Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Influence of Sanskrit on World Civilizations

प्रगतिके लिय े सं स्कृ त भाषा का ज्ञान जरूरिहै ।
Learning Sanskrit is important for future growth.
भविष्यनिर्माणार्थं सं स्कृ ताभ्यासम ् अत्यावश्यकम् ।

The Influence of Sanskrit on World Civilizations
Ravi Kumar

Every great man in Bharat, Chaitanya, Sant Gnaneswar, Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Ramana have used Gita as a guide to tackle their problems in life. Freedom fighters like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Lokamanya Tilak, Gandhi, Vinoba and Aurobindo used Gita and Upanishads as the text book of national renaissance in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Sanskrit Arrives on the Global Stage
Sanskrit has captured the imagination of the world.
Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam visited Greece in April 2007. It was a pleasant surprise for him when his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias greeted him in Sanskrit at the banquet ceremony hosted in honour of the visiting dignitary. "Rashtrapatm Mahabhaga, Sur Swagatam Yavana dishe (President, welcome to you)", thus began the Greek President his speech at the banquet hosted at the Presidential palace, much to the delight of the Indian delegation. Papoulias had studied Sanskrit in Germany and the reason to study the Indian classical language was to understand India better. "I wanted to welcome you in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language that is related to ancient Greek, and which I had the opportunity to learn and love during my time as a student in Germany," the Greek President said.

Indians have reasons to feel proud when its ancient tradition of starting an event with chanting of Vedic hymns in Sanskrit was adopted at the kick-start of Commonwealth Games 2010 on 30 October 2009, in presence of Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain and President Pratibha Patil of India at London in a spectacular ceremony. Chanting of Vedic hymns by British children in chorus for several minutes in fluent Sanskrit, that too without reading any script was indeed worth-appreciating.
Indian priest Rajan Zed opened the US Senate on July 12, 2007 with a Sanskrit prayer arranged by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Hindu priests offered prayers at the legislative sessions in the Maryland, Iowa, New Jesey, Nevada and California House and Senates in USA. In October 2009 US President Barak Hussein Obama lit Diwali-lamp at White House amidst chanting of Vedic hymns seeking world peace.
Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh Saha Sanyojaks Dr Yashwant Pathak and Ravi Kumar have addressed several leading universities of the world including Stanford Berkley, University of New South Wales and the Royal Society of New Zealand on Vedic Mathematics and Ayurveda.

World leaders Quote Sanskrit Texts
On 6th Sept, 2003, President of the Republic of South Africa Thabo Mbeki, addressing the Durban university students, said, “Through our actions together, all the people of South Africa will be able to live up to the wise words from the Rig Veda ‘Sangachhdwam, Samvadadwam, ….’:
Come together, talk together, Let our minds be in harmony.
Common be our prayer, Common be our end,
Common be our purpose, Common be our deliberations,
Common be our desires, United be our hearts,
United be our intentions, Perfect be the union among us. (10 - 191:2)

Before China’s Premier Wen Jiabao left for India in April, 2005, China’s state-controlled media, such as the People’s Daily, had highlighted his terming of the impending visit to India “historic” and emphasised Wen’s recitation of a Sanskrit shloka from the Upanishads “Aum Sahana Vavatu …” to call for closer ties.
When Western countries are realizing the importance of Vedic hymns in Sanskrit, it is time that Indian government may set up a separate ministry for development and research of Sanskrit to explore the hidden treasure of literature and medical science in the ancient language. (Taken from Madhu Agarwal's article in the internet).

Sanskrit is the mother of Indo-European languages
The ancient wisdom is expressed in Sanskrit, one of the oldest languages of the world and mother to most languages in India and the world. Languages in South East Asian countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia and also many languages in Europe (Greek, Latin, Scandinavian and Slavic languages, German and French), Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have been influenced and enriched by Sanskrit. According to Will Durant (1885-1981), American historian, whose works on philosophy and world history have been read by millions of people, “Sanskrit is the mother of Indo-European languages”.

Besides Asia, Sanskrit and Sanskruti (culture) influenced Europe’s modernity, and Sanskrit Studies became a large-scale formal activity in most European universities since 1790. These influences shaped many intellectual disciplines that are (falsely) classified in modern times as “Western”. Even today Sanskrit and Vedas are taught in more universities of USA and Europe than in Bharat.

