Lord Caitanya's sarikirtana movement is for everyone in the world, not just for a particular class of people, especially not just for Sanskrit scholars. In fact, the students of Sanskrit in Sridhama Navadvipa were the last people to surrender to Lord Caitanya, and it was in response to their disrespect of Him that He decided to take sannyasa. But the basic scriptures of Lord Caitanya's movement, Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam are in Sanskrit, as are also most books written by Lord Caitanya's immediate followers.
Sankirtana is a process of worshiping Krsna by transcendental sound. Although Krsna is bhava-grahi Janardana, the Lord of all persons, who is happy to disregard the bad grammar and pronunciation of sincere devotees, why should our worship of Krsna not be as nice as we can make it? Why not correctly pronounce the prayers and other texts we chant in Sanskrit as part of our sarikirtana worship, at least if learning how to pronounce correctly is not all that hard?
We should not think that Srila Prabhupada considered reciting the Sanskrit texts in his books unimportant. Otherwise, why did he bother to include the Sanskrit in both Devanagari and a transliteration? Why did he institute responsive chanting of the verses in his Bhagavatam classes? Srila Prabhupada wanted us to chant these verses - chant them often, chant them to ourselves and in public lectures - and he wanted us to try our best to chant them correctly.
His Holiness Lokanath Maharaja is presenting simple instructions for improving our Sanskrit pronunciation. His explanations are clear, entertaining, and thorough, but not more thorough than necessary for the purpose at hand. Every devotee in ISKCON should gladly study Maharaja's instructions with care and attention. The readers will get the benefit of learning right Sanskrit pronunciation from an expert communicator and an empowered worldwide preacher.
I wish it great success. I regret that someone did not write a book like this years ago. But Lokanath Maharaja has taken the initiative to do the needful, and now we should all be very thankful.
As Gopiparanadhana Prabhu said in the Preface of the first edition, a book like this should have come out years ago. While the plan was to publish the first edition in 1996, it was only completed in 2009. Now, some ten years later, I have finalised a second revised edition.
In writing up the second edition, I have carefully considered comments from users and made the necessary additions and deletions based on their feedback.
Firstly, in my enthusiasm to share every detail of the Sanskrit language, my first edition included a few sections that were highly technical and comprised in depth data of this scientific language.
Secondly, the first edition contained research information that possibly detracted from the core idea which was to correct Sanskrit Pronunciation, and in so doing overwhelmed both the apprentice as well as the more experienced learners of Sanskrit Pronunciation.
In reworking the second edition, I have eliminated technical content describing meters, and sections from the section Gravity of the Mantra recitation. Chapter 6 Question and Answers has been completely omitted. Chapter 7 Practical implementation and Resources has been revised and is selectively represented as Resources to Propagate Sanskrit Pronunciation in ISKCON. The section entitled: The Lord accepts the Motive has been excluded and the main argument has been reworked into the author's introduction to the book.Technical aspects on Verse meters which included Matriha and Varnika metres have been incorporated within the Six Limbs of the Vedas and the Sanskrit alphabet sections. Most of the literary definitions and journal references have been removed (these were interesting to know, but presented themselves as distractions to the main point being made).
The section Simple and Combined vowels has been removed from the chapter and it now forms part of the Appendices.
These modifications have resulted in a clearer, more focused edition which will certainly make this scientific language more learner friendly and accessible to all.
Chapter 5 in this revised edition entitled Selected verses for Sanskrit Pronunciation includes verses in different meters from Srila Prabhupada's books. The verses are presented in order of increasing length to familiarise you with techniques for reciting shorter verses first and then gradually take up longer ones.
This book is undoubtedly a clearer version with much lesser technicalities. It is my sincere hope that this revised version better facilitates your preliminary learning of Sanskrit, and mostly enhances your Sanskrit Pronunciation.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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