Sanskrit

Sanskrit has originated from Samskrta vak, meaning refined speech is actually an Aryan language that has descended from the Indus valley civilization. A common mode of conversation and literary exposition for the ancient Indians, this language is much famous as the primary language of liturgy for the Hindus and a language for scholastic works in Buddhists and Jains. The language has been enlisted as one among the 22 languages officially accepted as Indian language. Sanskrit is the official language of Uttarakhand and finds a prominent position in the academic study of Indology.

The body in Sanskrit literature envelopes a composed tradition of drama, poetry, science, technology, religion and philosophical texts. In Buddhist practice, this language is used in hymns and mantras and for the Hindus, the language finds huge space in rituals with religious bend, especially in the temples and events like puja (prayer), homa (fire rituals), vivaha (marriage) etc. Some of the villages in India along with some traditional institutes still use spoken Sanskrit.

Origin of Sanskrit

The adjective Samskrta can be derived as completely formed or highly elaborated. It has been extracted from the root word sam-skar, where sam means “together” and skar meaning “ to make” or “to do”. This word is found in Rigveda and comes with a generic meaning of “made ready”. Sanskrit is also found in the Vedic Sanskrit and means “prepared place” and hence “place meant for types of sacrifice”. The extensive use of Sanskrit is evident in all the epics written in the earlier ages. Ramayana, Mahabharata, Manusmriti, Purana, different Samhitas and many more ancient religious texts of the Hindu philosophy and religion.

The entire gamut of literary expositions in aesthetics like literature, poetry, drama and the scientific, technical as well as the other secular (Dharma) texts are found in this language. Every Indian family more or less use Sanskrit in their daily life. The morning prayers offered to their ‘idioms (Gods and Goddesses that put up in the altar) are mostly Sanskrit hymns and mantras. Some of the villages in South India still speak Sanskrit in their daily lives. Some of the traditional institutions also use Sanskrit as their common mode of communication and are attempting of its further popularity.

Sanskrit has two basic structural forms- Classical Sanskrit and Vedic Sanskrit. Classical Sanskrit was developed around 4th century BCE and has been formalized by the famous Sanskrit Grammarian Panini. Paninian Sanskrit is different from the Vedic Sanskrit in many ways. Literature is found to have begun from Vedas in Sanskrit and tries to maintain its rich culture through the various epics which got written in the Iron Age. There was an extensive use of this language in the religious literature of Hinduism mainly and most of the Indian languages have been directly derived from Sanskrit.

Some of the Sanskrit literature like that of the Yoga-sutras written by Patanjali as well as the Upanishads have been translated in Arabian and Persian languages. Sanskrit language and literature find a great importance in India and its cultural heritage which has remarkable similarity with Latin and Greek in the European countries.

A lot has been contributed by the noted scholar Panini in forming the classical form of Sanskrit. He has created the whole new set of Grammar for Sanskrit which is very different from the Sanskrit used in Vedas. Influence of Sanskrit is widely evident in the South Asian countries like Indonesia, Java, Bali etc.

The reason why Sanskrit is talked about worldwide is because of being the most scientific language on earth. Linguists believe that knowledge of Sanskrit language can solve many day-to-day crises and has the capability to keep minds away from tensions and other psychological disturbances. There is a definite lyrical rhythm in the flow of the language.

There are 36 distinct phonemes in classical Sanskrit. There are 48 distinct sounds that this language has in its alphabets. These sounds have been traditionally placed in the order of vowels and consonants. There are 14 vowels and 33 consonants with two diphthongs. The vowels are both short and long, the long ones taking twice the time to pronounce than their short counterparts. The Sanskrit language has innumerable grammatical applications, making each word’s probability of getting used much more than any other language.

The 33 consonants have labial, dental, retroflex, palatal, velar and glottal pronunciations. These pronunciation centers are aspirated (using less air), unaspirated (using more air), nasal, semivowel, liquid and fricative. There is further sound identification as in alpaprana svasa (pronouncing with lesser breath time), mahaprana svasa (with more time breath), alpaprana nada (the nodes with less breath), mahaprana nada (nodal sound with longer breath), anunasika nada (the nasal nodes).

The gender use in Sanskrit also works in three forms- singular, dual and plural, as opposed to the singular and plural gender of English or any other language. Vedic Sanskrit worked with pitch accent. Some of these syllables are high tones while some of them follow a falling tone. In fact the grammatical applications in Sanskrit are so wide that it is not possible for a single person to complete its entire research.

Sanskrit was more of an oral tradition which followed a ‘Guru-Shishya’ parampara, the teacher to the disciple lineage of teaching. It was not until after the evolution into Prakrit, the choice of writing system had evolved. Today, Devnagari has become the standard writing pattern with the Sanskrit publications. However, this language can be written in each languages respective script. The earliest known Sanskrit inscriptions were in the 1st century BCE in what is known as Brahmi script.

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