Feb 18, 2016-
Recently, I started learning Sanskrit. If it was 50 years ago, this wouldn’t have been a surprise for a son of a Brahmin; but now it matters. I was always pushed to learn the Sanskrit language by my grandfather who feared that the family practice of being a pundit would end. As for me, whenever I tried to turn the pages of decades-old Sanskrit books, I would get lost in the tedious verses which I could barely understand. Learning Sanskrit is often described as “rote learning” because understanding its core value is an arduous task. Sanskrit pundits were placed high in the hierarchy in the past. They were confined to a particular elite society and theirs was a noble profession. Moreover, learning Sanskrit was considered to be necessary to attain spiritual knowledge in life, and this belief still prevails. In this modern era, the lifestyle of the people has changed drastically, and financial gain is considered to be more important than a spiritually balanced life. Sanskrit and its associated culture is gradually receding from Eastern culture. It is beginning to be considered as an asset of the old generation and young people have lost interest; so its continuity is being threatened. Things about life and the physical world which are contained in ancient Sanskrit texts have been scientifically proven. Many inventions in science were inspired by centuries-old Sanskrit books, and various ways to treat diseases were similarly extracted from such texts. We are obsessed with copying the Western lifestyle besides being addicted to modern gadgets. Who would bother studying centuries-old hymns when they can see posts on social networks that update in seconds?
We forget that Westerners from the Beatles to Steve Jobs who achieved tremendous success in their fields were once engaged in learning spirituality through Sanskrit. Due to increased interest in the West, the study of Sanskrit has been spreading, leading to a resurgence of yoga and meditation on the global platform. It is no surprise that most teachers of yoga and meditation in YouTube videos are Westerners rather than gurus from the East. This shows how Westerners are being attracted towards Sanskrit, a subject we have started ignoring in recent years.
We Easterners have great faith in religion, and thousands of Hindu gods are worshiped. There is also a practice of worshipping and protecting the environment and animals. Perhaps this has helped to maintain a balance between humans and the environment. But there are some so-called spiritual gurus who are often seen on television, advertising their mysterious medicines to heal diseases or powers to get you things of your desire. Such people have tainted the belief in Sanskrit. The country is on the verge of stepping into a new political era, and an industrial and social revolution is expected to happen. Sanskrit should not be considered as being the property of Brahmins. It is the responsibility of all of us to protect and continue the centuries-old valuable traditions and practices.
- TILAK NEUPANE
Published: 18-02-2016 07:50