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Sanskrit

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Sanskrit
Here, by the way, is the first verse of the <b>Gita Dhyana</b>. You can find the word Mahabharatam:

Om parthaya pratibodhitam bhagavata narayanena swayam
vyasena grathitam purana munina madhye <b>maha bharatam</b>
advaita amrita varshineem bhagvateem ashtadasa adhyayineem
amba twam anu sandadhami bhagavad geete bhava dweshineem

Om, O Bhagavadgita, with which Partha (Arjuna) was illuminated by Lord Narayana Himself and which was composed in the middle of the Mahabharata by the ancient sage Vyasa, O Divine Mother, the destroyer of rebirth, the showerer of the nectar of Advaita (teaching of Oneness in all things) and consisting of eighteen chapters – upon Thee, O Bhagavad Gita! O affectionate Mother! I meditate.
<!--QuoteBegin-ben_ami+Jul 20 2006, 01:59 PM-->QUOTE(ben_ami @ Jul 20 2006, 01:59 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->someone taking deep interest in indian philosophy does not prove it. i want to know if all the germanic philosophers of the last 200 years "DERIVED" (or were influenced) their philosophy from hinduism and buddhism. osawld spengler didnt for sure.
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spengler appears to be a nietzschean type in that he continuously refers to a "will to power" dynamic. the exaggerated, puerile"will to power" rhetoric is what develops when an inferior culture encounters a superior one and cannot graciously accept the fact, eg how the arabs felt about the persians at the eve of the islamic takeover.

we also need some work on how the new indian influence could not be digested by europe producing the fourth semitic heresy of Marxism, just as the ancient buddhist influence had mutated into christianity. and also just why this marxism emerged among the jewish intellectuals. yes i am sure that germanics like schopenhauer are plagiarizing off the jewish innovators.

spengler may also be another case of Shri RM's famous U-turn where the founding influences are erased or attributed to peripheral elements in the superior culture (eg zoroastrianism or buddhism). note this interesting "factoid":

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->wiki:  He spent his final years in Munich, listening to Beethoven, reading Molière and Shakespeare, buying several thousand books, and collecting <b>ancient Turkish, Persian and Hindu weapons. </b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Of course, no hard conclusions can formed. it is all just very very "interesting".
Counted among Arthur Schopenhauer disciples are such thinkers as Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, as well as Sigmund Freud, who takes a large part of his psychological theory from the writings of Schopenhauer.


<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Jul 21 2006, 04:33 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Jul 21 2006, 04:33 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin-ben_ami+Jul 20 2006, 01:59 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(ben_ami @ Jul 20 2006, 01:59 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->someone taking deep interest in indian philosophy does not prove it. i want to know if all the germanic philosophers of the last 200 years "DERIVED" (or were influenced) their philosophy from hinduism and buddhism. osawld spengler didnt for sure.
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<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

spengler appears to be a nietzschean type in that he continuously refers to a "will to power" dynamic. the exaggerated, puerile"will to power" rhetoric is what develops when an inferior culture encounters a superior one and cannot graciously accept the fact, eg how the arabs felt about the persians at the eve of the islamic takeover.

we also need some work on how the new indian influence could not be digested by europe producing the fourth semitic heresy of Marxism, just as the ancient buddhist influence had mutated into christianity. and also just why this marxism emerged among the jewish intellectuals. yes i am sure that germanics like schopenhauer are plagiarizing off the jewish innovators.

spengler may also be another case of Shri RM's famous U-turn where the founding influences are erased or attributed to peripheral elements in the superior culture (eg zoroastrianism or buddhism). note this interesting "factoid":

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->wiki:  He spent his final years in Munich, listening to Beethoven, reading Molière and Shakespeare, buying several thousand books, and collecting <b>ancient Turkish, Persian and Hindu weapons. </b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Of course, no hard conclusions can formed. it is all just very very "interesting".
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the reason i had said that "spengler didnt" was that spengler was of the opinion that killing and carnage was the true primal nature of humans (just as the new dutch paedophile political party would have as believe with fornication). this funda by spengler was used for some time by the nazis to justify their tactics. if spengler came to the conclusion that killing is life and life killing, after reading books of buddhism, then i'd like to know how.


as for the 4th semetic heresey - i would call it the third. judaism, how so ever silly in its premise (god taking from behind burning bushes - the original bushim, adam eve concept - plagiarised from sumerians, 10 commandments - basicle tribal dribble, esp the first 5 commandments etc etc) was not very harmful or did not cause much bloodshed. probably because, tho just like christianity, islam and communism, it too seeks to control other people's lives by dictacting terms to them, judaism does not seek to control everyone - only jews. they feel no need to shove their rules and laws down the throats of others, the way christianity, islam and marxism does. so silly maybe, but not harmful.

with communism, it would be unfair to blame the jews entirely. tho inded the founding fathers were jews, there were many many other lesser comrades too.
same with christianity. only jesus and the apostles and some more were jews. is all. islam is all semetic in that all arabs are identically semetic.

btw, the other semetic heresay of feminism has done no less damage to people tho - its ruined the family in the west.

"just why this marxism emerged amongst jewish thinkers" - damned good question. almost all "isms" have emerged from their heads. my theory is that since judaism itself is a set of rules and do's and dont's to control society - happily enough only jewish society - the jews/semetics have an innate need and desire to keep emulating this dictatorial approach to try and control other people. almost invariably these ways of exercising control are contrary to human nature and the basic way the world/nature was made (another classic jewish/semetic trait - to try and somehow control/get the better of, their harsh desert enviornment). when i say contrary, i mean postulates like "all men are equal" (as marxism says), "all men have to live their lives in the same way" (as islam and christianity says) - thats simply not the way we are born. the control is exercised either from a religious reference frame as in christianity (you once said the romans are a quarter semetic by blood. if that be true, then thats further explaination) and islam or from a political reference frame like marzism and all its derivatives (communism, maoism, totalitarism etc). and even feminsm (very contrary to nature - women simply arnt born to make good husbands).
<!--QuoteBegin-ben_ami+Jul 21 2006, 12:06 PM-->QUOTE(ben_ami @ Jul 21 2006, 12:06 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->islam is all semetic in that all arabs are identically semetic.[right][snapback]54245[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Arabian is a Semitic language like Hebrew is a Semitic language. There are no semitic religions or people, unless you were just inventing it. Like there are no indo-oryans (people) or indo-oryan religions. (Though you appeared to believe in the latter.)

More of my response to this post of yours, to be found here.
<!--QuoteBegin-ben_ami+Jul 21 2006, 12:06 PM-->QUOTE(ben_ami @ Jul 21 2006, 12:06 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->the reason i had said that "spengler didnt" was that spengler was of the opinion that killing and carnage was the true primal nature of humans (just as the new dutch paedophile political party would have as believe with fornication). this funda by spengler was used for some time by the nazis to justify their tactics. if spengler came to the conclusion that killing is life and life killing, after reading books of buddhism, then i'd like to know how.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

well, the buddhist impermanence is almost reflexively interpreted by the albinos as nihilism- although roots of this are seen as a "dialectical" reaction to the Romanticism of Voltaire, Rousseau, and the French street riot glorified as democratic revolution. It does not take a genius to form a low opinion of human affairs, and we need not look at any extraneous influences other than native christianity to deduce the same. What I am saying is that the Semitic Homogeneization imperative (that you point out) as well as the doctrine of Lord God (or the substitute King or Republic) as the Sovereign claimholder of Creation (with claim rights) was seriously impacted by the Buddhist teaching of impermanence -re-interpreted as <i>dialectic</i> to produce the new semitism of Marxism. I think Hegels had acknowledged a "primitive" Buddhist origin of Dialectics- of course the sources have been erased and now everything is attributed back to Socrates, an unknown even in the ancient world. Above all, this is representatitv of how the Indian teachings on Consciousness, Atman, almost systematically get massacred by these albinos and semitics. somehow like the indian who was approached in a tramcar while visiting europe and asked about the minute details of his past lives. The theory of Evolution, which is ackowledged to throw a serious wrench in the semitic conception of the Cosmos, should also be seen as a similar case of the impact of the buddhist doctrine of impermanence.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->with communism, it would be unfair to blame the jews entirely. tho inded the founding fathers were jews, there were many many other lesser comrades too.
same with christianity. only jesus and the apostles and some more were jews. is all. islam is all semetic in that all arabs are identically semetic.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Only the Jewish contribution to europe intellectuality is worthy of our time. what can be now extracted as the native euro tradition is too puerile for even special mention. it would be interesting nonetheless to see the English/French and Italian flowerings as continuations of Basque and Etruscan civilizations. Eastern Europe, Russia, germany, by contrast are all derivative in almost all elements. Even what you had acknowleged about Jokerlal's statement about germanic philosophers, the same had struck me as "odd" as well. This tradition of Enlightenment (as opposed to Renaissance) is almost wholly derived from the new Buddhist input, the footprints of which were subsequently erased (as stated by Shri RM). MArxism is an Enlightenment product.
<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Jul 22 2006, 06:34 AM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Jul 22 2006, 06:34 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin-ben_ami+Jul 21 2006, 12:06 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(ben_ami @ Jul 21 2006, 12:06 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->islam is all semetic in that all arabs are identically semetic.[right][snapback]54245[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Arabian is a Semitic language like Hebrew is a Semitic language. There are no semitic religions or people, unless you were just inventing it. Like there are no indo-oryans (people) or indo-oryan religions. (Though you appeared to believe in the latter.)

