A few attempts at revival have been reported in Indian and Nepalese
India: 14,135 Indians claimed
Sanskrit to be their mother tongue in
the 2001 Census of India:
Nepalis in 2011
Nepal census reported
Sanskrit as their
Also written in various Brahmic scripts.
Sanskrit (IAST: Saṃskṛtam; IPA: [sə̃skr̩t̪əm][a]) is the
primary liturgical language of Hinduism; a philosophical language of
Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism; and a literary language and
lingua franca for the educated of ancient and medieval South Asia.
As a result of transmission of Hindu and Buddhist culture to Southeast
Asia and parts of Central Asia, it was also a language of high culture
in some of these regions during the early-medieval era. When
Sanskrit had stopped being used as a main language and lingua franca
it was only spoken and used by people of the higher class. It was also
used as a court language in some kingdoms of
South Asia after Sanskrit
became a language for the upper class.
Sanskrit is a standardized dialect of Old Indo-Aryan, having
originated in the second millennium BCE as
Vedic Sanskrit and tracing
its linguistic ancestry back to Proto-Indo-Iranian and
Proto-Indo-European. As the oldest Indo-European language for
which substantial written documentation exists,
Sanskrit holds a
prominent position in Indo-European studies. The body of Sanskrit
literature encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and drama as well as
scientific, technical, philosophical and religious texts. The
Sanskrit were orally transmitted for much of its early
history by methods of memorization of exceptional complexity, rigor,
and fidelity. Thereafter, variants and derivatives of the
Brahmi script came to be used.
Sanskrit is normally written in the
Devanagari script but other
scripts continue to be used. It is today one of the 22 languages
listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which
mandates the Indian government to develop the language. It continues
to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals
and Buddhist practice in the form of hymns and chants.
2.1 Vedic Sanskrit
2.2 Classical Sanskrit
3 Contemporary usage
3.1 As a spoken language
3.2 In official use
3.3 Contemporary literature and patronage
3.4 In music
3.5 In mass media
3.6 In liturgy
3.7 Symbolic usage
4 Historical usage
4.1 Origin and development
4.2 Standardisation by Panini
4.3 Coexistence with vernacular languages
5 Public education and popularisation
5.1 Adult and continuing education
5.2 School curricula
5.2.1 In the West
5.4 European scholarship
5.4.1 British attitudes
7 Writing system
9 Influence on other languages
9.1 Indic languages
9.2 Interaction with other languages
9.3 In popular culture
10 See also
11 Further reading
14 External links
Sanskrit on Hemp based Paper. Hemp Fiber was commonly used in
the production of paper from 200 BCE to the Late 1800's.
Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- may be translated as
As a term for refined or elaborated speech, the adjective appears only
in Epic and Classical
Sanskrit in the
Manusmṛti and the
Mahabharata. The language referred to as saṃskṛta
was the cultured language used for religious and learned discourse in
ancient India, in contrast to the language spoken by the people,
prākṛta- (prakrit) "original, natural, normal, artless".
The pre-Classical form of
Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit, with
the language of the
Rigveda being the oldest and most archaic stage
preserved, dating back to the early second millennium BCE.
Sanskrit is the standard register as laid out in the grammar
of Pāṇini, around the fourth century BCE. Its position in the
cultures of Greater
India is akin to that of
Latin and Ancient Greek
in Europe and it has significantly influenced most modern languages of
the Indian subcontinent, particularly in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan,
Sri Lanka and Nepal.[not in citation given]
Rigveda (padapatha) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century
Main article: Vedic Sanskrit
Sanskrit, as defined by Pāṇini, evolved out of the earlier Vedic
form. The present form of
Vedic Sanskrit can be traced back to as
early as the second millennium BCE (for Rig-vedic). Scholars often
Vedic Sanskrit and Classical or "Pāṇinian"
separate dialects. Although they are quite similar, they differ in a
number of essential points of phonology, vocabulary, grammar and
Vedic Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas, a large
collection of hymns, incantations (Samhitas) and theological and
religio-philosophical discussions in the Brahmanas and Upanishads.
Modern linguists consider the metrical hymns of the
be the earliest, composed by many authors over several centuries of
oral tradition. The end of the
Vedic period is marked by the
composition of the Upanishads, which form the concluding part of the
traditional Vedic corpus; however, the early Sutras are Vedic, too,
both in language and content.
For nearly 2,000 years,
Sanskrit was the language of a cultural order
that exerted influence across South Asia, Inner Asia, Southeast Asia,
and to a certain extent East Asia. A significant form of
Vedic Sanskrit is found in the
Sanskrit of Indian epic
Ramayana and Mahabharata. The deviations from Pāṇini
in the epics are generally considered to be on account of interference
from Prakrits, or innovations, and not because they are
Sanskrit scholars call such deviations
ārṣa (आर्ष), meaning 'of the ṛṣis', the traditional
title for the ancient authors. In some contexts, there are also more
"prakritisms" (borrowings from common speech) than in Classical
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a literary language
heavily influenced by the Middle Indo-Aryan languages, based on early
Prakrit texts which subsequently assimilated to the Classical
Sanskrit standard in varying degrees.
There were four principal dialects of classical Sanskrit:
paścimottarī (Northwestern, also called Northern or Western),
madhyadeśī (lit., middle country), pūrvi (Eastern) and dakṣiṇī
(Southern, arose in the Classical period). The predecessors of the
first three dialects are attested in Vedic Brāhmaṇas, of which the
first one was regarded as the purest (Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇa,
As a spoken language
In the 2001 Census of India, 14,135 Indians reported
Sanskrit to be
their first language.
