The Subodha-Samskrtamis an innovative approach to the teaching of Sanskrit with 25 graded lessons aimed at introducing the Sanskrit language to beginners through the medium of English and Hindi. It has credit of presenting the text in Both Nagari script and Roman script removing thus the fear of having to learn a new script along with the new language. The availability of translation in both English and Hindi of the Sanskrit texts side-by-side present a double advantage to the student: that of learning the language as well as learning related translation skills-an instrument which is becoming increasingly useful to the modern man in the wake of globalization.
Subodha-Samskrtam is the result of over 20year of trail with the students of different age groups and takes into consideration specific difficulties faced by teachers having to teach Sanskrit not only as a foreign language, but also as a non-spoken language, that too in a foreign environment. The carefully graded lessons encourage slow but smooth building up of vocabulary and acquisition of knowledge of grammar, avoiding the traditional method of memorization and rote-learning. Given the long experience of the author in the field of teaching, pedagogical principles have been taken in to consideration while planning the lessons, with gradual introduction of the linguistic intricacies of the language and its grammatical rules.
The five last lessons represent an easy access to standard Sanskrit literature, serving as a link to more advanced study. If well handled by the teacher, this book can help develop spoken skill as from the very first day. The Subodha-Samskrtam, if well-assimilated, paves the way for higher studies at university leer. The second part of the book consists of selective sutras of Panini an grammar followed by tables of declension and conjugation in both Nagari and Roman Script, making available in one place much useful material.
Dr. P.S. Roodurmun is a Mauritian Born scholar of Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy who has dedicated his whole life to the study and teaching of Sanskrit and Hindu Scripture, especially Vedanta. His teaching experience over the past40 years at primary, secondary and university levels makes him a unique personality, being able to address him to students of different age- groups with the same ease and skill separately or collectively. His knowledge of pedagogy and psychology earned through teacher- training and as a student of B.Ed. at Delhi University, coupled with his deep knowledge of Sanskrit language and literature obtained as a student of BA, MA, M. Phil and Ph. D at Delhi University between 1980 and 2000 has enabled him to view the teaching and learning of Sanskrit from a different angle, resulting in this innovative and revolutionary text-book, making the task of both the student and the teacher easy and simple.
Dr. P.S. Roodurmun is serving as the Head of Department of Sanskrit, Indian Philosophy and Hindu Theology (now School of Indological Studies) at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute in Mauritius since the past 20 years and has brought out a number of Sanskrit readers for different groups of students, namely Sanskrit Vividha- Parts I, II, III; Sanskrit Samkalanam ; Basic course in Sanskrit, etc, His book, the “Bhamati and vivarana Schools of Indian Philosophy- A Critical Approach” is an important contribution to Vedanta literature which has become a reference book among students and researchers the world over. The author is presently working on a philosophical analysis of the Bhagavad Gita and a Beginners’s Manual of Sanskrit Grammar. He has also to his credit a number of research papers which include inter alia Advaita Concept of Reality; Kautilya’s Conception of an Organized society; Sanskrit Sutra and Metrical Forms of writing, etc.
Born in 1951 in Mauritius Dr. P.S. Roodurmun is a bachelor and a follower of H.H. Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the spiritual Master and Founder of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.
I have immense pleasure in writing this foreword to the book Subodha Samkritam(Sanskrit Made Easy) prepared by Dr. P.S. Roodurmun, Head School of Indological Studies , Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Mauritius This is a Sanskrit Reader containing twenty five lessons which will be of great help to beginners. There are innumerable Readers for beginners published over the years in different parts of the world by eminent scholars. They are mostly composed in English-Sanskrit Reader containing twenty-five lessons which will be great help to beginners, published over the years in different parts of the world by eminent scholars. They are mostly composed in English-Sanskrit and many more books are prepared in India in Local vernaculars like Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, and so on. There is no end to this kind of exercise since scholars are trying their best to meet the requirement of specific groups of students. But this Reader stands apart because of the transliteration and translations given along side the main texts.
