names for a Single Object – a core feature of Sanskrit Language

Another similar interesting aspect you come across in Sanskrit is a thing or a person having multiple names. Take the case of Lotus for instance, Kamala is what it is popularly known as in Sanskrit, but also has numerous other names like Jalaja, Vaarija, Ambuja, Neeraja, Pankaja and so on. Similarly ‘Sea’ which is popularly known as Samudra in Sanskrit has numerous other names like Jaladhi, Vaaridhi, Ambudhi, Neereadhi and so on.

Now if you keenly observe the names of Lotus and Sea given above, they look similar except for the last letter. For Lotus the names end with ‘ja‘, while for sea they end with ‘dhi‘. What do the common terms represent then?

The common terms, jala, vaari, ambu, neera all refer to water. Each of them define an attribute of water, and hence they represent water.

Ja in Sanskrit means ‘born of‘. So when you add ‘ja’ to the names referring to water in Sanskrit, you are referring to something that is born of water. Lotus being a flower born in water naturally earns all these names. So take any attribute in Sanskrit which represents water, add ja to it, there  you have another name for Lotus.

Kamala

But why am I here referring jala, vaari, ambu, neera etc as attributes or properties of water, and not as names of water? Aren’t they actually the names of water? We will come to that in a moment.

Before that we will look into the  names of sea. dhi in Sanskrit means abundance. Water is abundant in a sea. So you take any name in Sanskrit which refers to the attributes of water, and add a ‘dhi’ to it. There you have a name for sea!

If you were keen enough to observe the other name of Lotus Pankaja, you will see that I didn’t mention a similar name for sea, Pankadhi. That is because, Panka refers to an attribute of mud in Sanskrit, not an attribute of water as you might have expected. Lotus is born in mud and hence also earns the name Pankaja. So what is Pankadhi then? Well, if you know something which is abundant in mud, like how a sea is abundant in water, you can call it Pankadhi. You just created a new name in Sanskrit! :)

What about the names Kamala and Samudra? Kamala refers to something that has an attribute of pale red color. Since Lotus has this attribute of being pale red in color, it is also called Kamala. Anything which has this attribute of pale red color can be called Kamala as well.

Samudra refers to an attribute or a property of gathering of waters. So any gathering of waters can be called Samudra, be it a Sea or an Ocean.
Sam refers to gathering, like in the word Samsad. Udra again refers to an attribute of water. Sea is a gathering of river waters, Ocean is a gathering of sea waters, hence both Sea and Ocean could be called Samudra. Now just think what are Udraja and Udradhi :)

If you are wondering about Samsad, sad refers to the act of sitting. So Samsad is sitting together, members sit together in the parliament, or for that matter any place where people sit together can be referred to as Samsad.

Bonus:  What is Kamalaja? You should be able to easily make out, it can refer to anything born out of Lotus, because we saw earlier that Kamala refers to Lotus and ja refers to born of. So who is born of Lotus? Brahma! which is why he is also called Kamalaja. Because he is born of Lotus!

Similarly KamalaNaabha refers to Vishnu because Lotus sprouts of his navel. Naabha refers to an attribute of navel. So AmbujaNaabha, VaarijaNaabha all refer to Vishnu!

Now we are ready for the great dive into Sanskrit. Before that please note, attribute names themselves do not have a single meaning either. They in turn depend on the attributes of their roots and so on till the very base root. For instance ambara can refers to the attribute of Sky or to the attribute of Cloth. So when we say Shwetambara we are referring to the attribute of cloth, where Shweta means white, so Shwetambara means white cloth or white dress. Even Shukla refers to the attribute of white, so Shuklambhara refers to white dress and Shuklambharadharam refers to the one who is wearing white cloth. But when ambara is used to refer to the attribute of being limitless, it refers to Sky which is limitless.

Ambara can also refer to other attributes like that of a perfume, saffron, a lip, cipher code and so on. These different attribute names are derived from the roots of the word ambara itself! More on these Sanskrit roots in future lessons. Before that…

Sanskrit, all about names of attributes and properties, not of things and objects

There are no names for objects and things in Sanskrit, its only about referring to them by the names of their attributes or properties. While you slowly start digesting this fact, I will explain it further. Let me make it clear again, there are no names in Sanskrit language which refer directly to an object without having to mean anything else related to that object. You cannot simply name an object as for instance Farhanitrate or a procedure as Prerajulisation :)

Or to be more clear, there are no ‘fixed’ name representations in Sanskrit for Objects. Sanskrit is not a language based on names of objects, unlike other languages. It is purely based on names of attributes. Everything, including people are given names based on their attributes.

Remember ancient Indian history like Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas? Krishna was called so because of his dark complexion, Krishna refers to an attribute of having a dark complexion. But were you ever confused why Veda Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata was also called Krishna Dvaipayana. I was confused a lot on this in my childhood. Differentiating between Krishna and Krishna Dvaipayana was an issue for me! Krishna is Lord Krishna, while Krishna Dvaipayana was the original name of Veda Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata.

Veda Vyas was called Krishna Dvaipayana initially because he had a dark complexion as well and he was born in an island. Dvaipayana means the one who was born in an island. In Sanskrit Dveepa is an attribute referring to an island. So he was originally called Krishna Dvaipayana, while Lord Krishna because of his dark complexion was called Krishna.

