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Learn About Sanskrit Language

Learn About Sanskrit Language

Learn about the origin and development of Sanskrit language

भाषासु मुख्या मधुरा दिव्य गीर्वाणभारती।
तस्यां हि काव्यं मधुरं, तस्मादपि सुभाषितम्।।

Bhashasu Mukhya Madhura Divya Girvanbharti.
Tasyaan Hi Kavyam Madhuram, Tasmadapi Subhashitam.

Of all languages, God’s own language- Sanskrit is the mother, divine, and most lyrical language. In Sanskrit, poetry is most melodious, wherein good sayings hold a prime position. (Learn About Sanskrit Language)

The Sanskrit language(Learn About Sanskrit Language) is the oldest among the available languages of the world. There is a huge treasure of ancient Indian civilization and culture in this language. From the Vedic period to the modern period, works and literature have been written in this language. Even in those days when the means of writing were not developed, the creations of this language were being continued through oral tradition. The works of that tradition that have survived today are virtually safe. Not only this, their method of pronunciation is also the same, there has been no fundamental change in it.

The Sanskrit language (Learn About Sanskrit Language) is called Devvani or Surabharati. The fact that the stream of literature in this language never dried up proves its immortality. The creation of this language, which throws equal light on all aspects of human life, proves the comprehensiveness of the ancient vision of our country. The proclamation of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the entire earth is our family) is the contribution of Sanskrit language literature.

The Sanskrit language is scientifically a language of the Indo-European family. European languages like Greek, Latin, English, Russian, French, Spanish, etc. are also called languages of this family. This is the reason why many words with sound and meaning similar to Sanskrit words are found in these languages. Iranian language is very similar to Sanskrit. In the last two hundred years, European scholars have studied Sanskrit extensively based on comparison with these languages. From this point of view, the Sanskrit language has gained immense respect in foreign countries. Even today, for the historical study of European languages, Sanskrit is taught compulsorily in foreign educational institutions.

Almost all the languages of India are related to Sanskrit. Languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Punjabi, Sindhi etc. have also developed from it. Many Sanskrit words are also found in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam of South India, which have been adopted by those languages in their own way. Similarly, from time to time, Sanskrit has also taken many words from these Dravidian languages of South India and adapted them into their own form. The Sanskrit language has done a great job for the unity of the nation.

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Vishnupuran says –

उत्तरं यत्समुद्रस्य हिमाद्रेश्चैव दक्षिणम्।
वर्षं तद् भारतं प्राहुर्भारती यत्र सन्ततिः ।।

Uttaram Yatsamudrasya Himadreshchaiva Dakshinam.
Varsham Tad Bharatam Prahurbharati Yatra Santatih.

The country which is situated north of the sea (Indian Ocean) and south of the Himalayas was called ‘India’ by the earlier people. The people there are called ‘Bharti’ (Indian). The Sanskrit language has been around for thousands of years. Its form has been changing during this period. According to linguistic scientists, the process of its development till modern languages has been as follows –

1. Ancient Aryan Language Period (6000 BC – 800 BC) – During this period, the process of development of the Vedic language and ancient Sanskrit language continued.

2. Medieval Aryan language period (800 BC-1000 AD) – In this period, Pali, Prakrit and Apabhramsha languages developed. Sanskrit continued to be used in the educated society and most of the authentic texts were written during this time. During this period, the Sanskrit language was not used much among the common people, but the feeling of respect for it remained the same.

3. Modern Aryan language period (1000 AD till now) – In this period, modern Aryan languages developed from the Apabhramsa languages spoken in different regions. Except for the languages of the Dravidian family, all the above-mentioned languages like Hindi, Marathi, etc. are included in it. Substantial literature was created in all these languages. Even during this period, the Sanskrit language remained prevalent among the educated masses like in the second era, compositions in it also continued.

Literary development of Sanskrit:-

Many forms of Sanskrit are found in the ancient Aryan language period, but at the end of this period, when it got a definite form through the grammar of Panini (700 BC), the instability of the forms ended and the language became stable in one form. Went. After this period, all Sanskrit texts were written in this fixed language. The result was that the spoken stream of Sanskrit was transformed into languages like Pali, Prakrit, etc. Till today the form of Sanskrit is dependent on the grammar of Panini, but words from other Indian languages kept coming into it. Sanskrit literature that follows Panini grammar is called secular literature. In this sense, secular Sanskrit literature also includes Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Puranas.

