Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Thanking Sanskrit

Sanskrit is one of the most important things that binds us as a nation. After millenia, Sanskrit continues to inspire us in many big and small ways.

For example, when you think of naming your child, you almost certainly look for Sanskrit names - beautiful ones. There is no other language in the world which has so many meaningful, yet beautiful names.

Another example - Most literary works in Indian languages are generously soaked with beautiful Sanskrit vocabulary. Even movie song lyrics are routinely enriched by words of Sanskrit origin.

Another example - A majority of Indian contribution to Science, Mathematics, Philosophy etc. has been in Sanskrit.

Another example - International impact. Words like yoga and karma are now in English dictionary. These are ideas that people all over the world are embracing in today's increasingly money-driven world. Unfortunately, we are unable to read and understand the original Sanskrit texts that explore these ideas.

One can think of more such examples... Sanskrit lives on. In the background of our lives. In subtle ways. It is not our Lingua Franca any more, but it is still very much alive in the fabric of our life and culture.

Unfortunately, many modern Indians identify Sanskrit with just religion This mindset needs to change. What can we do to keep alive such an important aspect of our culture that took millenia to evolve ?

1. Realize that our lives are still enriched by Sanskrit, whether we are conscious of it or not.
2. Sanskrit needs our support to survive. If we ignore our cultural aspects like Sanskrit, our descendants might curse us for having lost our identity for the sake of materialistic pursuits. Like the people of some unfortunate African nations - Western in names and outlook but still poor and backward - the sad price of losing one's identity.
4. We are all busy. As a small step, we can associate ourselves with Samskrita Bharati - an organization that has done wonderful things to spread awareness about Sanskrit. We can support them financially and with our time.
5. We can also take up spoken/written Sanskrit courses from Samskrita Bharati and participate in the events they organize. It would be great if our youngster community can produce Sanskrit teachers.

If you wish to contribute something to Sanskrit for the good things that it has given us
, please contact me at coolkrishnan at gmail dot com / 98800 46941. I live in Bangalore.


Devanathan said...


Good Effort !

BTW, I notice some flip in your views esp. with naming children.

LOL :-)

Anonymous said...

Krishna, I’ve been following your blog for a year now and I’ve enjoyed reading most of them. Especially, the one's about religion, culture, Tamil and of course my favorite SANSKRIT. You have a natural talent in writing and in expressing your thoughts. Just wanted to say you are amazing and thanks for those wonderful articles. I sure will call you some day to contribute something. “All for the love of Samaskridham”.

SamskritaBharati said...

That was a nice write up.
Keep it up.
Hope you have read this article:

Anand said...

Good Post.

Your 'about me' section is very similar to my thought. I would probably describe myself in the same words.

Where in Bangalore do you live and are you a samskrita bharati volunteer?

DKM said...


I am also very thankful to samskR^tam and its gifts to Indian culture and humanity at large.

In parallel to that, I think that we need to be thankful to those who preserved this legacy often at great risks (as in Islamic times) and ridicule (as in some Buddhist eras). As many of the preservers of samskR^tam and its treasures are BrahmaNa-s, many feel hesitant to give respect because of the strident anti-BrahmaNism of our times which is comparable to racial hatred of various kinds.

Once a gentleman wrote a wonderful book on the percussion traditions of KEraLam, and in parts of the books he was stoning the BrahmaNa-s who contributed very, very significantly to the rhythm traditions of temple festivals while using basic concepts such as MAtRaa, aavaRtanam, etc. which go back to the VEdic corpus beginning with the book MAtRA-lakshaNam which has been published by the Indira Gandhi Center for Performing Arts. He did not see the contradictions in his position -- dishonoring the messenger while enjoying and benefitting from the message. He had a difficulty acknowledging it when I pointed out the contradiction.

So, in sum, we need to respect the groups who upheld the traditions embedded in samskR^tam including the language itself. I write this as a non-BrhamaNa who is not hesitant to affirm what is true.

DKM Kartha