|Spoken in:||India, S.E. Asia, liturgical language of Hinduism|
|Total speakers:||49,736 fluent speakers (1991 Indian census)|
|Language family:|| Indo-European|
|Writing system:||Devanāgarī and several other Brāhmī-based scripts|
|Official language of:||India (one of the scheduled languages)|
|Regulated by:||no official regulation|
The Sanskrit language (संस्कृता वाक्
saṃskṛtā vāk, for short संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India.
Dating back to at least 1500 B.C., its position in the cultures of South and Southeast Asia is akin to that of Latin and Greek in Europe. It appears in pre-Classical form as Vedic Sanskrit (appearing in the Vedas), with the language of the Rigveda being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved. This fact and comparative studies in historical linguistics show that it is one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family; it is considered a base language of many modern-day Asian languages.
Today, Sanskrit is spoken by a very small group of people, but continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals in the forms of hymns and mantras. The vast literary tradition of Sanskrit in the form of the Hindu scriptures and the philosophical writings are also studied. Scholarly discussions on various topics in Indian philosophy continue to be held in the Sanskrit language in a few traditional institutions in India. The corpus of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and literature, as well as scientific, technical, philosophical and religious texts.
The adjective saṃskṛta- means "refined, consecrated, sanctified". The language referred to as saṃskṛtā vāk "the refined language" has by definition always been a "high" language, used for religious and learned discourse and contrasted with the languages spoken by the people. It is also called deva-bhāṣā meaning "language of the gods". The oldest surviving Sanskrit grammar is Pāṇini 's Aṣṭādhyāyī ("Eight-Chapter Grammar") dating to ca. the 5th century BC. It is essentially a prescriptive grammar, i.e., an authority that defines (rather than describes) correct Sanskrit, although it contains descriptive parts, mostly to account for Vedic forms that had already passed out of use in Panini's time.
Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-Aryan sub-family of the Indo-European family of languages. Together with the Iranian languages it belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch and as such is part of the Satem group of Indo-European languages, which also includes the Balto-Slavic branch.
When the term arose in India, "Sanskrit" was not thought of as a specific language set apart from other languages, but rather as a particularly refined or perfected manner of speaking. Knowledge of Sanskrit was a marker of social class and educational attainment and the language was taught mainly to members of the higher castes, through close analysis of Sanskrit grammarians such as Pāṇini . Sanskrit as the learned language of Ancient India thus existed alongside the Prakrits (vernaculars), which evolved into the modern Indo-Aryan languages (Hindi, Urdu, Bengali etc.). Most of the Dravidian languages of India, despite being a separate linguistic family in their own right, are highly influenced by Sanskrit, especially in terms of loanwords. Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam have the highest incidence of loans while Tamil has the lowest. This influence of Sanskrit on these languages is recognized by the notions of Tat Sama (equivalent) and Tat Bhava (rooted in). Sanskrit itself has also been exposed to Dravidian substratum influence since very ancient times.
Sanskrit, as defined by Pāṇini , had evolved out of the earlier "Vedic" form, and scholars often distinguish Vedic Sanskrit and Classical or "Paninian" Sanskrit as separate dialects. However, they are extremely similar in many ways and differ mostly in a few points of phonology, vocabulary, and grammar. Classical Sanskrit can therefore be considered an obvious evolution of the earlier Vedic language. Vedic Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas, a large collection of hymns, incantations, and religio-philosophical discussions which form the earliest religious texts in India and the basis for much of the Hindu religion. Modern linguists consider the metrical hymns of the Rigveda Samhita to be the earliest, composed by many authors over centuries of oral tradition. The end of the Vedic period is marked by the composition of the Upanishads, which form the concluding part of the Vedic corpus in the traditional compilations. The current hypothesis holds that the Vedic form of Sanskrit survived until the middle of the first millennium BC. It is around this time that Sanskrit began the transition from a first language to a second language of religion and learning, marking the beginning of the Classical period.
