It is a matter of great pleasure to me to write a few words about "A Study of Sanskrit Insciptions in Andhara Pradesh" an excellent collection of Inscriptions superbly researched and well drafted by the well known scholar and renowned researcher "Dr. Dhoolipala Ramakrishna Garu"
The present work contains 21 chapters. It is the result of painstaking research and critical study of various Inscriptions, District vice in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The author by virtue of this book created a land mark in the traditional textual study of Indian Epigraphy.
I am sure that this book shall attract the eye of Sanskritists and Epigraphists. And generate enthusiasm, among the Indologists for similar attempts. Another special feature of this work is that it creates lot interest in the minds of common readers, who will find it to be highly informative and thought provoking.
I congratulate Dr. Dhoolipala Ramakrishna heartily for successfully carrying out hard and commendable task while expecting some more contributions from his pen.
Let us begin with language. It is in one sense the most intimate possession of man. It is something so linked with his personality that any violation of language involves violation of personality. There have been philosophers who have attempted to explain language in conceptual terms. Some of them have regarded it as artificial construct which could be modified according to preconceived notions. Attempts have been made to build up artificial languages, but human experience shows that such attempts have never succeeded.
Human languages differ from animal sounds expressing various states of emotion or urges to action in their greater complexity and intelligibility. This is where concepts begin to play their part in the development of language.
A concept is based essentially on a generalisation of a number of particular experiences. Such generation involves both analysis and synthesis. It is man's power to analyse the elements of a situation , pick out the essential ingredients and relate them to similar elements in other situations that gives him supremacy over all other animals. Language is the symbol of this superiority and the state of development of a languages generally marks the stage of civilisation which a particular individual or community has reached.
Language is thus based on man's deepest emotions and entrenched by his conceptual srasp of the world. It, however, goes beyond emotion and thought by creating a fusion in which the whole is greater than the some total of the parts. It would not perhaps be wrong to call this spiritual. Language is thus man's deepest spiritual possession and also the instrument though which he can express and expand his spirituality.
The Lagacy of Sanskrit:
Among the four main families in which the languages of India fall, Sanskrit belongs to the largest, viz., the Indo-European. From Sanskrit are all North Indian languages born. In Sanskrit is presented the oldest and the most extensive literature of Indo-European family. The discovery of clay-tablets at Boghaz-Koi in Anatolia mentioning the Vedic deities shows that the Rig Veda, the oldest phase of Sanskrit literature, is older than the second millennium B.C. Thus Sanskrit has had an unbroken literary history for 4,000 years. In the historical times the language and literature, and the arts sciences and philosophies developed in them, spread to the Middle-East, Central Asia, China and Japan and the countries of South-East Asia, so that Sanskrit meant the language of culture and learning. Its sway in the middle and ancient ages could be compared to the sway in modern times of its sister language of the Indo-European family, English. In India itself, with its high linguistic and literary development Sanskrit influenced considerably the languages of the other groups, including those of the Dravidian family of the South and thus proved to be a great for the consolidation of culture and civilization throughout the course of Indian history.
The Indo-European family belongs to the organic and inflectional type in which the components of words and combinations take increasingly an integrated form. Owing to the high linguistic sense and conserving spirit of its writers, Sanskrit language came to preserve linguistic features whose study in modern times helped philologists to build up the science of linguistics and formulate the characteristic of the Indo-European family. In fact even the Veda is full of Iinguistic speculations and the early history of Sanskrit is marked by an amazing amount of phonetical and other linguistic work by a succession of grammarians, the greatest of them being Painin.