Some are of the view that Sanskrit was not spoken tongue and that it is derived from Prakrtas. This is an erroneous view. Sanskrit, as state din the Astadhyayi of Panini was a spoken vernacular at that time when the great Grammarian flourished. Sanskrit was the Source of Prakrtas. Vararuchi in his prakrtas Prakasa-XII. 2 declares, Prakrtih Sasmkrtam(Sanskrit is the Prakrti (Source) for all the Prakrtas)
As for the richness of Sanskrit, it has ten Lakaras Including one Present Tense, Two Future Tenses, three Past Tenses and four Moods. It has about 2490 verbal roots, each of which ramifies into scores of derivatives. It has two sets of personal terminations called the Parasmaipala and Atmanepada. Transitive verbs are conjugated in the Active and Passive the verbs there are ten conjugations such as Bhvadi and Adadi. Classical Sanskrit is different from Vedic Sanskrit which has its own grammar dominated by svara prakriya (accent). Sir William Jones rightly said that Sanskrit is more ancient than Greek, more, more copious than Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.
For quite some time, scholars have been experimenting and trying to evolve and easy way of teaching Sanskrit to our boys and girls in school and collages. Still, no single method has been found satisfactory, since that is the range of the vocabulary, in-built richness, structural perfection and enormous scope for coining new expressions. One peculiarity with Sanskrit language is that it has three Numbers (Singular, Dual and Pural) and no other language has this feature scholars suggested the abolition of the dual Number (dvivacanan) and some wanted to reduce the number of Future Tenses from two tone, by abolishing the First Future. Some though that three Past Tenses are cumbersome and that we can drop the Aorist with its five varieties. Some wanted to dismiss the Atmanepada. These views are aimed at making Sanskrit simple and less frightening to the beginners But all these steps would be retrograde since with such truncated grammar we will be unable to read and understand the earlier literature. We have to train our youngsters slowly to understand these intricacies, without sacrificing the original richness of the language.
Now-a-days Sanskrit Siviras are taking spoken Sankrit to students all over the country (free of cost) and they are doing a good job. The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, through its branches of countries like the UK is also offering to teach Sanskrit to students of all age groups. But strictly speaking, they cannot take the student beyond a given level. The enormity of the literature and the styles of earlier writers have created awareness all over the world that Sanskrit can also be spoken and understood, of course in a limited framework.
I am all admiration for Dr. Roodurmun who is doing a commendable job in making Sanskrit studies rewarding and interesting in the Mahatma Gandhi Institute in Mauritius. I am deeply impressed by his interest and singular commitment. He first prepared Sanskrit Readers for beginners at different level and has been teaching them as part of the curriculum. These Readers are simple and easy to follow, creating a lively interest in the students. Many people are being benefited by these Readers.
Teaching this ancient tongue to beginners with no traditional background is an uphill task. Sriharsha (11th century) in his Naishadhiya Carita says that a good teacher should have four important traits- adhiti (deep study), Bodha (correct understanding), acarana (Practice) and pracarana (propagation). I have a found that Dr. Roodurmun has a happy blend of these four characteristics in himself and is pre-eminently qualified to teach this language to all those who are interested in it, without any reservation.
The present collection of lessons which are twenty-five in number is a rare feast for beginners. They are given in four formats-Sanskrit lesson Devanagari script, Roman transliteration of it, followed by translation in Hindi and English. This is a boon to those who know Hindi and English. Many foreign Scholars (I mean those who live in countries like England and USA) learn Sanskrit through the Roman characters. Many do not know the Devanagari script. That is the situation obtaining even in India. Many native scholars Kannada and Malayalam and the Grantham (Newly devised to represent the Sanskrit letters and their combinations, for the benefit of those who are familiar with Tamil).
One remarkable feature of the present book Subodha Samskritam is that the verbs of different conjugation and tenses like the present and future tenses are introduced slowly and effortlessly without baffling the students. The Dual number and nouns with different ending belonging to the three genders are also introduced with perfect ease and in a natural way, without leaving room for any confusion. The lessons are mostly in the form of dialogues between students so that they will have the satisfaction and feeling of participation. There are at the each lesson (or lecture), exercises and a glossary of words used in the lesson. As the lessons progress one comes across verses containing Subhasit as and small stories taken from books like the Pancatantra and Hitopadesa. This is an exemplary way of teaching Sanskrit to the beginners.
I am sure this book will be found extremely useful by students all over world and that Dr. Roodurmun’s vibrant pen will being out many more books of this kind so that his ambition of teaching Sanskrit in an easily comprehensible way to all those who are genuinely interested, will be fulfilled. I wish to congratulate him once again for his laudable effort, great vision and admirable love for Sanskrit language and literature.