More of my response to this post of yours, to be found here.
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<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->there are. semetics are an ethnicity. as are indo aryans.


though language is a very loose marker, and a celtic can end up speaking germanic languages (like the irish do) and vice versa, to say that there is no ethnicity called the celtics or germanics, would be stupid. there indeed are, though its not as hard and fast as race (a mongoloid is a mongoloid OR a negroid).


semitics are the people who speak a semitic language. semitic religions are the religions of the people who speak a semitic language. this includes sumerian and chaldian belifef systems, the paganism of the assyrians, arabs, philistines etc etc.

and isnt it a bit audacious to say that there are no indo aryan religions in a india discussion forum??

<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Jul 22 2006, 08:02 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Jul 22 2006, 08:02 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Only the Jewish contribution to europe intellectuality is worthy of our time.  what can be now extracted as the native euro tradition is too puerile for even special mention.  it would be interesting nonetheless to see the English/French and Italian flowerings as continuations of Basque and Etruscan civilizations.  Eastern Europe, Russia, germany, by contrast are all derivative in almost all elements.  Even what you had acknowleged about Jokerlal's statement about germanic philosophers, the same had struck me as "odd" as well.  This tradition of Enlightenment (as opposed to Renaissance) is almost wholly derived from the new Buddhist input, the footprints of which were subsequently erased (as stated by Shri RM).  MArxism is an Enlightenment product.
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thanks for your response.

as for your first line, i agree that ever since rome turned christian (in fact slightly before that) the main guiding force in european thought process has been from the jews or from judaic thought. why though do you think greek and roman contributions arnt worth much?


and the last line... marxism being an enlightment product... would you say that of the other semitic "ism"s as well (x-ianity, islam, feminism etc). and why would the people (ie. jews) with the most hardass and exclusivisionist of religions and beliefs take to the universality of buddhist though?? opposites attract??
Post 267:
Celtic and Germanic are both ethnicities <i>and</i> language groups. And today they also indirectly refer to the former religious systems of those people.

Semitic in biblical terms <i>is</i> a racial construct. But then, the bible also put forward Hamitic as the sub-saharan African 'race'. It's from the biblical view, and the later koranic one that built on it, that Arabia's muslims started claiming descent from Shem. Prior to Christianity and Islam, the heathen Arabians never traced their ancestry to Shem who had only been a Judaic character until then.
Therefore, outside the biblical racial view and those who've accepted it, these terms don't apply as such. People started using 'semitic religions' as a way to indicate the religions that were offshoots of Judaism. I haven't come across any official sanction for the terminology as yet.


In any case, any decent (factual) reference book will tell you that Indo-Aryan was only ever created to indicate a linguistic family (the N Indian one). Nothing else. However, as you apparently find it flattering, you can imagine yourself an Indo-Aryan. How's that working out for ya, by the way?

Seems you want to recreate Indian perceptions of self based on the (mis-)understanding you absorbed from recent western views of India. Hence you speak of:
- not Indian ethnicity, but 'Indo-Aryan' ethnicity and probably 'Dravidian' too
- not Hinduism (or actually, Sanatana Dharma) that is Indian, but Hinduism as if it is 'Indo-Aryan'
- and you are/were confused about some basic fundamentals

You also blindly believe S Indian languages are separate from N Indian ones, only because for the last 2 centuries or so the west has created the IE framework construct that groups N Indian (Indo-Aryan) as separate from 'Dravidian'. Until then, no one knew this. The idea only took root when they created it.
I am neither impressed nor convinced by the IE framework; but when discussing aspects within it, at least I stick to their rules (like 'there is no Indo-Aryan ethnic group'). You, having accepted it so wholeheartedly, might at least do the same.

You've also internalised every construct and myth they have fed you, until you can imagine no world outside of it (even when you try to rebel against it as with your partial rejection of the AIT, you come no further than your own 'Indo-Aryan and Dravidian' one). To the point that you give no credit or credence to (or have no knowledge of) the understanding of India and Hinduism that was prevalent amongst Indians prior to the misinformation campaign.

This is your loss. You have imbibed all western indological (re-)constructs of what constitutes the fundamentals of India's Hindu civilisation. You're like their unknowing little helper, well-schooled in their massive miseducation programme and unwittingly furthering the miseducation.
are you trying to tell me that its wrong and insane to describe a people acording to their language??

tamilians arnt a people, different from say the japanese and the zulu (ie. those who speak the zulu language)?

much as u would like to think so i dont use either semetic or indo aryan in a racial kind of way. just as a name or description of a people.

and i am not at all influenced by westerners when i maintain that all thats hinduism was written and imagined in sanskrit, by the indo aryan (north indian) people. thats just the way it is. you are like a fool when you try to claim that dravidians and say gujratis or kashmiris are the same people.
Post 270:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->are you trying to tell me that its wrong and insane to <b>describe a people acording to their language</b>??
tamilians arnt a people, different from say the japanese and the zulu (ie. those who speak the zulu language)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->All these are examples of valid population groups that are defined <i>both</i> by their language (Japanese, Zulu, Tamil) <i>and</i> either their ethnicity (japanese, zulu) or on regional basis (Tamilian).

This is what you said in post 267:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->semetics are <b>an ethnicity</b>. as are <b>indo aryans</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->So which is it? You have now changed your "indo-aryans are an ethnicity" to implying that you always argued to use the term to describe a people according to their language. That is, you first claimed it as an ethnic group and now say you want to use it for describing a population of speakers.

There's a world of difference though. Let me try to illustrate this for you:
I speak English - however, I am not English but an English-speaker. I speak Tamil, I am Tamil and I am Indian. Indian is my ethnic category not my linguistic category.

Just like I can't randomly go about using the word 'English', there are some rules that appear to govern the use of 'Indo-Aryan' too.

Indo-Aryan was devised to be used as a linguistic group <i>only</i>. I.e. 'Indo-Aryan languages' is the only term. It was never defined outside linguistics, although it has found its way into other areas now.
Hence if someone says "yoga is Indo-Aryan" (shorthand for "yoga is an Indo-Aryan word") then that is correct in the IE worldview, because Indo-Aryan describes the word. No one will officially say "Ben-Ami is Indo-Aryan" or "Ben-Ami is an Indo-Aryan" - they'll say "Ben-Ami speaks Indo-Aryan" or "is an Indo-Aryan speaker". If you can't see the difference...

Racists do use Indo-Aryan as sub-race of IE. Also some indologists purposefully fudge their own rules and start talking about "Indo-Aryans and their material culture in such-and-such ce", though when called on it they are quick to correct it as describing the alien people who long ago influxed into India and spoke some parent Indo-Aryan language - meaning a language that had already split from its Indo-Iranian ancestor language or something. That is, the only time I've heard the Indologists brave using Indo-Aryan as an almost-ethnic group is when they speak in a (supposed) historical context of India.

You appear to want to use Indo-Aryan to designate N Indians, or specifically certain N Indians. It doesn't mean what you think it means. Don't worry, you're not all alone, as the CIA also uses Indo-Aryan as you do (it groups 75% of India under the Indo-Aryan <i>ethnic</i> group). But that doesn't make it any less wrong.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->you are <b>like a fool</b> when you try to claim that dravidians and say gujratis or kashmiris are the same people.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Then so was Aurobindo, and so is the current Shankaracharya in Tamil Nadu. And a host of others. But I'm willing to bet they're not fools. (What that makes you, I'll leave you to figure out.)
And it is also implied by the silence in the Hindu literature on any Aryan-Dravidian (or IndoAryan-Dravidian) matter. (Here I predict you'll bring in the monkeys from the Ramayanam or some other irrelevant matter that you think is somehow applicable. Where have I seen this before?)

Suit yourself. So far you have lost all your arguments and I have come to think you won't ever say anything right.
I can't remember, but I think someone once told me to "kill with silence". I think it was with respect to you. Not sure. Anyway, I'll apply it here.
vishvavANI is a Sanskrit webzine which has been brought out by students from various US universities
http://rajivmalhotra.sulekha.com/blog/post...krit-phobia.htm

Geopolitics and Sanskrit Phobia
Jul 5 2005 | Views 27783 | Comments (1222)

Overview

This paper discusses the historical and contemporary relationship between geopolitics and Sanskrit, and consists of the following sections:

I. Sanskrit is more than a language. Like all languages, its structures and categories contain a built-in framework for representing specific worldviews. Sanskriti is the name of the culture and civilization that embodies this framework. One may say that Sanskriti is the term for what has recently become known as Indic Civilization, a civilization that goes well beyond the borders of modern India to encompass South Asia and much of Southeast Asia. At one time, it included much of Asia.