Indian newspapers have published reports about several villages,
where, as a result of recent revival attempts, large parts of the
population, including children, are learning
Sanskrit and are even
using it to some extent in everyday communication:
Mattur, Shimoga district, Karnataka
Jhiri, Rajgarh district, Madhya Pradesh
Ganoda, Banswara district, Rajasthan
Shyamsundarpur, Kendujhar district, Odisha
According to the 2011 national census of Nepal, 1,669 people use
Sanskrit as their first language.
In official use
Sanskrit is among the 22 languages of the Eighth Schedule to
the Constitution. The state of
India has ruled Sanskrit
as its second official language. In October 2012 social activist
Hemant Goswami filed a writ petition in the Punjab and
Court for declaring
Sanskrit as a 'minority' language.
Contemporary literature and patronage
See also: List of
Sahitya Akademi Award winners for Sanskrit
More than 3,000
Sanskrit works have been composed since India's
independence in 1947. Much of this work has been judged of high
quality, in comparison to both classical
Sanskrit literature and
modern literature in other Indian languages.
Sahitya Akademi has given an award for the best creative work in
Sanskrit every year since 1967. In 2009,
Satya Vrat Shastri
Satya Vrat Shastri became the
Sanskrit author to win the Jnanpith Award, India's highest
Sanskrit is used extensively in the Carnatic and Hindustani branches
of classical music. Kirtanas, bhajans, stotras, and shlokas of
Sanskrit are popular throughout India. The samaveda uses musical
notations in several of its recessions.
In Mainland China, musicians such as
Sa Dingding have written pop
songs in Sanskrit.
In mass media
Over 90 weeklies, fortnightlies and quarterlies are published in
Sanskrit. Sudharma, a daily newspaper in Sanskrit, has been published
out of Mysore, India, since 1970, while
Sanskrit Vartman Patram and
Vishwasya Vrittantam started in Gujarat during the last five
years. Since 1974, there has been a short daily news broadcast on
India Radio. These broadcasts are also made
available on the internet on AIR's website.
Sanskrit news is
broadcast on TV and on the internet through the DD National channel at
6:55 AM IST.
Sanskrit is the sacred language of various Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain
traditions. It is used during worship in Hindu temples throughout the
world. In Newar Buddhism, it is used in all monasteries, while
Tibetan Buddhist religious texts and sutras are in
Sanskrit as well as vernacular languages. Jain texts are written in
Sanskrit, including the Tattvartha sutra, Ratnakaranda
śrāvakācāra, the Bhaktamara
Stotra and the Agamas.
Devi Mahatmya palm-leaf manuscript in an early
Bhujimol script in
Nepal, 11th century
It is also popular amongst the many practitioners of yoga in the West,
who find the language helpful for understanding texts such as the Yoga
Sutras of Patanjali.
See also: List of educational institutions which have
as their mottos and List of institutions which have
as their mottoes
India and Indonesia,
Sanskrit phrases are widely used as
mottoes for various national, educational and social organisations:
Satyameva Jayate (सत्यमेव जयते) meaning:
Truth alone triumphs.
Janani Janmabhoomischa Swargadapi Gariyasi
Janani Janmabhoomischa Swargadapi Gariyasi meaning: Mother and
motherland are superior to heaven.
Indonesia: In Indonesia,
Sanskrit are usually widely
used as terms and mottoes of the armed forces and other national
organizations (See: Indonesian Armed Forces mottoes). Rastra
Sewakottama (राष्ट्र सेवकोत्तम;
People's Main Servants) is the official motto of the Indonesian
National Police, Tri
Dharma Eka Karma(त्रीधर्म एक
कर्म) is the official motto of the Indonesian Military,
Kartika Eka Paksi (कार्तिक एक पक्षी;
Unmatchable Bird with Noble Goals) is the official motto of the
Indonesian Army, Adhitakarya Mahatvavirya Nagarabhakti
नगरभक्ती; Hard-working Knights Serving Bravery as
Nations Hero") is the official motto of the Indonesian Military
Academy, Upakriya Labdha Prayojana Balottama (उपकृया
लब्ध प्रयोजन बालोत्तम; "Purpose
of The Unit is to Give The Best Service to The Nation by Finding The
Perfect Soldier") is the official motto of the Army Psychological
Corps, Karmanye Vadikaraste Mafalesu Kadachana
फलेषु कदाचन; "Working Without Counting The Profit
and Loss") is the official motto of the Air-Force
(Paskhas), Jalesu Bhumyamcha Jayamahe (जलेशु
भूम्यं च जयमहे; "On The Sea and Land We Are
Glorious") is the official motto of the Indonesian Marine Corps, and
there are more units and organizations in
Indonesia either Armed
Forces or civil which use the
Sanskrit language respectively as their
mottoes and other purposes. Although
Indonesia is a Muslim-majority
country, it still has major Hindu and Indian influence since
pre-historic times until now culturally and traditionally especially
in the islands of
Java and Bali.
Many of India's and Nepal's scientific and administrative terms are
named in Sanskrit. The Indian guided missile program that was
commenced in 1983 by the Defence Research and Development Organisation
has named the five missiles (ballistic and others) that it developed
Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Nag and the Trishul missile system. India's
first modern fighter aircraft is named HAL Tejas.
Several nations in indosphere of greater
India have numerous loan
Sanskrit words, such as in Filipino, Cebuano, Lao, Khmer
Thai and its alphabets, Malay, Indonesian (old Javanese-English
P.J. Zoetmulder contains over 25,500 entries), and even
Origin and development
Sanskrit is a member of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the
Indo-European family of languages. Its closest ancient relatives are
Avestan and Old Persian.
In order to explain the common features shared by
Sanskrit and other
Indo-European languages, the
Indo-Aryan migration theory
Indo-Aryan migration theory states that
the original speakers of what became
Sanskrit arrived in the Indian
subcontinent from the north-west some time during the early second
millennium BCE. Evidence for such a theory includes the close
relationship between the Indo-Iranian tongues and the Baltic and
Slavic languages, vocabulary exchange with the non-Indo-European
Uralic languages, and the nature of the attested Indo-European words
for flora and fauna.
