Importance of Sanskrit is universally acknowledged; cultural heritage of India is rooted in Sanskrit, and development of Indian genius owes overwhelmingly to Sanskrit, not only in the fields of spirituality and philosophy but also in the fields of art, poetry, and literature as also of science, ethics, and systems of pure and practical knowledge. Indian temperament has been formed by Sanskrit and even the modern languages of India bear in them the impact of the magnificence and richness of Sanskrit. Today when the Indian spirit has re-emerged and begun to express a new life and a new creation, the need is felt to draw fresh energy from the language and to enhance the ability of the people of India through the aid of that language.
Sanskrit is an incomparable language remarkably perfected, cultivated and refined. In the words of Sri Aurobindo: “It is perhaps the most remarkably finished and capable instrument of thought yet fashioned…lucid with the utmost possible clarity, precise to the farthest limit of precision, always compact and at its best sparing in its formation of phrase, but yet with all this never poor or bare… a capacity of high richness and beauty, a natural grandeur of sound and diction inherited from the ancient days.” William Jones found Sanskrit to be “more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either.” As the East and the West are drawing together, and as the message of India has begun to bring to the world the quiet content of her unacquisitive soul, and pacifying love for all living things, the excellence of Sanskrit as a language and its inexhaustible inspiration is bound to become a living vehicle of the world-spirit.
The knowledge contained in the Sanskritic and allied works is manifold and covers practically every field; it is also on a large scale, and it manifests much attention to completeness of detail. In the spiritual and philosophical domains, the knowledge measures the finite and casts its plummets far into the infinite; it covers the upper, middle and lower seas of the superconscient, the subliminal and the inconscient.
The great mass of Sanskrit literature is a literature of art and science of human life. If the theme of spiritual release was dominant, it also looked deeply at ethics, law, politics, society, arts and crafts, even science and art of love. Even the themes such as those of breeding horses and elephants were dealt with in detail and with scientific rigour.
In the scientific field, this knowledge went farther than any country before the modern era. The medical knowledge and knowledge of surgery was well-equipped. Ayurveda survives to the present day and is recovering its vitality with great rapidity.
In mathematics, astronomy and chemistry, this knowledge anticipated some of the ideas and discoveries, which Europe first arrived at much later. That the earth is a moving body –chalā prithvi sthīra bhātī was declared by the Indian astronomer many centuries before Galileo. Sayana cites in his commentary on the Veda a formula well-known in his time concerning the speed of light, — which approximates what is acknowledged today by contemporary science. Much earlier, in the Rigveda we have a verse of Bharadwaja, which declares that all physical speeds are measurable by light.
The decimal notation in mathematics was a special contribution of ancient Indian mathematics. The so-called Pythagorean Theorem is actually a more ancient theorem formulated in Sulva Sutra. Aryabhata, Brahmagupta and Bhaskara contributed a number of inventions and creations, such as the radical sign, several algebraic symbols, conception of a negative quantity, rules for finding permutations and combinations, and the square root of 2. in the eighth century, Indian mathematics solved indeterminate equations of the second degree that were unknown in Europe until the days of Euler a thousand years later. Madhava anticipated by three centuries Newton and Liebnitz in respect of Calculus.
Priority in the discovery of knowledge is a matter of glory in itself, but what is important is to delve into the methods of knowledge which enabled these Sanskritic scholars to make their pioneering discoveries and inventions. Investigations into these methods can profitably be recommended to the contemporary scholars, since it is bound to lead us on the path of acceleration of our pace of progress.
It must be remembered that the Sanskritic and allied texts have suffered colossal attacks and what remains today is only a fragment, and what is known of that fragment is merely a fraction, since a large number of manuscripts have not yet been studied and scrutinized. In this context, an exciting programme of research needs to be chalked out at the national and international level. And this justifies insistence that the study and knowledge of Sanskrit should be spread all over the world.