II. Interactions among different regions of Asia helped to develop and exchange this pan-Asian Sanskriti. Numerous examples involving India, Southeast Asia and China are given.

III. Sanskrit started to decline after the West Asian invasions of the Indian subcontinent. This had a devastating impact on Sanskriti, as many world-famous centers of learning were destroyed, and no single major university was built for many centuries by the conquerors.

IV. Besides Asia, Sanskrit and Sanskriti influenced Europe's modernity, and Sanskrit Studies became a large-scale formal activity in most European universities. These influences shaped many intellectual disciplines that are (falsely) classified as “Western”. But the “discovery” of Sanskrit by Europe also had the negative influence of fueling European racism since the 19th century.

V. Meanwhile, in colonial India, the education system was de-Sanskritized and replaced by an English based education. This served to train clerks and low level employees to administer the Empire, and to start the process of self-denigration among Indians, a trend that continues today. Many prominent Indians achieved fame and success as middlemen serving the Empire, and Gandhi's famous 1908 monograph, “Hind Swaraj,” discusses this phenomenon.

VI. After India's independence, there was a broad based Nehruvian love affair with Sanskrit as an important nation-building vehicle. However, successive generations of Indian intellectuals have replaced this with what this paper terms “Sanskrit Phobia,” i.e. a body of beliefs now widely disseminated according to which Sanskrit and Sanskriti are blamed for all sorts of social, economic and political problems facing India's underprivileged classes. This section illustrates such phobia among prominent Western Indologists and among trendy Indians involved in South Asian Studies who learn about Sanskrit and Sanskriti according to Western frameworks and biases.

VII. The clash of civilizations among the West, China and Islam is used as a lens to discuss the future of Sanskriti across South and Southeast Asia.

VIII. Some concrete suggestions are made for further consideration to revitalize Sanskrit as a living language that has potential for future knowledge development and empowerment of humanity.

I. Sanskrit and the Multicultural Sanskriti (Indic Civilization)

In modern Westernized universities, Sanskrit is taught primarily as a language only and that too in connection with Indo-European philology. On the other hand, other major languages such as English, Arabic and Mandarin are treated as containers of their respective unique civilizational worldviews; the same approach is not accorded to Sanskrit. In fact, the word itself has a wider, more general meaning in the sense of civilization. Etymologically, Sanskrit means "elaborated," "refined," "cultured," or "civilized," implying wholeness of expression. Employed by the refined and educated as a language and a means of communication, Sanskrit has also been a vehicle of civilizational transmission and evolution.

The role of Sanskrit was not merely as a language but also as a distinct cultural system and way of experiencing the world. Thus, to the wider population, Sanskrit is experienced through the civilization named Sanskriti, which is built on it.

Sanskriti is the repository of human sciences, art, architecture, music, theatre, literature, pilgrimage, rituals and spirituality, which embody pan-Indic cultural traits. Sanskriti incorporates all branches of science and technology - medical, veterinary, plant sciences, mathematics, engineering, architecture, dietetics, etc. Pannini's grammar, a meta-language with such clarity, flexibility and logic that certain pioneers in computer science are turning to it for ideas is one of the stunning achievements of the human mind and is a part of this Sanskriti.

From at least the beginning of the common era until about the thirteenth century, Sanskrit was the paramount linguistic and cultural medium for the ruling and administrative circles, from Purushapura (Peshawar) in Gandhara (Afghanistan) to as far east as Pandurang in Annam (South Vietnam) and Prambanam in Central Java. Sanskrit facilitated a cosmopolis of cultural and aesthetic expressions that encompassed much of Asia for over a thousand years, and this was not constituted by imperial power nor sustained by any organized church. Sanskriti, thus, has been both the result and cause of a cultural consciousness shared by most South and Southeast Asians regardless of their religion, class or gender and expressed in essential similarities of mental and spiritual outlook and ethos.

Even after Sanskrit as a language faded explicitly in most of Asia, the Sanskriti based on it persists and underpins the civilizations of South and Southeast Asia today. What Monier-Williams wrote of India applies equally to Southeast Asia as well: “India's national character is cast in a Sanskrit mould and in Sanskrit language. Its literature is a key to its vast religious system. Sanskrit is one medium of approach to the hearts of the Indians, however unlearned, or however disunited by the various circumstances of country, caste, and creed” (Gombrich 1978, 16).

Sanskrit unites the great and little traditions:

A bi-directional process facilitated the spread of Sanskriti in South and Southeast Asia. The top-down meta-structure of Sanskrit was transmitted into common spoken languages; simultaneously, there was a bottom-up assimilation of local culture and language into Sanskrit's open architecture. This is analogous to Microsoft (top down) and Linux (bottom up) rolled into one. Such a culture grows without breaking down, as it can evolve from within to remain continually contemporaneous and advanced.

Pan-Indic civilization emerged in its present composite form through the intercourse between these two cultural streams, which have been called the "great" and "little" traditions, respectively. The streams and flows between them were interconnected by various processes, such as festivals and rituals, and scholars have used these “tracers” to understand the reciprocal influences between Sanskrit and local languages.

Marriott has delineated the twin processes: (i) the “downward” spread of cultural elements that are contained in Sanskrit into localized cultural units represented by local languages, and (ii), the “upward” spread from local cultural elements into Sanskrit. Therefore, Sanskrit served as a meta-language and framework for the vast range of languages across Asia. While the high culture of the sophisticated urbane population (known as "great tradition" in anthropology) provides Sanskriti with refinement and comprehensiveness, cultural input produced by the rural masses ("little tradition") gives it popularity, vitality and pan-Indian outlook.

Once information about local or regional cultural traits is recorded and encoded in Sanskrit, they become part of Sanskriti. On the other hand, when elements of Sanskriti are localized and given local flavour, they acquire a distinct regional cultural identity and colour. Just as local cultural elements become incorporated into Sanskriti, elements of Sanskriti are similarly assimilated and multiply into a plurality of regional cultural units.

Sanskriti includes the lore and repository of popular song, dance, play, sculpture, painting, and religious narratives. Dimock (1963, 1-5) has suggested that the diversity to be found in the Indic region (i.e. South and Southeast Asia) is permeated by patterns that recur throughout the country, so that each region, despite its differences from other regions, expresses the patterns - the structural paradigmatic aspects - of the whole. Each regional culture is therefore to be seen as a structural microcosm of the full system.

Sanskrit served two purposes: (1) spiritual, artistic, scientific and ritual lingua franca across vast regions of Asia, and (2) a useful vehicle of communication among speakers of local languages, much as English is employed today.

Early Buddhist scriptures were composed and preserved in Pali and other Prakrit (local) languages, but later started to also be composed in what is known as "hybrid Sanskrit." There was a trend using elegant, Paninian Sanskrit for both verbal and written communication. Tibetan was developed based on Sanskrit and is virtually a mirror image of it.

By the time of Kalidasa (600 C.E.) Sanskrit was mastered diligently by the literati and was, therefore, never a dead language. It is living, as Michael Coulson points out, because people chose it to formulate their ideas in preference to some other language. It flourished as a living language of inter-regional communication and understanding before becoming eclipsed first by Persian and then by English after the military and political conquest of India.

Refuting the habit of dividing the Prakrit languages of India into two structurally separate “North” and “South” independent families, Stephen Tyler explains that “[M]odern Indo-Aryan languages are more similar to Dravidian languages than they are to other Indo-European languages" (Tyler 1973: 18-20).

There is synergy between Sanskrit and Prakrit: A tinge of Prakrit added to Sanskrit brought Sanskrit closer to the language of the home, while a judicious Sanskritization made Prakrit into a language of a higher cultural status. Both of these processes were simultaneous and worked at conscious as well as subconscious levels (Deshpande 1993, 35). As an example of this symbiosis, one may point to various Sanskrit texts in medieval India which were instruction manuals for spoken or conversational Sanskrit by the general public (Deshpande 1993; Salomon 1982; Wezler 1996).

Understanding this leads us to a vital insight about Sanskriti: Given this relationship between Sanskrit and local languages, and that Sanskriti is the common cultural container, it is not necessary for everyone to know Sanskrit in order to absorb and develop an inner experience of the embedded values and categories of meaning it carries. Similarly, a knower of the local languages would have access to the ideas, values and categories embodied in Sanskriti.

Unlike the cultural genocides of natives by Arabic, Mandarin and English speaking conquerors and colonizers, Sanskrit had a mutually symbiotic relationship with the popular local languages, and this remained one of reciprocal reinforcement rather than forced adoption through coercion or conquest.

This deeply embedded cultural dynamism could be the real key to a phenomenon that is often superficially misattributed to the British English: how modern India despite its vast economic disadvantages is able to produce adaptive and world-class individuals in virtually all fields of endeavour. This dynamism makes the assimilation of "modern" and "progressive" ideologies and thought patterns easier in India than in many other developing countries. In fact, it facilitates incorporating "modern" innovations into the tradition. It allows India to achieve its own kind of “modernity” in which it would also remain "Indian," just as Western modernity is built on distinctly European structures despite their claim of universality. This is why Indians are adaptive and able to compete globally compared to other non-Western traditions today.

