Hindus believe Sanskrit was introduced on Earth by eternal sages along with divine scriptures such as Vedas, Upanishads, and Puranas. Phonology of Sanskrit is totally different from other languages of world. Just by finding some Sanskrit words in some European languages and then claiming Sanskrit has come from outside India is absurd. It tantamounts to telling that Hebrew is Asian in origin as there are some odd Hebrew words in Asian languages. Mind set of some scholars is so fixed and prejudiced that it is difficult to change it despite showing them evidence.
Historical linguistics was not possible in Europe because it was dominated by Christianity which wanted you to literally adhere to Genesis account. For example it wants you to believe that creation is 4004BC old and ADAM is 3761BC old. Christian philosopher, Hippo postulated that each nation was given its language. St Augustine said Hebrew is common language of all races. Despite these assertions search for language of Paradise was on amongst linguists. It was Sir William Jones in 1786AD who discovered Indo European language family. He even said Gothic and Celtic languages had same origin as Sanskrit. He also noted similarities of Sanskrit with Persian, English, Latin and Greek. He went on to say Sanskrit, Latin and Greek had common source of origin which is now lost. Thomas Young pursued this common source while reviewing Adelung’s book---“Mithridates, oder Allgemeine sprachenkunde”.Adelung states in his book that there were 500 languages and dialects and “hypothesized a universal descent from the language of Paradise, located in Kashmir”. Philosophers like Schlegel, Voltaire, and Kant acknowledge India is origin of Indo European languages. In 1775AD Voltaire went a bit further and said “Dynasty of Brahmins” taught rest of world. William Durrant said ,”India is mother of our philosophy ,Math, ……….India is in many ways the mother to all of us”.
Migration theory postulates Indo- Iranian model. This theory says Indo-Iranian split in to two, Indo Aryan which went to India and Iranian branch which went to Iran. Time frame for it is given 1800BC. This model is based on Aryan invasion of India in 1500 BC, an INVASION no longer accepted now in literary circles. Suggestion that Sanskrit originated from Syria [Mittani rule 1500BC-1350BC] IS preposterous. Language of Mittani’s was Hurrian. When it is now established Rigveda is over 3000BC old, how Sanskrit could come from Syria. Mittani’s were nonexistent in 3000BC. Same can be told about Anatolia or Armenia origin. It is now proved fact that India had a civilization which predates any civilization on this Earth. All those people who talk of nonindian origin of Sanskrit are still fixed up in Aryan invasion theory in 1500BC, a invasion which never happened.
“The perennial concept of people, language and Agriculture arriving in India from North West
Corridor does not stand to scrutiny-----Sahoo etal.”
Instead of foreign origins of Sanskrit we have now scholars telling us that Sanskrit is indigenous to India. This indigenous theory is supported by specific interpretations of archeological, genetic, linguistic data and on literary interpretations of Rigveda. They challenge Aryan invasionists on Genetic and Archeological grounds. They have even redated India’s past events. Dates suggested by various authors are :--
Saraswati river drying----2000BC
Ramayana and Mahabharata----10000----120000[Sanderson Beck]
Birth of Lord RAMA---5114BC [Bhatnagar]
Mahabharata war----3076BC [prof Achar ]
Preharrapa period---6500BC---3100BC [Frawley]
Rigveda----7000BC---40000 [PROF Agarwal]
Indus civilization---3100BC2200BC [Agarwal]
In AUGUST 1995, 43 Historians and Archeologists fixed Mahabharata war in 3139BC---3138BC.There are scholars who say Indian civilization must be seen unbroken and they have pushed back dates to 7000BC-8000BC.
These dates clearly show how much old is Indian civilization. India could easily be called cradle of human civilization. It is India which influenced other civilizations including their language not other way round. Frawley concludes that all world languages are derived from India. He calls Aryan invasion in 1500BC, a Myth. Imprints of India can be seen in ancient Greece. Greece ruler in 200BC imprinted silver coins with images of Krishna and Balarama. E, Pococke wrote, “Whole of Greece was Indian in language, sentiment, religion till Trojan War”. Greece ambassador who erected Heliodors column was a Vishnu worshipper. Such was influence of India in ancient Greece [fore runner of European civilization] which is being ignored by Christian Western scholars.
After discussing origins of Sanskrit let us turn to language itself. Sanskrit is the classical language of India and liturgical language of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Its earlier form is called Vedic Sanskrit. It was Sir Jones in 1783AD who introduced antiquity and true merits of Indian literature to world. He even said Sanskrit was more refined and perfect than Greek and Latin. It is usually written in Devanagari script, a descendent of Brahmi script, although other scripts also continue to be used. It is a syllable based writing system in which each syllable consists of a consonant plus an inherent vowel. Vowels are written differently, depending on whether they are independent or following a consonant. There are 16 vowels and 36 consonants. There are also 1000 conjunct consonants --- mostly combine 2 or 3 consonants. At times 4/5 consonants also used. Devanagari script is written left to right. Sentences are separated by vertical lines.Pecularity of language is that sound of all consonants and Vowels are fixed, morphology of word formation is unique where word is formed from tiny seed in a precise grammatical order and its grammar has not under gone any change with time unlike other languages which have under gone change. Language encompasses rich tradition of poetry, drama, science, philosophy and religion. It is ceremonial language in Hinduism and Buddhist practice. Preclassical Sanskrit, called Vedic Sanskrit is ACHAIC in nature but preserved. Classical Sanskrit is post Vedic. Classical and Vedic Sanskrit differ in Phonology, Vocabulary, Grammar and Syntax. Metric hymns of Rigveda are oldest, composed by many authors. There are 4 principal dialects of classical Sanskrit. Just as in Quantum physics everything is in vibration, Sanskrit words also arise from vibrations/sounds.
