The Importance of Sanskrit -- Statements and Quotes by Great Minds
For thousands of years ancient traditions and knowledge were passed
on from generation to generation through only one language --
Sanskrit. Sanskrit therefore contained in itself the very essence of
Indian culture. This was recognized by Macaulay whom we call the
father of our Modern Indian Education System. In his infamous Minutes
of 1835, he made this historical speech in the British Parliament
which struck a blow at the centuries old system of Indian education.
"I have travelled the length and breadth of India and have not seen
one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen
in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that
I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break
the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural
heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and
ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that
all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own,
they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation."
Macaulay realized that he could achieve his goal by eliminating
Sanskrit from being an essential part of the Indian Educational
System. The most important step that he adopted was to shut down
several Sanskrit schools and to introduce English as a modern and
civilized language. Sadly enough, even today we Indians take pride in
speaking English while neglecting our own rich and invaluable
language -- Sanskrit.
Listed below are a few quotations on Sanskrit highlighting its
Sanskrit language, as has been universally recognized by those
competent to form a judgement, as one of the most magnificient, the
most perfect, the most prominent and wonderfully sufficient literary
instruments developed by the human mind.
- Shri Aurobindo
The Mother gave a lot of importance to the use of simple Sanskrit.
She believed that no one could claim to be a true Indian if he/she
did not have any knowledge of Sanskrit. She was emphatic on this
point, "every child born in India should know it, just as every child
born in France has to know French."
- The Mother, 11.11.1967
Sanskrit flows through our blood. It is only Sanskrit that can
establish the unity of the country.
Nobel Laureate, Dr. C. V. Raman, on the need for Sanskrit to be the
Without the study of Sanskrit one cannot become a true Indian and a
true learned man.
- Mahatma Gandhi
If you have to adopt a language, why should you not have the world's
greatest language?(while discussing on the bill on the National
Language of Bharat in the Constituent Assembly.)
- Shri Najiruddin Ahmed
If I was asked, what is the greatest treasure which India possesses
and what is her finest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly that
it is the Sanskrit language and literature and all that it contains.
This is the magnificent inheritance and so long as this endures and
influences the life of our people, so long will the basic genius of
India continue. If our race forgot the Buddha, the Upanishads and the
great Epics (Ramayan and Mahabharat), India would cease to be India.
- Jawaharlal Nehru
If Sanskrit would be divorced from the everyday life of the masses of
this country, a light would be gone from the life of the people and
the distinctive features of Hindu culture which have won for it an
honoured place in world-thought would soon be affected to the great
disadvantage and loss both of India and of the world."
- Sir Mirza Ismail
The intellectual debt of Europe on Sanskrit literature has been
undeniably great. It may perhaps become greater still in the years
that are to come. We (Europeans) are still behind in making even our
alphabet a perfect one.
- Prof. Macdonell
Sanskrit is the greatest language in the world.
- Max Muller
Indeed the role of Sanskrit in modern India is very great. In the
words of Max Muller, "A people that can feel no pride in the past, in
its history and literature, loses the mainstay of its national
character. When Gemany was in the very depth of its political
degradation, it turned to its ancient literature and drew hope for
the future from the study of the past.
- Shri Satyaranjan Banerjee, The Vedanta Keshari, Shri Ramakrishna
Math, Mylapore, Madras, May 1962
Sanskrit was at one time the only language of the world. It is more
perfect and copious than Greek and Latin.
- Prof. Bopp
What is wrong with Sanskrit? (when questioned as to why he was among
those who sponsored Sanskrit as the official language of the Indian
- Dr. Ambedkar
Even Albert Einstein was well-versed in Sanskrit. One day he tried
talking to an Indian Scientist Dr. B. N. Gupta, in Sanskrit. When Dr.
B.N.Gupta confessed that he did not the language Dr. Einstein was
amazed at the poor response of the young Indian Scientist and said,
"You hail from India which is the home of Hindu Philosophy, yet you
have not cared to learn that language. Come along, see my library
which treasures classics from Sanskritam."
- Samskrita Bharati
Our whole culture, literature and life would remain incomplete so
long as our scholars, our thinkers and our educationists remain
ignorant of Sanskrit.
- Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Sanskrit is not the language of any particular sect or creed. It is
the language of every Indian.
- Fakruddin Ali Ahmed
Sanskrit is the language of every man, to whatever race he may
- Dr. Shaidullah
Sanskrit has moulded the minds of our people to the extent to which
they themselves are not conscious. Sanskrit literature is national in
one sense, but its purpose has been universal. That is why it
commanded the attention of people who were not followers of a
- Dr. Radhakrishnan
In the case of an Indian youth, he virtually ceases to be an Indian
if he does not have the atmosphere of Sanskrit in his temperament,
either directly or indirectly... it is exceedingly important, in
order to preserve the sense of self-respect of an Indian educated
person, that he should have an acquaintance with Sanskrit and its
literature. Young men and women passing out of the High Schools and
the Universities without any knowledge of their national heritage as
preserved in Sanskrit lack the very essential means to approach the
outside world confidently and with a sense of self-respect. The main
reason for this is that this Indian heritage has got the power to
make those of possess it feel a spiritual and intellectual assurance
- Report of the Sanskrit Commission, 1956-57, 1958, pp. 89-90
The reasons for studying Sanskrit today are the same as they aver
were: that the vast array of Sanskrit texts preserves for us a
valuable part of the cultural heritage of mankind, including much
beautiful literature and many interesting, even fascinating, ideas.