Krishna Dvaipayana later collected, re arranged and compiled all the veda into the form as we know them today, and hence he was called Veda Vyasa or the compiler or differentiator of the Vedas. Krishna Dvaipayana was his name by birth, and Veda Vyasa was his name based on his achievements. You can refer to anybody who is of a dark complexion and born in an island as Krishna Dvaipayana, but there is only one Veda Vyasa.

As you can see, throughout the ancient Indian history Scholars and Kings were given different names based on their achievements and other later life attributes. Children were usually given names based on their attributes when they were born or in their early childhood, and most of the popular figures in Indian history grew up to earn many different names based on their achievements and based on other incidents in their lives.

Since any thing or a person can have multiple attributes, we find things, Gods, people, all having multiple names in Sanskrit based on such attributes. The next time you come across multiple names in Sanskrit for the same thing or person, remember that is because Sanskrit names are not ‘fixed’ names of objects, but describe their attributes. In other words, just by knowing the name of something in Sanskrit, you get an idea of one of its attributes, which you cannot get in any other languages we speak. Which is also the reason you find in many Sanskrit verses the same person or object being referred by its many attribute based names to make it clear who or what is actually being referred to. Kesari can refer to Saffron or Lion, but when we say Kesari Gajaari, it definitely is referring to Lion because Gajaari means enemy of elephant and saffron cannot be an enemy of elephant, while Lion is. Continue reading for details.

Simha Kesari

To make things even clear, in English for instance we just have names, and by looking at the name we can’t say what we are talking about unless we know it already. Take for instance the name Lion, it is just that, a Lion. On the other hand look at the names of Lion in Sanskrit. Simha, Kesari, Gajaari all refer to its different attributes like being violent and strong, its body color, it being the enemy of elephants and so on.

So while in English, Lion is the name of a specific animal, in Sanskrit any attribute of a Lion can be used to refer to it. There is no specific name for a Lion as such. And the same attribute can also be used to refer to something else which has that same attribute. For instance, Kesari can also be used while referring to Saffron which has the same color, like that of Lion. Simha can be used to refer to somebody who is as powerful or violent.

So remember this always, names in Sanskrit do not refer to objects or persons or entities, they refer only to attributes and properties. You cannot simply go and give an arbitrary name to a thing. That is meaningless in Sanskrit. Sanskrit has a science of its own, it is well structured, well defined, you cannot break these rules. More rules in future articles, but something more interesting follows below.

Sanskrit is a Context based Language

Now you should have also understood why meanings of sentences or words in Sanskrit is context sensitive. And why most of the English translations by those half baked Sanskrit pundits who did direct word to word translations are so messed up. You should also by now have understood why when you read those mis-translations, they sound so funny, meaningless. You break the rules in Sanskrit, that is not Sanskrit anymore!

For instance, ambara can refer to an attribute of cloth or sky. If a person translates ambara as sky when it is actually referring to cloth, then you have a goof up! A sentence which was intended to mean “Sun in the Sky” ends up being translated as “Sun is in the dress”. And our wise intellectuals then start mocking Sanskrit texts as being childish, illogical, crap so on, all because the translation was wrong!

It doesn’t stop here, people can even misinterpret the Sanskrit texts as saying something else while it originally meant something totally different! That is how you end up with all those numerous translations on the Internet of Sanskrit verses being anti-woman, promoting caste system, texts contradicting each other, and so on.

Take for instance the translations making round about people eating beef or killing the cow during the vedic period. The whole basis of this myth is translations of Sanskrit verses like the one which actually means “control your sense organs” which was translated as “kill the cow“, all just because the word used was go/gau can refer not only to cow, but also to sense organs in Sanskrit. So when taken out of context and translated using its most popular object, you end up with misinterpretations like these. Sanskrit translation can never be done by going word by word, the entire context should be used as the basis to understand the meaning. And there are multiple rules and hints to understand the context of words which we shall learn in the future lessons of this series. But before that…

Embedding Secrets and Mystery in Samskrit Sentences

Because of its context based word meanings, one can intelligently frame great malleable sentences in Sanskrit which can be used to represent multiple facts, ideas etc. This is where the beauty of the sentences in Veda and Upanishads come into picture. Simple sentences can be used to represent n number of different ideas and facts. And vedas and Upanishads are full of such innovative beautifully framed sentences. This is also ONE  OF THE reasons why one can form extremely short sentences in Sanskrit meaning extremely complex things, like the famous mahavakyas (great sentences) in the Upanishads, like tat tvam asi, aham brahmasmi, ayam atma brahma etc. Simple they may look, they have enough information hidden in them for one to keep writing books after books on the information hidden in these sentences or the ideas they represent.

If you are still not clear, in English when we say Sun rises in the East, we just mean that. Sun is an object, which rises in a direction which we call East. But in Sanskrit we refer to Sun not by a name of its own, but by any property representing Sun. Similarly East is referred to by some property of that direction, so is rising represented by an attribute of the act of rising. So a sentence in Sanskrit which says Sun rises in the East can also represent any fact or information that is a combination of these three attributes.

All the core 8800 verses (shlokas) of Mahabharatha are said to be filled with such hidden information and secrets! It is said that only Vyasa and his son Shuka were completely aware of all the hidden meanings in them, while Sanjaya (who narrated the war to Dhritarashtra) was aware of some of them!

