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Mar
14
2012

What do we really know about Sanskrit?  We know that it’s one of the world’s most ancient language  and heavily influenced English and many European languages, and that Hindus use it when reciting hymns and prayers, but what else?  Here are 5 interesting facts about Sanskrit:

1.  Sanskrit originally did not have a written script – as it was an oral language.  The earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit (about 1st century BC) are in the Brahmi script.  So Sanskrit was written in many regional Indian languages including Oriya, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.  Today, the Devanagri (Hindi) script is used to write Sanskrit.

2.  Sanskrit is a highly regularized language.  In fact, NASA declared it to be the “only unambiguous spoken language on the planet” – and very suitable for computer comprehension.

3.  Sanskrit is an official language of the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

4.  Today, there are a handful of Indian villages (in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh) where Sanskrit is still spoken as the main language.  For example in the village of Mathur in Karnataka, more than 90% of the population knows Sanskrit.

5.  Even a Sanskrit daily newspaper exists!  Sudharma, published out of Mysore, has been running since 1970 and is now available online as an e-paper (sudharma.epapertoday.com)!

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7 Responses to “5 Curious Facts About Sanskrit”

  1. priyanka Says:

    hi i just want to clarify if sanskrit was only written 1st centruy BC …ramayana was written by Sage Valmiki in Sanskrit ages back in Treta Yuga..so i think you get the info from western source which doesnt know that world existed million years Before Christ and thinks that whatever Hindu teachings are just ‘myth’ology

  2. parag Says:

    Hello Priyanka –
    Thanks for you comment.
    Please see here for more information about when Valmiki Ramayana was written.
    There is also some more scholarly information here about the writing of the Vedas – which were written in Vedic Sanskrit – and different from the classical Sanskrit.

    Again, thanks for the discourse.

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  4. Srinath Says:

    Hi Priyanka and Parag,

    Please note that Ramayana was created(Rachitha/ Krutha) by Valmiki and was not written. Please understand that Krithi (Creation) is something different that that of writing. Our ancestors were not using any literature for Sanskrit and were not documenting these Maha-Kavyas/ Itihaasa’s. Instead, it was coming to generation to generation in an interesting method called “Shruthi and Smrithi”. Shruthi means Listening Carefully and Smrithi means Memorizing (the listened things).

    These are really most scientific way of studies which was thought in our Gurukulas. One is to memorize so many things in his lifetime and used to give it to next generation.

    We were using basically 4 different scripts/ literature to write sanskrit. The southern states like Karnataka/ Maharashtra/ AP were using “Deva-Naagari” script to write Sanskrit. Tamilnaadu uses “Granthaakshara”. Northern states like Bengal and some portions of Bangladesh (East Bengal) uses “Nanda-Naagari” script. Himaachal Pradesh was using Braahmi/ Prakrit to write sanskrit. You can even see many Sanskrit books in these places are written in either of the scripts as mentioned above.

    I hope I have clarified you upto an extent.

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Regards,
    Srinath

  5. Kirtan Says:

    An attempt is needed for revival if it’s not to be declared as “DEAD LANGUAGE”.
    Great to see even a handful of people trying to make efforts for this great language !!

    I want to improve my reading/understading Sanskrit. Anybody here who has followed and can suggest a schedule/source to achieve this?

  6. Kashyap Puranik Says:

    NASA declaration link is not working.

  7. Happy Realisation Says:

    Happy to see people keen on learning and understanding sanskrut.
    Happy Realisation organises workshops on Sanskrut language and decodify shloks under the guidance of an international teacher. Pls contact happyrealisations@gmail.com