II. Pan-Asian Sanskriti

“India is the central link in a chain of regional civilizations that extend from Japan in the far north-east to Ireland in the far north-west. Between these two extremities the chain sags down southwards in a festoon that dips below the Equator in Indonesia.” (A.J. Toynbee)

Centuries prior to the trend of Westernization of the globe, the entire arc from Central Asia through Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam and all the way to Indonesia was a crucible of a sophisticated pan-Asian civilization. In A.L. Basham's “A Cultural History of India,” it is said that:

By the fifth century CE, Indianized states, that is to say states organized along the traditional lines of Indian political theory and following the Buddhist or Hindu religions, had established themselves in many regions of Burma, Thailand, Indo-China, Malaysia, and Indonesia. (Basham 1975, 442-3)

However, unlike the violent spread of Europeanism in recent centuries, this Sanskritisation of Asia was entirely peaceful, never resorting to physical force or coercion to subvert local cultures or identities, or to engage in economic or political exploitation of the host cultures and societies. Its worldviews were based on compassion and mutual exchange, and not on the principle of conquest and domination. This is not to say that political disputes and wars of conquest never occurred, but that in most instances, neither the motive nor the result was the imposition of cultural or religious homogeneity.

The following passage from Arun Bhattacharjee's “Greater India” elaborates this point clearly:

The unique feature of India's contacts and relationship with other countries and peoples of the world is that the cultural expansion was never confused with colonial domination and commercial dynamism far less economic exploitation. That culture can advance without political motives, that trade can proceed without imperialist designs, settlements can take place without colonial excesses and that literature, religion and language can be transported without xenophobia, jingoism and race complexes are amply evidenced from the history of India's contact with her neighbors...Thus although a considerable part of central and south-eastern Asia became flourishing centers of Indian culture, they were seldom subjects to the regime of any Indian king or conquerors and hardly witnessed the horrors and havocs of any Indian military campaign. They were perfectly free, politically and economically and their people representing an integration of Indian and indigenous elements had no links with any Indian state and looked upon India as a holy land rather than a motherland – a land of pilgrimage and not an area of jurisdiction. (Bhattacharjee 1981, 1-3)

This Sanskritisation in Asia provided an adaptive and flexible unity to those regions it influenced. For example, in Thailand you can find the city of Ayodhya and Thai versions of the Ramayana. In Java, a local forest inhabited by monkeys is thought to have been the home of Hanuman at some point and the current residences his descendents. Every polity influenced by this Sanskritization was able to incorporate the vast Sanskriti culture into its own. This malleability provided a non-invasive and unimposing diffusion.

Sanskriti and Southeast Asia:

The establishment of trade (of goods and mutual material benefit) between India and Southeast Asia was the mechanism of this culture and knowledge trade:

Contacts between India and South-East Asia along the trade-routes, once established, persisted; and cultural changes in the Indian subcontinent had their effect across the Bay of Bengal. During the late Gupta and the Pala-Sena periods many Southeast Asian regions were greatly influenced by developments in Indian religious ideas, especially in the Buddhist field. (Basham 1975, 449)

This Sanskrit based civilization was not centrally developed in what is present day India, but was rather the collaborative effort of Indians with many Asian peoples, especially the Southeast Asians. For example, there were regular scholarly exchanges between thinkers from many diverse parts of Asia.

Many Asian kings sent their best students to centers of learning in India, such as Taksasila and Nalanda, which were ancient equivalents of today's Ivy Leagues in America where the third world now sends its brightest youth for higher education. King Baladeva of Indonesia was so supportive of the university in Nalanda that in A.D. 860 he made a donation to it (Basham 1975, 449). The support given to the university from a foreign king thousands of miles away in Southeast Asian demonstrates how important scholarly exchange was for those regions under the influence of Pan-Asian Sanskriti.

Interestingly, the geographies mentioned in the Puranas, such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, include many countries, especially of Southeast Asia, as a part and parcel of the Indic region. This indicates an ancient link between South and Southeast Asian even before the relatively modern Sanskritization that is being discussed here.

Sanskriti and Thailand:

Sanskriti has an established and obvious influence in Thailand, dating from 1500 years ago to the present day. Sanskrit was used for public social, cultural, and administrative purposes in Thailand and other regions of Southeast Asia.

The Thais, once established in the Menam basin, underwent a process of Indianization which, because it is well documented, provides an invaluable example of the mechanics of cultural fusion in South-East Asia... On the other hand, the Thais absorbed much from their Khmer and Mon subjects; and the influence of Angkor and Dvaravati is obvious in Thai art. Thai kings embraced the Indian religions, and they based their principles of government upon Hindu practice as it had been understood by their Khmer predecessors (Basham, 1975, 450).

In Thailand, Sanskrit is highly respected today as the medium of validating, legitimating, and transmitting royal succession and instituting formal rituals.

The Thai monarchy, though following Hinayana Buddhism of the Sinhalese type, still requires the presence of Court brahmans... for the proper performance of its ceremonials. (Basham 1975, 442-3)

Furthermore, India and Sanskriti directly influenced aspects of Thai aesthetics such as architecture and art.

Thai rulers...sent, for example, agents to Bengal, at that time suffering from the disruption of Islamic conquest, to bring back models upon which to base an official sculpture and architecture. Hence Thai architects began to build replicas of the Bodh-Gaya stupa (Wat Chet Yot in Chiengmai is a good example) and Thai artists made Buddha images according to the Pala canon as they saw it. (Basham: 450).

Dance and theatre also continue to reflect the underlying influence of Sanskriti.

The traditional dance and shadow-puppet theatres in many South-East Asian regions, in Thailand, Malaya, and Java for example, continue to fascinate their audiences with the adventures of Rama and Sita and Hanuman. (Basham 1975, 442-3)

In linguistic terms, Sanskrit had the same cultural influence on Thai as Latin had on English. In other cases, Pali influenced more than Sanskrit - for instance, a person who knows Pali can often guess the meaning of present day Cambodian, Burmese, Thai and Lao, and this Pali impact was largely from Sri Lanka. Basham points out:

Many South-East languages contain an important proportion of words of Sanskrit or Dravidian origin. Some of these languages, like Thai, are still written in scripts which are clearly derived from Indian models. (Basham 1975, 442-3).

Sanskriti and China:

China and India had a unique and mutually respected exchange. Buddhist thought is the most notable and obvious import into China from Sanskriti influence. The Tang dynasty provided an opening for the Chinese civilization to welcome Sanskriti coming from South and Southeast Asia.

The Tang dynasty ruled in China from 618 to 907 AD. This is one of the most glorious periods in the history of China. The whole of China came under one political power that extended over Central Asia. It was in this period that the influence of India over China reached the highest peak. A large number of missionaries and merchants crowded the main cities of China. Similarly, more Chinese monks and royal embassies came to India in the seventh century AD than during any other period. The Nalanda University which was at its height attracted large number of Buddhist monks from all over Asia. The Chinese scholars at Nalanda not only studied Buddhism but Brahmanical philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and medicine also. The Chinese emperor gave liberal support to the Chinese scholars studying at Nalanda” (Bhattacharjee 1981, 131-2).

The characteristic of the recipient “pulling” knowledge is typical in the transmission of Sanskriti and is to be contrasted with the “pushing” model of the spread of Christianity and Islam by divine fiat. Unlike Christian evangelists “pushing”, Hiuen Tsang and I-Tsing came from China to “pull” knowledge by learning Buddhism and other disciplines in India and taking them back.

Foremost among such scholars was Hiuen Tsang who played the most distinguished part in establishing Buddhism on a solid footing in China and improving the cultural relations between these two countries. He learnt the Yogachara system at Nalanda from the famous monk Silabhadra. On his return to China he translated Buddhist texts and trained his pupils. He founded a new school of Buddhist philosophy in China, which carried on his work after his death. His noble example induced other Chinese monks to visit India. We find that during the later half of the seventh century AD as many as sixty Chinese monks visited India. (Bhattacharjee 1981, 131-2)

An outstanding scholar who dipped into India's prestigious centers of learning to transfer know-how to China was I-Tsing:

I-Tsing...left China by the sea route in 671 AD and having spent several years in Sri-vijaya, an important centre of Buddhist learning in Sumatra reached the port of Tamralipti in Bengal in 673 AD. He stayed at Nalanda for ten years (675-685 AD) and studied and copied Buddhist texts. He came back to China with a collection of four hundred Sanskrit manuscripts containing more than fifty thousand slokas. He translated several texts and compiled a Chinese-Sanskrit dictionary. In his book A Record of the Buddhist Religion as practiced in India and the Malay Archipelago, he has recorded in details the rules of monastic life as practiced in India, which was a subject of his special interest. He also wrote a biography of sixty Buddhist monks who visited India. Most of such monks were Chinese, though some of them belonged to Korea, Samarkand and Tushdra (Turk countries). This book shows the international position of Buddhism in Asia and at the same time indicates its influence in outlying countries like Korea (Bhattacharjee 1981, 138).