The one theme that promises today to become the theme of momentous interdisciplinary research is that of Consciousness. Thanks to the great work of the Indian scientist, Jagdish Chandra Bose unity of life and mind and even of matter and life has been demonstrated to the scientific world. Modern theories of evolution beginning with Darwin and culminating with Teillard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo, have provided a sound basis to posit consciousness as the underlying driving force of evolution. The work of Hisenberg and Bell’s Theorem in Quantum Mechanics have reiterated the ancient Indian perception of the operations of consciousness even in sub-atomic matter. Researches in higher levels of the mind have led to the increasing acknowledgement of consciousness. And if there is one language where endless writings have continued to pour on the theme of consciousness, it is Sanskrit.
From the dateless antiquity when the Vedas were composed up to our own day, millions of varieties of experiences and realisations of various levels of consciousness have been inquired into and verifiable statements regarding them have been recorded which will need to be studied by all who belong to the frontier areas of research. Consequently, this will have multiplier effect on all interdisciplinary studies. Inescapably, Sanskrit will become a leading world-language.
It is clear that that the high tide towards Sanskrit is inevitable, and we need to chalk out a path and a programme so that the tasks we have to undertake are carried out systematically and as rapidly as possible.
It is a mistaken idea that Sanskrit is a dead language or only a classical language. For Sanskrit has continuously been developing. In spite of the heavy blows cast on it by misfortunes of various kinds, it connects our long past history with the present.
It is also necessary to mention that in the early part of the modern period, we had prolific authors in Sanskrit like Apayya Dikshit, Nilakantha Dikshit, Bellukonda Ramarai, Radha Mandalam, Narayan Shastri, Mahamahopadhyaya, Laksmisuri, Pandit Madhusudan Oza, and others who have written each between 60 and 140 volumes.
In the later of part of the modern period, the output was still considerable, as is evidenced by several histories of Sanskrit literature, such as those of Dr. Krishnamacharya, Dr. Shridhar Bhaskar Varnekar, and Dr. Hira Lal Shukla. The writings of Dr. Venkataram Raghavan as also the recent two volumes of Dr. Varnekar’s “Sanskrit Vangmaya Kosh” have sharpened our awareness of the living force of Sanskrit and continuity of the Sanskrit literature.
It may be noted that Sanskrit poets of our times have adopted contemporary themes for the Mahakavyas, and some of the Sanskrit dramas come nearer to the modern taste. It may also be mentioned that some genuine lyricists have produced remarkable lyrics. Appa Shastri’s Panjarabaddah Shukah has often been quoted as an example of the lyrics, which deal with the burning problems of the present. One may also refer to Dr. Varnekar’s Teertha Bharatham, Sri Rama Sangitika and Sri Krishna Sangitika and several others which continue the tradition of Jayadev’s Geet Govinda with refreshing beauty. Novels such as Shivaraj Vijaya of Pandit Ambika Dutta Vyas and Anandavardhana’s Kusumalakshmi reflect refreshing advance in the needed new directions.
It is also acknowledged that there is a good crop of short stories in recent times and some of them show admirably the technique and spirit of innovative modern short story.
It is also noted that the publication of journals in Sanskrit has been a remarkable phenomenon. Regular broadcasts and telecasts in Sanskrit on radio and television have provided rich material for enriching the language.
The Sanskrit Commission Report of 1957 has underlined the excellence of the Sanskrit language and its historical importance. That Report will be reviewed and recommendations that underline the importance of Sanskrit and promotion of Sanskrit will be reiterated and implemented.
In the 1968 Education Policy, it was stated:
“Considering the special importance of Sanskrit to the growth and development of Indian languages and its unique contribution to the cultural unity of the country, facilities for its teaching at the school and university stages should be offered on more liberal basis. Development of new methods of teaching the language should be encouraged, and the possibility explored of including the study of Sanskrit in those courses (such as modern Indian Philosophy) at the first and second degree stages, where such knowledge is useful.”