- Prof. Richard Gombrich (holds the Bolden chair at Oxford)
There is no language in India which can take the place of Sanskrit
because no other language has the same intimate contact with the
inner spirit of our lives. We may carry the dead weight of English as
long as we choose but it is not and can never be an Indian language.
It has no roots in our soil. ...Sanskrit and Sanskrit alone is
associated with the life of the people over the whole country. It is
heard in the family circle, in the market place and in the temple.
Let us not play with this great heritage. It can never be replaced
but once we lose it, we shall cease to be Indians. Even our political
independence will be of hardly much value either to ourselves or to
the world at large.
- Shri Sampurnananda, Samskritavishvaparishat, Bangalore, May 1966,
On the practical plane one must acknowledge that in terms of its
grammar, phonetics, vocabulary and the Devanagari script, Sanskrit
becomes a wonderfully efficient vehicle of communication. It is not
surprising that recent empirical studies about the relative
suitability of different languages and scripts for use in Computer
programming and operation indicated that Sanskrit in Devanagari
script was not only the most suitable but also that it perfectly
satisfied every requirement as an optimal medium for use....
The culture of Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature is actually the
culture of synthesis and assimilation. The message of Sanskrit
literature is one of humanism, of unity of mankind, of values, of
peace and mutual understanding and of harmonious development of the
individual and the society. Acquaintance with such literature can
only elevate and widen one's outlook. Far from being obscurantist,
the Sanskrit literature can be a positive force for progress and
growth in the right direction....
It would help us to remain not too far behind those other countries
that have surged far ahead of us in reaping the benefits of study of
Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature...
It would help reviving the ethos of India because synthesis, harmony,
and reconciliation comprise the essence of the culture of Sanskrit.
It would help us to unlock the treasure- house of scientific insights
and research results concerning positive sciences in our ancient
literature. It would help us in using Sanskrit as a medium par
excellence in Computer operations and as a language for the new
It would help us to invigorate various languages of India. As
Gandhiji said, "Sanskrit is like the river Ganga for our languages. I
always feel that if it were to dry up, the regional languages also
would lose their vitality and power. It seems to me that an
elementary knowledge of Sanskrit is essential."
It is not sentiment on my part that makes me say so but practical
consideration of the utility to our country of this great language
and the vast knowledge held in it.
To quote Jawaharlal, "The past is gone and the present is with us and
we work for the future.
But I have no doubt that whatever shape that future may take, one of
the biggest, the strongest and the most powerful and the most valued
of our legacies will be the Sanskrit language."
- Ex president of India, Shankar Dayal,Sharma, "Legacy of Sanskrit,"
The Indian Nation, 11 Jan 1988
Sanskrit is thus for India the symbol and substance of its national
unity and as a connecting bond with Asia and the world... to study
Sanskrit and disseminate Sanskrit among the people,...would not only
be a tribute to Kalidasa but a way of preparing ourselves for the
- Ex President of India - K. R. Narayanan
The Sanskrit language is the 'devabhasha'...It is the language of the
Satya Yug based on the true and perfect relation of vak and artha.
Everyone of its vowels and consonants has a particular and
inalienable force which exists by the nature of things and not by
development or human choice.
- Shri Aurobindo, 'Hymns to the Mystic Fire'
Sanskrit ought still to have a future as a language of the learned
and it will not be a good day for India when the ancient tongue
ceases entirely to be written or spoken.
- Shri Aurobindo, 'The Hour of God'
The ideal would be in a few years, to have a rejuvenated Sanskrit as
the representative language of India, that is a spoken Sanskrit.
Sanskrit is behind all the languages of India and it should be
that... - The Mother,11.11.1967
When the great philologists and scholars of computational linguistics
whole-heartedly accept Sanskrit as the best and most scientific
language of the world, on what basis can one say that Sanskrit is a
dead language? ...Sanskrit being a natural language, there is no
question of its death. It is alive in the heart and mind of the
people of India." As Professor Sampurnananda has said, "Sanskrit is
not merely alive, it is also a medicine to make the dead alive."
- Prof. Lakshmikanta Maitra, Samsara, 2 November 1948
The only safety, I tell you men who belong to the lower castes, the
only way to raise your condition is to study Sanskrit. Why do you not
become Sanskrit scholars? Why do you not spend millions to bring
Sanskrit education to all castes of India? That is the question. The
moment you do these things, you are equal to the Brahmin.
The very sound of Sanskrit words give a prestige and a power and a
strength to the race. Sanskrit and prestige go together in India. As
soon as you have that, none dares say anything against you. That is
the one secret; take that up.
- Swami Vivekanand
Well, here I would like to quote a wonderful and worthy observation from a wonderful blog maintained by my friendMike Magee http://www.shivashakti.com/ [don’t miss to see his page http://www.shivashakti.com/datta.htm] about some aspect of Sanskrit language “One of the unique but mysterious features of the Sanskrit language is how many words can be used at three separate and distinct levels of thought. Even whole verses have this remarkable feature. It is one of the factors which have made translation into other languages so difficult. The difference presupposes three groups of people. First there is the literal meaning intended for the householder or worldly man, and a guide to better thought and action. The second is the meaning on a higher level intended for the mumukshi or hungry seeker for God. Here the same words take the reader from the mundane level to the higher level, and the implications. The third is the meaning intended for the soul who has attained or is nearly ready to attain liberation”. This literally leads to both correct, crystal clear meanings and also gives room to those who pander to chaotic and callous interpretations, more so in spiritual texts, I stress spiritual texts, not religious ones, wherein there are always many esoteric intrinsic meanings which unravel only to the enlightened souls and not necessarily to a linguistic scholars or academic thinkers or even intellectual giants