Chinese pilgrims were officially sent to Indian holy sites to pay homage on behalf of the Chinese emperorship. The presence of Chinese pilgrims was a practice of close interaction between the Sanskriti superstructure and the Chinese civilization.

Between 950 and 1033 AD a large number of Chinese pilgrims visited India. In 964 AD 300 Chinese monks left China to pay imperial homages (as desired by the Chinese emperor) to the holy places of India. Five of the pilgrims left short inscriptions at the sacred site of Bodh-Gaya. It records the construction of a stupa in honour of emperor T'ai-tsong by the emperor and the dowager empress of the great Song dynasty...The last Chinese monk to visit India was after 1036 AD which marks the close of the long and intimate cultural intercourse between India and China (Bhattacharjee 1981, 125-8).

The exchange was by no means unidirectional. Indian gurus and pandits also went to China and were received with honor by the Chinese. These holy men went to China not just to exchange ideas but also for the practical task of translating Sanskrit texts into Chinese.

In 972 AD as many as forty-four Indian monks went to China. In 973 AD Dharmadeva, a monk of Nalanda was received by the Chinese emperor with great honours. He is credited with translating a large number of Sanskrit texts. Between 970 and 1036 AD a number of other Indian monarchs including a prince of western India named Manjusri stayed at China between 970 and 1036 AD. We know from the Chinese records that there were never so many Indian monks in the Chinese court as at the close of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh century AD. These Indian monks and Chinese pilgrims carried with them a large number of Sanskrit manuscripts into China. The Chinese emperor appointed a Board of Translators with three Indian scholars at the head. This board succeeded in translating more than 200 volumes between 982 and 1011 AD. (Bhattacharjee 1981, 125-8).

Buddhism's spread across Asia is well acknowledged, but beyond mere religion, this pan-Asian civilization also become a fountain of knowledge in fields as diverse as arts, language, linguistics, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, botany, martial arts and philosophy. For instance, in China:

Indian astronomy, mathematics and medicine earned great popularity... On the official boards were Indian astronomers to prepare the calendars. In the seventh century AD in the capital city flourished three astronomical schools known as Gautama, Kasyapa and Kumara. China had already adopted the Indian theory of nine planets. The Sanskrit astronomical work – Navagraha-Siddhanta was translated into Chinese in the T'ang period. A large number of mathematical and astronomical works were translated into Chinese...Indian medicinal treatise found great favour in China. A large number of medical texts are found in the Chinese Buddhist collection. Rdvana-Kumara Charita, a Sanskrit treatise on the method of treatment of children's diseases was translated into Chinese in the eleventh century AD (Bhattarcharjee 1981, 134-5).

The arts were also centers of confluence of Chinese culture and Sanskriti. Motifs and styles as well as actual artists were exported to China.

Along with Buddhism art of India traveled to China. In fact, the art of India exerted a great influence on the native traditions and gave rise to a new school of art known as Sino-Indian art. The Wei period witnessed a great development in this art. A number of rock-cut caves at Thunwang, Yun-kang and Longmen, colossal images of Buddha 60 to 70 feet high and fresco paintings on the walls of the caves illustrate this art. The inspiration came not only from the images and pictures that were imported from India to China but also from the Indian artists who visited China. Three Indian painters of the names of Sakyabuddha, Buddhakirti and Kumarabodhi worked in China during the Wei period. Gandhara, Mathura and Gupta – the three different schools of sculpture in India were well represented in Chinese art. The best image of Buddha of Wei period was definitely made after the Buddha images of Ajanta and Sarnath. (Bhattarcharjee 1981, 134-5)

Indian musicians also traveled to China and even Japan to share their talent.

Indian music also traveled to China. An Indian musician settled in Kuchi was its sponsor in China. In 581 AD a musical party went from India to China. Although emperor Kaotsu (581-595 AD) vainly tried to ban it by an Imperial order, his successor gave encouragement to the lndian music in China. From a Japanese tradition we come to understand that two principal types of music called Bodhisattva and Bhairo were taken from China to Japan by an Indian brahmana called Bodhi in the T'ang period. (Bhattarcharjee 1981, 134-5)

It is little wonder that Hu Shih, former Chinese ambassador to USA is said to have remarked that India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.

Implications:

While today's globalization is largely the Westernization of the globe, the earlier civilizational expansion was a mutually nourishing form of Sanskritisation that made huge impacts on the intellectual and cultural development of India, China, Japan, Mongolia, Southeast Asia, present-day Afghanistan and Central Asia.

As will be discussed later, beyond Asia, Indic civilization profoundly influenced Europe's modernity and the enlightenment movements. While Sanskrit's positive role in world history is well documented, awareness of this is primarily confined to a few narrowly specialized scholars. The current teaching of world history tends to be Eurocentric and ignores the contributions of other civilizations and traditions.

Sanskrit can help generate the necessary knowledge systems in order to explore the objectives, methods, and institutional dynamics of intellectual life in contemporary Asia. Also, the history of Sanskrit and Sanskriti can provide the modern world a model of how cultural diffusion can lead to a harmonious and synergetic flowering of humanity rather than forced assimilation through oppression and subjugation. The colonial and neo-colonial necessity of a master/slave relationship in the spread of influence is neatly refuted by the legacy of Sanskriti.

III. Decline of Sanskrit

Since 12th CE, Sanskrit slowly declined in India under political duress and, while remaining an important influence, gradually lost its vitality as the cornerstone for a pan-Asian culture.

While many universities in India were destroyed by invaders from West Asia, it is telling that there was no new major university founded during the entire 500 year Mughal rule over India.

India's valuable lead as knowledge producer and exporter was lost, and India became an importer of know-how from and dependent upon Europeans, a fate shared by much of Southeast Asia.

IV. Sanskrit Influence on Modern Europe

Europe's “discovery” of Sanskrit:

“The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is a wonderful structure; more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either...” (Sir William Jones, Supreme Court Judge of the British East India Company, 1786, Singer 1972, 29).

The European colonial mindset was one of discovery with the goal of appropriating the “discovery.” One need not look hard to find vivid examples of this in the conquest of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The “discovery” of Sanskrit and Sanskriti by European scholars followed this model quite well. European scholarship saw potential in the Sanskrit language not only for exploration on its own terms, but also to take back to Europe and use for imperial purposes.

Arindam Chakrabarti, Professor of Philosophy, University of Hawaii, brought to my attention a colonial wall carving in Oxford which blatantly boasts of the intellectual conquest of Sanskrit by the British. Chakrabarti wrote as follows:

There is a monument to Sir William Jones, the great eighteenth-century British Orientalist, in the chapel of University College, Oxford. This marble frieze shows Sir William sitting on a chair writing something down on a desk while three Indian traditional scholars squatting in front of him are either interpreting a text or contemplating or reflecting on some problem.

It is well known that for years Jones sat at the feet of learned pandits in India to take lessons in Sanskrit grammar, poetics, logic, jurisprudence, and metaphysics. He wrote letters home about how fascinating and yet how complex and demanding was his new learning of these old materials. But this sculpture shows – quite realistically – the Brahmins sitting down below on the floor, slightly crouching and bare-bodied – with no writing implements in their hands (for they knew by heart most of what they were teaching and did not need notes or printed texts!) while the overdressed Jones sits imperiously on a chair writing something at a table. The inscription below hails Jones as the “Justinian of India” because he “formed” a digest of Hindu and Mohammedan laws. The truth is that he translated and interpreted into English a tiny tip of the massive iceberg of ancient Indian Dharmashastra literature along with some Islamic law books. Yet the monument says and shows Jones to be the “law-giver,” and the “native informer” to be the “receiver of knowledge.”

What this amply illustrates is that the semiotics of colonial encounters have – perhaps indelibly – inscribed a profound asymmetry of epistemic prestige upon any future East-West exchange of knowledge. (Arindam Chakrabarti, “Introduction,” Philosophy East & West Volume 51, Number 4 October 2001 449-451.)

It took me nearly two years to locate the carving in Oxford, which I had to personally visit to see and then to go through a bureaucratic quagmire to get the following picture of it.

The picture symbolizes how academic Indians today often remain under the glass ceiling as “native informants” of the Westerners. Yet in 19th century Europe, Sanskrit was held in great awe and respect, even while the natives of India were held in contempt or at best in a patronizing manner as children to be raised into their master's advanced “civilization.”

In 1794 the first chair of Sanskrit in Europe was established in Copenhagen. In 1808, Schlegel's university had replaced Hebrew and Arabic with Sanskrit. Sanskrit was introduced into every major European university between 1800 and 1850 and overshadowed other classical languages which were often downsized to make way for Sanskrit positions. This frenzy may be compared with today's spread of computer science in higher education. The focus on Sanskrit replaced the earlier focus on Arabic/Persian as the source of intellectual thought.

As a part of this frenzy among Europe's leading thinkers, Sanskrit replaced Hebrew as the language deemed to belong to the ancestors of Europeans – eventually leading to the Aryanization of European identity, which, in turn, led to the cataclysmic events of the following century.

