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Sanskrit - 2

2nd Convocation Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalay with Honbl'e President APJ Kalam on 9th December 2006


Honorable Dr. Kalam was the chief guest for the 2nd convocation of Dev Sanskriti Viswavidyalaya ( Divine Culture University) of All World Gayatri Pariwar (www.awgp.org) in Haridwar India and gave a very inspiring and spiritually enlightening speech in English.

The transcript of the speech ( with pictures) is on President\'s website at http://presidentofindia.nic.in/scripts/eve...st1.jsp?id=1379

The video recording of the speech can be seen at
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=...9100762008 ( Dr. Kalam\'s Speech starts at 34 minutes in the video).

More about Dev Sanskriti Viswavidyalaly: ( a 15 minute video)


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->MP village attempts to revive Sanskrit Kumar Shakti Shekhar

Sunday, December 24, 2006 (Rajgarh):

There is a unique village in Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh where almost all the people always converse in Sanskrit.

Children are determined to teach Sanskrit to people who they meet. Villagers initially resisted the language but now after three years, they cant do without it.

Jhiri in Madhya Pradesh's Rajgarh district has renewed the old custom and people have taken it upon themselves to popularise Sanskrit.

So for the past three years, Sanskrit has been the medium of education at all schools in Jhiri.

Career in Sanskrit

Now the children speak fluent Sanskrit, even outside the school. In fact, they want to make a career in the ancient language.

It's not just the children, even the grown-ups now speak only in Sanskrit.

"I get immense pleasure in talking in Sanskrit because it is our language," said Shyama Chauhan, housewife.

Three years ago, the villagers formed the Vidyagram Development Committee (VDC), which decided that everyone, regardless of caste or religion, would learn Sanskrit.

Now even those who may not know the technicalities of the language still speak fluent Sanskrit.

"An illiterate girl of the village was stunned when she was being taught Sanskrit. She told me that the teacher asked her things like singular and plural. She said that she knew how to speak Sanskrit but did not know the grammar part," said Uday Singh Chauhan, president, VDC.

For the residents of the village Sanskrit is not only a language but also a medium to become more cultured and civilized and this has helped them to a large extent in achieving the goals of social harmony, development and prohibition.

Perhaps not useful for experts but I found this article very informative.

<b>Educational System During Pre-British Days</b>

One Teacher, One School: The Adam Reports on Indigenous Education in 19th Century India, by Joseph DiBona, Biblia Impex Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.

2 History of Indigenous Education in the Punjab since Annexation and in 1882, by G.W. Leitner, 1883, Reprinted by Languages Department, Punjab, Patiala, 1971.

3 The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century, by Dharampal (Biblia Impex Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi).

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->4 The Indian system of education was so economical, so effective that some of its features were exported to England and Europe. The "monitor", the "slate", the "group-study" were directly borrowed from the old Indian practice. A short account of this practice is available from an eye-witness report of a European named Pietro Della Valle published in 1623. But 200 years later, around 1800, two Britons, Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster, who were servants of the East India Company, introduced in England a "New System of Schooling", embodying Indian practices of teaching. Both claimed originality for themselves. In the controversy that ensued, it was found that both had borrowed from India without acknowledgment, of course.

In this connection we have the testimony of Brigadier-General Alexander Walker who served in the East India Company from 1780 to 1810. While reporting on teaching methods in Malabar, he says that the new British "system was borrowed from the Brahmans and brought from India to Europe. It has been made the foundation of the National Schools in every enlightened country. Some gratitude is due to a people from who we have learnt to diffuse among the lower ranks of society instructions by one of the most unerring and economical methods which has ever been invented". According to him, by this method, "the children are instructed without violence, and by a process peculiarly simple".

<b>The Hindu View of Education</b>

Education in Ancient India By Hartmut Scharfe
By Hartmut Scharfe
Published 2002
Brill Academic Publishers
355 pages
ISBN 9004125566

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><span style='color:blue'>
This is the first comprehensive survey of all aspects of education in India, both in the oral and written traditions. Chronologically it covers everything from the Vedic period upto the Hindu kingdoms before the establishment of Muslim rule. If relevant, the reader will regularly find sidesteps to modern continuities.