The 1986 New Education Policy stated:
“Research in Indology, the humanities and social sciences will receive adequate support. To fulfil the need for the synthesis of knowledge, interdisciplinary research will be encouraged. Efforts will be made to delve into India’s ancient funds of knowledge and to relate it to contemporary realities. This effort will imply the development of the facilities for the intensive study of Sanskrit.”
The Indian Constitution lays down that the Union in fulfilling the duty of promoting the spread of Hindi, it would draw, whenever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit.
Encouragement to Sanskrit is also implied in the fact that it is one of the languages given in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
The first Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, had pointed out that the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her finest heritage, is the Sanskrit language and literature, and all that it contains. He has stated: “This is the magnificent inheritance and so long as it endures and influences the life of our people, the basic genius of India will continue.”
The factors that underline the importance of Sanskrit and which inspire and strengthen the motivation to turn to Sanskrit and to encourage the study and spread of Sanskrit in the country will receive special emphasis, and these will include a national awakening to the following:
As noted above, Sanskrit was in the past a Pan-Indian language, and even today there are people in all parts of India who know Sanskrit or have acquaintance with Sanskrit. This Pan-Indian character of Sanskrit needs to be studied and reiterated so as to provide unprecedented impetus to the cause of national unity and integrity.
Considering the importance of Sanskrit, facilities should be provided in the country to study Sanskrit at all stages of education, formal and non-formal, wherever students wish to study it. Every school in India will, therefore, receive henceforth financial assistance from the Central Government where classes of at least 12 students are conducted for the study of Sanskrit.
In the application of the three-language formula, Sanskrit will preferably be an elective third language. Sanskrit will also be supported as an additional language for study by students who want to study it, particularly for those who offer English as the second or third language. Necessary budgetary support will be provided by the Central Government.
Curricula proposed by Boards and Institutions supported by Central Government will recommend study of Sanskrit as an elective language for a duration of at least five years so as to achieve good proficiency in the language and to serve as an effective stimulant to the study of Sanskrit in the tertiary level of education as an elective language.
In all curricula of tertiary education, study of Sanskrit will be a necessary part in all courses which relate to Indian culture and comparative courses where knowledge of Indian culture is required. University Grants Commission will make special provisions of financial assistance in this regard.
A new scheme will be formulated and implemented for the award of Merit Scholarships in the country so that students are encouraged to study Sanskrit, -- either as a part of regular school programme or as an additional language.
State Governments will also be encouraged to adopt the same or similar measures to promote Sanskrit.
Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, in consultation with NCERT as also in consultation with the Central Board of Secondary Education, will lay down standards of Sanskrit at all levels of school education. University Grants Commission will similarly lay down standards of Sanskrit at the tertiary level of education, wherever Sanskrit is offered as an elective language or wherever Sanskrit is a necessary part of courses relating to Indian culture.
National Council of Educational Research and Training and Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan will undertake a programme of revising the contents and methods of teaching and learning of Sanskrit at different levels of education in respect of schools. University Grants Commission will also undertake a similar exercise in respect of courses in Sanskrit at the tertiary level.
In general, learning of Sanskrit through the medium of Sanskrit will be given special importance and encouragement, and measures will be taken so that students attain adequate efficiency in conversing in Sanskrit. The recommendations regarding the revision of contents and methods will be implemented, and financial assistance will be provided to facilitate the implementation. In this context, suitable teaching and learning material will be produced, and financial assistance will be provided so that the required teaching and learning material is made available to students and teachers at comparatively low prices.
Apart from textual materials, special efforts will be made to produce teaching and learning materials for supplementary study and for enrichment of the study of Sanskrit.
A new scheme will be formulated and implemented for the award of Merit Scholarships in the country so that students are encouraged to study Sanskrit and attain higher levels of excellence in Sanskrit.
All the languages included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India will be encouraged and developed as a part of the promotion of Indian culture in the country. Sanskrit being one of these languages will receive from the Central Government adequate financial support for the schemes that aim at the promotion of Indian culture.
Correspondence courses in Sanskrit will be developed in such a way that Sanskrit can be learnt both through medium of Sanskrit as also through the medium of the languages mentioned in the 8th Schedule.
