Sanskrit

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(Satprem to interviewer:) “I came down the Himalayas. I took the road back to the south. ...
         There was that great gentleness of India. And then that whole dimension of... of the temples of India. Yes, that could have... caused me to lose myself definitively, more so than the Himalayas.
         There was such a beautiful... vibration in some of those temples. You don't know Sanskrit, but... it's such a ‘full’, such a ‘dense’ language, so... invested with power. You just don't know where that language comes from. It gives the feeling of coming from... something before man. The sounds do not seem to express a language as we know it, with subjects, prepositions and direct objects. The sounds seem to... to have a power and to ‘express’ something.
         And those temples had that VIBRATION, which for me was extremely... fascinating. You felt like singing with them, dancing with them.... There was something extremely captivating.”[1]


(Jyotipriya:) “Not only are the languages used on the European and American continents deficient in words dealing with spirit, but many of the English words that do have spiritual connotations are so weighty with false and dogmatic beliefs that it is difficult to convey an exact meaning to all ... while Sanskrit expresses the inner mysteries of the soul and spirit, the many after-death states, the origin and destiny of worlds and men and human psychology.”


“A: In principle, Mother, that is what we are thinking of — next year, to make all the children do Sanskrit, plus their mother tongue.

(Mother:) Yes. Not Sanskrit from the point of view of scholarship, but Sanskrit, a Sanskrit — how to put it? — that opens the door to all the languages of India. I think that is indispensable. The ideal would be, in a few years, to have a rejuvenated Sanskrit as the representative language of India, that is, a Sanskrit spoken in such a way that — Sanskrit is behind all the languages of India and it should be that. This was Sri Aurobindo’s idea, when we spoke about it. Because now English is the language of the whole country, but that is abnormal. It is very helpful for relations with the rest of the world, but just as each country has its own language, there should... And so here, as soon as one begins to want a national language, everyone starts quarrelling. Each one wants it to be his own, and that is foolish. But no one could object to Sanskrit. It is a more ancient language than the others and it contains the sounds, the root-sounds of many words.
         This is something I studied with Sri Aurobindo and it is obviously very interesting. Some of these roots can even be found in all the languages of the world — sounds, root-sounds which are found in all those languages. Well, this, this thing, this is what ought to be learnt and this is what the national languagevshould be. Every child born in India should know it, just as every child born in France has to know French. He does not speak properly, he does not know it thoroughly, but he has to know French a little; and in all the countries of the world it is the same thing. He has to know the national language. And then, when he learns, he learns as many languages as he likes. At the moment, we are still embroiled in quarrels, and this is a very bad atmosphere in which to build anything. But I hope that a day will come when it will be possible.
         So I would like to have a simple Sanskrit taught here, as simple as possible, but not “simplified” — simple by going back to its origin... all these sounds, the sounds that are the roots of the words which were formed afterwards. I don’t know whether you have anyone here who could do that. In fact, I don’t know whether there is anyone in India who could do it. Sri Aurobindo knew. But someone who knows Sanskrit can.... I don’t know.”[2]


Articles about SanskritYear
SAIIER 2020:Deepanam School - Integrating Sanskrit language2020
SAIIER 2020:Learning and enlivening Sanskrit in Auroville2020
An interview with Nishtha (Radio program)2017
Teachers: Joy2015
SAIIER Annual Report 2014-2015: Savitri Bhavan2015




  1. Satprem, My Burning Heart: Interview by Frédéric de Towarnicky, p.61
  2. On Education, p.414


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