The earliest attested
Sanskrit texts are religious texts of the
Rigveda, from the mid-to-late second millennium BCE. No written
records from such an early period survive, if they ever existed.
However, scholars are confident that the oral transmission of the
texts is reliable: they were ceremonial literature whose correct
pronunciation was considered crucial to its religious efficacy.
Rigveda until the time of
Pāṇini (fourth century BCE) the
development of the early Vedic language can be observed in other Vedic
texts: the Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, Brahmanas, and
Upanishads. During this time, the prestige of the language, its use
for sacred purposes, and the importance attached to its correct
enunciation all served as powerful conservative forces resisting the
normal processes of linguistic change. However, there is a clear,
five-level linguistic development of Vedic from the
Rigveda to the
language of the
Upanishads and the earliest sutras such as the
Standardisation by Panini
The oldest surviving
Sanskrit grammar is Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī
("Eight-Chapter Grammar"), written around the 6th-4th centuries BCE.
It is essentially a prescriptive grammar, i.e., an authority that
defines Sanskrit, although it contains descriptive parts, mostly to
account for some Vedic forms that had become rare in Pāṇini's time.
Sanskrit became fixed with the grammar of
500 BCE), and remains in use as a learned language through the present
Coexistence with vernacular languages
Sanskrit linguist Madhav Deshpande, when the term
"Sanskrit" arose it was not considered a separate language, but rather
as a particularly refined or perfected manner of speaking. Knowledge
Sanskrit was a marker of social class and educational attainment in
ancient India, and the language was taught mainly to members of the
higher castes through the close analysis of Vyākaraṇins such as
Pāṇini and Patanjali, who exhorted proper
Sanskrit at all times,
especially during ritual. Sanskrit, as the learned language of
Ancient India, thus existed alongside the vernacular Prakrits, which
were Middle Indo-Aryan languages. However, linguistic change led to an
eventual loss of mutual intelligibility.
A rock inscription at
Junagadh added around 150 CE by Mahakshatrap
Rudradaman I, the
Saka (Scythian) ruler of Malwa, has been described
as "the earliest known Sanscrit inscription of any extent", as the
Ashokan and other early inscriptions were in
Prakrit of various forms.
This "unexpected resurgence as a language of contemporary record" is a
sign of a "brahminical renaissance", which continued through the Gupta
period, expanding the usage of Sanscrit.
Sanskrit dramas indicate that the language coexisted with the
vernacular Prakrits. In the medieval era,
Sanskrit speakers were
almost always multilingual and well-educated. They were often learned
Brahmins using the language for scholarly communication, a thin layer
of Indian society that covered a wide geographical area. Centres like
Kanchipuram had a strong presence as
teaching and debating institutions, and high classical
maintained until British times.
There are a number of sociolinguistic studies of spoken
strongly suggest that oral use of modern
Sanskrit is limited, having
ceased development sometime in the past.
Sheldon Pollock argues that "most observers would agree that, in some
Sanskrit is dead".:393 Pollock has further argued
Sanskrit continued to be used in literary cultures in
India, it was never adapted to express the changing forms of
subjectivity and sociality as embodied and conceptualised in the
modern age.:416 Instead, it was reduced to "reinscription and
restatements" of ideas already explored, and any creativity was
restricted to hymns and verses.:398 A notable exception are the
military references of Nīlakaṇṭha Caturdhara's 17th-century
commentary on the Mahābhārata.
Hatcher argues that modern works continue to be produced in
Sanskrit, while according to Hanneder,
On a more public level the statement that
Sanskrit is a dead language
is misleading, for
Sanskrit is quite obviously not as dead as other
dead languages and the fact that it is spoken, written and read will
probably convince most people that it cannot be a dead language in the
most common usage of the term. Pollock's notion of the "death of
Sanskrit" remains in this unclear realm between academia and public
opinion when he says that "most observers would agree that, in some
Sanskrit is dead."
Hanneder has also argued that modern works in
Sanskrit are either
ignored or their "modernity" contested.
When the British imposed a Western-style education system in
the 19th century, knowledge of
Sanskrit and ancient literature
continued to flourish as the study of
Sanskrit changed from a more
traditional style into a form of analytical and comparative
scholarship mirroring that of Europe.
Public education and popularisation
Adult and continuing education
Attempts at reviving the
Sanskrit language have been undertaken in the
India since its foundation in 1947 (it was included in the
14 original languages of the Eighth Schedule to the
Samskrita Bharati is an organisation working for
Sanskrit revival. The
Sanskrit Festival" (since 2002) holds composition contests.
1991 Indian census reported 49,736 fluent speakers of Sanskrit.
Sanskrit learning programmes also feature on the lists of most AIR
broadcasting centres. The
Mattur village in central
to have native speakers of
Sanskrit among its population.
Inhabitants of all castes learn
Sanskrit starting in childhood and
converse in the language. Even the local Muslims converse in
Sanskrit. Historically, the village was given by king Krishnadevaraya
Vijayanagara Empire to Vedic scholars and their families, while
people in his kingdom spoke
Kannada and Telugu. Another effort
concentrates on preserving and passing along the oral tradition of the
Vedas, www.shrivedabharathi.in is one such organisation based out of
Hyderabad that has been digitising the
Vedas by recording recitations
of Vedic Pandits.
Haryana state has over 24
Sanskrit colleges offering education
equivalent to bachelors degree, additionally masters and doctoral
level degrees are also offered by the
Kurukshetra University and
Maharshi Dayanand University.
Sanskrit festival at Pramati Hillview Academy, Mysore, India.
