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Bhartiya Scriptures
Descension of
Bhagwan Ram
Hinduism at a Glance
Sanatan Dharm
Sanskrit – The Mother
of All Languages
(I - III)
  Part I
The Origin
 
  Part II
The Perfection
 
  Part III
Unique Features
 
Glossary of Terms

Sanskrit: The Mother of All Languages - Part III of III
Six Unmatched Features of Sanskrit

Click here to read Part I - The Origin of Sanskrit
Click here to read Part II - A Glimpse of the Perfection of Sanskrit Grammar

The perfection of the pronunciation (of the consonants and the vowels) and the uniqueness of the grammar that stays the same in all the ages from the very beginning of human civilization and up till today are such features which prove that Sanskrit is not manmade; it is a Divine gift to the people of this world. The following six examples demonstrate some of the unique features of Sanskrit that distinguishes it from other languages of the world.
Sanskrit is not manmade ...
(1) The vowel-consonant pronunciation of the alphabet
The most striking feature of the Sanskrit language is the vowel-consonant pronunciation of the alphabet and the uniqueness of every consonant (or its combination) as a complete syllabic unit when it is joined with a vowel. For example: Its 16 vowels are the actual ‘voice pattern’ of the sound and 36 consonants are only the ‘form’ of the ‘voice pattern’ of the sound. So a consonant ( ) alone cannot be pronounced as it is only a ‘form’ of the ‘voice pattern’ until it is attached to a vowel. Thus, a vowel, which itself is a ‘voice pattern,’ can be pronounced alone (like,) or it can be modulated by adding a consonant to it (like,).This system was not adopted in the languages of the world. Thus, their syllables have no uniformity. For example, in come and coma ‘co’ has two different pronunciations, and in come and kind or kiss, the letter ‘c’ and ‘k’ both have the same pronunciation.
In Sanskrit, the basic structure of its vowel-consonant pronunciation is the unique foundation of the language that precisely stabilizes the word pronunciation where each letter (or a combination of consonants with a vowel) is a syllable.
(2) Formation of the Sanskrit words
The second unmatched feature is the formation of the Sanskrit words. Since the beginning there was a complete dictionary of root words called dhatu that could create any number of words based on the requirement by adding a proper prefix and suffix described in detail in the Sanskrit grammar. There are 90 forms (conjugations) for every verb to be used in the 10 tenses and 21 forms for other words. The formation, modulation and creation of words have been originally the same, in an absolutely perfect state since the beginning, as they are today.
(3) The uniqueness of the grammar
The most impressive uniqueness of the Sanskrit grammar is that, along with the Sanskrit language, it is unchanged in every age because it is a Divinely produced grammar. Its conjugation system, word formation and the style of poetry formation are all unique, unchanged and perfectly detailed since it appeared on the earth planet through the descended Saints. Take a line of the Yajurved,
There is a noun janah (people), and verb gachcòhanti (to go into) which is formed of gam dhatu (to go), like, gachcòhati, gachcòhatah, gachcòhanti. All the 90 conjugations of the verb gaccòh (to go) and all the 21 forms of the noun jan (people) are used in the same way without any change in the Vedas, in the Puranas and in other Sanskrit literature as well, because they are ever perfect without any sound shift. The Sanskrit language represents the literal form of the Divinity on the earth planet.
(4) The style of literary presentation
The three styles of Sanskrit are: (a) the Vedas (sanhita), (b) the Upnishads and (c) the Puranas. All of them were reproduced during the same period before 3102 BC. But their literature has its own style. The difference in the style and the uses of words in all the three kinds of scriptures does not mean any evolution or improvement in the vocabulary.
Vedic verses do not use the full range of words as is used in the Puranas because the Vedic verses are mainly the invocation mantras for the celestial gods and that too for ritualistic purposes, not for the devotion to supreme God. So they don’t need too many words to relate a mantra. The language of the Bhagwat Mahapuran is very scholarly, poetic and rich as it explains the richest philosophy of God, God’s love and God realization along with its other affiliated theories. The language of the other 17 Puranas is less rich. The language of the Upnishads sometimes leans towards the Vedic sanhita side. The peculiar characteristic of the Vedas can be observed in the tenth canto, chapter 87, of the Bhagwat Mahapuran where the Vedas themselves are offering their homage to supreme God Krishn.