Bhagwad Gita was first translated into English in 1785 by Charles Wilkins. Abbe Peraud in 1787 translated English Gita into French language. With in a decade Gita was available in major European languages and Sanskrit centers opened in many European cities. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) writing on the impact the Vedanta will in due course have on the west said, " ... the access to which opened to us through the Upanishads, is in my eyes the greatest advantage which this still young century enjoys over the previous ones...."; "... I believe that the influence of the sanskrit literature will penetrate not less deeply than did the revival of Greek literature in the fifteenth century...."

Many poets and scholars of Europe in early 19th century like Sir William Jones, William Wordsworth, P.B.Shelly, William Blake, Coleridge, Sir Edwin Arnold, Annie Besant, Sister Nivedita, John Keats, Francois Voltaire, Roger Pol Droit, John Goethe, Max Muller, Georg Wilhelm Fredrich Hegel, Herman Hess, Hans Torwesten, Leo Tolstoy were also inspired by Bhagwad Gita and Upanishads to produce their master pieces. Sir William Jones (1746-1794) considered the father of Asian studies in Britain writes of Sanskrit as “The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.”

American seminal thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Henry Longfellow, Oliver Holmes, James Lowell were also influenced by Gita and Upanishads in the early 19th century. Sarah Fuller a women’s liberation activist was editor of Transcendentalist Movement’s magazine devoted to the spread of Gita’s eternal philosophy. Ella Wilcox, Henry Ford, Alan Ford, Rockefeller admit that Gita has changed their lives and they found immense peace of mind and fulfillment in life due to Gita.

Sanskrit and Modern Scientists
Many scientists and Nobel Laureates like Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Neil Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, Dr Fritjof Capra and Robert Openheimer, used Gita and Upanishads to explain the properties of sub-atomic particles. German Physicist W.HEISENBERG (1901-1976), a 1932 Nobel laureate who worked on sub-atomic particles widely acknowledged as one of the seminal thinkers of the 20th century, has this to say on Hinduism. “After the conversations about Indian Philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics, that had seemed so crazy, suddenly made much more sense.”
While Bible believes the universe was created at 9.00am on 25th October 4004 BC, while the Incas and Babylonians thought millions of years as the age of earth, only Vedic seers talked of KALPA which is in billions of years. Today modern science believes that the earth is 4.54 billion years old and the universe is 13.75 billion years old. Hence American Astro-Physicist, Cosmologist and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996) stated, "Vedic Cosmology is the only one in which the time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology."
French astronomer Jean-Claude Bailly corroborated the antiquity and accuracy of the Vedic astronomical measurements as "more ancient than those of the Greeks or Egyptians." And that, "the movements of the stars calculated 4,500 years ago, does not differ by a minute from the tables of today."
The ninety foot tall astronomical instrument known as Samrat Yantra, built by the learned King Suwai Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1727 AD, measures time to within two seconds per day.
Cosmology, mathematics and scientific accomplishments of ancient India spread to Arabia, Persia and other countries along with mercantile and cultural exchanges. There are almost one hundred references in the Rig Veda alone to the ocean and maritime activity. This is confirmed by Indian historian R. C. Majumdar, who stated that the people of the Indus-Sarasvata Civilization engaged in trade with Sooma and centers of culture in western Asia and Crete.

Sanskrit and Philosophy
Western savants looked towards the east for spiritual solace. They picked up Advaita Vedanta as taught in the Upanishads and Bhagwad Gita as their spiritual guide. In the field of spiritual thoughts Sanskrit is the only billionaire in the world. Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita, Yoga Vasishta, the works of Yogi Patanjali and Adi Shankara contain unique and irreplaceable knowledge that this materialistic world desperately needs to find lasting peace. Joseph Campbell (1904-1987), American writer, editor, and teacher, known for his writings on myths, pronounces, “Sanskrit is the great spiritual language of the world.”
Mohammed Dara Shikou, elder brother of Aurangazeb translated Gita and Upanishads into Persian. It may also be noted that the translation of another Sanskrit text Panchatantra in the 8th century “is considered the first masterpiece of Arabic literary prose." Ibn al-Muqaffa translated the Panchatantra from Middle Persian as Kalīla wa Dimna.

Richness of Sanskrit
Sanskrit has the power of expressing all types of thought in appropriate terminology: In the words of the eminent lawyer Nani Palkhiwala “The richness of Sanskrit is almost beyond belief. Many centuries ago our language contained words to describe states of the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious mind and a variety of other concepts which have been evolved by modern psychology, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy”. Further it has many a word, of which there is no exact synonym even in the richest modern languages e.g. Shraddha, Satva, Rajas, Tamas, Punya etc. That is why some of the most enlightened modern writers have been driven occasionally to use Sanskrit words when writing in English. Consider for example the following words by J.Robert Oppenheimer (American nuclear scientist who developed the first atomic bombs) in Einstein: A Centenary Volume: “Einstein is also and I think rightly, known as a man of very great goodwill and humanity. Indeed if I had to think of a single word for his attitude towards human problems, I would pick the Sanskrit word Ahimsa, not to hurt, harmlessness.”