Central Board of Secondary Education
Central Board of Secondary Education of
India (CBSE), along with
several other state education boards, has made
Sanskrit an alternative
option to the state's own official language as a second or third
language choice in the schools it governs. In such schools, learning
Sanskrit is an option for grades 5 to 8 (Classes V to VIII). This is
true of most schools affiliated with the Indian Certificate of
Secondary Education (ICSE) board, especially in states where the
official language is Hindi.
Sanskrit is also taught in traditional
gurukulas throughout India.
In the West
St James Junior School in London, England, offers
Sanskrit as part of
the curriculum. In the United States, since September 2009,
high school students have been able to receive credits as Independent
Study or toward Foreign Language requirements by studying Sanskrit, as
part of the "SAFL: Samskritam as a Foreign Language" program
coordinated by Samskrita Bharati. In Australia, the
boys' high school
Grammar School offers
Sanskrit from years 7
through to 12, including for the Higher School Certificate.
A list of
Sanskrit universities is given below in chronological order
Sanskrit College, Benares
Sanskrit College, Calcutta
Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya
Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit
Sanskrit Evam Vedic Vishwavidyalaya
Karnataka Samskrit University
Many universities throughout the world train and employ Sanskrit
scholars, either within a separate
Sanskrit department or as part of a
broader focus area, such as South Asian studies or Linguistics. For
example, Delhi university has about 400
Sanskrit students, about half
of which are in post-graduate programmes.
A poem by the ancient Indian poet Vallana (ca. 900 – 1100 CE) on the
side wall of a building at Haagweg 14 in Leiden, Netherlands
European scholarship in Sanskrit, begun by
Heinrich Roth (1620–1668)
Johann Ernst Hanxleden
Johann Ernst Hanxleden (1681–1731), is considered responsible
for the discovery of an Indo-European language family by Sir William
Jones (1746–1794). This research played an important role in the
development of Western philology, or historical linguistics.
Sir William Jones was one of the most influential philologists of his
time. He told
The Asiatic Society
The Asiatic Society in Calcutta on 2 February 1786:
Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful
structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin,
and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them
a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of
grammar, than could have been produced by accident; so strong, indeed,
that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing
them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer
Orientalist scholars of the 18th century like Sir William Jones marked
a wave of enthusiasm for Indian culture and for Sanskrit. According to
Thomas Trautmann, after this period of "Indomania", a certain
Sanskrit and to Indian culture in general began to assert
itself in early 19th century Britain, manifested by a neglect of
Sanskrit in British academia. This was the beginning of a general push
in favour of the idea that
India should be culturally, religiously and
linguistically assimilated to Britain as far as possible. Trautmann
considers two separate and logically opposite sources for the growing
hostility: one was "British Indophobia", which he calls essentially a
developmentalist, progressivist, liberal, and non-racial-essentialist
critique of Hindu civilisation as an aid for the improvement of India
along European lines; the other was scientific racism, a theory of the
English "common-sense view" that Indians constituted a "separate,
inferior and unimprovable race".
This section has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss
these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this
section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material
may be challenged and removed. (January 2016) (Learn how and when to
remove this template message)
(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Shiksha and Help:IPA/Sanskrit
Sanskrit grammar § Phonology, and Vedic Sanskrit
grammar § Phonology
Sanskrit distinguishes about 36 phonemes; the presence of
allophony leads the writing systems to generally distinguish 48
phones, or sounds. The sounds are traditionally listed in the order
vowels (Ac), diphthongs (Hal), anusvara and visarga, plosives
(Sparśa), nasals, and finally the liquids and fricatives, written in
International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration
International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) as
a ā i ī u ū ṛ ṝ ḷ ḹ;
e ai o au;
k kh g gh ṅ
c ch j jh ñ
ṭ ṭh ḍ ḍh ṇ
t th d dh n
p ph b bh m
y r l v
ś ṣ s h
vedic sanskrit consonants
Kashmir Shaiva manuscript in the
Śāradā script (c. 17th century)
This article is about how
Sanskrit came to be written using various
systems. For details of
Sanskrit as written, using specifically
Devanāgarī script, see Devanagari.
Sanskrit originated in an oral society, and the oral tradition was
maintained through the development of early classical Sanskrit
literature. Some scholars such as Jack Goody suggest that the
Vedic Sanskrit texts are not the product of an oral society, basing
this view by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of
literature from various oral societies such as the Greek, Serbian and
other cultures, then noting that the Vedic literature is too
consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally
across generations, without being written down. These scholars add
that the Vedic texts likely involved both a written and oral
tradition, calling it "parallel products of a literate
Sanskrit has no native script of its own, and historical evidence
suggests that it has been written in various scripts on a variety of
media such as palm leaves, cloth, paper, rock and metal sheets, at
least by the time of arrival of
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great in northwestern
Indian subcontinent in 1st millennium BCE.
Devanagari as used for writing Sanskrit
The earliest known rock inscriptions in
Sanskrit date to the first
century BCE, and the
Junagadh rock inscription of
Rudradaman I (c.
150 AD) "represents a turning point" as it is a more "extensive record
in the poetic style" of "high Classical Sanskrit". They are in the
Brāhmī script, which was originally used for Prakrit, not Sanskrit.
It has been described as a paradox that the first evidence of written
Sanskrit occurs centuries later than that of the
which are its linguistic descendants. In northern India, there are
Brāhmī inscriptions dating from the third century BCE onwards, the
oldest appearing on the famous
Prakrit pillar inscriptions of king
Ashoka. The earliest South Indian inscriptions in Tamil Brahmi,
written in early Tamil, belong to the same period. When
written down, it was first used for texts of an administrative,
literary or scientific nature. The sacred hymns and verse were
preserved orally, and were set down in writing "reluctantly"
(according to one commentator), and at a comparatively late
Sanskrit in modern Indian and other Brahmi scripts: May Śiva bless
those who take delight in the language of the gods. (Kālidāsa)
Brahmi evolved into a multiplicity of Brahmic scripts, many of which
were used to write Sanskrit. Roughly contemporary with the Brahmi,
Kharosthi was used in the northwest of the subcontinent. Sometime
between the fourth and eighth centuries, the Gupta script, derived
from Brahmi, became prevalent. Around the eighth century, the
Śāradā script evolved out of the Gupta script. The latter was
displaced in its turn by
Devanagari in the 11th or 12th century, with
intermediary stages such as the Siddhaṃ script. In East India, the
Bengali alphabet, and, later, the Odia alphabet, were used.