The role of the oral tradition and the techniques of memorization are discussed, the education in small private tutorials and the development of large monasteries and temple schools approaching university character. Professional training, the role of the teacher and of foreign languages are dealt with, and the impact of the peculiar features of Indian education on Indian society.

The full documentation facilitates quick access to the original sources scholarly literature on Indian education. A true reference work.</span>


<b>Hindu scholar finds similarities with Maori culture</b>

Sunday January 28, 11:25 AM

Auckland, Jan 28 (IANS) Many similarities can be found between
Sanskrit, the classical language of India, and Maori, the language and
tradition of the indigenous people of New Zealand, according to an
Indian scientist.

Infact, some Hindu cultural facets are more similar to Maori than most
people realise, says senior scientist Dr Guna Magesan, who moved to
New Zealand from Nilgiri in India in 1988 to complete a PhD on soil
science at Massey University.

Next month, Magesan will share his Kiwi experience at the World Hindu
Conference to be held in India, where he has been asked to talk about
what it is like being a Hindu living in New Zealand, according to
Daily Post newspaper.

Similarities between Hindu and Maori customs and language are making
living in New Zealand an easier transition for some Indian immigrants,
said Magesan.

'There are at least 185 Sanskrit and other Indian language words
similar to the Maori language. For example, 'mana' means pride or
self-respect, ' he said.

The Indian scientist has written books on Indian culture and the
similarities between Hindu and Maori.

Magesan has also encouraged his son Murali, 11, to learn the Maori
language at school and be a member of the kapa haka group, a
contemporary performance style of the Maori people.
Part of a proposed Ph.D thesis, the individual is trying to make the case for the proposition that the attempts to revive Sanskrit are a proxy for Hindu nationalism,. The more the astonishing and complete the evidence indicating the indigenous origin of the Vedics, there is still considerable resistance to it amongst Indians and this is utterly insane .

http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/semiotic...%20sanskrit.doc Signifying Sanskrit in Hindu Revivalist
and Nationalist Discourse

Adi Hastings
Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics
University of Chicago
Kalam on why Sanskrit is important
List of colleges in the world:


(Click on Sanskrit in Academia)

Kalam on why Sanskrit is important

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | February 01, 2007 17:14 IST

President A P J Abdul Kalam on Thursday termed Guru Raghavendraswamy of Mantralayam as a 'divine soul' and recalled the rich cultural heritage of Sanskrit in Indian history.

Dr Kalam interacted with the students of Sree Guru Sarvabhouma Sanskrit Vidyapeetam at Mantralayam in Kurnool district. Reciting the Moola Mantram of Raghavendraswamigal, he said "We worship Guru Raghavendraswamy, the divine soul who practiced and taught truth and dharma (the right conduct). We chant his name as Kalpavrisha (the giver of limitless material wealth) and bow before him as Kamadenu (the giver of spiritual knowledge)."

"Though I am not an expert in Sanskrit, I have many friends who are proficient in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is a beautiful language. It has enriched our society from time immemorial. Today many nations are trying to research Sanskrit writings which are there in our ancient scriptures. I understand that there is a wealth of knowledge available in Sanskrit which scientists and technologists are finding today," he said.

"There is a need to carry out research on our Vedas, particularly Atharvana Veda, for eliciting valuable information in science and technology relating to medicine, flight sciences, material sciences and many other related fields. Cryptology is another area where Sanskrit language is liberally used," he added.

He suggested that the Sanskrit Vidyapeetam, apart from their academic activity, should take up the task of locating missing literature in Sanskrit available on palm leaves spread in different parts of the country so that these could be documented and preserved. He suggested that they should avail the help of digital technology for documenting those scriptures both in audio and video form which can be preserved as long term wealth for use by many generations.
He asked the Sanskrit Vidyapeetam to should go into details of lives of great scholars, poets, epic creators like Valmiki, Veda Vyasa, Kalidasa and Panini. He wanted the Vidyapeetam to invite well-known Sanskrit scholars so that they can stay and interact with the students for a certain period. "This will provide an opportunity for students to interact and get enriched in Sanskrit and Vedas," he noted.