Subodha Samskrtam has been designed to meet the needs of university students wishing to have an introductory knowledge of Sanskrit language, without having to go through the traditional method of memorization of declension sand conjugation considered till date as sine qua non for the study of Sanskrit. Instead, the direct method has been utilized, so that on the very first exposure to the language, the learner is able to know the structure of a complete sentence in Sanskrit with a gradual introduction to the subject object-verb syntax, the role of suffixes in giving meaning to nominal stems and verbal roots, and the role of prefixes in assigning new meanings to verbal roots. The conversation based lessons make reading interesting and assimilation of meaning easy and smooth. The availability of the text in both Deva Nagari and Roman scripts alternately will help the learner get acquainted with the Deva Nagari script without many efforts. Optionally, even without knowledge of Nagari script, one may learn the language with fair knowledge of grammar backed by ample vocabulary in a short span of time. With the translation made available in English and Hindi along with the main text, this hand book assumes the unique features of a bilingual-self-taught reader with a detailed glossary at the end of each lesson to assist the self-learner.
The exercise and table gives in each lesson will ensure command over the grammatical features introduced in each lesson and need to be worked out carefully without skipping anyone of them. The tables that have been introduced selectively need to be memorized as an when they occur in order to ensure better results and to keep pace with the increase in the degree of difficulty of each successive lesson.
It is expect that with this series of 25 lessons, the learner will be able to understand the usage of all the 8 cases in Sanskrit Language in all the three Numbers and Genders while getting acquainted at the same time with the application of three main tenses and two Moods of Sanskrit Grammar viz Present Tense, Past Tense, Future Tense, Imperative Mood and Injunctive Mood, with a casual introduction to the Reduplicated Aorist ( Lit Lakara), Passive Voice, etc. By the time the learner reaches the end of the reader, she/ he would have been introduced to the main Primary and Secondary Suffixes, the Gerunds and the Numerals. The last section of the reader introduces the learner to basic texts of Sanskrit literature, ensuring a smooth transition from informs Sanskrit to formal literal Sanskrit.
This reader is the result of continuous trials over a period of 20 years with students of different age-groups, and all efforts have been made to mitigate difficulties faced by debutants on the basis of feedbacks and class – experiences. While this reader has the characteristics of a self-taught handbook, it is advised that the help a teacher besought for quicker and better result, especially with regard to pronunciation and intonation.
Note to the Teacher
With a view to ensuring quality in teaching and learning, the teacher is advised to take the following into consideration while making the lesson-plans:
1.This reader constitutes of graded lessons carefully worked out so as to makes understanding of the notion of inflection easy and simple, starting with Nominative Masculine Singular, dual and plural, Accusative Masculine and Neuter singular, Accusative Feminine singular, instrumental Masculine and Neuter Singular, Instrumental Feminine singular, soon and so forth. The plural forms of the Accusative case and the rest of the cases have been introduced at a later stage. The same methodology has been adopted with regards to conjugation in both Parasmanipada and Atmanepada. The Passive Voice, with the use of the Past-Participle had been introduced at an advanced stage in order not to confuse the learner.
2. Though the lessons may be taught as per requirement and convenience, yet it is advisable to follow the guidelines given below:
3. While teaching Sandhi the basic Sutras of Paninian Grammar would need to be explained after introducing the Maheshvara-Sutras and their functions.
4. Much repetition and drill is required tenure assimilation of every new aspect of grammar and of new words and expressions. Since the exercise given at the end of every lesson are aimed at strengthening all points taught earlier as well, they need to be thoroughly worked out, and the meaning of each sentence properly explained and translated.
5. The verses occurring in the lessons are meant for demonstrating a specific aspect of grammar apart from introducing the learner to the richness and beauty of Sanskrit poetry. Many more need to be introduced to enliven class teaching.
6. It is advisable to conduct continuous assessment after every lessons taught, with emphasis on pronunciation, intonation, pace and comprehension.
7.Every word-formation utilized in the reader right from the first lesson need to be analyzed in details with a view to making clear the methodology of declension and conjugation as well as the special rules regarding Karakas.
With a view to enhancing the utility of the reader a series of CDs is being planned, along with translation in other languages. Suggestions from learners and teachers in this respect are most welcome.
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