Sanskrit can create New Names , no need of Loan words from other languages

All languages are filled with loan words borrowed from other languages. English itself has too many loan words borrowed from languages across the world. Sanskrit has fed loan words into core English via languages like Greek, Latin, German etc which themselves had taken numerous loan words from Sanskrit. Read this article for the list of mainstream core English words derived from Sanskrit. Even today English continues to import loan words from Sanskrit like Yoga, Guru, Avatar, Maya, Nirvana, Pundit, etc.

On the other hand in Sanskrit because of its attributes based nature there is no need for any loan words. Loan words are only required when you come across something or some knowledge which is new to that language’s culture. For instance, Yoga was new to English, became a loan word there. With the advent of Internet and related terminologies, many terms like, ‘Download’ and ‘Upload’ were imported into Indian languages. So they have become loan words in our languages. On the other hand in Sanskrit, because of its attribute based nature, you can always create a new word which can then be used to refer to an attribute of that new knowledge or thing! You will never need a loan word which would be meaningless on its own in a language. For instance in mainstream English, Yoga has no meaning of its own. In Kannada, or Hindi, the word Download has no meaning of its own. But in Sanskrit you never need such imported words. Because of its attribute based naming convention, you can always create as many new words you want. In fact the possibilities are infinite, so immense that you can go on creating new words even for existing objects! This is also one of the reasons why there is no need for Sanskrit to evolve unlike other languages.

An Example of creating new words in Sanskrit

Edit: Since many readers asked about giving a practical example of creating new words in Sanskrit by giving one for Download, have updated the article with one for download and upload. The attribute of descending or fetching is Avataara in Sanskrit, so one word for Download in Sanskrit could be Avataarayati or the act of fetching. Avaroha represents the attribute of going down, so Download can also be Avarohayati

Similarly for Upload we can call it Urdhvayati where Urdhva is an attribute representing upwards in Sanskrit. Aaroha also represents the attribute of ascent or going up and hence Upload can also be called Aarohayati

Not only these, you can create any number of words for upload and download in Sanskrit using the attributes representing upward or ascent, and downward, fetching or descent. For instance consider the terms Unnati and Avanati, which represent progress and downfall respectively. Take the Sanskrit attribute which can represent File, Patrika. So File uploading and File downloading could be Patrikonnati and Patrikavanati respectively! The options are limitless!

Now you also understand why Hindu Gods have chants with 108 names, 1000 names called Ashtotthara, Sahasranaamaavali etc? and why even historic persons like Vyasa, Krishna, Rama, etc have so many names.

Take the case of the names of Lord Shiva. Shiva, Manjunatha, Jagannatha, Vishwanatha, Eeshwara, Ardhanaareeshwara, Mrityunjaya, Mrda, Gangadhara, Shoolapaani, Pashupati, Nagabharana, Nandivaahana, ChandraShekara, and many more all refer to the various attributes of Lord Shiva.

Summary of Sanskrit Lesson 1

  • In Sanskrit you cannot simply given an arbitrary name to a thing.
  • In Sanskrit things and objects do not have names, it is the properties which have names.
  • In Sanskrit you name things by referring to their different properties, and hence the same object, person, place, etc can have various different names each referring to a property or an attribute of that object, person, place etc.
  • In Sanskrit you don’t need loan words, because as we come across new knowledge, new things etc we can simply refer to them based on their attributes and properties.
  • You can always create as many new names as you want in Sanskrit as long as they refer to the correct property names.
  • Sanskrit is context sensitive in meaning of its words and sentences because the same property can refer to different things, objects, persons, places etc in different contexts.
  • In Sanskrit you can create great sentences which reveal multiple information in a single sentence or even in a single word. In other words, entirely different information can overlap within a single word or sentence in Sanskrit. The possibilities for composers, writers, poets to be creative in their composition, writings and poems, to encode secretive information in an ordinary looking sentence are all immense. Sky is the limit for Sanskrit authors.
  • And we have only touched the tip of the iceberg, more lessons to follow…
  • Sanskrit is not a mere language, it is a science in itself and is the mother of human speech. Most of the world languages have been either derived or have been at influenced or at least touched by Sanskrit. Samskrit itself refers to an attribute which means the one that has been thoroughly refined.

Bonus: Since most Indian languages are based out of Sanskrit or are heavily influenced by Sanskrit, we can easily apply these attribute based names in our languages as well. As you all know, almost all these names are equally valid in our local Indian languages as well. So for Indian languages it has been always so easy, every time you need a name, just look towards Sanskrit and there you have it. And they sound so native in our languages, naturally. Be it Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, Bengali and even European languages including Greek, Latin, English, Russian German, Lithuanian – Sanskrit has donated numerous words to world vocabulary.

But beware, a fake theory in the name of PIE is being spun to deny Sanskrit its rightful place in history by saying that all ancient world languages including Sanskrit have their roots in some imaginary language called PIE (Proto-IndoEuropean!), just so that Sanskrit could be made one of’ those languages instead of the root language. The issue is, nobody knows who spoke this PIE, where, when, no books, no literature, no civilization, no culture, no proof of its existence.  PIE is a big LIE. The bigger issue, why only Sanskrit became what it is with all its unique features which we just described, and which we will be describing in forthcoming articles? No explanation. PIE for me simply never existed.

if anybody says Sanskrit evolved from this or that language like some imaginary PIE, then they simply dont know Sanskrit. There is NOTHING in Sanskrit which is progressive evolution, it is a “designed” language, like computer programming languages. The 2012 root words, its ability to create new words on the fly are proof of it. You evolve only when you are not perfect. Sanskrit is a perfect language.