The oldest phase of Sanskrit was marked by the most note worthy feature of a three-fold accent (Svara) which later classical Sanskrit gradually lost. The earlier phase was also noted for its wealth of forms which gradually got reduced. Before Sanskrit became standardized into what is known as Classical Sanskrit, it passed through the middling stage of Epic Sanskrit, used for popular recitals and expositions, in which a greater freedom in the use of forms is seen. Sanskrit was all through these periods a spoken language, a fact attested to by the diverse dialectical forms in which it prevailed, as also the designation (spoken language) by which Painin refers to it. Even in the later classical times, it continued to be a cultural Ligua Franca, and albeit its ceasing to be a spoken language among the people at large, its position of prestige continued without diminution and may even be said to have During the course of its history when it was cultivated all over be said to have waxed. During the course of its history when it was cultivated all over the country, naturally, in language, forms and thought-content, it absorbed a good deal of local elements in a manner that its development could be claimed by every part of the country.
The earlier dialects of the Vedic period gave birth to the primary Prakrts and from these Prakrt developed the Apabhramsa, and it is out of the last that the modern Indo-Aryan languages of the North developed.
Comparatively speaking, the Sanskrit language may be considered to be more phonetically perfect in its sound-system which strikes one speaking other Indian languages is the different consonants having Consequently when spoken, Sanskrit has a sonorous effect and by wealth of its sound, could adapt its diction, in the hands of gifted speakers or writers, to different emotional contexts and effects; it is thus capable of matching sound to sense to the maximum extent. Another peculiarity which one notices in Sanskrit is the way in which ideas could be chained into a single long compounded word, which was a later development in the direction of simplification but actually grew into a literary aberration. A similar feature is also the Sandhi or the joining of words, with incidental sound-changes, in writing or speaking, which though optional is normally resorted to, a featured also by the Dravidian family.
The sounds in the Sanskrit alphabet are counted as forty-six, forty-eight, fifty or fifty-two.
The earliest examples of Sanskrit literature that survive, which are also its sacred writings, were handed down by word of mouth. They were later committed to writing. The materials used for preservation through writing were stone, wood, leather, metal, birch-bark, birch-leaf, palm-leaf and lastly paper. Sanskrit being pan-Indian has not been preserved in one script, but in each region, where it was learnt and cultivated along with the local languages and its literature, it was written and studied in the local script.
The name of Sanskrit:
It is only around the 5th or the 6th century AD that we have reliable attestations to this word Sanskrit being used in reference to this language. We see that it has begun to be called by this name when it passed to the status of second language, learnt with the help of grammars, in other words when the procedures of formation and of comprehension codified from Panini to Patanjali have become an integral part of it, have constituted the linguistic awareness of all of its users. The tradition of the pandits gives the word 'Sanskrit' (samskrta) as meaning the form of speech' constructed' by a grammar such as that of Panini. The word is made with the suffix ta of passive past participle after the root kr 'to do' fitted with a verbal prefix sam bringing he idea of superior quality; a translation is often made by following the etymology: 'perfect'. But etymology is not adequate to render all the values of the term. The first meaning of samskrta in everyday use, before the word was applied to speech, is 'made ready'. For an action to be accomplished it is necessary for various factors to come together. The term samskara (action noun constructed form the same root) refers to all the preparations for an action, including the gathering together of the agent, the other factors, and the necessary material, this preparation having meaning only because of the goal, the accomplishment of something. What is samskrta is what has been prepared in this way with an action in view. The word is used for example in reference to a cooked dish, because then it is ready for being eaten, to be digested and to nourish the human body. Cooking is a samskara in that it makes substances capable of nourishing the body. Samskara is then the gathering together of factors which confer on them ability. In this sense it is a bringing to perfection. This notion is applied in the field of social and religious life. The individual is prepared by rites called samskara that make him fit for such and such activity, the initiation that makes him fit to study with a master, the marriage that renders him fit to live a period of life as a householder, etc. In the field of psychology samskara is the organisation of the effects left in the unconscious by past experiences. This organisation makes the individual fit for new experiences. It is the acquisition of an organised knowledge that makes him fit to know and act. Language is a samskara, in that it is a knowledge that makes the individual fit to accomplish new acts of speech.
