Sanskrit – Dead or Alive?

When a language is no longer spoken natively by any culture, it is said to be a “dead” language. Some such languages become lost in a few generations, like some First Nations languages of North America. Others are maintained by academics for historical records. Still others may live on in certain forms. Latin, for example, is still used for scientific naming in Biology.

Sanskrit falls into a different category though. Unlike any current language, Sanskrit is the language of nature itself. It describes nature in natures own language. While it is not currently widely spoken by people, it lives on in nature itself.

In a prior post on Name and Form, I described how one can listen to Sanskrit on subtle levels of awareness and experience what the original phrases described.

Further, Sanskrit is the language of the Veda itself, the structuring knowledge of all existence. In other words, nature itself is built from Sanskrit. Or more exactly, the sounds we call Sanskrit. Some sages describe that even your body is built of Sanskrit phrases, the nadis being sutras of sound.

Imagine the healing benefit of sounds that contain the correct structure of the physiology. The instruction set for a healthy state. Imagine diagnostics that only need to listen the right way. Such sounds only need to be produced and received correctly.

Further, we are said to be in a time where many laws of nature have been long dormant, their Veda unspoken and unheard. But those laws are awakening, bringing to life greater ability and possibility. This is how the environment will rise from darkness into light and the golden age become obvious for many.

This fall, I’ll be learning some native Sanskrit in the Devanagari script. This will allow me to read some of the texts directly rather than through an interpreter. Even just the study is said to be a spiritual practice in itself. But above all, Sanskrit is not a written language. Devanagari is just a script description of the sounds themselves. The key is the sounds – it is an oral language. Nature expresses in sound first.

For a little background, you may enjoy these 2 links.

Sanskrit – a Sacred Model of Language by Vyaas Houston compares the origins and influence of Sanskrit and English. It’s an excellent review of the ego’s effect on language.

Lest you consider Sanskrit some old foreign language, consider that many English words originated with Sanskrit. The oldest known historical writings are in Sanskrit. Some historians believe that Sanskrit was the foundation of the Middle Eastern languages that evolved into the proto-European languages, one of which became English.

English words that have come from Sanskrit

Davidya

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11 Responses to Sanskrit – Dead or Alive?

  1. paul brown says:

    would be honored to link you to my website, please and thank you.
    Jai Guru Dev

  2. Davidya says:

    Hi Paul
    Thanks for the feedback. I ran into your web site awhile back, as I recall.

    I generally share links with sites that discuss the evolution of consciousness and the awakening experience. I’ve historically tried to avoid endorsing specific practices, though I certainly recommend effortless mantra meditation. My Blogroll is not well maintained as I don’t often have the chance to keep up with others writing.

    You may enjoy a variety of articles here – I’ve stepped outside my original conceptual box and sought to develop a model of the shared journey many of us are on. My musings on that journey are posted here. The idea is to assist the many who are going through the awakening process to help smooth the way.

    Jai Guru Dev

  3. Kaushik says:

    I love the sound of Hindi and Gujarati, which are close descendants of Sanskrit. (English is an eventual descendant of Sanskrit). I don’t know if I enjoy these languages because I’m Indian and familiar with the rhythms or because there really is something divine about the sound and play, and the way sentences are constructed. These languages feel much more intuitive, though I am not fluent in them.

    Devanagri script is wonderful–it’s phonetic. There are no spelling bees in India, because really there is never any debate about how to spell or pronounce Devanagri script.

  4. Davidya says:

    Hi Kaushik
    Well – according to what I’m hearing, Sanskrit is the closest language to natures and is unburdened by superficial rules. (not quite the Veda itself as I mention in the article though)

    I expect it to be an interesting experience as I’m very visual so have developed sound skills less. My knowledge of Sanskrit is mostly words like “prana” though I’ve heard lots of it over the years. In many forms. I have discovered Windows includes Devanagari as a keyboard option.

    Hearing is considered the first sense to arise and vibration (sound) the first stirring. So we could say it is the closest to source. Learning Sanskrit is said to be a spiritual practice itself.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. Davidya says:

    Interesting post, Vedna and some better root examples than my link above. But I’d suggest there’s a few points you missed.

    Because Sanskrit is close to the language of nature itself, it is no more dead than nature – even if it’s no longer commonly spoken. It is still widely used in chanting by many thousands and there is a revival going on, with research into the effects of specific verses, and so forth. (not to mention the many millions using Sanskrit mantras for meditation)

    Another change in the geography you didn’t mention is the drying up of the Saraswati river that much of the early Vedic civilization was built along. It’s course has been rediscovered by NASA satellites.

    It’s further worth noting that Panini did not found grammar but rather formalized a simplified version for writing. Before that, Vyasa assembled what we know of as the Rk Veda and others to preserve what was being lost as the family lineages that maintained the oral tradition were coming apart. Prior, Sanskrit was a largely oral tradition that went back many thousands of years.

    In other words, written Sanskrit was a devolution. I discuss this in a more recent article:
    http://davidya.ca/2011/11/22/yukteswars-yugas/

    There are references in the Rk Veda to astronomic events that took place in the 5-7000 BC range, suggesting the oral sources were much older. The origins of the language, it’s structure and it’s alphabet ultimately originate with Shiva.

    • Vedna says:

      Thank you very much Davidya, you gave me some facts which I was not aware myself ( the drying up of Saraswati river for example).
      And yes, you are very right in saying that we still use Sanskrit, in prayer mantras today too.
      As for Panini, the knowledge about him was from Wikipedia, my friend, I became prey of this source’s untrustworthiness.

      Thank you very much for pointing out these facts.
      God Bless.

  6. Davidya says:

    I fully appreciate it. Wikipedia is reflecting common knowledge, which is it’s forte. What i describe is less well known. In fact, many historians have a prejudicial view of the Vedas as complete myth that’s continued since Max Mullers early translations. That’s one of the reasons I write about it. I’ve been studying it for awhile, recently getting an MA in the field. I touched on those studies in the post.

    The Saraswati is actually a great example. There is evidence of large cities in the area but it was long thought to be mythical. Then it was found in satellite images. There is also the issue of the bridge to Sri Lanka, said to have been built by Rama and Hanuman’s armies. There is an actual land bridge, though now largely submerged. Personally, I have a hard time accepting that it’s a natural formation. Also, it’s structure and historical context align with the story. However, it also blocks a desired shipping lane so they want to dig out the middle. Amusingly, one of the deniers says it’s not man-made but notes that “It may be a superman-made structure, but the same superman had destroyed it.”

    All very curious when It’s supposed to be fairy stories.

    God bless, Vedna

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  9. David says:

    The Houston article has changed to this location:
    http://americansanskrit.com/sanskrit-sacred-language

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