Showing posts with label SANSKRIT LESSONS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SANSKRIT LESSONS. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sanskrit science Lesson 3 – Sanskrit Alphabet and Devanagari Script

In sanskrit lesson-1 , we learnt that Sanskrit is unlike any other languages where inobjects do not have names, but only properties have names, and all objects are referred to using their properties. So in Sanskrit we can always create names for any new object that is invented or any new knowledge that is discovered.
In   sanskrit lesson -2  ,we learnt that the root of Sanskrit Grammar are 2012 words called Dhatu (Verb Roots), and not the Parts of Speech. All these Dhatus have different meanings assigned to them, and all words in Sanskrit are derived using these root words or Dhatus. We also saw in Lesson 2, how Sanskrit can be used in computer programming and how it is already being used. In future lessons we will see more on this subject.

In this third lesson we will learn about the science behind the alphabet structure of the Sanskrit language. But before that please be aware that throughout this series we will be comparing the features of Sanskrit language with that of English, as we have done in the first two lessons. The reason being, it will be more easy to explain as well as comprehend facts if they are compared to something which is already known. And since this Sanskrit learning series is written in English, we are comparing English with Sanskrit as and when required while explaining features. This is because we can safely assume that readers reading this series also know English.
Also, though we are introducing a Sanskrit script in this lesson, I will also try to make sure that you continue to learn Sanskrit even if you are unable to learn the script immediately. I will do this by continuing to present the language in English as well.
My suggestion to those (especially Indians) who think they are already familiar with the Sanskrit alphabet system (because of their existing knowledge of some other Indian language like Hindi, Bengali or Kannada) is that, I strongly recommend that you still go through this lesson. That is because in the middle of this lesson and at the end, we are presenting some very interesting facts about the alphabet system which is generally not taught in the regular schooling system.
Also, while this lesson might sound technical with many new words creeping in, make sure that you read and understand only that portion that is explained in simple English. There is no need to remember or memorize any new word, features, names that are mentioned in this lesson. This lesson is being provided with the sole intention of serving as a reference point to look back as we proceed further with other Sanskrit lessons in the future. So just read and understand whatever you can, ignore whatever you cannot. Of course, you can ask any specific questions in the comments section.
There is a video with audio at the end of the lesson where you can practically listen to each of the vowel, consonant etc in the Sanskrit alphabet system and learn how to pronounce them.

A brief History of Sanskrit Writing System and Scripts

We know that English does not have a script of its own and instead we use the Latin script to write English.  The English alphabet has its roots in Latin script and has 26 letters from A to Z of which A,E,I,O,U are vowels and remaining consonants.
Sanskrit does not have a script of its own either. In the ancient times, all the Sanskrit texts were passed down orally through human memory from generations to generations. To make memorizing the texts easy, entire texts used to be composed in poetic form. Which is why you find most ancient Sanskrit texts written in the form of poetry. The reason for passing down the texts orally without writing them down was to make sure that the texts are preserved at any cost, and also to ensure that the Sanskrit pronunciations are not forgotten or mispronounced over time. Books written down get lost, human memory does not, especially when it is passed down through generations of thousands of students learning these texts.
This is the very reason why while most of the books written just a few centuries back have been lost, the Sanskrit texts like vedas and upanishads have been preserved in their exact original format even after so many thousand years!

Devanagari Script and its features

Writing down of Sanskrit started somewhere around the time of the Mauryan Empire where the Brahmi script was used to write down Sanskrit text for administrative purposes and for new literature created in Sanskrit. Even today Sanskrit is written down using a variety of regional scripts like Devanagari, Kannada, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Thai, Gurmukhi, Telugu, Tibetan and so on. However, Devanagari script has been accepted as the standard script in writing down Sanskrit texts, even though Sanskrit texts also continue to be written in various other regional scripts listed above.
So for the sake of convenience, we will restrict ourselves to using the Devanagari script in this series of Sanskrit lessons. Devanagari is a combination of the wordsDeva meaning divine and Naagari meaning urban or sophisticated. SoDevanagari means a divine sophisticated script.
Some of the notable features of the Devanagari script are:

Absence of case

There are no distinct uppercase or lower case letters in Devanagari. In fact, none of the Indian languages have distinct upper case or lower case letters. Letters are caseless.

Presence of horizontal top line

A distinct feature of the Devanagari script is the horizontal top line that runs on letters of the same word. Here is an example of writing the very wordDevanagari in this script. See the horizontal line running on its top.

