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HG Bhaktarupa Das (ACBSP) wrote me saying he was keen to discuss Sanskrit

pronunciation. In my below reply to him, I gave a suggestion for how to experience and
practice a key learning point using new, online resources – please try it out!

Dina A Das

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Dina-Anukampana Das ददददददददददद ददद <>
Date: 2010/5/5
Subject: Fwd: [samskritabharatichennai] Fw: Fwd: Greatness of Sanskrit
To: "Bhaktarupa (das) ACBSP (Bhubaneswara - IN)" <>

dear bhaktarupa prabhu

pamho agtsp!

thanks for yr kind msg. glad you liked the video which I had shared with you.
Please see the scholarly, insightful and very informative below article by an Irish sanskrit
teacher appended below.

I'm very happy to note that you have an interest in my discoveries in techniques for
improving sanskrt pronunciation painlessly - i wonder if madhavaananda prabhu shared with
you any feedback about the 'crash course' in sanskrit pronunciation which i had given him -
have not seen him yet... if he had practiced a few mins every day for 2 wks, he shd have
experienced some wonderful changes in his sharpness of hearing..

will gladly share with you one day.

meanwhile, here's one of SP's instructions about the need to learn to pronounce properly - he
had said there's no need to go learn sanskrt grammar etc, but some devotees mis construe that
it is wrong to learn to pronounce correctly.

actually HH Lokanath maharaj had bought two of my books when they were on sale at
Mayapur and i met him later to thank him. He invited me to come teach my special course (4
lessons x 2 hrs) at Noida but i have not been able to due to my service thus far... thanks for
telling me about his new book on Sanskrit pronunciation. i must see it!

here's one of the key skills one needs to develop, or consciously sharpen to improve his
sanskrt pronunciation by 70%!!! - i tried to describe it as best as possible with the visuals and
the english sample words. using these notes, madhavananda prabhu shd be able to bring you
up to speed on it. Really it is simple, and we already have the talent, but we use it only in our
mother tongue.. here's a way to grow that skill -
pls read pg 2 first, and after that, page 1 of this document:
and then try to singalong to Chapt 2 of the Gita here: and as you
sing, CLAP your hands whenever there is a red slash, and really, really drag that loooooong
syllable. Now your sanskrit has at once attained 70% accuracy. Painless, wasn't it?

to get the entire text of Gita in Simplified Romanized Sanskrt (SRS) in PDF format, just click

And, to get all 18 chapters of the Gita in simple singalong style (MP3 Audio format) just go

OTHER STUFF: Some other useful/interesting docs online, just for your ref:

Romanized Sanskrt Table of Alphabets

Why Learn Romanized Sanskrit

SRS Course Notes, Tips, Charts

Pls let me know if any (or all) of these links fail to open - you will need FLASH to be
installed within your browser
If you can't open, i'll send you the direct links to the docs on
have tremedous fun chanting prabhu

yr servant
in service of sri sri guru and gauranga,

From Yahoo group on “Samskrit ”

*The greatness of Samskrit*

* by Sri Rutger Kortenhorst, a Sanskrit teacher in John Scottus school in Dublin.

He is also known as Mrutyunjayah. He is an active member of School of Practical

Philosophy and Economic Sciences.

*He took a year off and stayed in 'Aksharam', Veda Vijnana Gurukulam, Aurobindo Ashram
etc. to learn Samskritam, Vedanta etc.
*He had also attended 'samvaadshaalaa' and shikshka-prashiksha na-vargah.*
*His mail is below and it is very informative. *
*I particularly liked the idea expressed in the following sentence taken from Mrutyunjayasya
*"......Although India has been its custodian, Sanskrit has had universal appeal for
centuries... ...."*
*----------- - -----*

"Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, we are going to spend an hour together looking at the
topic ‘Why does my child do Sanskrit in John Scottus?’ My bet is that at the end of the hour
you will all have come to the conclusion that your children are indeed fortunate that this
extraordinary subject is part of their curriculum.*
*Firstly, let us look at Why Sanskrit for my child? We are the only school in Ireland doing
this language, so this will need some explaining. There are another 8 JSS-type schools
around the world that have made the same decision to include Sanskrit in their curriculum
(they are all off-shoots from the School of Philosophy). *
*Secondly, how is Sanskrit taught? You may have noticed your son or daughter singing
Sanskrit grammar songs in the back of the car just for the fun of it on the way home from
school. I’ll spend some time telling you HOW we approach teaching Sanskrit now since my
year in India.*
*But first of all: WHY Sanskrit? To answer that we need to look at the qualities of Sanskrit.
Sanskrit stands out above all other languages for its beauty of sound, precision in
pronunciation and reliability as well as thoroughness in every aspect of its structure. This is
why it has never fundamentally changed unlike all other languages. It has had no need to
change being the most perfect language of Mankind.*
*If we consider Shakespeare’s English, we realize how different and therefore difficult for
us his English language was although it is just English from less than 500 years ago. We
struggle with the meaning of Shakespeare’s English or that of the King James Bible. Go
back a bit further and we don’t have a clue about the English from the time of Chaucer’s
‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ from around 700 AD. We cannot even call this English anymore and
now rightly call it Anglo-Saxon. So English hadn’t even been born! All languages keep
changing beyond recognition. They change because they are defective. The changes are in
fact corruptions. They are born and die after seven or eight hundred years –about the lifetime
of a Giant Redwood Tree- because after so much corruption they have no life left in them.
Surprisingly there is one language in the world that does not have this short lifespan.
Sanskrit is the only exception. It is a never-dying constant. The reason for the constancy in
Sanskrit is that it is completely structured and thought out. There is not a word that has been
left out in
its grammar or etymology, which means every word can be traced back to where it came
from originally. This does not mean there is no room for new words either. Just as in English
we use older concepts from Greek and Latin to express modern inventions like a television:
‘tele [far] – vision [seeing]’ or ‘compute –er’. Sanskrit in fact specializes in making up
compound words from smaller words and parts. The word ‘Sams - krita’ itself means
‘completely – made’.*
*So what advantages are there to a fundamentally unchanging language? What is
advantageous about an unchanging friend, say? Are they reliable? What happens if you look
at a text in Sanskrit from thousands of years ago?*
*The exceptional features of Sanskrit have been recognised for a few centuries all over the
world, so you will find universities from many countries having a Sanskrit faculty. Whether
you go to Hawai, Cambridge or Harvard and even Trinity College Dublin has a seat for
Sanskrit –although it is vacant at present. May be one of your children will in time fill this
position again?*
*Although India has been its custodian, Sanskrit has had universal appeal for centuries. The
wisdom carried by this language appeals to the West as we can see from Yoga and
Ayurvedic Medicine as well as meditation techniques, and practical philosophies like
Buddhism and most of what we use in the School of Philosophy. It supports, expands and
enlightens rather than conflicts with local traditions and religions.*
*The precision of Sanskrit stems from the unparalleled detail on how the actual sounds of
the alphabet are structured and defined. The sounds have a particular place in the mouth,
nose and throat that can be defined and will never change. This is why in Sanskrit the letters
are called the ‘Indestructibles’ [aksharáni]. Sanskrit is the only language that has
consciously laid out its sounds from first principles. So the five mouth-positions for all
Indestructibles [letters] are defined and with a few clearly described mental and physical
efforts all are systematically planned: [point out chart]*



*Soft palate*

*Roof of the mouth*

*Top teeth*









*Little air*






*Much air*







*Little air*






*Much air*
























*After this description, what structure can we find in a, b, c, d, e, f , g...? There isn’t any,
except perhaps that it starts with ‘a’, and goes downhill from there ...

