Why Should One Learn Sanskrit?
An essential part of the
seeking for a universal tradition is the looking for a universal
language. Such a universal language exists within Sanatana Dharma as
Sanskrit, the ancient spiritual language of the great yogis and
seers. Sanskrit is the oldest of the Indo-European languages and has
been looked upon as the Mother of all languages.
Language is based upon sound
and meaning. The meaning is the most important thing but the sound
should be appropriate to it. This is why poetry, which blends sound
and meaning, has so much power. Each sound has a certain energetic
quality that can be useful for conveying certain meanings. Sanskrit
is a purely spiritual language in which sound and meaning are united
in the right way.
Sanskrit reflects the laws
and powers of cosmic intelligence. It patterns human speech after
universal law. As such it is an extremely precise language for
working with spiritual experiences. Not surprisingly we have had to
import many Sanskrit words into English - like guru, mantra, prana,
shakti, kundalini - to help understand this realm that our ordinary
language and mentality has not had much experience with.
Learning Sanskrit can be an
important tool for developing the mind, controlling thought,
sharpening perception and increasing creativity. It also provides
access to the largest literature of Self-knowledge and Yoga in the
world, including Hindu, Buddhist and Jain teachings going back for
many thousands of years. However we should not merely learn to read
Sanskrit or approach it as a dead language. Much of the power of
Sanskrit is in its sound. We should learn to speak and chant it or
otherwise we really don't know the language.
Classical Sanskrit was
codified by the great grammarian Panini (c. 500 BC), whose classic
the Ashtadhyaya is still studied for a proper understanding of the
language. His model of language was recently found to be the most
scientific for use with computers. Sanskrit is thus both the
language of the past and the future and through it we can
communicate with all time.