Absence of Spelling

There is no concept of spelling in Devanagari, nor in any Indian languages. You write what you speak. There is a separate letter for each syllable. So when you say Devanagari you write देवनागरी where
  • दे is a letter which sounds De
  •  sounds va
  • ना sounds naa
  • ग sounds ga and
  • री sounds rii.
There is no business of remembering spellings in Indian languages, no unnecessary complications. Also, all Indian scripts including Devanagari are written from left to right.

Science behind the Sanskrit Alphabet

The arrangement of letters in Sanskrit alphabet is called Varnamaala written asवर्णमाला which means Garland of Letters.
The pronunciation of the the Sanskrit alphabet is explained in a youtube video at the end of this lesson.
In English alphabet there is no logical reasoning in the arrangement of the letters. There is no reason why  D comes after C or why the vowels lie scattered around in the alphabet. In Sanskrit on the other hand, the vowels and consonants are categorized separately and again these categories are arranged in a specific order. This is also true for all Indian languages.
First come the vowels in the Sanskrit alphabet.

Sanskrit Vowels - Swara

अ आ इ ई उ ऊ ऋ ॠ ऌ ए ऐ ओ औ are the Sanskrit vowels. In Sanskrit,Swara is the popular term used for vowels.
The grouping logic of the Sanskrit alphabet is based on where and how the sound is produced inside the mouth. Of these अ इ उ ऋ ऌ  are short vowels, while the others are long vowels which take twice the time of short vowels to pronounce them.

Kantya (Guttural)

Guttural Sounds
The sound of the vowels  and   are produced at the throat, or near the back of the oral cavity. Hence they are called Kantya (कंट्य) vowels meaning, from the throat (Guttural).

Taalavya (Palatal)

The sound of the vowels  and   are produced by the tongue touching the roof of the mouth (Palate). Hence they are called Taalavya (तालव्य) vowels meaning, from the palate (Palatal).

Oshtya (Labial)

The sound of the vowels  and   are produced using the lips. Hence they are called Oshtya (ओष्ठ्य) vowels meaning, from the lips (Labial).

Murdhanya (Retroflex or Cerebral)

The sound of the vowels   and   is produced by the tip of the tongue curling back against the roof of the mouth. Hence it is called Murdhanya (मूर्धन्य) vowel meaning, from the roof of the palate (Retroflex).

Dantya (Dental)

The sound of the vowel  are produced by the tongue touching the upper teeth. Hence they are called Dantya (दंत्य) vowels meaning, from the teeth (Dental).

Kantataalavya (Palato – Guttural)

The sound of the vowels  and   are produced near the throat by the tongue touching the roof of the mouth. Hence they are called KantaTaalavya (कंटतालव्य) vowels.

Kantoshtya (Labio-Guttural)

The sound of the vowels  and   are produced near the throat by the rounding of the lips. Hence they are called Kantoshtya (कंटोष्ठ्य) vowels.

Ornaments to the Vowels – Anuswara and Visarga

Apart from the vowels listed above there are two other letters अं and अः that are used to decorate the vowels.
अं is called Anusvara and अः is called the Visarga. These are neither consonants nor vowels, and are listed at the end of the vowels, usually as a part of the vowel group itself, but at the end.
The Anusvara is a nasal whose pronunciation depends on the preceding consonant which we will be discussing in detail in the future lessons. The name Anuswaara means after vowels and it appears in front of vowels.
The Visarga which means sending forth adds a softening short burst effect at the end.

Sanskrit Consonants

Next come the Sanskrit consonants. The first five rows of five each letters are very important in their arrangement and are also used in many formulations of interesting Sanskrit sentences that we will be discussing in our future lessons.
क ख ग घ ङ
च छ ज झ ञ
ट ठ ड ढ ण
त थ द ध न 
प फ ब भ म
Here again
  1. The first row क ख ग घ ङ  are guttural consonants
  2. The second row च छ ज झ ञ are palatal consonants
  3. The third row ट ठ ड ढ ण are retroflex consonants
  4. The fourth row त थ द ध न  are dental consonants and
  5. The fifth row प फ ब भ म are labial consonants
In each row, the second and fourth consonants are called mahaprana consonants meaning they are aspirated consonants where in a strong burst of air accompanies their pronunciation. Without this strong burst of air, they become the same as the first and third consonants respectively in these rows. The first and third consonants are called alpaprana consonants.
Similarly in each row the third and fourth consonants are similar to the first and second consonants respectively except that in the former the sound comes more deeper from the throat with the resonance of the vocal chords.
The fifth consonant in each line is a nasal. Which means to pronounce this consonant you just need to follow the same position of that row (like guttural or palatal) and make a nasal sound.