Language is said to be samskrta when it is prepared by grammar, in other words when it is accompanied by the awareness of its structures of formation and of comprehension codified by Panini, etc. One can very well speak his mother tongue, acquired without grammatical education, and hence without a clear awareness of the structures. But to speak a language with an awareness of these two types of structures is another matter. We have already seen that-language by this samskara of grammar acquired an ability for preserving itself, as well as for enriching it self, by assimilating matterial from external sources. It is evident that it becomes more fit for intellectual activity also. It is a tool perfected for the functioning of the mind in every field of activity. This is how we can explain the fact that Sanskrit has become the vehicle of all the intellectual activities in which people have had the idea of engaging themselves in India during several millennia. We note moreover the extreme adaptability of Sanskrit to all the disciplines, its capacity for supplying new technical vocabularies, and for abbreviating itself by composition or secondary derivation, when the exercise of thought processes requires it e.g. in poetic creation or logical reasoning. The old Indo-Aryan is called Sanskrit precisely to account for this linguistic perfecting through linguistic awareness aimed at the optimal adaptation to intellectual activity.
In ancient India, it may be pointed out, Buddhism and Jainism adopted the popular languages born of Sanskrit called Pali and Ardhamagadhi, and not Sanskrit itself. But this is only half of the truth. An equally important, if not more so, Sanskrit canon existed for the Buddhists, as the Tibetan and Chinese translations and the central Asian excavations have Shown :Mahayana is Sanskrit Buddhism. Later, Buddhism which had to contend against Hinduism, developed a literature of Buddhistic logic, all of which is in Sanskrit. And the same path had to be taken by Jainism too. Thus, without a knowledge of Sanskrit none of the three great religions in India could be studied fully.
Apart from Buddhism and Jainism, within the Hindu fold itself, Sanskrit has had a continuous out put of literature for nearly four millennia. Of this vast literature, only a part has come to us, considerable' number of the early master-pieces having been lost or remaining to be recovered. Of the part surviving only a part has come into print.
The literature in Sanskrit is not only enormous in quantity but is also remarkable for its variety and richness in the range of subjects and the branches of knowledge covered: mythology, religion, philosophy, epics, poems, prose, and drama; the fine arts and the useful arts, aesthetics, grammar and lexicography; sociology and law; state-craft and military science, mathematics, geometry and astronomy ; medicine and a host of subjects like the study of plants, animals, precious stones, perfumes, cooking and sex. All knowledge was systematized by Sanskrit and codified in texts. Whatever field a modem scholar is interested in, -linguistics, philosophy, literature, history, archaeology, art and architecture - -he is the more equipped for his work, the more he is conversant with Sanskrit.
The Vedas, the puranas, and the poems and plays, built up this unified concept through ideologies and institutions. The seven great cities, the seven great mountains, the seven great rivers which belong to all parts of India-the institution of pilgrimage the movement of saints and scholars, the patronage of courts, the prevalence of uniform patterns of thought and ideals in mundane and spiritual affairs, in sociological and. religious spheres and in festivals and arts, all these which Sanskrit literature held forth achieved over the ages a cultural unity which is the strongest bond of unity. If a visitor is bewildered by the diversity that he sees from Assam to Kerala and from Kashmir to Tamilnadu, he will, when he stays longer and reflects, be struck all the more by the live concept of one Bharatvarsa from Himalayas to the Cape. This Asetu- Himacala' is an image and legacy given by Sanskrit.
