Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world, and mother of all Indo-European languages. Rishis discovered Sanskrit and used it to create the mantras that were made up of a combination of sound vibrations to create specific effect on the mind and the psyche, when recited. It is the language of the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas. Sanskrit literature is the richest literature in the history of mankind. The Sanskrit alphabet is called 'devanagari' and literally means 'cities of the gods'.
Until 1100 AD Sanskrit was without interruption the official language of the whole of India. The dominance of Sanskrit is indicated by the wealth of literature composed in the language covering every subject under the Sun. On every subject a masterpiece treatise can be found in the Sanskrit literature. The range expands from Philosophy, Religion, Science, Fine Arts, Sex, Music, Astrology, Palmistry, Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics, Martial Arts, and Diplomacy, just to list the few.
The word Sanskrit literally means 'Perfected Language' or 'Language brought to formal perfection'. This is quite an appropriate name to describe Sanskrit, but unfortunately our convent educated secularists did not reconcile to it, till NASA declared it to be 'the only unambiguous language on the planet'.
Sanskrit is a scientific and systematic language. Its grammar is perfect and has attracted scholars worldwide except regrettably in India. Well-known linguists and computer-scientists have also expressed the opinion that Sanskrit is the best language for use with computers.
Development of Grammar – Panini's Ashtadhyayi
Panini's Sanskrit grammar, produced in about 300 BC is the shortest and the fullest grammar in the world for its precision of statement, and for its thorough analysis of the roots of the language and of the formative principles of words. By employing an algebraic terminology it attains a sharp succinctness unrivalled in brevity. It arranges, in logical harmony, the whole phenomena, which the Sanskrit language presents. It is one of the most splendid achievements of human invention in the science of Linguistics.
Panini's masterpiece Ashtadhyayi (Eight Chapters) stands out as the first scientific analysis of any alphabet. The work is the more remarkable since the author did not write it down. He worked it all out of his head. Panini's disciples committed the work to memory and in turn passed it on to their disciples. Though the Astadhayayi has long since been committed to writing, rote memorization of the work, with several of the more important commentaries, is still the approved method of studying grammar in India today.
Ashtadhyayi comprises of four thousand sutras or aphoristic rules. Prior grammatical analysis is clearly evidenced by the fact that Panini himself mentions over sixty predecessors in the field. For example, the sounds represented by the letters of the alphabet had been properly arranged, vowels and diphthongs separated from mutes, semivowels, and sibilants, and the sounds had been grouped into gutturals, palatals, cerebrals, dentals, and labials.
Subsequent grammarians, especially Katyayana and Patanjali, carried the work much further, and by the middle of the second century BC Sanskrit had attained a stereotyped form, which remained unaltered for centuries.
The Hindu grammar taught Europeans to analyze speech forms. Ancient Indian work on grammar was objective, systematic, and brilliant than that done in Greece or Rome.
Chand K Sharma
A school in New Zealand has a 'Sanskrit Language Studies' program and claims that learning Sanskrit accelerates a child's reading ability.
Ficino School in Mt Eden area of Auckland (New Zealand), calls itself a 'values-based academic institution' and offers education for girls and boys from year one to eight. It says about Sanskrit: "It has a wonderful system of sound and grammar, which gives the child an excellent base for the study of any language.
Children love its order and beauty." Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has applauded Ficino School for fostering universal virtues and encouraging Sanskrit studies and adds that Sanskrit has a close relationship with other classical languages like Latin, Greek, French, German, etc.
According to Peter Crompton, principal of this school founded in 1997, where curriculum includes "food for the mind, food for the spirit, food for the body", "Sanskrit with its almost perfect grammatical system...provides children with a roadmap for understanding English." Sanskrit not only gives young learners a clear understanding of the structure of language, it also heightens their awareness of the process of speech, creating a greater understanding of and ability to, enunciate words clearly, Crompton adds.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, pointed out that Sanskrit should be restored to its rightful place. It needed to be brought to the mainstream and hidden scientific truths in ancient Sanskrit literature should be brought to light, he said. Rajan Zed strongly criticized India Government for not doing enough for Sanskrit language. He asked India Government to do much more for the development, propagation, encouragement and promotion of Sanskrit in India and the world, which was essential for the development of India and preservation of its cultural heritage.
Sanskrit also provided the theoretical foundation of ancient sciences. Besides Hindu scriptures, a vast amount of Buddhist and Jain scriptures were also written in Sanskrit, which is known as "the language of the gods". According to tradition, self-born God created Sanskrit, which is everlasting and divine. The oldest scripture of mankind still in common use, Rig-Veda, was written in Sanskrit, Zed added. Mahatma Gandhi said, "Without the study of Sanskrit, one cannot become a true learned man." German philologist Max Muller added, "Sanskrit is the greatest language of the world."