Special courses of Sanskrit will be so designed that Sanskrit words, phrases, verses and passages which are often used, recited or narrated in various cultural events, festivals and programmes or in various contexts (such as satyam eva jayate) become intelligible through various means including translations in the languages mentioned in the 8th Schedule; and these courses will be made available to the people through correspondence, radio programmes, television broadcasts, internet and similar allied facilities. Adult education classes in respect of these courses will also be encouraged and supported through a special scheme of Government of India. State Governments will also be encouraged to support all these programmes by adopting similar measures.
Use of Sanskrit through various media will be encouraged and selected newspapers and magazines in Sanskrit will be selectively supported. Production of plays and films in Sanskrit will receive special encouragement. Programmes and recitation of Sanskrit poems, -- particularly those of Valmiki, Vyasa and Kalidasa as also programmes of assemblies of Sanskrit poets will be encouraged and supported. Elocution programmes in Sanskrit will be selectively supported.
Rapid courses and classes for spoken Sanskrit will be encouraged and supported, and teachers for these courses and classes who will undertake full-time work will receive financial assistance from the Government of India. Publications in Sanskrit, particularly teaching-learning material, will be encouraged and supported so that deserving material is made available to students and teachers at reduced prices.
Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan will be reorganised and enlarged so as to include the responsibilities of determination and maintenance of standards of teaching and learning of Sanskrit in the country and will advise University Grants Commission so as to ensure determination and maintenance of standards of Sanskrit in the Universities. Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan will also serve as a channel of grants from the Central Government for promoting programmes for Sanskrit, other than those programmes which are or will be supported and aided by the University system or by other institutions or agencies in the country.
Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan will also undertake a programme of collecting manuscripts in Sanskrit and to ensure that collections being made by selected institutions will be properly preserved. Existing catalogues of manuscripts will continue to be updated through grants given by the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan.
Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan will also undertake a programme of publications in a methodical manner so that knowledge contained in the manuscripts or in unpublished texts is preserved and developed.
ashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan will also undertake programmes which will:
Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan will also be so reorganised that it will serve as the National Sanskrit Academic Council which will continuously review and advise relevant institutions in respect of academic programmes of study and research.
The Central Government will undertake programmes to ensure that every State in India establishes a Sanskrit Academy and a Sanskrit Vidyapeetha and a Sanskrit University; it will also encourage setting up of viable Sanskrit institutions in the country, and for that purpose will support its own agencies to provide to selected non-government organisations grants for buildings, libraries, and conducting specialised courses in Sanskrit.
Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan (MSRVVP) will be enlarged so that activities envisaged under its scope will be strengthened and developed and benefits of these activities made available to larger and larger sections of people in the country. MSRVVP will develop training programmes for teachers so as to impart to them knowledge contained in the Vedas and make them conversant with the relevance of that knowledge to the subsequent developments in humanities, sciences, technologies and fine arts and crafts, MSRVVP will establish and develop Research Centres in the country so as to:
Programmes will be developed whereby scientists, philosophers, researchers, experts and others in the country will be aided and supported in the task of gaining acquaintance and even expertise in the system of knowledge which were developed during the long history of India and which were embodied in Sanskritic texts. There will also be help to promote to integrate the knowledge developed in the past in India with the modern knowledge and develop programmes of studies for the new generations so that they would be able to take advantage of the past treasures of knowledge and spring forward towards the future with confidence and courage.
Special emphasis will be laid on the recovery of the old spiritual knowledge in its amplitude and to allow that knowledge to flow into the current movements of studies and research in science, philosophy, critical knowledge as also those in applied sciences, technologies, arts, crafts, health sciences and practices. Programmes will be supported and aided whereby a new synthesis of the past knowledge and the new knowledge, of the East and the West, of science and spirituality, with a special emphasis on the theme of consciousness and Yoga, could be progressively developed.
Since in these tasks, Sanskrit will play a major role, such programmes, which will enable Sanskrit to fulfil that role, will be encouraged and supported.