Sanskrit Lesson 1 – Secret Science behind the Sacred Sanskrit

Let us start this Sanskrit Learning Series by looking at a few popular facts attributed to the 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?
  • No loan words in Sanskrit?
  • 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?
  • Why is Sanskrit said to be context sensitive in meaning, context free in grammar, and without any need for evolution?

Preface to learn Sanskrit

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. As a preface, you may want to read Why Sanskrit was considered an important language in ancient India?

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.

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

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 or properties of those Gods or Goddesses. If we take Ganesha for instance

God Ganesha and his various attribute based names in Sanskrit
  • 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 curved trunk
  • Vigneshwara refers to his attribute of being the remover of obstacles and so on.
  • Ganesha itself refers to his attribute of being the Head 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.

Single Class – multiple names – a core feature of Sanskrit Language

Another similar interesting aspect you come across in Sanskrit is a thing or a class having multiple names – common names that all refer to the same entity. 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!

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 said to be born of Lotus!

Similarly KamalaNaabha refers to Vishnu because Lotus sprouts out 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 entities, categories and classes in Sanskrit, its only about referring to them by the names of their attributes or properties. In other words, all names in Sanskrit actually represent knowledge! They tell you something about the entity or class that they are referring to. So if you know ten names of a fruit in Sanskrit, then you know ten different facts about that fruit automatically. Sanskrit itself is knowledge!

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, except for proper names which parents give to their children. In ancient times, even proper names actually referred to an attribute that the child had during birth.

For instance, a girl born on full moon day, might have been named Poornima which means full moon. Ashtavakra was called so because he was born with eight (ashta) observable physical handicaps (vakra meaning curve or twist – remember Vakratunda ?).

So in Sanskrit, You cannot simply name something as for instance Farhanitrate or a procedure as Prerajulisation. It has to say something about the entity it refers to.

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. In ancient India even people were given names based on their attributes – proper names indicated attributes as well.

Why Vyasa was also called Krishna Dvaipayana?

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 God 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.

People get more names due to their deeds

As you can see, throughout the ancient Indian history Scholars and Kings were given different names based on their achievements and other later life deeds. 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.

In other languages, say 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 – a specific common name. And the same name can also be used to refer to something else which also has that 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 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. If you translate without understanding the rules of 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, 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, star, light ray, diamond, etc 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.

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 these sentences and the ideas or philosophical and spiritual thoughts 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 hidden information and secrets embedded in these rare combination of knowledge attributes! 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.

But 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 entity! 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.

Where as in Sanskrit you never need such imported loan 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. In fact, because of its very nature, if you import a loan word into a Sanskrit sentence, then the very parsing or understanding of Sanskrit becomes very difficult, unless the loan word is explicitly referred to with its meaning.

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 an ocean of knowledge. Samskrit itself refers to an attribute which means the one that has been thoroughly refined.

Bonus: Since most Indian languages 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.

If anybody claims that Sanskrit evolved from this or that language, then they simply don’t know Sanskrit. There is NOTHING in Sanskrit which is progressive evolution, it is a “designed” language, like computer programming languages. The 2012 root words called dhatus, 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 it is 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, one of the greatest but little known ancient innovations, and has a great potential.

Below are some great quotes in Sanskrit

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam meaning 
‘Whole Earth is a family’.
Sarve jana sukhino bhavantu meaning 
‘May all beings 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’

Continue to Sanskrit Lesson 2 – Dhatus, the magic roots of Sanskrit

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  1. A feedback: “Below are some great quotes from Sanskrit”
    There cannot be quotes “from” sanskrit – it can be either quotes “in” sanskrit or quotes “from” Gita or Upanishad or such books/documents!

  2. A totally different and amazing approach to introduce the mother of most of the Indian languages to the forgetful and “AATMAGHATI” people of this land. Please, consider if any option to save your articles can be provided.

  3. Great article but one critique though. Coincidentally, I listened to a lecture by Bibek Debroy who also talked about Veda Vyasa/Krishna Dvaipayana and he said that actually ‘Veda Vyasa’ is a title, thus can be used for other people (not just one).

    Thanks for all the content.

    • Yes Kushal,
      We can assign the title to another person if that person takes up the huge and also commendable job of dividing the Vedas and finishes it. Considering the improbability of the work happening, the author might have taken it as a never-before and never-after achievement.
      At least we all can agree that it is less likely to meet another Vedavyasa than coming across a dark-complexioned person on an island – who will be another Krisha Dvaipayana

  4. Pranam. I am just blown out by the beauty of this article. When I read the first paragraph, I thought what is he talking about? As I progressed, if I have to use the cliche, it became a real page-turner. I wish you to publish a book.

  5. Deep appreciation and compliments! Please continue with this great work. This will be beneficial to humankind for a long time.

    I will love to see this compiled in a book form – once you are satisfied that it is as complete as you think it can be at the current time.

    Thanks again.

  6. Wow! I thought this is such a long article! No, it is such a short article, I lost track of time reading it!!! Wonderful approach to Sanskrit!! Please convert all these into a book. Also, please give book recommendations!! Keep up the work of Dharma! :)

  7. Exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ve studied a few courses and countless youtube videos and internet articles, and this is the only one which has given me the information I was looking for. If you find a similar one about mathematics, please post it up. Many thanks.

  8. What an interesting read! Thank you so much for starting this series on Sanskrit. I look forward to reading and learning more.

  9. Excellent explanation. you made it easy. Sir you said jala, vaari, ambu, neera means water. what is the root word for the above?

  10. Oh my God!!! The most wonderful ,amazing article I have ever read… Thank you gurudev for letting us know the real importance of our own language

  11. Its simply wonderful Gurudev. Thank you so much for explaining in so simple manner. Its a perfect beginning. Hope that I now will be able to learn Sanskrit that I used to think is too difficult to learn.

  12. 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

  13. Woow! Impressed!

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

    For instance….

    Lok etc are from Tamil, is that true?

  14. 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!

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

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

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

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

  21. 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

  22. 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….

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

    • 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.

        • 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?

  27. 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?

  28. 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.

  29. 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..

  30. 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

  31. 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.

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

  33. 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 )


  34. 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.

    • 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

  35. 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

  36. 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 …!!

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

    • 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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

    • 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.

  42. 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!

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

  44. 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..

  45. 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.

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

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

  47. 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.

  48. 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???

    • 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.–Naur_Form.html

      • 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

  52. 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.

    • In one of the Tamil Sanga Literature(IRYANAR AGAPORUL) written by Saint Nakkerar it is mentioned that both sanskrit and tamil taught by lord shiva to panini and sage agasthiya respectively. Lord muruga and sage agasthya complied tamil grammer. Lord shiva and muruga were the cheif guest in 1st tamil sangam.
      Lord kirshna attended 2nd tamil sangam (gathering).

  53. 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

  54. 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.

  55. 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….

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


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