[Advaita-l] Question on time spent learning Sanskrit Grammar post-50 years old vs. Sadhana

Ryan Armstrong ryanarm at gmail.com
Mon Mar 7 04:52:33 CST 2016

Namaste Sanju Nath

>From experience, I have a few comments and observations.
Firstly, (and since I have no Hindi I can only really comment on English)
"lesser" languages cannot convey the essence of a subject in the same way
that Sanskrit can.
When approaching scriptures, Sanskrit provides a clear and unambiguous
Where it is not clear, the great sages have provided clarification.
It is my opinion that Sanskrit is the purest vehicle for expressing Truth.

I have a personal love for the Panini system of grammar and study it
However, in studying a subject so fine, with its insights into the universe
and its structure, it is easy for ahankara to claim the knowledge.
It is easy for one to become "big headed", "holier than thou" or simply
believe that one is in some way "better".
And it seems that this is what Adi Shankara is warning against.

The first verse of the work you quote is :

भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं
गोविन्दं भजमूढमते ।
सम्प्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले
नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ्करणे ॥ १॥

Worship the Lord, Worship the Lord, Worship the Lord - You of deluded mind!

When death's fateful time approaches, the recitation of grammatical
rules will not help you!

I have taken to reciting this when I embark on the study of Sanskrit.
This serves as a reminder that the study is not an end in itself, but a
tool for understanding Truth.
There is a place for all things in creation.
But claiming knowledge, no matter how fine, is nonetheless a claim and
something tying one to avidya and samsAra

I would not advocate against learning the grammar, but not as a direct
means to Truth.

I hope that this helps you...
Kind Regards

On 7 March 2016 at 04:52, Sanju Nath via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Pranams:
> Given the advice in BhajGovindam (reproduced below) how much time should we
> prioritize for learning Sanskrit versus meditation/reading English
> translations/Svadhayaya/other Sadhana?
> In the time it takes to read grammar, one can use English/Hindi
> translations to understand better some slokas too.   There is no dearth of
> reflection and understanding opportunity here.
> The fear is that I'm being a mudha when I choose to pickup a grammar book
> in comparison to other options.
> Thanks,
> Sanju.
> *************
> During his stay in Kashi, Adi Shankaracharya noticed a very old man
> studying the rules of Sanskrit by Panini.  Shankara was touched with
> pity at seeing the plight of the old man spending his years at a mere
> intellectual accomplishment while he would be better off praying and
> spending time to control his mind.
> मूढः कश्चन वैयाकरणो
> डुकृञ्करणाध्ययन धुरिणः ।
> श्रीमच्छम्कर भगवच्छिष्यै
> बोधित आसिच्छोधितकरणः ॥ ३२॥
> Thus a silly grammarian lost in rules cleansed of his narrow
> vision and shown the Light by Shankara's apostles.
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Ryan Armstrong
+27 82 852 7787
ryanarm at gmail.com

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