Sanskrit in Nevada

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Without the study of Samskrit one cannot become a true Indian and a true learned man.” Nehru, surprisingly said, ““If I was asked what is the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her finest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly that it is the Samskrit language and literature and all that it contains” and Dr. S Radhakrishnan was of the opinion that, “Samskrit has moulded the minds of our people to the extent to which they themselves are not conscious.” Now when you hear Washoe County, Nevada has proclaimed Jan 12 as Sanskrit Day, you wonder if it is a scene from a Harold and Kumar movie.

This happened due to the efforts of Rajan Zed, the Hindu priest of Nevada whose prayers in the Senate were disrupted by anti-abortion activists. According to the proclamation by the county, “As Hinduism expands in the West, it is important that to understand Hinduism, one should have a working knowledge of Sanskrit.” The press release also notes correctly that Buddhist and Jain scriptures were also written in Sanskrit.

Another revelation due to this program was the existence of the only Sanskrit Rock Band in America, “Shanti Shanti“, consiting of two sisters, Andrea and Sara Forman.

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3 thoughts on “Sanskrit in Nevada

  1. I thought (most) Buddhist texts were written in Pali! In fact the oldest Theraveda scriptures are all in Pali/Prakrit.
    Sanskrit was not the common mans language, it was IIRC an elitist language, mastered by Brahmins.

  2. sorry ‘mastered’ is incorrect word usage. I shud say Sanskrit was exclusively spoken/used by Brahmins/priests.

  3. Harsh,
    What you are talking about is the original language in which they were written, but later various versions survived in other languages like Sanskrit and Tibetan.
    Some 600 Mahayana Sutras have survived in Sanskrit, or in Chinese and/or Tibetan translation.
    The earliest Mahayana texts were composed in a ‘Middle Indo-Āryan’ language which was Sanskritised during the Gupta era when Sanskrit became the official language of the Indian court. Most of the Mahayana sutra texts are composed in what is called Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, a Middle Indo-Āryan Prakrit with ornaments and flourishes designed to imitate Sanskrit.

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