There are two streams of literary language in Sanskrit – the stream of Vedic Sanskrit and the stream of secular Sanskrit. The stream of Vedic Sanskrit also exists in many forms. Oldest All Veda: The language of Rigveda is not the same everywhere else. The form of language found in other Vedas shows a tendency of simplification. The irregularity and diversity of word forms and metal forms gradually go away. In other Vedas, we also find prose, whereas the entire Rigveda Samhita is poetic. After the Samhitas, Brahmin, Aranyaka, and Upanishad texts are available in the form of their explanations. Although generally Vedic Sanskrit is used in all these, Sanskrit seems to be oriented towards secular Sanskrit.

In the period between Vedic Sanskrit and secular Sanskrit, we find texts like Ramayana and Mahabharata. The language of these texts is as simple as Vedic sentences and there are no complex word forms. The language of these texts showed the path of development to secular Sanskrit literature. During this period, the famous writer of Sanskrit grammar, Panini, emerged, who after extensive study of the Sanskrit language prevalent in his time, made language-related rules in a book called Ashtadhyayi. Whatever may have been the difference in the style of poets and writers, the language remained the same.

The literary development of Sanskrit can be seen in four stages – (1) Vedic literature (2) Ramayana and Mahabharata (3) Intermediate Sanskrit literature and (4) Modern Sanskrit literature. The creation of scriptures continued at all stages.

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Difference between Vedic and secular Sanskrit

The Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads of all the Vedas have been written in the Vedic form of the Sanskrit language. In its secular form, texts related to Vedanga texts, Ramayana, drama, poetry, Mahabharata, narrative literature, Ayurveda, etc. were composed in different eras. Mainly religious literature was composed in Vedic Sanskrit, which was used in Yagya etc. Many other aspects of life are also found in secular Sanskrit. Vedic Sanskrit started with poetry, but gradually prose also came to dominate. Poetry once again gained prestige in secular Sanskrit and the scope of prose composition became limited. Writing prose began to be considered difficult.

Sanskrit has a close relationship with modern Aryan languages. These languages became popular among the common people. They also started being used in Sanskrit plays as dialogues of some characters. In this, independent texts were also written in which the number of poems was more. Prakrit developed in different forms in various regions of northern and central India. Hence Prakrit’s Maharashtra (in Maharashtra), Shauraseni (in western Uttar Pradesh), Magadhi (in eastern India), Ardhamagadhi (in eastern Uttar Pradesh), and Paisachi (in Sindh and northwestern India). These are the main differences, while the number of strains is greater.(Learn About Sanskrit Language)

From these Prakrits, Apabhramsa languages with those names developed. These were also associated with various fields. During this period, the inflections of Sanskrit word forms were separated from the root word, and new inflection marks were developed. Regional Apabhramsa languages gave rise to separate modern Aryan languages. Marathi came from Maharashtrian Apabhramsha, Hindi from Shaurseni, Pahari from Khas Apabhramsha, Gujarati and Sindhi from Brachad, Bhojpuri of Bihar from Magadhi, apart from Maithili and Magahi, Bengali, Oriya and Assamese and Ardhamagadhi the dialects of eastern Uttar Pradesh emerged. Thus, the modern Aryan languages evolved from Sanskrit. Sanskrit has a wide influence on all these.

Public Behavior

In the last four thousand years, Sanskrit has been prevalently used in various forms. Sanskrit was widely used among the common people till the time of the Vedic era and the Vedas. Yasaka (800 BC) has used the word language in the sense of popular Sanskrit. Patanjali called the tendencies of language as folk shelter, grammar analyzes the same. Valmiki has indicated the use of refined Sanskrit among the elite and simple Sanskrit among the rest. Even though the Jains had started using Prakrit and the Buddhists had started using Pali in their religious propagation, from the beginning of the Christian era, both had to take recourse to Sanskrit for classical discussions. The inscriptions written on stones, copper plates, etc. (except for a few exceptions) are in Sanskrit only. According to the Chinese traveler Xuanzang (who visited India between 629 AD and 643 AD), Buddhist people used Sanskrit in general debates. Ramayana and Mahabharata were read among the general public, which is proof of Sanskrit being universally accessible.

यत्र स्त्रीणामपि किमपरं मातृभाषावदेव।
प्रत्यावासं विलसति वचः प्राकृतं संस्कृतं च।।

Yatra strinampi kimparam matribhashavadev.
Pratyavasam Vilasati Vachah Prakritam Sanskritam Ch.

It is also known that during the time of the Delhi Sultanate (1206 AD to 1526 AD), many Sanskrit inscriptions were written as a memorial to some public welfare work. Sanskrit was prevalent as the official language in India’s south-eastern colonies (Indonesia, Thailand, etc.) until the fourteenth century AD. The Sanskrit inscriptions there prove this.

In such a situation, it can be said that in the beginning, the Sanskrit language was used among the common people mostly till a few centuries of AD. Over time, this education became limited to the elite in the field of writing, debates, debates, etc. In the field of literary creation, the present era is the real golden age of Sanskrit.


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