<b>Insult of the wonder language</b>
<i>Modern day mandarins scoff at Sanskrit even as they promote Persian,
Urdu and Arabic</i>
By Dr. Indulata Das

Now let us come to some comments made on Sanskrit in a Sanskrit
University by none other than the Chancellor of the same University.
In the near past Shri T. V. Rajeswar, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh
who is the Chancellor of the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University on the
occasion of convocation of the University said `Sanskrit is the
language of the bullock cart age. If you read Sanskrit you will get
services in temples as priests.

"Sanskrit is the greatest language of the world" said Max Muller. Sri
Aurobindo said "Sanskrit language, as has been universally recognised
by those competent to form a judgment, is one of the most magnificent
literary instrument developed by the human mind".

These are only a few mentions of the innumerable glories of the wonder
language Sanskrit sung by people throughout the world and through the
ages. It is difficult to recite all the praises of Sanskrit that
people in India and abroad have sung. Because of the great height of
Sanskrit, people generally desist from making a comparison of Sanskrit
with any other language whether Indian or alien. But whenever there is
a comparison, Sanskrit is always placed at an exceptionally high place
in comparison to other languages. For example Prof. Boop, a great
scholar, making a comparison of Sanskrit with Greek and Latin said "It
(Sanskrit) is more perfect and copious than Greek and Latin". Sir
William Jones while referring to the perfection of Sanskrit said "We
(Europeans) are still behind in making even our alphabet a perfect one".

Now let us come to some comments made on Sanskrit in a Sanskrit
University by none other than the Chancellor of the same University.
In the near past Shri T. V. Rajeswar, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh
who is the Chancellor of the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University on the
occasion of convocation of the University said `Sanskrit is the
language of the bullock cart age. If you read Sanskrit you will get
services in temples as priests. You will never get a salary of
two-three lakh Rupees per annum. You shall not be able to visit
foreign countries if you read Sanskrit. There is not a single
University in the world exclusively meant for languages similar to
Sanskrit like Greek or Latin. But there are ten Universities for
Sanskrit (as if it is something very deplorable and unfortunate that
there are so many Universities for Sanskrit)'.

Yes, it is a small portion of the speech that the Chancellor of
Sampurnananda University delivered, that too during the convocation.
The comments created widespread resentment among students and Sanskrit

It is true that Sanskrit is a language which was there when bullock
cart was the only mode of transport. It may go much beyond that age
and may be traced back to a period when there was no mode of transport
at all and people used to negotiate lengthiest distances with the help
of their feet only. But it is a matter not of shame but of great pride
that we had, even during that ancient time the most developed language
of the globe which is considered to be `the best language of the
world' even today.

Everything does not turn outdated with the passage of time. The sun
has not become old. The moon has not developed aging deformities with
the rolling of time. The stars have not been dilapidated. There are
eternal human values which are considered ideal in every age. These
are not getting outdated.

One of such ageless grandeurs is Sanskrit, the great wonder of the
world. Till date, no language in the world has emerged as a match to

It is no small wonder that the language which was used before
thousands of years is being used today in the same way. There is no
change in the structure or in the style of Sanskrit language and hence
the old literature of the ancient India can be understood and learnt
without slightest difficulty. The language of Ramayana and Mahabharata
has not grown old or become outdated. Anybody with the rudimentary
knowledge of Sanskrit can go through the great epics with the minimum
possible efforts. The languages which are much much younger to
Sanskrit have undergone so much changes that their original form has
been lost in oblivion. The credit of this maintenance of Sanskrit's
eternal beauty through the ages goes to the great intellectual giant

The grand grammar of Panini is the unending source of rejuvenation for
the great language. Having been stabilised by the grammar of Panini
the language is capable of sustaining the attack of time and is always
up-to-date in nature. Not only this, the whole world admits that
Sanskrit is the most scientific language among all the languages known
so far. It has been found to be the most suitable language for
computer because of its scientific nature. As a result now students
even in the Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology of America are being taught about the structure of Sanskrit
because of its fitness in computer.

