It is of the utmost value to a nation, a human group-soul, to preserve its language and to make of it a strong and living cultural instrument. A nation, race or people which loses its language, cannot live its whole life or its real life.
- Sri Aurobindo
AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society, organized a three-day online workshop on the theme ‘Sri Aurobindo on Sanskrit Language & Literary Heritage’ under the Sanskrit Study & Research Circle from 25-27 September, 2023. Objective of this study circle is to disseminate the works of Sri Aurobindo on Sanskrit and associated knowledge system and to encourage inter-disciplinary research in different aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry.
AuroBharati strives to rediscover the genius and outstanding the magnificence of Indian culture and works to apply it dynamically to life and all its activities in the building of a new India. One of the objectives of AuroBharati is 'to work for the propagation of Sanskrit as a language of consciousness and the ancient scriptures as a treasure-house of the riches in Indian culture.' The first edition of the Sanskrit Study & Research Circle focussed on the theme ‘Sri Aurobindo on Sanskrit Language & Literary Heritage.’ The main focus of the three day’s workshop was to discuss about the contribution of Sri Aurobindo in interpreting the Sanskrit heritage, including the Vedas, Upanishads, Epic literature and Classical Sanskrit Literature. Glimpses to the works of Sri Aurobindo and interdisciplinary research based on specific literatures were the main highlight of the program. This also focused on the rich and scientific literary heritage of Sanskrit and the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and its relevance for contemporary society.
Speaking on the concept ‘Sanskrit, as a language of consciousness’, Dr. Tripathy said that Sanskrit is the language in which India’s soul is reflected and expressed. Sanskrit as a language is fully conscious of itself, it can also be a means to become more conscious of our experiences, feelings and thoughts. When we study the linguistic diversity of the world, we find a significant role of Sanskrit, particularly in the Indi-European Group of languages. Sanskrit has contributed a lot for the enrichment of many languages including fostering intercultural understanding between communities as the famous Indologists have opined ‘Sanskrit is meant the learned language of India.’
Sri Aurobindo has given special emphasis on the use of Sanskrit and indigenous languages ‘the vital question is how we are to learn and make use of Sanskrit and the indigenous languages.’ Highlighting the origin of Sanskrit language, Sri Aurobindo had also opined ‘Sanskrit, by a peculiar fidelity to its origins, presents us with a true primary form of speech.’ Significant discussion was made on the topic such as Sanskrit and the national identity, Sanskrit and Science, Sanskrit and the indigenous languages, greatness of Sanskrit and as a future language.
Writings of Sri Aurobindo was the topic for discussion on the second day of the workshop. Along with the patriotic writings, Maharshi Aurobindo has also composed monumental works on Sanskrit heritage, including on the Vedas, Upanishad, Srimadbhagavadgita and many other classical Sanskrit literatures. The complete works of Sri Aurobindo in thirty-seven volumes have been published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. One of the unique features of the works of Sri Aurobindo on Sanskrit and Indian Culture based on the journey of re-discovering her cultural roots and the glorious history.
Sri Aurobindo had given a spiritual dimension to the interpretation of Sanskrit texts. Sri Aurobindo’s contributions have been significant as they represent diverse aspects of Indian spirituality, including Sanatana Dharma, Vedas, Upanishads, Srimadbhagavadgita, Yoga, Tantra and many other kinds of literature. His contribution is so enormous to this land of Bharat as he opined “…This greatest movement of Indian spiritual mind has a double impulse… a highest vision which sees the possibility not only of an ascent towards the Eternal but of a descent of the Divine Consciousness and a change of human into divine nature.”
Third day of the workshop focussed on Interdisciplinary Research based on the works of Sri Aurobindo on Sanskrit. Sri Aurobindo Society has done significant works including multimedia and digital portals. The Wonder that is Sanskrit contains two CDs: Devabhasha and Ashtavadhanam. They present the wonders of Sanskrit to even those who have had no previous contact with the language. Presented in an easy and fluid manner, here are interesting aspects of the Sanskrit language and highlights of the great creative genius of the Indian culture.
Multimedia project on Srimadbhagavadgita contains a variety of material, presented in a manner which is easily accessible: the entire 700 verses of the Gita
in Devanagari with a Roman transliteration, followed by an English translation, and word by word meaning. Chandovallari – Experiencing Sanskrit Prosody, is an introduction to the Chandas or main metres in Sanskrit. The examples and the indexes enable interested readers to become familiar with the commonly used metres and identify them. On this occasion, content flourished through the web portals and mobile application on the Veda, Upanishad, Srimadbhagavadgita, Upanishad and Bhavani Bharati was discussed. The idea behind this discussion was to introduce multimedia and digital technology for the dissemination of ancient Indian wisdom for the contemporary world.
Fifty-two participants from different Universities and Research Centres registered for the program including Pondicherry University, Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Central Sanskrit University Ekalavya Campus, DAV, P.G. College, Dehradun, Nilamber Pitamber University, Gour Banga University, R M LA University Ayodhya, Bhavan's Vivekananda College, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Banaras Hindu University, Ravenshaw University, Tripura Central University, Sri Chandra Shekharendra Saraswati Vishva Mahavidyalaya, Swarnamoyee Jogendranath Mahavidyalaya, Sister Nibedita Government General Degree College For Girls, Raipur Block Mahavidyalaya. Kharigaria, Bankura,west Bengal and many others.
Faculty members, researchers and students appreciated the module and had wonderful discussion on specific aspects for the promotion of Sanskrit and Indian Knowledge System.