The provenance of Sanskrit and the area over which the fruits of its inspiration manifested themselves extend beyond the limits of the sub-continent of India. The Middle East, Central Asia, China and Japan, and the whole South-East Asia came under a sort of cultural empire inspired by Sanskrit language, its sciences and epics, its religion and philosophy and arts. Mathematics, Medicine and the Fables in Sanskrit were translated by Arabia to pass them of to Europe and to the modern scientific world. To Tibet, Central Asia, China and Japan, Sanskrit gave Buddhism in its Sanskrit schools. To Cambodia, Loas, Thailand, Burma and Indonesia and Ceylon, Hinduism and Buddhism, alphabet, script, literature, Ramayana and Mahabharata in sculpture and dance, temples and festivals were given by this language and its derivative the Pali. It is out of Pali and Sanskrit that Thailand is today building up its new technical and administrative vocabulary. Thus Sanskrit consolidated not only India but played an integrating role in the-whole Orient. With ties of Culture, almost an Asian unity was built up. So that Sanskrit culture serves as a key to understand the whole of East Asia.
Sanskrit is not less necessary to understand well the developments in modern India and the ideas" activities and movements organized by the leaders of modern India like Vivekananda, Tagore, Tilak, Aurobirido, Gandhi and Nehru. It is the heritage of Sanskrit that has been, time and again, pressing itself forward through these personalities. Vedanta and Upanishads and Gita which widely travelled and influenced German thinkers and American transcendentalists, not to mention the body of contemporary European and American writers devoted to it, is a branch of Sanskrit literature. The humanism of Tagore is rooted in the Upanishadic teachings. The Yoga and mysticism of Aurobindo are based on Tantra and the hymns of the Vedic seers. Tilak' s Karma-Yoga is and interpretation of the Gita and Gandhi's Satyagraha, Ahimsa, Bhajana, and Ram-am, his Pupil Bhave's. Bhudan-yajna and Pada - yatra, the rise of Asramas and Gurukulas-all these are the flowers which the running inner sap of Sanskrit heritage has thrown upon the tree of modern India. The Panca-sila and non-alignment of the Pandit Nehru is also the 041 come of the heritage of tolerance which is the most precious gift of the culture enshrined in this language.
"Because of the heavy reliance of the language of India of India on Sanskrit, it is imperative that any one socializing in a modern language of India, should have some knowledge of Sanskrit, and the greater his specialisation the more need of Sanskrit. In his preparation of teaching materials-in e.g. Hindi or Tamil-he present the Snaskrit part of the vocabulary completely.
Indian cultural is, unlike the Greek, a thing which has not become archaeological; it still lives. As long as its continuity endures, so long the need and value of Sanskrit will be there.
Sanskrit an as an integrating Factor:
Danskrit was not only the cultural lingua franca of ancient India, but it served also as a link language for the different language-areas. It was the language of learning on the one hand and on the other of all-India gatherings in which those from different language areas always met and conversed in Sanskrit. In the 12th century poem of Sriharsa, the well-known Naisadhiyacarita, suitors to the hand of Damayanti from different parts of India, to avoid mutual unintelligibility, are described as speaking to each other in Sanskrit.
The Tamil Grammarian senavarayar who wrote a commentary on the Tolkappiyam observes that Sanskrit it the common language of all parts of India.
Sanskrit Through the Ages:
In its further expansion in the Persian an Arab world, through its literature of medicine and mathematics, Sanskrit laid the foundation of these two sciences in the western world. The ancient Ayurvedic surgical instruments were the basis of the development of modern surgical instruments in the West. In the early ages in India, many operations were done by the Ayurvedic doctors and modern plastic surgery, for example, derives from a practice prevalent originally in India. Ayurveda was studied in central Asia and in Mongolia, where there are illustrated manuscripts, depicting Indian herbs with their Sanskrit, in this way, may be styled as the teacher of the ancient world. Indian mathematics had already influenced or anticipated hat science in Greece and in the Sulba Sutras one comes across some of the theorems of Pythagoras. Like medicine and mathematics, Sanskrit Fable, the animal stories of Pancatantra, as also the game of Chess, were taken over the entire world. There is hardly a language of Europe in which the Pancatantra tales have not been translated.
There were several schools of grammar other than that of Panini. 'Narayana Bhattatiri', the versatile scholar of Kerala, author of the 'Prakriyasarvasna' and 'Dhatukavya' in grammar wrote also a pamphlet entitled 'Apariniyatna Pramanyasamarthana' for proving the authoritativeness of usages not covered by Panini.