Hinduism believes that the language of the Vedas is eternal and revealed in its wording and word order. Evidence for this belief is found in the Vedas itself, where in the Upanishads they are described as the very "breath of God" (niḥśvāsitam brahma). The Vedas are therefore considered "the language of reality", so to speak, and are unauthored, even by God, the rishis or seers ascribed to them being merely individuals gifted with a special insight into reality with the power of perceiving these eternal sounds. At the beginning of every cycle of creation, God himself "remembers" the order of the Vedic words and propagates them through the rishis. Orthodox Hindus, while accepting the linguistic development of Sanskrit as such, do not admit any historical stratification within the Vedic corpus itself.
This belief is of significant consequence to Indian religious history, for the very sacredness and timelessness of the language encouraged exact memorization and transmission and discouraged textual learning via written propagation (see: Apaurusheyatva). Each word is believed to have innate and eternal meaning and, when properly pronounced, mystic expressive power. Erroneous learning of repetition of the Veda was considered a grave sin with immediate potentially negative consequences. Consequently, Vedic learning was encouraged and prized among Brahmins. Various ways of recitation, called pathas, were developed to achieve optimal memorization.
A significant form of post-Vedic Sanskrit is found in the Sanskrit of the Hindu Epics—the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The deviations from Pāṇini in the epics are generally on account of interference from Prakrits, and not because they are 'pre-Paninean'. "In fact, almost all 'un-Paninean' forms of Epic Sanskrit are innovations" [Oberlies, "A Grammar of Epic Sanskrit", p.XXIX, emphasis in the original]. Traditional Sanskrit scholars call such deviations aarsha (आर्ष), or "of the rishis", the traditional title for the ancient authors. In some contexts there are also more "prakritisms" (borrowings from common speech) than in Classical Sanskrit proper. Finally, there is also a language dubbed "Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit" by scholars, which is actually a prakrit ornamented with Sanskritized elements (see also termination of spoken Sanskrit). According to Tiwari ( 2004), there were four principal dialects of Sanskrit, viz., paścimottarī (Northwestern, also called Northern or Western), madhyadeśī (lit., middle country), pūrvi (Eastern) and dakṣiṇī (Southern, arose in the Classical period). The first three are even attested in the Vedic Brāhmaṇas, of which the first one was regarded as the purest (Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇa, 7.6).
European scholarship in Sanskrit, begun by Heinrich Roth (1620–1668) and Johann Ernst Hanxleden (1681–1731), put forth the proposal of the Indo-European language family by Sir William Jones, and played an important role in the development of Western linguistics.
- The Sanskrit language whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong, indeed, that no philosopher could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists.
Indeed, linguistics (along with phonology, etc.) first arose among Indian grammarians who were attempting to catalog and codify Sanskrit's rules. Modern linguistics owes a great deal to these grammarians, and to this day, key terms for compound analysis such as bahuvrihi are taken from Sanskrit.
The sounds are traditionally listed in the order vowels (Ach), diphthongs (Hal), anusvara and visarga, stops (Sparśa) and nasals (starting in the back of the mouth and moving forward), and finally the liquids and fricatives, written in IAST as follows (see the tables below for details):
- a ā i ī u ū ṛ ṝ ḷ ḹ
- e ai o au
- ṃ ḥ
- k kh g gh ṅ; c ch j jh ñ; ṭ ṭh ḍ ḍh ṇ; t th d dh n; p ph b bh m
- y r l v
- ś ṣ s h
The vowels of Classical Sanskrit with their word-initial Devanagari symbol, diacritical mark with the consonant प्
(/p/), pronunciation (of the vowel alone and of /p/+vowel) in IPA, equivalent in IAST and ITRANS and (approximate) equivalents in Standard English are listed below:
|Letter||Diacritical mark with “प्|