Here are a few examples to show the richness of the language and the sages who patronized Sanskrit. Sanskrit has an amazing wealth of words and synonyms. It has 65 original words for earth and 70 original words for water. Tatitreeya Samhita mentions various powers of ten namely ekam, dasam, shatam, sahasram up to Tallaakshanam which is 10 to the power of 53 (1053). In today’s mathematics the highest prefix used for raising 10 to a power is D which is 10 to the power of 30 (1030).

Sanskrit and Modern Management
Today’sl Leading schools of management such as Harvard Business School, `````Northwestern's Kellogg School of Business, and the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, Bhagwad Gita is taught and about 10% professors there are of Indian descent -- a far higher percentage than other ethnic groups. Prof. Dr. CK Prahlad, Prof. Sumant Ghoshal, Dipak C. Jain, Ram Charan, Vijay Govindarajan, Rakesh Khurana, Mohanbir S. Sawhney, Deepak Chopra, Robin Sharma have literally invaded the world of Management in the west.

These days, concepts such as "emotional intelligence, servant leadership, Karma Capitalism or Inclusive capitalism or stake-holder capitalism" are in vogue. Where once corporate philanthropy was an obligation, these days it is more popularly viewed as a competitive advantage for attracting and retaining top talent. Where the rallying cry in the 1980s and '90s may have been "greed is good," today it's becoming "green is good."

Sanskrit and the Common Man
In 25 years, an estimated 7 million people have attended spoken Sanskrit classes offered by Samskrita Bharati in India and abroad, says Shastry. There are 250 full-time volunteers and 5,000 part-time teachers in the United States and India, and their numbers are growing.
Science-history buffs see old works in Sanskrit as treasure troves of ancient knowledge of astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, and metallurgy. When Copernicus announced that the sun was the center of the universe in 1543, it was a defining moment for Western science. In Samskrita Bharati's recently released "Pride of India" a compilation that offers a glimpse into India's scientific heritage Sanskrit scholars point to calculations from AD 499 that indicate astronomer Aryabhatta's underlying concept of a sun-centered planetary model. "This knowledge tradition is what we hope to revive through the spread of Sanskrit," says Shastry.

BRITAIN backed by $19.5 million (Rs 100 Crores) in aid will start a State Funded Hindu school. Krishna-Avanti primary school would be based in the northwest London suburb of Harrow, with space for 240 children. Pupils will study the national curriculum but there will be a strong emphasis on Sanskrit, Vedic Mathematics, Bhagwad Gita, Hindu ethos and worship.

Sanskrit, Yoga, Gita, Ayurveda and Bharata Natyam are some of the ancient wisdom of Bharat that are in great demand in these days of Knowledge based societies.

Sanskrit Bhajans and Kirtans are also getting popular in the western world. Yogasan is already a few billion dollar business in USA alone. Yogathon is fast replacing marathon. What the world has seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg called Sanskrit. Time is not far off when more and more fascinating truths from Sanskrit will dazzle the world. Truly Sanskrit will be come not the language of just computers but that of the world. Not without reason did our ancestors addressed it DEVANAGIRI, language of the Gods.

Ravi Kumar, B.Sc. DMIT
Ravi Kumar is an engineer from Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai.
He served in M/S. Tatas and Larsen and Toubro for 5 years as Project Engineer before leaving his career to serve the Tribal people of Maharashtra. For serving the society Ravi Kumar has remained single.
He was transferred to Hong Kong in 1982, Bangkok in 1989 and Sydney in 1996. Since then he has been travelling to some 37 countries around the world where Indians are living in large numbers to motivate them to serve the community at large. He has conducted over 300 workshops on Vedic Mathematics to children, students, youth, parents, professors and Research scholars. He has also conducted workshops in over 35 universities in 20 countries. He has authored three books namely, Glimpses of Hindu Genius, Ramayan Around The World – a Living Legend and Vedic Mathematics.

1 comment:

Trove Trace 09 said...

Great work buddy ! :)
Thumbs up. Sad to see this is the first comment.

I hope Indian government realizes the value of this ancient language soon and takes apt measures.