More interesting stuff in the next article. Did you find this first article not just useful, but interesting as well? For I want to make it as interesting as possible. Don’t want to scare people away with complex terminologies and math equations like content. Sanskrit is a complex language, so is Mathematics, but learning both can be fun, only if its presented in the right way. Someday will also come up with similar articles in Mathematics. Please leave comments, be it queries or criticism or suggestions. Also request learned Sanskrit scholars to point out any mistakes that might have crept in.

Most importantly, please share as much as possible. The world really needs to learn Sanskrit. It is a great language, the greatest ancient innovation, mother of human speech, and has a great potential in creating a universal brotherhood. Look at some of its great quotes

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam meaning ‘Whole Earth is a family’.

Sarve jana sukhino bhavantu meaning ‘May all people live happily’

Ekam sat, viprah bahudha vadanti meaning ‘Truth is One, learned scholars know it by many names’

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Heem
Let there be peace everywhere

Read Sanskrit Lesson 2 - Dhatu, Magic Roots of Sanskrit

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  • MANDU2

    This is excellent. You have struck a deep need in my being, for I have for a very long time thought that I must learn Sanskrit…. I have had for decades a genuine interest in origin of words, etymology, in English, as well as French, German, Latin, Greek which are the other four languages to which I have made some non-professional studies with a bit of knowledge.
    meaning ‘Whole Earth is a family’ is a term of great interest and importance to me, and language as attribute rather than names is something I have long had a sense for, but never before heard it so clearly articulated. Thank you. Wow….

    P.S. I highly recommend the recent film “ARRIVAL” as an extremely profound & valuable film, with multiple attributes which must surely resonate with people interested in deep improvement in communications between us all.
    In MY OWN Academy Awards, I gave Best Picture of the Year Award to ARRIVAL, with Best Actress to Amy Adams playing an extraordinary linguist who struggles to communicate with Aliens who have landed 12 ships around the Earth. She is working with two Aliens on the spaceship that lands in Montana… and the resolution of this film is deeply moving, intellectually profound and a spiritual gem. Do not miss seeing it…-MANDU2, (from my Calico that I named Madamoiselle Catmandu..) Nepalese of course. ***FEB.27.2017

  • Advait Dravid

    Woow! Impressed!

    Ok…. Now plz tell me.. They say that there are many Tamil borrowings in Sanskrit! is it true?

    For instance….

    Pooja
    Aadi
    Lok etc are from Tamil, is that true?

    • Ashok Kumar AK

      No its not true. Actually its ulta. The words you mentioned, and many other words are borrowed from sanskrit to tamil. Sanskrit is the mother of all

  • Anjan Acharya

    So wonderful way of explaining! Please keep on enlightening us, Teacher! May like to tell you that I am in search of a missing link in Sanskrit. I feel that every word of Sanskrit creates the vibration or rhythm in the universe which has some connections to the attribute that word indicates. I shall follow your lessons religiously. Panama!

  • Anand

    Excellent presentation. A huge mindset blocker removed in my head – I can now appreciate samskrtam so so much better. Indebted to you. Thanks.

  • रवि कुमार शरमः పెనమకూరి రవి

    उत्तमं Trying to express myself in Sanskrit. Will keep following Gurudev _/_

  • Ajit Navaraj

    Can you derive more meanings out of the phrase “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “Sarve jana sukhino bhavantu” ?

  • naveen

    Exceptional article. Totally loved it. Now my mission is to learn Sanskrit. Keep posting new articles Gurudeva.

  • Shanthi Joyful Yogini

    Gurudeva! shata kOti namaskaaraah: ! Etat patitvaa bahu santushtaa asmi! bahu aasaktikaram asti ! sulabha rUpENa avagantum shaknumah: ! bhavantam drashtum icchaami!

  • Ritrup Biswas

    Awesome read and learning. Thank you Sri Gurudev ;)

  • Divakar

    excellent article. superb and gives the right picture of the greatness of Sanskrit.
    I am eager to read your next articles. may God bless you, for taking up a very important task that had been left for too long. wishing you the best…… warm regards, divakar

  • Dr.Sachidanand Das

    Many characters in Indian (Hindu) culture are hyped by this practice of giving names based on attributes which may be true or false. Our aim should be to know truth, not to worship, adore some imaginary,false or unproven images. Such an approach can lead to fascism of caste, faith, family, etc.

  • Dr.Sachidanand Das

    Well documented and clearly presented.

  • John Scarborough

    Unbelievable article(s)… Namaste

  • Abhishek Bhardwaj

    Thank you for sharing …………..its too interesting

  • Dr Kuldip Dhiman

    May I know who Gurudev is?

  • adarsh nahar

    Amazing explanation of sanskrit. i never thought of it this way. Sanskrit is a programming language and can be used to create programs by just voice interpretation.

    Thanks for this tutorial.
    India need more teachers like you

  • Vinita Kewalramani

    Absolutely Amazing. You have made a boring language so interesting

    • Sanjay

      regret you called Sanskrit a boring language….. sorry but you seem to be unknown to the strength of this language.

