5 things you didn’t know about Sanskrit

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Sanskrit in Land of Rising Sun.

It might come as a surprise to many, but quite a few words in the Japanese language are from Sanskrit. Sanskrit is the basis for the formation of the Japanese alphabet “Kana”. The sixth Siddham Script is still preserved in Japan even though it has disappeared from India. The Sanskrit beejaksharas in this script are associated with deities and revered by the Japanese people even though most cannot read them. In fact, beejaksharas are found in most Japanese homes. And Siddham, is used on tombs to respect the souls of the dead. At Koyasan (Japan), they still have a school where Sanskrit is taught with Siddham.

Sanskrit is the spoken language of at least five villages in India.

Mathur is a tiny village on the banks of the perennial river Tunga in Karnataka. It is one of the two villages in India where Sanskrit is the official language, the other being Hosahalli, on the other side of river. The villagers speak a dialect called Sanketi, which is a mixture of Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada. It has no written script. They read only in Devanagiri script and some in Kannada. There is a village paathshala, which teaches chanting of Vedas in the traditional way, especially Krishna Yajur Veda. Scholars there also collect old Sanskrit palm leaves, expand them on the computer and rewrite the damaged letters. They then rewrite these scripts in present day Sanskrit for the sake of publication to make it available to the common man in text form.

The other Sanskrit speaking villages include Jhiri, Mohad and Baghwar in Madhya Pradesh. Sanskrit is also an official language of the state of Uttarakhand. Sudharma, published out of Mysore is a Sanskrit newspaper that has been running since 1970 and is now available online as an e-paper

Sanskrit has the largest vocabulary among all languages.

102 arab 78 crore 50 lakh words have been used till now in Sanskrit and yet the language has the power to say a sentence in lesser words than any other language. It is a treasure trove of synonyms on each subject. It has over 70 words for water while English has just got one. Even elephant has amazing 100 names in Sanskrit. It has over 122 words for the action ‘to go’, each with specific meaning.

According to Forbes Magazine, Sanskrit is the most computer friendly language.

NASA scientist Rick Briggs had once said that Sanskrit is the only unambiguous language in existence. America has a University dedicated to Sanskrit and the NASA too has a department in it to research on Sanskrit manuscripts.

Germany is finding it hard to meet the demand of people wanting to learn Sanskrit.

Fourteen universities in Germany offer Sanskrit as a subject. Sanskrit has been proven to help in speech therapy. It increases concentration and also helps one learn maths and science better. Seventeen countries around the world have a University or two to study Sanskrit to gain technological advantages. James Junior School, London, has made Sanskrit compulsory. Students of this school are among the toppers year after year. This has been followed by some schools in Ireland also.

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