In the south, where
Dravidian languages predominate, scripts used for
Sanskrit include the Kannada, Telugu, the
Malayalam and Grantha
Devanagari transliteration and International Alphabet
Since the late 18th century,
Sanskrit has been transliterated using
Latin alphabet. The system most commonly used today is the IAST
(International Alphabet of
Sanskrit Transliteration), which has been
the academic standard since 1888. ASCII-based transliteration schemes
have also evolved because of difficulties representing Sanskrit
characters in computer systems. These include
ITRANS, a transliteration scheme that is used widely on the Internet,
especially in Usenet and in email, for considerations of speed of
entry as well as rendering issues. With the wide availability of
Unicode-aware web browsers,
IAST has become common online. It is also
possible to type using an alphanumeric keyboard and transliterate to
Devanagari using software like Mac OS X's international support.
European scholars in the 19th century generally preferred Devanagari
for the transcription and reproduction of whole texts and lengthy
excerpts. However, references to individual words and names in texts
composed in European Languages were usually represented with Roman
transliteration. From the 20th century onwards, because of production
costs, textual editions edited by Western scholars have mostly been in
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January
Vedic Sanskrit grammar
Sanskrit grammatical tradition, Vyākaraṇa, one of the six
Vedangas, began in the late
Vedic period and culminated in the
Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini, which consists of 3990 sutras (ca.
fifth century BCE). About a century after
Pāṇini (around 400 BCE),
Kātyāyana composed Vārtikas on the
Pāṇini sũtras. Patanjali,
who lived three centuries after Pāṇini, wrote the Mahābhāṣya,
the "Great Commentary" on the Aṣṭādhyāyī and Vārtikas. Because
of these three ancient Vyākaraṇins (grammarians), this grammar is
called Trimuni Vyākarana. To understand the meaning of the sutras,
Jayaditya and Vāmana wrote a commentary, the Kāsikā, in 600 CE.
Pāṇinian grammar is based on 14
Shiva sutras (aphorisms), where the
whole mātrika (alphabet) is abbreviated. This abbreviation is called
Sanskrit verbs are categorized into ten classes, which can be
conjugated to form the present, imperfect, imperative, optative,
perfect, aorist, future, and conditional moods and tenses. Before
Classical Sanskrit, older forms also included a subjunctive mood. Each
conjugational ending conveys person, number, and voice.[citation
Nouns are highly inflected, including three grammatical genders, three
numbers, and eight cases. Nominal compounds are common, and can
include over 10 word stems.
Word order is free, though there is a strong tendency toward
subject–object–verb, the original system of Vedic prose.[citation
Influence on other languages
Sanskrit has greatly influenced the languages of
India that grew from
its vocabulary and grammatical base; for instance,
Hindi is a
"Sanskritised register" of the Khariboli dialect. All modern
Indo-Aryan languages, as well as Munda and
Dravidian languages except
(Tamil language), have borrowed many words either directly from
Sanskrit (tatsama words), or indirectly via middle Indo-Aryan
languages (tadbhava words). Words originating in
estimated at roughly fifty percent of the vocabulary of modern
Indo-Aryan languages, as well as the literary forms of
Kannada. Literary texts in Telugu are lexically
Sanskritised to an enormous extent, perhaps seventy percent or
more. Marathi is another prominent language in Western India, that
derives most of its words and
Marathi grammar from Sanskrit.
Sanskrit words are often preferred in the literary texts in Marathi
over corresponding colloquial Marathi word.
Interaction with other languages
A text in
Tibetan script suspected to be
Sanskrit in content. From the
personal artifact collection of Donald Weir.
Sanskrit has also influenced Sino-Tibetan languages, mostly through
translations of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. Many terms were
transliterated directly and added to the Chinese vocabulary. Chinese
words like 剎那 chànà (Devanagari: क्षण kṣaṇa
'instantaneous period') were borrowed from Sanskrit. Many Sanskrit
texts survive only in Tibetan collections of commentaries to the
Buddhist teachings, the Tengyur.
Sanskrit was a language for religious purposes and for the political
elite in parts of medieval era Southeast Asia,
Central Asia and East
Asia. In Southeast Asia, languages such as Thai and Lao contain
many loanwords from Sanskrit, as do Khmer. For example, in Thai,
Ravana, the emperor of Lanka, is called Thosakanth, a derivation of
Sanskrit name Dāśakaṇṭha "having ten necks".[citation
Sanskrit loanwords are also found in Austronesian languages, such
as Javanese, particularly the older form in which nearly half the
vocabulary is borrowed. Other Austronesian languages, such as
traditional Malay and modern Indonesian, also derive much of their
vocabulary from Sanskrit. Similarly,
Philippine languages such as
Tagalog have some
Sanskrit loanwords, although more are derived from
Sanskrit loanword encountered in many Southeast Asian
languages is the word bhāṣā, or spoken language, which is used to
refer to the names of many languages. English also has words of
Sanskrit has also influenced the religious register
of Japanese mostly through transliterations.These were borrowed from
In popular culture
Satyagraha, an opera by Philip Glass, uses texts from the Bhagavad
Gita, sung in Sanskrit. The closing credits of The Matrix
Revolutions has a prayer from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The song
"Cyber-raga" from Madonna's album Music includes
and Shanti/Ashtangi from her 1998 album Ray of Light, which won a
Grammy, is the ashtanga vinyasa yoga chant. The lyrics include the
mantra Om shanti. Composer
John Williams featured choirs singing
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and in Star Wars:
Episode I – The Phantom
Menace.[better source needed] The theme song of
Battlestar Galactica 2004 is the Gayatri Mantra, taken from the
Rigveda. The lyrics of "The Child In Us" by Enigma also contains
Sanskrit verses.[better source needed]
Maurer, Walter (2001). The
Sanskrit language: an introductory grammar
and reader. Surrey, England: Curzon. ISBN 0-7007-1382-4.
