Why Sanskrit Should Be The National Language

Sanskrit is the ancient devabhāshā spanning millennials of history and development possessing incredibly valuable insights and timeless, limitless knowledge of religion, theology, culture, intellectual thinking, philosophy, sociology, science, mathematics, astronomy, metaphysics, poetics, law, jurisprudence and cosmopolitanism. Estimating the values of Sanskrit is no less than calculating the span of galaxies. For millennials, the language has given tremendous treasures of knowledge to the entire world.

Sanskrit in itself is a gift for the human development, a lingua bridge between divine and earthly powers. As Nobel Laureate physicist Dr C.V. Raman once, describing the importance of Sanskrit for nation, said “Sanskrit flows through our blood. It is only Sanskrit that can establish the unity of the country.”

Covering every major form of knowledge sharing, for millennials, Sanskrit has been, at pan-Bharat level, the mukhya (principle) language with all other languages, including Hindi, being goua subordinates. Throughout the history, Sanskrit has been and continues to be the mukhya language of knowledge tradition, pan-Bharat higher cultural studies, religious and philosophical studies and Gurukul system of learning.

The power, vocabulary and sound structure of Sanskrit is uniquely brilliant, capable of creating wonders. Bharatiya culture’s essence and values has been created, promulgated and propagated through Sanskrit, making Sanskrit incredibly significance for preservation and application of those original essences. As Dr Lokesh Chandra aptly puts “Sanskrit is the thread on which the pearls of the necklace of Bharatiya culture are strung; break the thread and all the pearls will be scattered, even lost forever.” 

Sanskrit is the language which defines the idea of Bharat and resonates with all dimensions of Bharatiya thinking. Sanskrit is distinguished by the extraordinary vastness of its vocabulary. The size of Sanskrit vocabulary as testified by the dictionary project at Deccan College, Pune, is one crore or ten million. According to Merriam-Webster, the size of modern English vocabulary including scientific words is about one million.

If Sanskrit lacks the words for modern science & technology then it is because we have not bothered to learn and use Sanskrit. New words in Sanskrit for all the modern phenomenon, developments and technologies can be coined, only adding another colour stroke to this vast multicoloured canvas. Its grammar structure is and has been for millennials, world renowned and most scientific, putting it into a league of its own.

Once KWH Schlegel, an eminent German critic, said (in his book History of Literature, p. 117) -“Justly it is called Sanskrit, i.e. perfected, finished…..The Sanskrit combines these various qualities, possessed separately by other tongues: Grecian copiousness, deep-toned Roman force, the divine afflatus characterising the Hebrew tongue.”

Though, Bharat has 22 ‘national languages’ (as per the 21st amendment to the constitution ) and Hindi in Devanagari script along with English, as per article 343, were designated as the two official languages of Bharatiya state; we still lack a single unifying national lingua or Rāshtra Bhāshā. Absence of national language both as a socio-cultural and federal structural unifier which gives birth to regionalism and various language nationalism can be cataclysmic for the nation at unfortunate times.

Creation of Bangladesh, along with many other reasons, was the result of manifestation of language nationalism. Language is one of the primary indicators of national identity and unity. Considering how Sanskrit has contributed in unifying Bharatiya culture and society throughout the history, it would not be wrong to conclude that Sanskrit is the only language capable of uniting the vastly multifarious Bharatiya society.

Almost all the languages and dialects spoken in Bharat – Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Gujarati, Marwadi, Magadhi, Awadhi, Assamese, Chhattisgarh, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam etc – have significant to tremendous Sanskrit influence; the vocabulary and grammar of the likes of Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali et al are direct development of Sanskrit. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Saurashtra to Kamarupa; Sanskrit is the only language capable of knitting the entire subcontinent into a linguistically unified nation. 

It is also an incredible soft power resource for Bharat. Sanskrit has for millennials acted as the very Bharatiya language reflecting upon the deep and complex culture, multifarious society, philosophical tradition, unique spirituality and incredible history. No doubt it was also the bridge between Bharat and the outer world. From Greece, Romania, Iran and Armenia to China, Indonesia, Cambodia and East Asia; Sanskrit has always been the strongest connection at the same time. Greek, Latin, Persian – the younger sisters of Sanskrit – to Chinese, Japanese and Korean all have been greatly influenced by Sanskrit. No other language of the world was or is even close to Sanskrit.

Borrowing the 1776 words of Sir William Jones, Sanskrit is the language “more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either.” Despite the rise of English, there remains much caveats in the trans-national communication, particularly in Asia. Sanskrit, having being close to or influence to almost every major Asian and some of the European tongues, can fill those caveats and provide an upper hand to Bharat.

There has always been a bond between Bharat and Serindia or Central Asia of ancient and medieval times where the cultures of China and Bharat had a common meeting place; with Tibet; with China and the lands within the orbit of Chinese civilisation- Korea, Japan and Vietnam; and above all, with the lands of farther Bharat – Burma and Siam, Pathet Lao and Cambodia, and Cochin China or Champa, and the area of Malaya and Indonesia. Ceylon is of course a historical and cultural projection of Bharat. In all these lands, Sanskrit found a home for itself as the vehicle of Bharatiya thought and civilisation which flowed out into them as a peaceful cultural extension. Sanskrit is a tool of global soft power for Bharat, carefully towing which can help Bharat reach the summit unattained by any other nation.

Opening up the modern Bharatiya population to Sanskrit will also open the gates to the vast timeless dimension of knowledge possessed by the devabhāshā. Four Vedas, the oldest surviving literature of the world, are a separate realm of knowledge (gyān) stepping into which will not only transform the inner self but also the outer world for you. It was the teachings and values of Vedas that inspired and influenced the Buddha, the Jain tirthānkars, the Ajivikās and the six major ancient school of thought.

From the Vedangas, the epics, the Kāvya literature, drama, science, philosophy, aesthetics and the other endless knowledge in nearly all branches of human endeavour are available in Sanskrit making it a unique repository, the world’s heritage language. In fact, Sanskrit is conducive to all the four purushārthas or cardinal aims of life, Dharma, Artha, Kāma, and Moksha, with its vast repositories of knowledge and guidance in each of these realms.

Without Sanskrit, the fullest development of the human mind is almost impossible. In this globalised world, Sanskrit is not only a treasure for Bharat but also for the world. Not acknowledging the great language would be an injustice to not only the Bharatiya tradition but also to the human development. 

Apart from the traditional cultural point of view, Sanskrit is also, undoubtedly, the language of future world. With scientific researches pointing the significance and relevance of Sanskrit in computer programming and functionings, the ancient language’s importance only increases. Sanskrit is the key of a chamber filled with vast knowledge, applicable for the future world.

Āyurveda, Science, Astronomy, Mathematics, Astrology, Chemistry, Biology, Botany, Psychology, Architecture, Music, Drama and many more subjects of human involvement has huge documentation in Sanskrit, which will help Bharatiya students to understand the world from a different perspective. Sanskrit is the language behind Yoga and a health practice in its own, pronouncing which, as per a study, can enhance your capabilities.

Sanskrit has a unique capability of developing human consciousness and understanding in a way, impossible to be developed through any other form. Identified as the best language for Artificial Intelligence, Sanskrit holds immense potential of global development in times ahead. Having Sanskrit as national language of Bharat will, prudently, add another significance jewel to Bharat’s golden crown.

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About the Author

Yogendra Thakur
A student and two time state topper in Astrophysics and Art of Lecturing. Primary focus areas are Indology and Economics.