The Discovery of Sanskrit- The Language of Ancient India


‘The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.’

  • Sir William Jones, in his address to the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal

The origins of Sanskrit can be traced back to the earliest times, when the Celestial Gods used it as their preferred language of communication. No wonder, then, that this extraordinarily complex language, with its rich vocabulary, is still widely used in the recitation of hymns and sacred texts.

The Sanskrit language, prevalent as it was in ancient times, was largely lost over the passage of years. It was the 19th century that saw the discovery of Sanskrit by European scholars.

In this article you will learn all about Sanskrit. From knowing about the importance of Sanskrit, to discovering the nuances of this ancient language of India, you will find plenty of information to pique your interest.

To begin with, a closer look at the Language of the Gods.

Sanskrit: Origins

Sanskrit was known as Deva-Vani (literally translated as The Language of the Gods).This was because it was believed to have been conceived by the God Brahma, who then passed it on to the Rishis (sages) living in celestial abodes. The Rishis then communicated the same to their disciples on earth. One could say this was the first discovery of Sanskrit by humans, who then spread it far and wide across the Earth.

The origin of the language can be traced back to the 2nd millennium BCE. This was when the Rig Veda, which is a collection of sacred hymns, was supposed to have been written. This early form of Sanskrit is rich in vocabulary, phonology, grammar and syntax.

In essence, the Sanskrit language consists of 52 letters in total – 16 vowels and 36 consonants. The beauty of the Sanskrit language lies in the fact that these 52 letters have never been tweaked. This makes Sanskrit the perfect language for Word Formation and Pronunciation.

Sanskrit can be traced back to the people who spoke Indo-Iranian, as well as Indo-European languages. Today, a whopping 46 percent of human beings speak some form or other of Indo-European language. English, Bengali and Portuguese are only some of the most widely spoken Indo-European languages.

The Importance of Sanskrit

There is a good reason to learn more about the Sanskrit language. After all, it is a symbol of great Indian tradition and thought. This unique language not only contains a storehouse of wisdom, but also shows people the right way to acquire that knowledge.

Besides being known as the language of the Gods, Sanskrit is universally recognized as the Mother of Indian languages. However, the importance of Sanskrit does not lie merely in its being a classical language, but in its being a repository of our vast cultural heritage, too.

Want to know all about the importance of Sanskrit in our lives? The following points will show you just why we should be so thankful for the rediscovery of Sanskrit.

The Vedas- a vast Storehouse of Knowledge

One can safely say that the Sanskrit language contains all sorts of Vidya, i.e. Sciences or Knowledge.

The Vedas can be called the soul of Indian culture and tradition. They are filled with all sorts of Jnanas (Wisdom) that are important in maintaining a healthy and tension-free life in society.

It is a great Vehicle of Communication

On the practical side, Sanskrit is a wonderful vehicle of Communication. This is on account of the beautiful Grammar and Phonetics the Devanagari script offers us. It is not surprising, then, that this wonderful Devanagari script is the optimal script for use in Computer Programming and Operation.

 Apart from that, the knowledge of Sanskrit forms the ideal preparation for those interested in learning Greek and Latin. This is because Sanskrit shares the same grammatical structure, and even numerous words, with these Classical languages. Not only is Sanskrit grammatically beautiful, but it can also serve as a gateway to learning other Indian and Indo-European languages.

A Powerhouse of Culture

The Culture of Sanskrit literature is nothing but a Culture of Synthesis and Assimilation. This ancient language of India brings along with it the message of Humanism, of Unity of Mankind, and Peace and mutual Understanding. Reviving Sanskrit, then, would be nothing short of reviving the Ethos of India itself! Not only might it be used as a medium par excellence in Computer Operations, it will help us boost the many diverse Indian languages, too.

Sanskrit and Computers

The great thing about the Devanagari script is that it is easily accessible to the various kinds of Computer Programs in the Modern Age.

However, the power of Computer Technology is also being adopted for the purpose of enhancing Sanskrit studies in India, and abroad, too. Examples of this utilisation of Computer Technology for Sanskrit Studies, can be found in teaching packages for Astrology, Astronomy, etc.

Cool Fact: Even in today’s age, Astrologers are using computers for calculating auspicious dates, through the use of various computer programs.

The Role of Sanskrit in Literature

Sanskrit is filled with millions of verses that capture the deepest emotions of the human heart. In fact, plenty of stories of Indian civilization that still fascinate us to this day, have their roots firmly entrenched in Sanskrit literature. An example of this, is the 12th century poet Kaviraja’s Rāghavapāṇḍavīya. This brilliant text simultaneously narrates the stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, through a seemingly endless use of puns!

For all students of literature who are looking to immerse themselves into a world of beauty and literary genius, learning Sanskrit is definitely the way to go!

 We at EuroKids believe that Indian children should be exposed to all facets of their rich cultural heritage. This involves them diving into the treasure trove of Sanskrit Literature and Science, written back in the day by Indian Scholars. After all, the best of Indian culture, like Yoga, Dance and Customs, have their origins in Sanskrit.