  • vasu vanukuru

    Sir. Thanks u for teaching Sanskrit innovatively, without boring. I will use/share this information as u wish in my upcoming book, please give permission to use ur information.
    vasuopus@gmail. com

  • Aman Arora

    Thanks for such a wonderful introduction to such extremely divine and designed language.

  • Aditya Jadhav

    That’s too good article!!….could u plz tell me about how Sanskrit stotras affects our body internally….for instance we recommend reading ‘Atharvashirsha’ to students mostly, as it improves there memory….I’m curious to know about science behind Sanskrit….

  • Sridhar Kaushik

    A very good tool to learn basics. I am fascinated by Sanskrit which I learnt till my 10th standard. It was not offered as an additional language in 11th and 12th std. We had only English to chose, so it is strictly not even a choice. It was compulsory!
    Talk about being colonized, I feel Indians are still mentally colonized people.

  • Sridhar Kaushik

    Aditya,
    The people who said about PIE were those who may have sincerely believed in it but they also believed that earth was created on a certain precise date as per the Bible. I am talking about people like Max Mueller. They saw a lot of similarities between Sanskrit, Latin and other European languages and came up with this theory. They also propounded that this language was imported into India from Central Asia or some European landmass. This was called “Aryan Invasion Theory”.
    It gained ground because nobody from India opposed it. They could not because they were the ones colonized and had little say, academically speaking.
    Modern excavations, Satellite imagery, genetic studies have proved that nobody came from outside. These colonizers called Saraswathi a mythical river but its river bed was discovered some years ago by a satellite.
    What does all this mean?
    It means that people like Max Mueller did not have the tools that we have today. THE reality is nobody came from outside, that Sanskrit is indigenous to India, that there is nothing called PIE language. That is a poppycock, a figment of European imagination.
    No language has such elaborate explanation of grammar, root words etc. Latin, German do not even come close. English of course is highly unscientific.
    The fact that PIE is so ingrained in you to make you angry shows how
    much Indian brain has become colonized by the European ideas.
    Maybe you need to study this whole AIT debate, listen to many experts in the field before you shout off your mouth!

  • आदित्य

    Excuse me, are you a linguist? No, you’re not. Who are you to say that Proto-Indo-European did not exist? Nearly ALL linguists (who are language scientists, in essence) support the Proto-Indo-European theory. Also, you state in your article that PIE is supposedly the origin of “all ancient world languages”–this is false. For example, Hebrew and Arabic did not come from Proto-Indo-European and thus are unrelated to Sanskrit. PIE is the origin of some world languages (although it is the largest language family), like Hindi, English, Spanish, Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit.

    If you say there is no proof that PIE existed, there is no proof that Sanskrit “loaned” words to other languages causing the similarities in vocabulary. The only sound, reasonable way to explain these similarities in grammar and vocabulary is through a common ancestral language–PIE.

  • A Reader

    Very good writing. However, I have a question on Sanskrit having words for attributes of an object rather than the object itself.

    Are all words attribute only? Does it mean there are no words for nouns in Sanskrit?

    For example, gaja means elephant. So isn’t it same as other languages where we have at least one word to identify a specific object only?

    • itzguru

      Gaja even though commonly used to refer to elephant, actually describes an attribute of the elephant which means the one that is born late or in the end, because elephants have the longest pregnancy time. Ja means to be born and Ga means “in the end” here. Aja means the one who is born in the beginning, and is one of the attribute names used to describe Brahma, the creator. Dvija means, twice born, where Dvi means twice. This is a term which is used for Brahmins, Brahmin actually means a “learned person, the one who knows all” and all learned persons are called Dvija because the knowledge they have earned is similar to getting a new life, like being born again. Because, those with knowledge look at the world and experience the world in a completely different way than the one who lack knowledge. So to get educated and become learned is like getting a new life, and such learned people are called Dvija.

      An elephant is also called Hasti, meaning the animal with a hand, hasta=hand in Sanskrit, and hasti is the one with a hand. Elephants have a trunk which acts like a hand and hence are called Hasti as well.

      So, its all about attributes, though overtime ppl may use certain attributes just like names, but they are mere convention rather than a language feature. For instance, God Krishna can be referred to by his any other attributes like Gopala, Madhusudhana, Murari, etc. Shiva can be referred to by any of his attributes like Tripurari, Eshwara, etc. So you can call them attribute names, but not absolute names like in other languages, because the same attribute name can be used for any other thing with a similar attribute.

      • A Reader

        Wow, that is an interesting explanation.

        So, is there absolutely no 1:1 words for objects then?

        • Sridhar Kaushik

          Also, to add to what itzguru said, “Dwija” also refers to a bird. The word means “twice born”. One as we know refers to brahmin. The meaning is “bird” which is born twice: first in egg form and then as a bird. Interesting, is it not?

  • Dr.Sanjiv Sharan

    excellent lesson, thanks .
    expecting more such lessons.

  • PSabc

    This is an enlightening article! Thank you. Keep it coming – Sanskrit teaching needs this.

  • Will Mohammed Garcia

    Diviade and conquer. Many words for the same things, how will we ever understand eachother?

  • Malavika Gurung

    excellent article..thank you

  • Janani

    One of the best articles I’ve read! Brilliant stuff! May I know where you learnt Sanskrit? :) Is there any way in which we could know more root words in Sanskrit?

