The study of Sanskrit has but recently risen in the estimation of the educated natives of this presidency and of our educational authorities. The old Sanskrit college of Poona owed its existence and continuance rather to a spirit of conciliation and toleration in our rulers than to their conviction of the utility of Sanskrit as a branch of general education. The modern critical and progressive spirit was not brought to bear upon it. The old Sastris were allowed to carry all things in their own way. After about thirty years since its establishment the authorities began to exercise active interference until at length the college was abolished and a new system inaugurated, which to be complete and effective, enquires, in my humble opinion, a partial restoration f the old institution.
This newly awakened and more enlightened zeal in favour of Sanskrit cannot last, or produce extensive results, unless books are prepared to facilitate the general study of that language. I have heard students complain that they find Sanskrit more difficult than Latin, and many have actually left the study of their own classical tongue for that of its foreign rival. I do not know if this complain has a foundation in the structure of the two languages; but this, at least, I am sure of that Sanskrit would be considerably more easy than it is, if there were men educated in our English Colleges to teach it, and if books specially adapted for beginners were available. It was with the view of supplying in some measure, this latter desideratum that this little book was prepared about a year and a half ago.
This Second Book of Sanskrit has been prepared under instructions from Sir A. Grant, Director of Public Instruction. Its plan is nearly the same as that of the First Book, which the student is supposed to have read and mastered. Each lesson consists of four parts: - 1st Grammar: 2nd Sanskrit sentences for translation into English: 3rd English sentences for translation into Sanskrit – both intended to exercise the student in the rules of Grammar given at the top of the Lesson; and 4th a vocabulary.
This and First Book together contains as much Grammar as is needed for all practical purposes, perhaps more. I have adopted the terminology of the English terminology of the English Grammarians of Sanskrit but have strictly followed Panini, as explained by bhattoji Diksita in his siddhantakaumudi. Most of the rules are mere translations of the sutras. Besides the terms, guna, Vrddhi, and a few other, which have been adopted from Native Grammarians by nearly all European writers on the subject, I have found it necessary to appropriate two more viz, Set and anit. The prejudice against mere Native terms, in deference to which professor benfey seems in his smaller Grammar to have discarded even the words guna and Vrddhi, without substituting any other, is, in my humble opinion, very unreasonable, when it is difficult to frame new words to designate the things which they signify. It is very inconvenient to have to describe the same thing again and again whenever on has occasion to speak of its. It will at the same time be somewhat difficult for the learner to make out, when a thing is so described in a variety of cases, that it is the same. Words adapted to express a particular meaning are as necessary here as in other affairs of human life. What are amount of inconvenience would it, for instance entail, if whenever we had to speak of the human race, we were instead of being allowed to use the world man must not elevate an ordinary truism to the rank of a newly discovered truth.
The general rules of grammar, and such exceptions as are important, have been given in this book, those of the least render a book liable to the charge of inaccuracy. But it is unavoidable in an elementary work, and after all it will produce little or no practical inconvenience.
There is one point in Sanskrit Grammar, in my explanation of which I have departed from ordinary usage, though I think I do agree with Panini and his commentators. It is the sense to be attached to the so-called Aorist.
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