What is Sanskrit?
This is what flashed in my mind when posting an answer regarding a Sanskrit question In another thread where the free-word structure of the language was highlighted. I wrote, "Sanskrit is a context-free language."
But now I have many questions. What is a context-free language? Surely, I caught this phrase earlier from the Internet, a phrase which actually relates to an entirely different subject domain: software engineering.
So I went to wiki for info, and understood that a context-free is a set of instructions fed to a computer that is able to calculate it without any glitch (i.e., without any problems of ambiguity in the "meaning" of the instructions). The trick is, in the set of instructions, profuse use is made of parentheses, so the computer at a time "concentrates" on "understanding" (calculating/ parsing) only what lies within a parentheses. That is, the whole instruction ("sentence") can be spread out in many different branches (calculated individually) each based on the occurrence of parentheses. Within a parenthesis the jargon and accompanying rules are simple enough for a computer-language, so no problems there either.
Wiki also informs that pANiNi's systemisation of Sanskrit grammar rules into algebraic formulas was the motivation behind this subject. Some rAkshasa-s on the Internet write in their blogs, "Sanskrit is just another language. That Panini created rule based grammar for Sanskrit is a credit to Panini and not Sanskrit."
In long and short, there is a lot of misinformation and propaganda on Sanskrit, yet the so-called Hindu vidvAn-s, in reality better termed as "cultural Hindus", who in range anywhere from from being theoretical physicists to actual Sanskrit professors "sucking-off" in foreign (and Indian) universities, who far from doing nothing to counter the misinformation campaign on Sanskrit are doing their best to spread it even further.
Today a full-time career in Sanskrit is seen as a privilege of those below the poverty line who have kinda lost-out on their lives, and once there in their professions are required no more than to translate Sanskrit texts into other languages and thus further killing and rendering Sanskrit obsolete.
What is not told is that Sanskrit was studied by ill-intentioned people (= rAkshasa-s) who wanted to create a genuine Artificial Intelligence (AI) by using a language "like Sanskrit" as a medium of direct interaction between humans and machines that could be naturally used by both. But this project failed, and today what we have is "fake AI" tidbits that try to convince us otherwise by using brute search power (they can search whole dictionaries in seconds) instead of a natural understanding; and Sanskrit too, features in the wiki article describing the grammar of just plain simple instructions - not AI instructions - for computers.
AI is a sinister project that aims not only at replacing soldiers full-fledged at the war-fronts with AI enabled war-machines, but also in doing so intends to define a world order where - as gaged by AI machines - there will be hierarchy of different races on the earth based on their average intelligence - and going still further to the logical conclusion - waging war against those less intelligent races (not capable of building AI machines themselves) and subjugating/ eliminating them and thus ensuring the earth of limited resources secure for the descendants of the intelligent races.
Yet another focus of major conflict is the way rAkshasa-s are propagating the myth - using linguistic mechanics - that Sanskrit is not aboriginal to bhArata. This is in addition to making Panini merely incidental to Sanskrit, as discussed earlier.
Now, this linguistic-mechanics is just like physics where inherently any process occurring in the world is theoretically reversible: that is, for example, it can be shown that if a sugar cube can dissolve in water, then the same sugar cube can come out of the water from the dissolved state: now this second process is not what we observe in our daily lives, but it is shown to be still possible, though with a small probability.
In this way, starting from the basic fact of the existence of Indo-European families of languages, any mechanics can show the direction of language spread from either side. In reality, the mechanics is very conveniently chosen to describe migration into bhArata, and the other scenario - migration out of bhArata - is not spared a thought even by mistake.
The West, overall, is under the impression that the world is moving towards order, opposite to what Hindus believe: that the world is moving from orderliness towards chaos. West is very confident of the material progress it has led, BhArata thinks otherwise.
The West would, therefore, see the orderliness in Sanskrit as a later phenomenon - and thus feels impelled to visualise a much more randomised and chaotic language as a precursor to Sanskrit. A Hindu, on the other hand, sees the order within Sanskrit as the starting point of the language, and understands all the present bhASa-s of today related to Sanskrit - be it Hindi, or Bangla, or English, or German - as corruptions of Sanskrit.
Which viewpoint is right? Is it the best of the times, or the worst of the times?
Seemingly, there has been a lot of progress - forests and wild-life ("less intelligent species") are replaced with shining metros and civic order; true, there has been a lot of consumption and laying waste of earth's resources in so doing, but it is hoped that with advance in Science our Technology will finally become 100% green.
However, to better understand the "arrow of time", to understand why processes only proceed in one direction and not the other (even though otherwise sanctioned by the mechanics), a new language was investigated. This is known as, "the 2nd law of thermodynamics" and it postulates: "processes take place predominantly in the direction of the increase in the chaos of universe." Therefore, dissolving of the sugar-cube in the water is along the "arrow of time" because when the atoms of the sugar are dissolved and distributed in the water body, randomness "of the universe" is increased.
Just as the sugar cube has crystalline orderliness about it, Sanskrit too - in this view - originally has its own orderliness. The more we go down the "arrow of time", the more this crystallinity of Sanskrit gets dissolved.
The most inner (and the finest) structure of Sanskrit is the way it is able to express AdhyAtma and Devata-s. And this structure pretty much gets dissolved within bhArata itself where we have seen how in classical Sanskrit onwards, we lost to a great extent what Vedic jargon and Devata-s really meant. And there is no point even going outside bhArata because the mythology outside bhArata though may have a few words cognate with Sanskrit, there is no heads or tails involved as far as transmission of AdhyAtmic idea-s is concerned.
And then, at the second layer of structuring within Sanskrit lies the system of declension - which ensures the free-word-order nature of clauses. We find only a few languages that retain this feature. Free-word-order is what a natural language requires in order to be "context-free" (free from ambiguity) because natural languages cannot employ parentheses to achieve so, the way computer languages do.
At the third layer we have Sanskrit words. We find here a much greater occurrence of transmission but still, the logical structure in the Sanskrit that gives rise to the words in first place - something that is not the handiwork of Panini or any other grammarian but is inbuilt in Sanskrit - is largely missing in other languages.
At the outermost layer we have sound systems. Here also, the chaos and disorder in other languages are apparent, so much so, even the Western Indologists are seen - not without justification - by Hindus as "mlechCha having tongues twisted like dog's tail" that cannot get simple consonants and vowel sound of Sanskrit straight.
I have taken some pains to write all this, so that a lay Hindu ("cultural Hindus" no thanks please) can have an overview of what really is going on.
But the purpose of this thread ultimately is much more. I talked about the four layers of the structure of Sanskrit; it is clear therefore that to create a clear shared understanding of Sanskrit, we need to get more near to the innermost layers (Devata and declension aspect), instead of wasting our efforts on the outermost ones (rules and sounds).
To set the agenda:
1. Discussion of the ideas expressed in the OP.
2. On "What is Sanskrit". e.g., what do we mean by "deva-bhASA", etc.
3. How do we go about understanding and teaching Sanskrit naturally?
4. How should we enable our Hindu minds to "think in Sanskrit?"
5. How to enrich our practices further by making use of Sanskrit?
6. Is "progress" eating up the planet? Or, will technology someday be able to reverse any harm done to the universe? Will it reduce the chaos? Or has it done so already?
7. Any other information or any opinion on Sanskrit or related topic.
P.S.: mods may move this thread to Devanagari section if required, though this place is cool too.