Most of the famous European minds of the 19th century, by their own testimony, were either Sanskritists, or were greatly shaped by Sanskrit literature and thought by their own testimony. Professor Kapil Kapoor describes how Europeans have benefited from Sanskrit:

[T]hose who believe that this [Sanskrit] knowledge is now archaic would do well to recall that the contemporary western theories, though essentially interpretive, have evolved from Europe's 19th century interaction with Sanskrit philosophy, grammar and poetics; they would care to remember that Roman Jakobson, Trubetzkoy and de Saussure were Sanskritists, that Saussure was in fact a professor of Sanskrit at Geneva and that his published papers include work on Sanskrit poetics. The structural, formalist thinking and the linguistic turn of contemporary theory have their pedigree in Sanskrit thought. In this, Europe's highly fruitful interaction with the Indian thought over practically the same time-span contrasts sharply with 150 years of sterile Indian interaction with the western thought. After the founding of Sanskrit chairs in the first decade of the nineteenth century, Europe interacted with the Indian thought, particularly in philosophy, grammar, literary theory and literature, in a big way without abandoning its own powerful tradition. In the process, it created, as we have said a new discipline, Historical-Comparative Linguistics, produced a galaxy of thinkers - Schiller, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Jakobson, Trubetzkoy and above all Saussure - and founded a revolutionary conceptual framework which was to influence the European thought for the next century, Structuralism. (From “Eleven Objections to Sanskrit Literary Theory: A Rejoinder,” by Kapil Kapoor, the expanded version of the lecture delivered at Dhvanyaloka on June 11, 2000. See the complete essay on-line at: http://www.indianscience.org/essays/st_es_...o_eleven.shtml)

To this list of “revolutionary” European thinkers who benefited from Sanskrit, one may add many more, such as Bopp, von Humboldt, Grassman, Schlegel, Max Muller, Voltaire and J. S. Mill. Max Mueller's very influential book, “What India can teach us,” gave a strong push for the European assimilation of Sanskrit thought. The French, ranging from Voltaire to Renoir, and the British also learnt a great deal via the Germans. In the 19th century, there was also a shift away from the Enlightenment Project of “reason” as the pinnacle of man, and this was influenced by Sanskrit studies in Europe and eventually led to a departure from Aristotelian thought to structuralism. Many disciplines in Europe got a boost from the study of Sanskrit texts, including philosophy, linguistics, literature and mathematics.

Sanskrit used to boost White Christian Supremacy:

European “discovery” of Sanskrit brought the opportunity to appropriate its rich tradition for the sake of the Europeans' obsession to reimagine their own history. Many rival theories emerged, each claiming a new historiography. The new European preoccupation among scholars was to reinvent identities of various European peoples by suitably locating Sanskrit amidst other selective facts of history to create Grand Narratives of European supremacy. Exploiting India's status as a colony, Europeans were successful in capturing Sanskrit and Sanskriti from India in order to fulfill their own ideological imperatives of reconciling theology (specifically 'Semitic' monotheism, from which Christianity sprouted) with their self-imposed role of world ruler.

One of the leading promoters of Aryan theories, Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900) described the inception of his discipline as the starting point for a new science of human origins:

Thanks to the discovery of the ancient language of India, Sanskrit as it is called . . . and thanks to the discovery of the close kinship between this language and the idioms of the principal races of Europe, which was established by the genius of Schlegel, Humboldt, Bopp, and many others, a complete revolution has taken place in the method of studying the world's primitive history (Olender, 7)

The central theme to this reinvention of European (read “Christian”) narrative was of origins and, thus, implied destinies. Determining what language was spoken in the Garden of Eden was considered central to this. The newly discovered language of Sanskrit and its literature proved to be vast and erudite and the uncovered links between European language and Sanskrit excited the scholars and encouraged an assimilation of this most ancient and profound linguistic culture. At the same time, the perceived spiritual providence that the Abrahamic God had bestowed on Europeans in the form of Christianity had to be incorporated and synthesized into the narrative. The “scientific” and empirical evidence of linguistic survey had to coincide with theological laws.

”The comparative study of languages was inspired by Renaissance debates over what language was spoken in the Garden of Eden. By the eighteenth century scholars were persuaded that European languages shared a common ancestor. With the adoption of positivist, "scientific" methods in the nineteenth century, the hunt for the language of Eden and the search for a European Ursprache diverged. Yet the desire to reconcile historical causality with divine purpose remained... ” (Olender, jacket)

The formation of two mutually exclusive and diametrically opposed groups of peoples was the device constructed to achieve this need – these were the Semitic 'race' and the mythical 'Aryans'. The Semitics, synonymous with the Hebrews, were portrayed as a sedentary, passive, inclusive, and trapped in time. However, they were a people who were in communication with the one true God and thus held the seed of religion.

Faithful guardians of pure monotheism, the Hebrews had a magnificent part in the divine plan, but one wonders where the world would be today if they had remained the sole leaders of mankind. The fact is, while they religiously preserved the principle of truth from which a higher light would one day emanate…(Olender: 99-102).

The rightful rulers of the world had to have been intelligent, moral, active, and industrious - a people willing to explore and expand, conquer and dominate. The concocted Aryan race was assigned this role. Scholars coined various ethno-linguistic terms such as “Indo-European”, “Indo-Germanic”, and “Aryan” to refer to this newly discovered people, and used these interchangeably to refer to the linguistic family as well as a race.

As scholars established the disciplines of Semitic and Indo-European studies, they also invented the mythical figures of the Hebrew and the Aryan, a providential pair which, by revealing to the people of the Christianized West the secret of their identity, also bestowed upon them the patent of nobility that justified their Spiritual, religious, and political domination of the world. The balance was not maintained, however, between the two components of this couple. The Hebrew undeniably had the privilege of monotheism in his favor, but he was self-centered, static, and refractory both to Christian values and to progress in culture and science. The Aryan, on the other hand, was invested with all the noble virtues that direct the dynamic of history: imagination, reason, science, arts, politics. The Hebrew was troublesome, disturbing, problematic: he stood at the very foundation of the religious tradition with which the scholars in question identified, but he was also alien to that tradition. Wherever he lived, under the name of Jew, in a specific place among a specific people, he remained an outsider, aloof, different (Olender: Foreword x-xi).

The key players in the scholastic juggling act who attempted to reconcile the Semitic and the Aryan included several famous European scholars, namely: Renan, Pictet, Max Muller, and Grau. Christian supremacy and Christian manifest destiny was central to the works of these Orientalists.

In the works of Renan, Pictet, Max Muller, and Grau, Christ remained a central figure in the conceptualization of Indo-European civilization. The new religious sciences attempted to treat all religions in the same way and yet to impose a Christian providential meaning on the new comparative order. The very organization of religious data was affected by older hierarchical classifications. The cataloging of peoples and faiths reflected the belief that history was moving in a Christian direction (Olender: 136-7).

These scholars' main objective was to use scientific reason to substantiate theological necessities no matter how far the hard facts had to be bent. Max Muller, in reference to comparative philology, explicitly stated the orientation of his research:

“We are entering into a new sphere of knowledge, in which the individual is subordinate to the general and facts are subordinate to law. We find thought, order, and design scattered throughout nature, and we see a dark chaos of matter illuminated by the reflection of the divine spirit.” (Olender, 90-92)

Since the paradigmatic expectations of the scholar are exposed as foregone conclusions of his analysis, the bias and subjectivity in the writer's scholarship becomes obvious. Furthermore, the Christian supremacist agenda behind his work is obvious:

The Science of Religion will for the first time assign to Christianity its right place among the religions of the world; it will show for the first time what was meant by the fullness of time; it will restore to the whole history of the world, in its unconscious progress towards Christianity, its true and sacred character." A good disciple of Augustine, Max Muller was fond of citing his remark that Christianity was simply the name of "the true religion," a religion that was already known to the ancients and indeed had been around "since the beginning of the human race (Olender: 90-92).

He deplored the tactlessness that many Christian missionaries exhibited in their dealings with pagans, and advocated subtlety in asserting superiority:

The man who is born blind is to be pitied, not berated. . . . To prove that our religion is the only true one it surely is not necessary to maintain that all other forms of belief are a fabric of errors. (Olender: 90-92).

One large problem about the synthesis was that the Vedic religion had to be shown as barbaric and primitive in order to legitimize the need to colonize Indians. Therefore, it could not have been the beliefs of the ancestors of Christian Europe with its perceived religious supremacy. The scholars were forced to reconcile with the paradox of how the intellectually superior Aryans believed in such a low form of religion. Pictet was forced to ask himself:

Everything known about them [Aryans] suggests that they were "an eminently intelligent and moral race". Is it possible to believe that people who ultimately brought such intensity to intellectual and religious life started from the lowly estate of either having no religion or wallowing in the abyss of an obscure polytheism? (Olender: 93-98).

