Understanding The Sacred Language Of Sanskrit

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The language of Sanskrit is literally as old as history itself. It holds in it’s structure the history of mankind’s greatest achievements and discoveries. It has been regarded as the ancient language of Hinduism where it has been used as a means of communication and dialogue by the Hindu Gods and then by the Indo-Aryans. Jainisn, Buddhism and Sikhism have also used Sanskrit.

The term itself, ‘Sanskrit’ is derived from the prefix ‘Sam’ which means ‘samyak’ indicating ‘entirely,’ and ‘krit’ which means, ‘done.’ This term literally means entirely done when communicating, reading or hearing and the use of vocabulary to express an emotion. Sanskrit is an extremely complex language with a vast vocabulary, and believe it or not, it is still used today especially in the reading of sacred texts, and hymns for many who recite mantras.

All words carry an energy and vibration, many believe that the energy carried by the Sanskrit language carries an even more powerful vibration than the words from our world languages of today.

Where Did It Come From?

The Sanskrit language was believed to have been generated by the god Brahma who passed it to the sages who were living in celestial adobes, who then communicated it to their earthly disciples, which began it’s spread and use here on planet Earth. In written form, its origin is traced back to the second millennium BCE.

The literary association of Sanskrit is classified into two different periods, the Vedic and Classical. Vedic Sanskrit can be found in the Vedas, or sacred texts particularly in the Rig Veda, the Puranas and the Upanishads where the most original version of the language was used. The origins of the Vedas is traced back to the period of 1000 to 500 BCE. To this day, the vocabulary, phonology, grammar and syntax remain completely undiluted. It consists of a total of 52 letters, 36 consonants and 16 vowels. None of these letters have ever been tweaked or altered and are believed to have been the same since the beginning of its existence.

Classical Sanskrit

From ancient.eu:

“Classical Sanskrit has its origin in the end of the Vedic period when the Upanishads were the last sacred texts to be written down, after which Panini, a descendant of Pani and a grammar and linguistic researcher, introduced the refined version of the language. Panini’s timeline is assumed to be around the 4th century BCE, when he introduced his work ‘Ashtadhyayi’, which means eight chapters, forming the only available foundational and analytical text of Sanskrit grammar. It is considered to be the only source of Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary today, because everything that existed before had never been recorded except via their mention in Panini’s Ashtadhyayi.

The Ashtadhyayi contains 3959 systematised rules that are undiluted in brevity, full of wonderful analysis, explanation, and preferential usage of the language and word formation. The language is so vast that it has more than 250 words to describe rainfall, 67 words to describe water, and 65 words to describe earth, among other descriptions. This proves the magnanimity of Sanskrit when compared with current modern languages. However, different the sub-castes of Hinduism may be in their dialect, race, creed and rank, Sanskrit is considered and accepted as the only sacred language giving rise to the only available sacred literature by all, even though India has a repository of 5000 spoken languages. Panini was responsible for the standardisation of the language, which to this day remains in use in multiple forms.

The language of Sanskrit often doesn’t have a word for every thing, but rather words that can be used to describe many things, for example there is no word for tree, but there is a word that can mean tree and an array of other things as well. For example, वृक्ष is a Sanskrit word that may be used to represent a tree. As said and repeated earlier, Words in Sanskrit represent properties, so वृक्ष also represents a property.

वृक्ष = something that is cut and felled down

The word वृक्ष can be used to denote any object that has this property. If something is usually cut and fell down, then it can be called वृक्ष. That object need not be a Tree.”

Really, this is a complex and yet very intriguing language. Many universities across the globe offer this language as it’s own course, yes there really is that much to learn about it and this article is merely scratching the surface. Many popular mantras are sung and recorded and often they are sung in this language. This music almost always brings a feeling of calmness and connection to the divine. Also, many people recite mantras in the ancient language during meditation as a way to connect to the divine.

Much Love

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