  • sameer

    Excellent seriese.. Please continue wich such noble work. One thing I want to know is how the shabd roops of different pad are formed? I strongly believe that there must be some set of rules to form the shabd roop of any pad. Mugging these forms for so many words cannot be an attribute of sanskrit.

  • NameMePls

    Awesome, please let the article provide more examples.

  • gowree

    sir I recently joined sanskrit classes and refered to many related websites.. reading your article I only admire sanskrit more.. its like as we get to know more about god our bonding becomes stronger.. one day I wish to convey my msg in sansrit it self.. shubhamasthu..

  • dg

    Wow, very great info and wonderful article about our great mother language ”Sanskrit”. For my curiosity sake I just wanted to know. can you explain the meaning of word “VISHNU” and “Narayana” word?? plz

    • itzguru

      Vishnu means the one who is everywhere. Narayana means the one inside whom all beings exist.

  • Kamal Singh Rajawat

    thank you very much for this great article on SANSKRIT. It is our duty to spread devbhasa.

  • Karthik

    Gurudev it was really a great article, the way you written was easy to understnad and also the explanations are very convincing.

  • Praful

    Samskruta is God’s language is true, but I see many Sanskrit graduates unable to earn their livelihood by virtue of it. Well, at the present time we have to maintain it as a personal hobby.

  • प्रवीण पाण्डेय

    आपने मंत्रमुग्ध कर दिया, इतने वैज्ञानिक ढंग से पहली बार संस्कृत के बारे में पढ़ रहा हूँ। आपके ज्ञान और स्पष्टता को नमन।

  • vidya ved

    Great explanation. I want to learn sansakrit how should be the approach so that i don,t leave it in mid or half way

  • Forum Dave

    Wohooo

    Excellent. Though have read it once but need to re-re-read before going to dhatu (this I have done in school so hopefully will understand more easily )

    Thanks

  • Bharathiraja

    Great piece of work in the simplest possible style. Here are my questions:

    1. Was Sanskrit ever spoken by common men? If so, when did it go away from them? Or, was it only the elite’s language because of its complex nature?

    2. I have come across this attribute-based naming funda in rural parts of Tamil Nadu as well. If the first son is dark, he is named Karuppaswamy and then the second one that is fair is named Vellaiswamy. Very interesting stuff… isn’t it? :) Even goddess Mariammal is called so because she was worshipped for rain. Mari is rain. Sorry to bring in Tamil here but that’s the medium through which I can relate to things so it was unavoidable. This is exactly why our scholars keep cribbing about the meaningless names we keep for our kids. When they say meaningless, it’s not exactly meaningless but “attribution-less” or “meaning-not-known”. Makes sense?

    3. The thing about PIE… if Sanskrit is a designed language, why don’t we take PIE as the designer’s original language? I can understand that if you say it was not a mature language. Why do you want to say that there was no such language?

    4. When you say Sanskrit is designed language, it means it was designed by someone, right? Is it God as claimed by some people? Or, is it someone else? I am totally new into this so you have to bare with my silly questions.

    • Kalpesh Vyas

      I am also a new learner but to ur 4th Question my answer is first person who tried to design sanskrit was Yatse and then Panini did design sanskrit. We are following Panini’s Grammar today for amny kind of sanskrit we use

  • Yugan

    Great to Learn more Knowledge about my Favorite Sanskrit…..
    hope you can update me for every new stories…. so that i can catch it in time… for More & More knowledge

    • itzguru

      Sure, you can follow this blog on facebook or twitter or subscribe by email, see links in the side bar – top right.

  • Madhusudan

    Thanks for the information…Looking forward to more blogs on sanskrit from you.

  • shubham

    a very nice job done..thanx yaar.. for letting us know how great ancestors we had…

    • itzguru

      My pleasure.

  • Amit

    Wonderful job…. great deal of information and superb representation…
    A zillion thanks for the initative and all the very best for the successive lessons to come …!!

    • itzguru

      Thank you!

  • Bhaaratha

    This is a mind blowing information.

    • itzguru

      Thank you!

  • Anuj Sogarwal

    Aapka bahut bahut dhanyavad

    • itzguru

      Dhanyawaad :)

  • rahul

    tahnks … a lot

  • shankar

    I started learning Sanskrit a month ago. It has been a beautiful experience so far.

    This article motivates me even more to continue my studies. Whatever is said in this article is so true & yet so obvious.

    Thanks for the articles. Excellent effort.

  • Anuradha GR

    You are unearthing a treasure trove, an enormous goldmine of our heritage…knowledge that is ingrained in each one of us but oblivious to us. Thank you for this effort.

    • itzguru

      I am fortunate enough to be in a position to share this treasure.

  • Vivek Agarwal

    Hi Gurudev….I have been following your articles for quiet some time, they always amaze me and encourage me to learn more about our ancient history. In order to gain knowledge I always wanted to learn Sanskrit but somehow couldn’t get going as sites on Internet does a scary job of teaching Sanskrit. After reading this article I can finally start learning Sanskrit. Thanks a lot for such a beautiful and wonderfully written article.

    There is one suggestionrequest, I believe while we are learning the language, we should also understand the correct pronunciation of the words. If you could incorporate the Sanskrit words in its original script or any pronunciation method also then it would be greatly helpful. For example Shiv (शिव) becomes Shiva (शिवा) while originally the name is Shiv.