Sanskrit is not an unused language either. In India there are at least
five thousand families where Sanskrit is the only medium of
expression. There are villages in which Sanskrit is spoken en-mass.
There are more than sixty registered and unregistered magazines and
journals brought out in Sanskrit. Literature in Sanskrit is being
created continuously. Sanskrit is taught in at least forty countries
and in two hundred fifty Universities. Sanskrit is enlisted as one of
the modern Indian languages in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of

Now Yoga has become famous throughout the world. All the treatises on
Yoga are written in Sanskrit. One can imagine how important and
unavoidable Sanskrit has become because of its necessity for Yoga.
Ayurveda is gaining more and more popularity especially among the
elite both inside India and abroad. All the authentic books on
Ayurveda are composed in Sanskrit only. Learning of Ayurveda is
handicapped without the knowledge of Sanskrit. Without the knowledge
of Sanskrit, it is not possible to have a clear and complete knowledge
of Indian Philosophy too. Knowledge of Indian history is not
comprehensive without the knowledge of Sanskrit. It was said aright by
Fakiruddin Ali Ahmed- "It (Sanskrit) is the language of every Indian".
And Mahatma Gandhi also was appropriate in saying -"Without the study
of Sanskrit one can not become a true Indian and a true learned man".

One wonders how the Chancellor of Sampurnananda Sanskrit University is
unaware of all these facts! Moreover the Chancellor does not know that
there is provision in the same University to learn English along with
Sanskrit. Not only English, there are many modern subjects in the
syllabus. For example there are Science, Linguistics, Political
Science, Economics, Hindi etc. in the syllabus of the University.
There are Diploma courses in Library Science, Music, German, French,
Tibetan, and Chinese etc. Perhaps he does not have a complete idea
about the University of which he is the Chancellor. However his
comment on Sanskrit is painful for the lovers of Sanskrit language and
Indian culture.

Sanskrit is the pride of India. The literature stored in Sanskrit is a
vast treasure not only of India but also of the whole world. May a
time come when we understand our own worth and respect our own
invaluable treasure!

<i>(The writer can be contacted at Qr. No. 5R, 9, Forest Park, Unit-1,
Bhubaneswar. )</i>
Sanskrit survived the caste divide in Kerala

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>There are only three varnas in Kerala Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Shudras. Muslims and Christians substituted for Vaishyas.</b> In the process, the Christian community, particularly, became a well-knit part of the varna society. The culture that evolved was also inclusive. The best Sanskrit grammar text in Malayalam was written by I C Chacko, a Christian. He also wrote Christu Bhagavatam. Kerala's Sanskrit tradition is also unique for its Buddhist and Jain lineage. Lower castes like Ezhavas were once Buddhists, they had access to Sanskrit learning and practised Ayurveda.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Seems like subtle psy-ops against Brahmins.

Is it true that there are no Vaishyas in Kerala??

So before Christianity islam how did the economy of the region run? Were some Brahmin and Kshatriya families engaging in trade & commerce?
I don't know much about Kerala, but typically in the South, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are much smaller communities than they are in the North. So typically, the Shudras substitute for everybody. There are trading as well as warrior communities among the Shudras. I think this is also true of Kerala, where the Nairs were the biggest landowning class as well as the warrior community. They may have also been traders.

As for the Ezhavas being Buddhists, that sounds like propagandist nonsense. I have read similar nonsense from Ambedkar as well, and with very little evidence.
Question to our Samskritam gurus.

स्नायी (snAyI) would generally mean 'bather' - a person who takes bath. Can any other meanings be derived from the term? ANyone aware of any other usage of the word?

I am a Philosophy undergraduate and I am interested in Indian Philosophy. I have been reading about Sanskrit, and and the apparent superiority of Sanskrit Grammar and Linguistics. I still do not quite understand why Sanskrit Grammar is so superior(I am not that well versed in Linguistics; still studying it) but I was wondering if it can be used to improve English language.