The whole chapter is like this, grammatically perfect, but it is a kind of twisted and uncharming style of language. This is the style and the character of the Vedas (the sanhita). All the chapters of the Bhagwatam, before and after this particular chapter, have elegant literary presentation but this particular chapter, which is in the style of the language of the Vedas, stands out with its own peculiarity. The difference in the literary presentation of the Vedic sanhita and the Puranas has their own nature and style and do not relate to their seniority or juniority.
(5) The apbhransh
In every society there are many classes of people. Some are educated, some are less educated and some are much less educated. Accordingly, the quality of their speech differs. Thus, during the time of Ved Vyas, when Sanskrit was the spoken language of India, there may have been some people who spoke a localized form of less perfect Sanskrit. As time went on a new language developed in the Bihar area of North India which was a combination of the localized dialect with the apbhransh words of Sanskrit. The pronunciation of the Sanskrit word changes when it is spoken by the people who are less educated or not educated in the Sanskrit language, and then such words permanently enter into their locally spoken language. These, partly mispronounced words, are called the apbhransh. Just like the words teen and sat are the apbhransh of the Sanskrit words trai and sapt which mean three and seven. It was called the Pali language in which the teachings of Gautam Buddh were written around 1800 BC. Still, Sanskrit remained the spoken language of the literary class of India at least up to the time of Shankaracharya.
When Shankaracharya went to have an audience with Mandan Mishra he found two parrots in two cages that were hung in front of his house. They were happily uttering Sanskrit phrases, which they had memorized by listening to the scriptural discussions that were usually happening in the house. All over India Shankaracharya debated in Sanskrit language wherever he went. It was around 500 BC.
That was the time when the Greek and Latin languages were in the course of their development. Trade communications between India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria and Greece were already well established. The stories of the Puranas and the Bhagwatam had already reached, in a broken form, into those countries which they then adopted in their society and incorporated into their religious mythology. The Iliad and the Odyssey in their earliest and incomplete forms were composed around 600 BC, and later on certain Sanskrit apbhransh words were added in the Greek and Latin languages.
(6) Sanskrit, the scriptural language up till today
Sanskrit is the language of Bhartiya scriptures. It is also the language of the Divine abodes. The word ‘language’ is termed as bhasha in Sanskrit. Thus, the bhasha of Vaikunth abode in its original form descended on the earth planet through Brahma in the form of the Vedas and the Puranas and all of its affiliates and branches along with its grammar. First it was called the bhasha as it was the only language of India, literary and spoken both. Later on, when its offshoots developed, it began to be called the Sanskrit bhasha (Sanskrit language) to distinguish it from the other local languages that used the apbhransh words of Sanskrit mixed with their locally spoken tongue. For convenience, these local languages were called the ‘prakrit’ languages by the history writers.
Sanskrit maintained the glory of eternal Bhartiya scriptures in its perfect linguistic representation since its appearance on the earth planet. If someone’s conscience fails to comprehend the eternal authenticity of the Sanskrit language for some reason, then at least, according to the above descriptions, one can surely understand its unparalleled perfection that had the capacity of introducing hundreds of thousands of words according to its root system since the very beginning, when even the earliest known cursive writing systems of the world (Greek and Hebrew etc.) were at their infancy and were struggling to standardize the pronunciation and to improve their vocabulary.

Click here to read Part I - The Origin of Sanskrit
Click here to read Part II - A Glimpse of the Perfection of Sanskrit Grammar

This article was compiled from, “The True History and the Religion of India” by Dharm Chakravarty Swami Prakashanand Saraswati. This landmark encyclopedia of authentic Hinduism gives detailed information on related topics such as the perfection of Sanskrit grammar, the origin of Sanskrit grammar, and the history of the languages of the world as well as the writing systems. © 2005 The Vedic Foundation
This article may be reprinted with permission in writing from The Vedic Foundation.
 
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