Semi Vowels

Semi Vowels are those alphabets which are the resultant of a transition from one short vowel  to the vowel .
य र ल व are the semi vowels in Sanskrit alphabet system. Let us look at the origins of these semi vowels.
  •  is the transition from   to  and is a palatal semi vowel.
  •  is the transition from   to  and is a refroflex semi vowel.
  •  is the transition from   to  and is a dental semi vowel.
  •  is the transition from   to  and is a labial semi vowel

Hissing Sounds

There are three hissing sounds in Sanskrit alphabet. They are श ष स
  •  is a palatal hissing sound.
  •  is a retroflex  hissing sound.
  •  is a dental hissing sound.


 is an aspirant that is pronounced  by expelling air from the throat (like a guttural) along with the vowel.

Pronunciation of Sanskrit Alphabet – Swara (Vowels) and Vyanjana (Consonants)

The complete set of Sanskrit Vowels, Consonants, Semi Vowels, Hissing Sounds and Aspirate is as follows.
अ आ इ ई उ ऊ ऋ ॠ ऌ ए ऐ ओ औ
अं अः
क ख ग घ ङ
च छ ज झ ञ
ट ठ ड ढ ण
त थ द ध न
प फ ब भ म
य र ल व
श ष स
In this below video you can learn about the pronunciation of the various Sanskrit letters. From the next lesson onward we will start talking in Sanskrit, beginning by learning very simple Sanskrit lessons.

Summary of Lesson 3

In this lesson we learnt that
  • Sanskrit has no script of its own and is written today in many Indian scripts like Devanagari, Kannada, Telugu, etc.
  • Devanagari is the most widely used script to write Sanskrit.
  • Indian language alphabets have no case.
  • Unlike English, there is no concept of spelling in Indian languages.
  • Sanskrit alphabet is arranged first into vowels, and then into Consonants.
  • Anuswara and Visarga come at the end of the vowels.
  • The arrangement of vowels and consonants is classified based on how and where the letters are pronounced in the mouth.
  • All Indian languages inherit these major features of Sanskrit alphabet system of classification of vowels and consonants.
  • From the next lesson, we will start leaning simple Sanskrit sentences and start conversing in Sanskrit.
source- jai gurudev

Sanskrit science Lesson 2 – Dhatu, Magic Roots of Sanskrit

himalayas-17339_640So we saw in our first lesson how in Sanskrit we do not give names, but derivenames of objects and things. Giving a name is just assigning a name that we like to a place, person or thing. Many a times these names are random in English. Deriving a name on the other hand is using a name that tells something about the place, person or thing based on its attributes and properties. For instance the name of the place Ayodhya means the one which can never be conquered, derived from Yuddha meaning war. Rama means delighting, pleasant, beautiful and Chandra means MoonRamachandra hence means as pleasant, delighting and beautiful like Moon.