Is there a right and more correct way to construct a sentence in the English language, as per the rules of Panini? I am further interested in how Sanskrit Grammar and Indian logic and syllogistics would deal with developing a thesis, and how I can apply that to improve my essay writing skills.

The current mode that I follow is probably familiar to you. Make a thesis statement in your introduction, expand on it in the body, and then resolve it in the conclusion. I understand Indian logic deals with this differently, using a 5-step syollogism.

There does not seem to be much material on this available on the net or in my local library, so I am hoping you guys can help me.
Post 325:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I was wondering if it (Samskrit grammar) can be used to improve English language.

Is there a right and more correct way to construct a sentence in the English language, as per the rules of Panini?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->My, how innocently you ask this, as if you were asking the time of day. I consider it the most insidious, certainly most dangerous, request I've come across for a while (but only if any were to comply, that is). But even with compliance you can not succeed, fortunately.

Are you asking this out of real ignorance or by undisclosed motivation? I most surely prefer you to be unwitting rather than malevolent, but the latter seems far more likely considering the types floating about. You can't be wholly ignorant about the gravity of what it is you ask, not to such an extreme, when your username indicates you're of Indian origin ('Surya').

But as it's customary for good people to presume someone's innocence, I'll grudgingly do the same and answer your question to some extent - it is as much as you'll get out of me, in any case.

(1) You'll have to introduce grammatical constructs into the English language that aren't yet there. This you can not do, not with the permission or acquiescence of any person who values and respects English, because you will mar the language as it is now and have destroyed its (mostly) natural evolution up to this stage.
But why would anyone ruin that same English which Shakespeare has shown the capabilities, usefulness and expressiveness of?

(2) Why English of all European languages? Of those I know, it is the furthest removed from Samskritam's grammar. Dutch has more grammatical sense, so too French. German would have more chance than either (though still nill, I think) because it has die Faelle. But as a German scholar once remarked in admiration of English, English is precisely to be desired/appreciated over German because it does not have these excessive grammatical trappings. It is a language one may still understand, but one that is easier to learn and hence more uniting of peoples. (But in my view, Dutch is the better language according to those criteria.)

Latin (and perhaps Greek?) would be your best bet. But you'd still be betting on the wrong horses for this race.

I understand you believe that English will remain the lingua franca of the world. (Others before you have mistaken the same about different languages like Latin - no one can predict the fall of empires, but what <i>is</i> known is that they all fall eventually).
And I understand that that is possibly why you might wish to make English more 'worthy' of being so, when at present it is the common language of many only by an accident of history and not by any virtues peculiar to itself.

(3) Constructing a new language would be the way to go. But what is the point in that when you'll end up cloning the grammar of Samskrit? Samskrit already exists.

(4) And why would you ask any Hindu Indian to help in making English more like Samskritam? This is not colonial times when our people were all still naive in thinking European interest in us and our languages was genuine and sincere.
The English were largely responsible (though some other European nations share significant blame in this also) in trying to wipe out the language of Hindu Dharma, Samskritam, from our country. And they did so in full consciousness and it was wholly premeditated.
Do you still think it sensible to ask for Hindu/Indian help in this matter?

(5) Hindus are also sick of appropriation. Isn't the theft of neem and now the attempted theft of turmeric enough? (Couple that with the present calculated discrediting of Ayurvedic medicine so that they can later reintroduce and patent it under their own pharmaceutical labels, as they have done with the native American natural and wholesome sweetener Stevia.)
Samskritam grammar is forever copyrighted, patented, trademarked, what-have-you by Dharmic peoples - with which I mean that its <i>our</i> intellectual property and we don't take kindly to those seeking to appropriate or abuse/misuse it.
Besides, the west is by now known for never crediting Indians (or other human populations) with our ancestors' accomplishments, while they are all too willing to appropriate these, copy them or even steal them. So why in the world would we help in this matter?

I find your question most offensive. And if in your ignorance/limited knowledge about Indian history you think this answer extreme and unwarranted, I suggest you find out more before you continue in that presumption. Ignorance is no excuse.

