Wednesday 3 December 2008

Sanskrit books - Kautilya, Arthashastra and more

The last few days have made me so so raging mad that I really really need something calm for my mind.

I was readin this LiveMint.com blog written by Niranjan Rajyadhyaksha where in he mentioned about Shree RP Kangle, renowned Sanskrit scholar. Click here to read an detailed introduction to Prof. Kangle, who amongst others, translated and wrote commentories on number of Sanskrit texts including Artha Shashtra by Kautilya.

Now, I have an interest in Sanskrit. I am re reading my primary school Sanskrit books and generally working on improving my understanding of the language. Partly it is because I have started liking the language.

Mainly it is because this is what I want to do after I semi retire from work in another 9 months or so.

I have a slight advantage here. Until my grandfather's generation, my family profession was priesthood and vaidyaiki (being a vaidya). I remember as a child, my grandfather teaching me Sanskrit roots.

And every summer vacations, my father would make my brother and I learn a number of hymns. In their world view, they were working on making us Brahmins and on making sure, the heritage does not get lost.

The unintended benefit was that I developed a felicity with Sanskrit roots.

Once you get that, with exception of Tamil maybe, it is not very difficult to get a hang of any Indian language. And I can see how the languages picked up other words - mostly from Persian / Arabic but also other languages - corresponding to periods when Islamic rulers reached those regions.

There have been in recent past (up to 20 years ago) people like Shree Umakant Keshav Apte, who have documented Sanskrit newsletters, compiled libraries of Sanskrit books and like (Baba Saheb Apte had read more than 1500 Sanskrit books) inspite of having the onerous responsibility of being Sangh's first pracharak.

There is a Sanskrit newspaper brought out since 1970 from Mysore (and now they have moved online) called Sudharma. You can donate to keep it alive
.

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