Sanskrit language Sanskrit - the mother of all languages, one of the 23 official languages of India and known as a classical language of Indian subcontinent belongs to the Indic group of language family of Indo-European and its descendents (Indo-Iranian & Indo Aryan).

It is also a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit which was once the language of munis and rishis is now attracting the modern world in such a way that experts are of the opinion that Sanskrit is the best language for use with computers. Sanskrit is a scientific and systematic language. Sanskrit literature is easily the richest literature in the history of mankind.

The word "Sanskrit" means "refined, decorated" or "produced in perfect form". It is known for its clarity and beauty. Sanskrit is the classical language of Hinduism, the oldest and the most systematic language in the world. Equal contributions have been made from all corners of the country for the growth of Sanskrit language.It has always been regarded as the 'sacred' language of Hindus and still continuous to be the only language used in holy functions and ceremonies of Hindus. Sanskrit mantras are made with a combination of sound vibrations, which when recited have a specific effect on the mind and the psyche. Hence the richness of Sanskrit language is left to one's imagination.

History of the Sanskrit Language

Sanskrit is one of the oldest known languages over thousands of years. It is also called "Dev Vani" (the language of gods) as it is said that Brahma introduced this language to the Sages of celestial bodies. It is believed that the Sanskrit language came from Indo-European language family of Indian subcontinent. It was only in the 18th century, a similarity between Sanskrit, Latin and Greek was found which made the think tanks of the world to study and discover the relationship of all Indo-European languages. Enough evidence is yet to be gathered to accept Indian origin of Sanskrit language.

Vedic Sanskrit was the earliest form of Sanskrit language approximately around 1500-200 B.C.), when "knowledge" was handed down through the generations orally. In this period there was composition of hymns, poems, puranas of which some form sacred scripts of Hindus. The oldest known text in Sanskrit, the Rigveda, a collection of over a thousand Hindu hymns, the Sama-veda is the veda of chants, the Yajur-veda the veda of prayers; finally, the Atharva-veda contains the lore of the Atharvans.

Approximately between 500 B.C. - 1000 A.D, there came up Classical Sanskrit, based on the old Vedic speech, the period after which Panini composed his grammar of Sanskrit. Ramayana and Mahabharata were the two great epics of this period. Classical Sanskrit also includes works of philosophy, astronomy, science, medicine and law.

Sanskrit Literature

Sanskrit literature forms an oldest stage for millions of years. The Sanskrit language has a wonderful structure and is more perfect than other languages. Over thousands of years, many scholars have contributed to Sanskrit literature. Sanskrit is written in the Devanagari (literally means "cities of the gods") and Brahmi based scripts Sage Panini's Sanskrit grammer called Ashtadhyayi produced around 4th century B.C gives the details of how the language works and forms the basis for modern Sanskrit grammars. Sanskrit language has an extremely rich complex grammatical structure and an enormous vocabulary.

The three major Hindu philosophic concepts which were formulated in Sanskrit are Dvaita (Madhvacharya), Advaita ( Sankaracharya) and Vishistadvaita (Ramanujacharya). Among the best-known masterworks of Sanskrit literatures are Ramayana (Valmiki) and Mahabharata (Vyasa) epics, Panchatantra (Vishnu Sharma), Artashastra (Chanakya), Bhagavadgita, poems and plays of Kalidasa, Puranas & Upanisads. Apart from these literatures on astronomy, science, astrology, medicine and law have been taken place.

Number of speakers:

As per the 2001 Indian census, around 14,135 speak the language fluently. Apart from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, some areas of south and Southeast Asia, many Buddhist scholars of Japan, China, Thailand use Sanskrit language.

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