|अ||प||/ɐ/ or /ä/ (two sounds are represented by the same letter)||/pɐ/ or /pä/||a||a||short open central vowel or near-open central vowel: as the a in above or sometimes like the u in under.|
|आ||पा||/ɐ̙ː/||/pɐ̙ː/||ā||A||long Open back unrounded vowel: as the a in father|
|इ||पि||/ɐ ʲ/||/pɐ ʲ/||i||i||short close front unrounded vowel: as i in bit|
|ई||पी||/ɐ ʲː/||/pɐ ʲː/||ī||I||long close front unrounded vowel: as i in machine|
|उ||पु||/ɐ ʷ/ or /u̫/||/pɐ ʷ/||u||u||short close-back compressed vowel: as u in put|
|ऊ||पू||/ɐ ʷː/ or /u̫ː/||/pɐ ʷː/||ū||U||long close back compressed vowel: as oo in school|
|ऋ||पृ||/ɻ ʲ/||/pɻ ʲ/||ṛ||R||short syllabic vowel-like retroflex approximant|
|ॠ||पॄ||/ɻ ʲː/||/pɻ ʲː/||ṝ||RR||long syllabic vowel-like retroflex approximant: a longer version of /r̩/|
|ऌ||पॢ||/ɹ ʲ/||/pɹ ʲ/||ḷ||LR||short syllabic vowel-like retroflex lateral approximant: approx. as handle|
|ॡ||पॣ||/ɹ ʲː/||/pɹ ʲː/||ḹ||LRR||long syllabic vowel-like retroflex lateral approximant: longer version of /l̩/|
|ए||पे||/ɐ̙ ʲ/||/pɐ̙ ʲ/||e||e||long close-mid front unrounded vowel: as a in game (not a diphthong), or é in café|
|ऐ||पै||/ɐ̙ ʲː/||/pɐ̙ ʲː/||ai||ai||a long diphthong:|
|ओ||पो||/ɐ̙ ʷ/||/pɐ̙ ʷ/||o||o||long close-mid back rounded vowel: as o in tone (not a diphthong)|
|औ||पौ||/ɐ̙ ʷː/||/pɐ̙ ʷː/||au||au||a long diphthong: approx. as ou in house|
The long vowels are held about twice as long as their short counterparts. Also, there exists a third, extra-long length for most vowels, called pluti, which is used in various cases, but particularly in the vocative. The pluti is not accepted by all grammarians.
The vowels e
and o continue as allophonic variants of Proto-Indo-Iranian /ai/, /au/, and they are phonologically (conceptually) /ai/ and /au/ still in Sanskrit, and are categorized as diphthongs by Sanskrit grammarians even though they are realized phonetically as simple long vowels. (See above).
- There are some additional signs traditionally listed in tables of the Devanagari script. They are :
- The diacritic ं
called anusvāra, pronounced as /əŋ/ (IAST: ṃ
). It is used both for nasalizing the vowel in the syllable and for the sound of a vowel-like /n/ or /m/; eg. पं
- The diacritic ः
called visarga, pronounced as /əh/ (IAST: ḥ
); eg. पः
- The diacritic ँ
called candrabindu, not traditionally included in Devanagari charts for Sanskrit, is used interchangeably with the anusvāra to indicate nasalization of the vowel, primarily in Vedic notation; eg. पँ /pə̃/.
- If a lone consonant needs to be written without any following vowel, it is given a halanta/virāma diacritic below (प्
- The vowel /aː/ in Sanskrit is realized as being more central and less back than the closest English approximation, which is ɑː. But the grammarians have classified it as a back vowel. (Tiwari,  2004).
- Note that the ancient Sanskrit grammarians have classified the vowel system as velars, retroflexes, palatals and plosives rather than as back, central and front vowels. Hence ए
and ओ are classified respectively as palato-velar (a+i) and labio-velar (a+u) vowels respectively. But the grammarians have classified them as diphthongs and in prosody, each is given two mātrās. This does not necessarily mean that they are proper diphthongs, but neither excludes the possibility that they could have been proper diphthongs at a very ancient stage (see above). These vowels are pronounced as long /eː/ and /oː/ respectively by learned Sanskrit Brahmans and priests of today. Other than the "four" diphthongs, Sanskrit usually disallows any other diphthong—vowels in succession, where they occur, are converted to semivowels according to sandhi rules.
- In the Devanagari script used for Sanskrit, whenever a consonant in a word-ending position is without any virāma (ie, freely standing in the orthography: प
as opposed to प्
), the neutral vowel schwa (/ə/) is automatically associated with it—this is of course true for the consonant to be in any position in the word. Word-ending schwa is always short. But the IAST a appended to the end of masculine noun words rather confuses the foreigners to pronounce it as /ɑː/—this makes the masculine Sanskrit words sound like feminine! e.g., shiva must be pronounced as /ɕivə/ and not as /ɕivɑː/. Tiwari ( 2004) argues that in Vedic Sanskrit, अ was simply short ɑ, and became centralized and raised in the era of the Prakrits.
