Sanskrit- The Language and Learning

Sanskrit- The Language and Learning

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Book Specification

Item Code: UAI174
Author: Trilochan Misra
Publisher: Eastern Book Linkers
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9788178542843
Pages: 444
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 650 gm

Book Description

THE study of Sanskrit involves that of its three integrated components, the three L's, as I would put them, namely Language, Learning and Literature. The first Language, i.e. the Language, that acts as the vehicle-cum-embodiment of the other two, comes to be studied initially under four disciplines in Vedanga-e, viz. siksas (phonetics), vyakarana (grammar), nirukia (etymology) and chandas (prosody), the studies reaching fullness in the post-Vedic period by the time of Panini. The second component, the Learning dealing with the thought contents comprises eighteen vidyas (branches of knowledge) - the four Veda-s, six Vedayagas, two basic philosophies - Mimamsa and Nyaya, four upaveda-s, i.e. Ayurveda (science of medicine), Dhanurveda (archery), Candharva (musicology) and Arthasastra (economics-cum- polity) and Dharmasastra and Purana-s. To these are added Vaisesika, Samkhya and Yoga as related philosophies, Itihasa as a companion study of Purana-s, Agama-s or Tantra as scripture alternative to Nigamas (Veda-s) and the study of art forms as well as that of the poetic art known as Alamkarasdsira. The last named component, Literature constitutes the presentational aspect of the integrated form of the first two marked by its artistic appeal. This component, a unified discipline of words and thought (Sahitya) consists of formal or generic sub-divisions like samhita (anthology), mahakavya (epic), kavya (poem), naiaka (drama), kaiha (stories), etc. As creative writing literature flourishes in all ages while sastras are standard works of the past.

Whereas individual disciplines are expounded in independent treatises, a generalized account of the contents of all the three components in their historical order is provided in the histories of literature. Useful as these works are, their scope, however, as literary history confines them to certain limitations. For instance, as to the history of Sanskrit language they base their study on whatever is contained in Vedanga in this regard, but remain reticent in respect of its historical evolution, discovery of relationship to Indo-European language family, position as mother of the Indian bhasa-or role in inducing the growth of language science. As regards the disciplines under Learning there are limitations too, of a different kind though. Literature being their main scope of study, they do not give equal importance to the treatment of individual disciplines. My aim in this book is, therefore, to present in a single volume a comprehensive picture of the Sanskrit language with its relevance as it obtains today and a balanced account of the subjects of learning including all disciplines that come under it. I have taken up the first two components only and left out the third for on this component there exist useful volumes galore. The title of the book is chosen accordingly. The text is in two parts '- the Language part dealt with in the first seven chapters and the Learning part in the remaining ones.

The Chapter 'Introductory' gives an account of language in general defining the characteristic features and outlining its dispersal through eighteen major language families over four specified linguistic regions of the world. Mention has been made of the commonly advanced theories regarding the origin and growth of language, though these are ruled out in linguistics in view of their uncertainty. To be scientific I have included an analysis of the psycho-physical process of speech production. I have also cited the Vedic concept in this regard and, discussed Sri Aurobindo's view of speech formation on the basis of sound values (sabda-gal.-s) imbued with the power of inducing specific psychic impressions, a view that appears scientific and plausible.

THE sacred texts like the Vedas and the Bible in their accounts of origin of the universe speak of the primeval meaningful utterance (speech/word) as identical and coexistent with the Ultimate Reality, i.e. Brahman/God. Apparently metaphysical, the concept is significant insofar as it highlights the primacy of speech in the cultural evolution of mankind. More generally, speech is the harbinger of human civilization.

Man (Homo sapiens) is the only surviving species of the sale family hominidae. His predecessors Homo habilis, Homo erecius, Homo Neanderthal or the Neanderthal type - all who became extinct long ago had been nude wanderers managing with gestures and cries. He, too, like them trod the earth for sometime virtually naked, but unlike them was never dumb. He made use of sound forms with reference to things or events and thus started the origin of speech. It is this ability for verbal communication that distinguished humans from all other animals and helped them build the human society. The prime medium of exchange in social living is speech or words. It is an indispensable medium of social relationship. In fact, there can be a society even without money, but none without words.

Incidentally, the only speaking animal (Homo loquats) is man and the system of his speech is language. Again, the tools or components of language are symbols, and man is the only animal capable of using symbols, i.e. words, pictures, graphs, numbers, etc. Language is the richest and rarest possession of mankind. Vast and variable in use, its role in human behavior is inestimable. All that we feel, will, think, know or imagine. as well as our moods and desires are expressed in language. Not only is it a complete medium of self-expression, but happens to be a perfect vehicle of knowledge and information. If knowledge, as Bacon puts it, is power, language is the vector of that power. Without language religion, culture, government, administration, literature, philosophy, sciences and such other higher institutions and activities of life and society are simply inconceivable.

Features of Language

Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which the members of a social group or society express themselves, communicate with one another and carry on their social activities. Explicitly stated : Language is (a) a system of sound symbols or words of arbitrary origin signifying objects, actions and ideas; (b) a medium of communication through speech and writing among the co- users, and (c) a social activity of people in a shared culture.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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