Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages of the world. The deeper one goes into it the more one is amazed by its beauty and perfection. Whichever aspect one explores, there seems to be no limit to its treasures and wonders. Its very name means “refined” or “sculpted to perfection”. It is through this language that India has been expressing herself abundantly and incessantly for centuries, and its future rests much on this most dynamic language. But in the recent past, we have been cut off from this voluminous body of the highest wisdom, knowledge and genius. This trend is only now beginning to change, and a resurgence of Sanskrit in all fields of life would also mean a revival of the true spirit of India and its soul-force. It is through Sanskrit that we will be able to connect ourselves with the puissance and the creative thrust which propelled our forefathers to create one of the greatest civilisations in the past.
The Wonder that is Sanskrit is beautiful from cover to cover. It has an elegant cover, with reverberating vibratory lines of `a‘ the adi akshara or the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, thereby representing the primeval language Sanskritam, the origin of all languages, reverberating its creative force and genius to mother all the languages of the world. In the foreground is a delicate feather stylus inscribing the first mantra of the Rgveda which is surely among the first of the revealed truths of the Divine Wisdom, that has given birth to the oldest and most refined and opulently beautiful language of the world, Sanskritam.
The back cover of the book gives a quotation from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on the importance of Sanskrit in relation to India. It comes from the writer of Discovery of India almost suggesting and urging us to discover the past glories of our Sanskriti which is impregnated in the Sanskrit language.
Over the years I have always felt the need of a good English presentation — English, because it is most accessible to all, — of the glory and greatness of the Sanskrit language. I wanted something pleasant to read and easy to handle, something which should cover the interesting aspects of Sanskrit yet not be heavy and pedantic; a work that should be acceptable to the standards of a scholar and give a true taste to the novice; a work that should be simple and yet bear the extraordinary richness of the most beautiful language of the world. On reading this book, my mind feels satisfied that this is indeed what I had expected.
As we go through the pages, we are constantly made aware of our rich heritage and we pause awe-struck to believe all that is truly true and nobly noble.
The introduction gives us the purpose of the book, which is to open our shut eyes to the exuberant culture and throbbing ethos of our own motherland and its language, the life-giving river Sanskrit. There are apt quotations of westerners who loved India deeply. The author was surprised to know that Sanskrit conforms to „the greatest and highest achievements of India in every field“. He says it was an enthralling and fulfilling experience.
The first chapter deals with grammar which is not only made palatable but delicious. A brief history reveals the unique, scientific and logical approach in the creation of the alphabet. The noun and Kâraka theory point out that the expression of the thought is not dependent on the syntax of the sentence. The root sounds with the use of prefixes give an interesting insight into the capacities of the language.
The second chapter deals with amazing creations in Sanskrit. Here we see the agility and flexibility, and the mental gymnastics that the human mind is capable of. These are unparalleled feats which leave us with a sense of sheer wonder.
The third chapter deals with Arts and Science in daily life. Here we see the number of varied fields in which Sanskrit literature has made its contribution: in poetry, mathematics, science, astronomy and astrology; in logic, law, religion, politics, drama, fulfilment in married life; in history, geography; in medicine, in yoga and spirituality and the list continues. The ancients knew that the sun is the centre and not the earth, that the earth moved but appeared still. They knew the value of Õ in mathematics to 17 digits beyond the decimal point. Finally the chapter states that a noted NASA scientist vouches that Sanskrit is most suited to be the language of computers.
The next chapter deals with the opulence, exuberance, subtlety, perfection and exquisite beauty of Sanskrit literature. It is explained in simple, lucid English and is a feast for the lover of Sanskrit.
The spiritual and sacred aspect of the Sanskrit tongue is most commonly known to us. The introduction to the lofty ideas touching and illuminating our deepest self is well-presented in the next section.
The subsequent chapters deal in great detail with the possibilities of Sanskrit being revived back to a national status and being our national language. Some common questions of whether this is a difficult language or not are well answered. That Sanskrit is the language of India‘s soul and there are no real differences between the so called Aryan and Dravidian cultures is carefully dealt with. The book ends with a transliteration of all Sanskrit texts discussed in the book, and a glossary and a list of references has also been added for better comprehension.
This book gives our Motherland and our language a lift in our eyes. We feel proud of our richest, loftiest, deepest, and most beautiful heritage, the legacy and wisdom of our ancient seers.
I strongly recommend this book to every lover of India. If only it would have been more moderately priced it would have been excellent in every respect. – Radhikaranjan Das