Identify Object just by Looking at its Name or Names

Since an object can have multiple properties or attributes, in Sanskrit same object can have multiple names each describing a property of that object. Similarly more than one object can have the same name if they share the same property or attribute. By looking at the name of an object in Sanskrit we can guess which object it is without having to memorize its name. In Sanskrit we understandnames not remember them. In case of attributes which are common among many objects, by mentioning a few more attribute names of that object, we can tell which object is exactly being referred to.
Take the case of the word School. If you already don’t know what a School is then you will have to look into the English dictionary for its meaning. On the other hand in Sanskrit, a term used for School is Vidyaalaya, where Vidya means knowledgeand aalaya means place. So just by looking at its name in Sanskrit you can say that School is a place where one earns knowledge, or where one learns.
Similarly Shauchaalaya is a place where one can fresh up, Shuchi means cleanor fresh. So Shauchalaya means Toilet.
Aushadhaalaya means a medical shop, because Aushadha is medicine, so the place where you get medicine is Aushadhaalaya. Hima means Snow, Himalayais the abode of Snow, the name used to refer to the famous Snow capped Mountain range, The Himalayas. Deva means heavenly, Devalaya is any divine place, like a Temple.
Take the name of the Indian state Meghalaya, in Sanskrit Megha is a term describing clouds. So Meghalaya means Land of Clouds. Meghalaya receives one of the highest amount of rainfall on this planet. Places in Meghalaya like Mausynram, Cheerapunji receive world’s highest rainfall. See how much of general knowledge is hidden in Sanskrit names!
Take the case of the word Bird. In Sanskrit a term used for birds is Khaga, and if you know Sanskrit Grammar, then you don’t need a Sanskrit Language dictionary to know what Khaga means. ga means to move or to go.
kha means sky. So Khaga is something that moves in the sky – can be used to describe not just birds, but also Sun, even for planes and helicopters! They all move in the sky.
Take the case of the word MrgaMr means kill. So Mriga means the one that moves to kill. All predator animals like Lion, Tiger, etc can be called Mrga. When a person is called Mrga in Sanskrit, it means that person is behaving like a wild animal with killer instincts, with an intention of harming. Mrgalaya is a name for zoo, a place of wild animals! Cow is not a Mrga, Lion is. Cow is a Pashu. Pashu means being  restrained to a specific perimeter. Cows and cattle are restrained by tying them up using ropes.
Tura means quickly. So Turaga means the one that moves quickly. In Sanskrit one of the names of Horse is Turaga. Similarly Ura means belly, uraga is something which moves on its bellyUraga is used to refer to Snakes, Serpents in Sanskrit. 
Dur means difficult, so Durga is something that is difficult to move into ordifficult to access. Durga hence is one of the names of Fort in Sanskrit.
In other words, Sanskrit names themselves are like General Knowledge, packed with facts. Just by looking at its names we can tell that a Lotus is pale red in color(Kamala), is born in water (Jalaja), is born in mud (Pankaja), and so on. If you cannot be sure what an object is by looking at its single attribute name, look for multiple attribute names of that object. One of the reasons why Sanskrit verses use multiple names while referring to the same object or person is so that the reader can be sure which specific object or person is being referred to. Also, as described in the previous lesson, context plays a very important role in understanding the true meaning of a Sanskrit sentence.

In Sanskrit you don’t need a traditional Dictionary if you know Sanskrit Grammar

As we saw earlier, in other languages, say for example in English you just call itLotus. Now if you don’t know what ‘Lotus’ means in English, then there is absolutely no information you can derive about which object this name represents without looking into an English dictionary. Even if you are an expert in English grammar, you cannot know what a name means because unlike in Sanskrit, names are independent of the grammar in English and other languages. They are simply categorized as nouns, and you have categories like proper nouns, common nouns – but nothing in the grammar which gives rules about how to derive a name. In other words, names in English are absolute, may or may not say anything about the object, and always refer to a given object.
There is no fixed rule as such in English grammar about how you name things. English names are absolute in the sense there is a one-to-one mapping between a name and an object, for instance a Violin is always that, the musical instrument it refers to. Lotus is always that, the flower it refers to. Sometimes you might have multiple objects in English with the same name. For instance, a Mouse might be either an animal, or a computer hardware device. But again, they are absolute names. On the other hand in Sanskrit, you can use the names to refer to anything that has the attribute being described by that name. For instance, as we saw earlier, Khaga can be used for anything that moves in the sky. You cannot do that in English because the names themselves do not describe any properties as such, they are not derived names, but given names.
So while in English you require a separate dictionary of names to look into the meaning of words, in Sanskrit all you need to know is Sanskrit grammar and in most cases can easily guess the object from its name. If the name in Sanskrit is referring to a more common attribute, then you need to look into the context of the sentence in Sanskrit, or there will be adjacent words hinting at additional attributes of that object with more names, and you can guess the object easily. For instance, if the sentence is about a flower, and says it is pale red and born in water, then it is referring to the pink lotus.
You cannot identify an object in English with its name if you do not know its meaning, even if you are an expert in English grammar. Because in English, grammar has nothing to do with names. But if you are an expert in Sanskrit grammar, you rarely need a Sanskrit dictionary. In fact, a Sanskrit dictionary similar to an English dictionary is not possible in the first place because objects do not have names in Sanskrit, only attributes do. So even if  you write a Sanskrit dictionary, Jalaja should not mean Lotus there, but it should only say,
Jalaja = born in water. For example, Lotus.
And if you know Sanskrit grammar, you will know that Jala is water, Ja is “to be born”. So what is the use of a Sanskrit dictionary then?
Wait, wait. But don’t we need a dictionary to at least say
Jala = Water
Ja = to be born
and so on.
Well as I said earlier, Jala is one of the names of water. Jala in itself is the attribute of having a cool touch, which is a property of water. So we can use Jala while referring to water. Thus your dictionary will actually be
Jala = having a cool touch. For example, Water.
Ja = to be born
and so on.
But you don’t need a separate dictionary like this in Sanskrit, if you are an expert in Sanskrit grammar! Why? I will explain, but before that…

