Re: Sanskrit and Vedic Forum
namaste Amala and everyone else.
IMHO, the main objective of saMskRta-shikShaNam--Sanskrit-learning for a sAdhaka--seeker, should be to get at the purport and meaning of Hindu religious and spiritual texts, in a bid to progress his/her sAdhana--spiritual efforts.
• In addition, with some familiarity and comfort level with the language, we could eventually get to read (parts of) the itihAsa-purANa texts as well as Sanskrit secular texts such a KAlidAsa's kAvyas--epics, and enjoy the literary, sensuous and aesthetic nuances in them.
• Although Sanskrit is the spoken language of the entire population of at least two villages in India, GOI regularly broadcasts/telecasts a Sanskrit news bulletins, there are Sanskrit newspapers and magazines, and insitutions like SaMskRta BhArati strive to teach Sanskrit as a spoken language, fluently reading--rather than speaking--Sanskrit could be our main aim, IMO.
I feel that Sanskrit-learning may be done through different threads in the existing nAgarI subforum. I think it could be more helpful to approach learning Sanskrit from the literature to the grammar, rather than the other way around.
• As a first step, we might collect QuickRef tables/flash cards about Sanskrit alphabets, numerals, saMdhi--conjugation, vibhakti--case, and other areas of vyAkaraNam--grammar in a separate thread.
• It would be very difficult to memorize all the rules of grammar before reading any serious text of Sanskrit, so our approach could be to have a glance at them as necessary and start learning by analysing Sanskrit text, starting with simple and popular shlokas and moving on to texts such as the bhagavad-gItA and the upaniShads. Since audio files of most shlokas can be found on the Net, this would take care of the uchchAraNam--pronunciation, part of the texts.
• In all our learning efforts, it is very important that we must strive to read and write Sanskrit using devanAgarI lipi--alphabets, rather than depend on transliteration. As for writing Sanskrit, while we must practice it on paper to get the feel of writing in devanAgarI proper, for typing our posts on the Internet, my recommendation is to use a transliteration scheme which is free of diacritical marks--such as ITRANS or Baraha, since these schemes are closer to the original IMO.
• Baraha is a very good Indian language software, as it facilitates writing in different Indian languages, using a transliteration scheme which is akin to the ITRANS scheme. The package also supports unicode, so it's ideal IMO.
• As for Sanskrit unicode fonts, althogh the default Windows font (lathA) is good enough, Sanskrit 2003 is much better.
Let us understand that none of us here in HDF are literate enough to teach Sanskrit, so our learning could only be by interaction, with all members who seek to learn the language to try their hands by asking questions and trying to provide answers.
रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥
To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.