    Please share your thoughts on this.

    • itzguru

      Good to know that the article has enabled you to learn Sanskrit.

      Sure, will use devanagari script for Sanskrit from next lesson onwards, was just waiting to first write a lesson the script itself.

      BTW Shiv is correct in Hindi, in Sanskrit it is Shiva not Shiv, its Veda not Ved, Raama not Raam, Ganita not Ganit and so on.

      In Hindi the last a at the end of the Sanskrit words is deleted or dropped off, which is called the schwa deletion rule. In Sanskrit you have that a at the end of the words, in Hindi you don’t.

  • srihari

    This is excellently structured, looking forward to future lectures

    • itzguru

      In case you havent read, have already posted second lesson, link at the end of the article.

  • AmeetK

    Namaste Gurudev – I totally agree with what you said about English words based on object and not its properties. I was always concerned with this fact as to why or how people name objects in English,i.e., like the example you gave on Lion. Even during our grammar classes in school we were always told to memorize that “Noun is a name of a person, place, animal or a thing.” Thanks for confirming my doubt. Looking forward to more lessons on Sanskrit.

    • itzguru

      The less you have to remember, and the more there is to understand, the better its structure is.

      Have posted second lesson in case you havent read it yet.

      • Ameety

        Thanks.. Going to read it now :) I want to learn the language so that one day I can teach my Son myself.

        • itzguru

          wonderful. best wishes.

  • vijirak

    Namaskaaram Gurudev. Inspired by your teaching I coined my very own word. Wanted to tell my son to remove his socks….using what I learnt from this first lesson…property of a sock is to cover ones foot…so pada for foot and kosh for cover….hence padakosh!!! Am I right?
    I enjoyed learning from you…thanks so much and looking forward to future lessons

    • itzguru

      Great! see how naturally it flows. Paadakosha ( पादकोश) is actually a Sanskrit term used for sock!
      Good to see people putting their knowledge to practical use. Hope you have also read the second lesson. Will post third one soon.

  • Latha Vidyaranya

    sri gurudeva, namaskaara to you. your approach to learning/teaching samskritam is very innovative! you have evoked sufficient interest about the language in the readers’ heart that whosoever reads the article would surely be inspired to learn the greatest of the languages on earth!
    jayatu samskritam!

  • Vinayak Pai

    Very nicely written. Thanks for clarifying about PIE. Always found it difficult to believe

    • itzguru

      PIE is another cooked up theory like the aryan invasion, which was changed to aryan migration to give it another try, before being discarded.

      • Vinayak Pai

        Thanks

  • Umesh RAichur

    Your approach to sanskrit teaching is out of box & creative. Continue the good work plz. A million thanks to your parents :-)

    • itzguru

      Thanks Umesh :)

  • itzguru

    Great! Have already posted lesson 2, link below. Lesson 3 coming soon.

    http://www.hitxp.com/articles/sanskrit-lessons/dhatu-root-verbs-samskrit-grammar-dictionary/

  • umesh

    Good article…thanks…

    btw I have a query (I dont know if it is related to this article or not) about how the names of different rashi (astrological signs) come into existence. They are all in sankrit like simha, karkat etc… why such names were chosen to classify people. If you have any idea please throw some light on it..

  • Haridas

    प्रज्ज्वालितो ज्ञानमयः प्रदीपः

    Gurudev, I don’t know Sanskrit. But I have been admiring the beauty of the language from a respectable distance. And your article is so inviting. Thank you so much. Eagerly waiting for the next lesson.

  • Raj

    Wonderful informative article. Please continue your good work. My father is learning Sanskrit at 61. I will also follow his foorprint.

    • itzguru

      That is amazing, thanks for letting me know. Seek your father’s blessings on my behalf as well and wish you good luck.

  • Niranjan

    This is so Cool Guru!!! Fantastic explanation.
    Felt like i was reading a book on Object Oriented Programming.
    No wonder this is a suitable language for computer programming.

  • korokitasa

    awesome article… superlike !!!

    In starting of this article you have mentioned that “suitable to be used in Computers?”

    I heard this many time that Sanskrit is useful for computers..

    But how can we use Sanskrit in computer technologies?? means as compiler language or programming language or something else???

    • itzguru

      Will write a detailed article on that in future lessons. Sanskrit can be used in AI (Knowledge Representation) and natural language processing. But before that, Sanskrit is already the basis of modern programming language, many are not aware of this. The Science of Sanskrit is already used in creation of computer programming languages. If you know about BNF notations, they made their first appearance in Panini’s works on Sanskrit word structure, and it is these structures that form the basic building block of modern programming languages. In fact BNF should be called Panini-Backus form.

      http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Backus–Naur_Form.html

      • korokitasa

        धन्यवादाः |

    • itzguru

      Have answered your question in the second lesson
      http://www.hitxp.com/articles/sanskrit-lessons/dhatu-root-verbs-samskrit-grammar-dictionary/

      More detailed answers in future chapters.

      • itzguru

        In Summary,
        Sanskrit is already a structured language, meaning it is like C or Java, and hence one can write compilers for Sanskrit language, which you cant do for say English, because English sentences are not well structured for digital processing and are ambiguous. If you use Sanskrit sentences as database queries, then you don’t need SQL, because Sanskrit as I said is very structured. Database Engines like Oracle, MySQL have to simply parse Sanskrit queries and give result sets.