Difficulty in Computational Parsing of English and Ease of Representing Structured Information in Sanskrit

English is an unnecessarily complicated language in terms of its grammar, which adds absolutely no value to the intention of conveying the information that it intends to, makes sentences ambiguous, and this is one of the primary reasons why it is extremely difficult for knowledge representation in Computers using English. If Sanskrit were the language of Choice in computation, then you could have directly written compilers to parse Sanskrit, instead of having to invent new programming languages like C or Java. What I mean is, suppose English were well structured like Sanskrit, then you could have written a compiler which directly compiles English sentences into programs, instead of having to invent new syntax for programming languages! The very fact that you have to invent new structured representation for  programming languages means that English Grammar is not well structured, is ambiguous and difficult to interpret by computational logic.
If you write a compiler based on Sanskrit grammar, you can have it compile a Sanskrit sentence directly! You cannot do that in English. For example, if you had to write a for loop in Sanskrit like how you write in programming languages, you could simply write a Sanskrit sentence which unambiguously says that what computation should be repeated how many times or till what condition is met. You can’t do that in English!
The same holds true for querying stored information. In Sanskrit you wouldn’t need to invent a separate structured database querying syntax like SQL, the Structured Query Language, Sanskrit is already a Structured language and Sanskrit sentences querying information are structured naturally, because the language itself is structured extremely well. If Sanskrit were used then there would be no need for SQL, and database engines like Oracle, MySQL, etc would be just parsing Sanskrit queries, not SQL.
You need SQL today because English is the predominant language in the world which invented computers and computing, and English cannot be used to represent structured queries like SQL because English sentences themselves are not structured well, and are ambiguous. If all those software pundits who invented various computational technology knew Sanskrit, then it would be an all Sanskrit digital world on which Computers would be running today.
In fact, the world’s oldest binary system of representing knowledge using just two symbols is found in the ancient Sanskrit work ChandahShastra by Pingala where enumeration of meters is done using short and long syllables.
Many are not aware that Sanskrit is already being used in the very foundationof modern Computer programming languages.
If you don’t know what BNF notation (Backus-Naur Form) is, it is a notation for writing context free grammars and all modern computer programming languages make use of these notations. This idea of writing context free grammar is based on the works of the ancient Indian grammarian Panini who used them to describe the structure of Sanskrit words. In fact there are suggestions to rename Backus-Naur Form  as Panini–Backus Form.

Parts of Speech – English and Sanskrit

If you know English grammar, you must be also aware of the Parts of Speech in English. In the traditional English Grammar you have eight parts of Speech – Noun, Verb, Pronoun, Adjective, Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction, Interjection. Then you have this broad classification of words into Open word classes and Closed word classes, where open word classes include the ones like Nouns, Adjectives etc to which new words can be continuously added as the language evolves. Then you have closed word classes like pronouns, conjunctions etc which are a fixed set of predefined words in English.
Now as we know Noun is the name of a person, place or thing. But there is no grammatical rule in English about how to name a person, place or thing. Similarly there are no rules about how names of verbs are derived and so on. In short, in English there is no fixed rule about how you can name a word – be it a noun, verb etc.
So you have two issues here. The first is, you will need a separate English dictionary independent of English grammar, to understand the meaning of different words in English. Grammar and names are totally disconnected in English and are independent of each other. The second natural consequence of this is, the names may or may not give you any information of the object it represents. For instance, while the word Thermometer can imply that it is a device which measures temperature, the word Scissor on the hand implies nothing about what it is! On the other hand in Sanskrit, a term used to denote Scissor is Kartari, where inKart means to Cut. So, the term Kartari also tells us what exactly it does, unlike in English.
But we are back to our original question of, how do we know in Sanskrit that Kartmeans cut, Ja means born, etc?
The answer is that unlike English grammar whose basic building blocks are eight (sometimes even more like determiners, preverbs, clitics etc ) Parts of Speech, the basic building blocks of Sanskrit grammar are just a group of root wordscalled Dhatu.