Malhotra, Rajiv (2016). The Battle for Sanskrit: Is
or Sacred, Oppressive or Liberating, Dead or Alive?. Harper Collins.
^ The exact pronunciation in Classical
Sanskrit is unknown. For
alternative pronunciations of ṃ, see
Anusvara § Sanskrit
^ Uta Reinöhl (2016). Grammaticalization and the Rise of
Configurationality in Indo-Aryan. Oxford University Press.
pp. xiv, 1–16. ISBN 978-0-19-873666-0.
^ a b "Comparative speaker's strength of scheduled languages − 1971,
1981, 1991 and 2001". Census of India, 2001. Office of the Registrar
and Census Commissioner, India. Archived from the original on 11 April
2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
^ a b "http://aboutworldlanguages.com/sanskrit"
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute
for the Science of Human History.
^ Damien Keown; Charles S. Prebish (2013). Encyclopedia of Buddhism.
Taylor & Francis. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-136-98595-9. ;
Sanskrit served as the lingua franca of ancient India, just as
Latin did in medieval Europe"
^ a b Michael C. Howard (2012). Transnationalism in Ancient and
Medieval Societies: The Role of Cross-Border Trade and Travel.
McFarland. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7864-9033-2. , Quote:
Sanskrit was another important lingua franca in the ancient world
that was widely used in
South Asia and in the context of Hindu and
Buddhist religions in neighboring areas as well. (...) The spread of
South Asian cultural influence to Southeast Asia,
Central Asia and
East Asia meant that
Sanskrit was also used in these areas, especially
in a religious context and political elites."
^ Pollock, Sheldon (2006), The Language of the Gods in the World of
Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India, University of
California Press, p. 14, ISBN 978-0-520-24500-6 ,
Sanskrit emerged from the sacerdotal environment ... it
became the sole medium by which ruling elites expressed their power
Sanskrit probably never functioned as an everyday medium of
communication anywhere in the cosmopolis—not in
South Asia itself,
Southeast Asia ... The work
Sanskrit did do ... was directed
above all toward articulating a form of ... politics ... as
celebration of aesthetic power."
^ Burrow, T. (2001). The
Sanskrit Language. Faber: Chicago p. v &
^ Benware, Wilbur (1974). The Study of Indo-European Vocalism in the
19th Century: From the Beginnings to Whitney and Scherer: A
Critical-Historical Account. Amsterdam: Benjamins. pp. 25–27.
^ Staal, Frits (1986), The Fidelity of Oral Tradition and the Origins
of Science, Mededelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie von
Wetenschappen, Afd. Letterkunde, NS 49, 8. Amsterdam: North Holland
Publishing Company, 40 pages .
^ Filliozat, Pierre-Sylvain (2004), "Ancient
Sanskrit Mathematics: An
Oral Tradition and a Written Literature", in Chemla, Karine; Cohen,
Robert S.; Renn, Jürgen; et al., History of Science, History of Text
(Boston Series in the Philosophy of Science), Dordrecht: Springer
Netherlands, 254 pages, pp. 137–157, pp. 360–375,
^ a b Southworth, Franklin (2004), Linguistic Archaeology of South
Asia, Routledge, p. 45, ISBN 978-1-134-31777-6
^ a b Nedi︠a︡lkov, V. P. (2007). Reciprocal constructions.
Amsterdam Philadelphia: J. Benjamins Pub. Co. p. 710.
^ MacDonell, Arthur (2004). A History Of
Sanskrit Literature (in
Norwegian). Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4179-0619-2.
^ Houben, Jan (1996). Ideology and status of Sanskrit: contributions
to the history of the
Sanskrit language. Leiden New York: E.J. Brill.
p. 11. ISBN 90-04-10613-8.
^ a b Staal, J. F. (1963). "
Sanskrit and Sanskritization". The Journal
of Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press (CUP). 22 (3): 261.
doi:10.2307/2050186. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
^ a b Witzel, M (1997). Inside the texts, beyond the texts: New
approaches to the study of the
Vedas (PDF). Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
^ a b c d Pollock, Sheldon (2001). "The Death of Sanskrit".
Comparative Studies in Society and History. Cambridge University Press
(CUP). 43 (2): 392–426. doi:10.1017/s001041750100353x. Retrieved
^ Oberlies, Thomas (2003). A
Grammar of Epic Sanskrit. Berlin New
York: Walter de Gruyter. pp. xxvii–xxix.
^ Edgerton, Franklin (2004).
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit grammar and
dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-215-1110-0.
^ Tiwari, Bholanath (1955), भाषा विज्ञान (Bhasha
Vijnan) [full citation needed]
^ "This village speaks gods language –
India – The Times of
India". The Times of India. 13 August 2005. Retrieved
^ Ghosh, Aditya (20 September 2008). "
Sanskrit boulevard". Hindustan
Times. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
^ Bhaskar, B.V.S. (31 July 2009). "Mark of Sanskrit". The Hindu.
^ "Orissa's Sasana village – home to
Sanskrit pundits! !". The
India Post. 9 April 2010. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
^ National Population and Housing Census 2011 (PDF) (Report). 1.