The there is the language used in the two Epics in which many free expressions occurred, incorrect according to Paninian rules, all of which show that not show not only was Sanskrit spoken, but while being spoken it was not bound hand and foot by rules of grammar, had flourished on the tongues of people just as any other language. When we were under the British and learnt our English from the Victorian classics, the great poems, essays and novels of that age, we hard imbided a particular style and standard of English. This is not what is actually spoken in different parts or country sides of England by the common people, nor in any other parts of the world where English is spoken.
During the course of its history of over 3000 years, the Sanskrit genius has been continuously active and productive and a prodigious mass of writings in all the major and minor branches of knowledge was produced, a veritable ocean of works and authors whose expanse has not yet been chartered and which is a continuous revelations as fresh manuscripts are being discovered in India and in areas outside the country where Sanskrit culture spread. We are reminded in this connection about the exclamation of poet Nilakantha Diksits who said "Oh! What a number of writers! What an amount of works! How many of these extant! How many are lost! As elders say
Vivekananda insisted on Sanskrit; Mahatmaji has asked every one of us to study Sanskrit; Pandit Nehru praises the extra-ordinary vitality and persistence and the accurate and fertile grammatical structure of Sanskrit in his Discovery of India; leaders like H.E.Dr. K.N.Katju and eminent educationalists like Dr.C.R. Reddy have gone to the extent of suggesting that considering all aspects of the question dispassionately, Sanskrit alone has the qualification to be the common National language of India. On this question, it is useful to quote what the general public may not have easy access to viz., the opinions of some highly qualified scholars of international standing in literature and linguistics. Prof. F.W. Thomas of Oxford said in his Presidential Address at the Trivandrum Session of the All-India Oriental Conference: "For higher education on the humanistic side, the Sanskrit is in India an imperative requirement. I would be indeed preposterous if Indians.. were without access to that knowledge which alone can enable them to realise the situation in which they find themselves... In view of the great linguistic divisions of the country, if it is be one country, it may be worthwhile to ask whether Sanskrit may not again rise to the occasion. Outside of India, the Sanskrit carry with it a convenience by facilitating a solidarity with those countries whose religious literature has a Sanskrit basis, an area which comprises a greater part of Central and Eastern Asia". Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, the foremost philologist of India, said in his Presidential address to the Modern Indian Languages Section of the Tirupti session of the All-India Oriental Conference: "The necessity for a common national language has been felt... a common national language "The necessity for a common national language has been felt... A common national language India found in the Pre-Muhammadan days in Sanskrit which has become through its intimate connection with the life of the lad the vehicle as well as the symbol of the characteristic culture of India. For the past 2500 years for the whole of India, Sanskrit has been the main language of culture for Indians. Sanskrit with it vocabulary, its capacity to build new words with its own roots and affixes, will give us the facility to express most new ideas... It would not be difficult to make the spontaneous homage of the modern Indian languages to Sanskrit the basis for its reestablishment".
It has often been said that Sanskrit was fixed during Panini's time and a great responsibility for this phenomenon has been attributed to this grammarian. One often hears that with Panini Sanskrit had become a dead language. In reality what Panini in fact did was to impart to the users of his language an awareness of its structures of formation. To speak without linguistic awareness is not same thing as speaking while knowing consciously how one constructs one's speech. The possession of a well-defined linguistic awareness enables the speaker an artificial stabilisation of the language. For that a specific will is needed. Panini, as we saw, had the will to preserve the Vedic heritage at the very most. He also let his language enrich itself with material from other languages. This attitude was already present amongst his predecessors. It would also be that of his successors. And the language still evolved between Panini and Patanjali. As Sanskrit of Patanjali, it was still a living language. Patanjali gave as norm and model of what he saw as the language to his well-read contemporaries. He called them the sista 'the educated'.
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