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Learn it to understand Indian culture

Sanskrit literature is a huge storehouse of knowledge whether in yoga, ayurveda, astrology, Vaastu Shastra, ethics, Indian culture, ecology, medicine, politics, logic or philosophy. Dr Suman Mehandru introduces the course.

delhi Updated: Jun 10, 2008 00:12 IST
Dr Suman Mehandru

Sanskrit is one of the oldest Indian languages and has been used for many centuries. The great ancient original works like Vedas and Upanishads were written in Sanskrit and have recorded Indian history for future generations to follow. Therefore, to have an understanding of Indian culture, civilization, values, philosophy, religion and history, the knowledge of Sanskrit is necessary.

To study Sanskrit language and literature at graduate level, a basic knowledge of Sanskrit language, its grammar and literature is essential. Most colleges offering B.A. Honours course in Sanskrit would require that the student has knowledge of Sanskrit as per requirements of Class XII of various education boards. However, some colleges do take students who have studied Sanskrit up to Class X.

In the three years of B.A. Honors Course in Sanskrit, students will acquire knowledge of the Vedas and Upanishads, detailed study of Sanskrit literature (the classical and Vedic literature), thorough study of Panini’s grammar, logic, rhetoric, drama, Bhagavad Gita and portions from Ramayana of Valmiki and Manusmrti. They will also get to study a few inscriptions, Sanskrit dramas and poetical texts of Kalidasa, Bharavi and Ashvaghosha. This basic grounding will help them in further studying the complete work of the Vedic and other important religious texts, Indian culture and Indian mythology. An interest in Indology, ethics and Indian philosophy develops by studying Sanskrit at graduation level.

Sanskrit literature is a huge storehouse of knowledge whether in yoga, ayurveda, astrology, Vaastu Shastra, ethics, Indian culture, ecology, medicine, politics, logic or philosophy.

The avenues for a Sanskrit student are plenty. The B.A. Honours degree provides openings for further education and research in Sanskrit, advanced degree in astrology, Vaastu Shastra etc.

Lot of research is being done in the field of Sanskrit and its ancient literature. After post-graduation, one can go for research in the areas of Vedas, Upanishads, grammar, philosophy and poetics. Students with an academic bent of mind can take up teaching of the language in schools and colleges.

One can also opt for Civil Services and banking. Translators for manuscripts and other Sanskrit texts are much in demand. If you have the knowledge of inscriptions you can work in museums. Sanskrit also helps in the study of comparative philology.

Knowledge of Sanskrit enables you to understand the rituals followed in our society, their origin and the reasons behind them.

But most importantly, Sanskrit as a subject helps you to live a holistic life by allowing you an opportunity to understand the Indian culture and practise it in day to day life.

Dr. Suman Mehandru
Reader, IP College for Women