  • Satheeshchandran K C

    Great article . … enjoyed thoroughly. .Thank you for the article Gurudev.

    • itzguru

      u r welcome …

  • Ashish

    Loved the first article. Please keep more coming.
    I hope to learn and use sanskrit to express ideas in day to day life. Maybe after your articles I will be a able to do so.

    • itzguru

      Sure Ashish, will be posting the second article in a day or two.

  • Harry Potter

    Great article. Thanks! I think I could call me Hari Putr now :P

    • itzguru

      haha, we all are Hari Putr :)

  • Harry Potter

    This one’s not easy to answer.

    I, as do most other linguists, personally feel that Tamil was not born from sanskrit. There are many arguments for this including discovery of Tamil writings close to 2000 years old. Tamil is also probably the only major Indian language which has so few consonants and does not distinguish between many consonants that other Indian languages (even including Malayalam) do.

    But, one thing is evident, over the course of its existence Tamil inherited lots of Sanskrit words and in terms of its vocabulary became close to Sanskrit. But, then Hindi and Urdu have also inherited Persian, Turkish, and Arabic words (Urdu more than Hindi) but they cannot be called Iranian, Turkish or Semitic languages. They are still best defined as Sanskritic language.

    Then, we also have old Sanskrit texts neatly classifying language into 6 parts, etymology (vocabulary) being one of them. Therefore, if one wants to put it quantitatively (it can’t be and it shouldn’t be, but for the sake of a numerical analysis, if one wants to) then Tamil can be said to have say 50% of 1 part out 6 parts of Sanskrit influence (Since the other 5 parts are free of Sanskrit, being of Dravidian origin), which accounts for what, only about 8% of Sanskritic influence!

    Moreover, Tamil has replaced some of its Sanskritized vocabulary with native Tamil during the desanskritization of Tamil, such that a language that would earlier have had about 80% of Sanskrit/ Sanskrit derived vocabulary now has only about 40% or so.

    • Sridhar Kaushik

      AS a Tamilian I feel the “Desanskritisation” that happened during the Dravidian rule of Tamil Nadu impoverished the language.
      There used to be words like க்ஷ (क्ष), ஸ (स), ஷ (श or ष), ஜ (ज), ஹ (ह) which have literally disappeared from common usage.
      If I want to say Juhi (जुहि), in Tamil it becomes Chuki as there as the ஜ word and ஹ words are not used any more.
      What a pity!
      A language is only as good as it is spoken.

  • sudharaghuraman

    Sir,कम् अलङ्करोति इति कमलम् that which decorates water,This is what i have learnt.

    • itzguru

      That is the beauty of Sanskrit, taking different roots, same words can yield different meanings, the different meanings can either represent the same object or information, or can represent some different object or information as well.

      So even the line you stated is correct when we take kam, an attribute referring to water. Similarly the pale red attribute is also correct. When the face of a girl is said to be like Kamala, as in Kamalaaravinda, it refers to a pale red hue in her face.

  • itzguru

    I am not sure about entire Tamil being born out of Sanskrit, but Tamil definitely has borrowed loan words heavily from Sanskrit and also its grammar has been greatly influenced by Sanskrit grammar.

  • gajaha

    for some reason,for me samskritham sounds more tauthentic than sanskrit.

    • itzguru

      Samskritam is the correct word. Sanskrit is the English name for this language.

      • gajaha

        thank you gurudev.love your website <3

  • Vivek

    Really nice article … enjoyed thoroughly… Could you please try giving a sanskrit name to “Download”, that will make the point (how to create new words) ..more clear

    • itzguru

      Thanks Vivek, have updated the article with an example of creating words for upload and download in Sanskrit.

  • Vineeth Pillai

    Thank you for the article Gurudev. The summary helps a lot. I doubt whether someone can decipher Sanskrit language simpler than what you have depicted here.

    One suggestion though is to add more real examples. For eg: when you spoke about the word “Download”, how can one create a similar word in Sanskrit.

    • itzguru

      Thanks Vineeth, have updated the article with an example of creating words for upload and download in Sanskrit.

  • Arunima

    Beautifully explained. :)
    Keep up the good work!

    • itzguru

      Thanks Arunima

  • अक्षय

    उत्तमा प्रकरण !!!

    बहवः धन्यवादाः

    • itzguru

      स्वागतम् धन्यवादाः

  • Sainath

    Gurudev may we get a comment from your parents as to what attribute or property they saw in you as a baby to name you aptly as Gurudev….

    • itzguru

      Haha, they hoped for some attribute and named me accordingly :)

  • Gaurav

    Great Article, thanks for sharing.. the best thing I read was name refer to attribute or property, instead of object or person.

    • itzguru

      And that is just one of the great features of Sanskrit, many more to come in future lessons.

  • Hemanth

    Great article…thanks for sharing :) …looking forward for next lessons and will be sharing

    • itzguru

      Thanks Hemanth, also keep pondering over what you learnt here as you come across Sanskrit words in your language

  • Diwakar

    Great start and a nice initiative, awaiting further articles. Thanks

  • Manoj

    Great article!!

    • itzguru

      Thanks Manoj

  • Prashanth

    nice attempt, I hope I will learn sanskrit through this

    • itzguru

      Will try to make it as easy as possible…