Sanskrit was widely considered to be the mythological language in India, particularly in Hinduism, as it was considered that the gods used Sanskrit as the language for their mode of communication. It is still the most ancient language known in India from which other languages originated, and thus, the language has a very rich and outstanding legacy in our country.
The ancient Indo Aryan settlements originally conversed in Sanskrit. Still, the local influence on the language gave way to numerous other languages that we know today, and Sanskrit took a backseat. Sanskrit in English means ‘done completely.’ It is a language that is perfection personified and thus the master language that has given rise to so many beautiful forms of other languages.
UPSC Mains Sanskrit Syllabus Paper – I
There will be three questions as indicated in the question paper which must be answered in Sanskrit. The remaining questions must be answered either in Sanskrit or in the medium of examination opted by the candidate.
1. Significant features of the grammar, with particular stress on Sanjna, Sandhi, Karaka, Samasa, Kartari and Karmani vacyas (voice usages) (to be answered in Sanskrit).
2. (a) Main characteristics of Vedic Sanskrit language.
(b) Prominent features of classical Sanskrit language.
(c) Contribution of Sanskrit to linguistic studies.
3. General Knowledge of:-
(a) Literary history of Sanskit,
(b) Principal trends of literary criticism
(e) The origin and development of literary genres of:
4. Essentials of Indian Culture with stress on
d) Arts and fine arts
e) Technical sciences
5. Trends of Indian Philosophy
6. Short Essay in Sanskrit
7. Unseen passage with the questions, to be answered in Sanskrit.
IAS aspirants who are targeting UPSC Exam may check the linked article.
UPSC Mains Sanskrit Syllabus Paper – II
Question from Group 4 is to be answered in Sanskrit only. Question from Groups 1, 2 and 3 are to be answered either in Sanskrit or in the medium opted by the candidate.
General study of the following groups:-
g) Dasakumaracaritam -Dandin
h) Sivarajyodayam-S.B. Varnekar
c) Sundarakanda of Valmiki’s Ramayana
d) Arthasastra of Kautilya
a) Svapnavasavadattam- Bhasa
b) Abhijnanasakuntalam- Kalidasa
e) Uttararamacaritam- Bhavabhuti
g) Venisamharam- Bhattanarayana
Short notes in Sanskrit on the following:-
Questions from Groups 1 & 2 are to be answered in Sanskrit only. (Questions from Groups 3 & 4 are to be answered in Sanskrit or in the medium opted by the candidate).
This Section will require first hand reading of the following selected texts :-
(a) Raghuvansam-Canto I, Verses 1 to 10
(b) Kumarasambhavam-Canto I, Verses 1 to 10
(c) Kiratarjuniyam-Canto I, Verses 1 to 10
(a) Isavasyopanisad-verses-1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 15 and 18
(b) Bhagavatgita II chapter verses 13 to 25
(c) Sundarakandam of Valmiki Canto 15, Verses 15 to 30 (Geeta Press Edition)
(a) Meghadutam-verses 1 to 10
(b) Nitisatakam-Verses 1 to 10 (Edited by D.D. Kosambi Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Publication)
(c) Kadambari-Sukanasopadesa (only)
(a) Svapnavasavadattam Act VI
(b) Abhijnansakuntalam Act IV verses 15 to 30
(M.R. Kale Edition)
(c) Uttararamacaritam Act 1 verses 31 to 47
(M.R. Kale Edition)
Also, Check Other Optional Subject’s Syllabus
More about the Sanskrit Language
Sanskrit is the language which runs through the blood of Hinduism. All religious and ancient scriptures, manuscripts and texts are written and formulated in Sankrit. Age old hymns, verses and songs on deities can be found preached, practiced and written in Sanskrit in its truest form.
The ancient Vedic culture and the gurukula tradition imbibed Sankrit though their life. Sanskrit was not just a language and it was a way of living for many in ancient India. Apart from Hinduism, Sanskrit is also part of Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. These three religions originated and branched from Hinduism alone, so it is quite natural to find the Sanskrit connection in all of them.
The language contains the best form of entirety in itself. It is complete in all respects and is imbibed with the best way to express views and ideas in the spoken form, written form, expression in other forms of arts, poetry, crossing over emotions, etc. Generating any form of emotion or idea and giving it life through the language is beautifully comprehended with the rich spread of vocabulary in the language form.
The route taken by the language through which it traversed from the deities to the common man on the Earth is well established over centuries. Brahma used the language to communicate with his sages and this communication was kept intact likewise with other celestial deities as well.
Slowly, the sages started conversing in the language with their disciples which further continued for many ages to come. This is the journey of the language starting from the celestial deities to the folks on Earth.
The earliest form of mention about the language is in Rig Veda. The hymns and scriptures in the Vedic literature were earlier in the verbose form, mostly through word-of-mouth form from sages though their disciples and continuing though forthcoming generations.
The verbal form of this enormous knowledge took to the transcribed form and sages began writing them and saving them in the Vedic literature, the written form that we are well versed with today. The Rig Veda in particular contains the best fitting and perfect description about the capacities and forces of nature.
The enriching tradition and culture of Sanskrit is amassing and hence can be divided into two flourishing groups. Each category has its own importance and significance in its revered timeline. Coming to the first one, the language can be seen as Sanskrit that flourished under the Vedic culture.
So, Sanskrit was the main source of connection for the Vedas, Puranas and the Upanishads. The second part deals with Sanskrit in the classical era. The classical era of Sanskrit starts with the end of the Vedic era. This era begins with the writing of Sanskrit Grammar by Panini. Panini wrote ‘Ashtadhyayi’ to the world, beginning a glorious era of Sanskrit in the refined form, a form that had a recorded grammar in the written form, a much more established language and new changes brought about simultaneously.
The first era of Sanskrit under the Vedic age. All the religious texts in the form of Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads contain Sanskrit in the most nascent and raw form. This form has been preserved in these scriptures without being disturbed till date. The era can be established between 1000 to 500 BC.
It was in this era that Sanskrit was popular only in the oral communication mode. All communication happened only in the verbose manner and there was no form of written record anywhere. So, in all, the orally communicated form of language had 4 strong points that stood like pillars of strength in that era, this includes a rich vocabulary, rich phonetic base, enriched grammar and an established syntactic representation.
These 4 aspects of the language helped build Sanskrit in the most basic form and continued the same till now. The language had 52 letters, amongst which 16 were vowels and 36 were consonants. Ancient science also used this form of Sanskrit mainly in astronomical and medical fields and their representations have been an area of interest to the western world till date.
What was most important and stood out of the rest of the world was the ‘sound’ aspect of the language. It was the different sounds that played high importance as the language could be understood only by grasping the varying clarity in recognizing sounds.
Thus the original form of language contains a plethora of abstract nouns, a rare quality, not quite found anywhere else.
Coming to the classical era, the ‘Ashtadhyayi’ or the main religious text of reference for Sanskrit grammar has established in written form, around 3959 sets of rules to connect with the language and the proper format in which it is to be written down. Panini is the person responsible for standardising the language in all formats.
Sanskrit finds a mention in the constitution of India. The written form, along with verses and hymns has been the greatest form of treasure in Indian music.
Indian music has been a treasure trove of largest collection of Keertans, Shlokas, verses, Bhajans, Stotras and Mantras, based on different gods and goddesses, all written in one single language- Sanskrit. Western countries have shown immense interest in the preservation and restoration of the language.
This language in particular is not just a language; it is a gateway to a treasure island of various forms of literature, knowledge, philosophies and religious learning. India too is striving hard to preserve and continue the Sanskrit heritage to carry it forward for many generations to come.
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