Kathmandu: Central Bureau of Statistics, Government of Nepal. November
2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 December 2013.
Writ Petition on Sanskrit". JD Supra. 15 October 2012. Retrieved
^ "PIL seeks minority status for Sanskrit". The Financial World. 15
October 2012. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 10
^ "Mother language 'Sanskrit' needs urgent protection". GoI Monitor. 8
November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
^ Prajapati, Manibhai (2005). Post-independence
Sanskrit literature: a
critical survey (1 ed.). New Delhi: Standard publishers India.
^ Ranganath, S (2009). Modern
Sanskrit Writings in
(1st ed.). New Delhi: Rashtriya
Sanskrit Sansthan. p. 7.
ISBN 978-81-86111-21-5. Retrieved 28 October 2014. :
Contrary to popular belief, there is an astonishing quality of
creative upsurge of writing in
Sanskrit today. Modern
is qualitatively of such high order that it can easily be treated on
par with the best of Classical
Sanskrit literature, It can also easily
compete with the writings in other Indian languages.
Sanskrit Sahitya Pustakalaya". Rashtriya Sanskrit
Sansthan. Retrieved 28 October 2014. :
The latter half of the nineteenth century marks the beginning of a new
Sanskrit literature. Many of the modern
Sanskrit writings are
qualitatively of such high order that they can easily be treated at
par with the best of classical
Sanskrit works, and they can also be
judged in contrast to the contemporary literature in other languages.
^ "Sanskrit's first Jnanpith winner is a 'poet by instinct'". The
Indian Express. 14 Jan 2009.
^ "Samveda". Retrieved May 5, 2015.
^ "Awards for World Music 2008". BBC.
^ a b c
Mayank Austen Soofi (23 November 2012). "Delhi's Belly
Sanskrit-vanskrit". Livemint. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
^ "News on Air". News On Air. 15 August 2012. Retrieved
^ "News archive search". Newsonair. 15 August 2012. Retrieved
^ "Doordarshan News Live webcast". Webcast.gov.in. Retrieved
Sanskrit (In)dispensable for Hindu Liturgy?". The Huffington
^ Vaishna Roy. "
Sanskrit deserves more than slogans". The Hindu.
^ Upadhyay, Pankaj; Jaiswal, Umesh Chandra; Ashish, Kumar (2014).
"TranSish: Translator from
Sanskrit to English-A Rule based Machine
Translation". International Journal of Current Engineering and
Technology E-ISSN: 2277–4106.
^ Haspelmath, Martin. Loanwords in the World's Languages: A
Comparative Handbook. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 724.
^ Jose G. Kuizon (1964). "The
Sanskrit Loan-words in the
Cebuano-Bisayan Language". Asian Folklore Studies. 23 (1): 111–158.
doi:10.2307/1177640. JSTOR 1177640.
^ Sak-Humphry, Channy. The
Syntax of Nouns and Noun Phrases in Dated
Pre-Angkorian Inscriptions. Mon Khmer Studies 22: 1–26.
^ Levin, Saul. Semitic and Indo-European, Volume 2. John Benjamins
Publishing Company. p. 431.
^ Edwin Francis Bryant; Laurie L. Patton. The Indo-Aryan Controversy:
Evidence and Inference in Indian History. Psychology Press.
^ Masica, Colin (1991). The
Indo-Aryan languages (PDF). Cambridge New
York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 36–38.
ISBN 0-521-23420-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29
^ Michael Meier-Brügger (2003). Indo-European Linguistics. Walter de
Gruyter. p. 20. ISBN 978-3-11-017433-5.
^ A. Berriedale Keith (1993). A history of
Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. p. 4.
^ Anupama Raju. "A man of languages". The Hindu.
^ "Imperial Gazetteer2 of India, Volume 2, page 263 -- Imperial
India -- Digital
South Asia Library". uchicago.edu.
^ a b Deshpande, Madhav (2011), "Efforts to Vernacularize Sanskrit:
Degree of Success and Failure", in Joshua Fishman, Ofelia Garcia,
Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity: The Success-Failure
Continuum in Language and Ethnic Identity Efforts, 2, Oxford
University Press, p. 218, ISBN 978-0-19-983799-1 CS1
maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
^ Meaning, that is not very short. Quoted from D.D. Kosambi in Keay,
John, India, a History, p. 132, 2000, HarperCollins,
^ Keay, John, India, a History, p. 132, 2000, HarperCollins,
^ Hock, Hans Henrich (1983). Kachru, Braj B, ed. "Language-death
phenomena in Sanskrit: grammatical evidence for attrition in
contemporary spoken Sanskrit". Studies in the linguistic Sciences.
Illinois Working Papers. 13:2.
^ Minkowski, Christopher (2004). "Nilakantha's instruments of
war:Modern, vernacular, barbarous". The Indian Economic and Social
History Review. SAGE. 41 (4): 365–385.
doi:10.1177/001946460404100402. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
^ Hatcher, B. A. (2007). "
Sanskrit and the morning after: The
metaphorics and theory of intellectual change". Indian Economic. SAGE.
44 (3): 333–361. doi:10.1177/001946460704400303. Retrieved
^ Hanneder, J. (2002). "On "The Death of Sanskrit"". Indo-Iranian
Journal. Brill Academic Publishers. 45 (4): 293–310.
doi:10.1023/a:1021366131934. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
^ Hanneder, J. (2009), "Modernes Sanskrit: eine vergessene Literatur",
in Straube, Martin; Steiner, Roland; Soni, Jayandra; Hahn, Michael;
Demoto, Mitsuyo, Pāsādikadānaṃ: Festschrift für Bhikkhu
Pāsādika, Indica et Tibetica Verlag, pp. 205–228
^ Seth, Sanjay (2007). Subject lessons: the Western education of
colonial India. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. pp. 172–176.