What an interesting reply. It is interesting how ambigious language is, and how the original meaning can become something so completely different in the mind of another. This is the problem with the English language; it is too open to interpretation.

There was no political intent in my question. I am simply trying to adapt Indian wisdom to improve my English for academic study. I am interested in rules of grammar on how to construct perfect sentences, paragraphs. I understand Sanskrit Grammar is the most advanced system of Grammar, and I am wandering if I can use that.

Also how Indian logic can be used to construct essays and argue properly. I do not like the Western logical system. I cannot explain why, but there is something wrong about it, in the sense that it does not seem to be interested in finding truth.

I will learn Sanskrit later on. I hope to do my Postgraduate in Indian Phillosophy in India(probably Banaras Hindu University) and study Sanskrit as well. The Indians were far ahead of the Western Philosophers, and much of Western Philosophy is derived from Indians.
Post 327:
Taking #327 and #325 <i>together</i> I think I now understand what you mean, although #325 on its own is waaaayyy too ambiguous.

I don't know about using Samskritam to improve one's English. The way I learnt English is by reading books and watching lots of tv, including documentaries.
Then again, you may wish to avoid that route altogether, as I'm a poor example: I make a lot of spelling errors and other odd mistakes. Also, operating as I do on a phonetic basis for spelling - which works perfectly fine in languages like Dutch and German - ruins me in English. I find there are a lot who make errors identical to my own though, so I'm not too bothered.

In laying out a thesis/other written stuff, I find just using common sense and my own logic (what's that? - well, I'm guessing it's probably the same as anybody else's innate logic) helps.

English <i>is</i> ambiguous (as you've seen in my reaction to your #325), so you need to eliminate ambiguity when introducing complex ideas in your thesis by providing ample examples and further explanation - even repetition using different words is not out of place when it will reinforce the exact meaning and reduce misinterpretation.
Certainly in cases where you are explaining the workings of a new method or machine of some sort, you can't afford not to give visuals and examples.

This is not what you asked for, I know, but it might help you feel more confident in getting your ideas across in English in your thesis.

Learn Sanskrit step-by-step:


Vedic Sanskrit vs Classical Sanskrit

I am very confused. How different is Vedic Sanskrit from Classical Sanskrit? What makes it different? Can Panini rules be applied to Vedic Sanskrit?

I have been reading all kinds of theories on it. Some say it an early and older form of Sanskrit, which later evolved into the more sophisticated classical Sanskrit. While, some say its just a different type of Sanskrit, with it's own unique grammar, but existed alongside Classical Sanskrit.

Whatever be the case, it's clear to me that most scholars do not fully understand Vedic Sanskrit. While the translations I have read of texts written in Classical Sanskrit seem to agree with one another, those written in Vedic sanskrit have various translations, where the meaning of the text is considerably changed(compare Griffith, to Dayanada, Aurbindo to Devichand --- worlds apart)

Why is this? Is it because nobody really understands Vedic Sanskrit and everybody is just guessing at the meaning? Are there special rules required to construct Vedic sentences, do the words carry different meanings?
<!--QuoteBegin-Surya+Apr 16 2007, 09:07 AM-->QUOTE(Surya @ Apr 16 2007, 09:07 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Vedic Sanskrit vs Classical Sanskrit

I am very confused. How different is Vedic Sanskrit from Classical Sanskrit? What makes it different? Can Panini rules be applied to Vedic Sanskrit?

I have been reading all kinds of theories on it. Some say it an early and older form of Sanskrit, which later evolved into the more sophisticated classical Sanskrit. While, some say its just a different type of Sanskrit, with it's own unique grammar, but existed alongside Classical Sanskrit.

Whatever be the case, it's clear to me that most scholars do not fully understand Vedic Sanskrit. While the translations I have read of texts written in Classical Sanskrit seem to agree with one another, those written in Vedic sanskrit have various translations, where the meaning of the text is considerably changed(compare Griffith, to Dayanada, Aurbindo to Devichand --- worlds apart)

Why is this? Is it because nobody really understands Vedic Sanskrit and everybody is just guessing at the meaning? Are there special rules required to construct Vedic sentences, do the words carry different meanings?
Panini's rules apply to vedic sanskrit. This has caused a lot of complexity in the grammar. If you remember the 10-lakAras (verb forms) for each verb, each divided into 3 purushas and 3-vachanas, and you get a bewildering array of verb forms from a root. A number of those lakAras are hardly ever used in classical sanskrit, but are common in vedic.