Dhatu – The magical building block of Sanskrit Grammar

You do not start learning Sanskrit Grammar by learning different parts of Speech, but instead there is an even more fundamental building block called Dhatu. Dhatu is a fixed set of words in Sanskrit Grammar representing ideas – any idea like an action, a property, etc. In English they call it Verb Roots, but more specifically these represent ideas like to beto goto do, etc. There are 2012 Dhatus in all in Sanskrit, and this is a fixed set. Everything else in Sanskrit Language is built on top of these 2012 Dhatus. If you know the meanings of these Dhatus, you can derive the  meaning of ANY Sanskrit word! That is because all Sanskrit words are built on top of these Dhatus. Each word is derived from one or more Dhatus using the rules of Sanskrit grammar. So Sanskrit never needs any loan words, because the very process of word creation is inbuilt in Sanskrit grammar. Unlike English where Dictionary and Grammar are independent of each other, Sanskrit starts with a dictionary of Dhatus and Sanskrit grammar is just the rule of creating words and forming sentences using words derived from these Dhatus!
You should by now have understood what I meant when I said you don’t need a Sanskrit dictionary if you are an expert in Sanskrit Grammar. If you know Sanskrit Grammar, then you also know the Dhatus which are the basic building blocks of Sanskrit, and if you know them you also know the meaning of every word, because all Dhatus have meanings and all words in Sanskrit are derived from these Dhatus. So you will never need a separate dictionary to find meanings of names, because names themselves are meanings in Sanskrit.
If you are from a computer programming background, then Dhatu words are like base classes, and all other words in Sanskrit are like derived classes. They represent various attributes, and when you apply these attributes to specific objects, they become like instances of those classes. For instance, Mr andGa are base classes from which the class Mriga is derived, which means anything that moves to kill. Now when you apply this attribute to a specific object like say a Lion, it becomes an instance of this derived class Mrigam. More on this instance creation later. For now just remember that Dhatu is a abstract base class, vyaya is a derived class and avyaya are instances of derived classes.Dhatu is abstract because you don’t create instances of abstract classes, you derive Vyaya words from Dhatu, and then create instances of those Vyaya words i.e Avyaya words. There will be a separate detailed lesson on this later. So don’t worry much if you don’t understand this yet.

