Sep 24, 2023
Sep 24, 2023
Samskrita, the Language of the Gods
The Vedic language (later called as Sanskrit) was akin to languages of the European continent spoken by tribesmen around 2000 B.C.E. The earliest surviving Sanskrit literature is the Rig Veda. As time went on many of the words of the original language were forgotten and became obsolete. In 4th Century B.C.E., Panini (a grammarian in Takshashila) wrote a great grammar work in eight chapters called Ashtadhyayi. This standardization of the language resulted in a perfected language called Samskrita (refined language-anglicized as Sanskrit). This classical Sanskrit became the language of the priestly class and later of the governing class. The popular dialect of the language that developed naturally was called as Prakrit or Prakrita, the unrefined language. Prakrit was the spoken language of India for almost a thousand years between Buddha Period to the Gupta Period. The language of the edicts of Ashoka’s time was in Prakrit. Prakrit had several regional dialects. The most popular in the North during Buddha’s period was Pali. Several Buddhist texts were written in Pali. Magadhan Empire had a dialect called Magadhi. Another form was Ardha-magadhi (Half Magadhi) that became the sacred language of Mahavira’s Jains. Other important Prakrits were Saureshi and Maharastri. Bengali and a language used by Jains of Gujarat in the Middle Ages called Apabrahmsa also are derived from Prakrit. All of the modern vernaculars spoken in Northern India today are direct descendents of Sanskrit and Prakrit.
The South however developed its own languages, though Sanskrit influenced them, at a later date. The main languages of the South are: Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Tulu and Malayalam. Collectively these are called Dravidian languages (Panchbhasha). Sanskrit naturally influenced Tulu, Kannanda and Telugu, spoken, in more northern regions of the South, more than Tamil. Malayalam, which is closely related to Tulu and Tamil, became a separate language in the 11th Century.
The script of the Prakrit language may be similar to the Harappa scripts, though those scripts have not been deciphered. There are visual resemblances between the two scripts. There are no surviving evidences of any scripts during the assimilation of the Vedas or Upanishads. The first evidence of written script is seen at the Ashoka’s inscriptions (written in Brahmi Script). These are from the 3rd Century B.C.E. The inscriptions written on stone pillars not only survived but also demonstrated a sophisticated language of purely Indian descent and led to the belief that the written language had developed in India long before this script. The written language was then spread far and wide, especially to South East Asia during Ashoka’s reign. Whether Brahmi script is related to Harappa script or to the Semitic script is controversial. Local variations to the Brahmi script led to the practice of joining of letters and words together with a line on the top of the letters, like that of today’s Hindi script, and came to be known as Devanagari script (script of the City of Gods). In the South written language flourished in the 5th and 6th Centuries with the language taking a more spherical shape as in Tulu, Kannada and Telugu or the angular Tamil.
Patanjali wrote a treatise on Panini’s grammar. Another grammarian and lexicographer of fame was Amara Simha from the 4th century C.E., the author of Amarakosha, a dictionary of synonyms written in the form of poetry for easy memorization.
Temples of India
The oldest surviving structures of ancient India are its temples. It gives us a glimpse of the glory of architecture that was taken to its summit with solid stone structures that even today stand as monuments to the richness of the imaginations of the ancient Indians.
Glorious temples built by great dynasties of the past stand in proof of one of the greatest civilizations of the world. Though temples have been built in the early history of India, none of them have survived as they were built from wood and clay rather than stone. Cave temples were the first temples that have survived for more than thousand years. Hindu temples were built in stone architecture from about 8th Century on up to 16th Century, especially in the Peninsula. Ornate pillars with stone carved towers stand as monuments of glory to their builders. As the North was already under the influence of the Muslim rule, the independent South took the lead in building glorious architectural masterpieces dedicated to the gods of their belief.
Cave temples and Rock-cut temples
More by : Dr. Neria H. Hebbar
|Thanks very much for sharing this information. I've been searching on it for a while. So we can conclude that संस्कृति is not older than pali ( प्राकृतिक) but it is refined form of प्राकृतिक dialect.|
|very nice and ery intrested|
|very nice pictures and articles|