Learn Sanskrit

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About Sanskrit

Sanskrit (sáṃskṛta) is one of the world’s oldest languages still spoken today and dates back more than 3,500 years. It is highly revered throughout the subcontinent where it is seen as the foundation of Indian culture. It is the key language used in philosophical and religious texts of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and is actively used in Hindu worship today. There is also a substantial body of Sanskrit works of literature, poetry, economics and the sciences.

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Fun facts — Sanskrit

  • The word Sanskrit means ‘well crafted’ and comes from the words sáṃ (good/well) and kṛta- (made).
  • If you want to call someone a dare-devil in Sanskrit, you say they are ‘licking honey from the edge of a sword,’ “asi-dhaaraa-madhu-lehanam”.
  • The Kama Sutra, a guide to emotional and sexual fulfilment, was written in Sanskrit.
  • Core yoga texts are written in Sanskrit making it the language used for yoga poses and chants.
  • Sanskrit has a huge vocabulary which often has hundreds of words for the same thing e.g. water.
  • The words ‘guru’ and ‘avatar’ are Sanskrit words which respectively mean ‘dispeller of ignorance’ and ‘a god who has come down to earth’.
  • In Hinduism, Sanskrit is said to be the language of the gods.
  • English words which come from Sanskrit include crimson from “krmi-ja”(the red dye produced by insects), orange from “nāraṅga”, and juggernaut from “jagannatha” (the Lord of the world).

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