Samskrit – A Language thoroughly refined

Sanskrit has remained a language unchanged, never evolved but was perfectly designed in the very beginning with everything in place. No new grammar rules were added to Sanskrit at any point of time later. All new words created in Sanskrit can be traced back to a combination of these 2012 dhatus and related grammar rules, and also retaining the original idea of those dhatus. So you don’t need ever expanding dictionaries in Sanskrit as new words are created, because they can easily be split into their root dhatus to extract the meanings of these new words.
In Sanskrit the set of Dhatus remains fixed, and all new words are derived from these Dhatus. But English dictionary because of it being independent from its grammar, is ever expanding, started with around 3000 words, and today has nearly 300,000 words! For most of these words you need to have a dictionary of English to find its meaning, where as in Sanskrit you can create millions of words and still there wouldn’t be need for a dictionary! Just split the words into its Dhatus and you will get the meaning!
This is also the reason why even the best experts in modern English find it next to impossible to read and understand old English, or for that matter those who know modern Kannada (Hosagannada) cannot understand Old Kannada (Halegannada), same in other languages as well. But in Sanskrit, there is  nothing like modern, old etc because there has been no evolution of Sanskrit in the first place. The creative style of writing might have differed in different Sanskrit, texts, but the language remains the same, the grammar rules remain the same.  Sanskrit that was spoken thousands of years ago remained the same throughout because of its perfect structure. The dhatu meaning of the word Samskrit itself isthe one that has been thoroughly refined. It was already perfected in the very beginning of its creation.
The entire process of learning Sanskrit is learning Dhatus and the rules of playing around with these Dhatus creating extremely beautiful and innovative combination of words and sentences. There is no unnecessary complication unlike English. We will have a very brief look at some Dhatus now, and as we move forward in future lessons, make ourselves more comfortable with more Dhatus and the rules of using Dhatu to form words and use them in sentences. As I said in the beginning of this series in the first lesson, this Sanskrit learning series will be more like practical classes, than plain boring theory classes.
We now know that Dhatu is a basic building block of Sanskrit words. All other names in Sanskrit are derived from these fixed set of Dhatus. When we said earlier that Khaga denoted a bird, implying the one that moves in the sky, we saw that this meaning came from splitting the word in kha and ga where khameant sky and ga (from the dhatu gam) meant to move. So by now it should be clear that in Sanskrit to understand the meaning of a word, all we need to do is split it into its root Dhatus and using the meaning of the ideas behind that dhatu we can understand the meaning of the word. So simple and beautiful, isn’t it?
This processing of splitting a word into its dhatu format is called Dhatu Roopa. Remember this term, as we will be using it quite often. Dhatu Rupa means theDhatu Form. By Dhatu Roopa we mean finding out the root Dhatus of the word, doing the reverse process of word creation using Dhatus to find word meanings.
Let us start with the very word Dhatu, because even this is a Sanskrit word and hence should be derived from some Dhatu word :) This word is derived from the Dhatu called Dha in Sanskrit. Dha means foundationrootbasic building block. How is the word Dhatu derived from Dha? More on this in future lessons. For now, just remember that Dhatu is derived from the Dhatu word Dha. Since, the meaning of this is root or foundation, all the root words of Sanskrit which form the building block of Sanskrit language are called Dhatu. Moreover, as we saw earlier, since these are names of the properties, and since the property name Dhatu represents root, foundation, basic building block, it can be used to represent any such object.
So in Chemistry for instance Dhatu represents Chemical Elements, Metals etc which are the basic building blocks there. In Ayurveda, Dhatu represents the basic building blocks of our body like for instance Asti Dhatu represents the building blocks of bones, as Asti represents Bone in Sanskrit. Rakta Dhatu represents the building blocks in blood, where Rakta represents Red Color and henceBlood in Sanskrit.
Kr is a Dhatu which means to doKarman is a derived word of this Dhatu meaning deedKriya is derived from this dhatu and means action. The wordPrakriya is derived from this dhatu and means process. Then the word Sakriya is derived from this Dhatu and means being active. And so on. In fact there is a huge number of combinations possible from each dhatu, and we will learn about the actual process of creating words, combination of words, sentences, meanings and so on in the future lessons of Sanskrit grammar.

Summary of Lesson 2

Today we learnt that
  • In Sanskrit, attributes and properties have names, and all the names in Sanskrit are derived from a fixed set of 2012 root words called Dhatu.
  • Dhatu, not the Parts of Speech, forms the basic building block of Sanskrit, unlike in languages like English.
  • The process of deriving names is in built in Sanskrit Grammar, because of which Sanskrit never requires any loan words from other languages. If there is a new invention, a new object or a new information discovered, Sanskrit grammar can be used to easily create one or more new words to represent it. We saw an example of representing download and upload in our First Sanskrit Lesson.
  • Since the Dhatus have meanings attributed to them, and since there is a predefined process of deriving names in Sanskrit, all names in Sanskrit have meaning inherent in the name itself unlike in other languages like English. For example in English the word English itself means nothing without a dictionary, or the word Verb itself means nothing without  a dictionary. However in Sanskrit, the very word Samskrit means the one that is thoroughly refinedDhatu means basic building block and so on. In other words, all Sanskrit names state facts – describe the nature and attributes of the thing they represent.
  • Since Sanskrit is an extremely well structured language with no ambiguity in its grammar , Sanskrit Sentences can easily be used in computational language unlike other natural languages like English whose sentences are extremely ambiguous and whose grammar is extremely complex making it difficult to write compilers which can understand English sentences. For instance, if Sanskrit was used as a language for database queries, you wouldn’t have needed SQL, because queries in Sanskrit are as structured as SQL.
  • Dhatu words have meanings over a vast range covering all possible basic meanings representing all human knowledge and actions. Words are derived from Dhatus using one or more Dhatus and a set of grammar rules to represent compound properties and attributes like we saw for “moving in sky”, “born in water” and so on. These attributes are then used to represent objects which have the properties matching these attributes, as we saw for Birds, Lotus, etc.
  • So Sanskrit language words are an encyclopedia in itself, with each namedescribing  one or more properties of what it represents.
  • More in next lesson. Questions, corrections, criticism is welcome. Please do not forget to share this lesson. Knowledge grows by sharing 
  • SOURCE-Jai gurudev