It is considered mystical language, language of gods by Hindus. Words in this language are constructed in such a way that they embody the meaning itself. Sound is considered the subtlest of all five elements. Controlling of sound can help manipulate matter by chanting. Mantra is essence of language. This language is basis of modern Indian languages like Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Southern languages.. It has shaped many languages like MALAY, Javanese and other South Asian languages. European languages like French, German Russian are highly influenced by it. This language has a perfect grammar and is highly systematic. Grammar was needed to preserve it which was provided by Panini. Panini was born in Pushklavati, Gandhara. Gandhara was part of Kashmir at that time. Time frame of his birth is between 500BC7OOBC.He gave comprehensive and scientific theory of phonetics, Phonology and morphology of Sanskrit language. His book” Ashtadhyayi” , is central part of GRAMMAR. It has 3959 sutras/rules. He belongs to era which is close to late Vedic period. Panini distinguishes between language of sacred texts and usual language of communication. He gives rules and definitions to describe Sanskrit grammar. Algebraic nature of Indian math is consequent to structure of Sanskrit language. New languages which deviated from original language are called Prakrits. In Sanskrit word is not name of object but reflection of inherent sound of that object. If one chants a Mantra, image of that object would appear in the mind of individual. A perfect pronunciation of word has power to manifest/ influence. Sanskrit is language of Mantras. Spoken word penetrates to essence of what they describe and give birth to meaning. It is extremely difficult to translate true meaning of Sanskrit words in English. By translating Brahman as God, atman as Soul, pap as sin and dharma as religion is total misrepresentation of Sanskrit words. Hinduism in West is reflected through lens of Abrahamic religions, thus theological uniqueness of Hinduism is totally being compromised. One has to read Vedas on their own terms and not from perspective of other religions. This is the reason why West lacks clarity about Hinduism. Indian culture is mix of spirituality and materialism, a point missed by West. Earliest known Sanskrit inscriptions are in Brahmi script. Brahmi evolved into multiple scripts like Sharda, Devanagari. In South script used for Sanskrit include Tamil, Kannada, Telgu, and Malayalam. It got Romanized [Latin alphabets] in 18th century. This language has precision in thought and content and is metaphysical too.
Sanskrit has potential for scientific use due to its systemic grammar. Sanskrit as natural language can serve as an artificial language hence could be used in Artificial intelligence development. It is remarkable that concepts which are fundamental to computer today should have their origins with an Indian genius who lived around 700BC. Mendeleev, inventor of periodic table was highly influenced by Sanskrit. He was impressed by systemic arrangement of Sanskrit sounds. Alphabets in Sanskrit are arranged on how sound is produced. This helped Mendeleev to arrange his periodic table. He arranged elements in periodic table in order of increasing atomic weight, like Panini who arranged sounds in order of increasing phonetic complex. Dean Brown, physicist and Upanishad scholar calls Sanskrit scientific, ancient and spiritual .He states that all European languages can be traced back to root language, the Sanskrit. He further added that western culture has many Vedic religious elements, many English words have Sanskrit origins.Infact Vedic/Upanishad writing which is in Sanskrit is labelled science by those who study them. For them science is not lab but “To discriminate between this and this”.
Census of India 2001 showed 14135 people who said Sanskrit is their native language. Sanskrit is among 14 original languages of 8th schedule to constitution. Mattur village in Karnataka claims natives speaking in Sanskrit. In Uttarkhand it is second official language. Sanskrit is widely used in Carnatic and Hindustani music. Kirtans, Bajans etc. are in Sanskrit and are quite popular in India. Sanskrit news is broadcast on TV and on internet through DD national channel. There is symbolic use of it in contemporary times----“Satyam Eva jayte”. In Indonesia it is being used as mottoes of the armed forces and national organizations. This language existed along vernacular Prakrits in ancient India. There has been attempts in free India to popularize this near extinct language. In USA SINCE Sept 2009 high school students have been able to receive credits by studying Sanskrit. There are 14 Sanskrit universities in India as on today. In New Delhi we have two universities“Rashtriya Sanskrit vidyapeeth and Lal Bahadur shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit vidyapeeth”.
Lastly, it is interesting to note that India instead of occupying major portions of world history finds its name in its foot notes. When Aryan invasion theory stands debunked now, yet West is not ready to throw this invasion out of their mind. Govt of India efforts to popularize Sanskrit is being targeted as communal with help of insiders and some outsiders. Efforts are being made by cynical elements to revive notion that Sanskrit came from outside to tarnish Govt efforts. This shows how much intellectual bankruptcy and greed exists in present free India. It is high time we identify these cynical elements, isolate and ignore them. We Hindus instead of parroting Pujas, Bhajans etc. Which are in Sanskrit should try to know true meaning of those words/ mantras to get desired results.
*Dr. Makhan Lal Babu, Born and brought up in Kashmir, lived in Kashmir till his migration from valley in 1990. Retired as Professor and Head Neurosurgery from Institute of Medical sciences, Soura, Srinagar. Has published a lot of professional articles, both in national and international journals. His interests, besides medicine, are in Ancient history of Kashmir, Vedas and Ancient India. His focus is educating youth who are fast losing track of their glorious roots and culture. |