^ "Karnataka's Mattur: A
Sanskrit speaking village with almost one IT
professional per family".
^ Viswanathan, Trichur. S. (4 April 2013). "Tale of two villages". The
^ Pragna, Volume 8. Pragna Bharati.
^ Prof. B. B. Chaubey. "
Sanskrit Studies in India" (PDF).
www.sanskrit.nic.in. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
^ "In 2013, UPA to CBSE: Make
Sanskrit a must". The Indian Express. 4
Sanskrit thriving in UK schools". NDTV.com. 28 June 2010.
Sanskrit @ St James".
Sanskrit @ St James. Retrieved 8 October
^ Varija Yelagalawadi. "Why SAFL?".
Samskrita Bharati USA. Archived
from the original on 12 May 2015.
Grammar School. "Headmaster's Introduction". Archived from
the original on 15 March 2015.
^ Friedrich Max Müller (1859). A History of Ancient Sanskrit
Literature So Far as it Illustrates the Primitive Religion of the
Brahmans. Williams and Norgate. p. 1.
^ Vasunia, Phiroze (2013). The Classics and Colonial India. Oxford
University Press. p. 17.
^ Thomas R. Trautmann (2004). Aryans and British India. Yoda Press.
p. 161. ISBN 978-81-902272-1-6. Retrieved 4 March
^ a b Salomon, Richard (1998). Indian Epigraphy a Guide to the Study
of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the other Indo-Aryan
Languages. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 7, 86.
^ a b Jack Goody (1987). The Interface Between the Written and the
Oral. Cambridge University Press. pp. 110–121.
^ Donald S. Lopez Jr. (1995). "Authority and Orality in the
Mahāyāna". Numen. Brill Academic. 42 (1): 21–47.
^ Banerji, Sures (1989). A companion to
Sanskrit literature: spanning
a period of over three thousand years, containing brief accounts of
authors, works, characters, technical terms, geographical names,
myths, legends, and several appendices. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
p. 672 with footnotes. ISBN 978-81-208-0063-2.
^ The Ayodhyā and Hāthībādā-Ghosuṇḍī (near Chittorgarh)
stone inscriptions: Salomon, Richard (1998). Indian Epigraphy: A Guide
to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the other
Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 86–87.
^ Salomon, Richard (1998). Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of
Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the other Indo-Aryan Languages.
Oxford University Press. p. 89.
^ Masica, Colin (1991). The Indo-Aryan languages. Cambridge New York:
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-29944-2.
^ Mahadevan, Iravatham (2003). Early Tamil Epigraphy from the Earliest
Times to the Sixth Century A.D. Chennai,
India Cambridge, MA
Cambridge, Mass. London, England: Cre-A Dept. of
Sanskrit and Indian
Studies, Harvard University Distributed by Harvard University Press.
Brahmi script in Egypt". The Hindu. 21 November 2007.
^ "Harappan people used an older form of Brahmi script: Expert". The
Times of India.
^ "Modern Transcription of Sanskrit". autodidactus.org.
^ Abhyankar, Kashinath (1986). A Dictionary of
Baroda: Maharaja Sayajirao University.
^ Rao, Velcheru (2002). Classical Telugu poetry an anthology.
Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press. p. 3.
^ Sugam Marathi Vyakaran & Lekhana. 2007. Nitin publications.
^ Carey, William (1805). A
Grammar of the Marathi Language. Serampur
[sic]: Serampore Mission Press. ISBN 9781108056311.
^ Gulik, R. H. (2001). Siddham: an essay on the history of Sanskrit
studies in China and Japan. New Delhi: International Academy of Indian
Culture and Aditya Prakashan. pp. 5–133.
^ Zoetmulder, P. J. (1982). Old Javanese-English Dictionary.
^ Joshi, Manoj. Passport
India 3rd Ed., eBook. World Trade Press.
Sanskrit Personal Names and their Japanese Equivalents" Archived 30
March 2015 at WebCite
^ Vibhuti Patel (18 December 2011). "Gandhi as operatic hero". The
^ Rahim, Sameer (4 December 2013). "The opera novice: Satyagraha by
Philip Glass". Telegraph. london.
^ Morgan, Les (2011). Croaking frogs: a guide to
Sanskrit metrics and
figures of speech. Los Angeles: Mahodara Press. p. 1.
^ Doval, Nikita (24 June 2013). "Classic conversations". The Week.
Archived from the original on 31 October 2014.
Yoga and Music".
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (John Williams)". Filmtracks.
11 November 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
^ "Episode I FAQ".
Star Wars Faq. Archived from the original on 11
^ "Battlestar Galactica (TV Series 2004–2009)". IMDb.
^ "The Child In Us Lyrics – Enigma". Lyricsfreak.com. Retrieved
Sanskrit edition of, the free encyclopedia
For a list of words relating to Sanskrit, see the
category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Find more aboutSanskritat's sister projects
Media from Wikimedia Commons
Quotations from Wikiquote
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Travel guide from Wikivoyage
Sanskrit Lessons (free online from the Linguistics Research Center at
Samskrita Bharati, organisation supporting the usage of Sanskrit
Sanskrit Documents—Documents in ITX format of Upanishads, Stotras
Sanskrit texts at Sacred Text Archive
Sanskrit Manuscripts in Cambridge Digital Library
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Old and Middle Indo-Aryan languages
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Modern Indo-Aryan languages
Languages of India
8th schedule to the
Constitution of India
Over 1 million
100,000 – 1 million
Major languages of South Asia
Languages of India
list by number of speakers
Languages of Pakistan
Languages of Bangladesh
Languages of Bhutan
Languages of the Maldives
Languages of Nepal
Languages of Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Creole Malay
Sri Lankan English
Bengali Language Movement
Pure Tamil movement
Nepal Bhasa movement
Punjabi Language Movement