Anything of value needs to from time to time, be uncovered, used and protected as and when the need occurs. Sanskrit is one such civilizational treasure which today stands at a unique crossroads not unknown in our puranic history.
Many today believe that Sanskrit should be our national language. Like anything of value, Sanskrit’s mass production as a national language comes with equal advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are those to the nation, while the disadvantages are quite ironically to the language itself. We need to weigh both impartially while discussing this language’s potential as a national language.
A few advantages are –
1.) Sanskrit as a spoken language exercises the brain. Take an otherwise mundane English statement –
You know what…I got go to work on a Saturday this month! This is getting on my nerves man! I mean I do have a life other than my work place don’t I?’
In plainly stated Sanskrit –
‘जानासि किं…मासे अस्मिन् एकस्मिन् शनिवासरेअपि कार्यालयं मे गन्तव्यं! न शक्नोमीदं सहितुं | कार्यालयात् मे अन्यं अस्ति जीवनं |’
Now if I want to make it nice and dramatic –
जानासि किं ? मासे अस्मिन् एकस्मिन् शनिवासरेअपि गन्तव्यं मे कार्यालयं ! अशक्तो मे भविष्यति सहनमिदं कर्तुं ! अन्यं मे कार्यालयात्, जीवनंच मे न स्यात्?
If I want to reduce the number of words I am using –
जानासि किं ? मासे-अस्मिन्नेकस्मिन् शनिवासरेअपिगन्तव्यंमे कार्यालयं | अशक्तंमे सहनमिदम् | कार्यलयात् मे नास्त्यन्यंजीवनं ?
The sheer exercise I had to give my brain to come up with three of these options of which the third is rather dramatic (and needlessly so) gives us a glimpse of how much brain activity just went into a mundane sentence.
2.) India as a civilization could potentially blossom for the sheer amount of Sanskrit literature, Hindu religious works and the ability to preserve and memorize these would become a routine thing. We’d be quoting Krishna and Rama every day in the place of people like Nietzsche, Bernard Shaw and other assorted foreigners who don’t need a place in our collective conscience. This in turn would make India the only (potentially) culturally Dharmic nation on Earth – which we are not even today despite being a Hindu majority.
3.) Science, law, society and administration are best understood in the Dharmic context. When we have the Mahabharata, we don’t need any work of law, society or administration to follow. When we have the Ramayana, we don’t need any other work on morals or legal ethics. The Constitution will be based on the Neetishastra and Bhagavad Gita. And when these collective ethics and consciences of the Dharmic scriptures guide our pursuit of science, we see how science can be put to better and more civilizationally fruitful uses. Moreover, inculcation of Sanskrit literature in the collective conscience of a Hindu nation will make the nation look up to positive role models such as Krishna, Shiva, Parashurama, etc.
a.) There won’t be any deviation of morals. Pop-mythologists, communists, western feminists and liberals have no place in a society that follows the likes of Sita, Dasharatha and Hanuman. Such a society will naturally repel and automatically reject divisive anti-Hindu Mleccha forces no matter what colour and form the latter come in.
b.) Entertainment will become Dharmic. A demand for Sanskrit entertainment will revive the age old Sanskrit theatre long dead since the post-Gupta era.
While the above are but a few examples of what may happen, what we need to realize is that we become a better people. When Hanuman and Rama, or Krishna and Arjuna become names we use daily inside and outside our houses – we at a very subconscious level start valuing true friendships much better. When names like Sita, Vishwamithra and Jamadagni become everyday utterances, we subconsciously emulate values of abstinence from evil, simplicity, discipline and a Dharmic perseverance to achieve these. While many of us believe that Sanskrit for these reasons should have become a national language, let us see the flip side to all this.
What if a Christian missionary learns Sanskrit in a school and starts using it to twist and subvert actual Hindu scripture? As such, a good many missionaries in Tamil Nadu and Kerala are already going about preaching that Krishna and Shiva were Jesus and that Jesus created Yoga. What would happen if they had a free pass to learn Sanskrit as a mass-produced language?
Sanskrit at one time was indeed a national cultural language. Pray what happened to it? It diluted into today’s regional tongues.
Whether one likes it or not, today’s Indian languages can come nowhere close to Sanskrit’s sheen and elevated stature and are all in fact great in themselves purely because of a Sanskrit based Dharmic Hindu backbone from which they were all born. Making it a national language will to a great extent bring about the following phenomena –
1.) Bad words and slangs will develop in Sanskrit – a natural problem of Kaliyuga considering how prone we are to cursing, swearing and hateful speech. Sanskrit’s beauty lies in the satvic origins of its creators. If it weren’t for their disciplined of tongue, it would be a dirty slur of a vernacular speech today not very different from any other language on Earth.
After all, even today, if someone tells us that they know a foreign language, we never ask them ‘So how does one praise the Great Vishnu in your language?’ We always tend to ask something like – ‘So how does one say ‘your mother’s a *****’ ?‘
2.) Pop-mythologists and western cultural marauders will use it to create parallel scripture and if the average Hindu is not scripturally well-versed enough, he/she will fall for it
3.) Not all Hindus can be scriptural experts. Therefore, how will you tell the difference between a fake Sanskrit stotra and a real one? You cannot have an advisory Veda Paathashaala on every street of the country’s towns, villages and cities. Therefore, what will you do now?
4.) The existing level of Arabic dilution will enter Sanskrit vocabulary and you’ll have sentences with Arabic words in it alongside Sanskrit words, just the way Hindi today is. What will you do then?
5.) Sanskrit is a scriptural language. Do you really want to swear, curse, and speak impolitely in a language in which Brahma revealed the greatest sounds man has heard (it is said that every alphabet of Sanskrit is the name of Maha Vishnu Himself)? I think any Hindu with a conscience will never want this to happen.
6.) What if Bollywood hijacked the aforementioned Dharmic National Sanskrit theatre? They have the money to buy Sanskrit speaking experts to make their usual lewd anti-national movies – this time with Sanskrit in it. It will be the most unforgiveable taint to the language.
So what is the right way out? To me, the right way appears to be far simpler – tame the existing local languages and cleanse them off Islamist influences. Purify them, Sanskritize them and continue speaking them – a far more viable and feasible option which is doable at a household level, than a paradigm shift of reverting to a language that faced heavy dilution in the era of Panini himself. Sanskrit is our Mother. But the Indic languages of today are Her children. The children need to live in the Mother’s image rather than trying to be Her. While Sanskrit like an old sage will be the backbone of our social conscience, it will guide today’s languages to their old greatness and their speakers to their real culture.
Let only the worthiest, most religious, most August, upright and Dharmic of men and women know Sanskrit for they alone will keep it safe from the Yuga’s many evils. Let them alone pass it down to equally worthy men in succeeding generations and let the nation progress – right from where it left off. An age old nation with a renewed conscience, a renewed faith and a renewed cultural might.
यथा ते तत्र वर्तेरन् अथा ते अत्र वर्तेताः ||
– As did your forefathers live righteously before you, you must do the same today
– Taittirya Brahmana