प [p] || b ब [b] || || t त [t̪] || d द [d̪] || ṭ ट [ʈ] || ḍ ड [ɖ] || c च [c͡ç] || j ज [ɟ͡ʝ] || k क [k] || g ग [g]
फ [pʰ] || bh भ [bʱ] || || th थ [t̪ʰ] || dh ध [d̪ʱ] || ṭh ठ [ʈʰ] || ḍh ढ [ɖʱ] || ch छ [c͡çʰ] || jh झ [ɟ͡ʝʱ] || kh ख [kʰ] || gh घ [gʱ]
| m म
| v व
| y य
| l ल
| r र
The table below shows the traditional listing of the Sanskrit consonants with the (nearest) equivalents in English/Spanish. Each consonant shown below is deemed to be followed by the neutral vowel schwa (/ə/), and is named in the table as such.
/n̪ə/; English: name
/ʋə/; English: vase
Phonology and Sandhi
The Sanskrit vowels are as discussed in the section above. The long syllabic l (ḹ ) is not attested, and is only discussed by grammarians for systematic reasons. Its short counterpart ḷ
occurs in a single root only, kḷp "to order, array". Long syllabic r (ṝ
) is also quite marginal, occurring in the genitive plural of r-stems (e.g. mātṛ "mother" and pitṛ "father" have gen.pl. mātṝṇām and pitṝṇām ). i, u, ṛ, ḷ
are vocalic allophones of consonantal y, v, r, l
. There are thus only 5 invariably vocalic phonemes,
- a, ā, ī, ū, ṝ
ः is an allophone of r and s
, and anusvara ṃ , Devanagari ं
of any nasal, both in pausa (ie, the nasalized vowel). The exact pronunciation of the three sibilants may vary, but they are distinct phonemes. An aspirated voiced sibilant /zʱ/ was inherited by Indo-Aryan from Proto-Indo-Iranian but lost shortly before the time of the Rigveda (note that aspirated sibilant are exceedingly rare in any language). The retroflex consonants are somewhat marginal phonemes, often being conditioned by their phonetic environment; they do not continue a PIE series and are often ascribed by some linguists to the substratal influence of Dravidian. The nasal ñ is a conditioned allophone of n (n and ṇ are distinct phonemes – one has to distinguish aṇu "minute, atomic" (nom. sg. neutr. of an adjective) from anu "after, along"; phonologically independent ṅ occurs only marginally, e.g. in prāṅ "directed forwards/towards" (nom. sg. masc. of an adjective) and can thus be omitted). There are thus 31 consonantal or semi-vocalic phonemes, consisting of four/five kinds of stops realized both with or without aspiration and both voiced and voiceless, three nasals, four semi-vowels or liquids, and four fricatives, written in IAST transliteration as follows:
- k, kh, g, gh; c, ch, j, jh; ṭ, ṭh, ḍ, ḍh; t, th, d, dh; p, ph, b, bh; m, n, ṇ; y, r, l, v; ś, ṣ, s, h
or a total of 36 unique Sanskrit phonemes altogether.
The phonological rules to be applied when combining morphemes to a word, and when combining words to a sentence are collectively called sandhi "composition". Texts are written phonetically, with sandhi applied (except for the so-called padapāṭ ha).
Historically, Sanskrit is not associated with any particular script. The emphasis on orality, not textuality, in the Vedic Sanskrit tradition was maintained through the development of early classical Sanskrit literature. When Sanskrit was written, the choice of writing system was influenced by the regional scripts of the scribes. As such, virtually all of the major writing systems of South Asia have been used for the production of Sanskrit manuscripts. Since the late 19th century, Devanagari has been considered as the de facto writing system for Sanskrit, quite possibly because of the European practice of printing Sanskrit texts in the script.
In northern India, there are Brahmi inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BCE onwards, the oldest appearing on the famous Prakrit pillar inscriptions of king Ashoka. Roughly contemporary with the Brahmi, the Kharosthi script was used. Later (ca. 4th to 8th centuries AD) the Gupta script, derived from Brahmi, became prevalent. From ca. the 8th century, the Sharada script evolved out of the Gupta script, and was mostly displaced in its turn by Devanagari from ca. the 12th century, with intermediary stages such as the Siddham script. In Eastern India, the Bengali script and, later, the Oriya script, were used.
