By Nityananda Chandra das
At the beginning of this school year we started our Sanskrit studies. There are many benefits to the study of Sanskrit. The Sanskrit language is the most systematic and structured language making it the most suitable for computer usage. Some examples of Sanskrit’s sanskrta, most refined pure nature, are as follows.
(1) its highly algorithmic grammar, both in terms of morphology and syntax, so much that, by mechanically applying the sutras of Panini or Jiva Goswami to nounal and verbal roots one can form perfectly correct words and sentences without even knowing what they mean;
(2) its orderly and systematic yet extremely versatile word formation, which expands a fairly limited number of nounal and verbal roots, with the help of a few prefixes, suffixes, and pronouns, into a practically unlimited range of words and their meanings; and
(3) its inflection-based syntax, which makes the overall meaning of a sentence almost independent on the position of its constituent words (unlike English, Hindi, Russian, and many other languages). For instance, the sentence “people see you” changes it meaning entirely if the words are moved around like “you see people “, “see you people”, “you people see”, while its Sanskit equivalent “janAh pashyanti tvAm” will retain its meaning with any respective placement of the words in it: “janAs tvAm pashyanti”, “pashyanti tvAm janAh”, “pashyanti janAs tvAm” etc. This may account for the purported unambiguity of the Sanskrit language.
At TKG Academy we follow the system of learning Sanskrit from Samskrita Bharati, a non profit organization which has been very successful in expanding the used of Sanskrit as a common language. An example of the teaching methods can be seen at the video on the bottom.
In most of Srila Prabhupada lectures and letters about the Dallas Gurukula he mentions that there is Sanskrit studies. One of the reason he gives can be seen in a lecture that gives in Los Angeles on the Srimad Bhagavatam wherein he mentions the Dallas Gurukula. That verse SB 1.8.22 describes
“My respectful obeisances are unto You, O Lord, whose abdomen is marked with a depression like a lotus flower, who are always decorated with garlands of lotus flowers, whose glance is as cool as the lotus and whose feet are engraved with lotuses.” and Srila Prabhupada on the verse comments.
“As soon as you chant Hare Krsna, immediately you understand Krsna. As soon as you see the lotus flower, if you hear this verse… This Sanskrit verse is meant for understanding ourself. It is not for simply selling our books. Every one of you… We are repeating this verse again and again so that you are expected to chant these mantras. Not that the book is kept… “I’m very learned scholar.” What kind of learned scholar? “If I find the book, then I can speak.” That is not scholarship. You must chant. Therefore we are teaching in our Dallas children simply to learn Sanskrit. ”
Srila Prabhupada taught devotees to know the Bhagavad Gita as a lawyer knows his lawbooks. Similarly our teachers, like Mother Gopi Gita, teach the Vaishnava songs in such a way that students understand all the words of song that they are singing. In this same way Sanskrit is very important for our students to understand the Bhagavad Gita and other sacred texts.