Sanskrit

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Devanagari script for the word "Saṃskṛtam".

Sanskrit (devanāgarī: संस्कृत saṃskṛta) is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Classical Sanskrit is the standard register as laid out in the grammar of Pāṇini, around the 4th century BCE. The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit, with the language of the Rigveda being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved, its oldest core dating back to as early as 1500 BCE. This qualifies Rigvedic Sanskrit as one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Iranian language, and one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family, the family which includes English and most European languages. Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals and Buddhist practice in the forms of hymns and mantras. Spoken Sanskrit is still in use in a few traditional institutions in India and there are many attempts at revival.

H. P. Blavatsky held Sanskrit in a very high esteem. She wrote:

The Devanâgarî—the Sanskrit characters—is the “Speech of the Gods” and Sanskrit the divine language.[1]

However, she states that the real esoteric form of this "mystery language" is not known by the general public and scholars:

Sanskrit (Sk.). The classical language of the Brahmans, never known nor spoken in its true systematized form (given later approximately by Pânini), except by the initiated Brahmans, as it was pre-eminently “a mystery language”. It has now degenerated into the so-called Prâkrita.[2]

She taught that laguages, as everything else in the universe, go through cycles, and prophesized that there will be a time when Sanskrit will be universal:

[F]or a language so old and so perfect as the Sanskrit to have survived alone, among all languages, it must have had its cycles of perfection and its cycles of degeneration. And, if one had any intuition, he might have seen that what they call a “dead language” being an anomaly, a useless thing in nature, it would not have survived, even as a “dead” tongue, had it not its special purpose in the Reign of immutable Cyclic Laws; and that Sanskrit which came to be nearly lost to the world is now slowly spreading in Europe, and will one day have the extension it had thousand upon thousand of years back—that of a universal language. The same as to the Greek and the Latin: there will be a time when the Greek of Æschylus (and more perfect still in its future form) will be spoken by all in Southern Europe while Sanskrit will be resting in its periodical pralaya; and the Attic will be followed later by the Latin of Virgil.[3]

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Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), 264.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 290.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. V (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1997), 303.