In the south where Dravidian languages predominate, scripts used for Sanskrit include Kannada in Kannada and Telugu speaking regions, Telugu in Telugu and Tamil speaking regions, Malayalam and Grantha in Tamil speaking regions.
Sanskrit in modern Indian scripts. May Śiva bless those who take delight in the language of the gods. (Kalidasa)
Verbal learning occupied the pride of place in ancient India and bears an influence which can still be felt in Indian schooling today. High value was placed on the memorization of texts, often using sophisticated mnemonic techniques. As such, propagation and learning through writing was correspondingly deemphasized, and it is hypothesized that writing was introduced relatively late to India. Rhys Davids suggests that writing may have been introduced from the Middle East by traders, with Sanskrit remaining a purely oral language until well into India's Classical age.
It is interesting to note the importance that Sanskrit orthography and Vedic philosophy of sound play in Hindu symbolism, as the varnamala, or sound-garland/alphabet, of 51 letters is also seen to be represented by the 51 skulls of Kali. In the Upanishads, the transcendent-immanent nature of Brahman is represented by the half-matra, or sphota of sound that is inherent to a beat of sound in the Sanskrit system.
Since the late 18th century, Sanskrit has been transliterated using the Latin alphabet. The system most commonly used today is the IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration), which has been the academic standard since 1912, and which is used in this article. ASCII-based transliteration schemes have evolved due to difficulties representing Sanskrit characters in computer systems. These include Harvard-Kyoto and ITRANS, a lossless transliteration scheme that is used widely on the Internet, especially in Usenet and in email, for considerations of speed of entry as well as rendering issues. With the wide availability of Unicode aware web browsers, IAST has become common also for online articles.
For scholarly work, Devanagari in the 19th century was generally preferred for the transcription and reproduction of whole texts and lengthy excerpts also by European scholars; however, references to individual words and names in texts composed in European languages are usually represented using Roman transliteration, and from the mid 20th century, textual editions edited by Western scholars have also been mostly in romanized transliteration.
In the Republic of India, Sanskrit phrases are widely used as mottoes for various educational and social organizations. The motto of the Republic is also in Sanskrit.
- Republic of India
- Satyameva Jayate
- Janani Janmabhūmischa Svargādapi garīyasi
- Sarve Bhadrāni Paśyantu Mā Kaśchid Dukkha Bhābhavet
- Life Insurance Corporation of India
- Yogakshemam Vahāmyaham
- Indian Navy
- Shanno Varuna
- Indian Air Force
- Nābha Sparsham Dīptam
- Indian Coast Guard
- Vayam Rakshāmaha
- All India Radio
- Bahujana-hitāya bahujana-sukhāya
Many of the post – Independence educational institutions of national importance in India and Sri Lanka have Sanskrit mottoes. For a fuller list of such educational institutions, see List of educational institutions which have Sanskrit phrases as their mottoes.
Sanskrit's greatest influence, presumably, is that which it exerted on languages that grew from its vocabulary and grammatical base. Especially among élite circles in India, Sanskrit is prized as a storehouse of scripture and the language of prayers in Hinduism. Like Latin's influence on European languages and Classical Chinese's influence on East Asian languages, Sanskrit has influenced most Indian languages. While vernacular prayer is common, Sanskrit mantras are recited by millions of Hindus and most temple functions are conducted entirely in Sanskrit, often Vedic in form. Of modern day Indian languages, while Hindi and Urdu tend to be more heavily weighted with Arabic and Persian influence, Bengali and Marathi still retain a largely Sanskrit vocabulary base. The national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, is written in a literary form of Bengali (known as shuddha bhasha), so Sanskritized as to be recognizable, but still archaic to the modern ear. The national song of India Vande Mataram was originally a poem composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and taken from his book called 'Anandamath', is in a similarly highly Sanskritized Bengali. Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada also combine a great deal of Sanskrit vocabulary. Sanskrit is still prized and widespread as a medium of spiritual instruction for Hindus in India.
