[Advaita-l] 'The battle for Sanskrit' - Rajiv Malhotra

Ryan Armstrong ryanarm at gmail.com
Mon Feb 1 02:16:10 CST 2016

My Dear Praveen
Thank you for these comments.

At our school, we do in fact follow the dual approach.  And the point you
make about the Panini sutras being for those who can already speak the
language is well put.
The main reason we learn Sanskrit it for the practice of "reflection" where
the process of श्रवणम्, मननम् and निद्धिध्यासनम् is applied to passages
from the Upanishads and sometimes other works.
So the study of Sanskrit is a tool for the real work of Realization of the
In my case, I have to often remind myself of the composition of Aadi
भज गोविन्दम् भज गोविन्दम् भज गोदिन्दम्  मूढमते
सम्प्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले न हि न हि रक्षति डुकृङ्करण

And thank you for pointing out the mistakes. The न् which should be ण्
(repeatedly) was simply lack of attention and memory of the rule where the
र is present.
But I usually use fonts in a word processor which has a pop-up for the
sanyogas and lesser used letters, but am now using gmail's devanaagari
Unicode entry tool.
The problem is that I am not aware of how to form some of the characters.
For instance, with the nasal sounds, I can find the Moordha, danta and
oushthau letters, but cannot find the kantha and taalu.
(The final word in the verse above is one such..) In any case, practice
should remedy that one!

Kind Regards

On 25 January 2016 at 19:35, Praveen R. Bhat <bhatpraveen at gmail.com> wrote:

> Namaste Ryanji,
> Your mail was quite interesting and I am happy to see your perspective on
> Sanskrit. My response is inline below.
> On Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 5:14 PM, Ryan Armstrong via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> In any case, I have continued the study and have written exams through
>> Cambridge University.  The next exam I can write is the "A-level" (AS was
>> completed last year.)
> Best wishes for your future exams.
>> But I am approaching this in the reverse manner which than that which Shri
>> Rajiv Malhotra states - I no longer wish to study under the "modern"
>> system. I say modern, not Western since it is my opinion that even that
>> great work सिद्धान्तकौमुदी is a step backwards from the अष्टाध्याय़ी of
>> पाणिनि.
> Well, this has been debated like many approaches in every system of
> learning and remains debatable to date. What सिद्धान्तकौमुदी and therefore
> लघुसिद्धान्तकौमुदी does is approach sUtras by division into topics, which
> helps understanding sUtras in groups, which otherwise is a difficult task
> with just Panini sUtras. However, the advantage of learning sUtras in
> sequence is the advantage of अनुवृत्ति, which helps keep the sUtra
> संक्षिप्त। The difference of approaches can be spotted right from opening
> sUtra which for Panini is वृद्धिरादैच् while the Laghukara starts with
> हलन्त्यम् इत्। The former is too technical for those who know nothing about
> Paninian terminology while Laghukara eases one in. The other issue with
> Laghu is that although the sutras are taught in groups of topics, any
> needed sutra from anywhere is taught when needed first during a topic. Once
> taught, it is never revisited. So if you pick up a sUtra to look up, it may
> not at all be intuitive as to under which topic the sUtra would be. That
> said, sometimes the Laghu वृत्ति and examples are useful when studying
> Kashika's. So, my teacher takes a mixed approach of Paninian sequence with
> each group.
> On a related note, unless you are already aware, Advaita Academy has
> Ashthadhyayi video classes by NCT Acharyaji in Panini sequence.
>> By
>> re-grouping the सूत्रानि into the categories of "noun", "verb" etc. the
>> approach begins with the physical. I have not come across anything
>> equivalent to the धाताव in any other language (although Jewish friends
>> imply that the ancient Hebrew may have used similar seed sounds.)
> Kanchi Paramacharya had told to some Jewish scholars who visited him and
> who were researching on the most ancient language that their chanting in
> Hebrew is Vedic chanting with regional svara and pronunciation changes
> which are also mentioned in the Vedas. He asked his Vedic students to chant
> some Vedic chants and then asked if they sounded familiar to the Jews. They
> weren't so sure. So He made the said changes and chanted and it sounded
> familiar Hebrew chant to them! Thats how the Paramacharya explained how
> Hebrew is derived from Vedic language.
>> The Cambridge approach is (as much of Western education is) one of "learn
>> by rote."  So the राम रूपानि are learned by reciting रामः, हे राम, रामम्
>> रामेन etc.
> रामशब्द is one of the most difficult ones to derive by sUtras, so learning
> by rote for some declensions is quite a useful approach even in the
> traditional teaching. Moreover, Paninian sUtras were intended for teaching
> grammar to people who already knew the language to teach what is
> साधुप्रयोग, although we use it as a tool to learn the language itself!
> I have often given the allegory of trying to study संस्क्रृतम् using a
>> different language (in this case English) as a dam trying to comprehend
>> the
>> ocean.
> Each language has this issue; the closer the languages, the lesser is the
> hurdle. This can be seen especially when making an अन्वय। In Indian
> languages, which are quite close to Sanskrit, with many words still in
> their Sanskrit form, अन्वय is simpler to understand and translate. Since we
> too use English to learn Sanskrit where I learn, this problem is seen quite
> often, especially with those do not know any Indian language.
> #PS: Since you have studied Sanskrit for long, I assume that the errors in
> Devanagari words that you typed were typoes. Anyway, if thats not the case,
> you may want to know that गायतृ is गायत्री, औम् is ओम्, ईशोपनिशद् is
> ईशोपनिषद्, रूपानि is रूपाणि, रामेन is रामेण, अक्षरानि is अक्षराणि, सुत्रानि
> is सूत्राणि, रामायन is रामायण। The णत्वम् of नकार is due to sUtras starting
> with 8.4.1 रषाभ्यां नो णः समानपदे and षत्वम् in ईशोपनिषद् is due to 8.3.59
> आदेशप्रत्यययोः [अपदान्तस्य मूर्धन्यः]।
> Kind rgds,
> --प्रवीणभट्टः।


Ryan Armstrong
+27 82 852 7787
ryanarm at gmail.com

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