If you are used to classical sanskrit, vedic sanskrit may appear very difficult. Although I have heard otherwise too. An american professor who had done his PHD in Sanskrit from Berkeley told me that he found vedic sanskrit easier than classical sanskrit. I guess we get used to classical sanskrit from childhood through shlokas etc and don't realize that someone learning from scratch may find vedic easier.

Regarding interpretation, by the time of Panini, vedic sanskrit was already becoming difficult to comprehend. Given that sanskrit roots have multiple meanings, one can do many creative interpretations of vedic literature if one wants to do that only using a garammar and a dictionary.

Maxmuller/Griffith etc are unreliable (add Devi Chand to that too, since he follows in their footsteps). Their purpose was to denigrate hinduism and that bias shows up in how they chose to interpret. They also overused "karmakandi" interpretation of Sayana who was about a millenium after Panini. The result is that they created a translation of the vedas which fit their desires as "a song of the nomads".

The proper approach is to use whole vedic corpus, including Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upansihads, Sutras etc to come at an interpretation. The so called "nomadic song" school falls flat on its face when faced with subtle metaphysics of Aranyakasa and Upanishads and many parts of rgveda.

Rgveda is held in greatest respect by hindus not only because it is the oldest text, but that it is a "revealed text". Rishis "saw" (mantra-drashTA R^ishi) the mantras in a spiritual experience, they didn't just cook them up like a nomad's poetry. At least that is the traditional view. And that traditional view can't simply be uprooted just because a western indologist learnt to use a grammar and a dictionary and can find a new interpretation. Trying to interpret Rgveda witout this traditional import assigned to it is a malevolent or futile excercise.

Swami Dayananda and Sri Aurobindo did a great job in wresting the initiative from the western indologists. Sw. Dayananda was a great sanskrit scholar and Sri Aurobindo was a great yogi. Sri Aurobindo said that only in rgveda he could find statements that affirmed to him his own spiritual/yogic experiences.

I would take their interpretation anyday over indologist versions.
Wow, thanks Ashok. I found Sayana's version of Rig Veda last night, and spent the entire night reading through it and studying it, and also comparing it to Griffith, and the few translations I could find of Devi Chand and Sri Aurbindo. The Sayan version was far more superior to Griffith, and I could understand it much more.

I think you might be mistaken about Devi Chand. He does not follow Griffith or Sayana's translation, but Swami Dayanadas. His translation of the Vedas is the most scientific I have seen. He interprets the verses as discussing electricity, atomic fission etc

For example

<i>The atomic energy fissions the ninety-nine elements, covering its path by the bombardments of neutrons without let or hindrance. Desirous of stalking the head, ie. The chief part of the swift power, hidden in the mass of molecular adjustments of the elements, this atomic energy approaches it in the very act of fissioning it by the above-noted bombardment. Herein, verily the scientists know the similar hidden striking force of the rays of the sun working in the orbit of the moon.</i>

The original sanskrit is:

indro dadhIcho asthabhirvR^itrANyapratiShkutaH jaghAna navatIrnava

ichchhannashvasya yachchhiraH parvateShvapashritam tadvidachchharyaNAvati

atrAha goramanvata nAma tvaShTurapIchyam itthA chandramaso gR^ihe
(Rig Veda, book 1, hymn 84)

At first I was extremely skeptical of Devi Chand. But after reading Sayana translation, it makes a lot more sense. Its becoming increasingly clear to me that Indra slaying Vrittra, is referring to a natural phenomena. The word vritra is synonymous with cloud(megha) and Sayana's translation refers to vritra as condensed vapour.