The result of such groping in the dark was pathetic and childish. The theories proclaimed with great aplomb fit into a general framework of Aryan people being superior in every way except the spiritual impetus to be world rulers. Therefore, the early Indo-Europeans were said to posses the seed of monotheism which did not sprout until the providence of the Abrahamic God through Christ. Pictet justifies this 'primordial monotheism' as follows:

Pictet then attempts to provide philological justification for the notion of "primitive monotheism" by examining Indo- European words for the divine. The Sanskrit word deva attracts his attention. Can a word exist without a prior meaning? If deva is attested, then so is the implicit sense of "superior Being".

Shrouded in mystery, the Aryas' idea of God remained "in an embryonic state," and their rudimentary monotheism lacked rigor. Pictet readily concedes all this, all the more readily as it is hard to explain why, having once known the truth, the Aryas should have abandoned it for error. Weak and vacillating as their monotheistic vocation no doubt was, it was nevertheless providential; it would fall to Christianity to nurture the seed first planted by the Aryas. (Olender: 93-98)

Christianity was thus deemed to be the destiny for the Aryans to adopt and eventually transmit to the whole world. Grau, a German Christian evangelist, took this idea to a new level by purporting that though the Aryans were “endlessly adaptable”, without Christianity the Aryans were hopeless and lost. In other words, they “suffered a congenital lack of backbone provided by monotheistic Christianity” (Olender, 106). The preservation of Christian dominance was Grau's primary directive.

Grau's views were in some ways "reactionary," in the sense that they ran counter to the praising of Aryan values that was all too often to the detriment of the Christian church. For Grau, the danger was that Christ would be forgotten: the Cross had to be planted firmly at the center of any venture of cultural understanding. Grau's writings give a surprising new twist to the fortunes of the Aryan-Semitic pair. (Olender: 106).

Parallels with the Self-Appropriation of Judaism by Europe:

An interesting parallel is to examine the colonial mindset of self-appropriation of knowledge in the case of the Jews for the creation of the European identity. Though history-centric monotheism was appropriated by Europe from the Jews to be implemented in the colonial scheme, the Jews were excluded as “others” and even denigrated. For example, Grau is explicit in his distancing Christian Europeans from the Jews.

The monotheism with which Grau credits the Semites has little to do with the Jews. When he does speak of Jews, it is to recall the wretchedness of a people that has contributed nothing to history other than perhaps its religious potential- and in that case he generally refers to "Hebrews" rather than "Jews”… (Olender: 109-110).

The theme of feminizing the colonized by the masculine conqueror is also applied to the Hebrew people.

Semites, Grau argues, are like women in that they lack the Indo-German capacity for philosophy, art, science, warfare, and politics. They nevertheless have a monopoly on one sublime quality: religion, or love of God. This Semitic monism goes hand in hand with a deep commitment to female monogamy. The masculine behavior of the Indo-German, who masters the arts and sciences in order to dominate the natural world, is met with the Semite's feminine response of passivity and receptivity. As the wife is subject to her husband, so the Semites are absolutely permeable to the God who chose them (Olender: 109-110).

In one fell swoop of the ideological axe, European scholars were able to take ownership of the 'backbone' of monotheism through Christ and the masculine traits of world domination.

Indian Influence on European Linguistics and Postmodernism:

In the early 19th century, Sanskrit grammar, philology, and linguistics were being studied intensely in Europe. One of the basic concepts of Sanskrit grammar is how domains of knowledge, music, language, society, etc. hang together. Every such domain, as per this principle, is constructed such that no unit has meaning by itself, but meaning exists only in a two-dimensional system. Such a system is a network of opposites in two dimensions: paradigmatic (vertical) and syntagmatic (horizontal). Saussure later used this central concept from Pannini's “Astadyhayi” to formulate his Structuralism model. By contrast, Aristotle's morphology is mere taxonomy, i.e. a mere system of enumeration. His system does not show unity via relations, and his world is not a cohesive unified system. Over the following fifty years, there came about a revolution in European thought in the use of this “structuralist” mode of thinking, even though it was much later that Saussure formalized the system and then Europeans gave it the name “Structuralism.”

Around the 1860s, Sir Charles Lyall worked in geology in morphological studies of fossils, which is a special case of what became later known as structuralism. This was a major discontinuity in European thought, and is believed to be the influence of Sanskrit structure of knowledge. Charles Darwin's work in the 1880s was also morphological in method. In the 1890s, Germany developed morphological schools, and Russian formalist schools also came up. Morphological schools came up in Europe in geology, botany, literary theory and linguistics.

A key figure in this East-West influence was Saussure, a Professor of Sanskrit in Geneva, and an ardent scholar of Panini. He later moved to Sorbonne, where he taught the famous lecture series on linguistics. The notes from this series were compiled later by his students into the published work that is still regarded as the “origin” of Structuralism. But it is amazing that this published work by his students did not even mention Panini or Sanskrit or any Indic works at all! What a blackout!(1)

Saussure's own PhD dissertation was on “Genitive case in Sanskrit,” a fact overlooked in today's historiography of European linguistics. It is unclear if Saussure himself suffered any embarrassment about learning from Sanskrit. He published a paper titled, “Concept of Kavi,” for instance. Unfortunately, he did not publish very much himself, and relied on students to do that after him. Saussure's works became the foundation for all linguistics studies throughout Europe.

What gets labeled as "difference" in French postmodern thought via Derrida is actually the Indian Buddhist theory of apohavada which Saussure had researched and taught in France in his Sanskrit seminars.(2)

It is important to note that Pictet mentored and influenced Saussure's understanding of linguistics and philology. Saussure was fifteen when he first began correspondence with Pictet whose work Saussure claimed “took the reader 'to the threshold' of the origin of language and 'of the human races themselves'” (Olender 99-102). It is more than likely that the presuppositions and biases in Pictet's work flowed through the mentor/student relationship down to Saussure's work.

One of the consequences of Saussure's work was that it reduced the need for Europeans to study Sanskrit sources, because Saussure's formulation into French, repackaged by his students without any reference to Sanskrit, meant that subsequent scholars of linguistics could divorce their work from the Sanskrit foundations and origins of the principles of Structuralism.

Structuralism, once formulated and codified by Saussure's students, became the watershed event and gateway through which many developments were precipitated in European thought. For example, Levi Strauss applied Structuralism in the 1930s/40s to the study of societies.

Trubetzkoy, who belonged to the famous Praha (modern Prague) school of Sanskrit, is now called the “Father of Structural Phenology.” Yet today's books on the subject rarely mention his debt to Sanskrit for his ideas. (His PhD dissertation from Moscow University in 1916 was on the Rig Veda.)

Later in the 20th century, Post-Structuralism was developed in response to Marxist critiques of Western society. There was loss of faith in Enlightenment reason after World War I, because going beyond religion into reason had resulted in such massive calamities. TS Eliot and WB Yeats started the inwards movement in literature and history, respectively, going away from exclusive belief in 'reason.' They reinterpreted the classical Eurocentric Grand Meta-Narratives. The new thinking was that a structure is not just an absolute or abstract entity, but is in N number of manifestations.

After World War II, there was a general dislike for Grand Narratives and linear progression theories of all sorts. Post-Modernism became a rejection of all tendencies of Grand Narratives. Hence, the focus is on small stories of small people and centers on the literature of Subaltern peoples, the marginalized sectors of society. Monism/Modernity is replaced by Plurality. However, the relationship between Marxism and Indic frameworks has been too simplistically based on the Marxist critiques of European societies. What has not been adequately examined is that many Post-Modernist principles are deeply embedded in classical Indian thought, i.e. many truths, many ways of telling the truth, and many paths being valid.

V. Colonial De-Sanskritisation of India

European colonizers embarked on ambitious campaigns to assert their cultural and religious superiority. They systematically bred many generations of Indians under their tutelage, making them embarrassed of their own “backward” heritage and pressurizing them to sycophantically mimic the “modern” West for their ideal “civilization.” An example is the famous Macaulay's Minute which became the blueprint to remove Sanskrit from India's education system and replace it with English:

Macaulay's Minute (2nd Feb. 1835)

[A] single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India...

It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanskrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgements used at preparatory schools in England...

We have to educate a people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother tongue. We must teach them some foreign language...

Even more shocking than this is that some19th century Bengali apologists of Hindu renaissance internalized this contempt and became anti-Sanskritists. Ram Mohan Roy's intellectual legacy continues unabated in that science and Sanskrit are still held to be incompatible and mutually exclusive. Sanskrit was dismissed as a dead language of ancient liturgy without a future, its advocates declared a sentimental, nostalgic miserable lot brooding over its lost, past glory. Modern, Westernizing Indians are afraid that Sanskrit learning will undermine the secular and scientific spirit and ideal of independent India. To learn Sanskrit is to oppose progress, evolution, and to reinforce elite, Brahmanical hegemony on the masses. Roy, who is sometimes described as a champion of modern India, strongly protested against the decision of the committee of Public Instruction set up by the colonial authorities to start a Sanskrit college in Calcutta. In a letter written in 1823 he argued,

The pupils will there acquire what was known two thousand years ago with the addition of vain and empty subtleties since then produced by speculative man (Bhate 1996: 387).