In non-Indian Subcontinent languages
Sanskrit words are found in many other present-day non-Indian languages. For instance, the Thai language contains many loan words from Sanskrit. For example, in Thai, the Rāvana – the emperor of Sri Lanka is called 'Thoskonth' which is a derivation of his Sanskrit name 'Dashakanth' ("of ten necks"). The influence extends as far as the Philippines, e.g., Tagalog 'gurò' from 'Guru', or 'teacher', with the Hindu seafarers who traded there. Many Sanskrit words are also found in modern day Malay 9 10% of the words are Sanskrit), Old Javanese language (close to 50%) and Vietnamese.
Attempts at revival
Of late, there have been attempts to revive the speaking of this ancient tongue, so that the vast literature available in Sanskrit can be made easily available to everyone. The CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) in India has made Sanskrit a third language (though it is an option for the school to adopt it or not, the other choice being the state's own official language) in the schools it governs. In such schools, learning Sanskrit is an option for grades 5 to 8 (Classes V to VIII). This is true of most schools, including but not limited to Christian missionary schools, affiliated to the ICSE board too, especially in those states where the official language is Hindi. An option between Sanskrit and Hindi (or many other local languages) as a second language exists for grades 9 and 10. Many organizations like the Samskrta Bharati are conducting Speak Sanskrit workshops to popularize the language. About four million people are claimed to have acquired the ability to speak Sanskrit fluently.
Sanskrit is spoken natively by the population in Mattur village in central Karnataka. Inhabitants of all castes learn Sanskrit starting in childhood and converse in the language. Even the local Muslims speak and converse in Sanskrit. Historically, the village was given by king Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire to Vedic scholars and their families. People in his kingdom spoke Kannada and Tuluva.
Several organizations across India are putting in efforts to revive the language and to preserve oral transmission of the Vedas. Shri Vedabharathi is one such organization based out of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh that has been digitizing the Vedas through voice recording the recitations of Vedic Pandits.
In recent years, there has been an interest with using Sanskrit in computer programming. Because of its syntax, it was believed to be ideal for computer translation.
Interactions with Sino-Tibetan languages
Sanskrit and related languages have also influenced their Sino-Tibetan-speaking neighbors to the north through the spread of Buddhist texts in translation. Buddhism was spread to China by Mahayanist missionaries mostly through translations of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit texts, and many terms were transliterated directly and added to the Chinese vocabulary. (Although Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is not Sanskrit, properly speaking, its vocabulary is substantially the same, both because of genetic relationship, and because of conscious imitation on the part of composers. Buddhist texts composed in Sanskrit proper were primarily found in philosophical schools like the Madhyamaka.)
Sanskrit's usage in modern times
All of India's scientific discoveries and developments are named in Sanskrit, as a counterpart of the western practice of naming scientific developments in Latin or Greek. The Indian guided missile program that was commenced in 1983 by DRDO has named the five missiles (ballistic and others) that it has developed as Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Nag and Trishul. India's first modern fighter aircraft is named Tejas. The Indian Space Research Organization ISRO has named all of its propulsion rockets after mythological characters found in Sanskrit literature.
This practice is usually followed in scientific institutions in India also.
Recital of Sanskrit shlokas as background chorus in films, television advertisements and as slogans for corporate organizations has become a trend.
Recently, Sanskrit has also made an appearance in Western pop music in recent years, in two recordings by Madonna. One, "Shanti/Ashtangi," from the 1998 album "Ray of Light," is the traditional Ashtanga yoga chant referenced above set to music. The second, "Cyber-raga," released in 2000 as a B-side to Madonna's single "Music," is a Sanskrit-language ode of devotion to a higher power and a wish for peace on earth. The climactic battle theme of The Matrix Revolutions features a choir singing Sanskrit prayer in the closing titles of the movie.
- See also: Sanskrit in the West
There have been suggestions to use Sanskrit as a metalanguage for knowledge representation in e.g. machine translation, and other areas of natural language processing because of its highly regular structure. This is due to Classical Sanskrit being a regularized, prescriptivist form abstracted from the much more irregular and richer Vedic Sanskrit. This levelling of the grammar of Classical Sanskrit occurred during the Brahmana phase, after the language had fallen out of popular use, arguably qualifying Classical Sanskrit as an early engineered language.
- Sanskrit literature
- Grantha Script
- Indo-European languages
- Languages of India
- List of national languages of India
- List of Indian languages by total speakers