Sanskrit

Classical Sanskrit is the transcultural, transregional language par excellence for the civilizations that have flourished in South Asia. For its beauty and complexity, it has been called “the language of the gods”. For nearly three millennia, South Asian seers and sovereigns, poets and philosophers, scholars and scientists composed texts of astonishing literary beauty and incredible logical rigor in Sanskrit. Indeed, to be a South Asian intellectual was to be a master of Sanskrit—not merely to be fluent in it, but to understand the rigorous linguistic underpinnings of the language (its morphology, syntax, and prosody) as well as to absorb the complex theories of aesthetics and hermeneutics that govern Sanskrit texts. The study of Sanskrit is therefore absolutely essential for unlocking the profundities and  the complexities of the life of the mind and of the heart in classical South Asia. It offers many lifetimes’ worth of insight into worlds of literature, linguistics, law, ritual, and philosophy—all the more so, since millions of precious manuscripts remain unstudied and untranslated in the original Sanskrit. Studying Sanskrit also provides a powerful foundation for studying the modern South Asian languages, most of which bear the deep imprint of the language of the gods. It is thus the key not just to South Asia’s past, but also to its present and to its future.
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Last updated 7/22/16
Please check FAS Courses of Instruction for latest information

Sanskrit 101A. Elementary Sanskrit
Gokul Madhavan
(fall term). M., W., F., 12-1:00pm
Introduction to Classical Sanskrit, the translocal language of intellectual life in South Asia for much of the last two millennia. This course provides the essential grammar and reading proficiency necessary to take up the language’s many rich literary traditions: scripture (Upaniṣad), epic (Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata), poetry, Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, etc. After completing the textbook, we will read a narrative (Hitopadeśa) drawn from one of the most popular literary works in the pre-modern world.

Sanskrit 101B. Elementary Sanskrit
Gokul Madhavan
(spring term). M., W., F., 12-1:00pm
Continuation of Sanskrit 101A.

Sanskrit 102AR. Intermediate Sanskrit I
Gokul Madhavan
(fall term). M., W., F., 1-2:00pm
A reading course designed to give students the tools necessary for advanced study in Classical Sanskrit. Readings in epic (itihāsa) or narrative (kathā), poetry (kāvya) or systematic thought (śāstra) will introduce students to a variety of important genres and their distinctive conventions. A focus upon the Sanskrit tradition’s categories of analysis - grammatical, commentarial and prosodic - will enable students to begin to make sense of original Sanskrit texts as generations of the tradition’s own readers have.

Sanskrit 102BR. Intermediate Sanskrit II
Gokul Madhavan
(spring term). M., W., F., 1-2:00pm
Continuation of Sanskrit 102AR.

Sanskrit 200AR. Advanced Poetic Sanskrit
Gokul Madhavan
(fall term). Tu., Th., 8:30-10.
Selected readings from classical Sanskrit literature.

Sanskrit 200BR. Advanced Literary Sanskrit
Gokul Madhavan
(spring term). Tu., Th., 8:30-10am
Selected readings from classical Sanskrit literary theory.

*Sanskrit 250R. Nth Year Sanskrit: Seminar
Parimal G. Patil
(fall term). Hours to be arranged.
An advanced course for students who have completed at least four years of formal Sanskrit instruction. Texts and topics will vary from year to year. Enrollment: Limited to 15.