The long term result of this trend has been to de-intellectualize the Indians, as explained by Prof. Kapoor:

The 'educated' Indian has been de-intellectualized. His vocabulary has been forced into hibernation by the vocabulary of the west. For him, West is the theory and India is the data. The Indian academy has willingly entered into a receiver-donor relationship with the western academy, a relationship of intellectual subordination. This 'de-intellectualization' needs to be countered and corrected by re-locating the Indian mind in the Indian thought.

Kapoor contrasts this with the attitude of “the self-respecting voice of an intellectually confident India” as represented by the 5th century philosopher of language, Bhartrhari, who emphasized the importance of understanding others' traditions but without abandoning one's own: "The intellect acquires critical acumen by familiarity with different traditions. How much does one really understand by merely following one's own reasoning only?”

VI. Post Independence Indian assault on Sanskrit

Sanskrit enthusiasm after independence:

Independent India started out with great enthusiasm to preserve and recover its indigenous civilization, including the central place of Sanskrit in it.

Dr Ambedkar zealously worked to promote the composite civilization (Sanskriti) of India characterized by linguistic and religious plurality. A dispatch of the Press Trust of India (PTI) dated September 10, 1949 states that Dr Ambedkar was among those who sponsored an amendment making Sanskrit as the official language of the Indian Union in place of Hindi. Most newspapers carried the news on September 11, 1949 (see the Sanskrit monthly Sambhashan Sandeshah issue of June 2003: 4-6). Other dignitaries who supported Dr Ambedkar's initiative included Dr B.V. Keskar, India's Deputy Minister for External Affairs and Professor Naziruddin Ahmed. The amendment dealt with Article 310 and read:

1. The official language of the Union shall be Sanskrit. 2. Notwithstanding anything contained in Clause 1 of this article, for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this constitution, the English language shall continue to be used for the official purposes of the union for which it was being used at such commencement: provided that the President may, during the said period, by order authorise for any of the official purposes of the union the use of Sanskrit in addition to the English language.

But the amendment to make Sanskrit the national language of India was defeated in the Constituent Assembly. By way of consolation, (1) Sanskrit was granted a place in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, (2) Sanskritized Hindi to be written in Devanagari script was declared the national language of India, and (3) the slogans appearing on various federal ministry buildings and on the letter heads of different federal organizations would be in Sanskrit, and (4) a citizen of India would be able to make representations to the Government in Sanskrit.

In Discovery of India, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote that the ancient past of India belonged to all of the Indian people, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and others, because their forefathers had helped to build it. Subsequent conversion to another religion could not deprive them of this heritage; any more than the Greeks, after their conversion to Christianity, could have ceased to feel proud of their achievements of their ancestors (Nehru 1946: 343). Considered the pioneer of Indian secularism, Nehru wrote:

If I was asked what was the greatest treasure that India possesses and what is her finest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly - it is the Sanskrit language. This is a magnificent inheritance, and so long as it endures and influences the life of our people, so long the basic genius of the people of India will continue...India built up a magnificent language, Sanskrit, and through this language, and its art and architecture, it sent its vibrant message to far away countries.

Such thinking survives in many segments of India's intelligentsia today. In a verdict by the Supreme Court of India on the offering of Sanskrit as an option in the schools operated by Central Board of Secondary Education, the Honorable Judges quoted Nehru, and also drew attention to the "New policy directives on National Education" proposed in 1986 which included the following provision:

Considering the special importance of Sanskrit to the growth and development of Indian languages and its unique contribution to the cultural unity of the country, facilities for its teaching at the school and university stages should be offered on a more liberal scale.

The Honourable Judges accordingly instructed the Board to amend its constitution and offer Sanskrit as an option forthwith after concluding:

Victories are gained, peace is preserved, progress is achieved, civilization is built and history is made not only in the battlefields but also in educational institutions which are seed beds of cultures.

In 1969, a delegation of members of parliament led by Dr. Karan Singh, met Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and impressed upon her the need and the importance of promoting Sanskrit as the cultural lingua franca of India and proclaiming a Sanskrit Day to promote the cultural unity of India. Mrs. Gandhi supported the project. Since then Sanskriti is being promoted through a number of symbolic projects: Sanskrit Day is celebrated every year. A daily news bulletin in Sanskrit is broadcast on the All India Radio. The staging of plays in Sanskrit and production of films and documentaries in Sanskrit is encouraged.

Sanskrit Phobia:

Unfortunately, after a few years of honeymoon with Indian traditions, the marginalization of Sanskrit began in full force in independent India. Kapil Kapoor gives a good introduction to this:

A debate has been on in this country for quite some time now about the role of its inherited learning that at present finds no place in the mainstream education. It has been restricted either to th
I think it was possible to Sanskritize Hindi in the early decades after Indiependence. However the syncretic and the Mumbai mafia talkeover of Bollywood has Urduized the medium and its in decline. The TV serials are another attempt to de-Sanskritize Hindi. They use Urdu words even when Hindi words are available.

Last nite on one of the soaps the actress is using Urdu words in a prayer at a temple for Durga mata! <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
A treasure trove

Djvu text of proceedings of First Sanskrit Conf
Can anybody tell me how the names "Shivaji", "Sambhaji" etc would be said in Sanskrit?
imo: technically 'shivA' and 'shivAjI' would probably both resemble femanine gender in their present form. more appropriate when used in saMskR^taM would be shivaH, shivarAjaH, shambhuH, shambhurAjaH.
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Apr 28 2008, 07:30 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Apr 28 2008, 07:30 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->imo: technically 'shivA' and 'shivAjI' would probably both resemble femanine gender in their present form.  more appropriate when used in saMskR^taM would be shivaH, shivarAjaH, shambhuH, shambhurAjaH.
[right][snapback]80958[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Not many people are familiar with that ending H notation in Samskritam. Leastways, I wasn't when I first came across that notation. So in case you're like me and were wondering about it Pandyan, that H reflects the vowel preceding it:

So it's pronounced Shivaha, Shambhuhu, Krishnaha, Adhyapakaha, Purushaha.
Well, that's how I have heard it pronounced anyways.
(Or maybe this is a better way to explain the pronunciation using Roman characters as used in English pronunciation: Shivahuh <- that first 'a' is also shorter than in "ShivA". But it <i>is</i> Om namaH Shiv<b>A</b>ya...)

Then again, no one asked my opinion, as this is obviously the realm of Bodhi and HH and the other learned people.
ataha aham mounam bhavishyAmi. (<- mounam means silent in Tamizh. Why can't I use Tamizh words when people use out-of-place sounding Angrizi words in Tamizh all the time? Eh? Instead, I should get full marks for using Bharatiya words.)
<!--QuoteBegin-Pandyan+Apr 27 2008, 05:49 PM-->QUOTE(Pandyan @ Apr 27 2008, 05:49 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Can anybody tell me how the names "Shivaji", "Sambhaji" etc would be said in Sanskrit?
[right][snapback]80949[/snapback][/right]
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Some people claim that the "ji" suffix used in hindi and other north Indian languages is an apabhraMsha of sanskrit "shrI".

The hindi Mahabharata TV serial also used terms like "pitA-shri", "mAtA-shrI" where in normal hindi people would use "pitAjI" and "mAtAjI".

If this interpretation is valid then the names would be written in sanskrit as:

shivAjI -> shiva-shrI

shambhAjI -> shambhu-shrI

<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+-->QUOTE(Husky)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Not many people are familiar with that ending H notation in Samskritam. Leastways, I wasn't when I first came across that notation. So in case you're like me and were wondering about it Pandyan, that H reflects the vowel preceding it:

So it's pronounced Shivaha, Shambhuhu, Krishnaha, Adhyapakaha, Purushaha.
Well, that's how I have heard it pronounced anyways.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

IMHO, the sanskrit visarga is almost uniformly pronounced wrongly.

The visarga is listed under vowels, not under consonants. Although precisely speaking, it is a vowel modifier, just like the nasal anusvAara. But prevalent pronunciations involve a heavy consonant "ha" in them.

The name "visarga" can mean throwing away, as well as ending. In my opinion the meaning as "ending" especially a <b>"sudden ending"</b> makes most sense.

If you pronounce a vowel, say "a", the vowel sound trails smoothly down to zero intensity. But that is not the only way to end a vowel. You can end the vowel sharply by cutting it off suddenly. That sudden cutting off gives a feeling as if the vowel is ending in the guttural region. If one is not careful and continues the sound even a bit longer, one can sound the guttural consonant "ha". The atrocity is further compounded when instead of just a slightly wrong hint of half "h", a full heavy "ha" is pronounced. As in slightly wrong sound of "rAmah", one often hears "rAmaha". Lets recall that Sanskrit is a very precise language. If grammarians had intended the visarga to mean either a half "h" or a full "ha" consonant, they could have easily written it as such. There was no need for a separate visarga in that case.

<b>IMHO the correct usage of "visarga" is a sudden cutting off the vowel, without introducing even a hint of the consonantal "ha".</b>

I noticed that the so called "clipped" british accent often shows such sudden cutting off of vowel sounds at the end.

Other way to end a vowel is by mixing a nasal sound to it, which is the "anusvAra" which is also listed under the vowels, right before listing the "visarga".


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