So is this referring to how rain is caused? Yes it is on one level, by Indra causing an electrical discharge in the cloud, the waters within the cloud are released, and fall to earth as rain. But, Vritra is described as the first cloud, which eternally holds the waters.

And then it says that the sun is produced. Therefore Vritra existed, even before the sun existed. Hence the production of the sun or stars, is dependent on Indra releasing the waters from the hold of Vritra.

In the Vedas, the waters are described as both waters that flow on the Earth, and celestial waters such as space. Indra is the deva that presides over space(Varuna presides over the atmospheres) therefore he deals with celestial phenomena.

The production of stars and elements is therefore presided over by Indra. Without Indra releasing the waters there are no stars or suns. Hence, why the vedas describe the Sun as being made of waters(apah) and the waters as being made up of agni . The fluidic substance of space is apah. If Vritra is taken to be the very first cloud(primordial state of the universe) then other borns are therefore interstellar clouds(from which stars are born)

Thus Indra is the principle which causes these interstellar clouds to form into suns. Thus indra is some kind of atomic phenomena. The vedas describe Indra as using some kind of discharge to cause the process. This discharge is born from Rudra(Rudra and Agni are both the same) it could be electricity, or some other phenomena.

The 99 places described in the verse could be 99 clouds, 99 interstellar clouds. However, they are described as being <i>parvateShvapashritam</i> thus being solid matter. Thus, cloud becomes unlikely. It then says that that the swift bombardment by the discharge released by Indra(Vajra) fissions them.

I know that Devi chand has translated this correct, because in Sayana and Griffiths translation, it is translated as "the horses(ash) head hidden inside the mountain" which makes absolutely no sense <!--emo&:lol:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='laugh.gif' /><!--endemo--> It is referring to the nucleus(the core/chief part) hidden inside the 99 elements.

Therefore it does seem that Devi chands translaton is accurate. The bombardment then must be a neutron striking the nucleus of those 99 elements. I am not sure if Devi Chand has explained this the same way(or provided any commentary)

What I don't understand is the last part:

atrAha goramanvata nAma tvaShTurapIchyam itthA chandramaso gR^ihe

Can you help me translate this?

I also need help in translating the subject of what a verse refers to. I am getting the impression that the Western Indologists are getting the word order wrong, and I am also starting to doubt that the Vedas are describing fire sacrifices. The principle behind yagna seems to be transforming something into something else and Soma is an ingredient needed in it.

Reading Sayanas ritualitic interpretation. It sounds like preists making prayers to the fire and praising the "gods" and preparing Soma juice for them to drink. In return they pray for blessings and boons, thousands of cows and horses. But if it is indeed that, then how can these Devas be natural principles? How can they possibly get more cows and horses by just praying?

Devi Chand has translated these Yagnas much more differently

Indra Kratuvidang sutang somang harya purushtut Piba vrishaswa taatripim(RV, book 3, hymn 40, verse 2)

Let electricity, so highly spoken of by many learned people, help extract the essence of medicines, thus produced by those, who are well-versed in manufacturing things. Let it keep safe and shower, on us the rain, satisfying all.

Devi Chand has obviously taken Indra to mean electricity here. The rest according to Monier-Williams Sanskrit dictionary means:

Kratuvidam = grant power' sutang(extract) somang(part of soma) harya(take) purushut(many praise) Piba(drink) vrishaswa(rains) taatripm(delight)

Order is: Indra - grant power - extract- part of soma - take - many praise - drink - rains - delight

This is translated by Griffith as:

Indra, whom many laud, accept the strength-conferring Soma juice:
Quaff, pour down drink that satisfies.

And By Sayana as:

3.040.02 Indra, the praised of many, accept the effused Soma, the conferrer of knowledge; drink, imbibe the satisfactory draught. [Imbibe: vr.s.asva, sprinkle, shower, that is, into the stomach, so that it may not descend below the stomach].

We can clearly see the difference between Chand and Griffith/Sayana is the word order. While Chand is based on using Indra to extract a part of soma for our use, where we are the drinkers. The others are about us preparing Soma for Indra to come and drink. Which one is correct, and why? How is the sentence constructed? What are the rules?

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