Sanskrit literature offers an expansive view of human nature and its role in creation. In this era of unprecedented change and uncertainty, it can be a valuable tool to assess and look afresh at society.
Sanskrit stands close to the root of English and most other European languages, classical and modern. Many English words are related to words and word forms that also exist in Sanskrit. Its study illuminates their grammar and etymology.
Due to the way in which its grammar was fixed by grammarians like Pāṇini, Sanskrit has one of the most extensive literatures of all languages. It introduces students to vast epics, profound scripture, subtle philosophy, voluminous mythology, exquisite poetry and much else. Study of these works offers a student a wider perspective to enable a better understanding of their own tradition, but also shows them which questions and insights are shared across cultures.
“The Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanscrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family.”
– Sir William Jones (Anglo-Welsh philologist, Orientalist, and jurist).
``I thoroughly enjoyed all the events of the day and the good company. I can now understand more fully the significance of Sanskrit study as an integral part of the greater curriculum of the school.`` - Jim
A Sanskrit study day is held once a term and is open to all members of the school. It consists of the sounding of the Sanskrit alphabet, followed by some simple prayers. There is also calligraphy and the study of a verse from either the Bhagavad Gita or one of the major Upanisads. No previous knowledge of the language is required.
For over thirty years students of the School of Practical Philosophy have studied Sanskrit in order to deepen their understanding of great spiritual works such as the Bhagavad Gītā.
The nine term course developed by the school provides a thorough and systematic grounding in the Sanskrit language, while proceeding in easier steps that an academic course. No previous knowledge of the language is required.
The sessions are structured around four themes:
Spirit ~ an introduction to the spiritual significance of Sanskrit, through discussion and extracts from relevant readings.
Sound ~ accurate and fluent pronunciation, reading and chanting.
Principles ~ exploration of the beautiful grammatical structure of the language.
Practice ~ step-by-step exercises in writing and translation.
This nine-term course is offered periodically, if you are interested in pursuing this type of study please fill in the contact form below.
The first annual Sanskrit Residential week in Sydney was held over twenty-five years ago. It continues to be held each year and now alternates between the Sydney and Melbourne schools.
These weeks have focused on study of verses from the Gita or Upanisads and occasionally verses from Adi Sankara. Study combined with reflection on the verses has been the main spiritual endeavour. During these weeks together with the study of Panini’s grammar, the practice of simple Sanskrit conversation, chanting, the practice of calligraphy, reading stories from the great Vedic epics and preparation for Sanskrit exams.
Fundamental to all this are the words of Sri Santananda Saraswati which have guided the School’s studies in Sanskrit and reflection. Many quotes could be chosen but the following words seem to summarise the importance Sanskrit study:
“If one would try to water the leaves, the tree would not get nourishment. One should try to water the root. So one should first properly understand the beautiful structure of the Sanskrita language and it will help the mind to come closer to understanding. When the light appears the darkness disappears. Similarly, when the study of Sanskrita will be achieved all knowledge of worldly use and also for spiritual use will be purified and one’s life will be simple and good. One would learn much more good about one’s own language in the end.”
The next annual Sanskrit Residential week will be held in Melbourne, Thursday 27th December 2018 to Friday 4th January 2019. Dr. Warwick Jessup will be chairing the week. More details to follow shortly.
The week presents an opportunity for quiet study, simple measure, meditation and to immerse yourself in Sanskrit studies including reflection.
The day will commence with Chanting and Meditation. Followed by the study of some verses from the Katha Upanisad. In the afternoon there will be a chance to choose an elective to study for the week as well as some grammar appropriate to your level of study.
All students are asked simply to follow the daily program (from approx. 6am to 10pm) which includes about five sessions per day.
One has to learn the grammar as it is, then the laws which regulate measures creating certain events or effects will be obviously known to you.’