Sanskrit is reminiscent of India’s rich heritage – the same heritage most of us have forgotten about. Today, most of us re-visit the language only when we want to get a Sanskrit shloka tattooed on our body, or when we want to name a new born in the family. We’ve forgotten the basics of this language, but we’re busy trying to master other foreign languages. But Sanskrit, as a language, is a treasure and it has many features that we should be proud of. Here are 16 of them.
1. The order of words does not matter in Sanskrit.
Any student can make a sentence is Sanskrit and it would make complete sense. Sanskrit has a complex inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives and articles to indicate number, case or gender. This means that the word order is free.
2. Believe it or not, but Sanskrit is older than Hebrew and Latin.
And once upon a time Sanskrit was the traditional language of India.
3. Originally, Sanskrit was only an oral language. Today, the Devanagiri script is used to write in Sanskrit.
Not many people know but the first inscriptions of this language were written in Brahmi script.
4. In Nepal, India and Indonesia, phrases from Sanskrit are used as mottos by social institutions.
For instance, India uses Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs) extensively. On the other hand, Nepal says Janani Janmabhoomischa Swargadapi Gariyasi (Mother and motherland are superior to heaven).
5. Sa Dingding, a Chinese folk singer and songwriter, has written her pop songs in Sanskrit.
6. According to Rick Briggs of NASA, Sanskrit is the most computer friendly language in the world.
7. Sanskrit is one of the official languages in only one Indian state – Uttarakhand.
8. The word ‘China’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Cina’ referring to the Qin dynasty of China.
Similarly, Burma is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Brahamadesh’. Sri Lanka also has a Sanskrit connection – the word ‘Sri’ has been taken from a Sanskrit word that means Holy, and ‘Lanka’ means island. Interestingly, Thailand’s other name, Siam, is also derived from the Sanskrit term ‘Suvarnabhoomi’ which is also the name of their international airport.
9. Sanskrit is in high demand in different parts of the world. Germany has 14 universities that offer Sanskrit as a subject.
10. Experts recommend Sanskrit as a tool for speech therapy.
11. NASA scientists proposed using Sanskrit for artificial intelligence.
12. India has a Sanskrit newspaper called Sudharma, in existence since 1970. It even has an online edition!
13. Yoga and Sanskrit go hand in hand. A lot of yoga asanas have Sanskrit prefixes.
14. Carnatic and Hindustani branches of music have a wide association with Sanskrit.
15. There are only two villages in India – Mattur and Hoshahalli – where people converse in Sanskrit.
16. It’s sad, but today, Sanskrit remains popular only in Kirtanas, bhajans, stotras, and shlokas in various parts of India, and not as a language.
Learn that foreign language by all means, but give Sanskrit a chance too.