*Then there is the sheer beauty of the Sanskrit script as we learn it today. [Some examples
on the board]*
*You may well say: ‘Fine, but so why should my son or daughter have yet another subject
and another script to learn in their already busy school-day?’ In what way will he or she
benefit from the study of Sanskrit in 2010 in the Western world?*
*The qualities of Sanskrit will become the qualities of your child- that is the mind and heart
of your child will become beautiful, precise and reliable.
*Sanskrit automatically teaches your child and anybody else studying it to pay FINE
attention due to its uncanny precision. When the precision is there the experience is, that it
feels uplifting. It makes you happy. It is not difficult even for a beginner to experience this.
All you have to do is fine-tune your attention and like music you are drawn in and uplifted.
precision of attention serves all subjects, areas and activities of life both while in school and
for the rest of life. This will give your child a competitive advantage over any other children.
They will be able to attend more fully, easily and naturally. Thus in terms of relationships,
work, sport– in fact all aspects of life, they will perform better and gain more satisfaction.
Whatever you attend to fully, you excel in and you enjoy more.
*By studying Sanskrit, other languages can be learnt more easily; this being the language all
others borrow from fractionally. The Sanskrit grammar is reflected in part in Irish or Greek,
Latin or English. They all have a part of the complete Sanskrit grammar. Some being more
developed than others, but always only a part of the Sanskrit grammar, which is complete in

*What Sanskrit teaches us that there is a language that is ordered, following laws unfailingly
and as they are applied your child gets uplifted, not only when they grow up, but as they are
saying it! This means they get an unusual but precise, definite and clear insight into
language while they are enjoying themselves.*
*They learn to speak well, starting from Sanskrit, the mother language of all languages.
Those who speak well run the world. Barack Obama makes a difference because he can
speak well. Mahatma Gandhi could move huge crowds with well-balanced words. Mother
Theresa could express herself with simple words which uplift us even now. The language of
the great Master Teachers of mankind from times past is all we have got after centuries and
millennia, but they make all the difference. We can enter the remarkable mind of Plato
through his words. If your daughter or son can express themselves well through conscious
language they will be the leaders of the next generation.*
*Sanskrit has the most comprehensive writings in the world expressed through the Vedas
and the Gítá. The Upanishads –translated by William Butler Yeats have given people from
all over the world an insight into universal religious feelings for more than one century now.
To know these well expressed simple words of wisdom in the original is better than dealing
with copies or translations as copies are always inferior to originals. We really need clear
knowledge on universal religion in an age faced with remarkable levels of religious bigotry
and terrorism arising from poorly understood and half-baked religious ideas.*
*Vivekananda, a great spiritual leader from India revered by all in the World Religious
Conference of 1880 said:*
*You can put a mass of knowledge into the world, but that will not do it much good. There
must come some culture into the blood. We all know in modern times of nations which have
masses of knowledge, but what of them?
They are like tigers; they are like savages, because culture is not there. Knowledge is only
skin-deep, as civilization is, and a little scratch brings out the old savage. Such things
happen; this is the danger. Teach the masses in the vernaculars, give them ideas; they will
get information, but something more is necessary; give them culture.*
*Sanskrit can help your child to express universal, harmonious and simple truths better. As a
result you will really have done your duty as a parent and the world will reap the benefits in
a more humane, harmonious and united society. Sanskrit can do this as it is the only
language that is based in knowledge all the way. Nothing is left to chance.*
*Just think for the moment how confusing it is for a child to learn to say ‘rough’ , but
‘dough’. And why does the ‘o’ in ‘woman’ sound like an ‘e’ in ‘women’? How come the ‘ci’
in ‘special’ is different from the ‘ci’ in ‘cinema’? Teachers may well say ‘Just learn it’ as
there is no logical explanation, but it only demonstrates to a child that it is all a bit of a hit-
and-miss affair. What else does this randomness in the fundamental building-blocks of
language teach a child about the world? That it’s just a confusing, random chance-event?
How can this give anyone any confidence?*
*Now go to a language where everything is following rules. Where nothing is left to chance
from the humble origin of a letter to the most sophisticated philosophical idea. How will that
child meet the world? Surely with confidence, clarity and the ability to express itself?*
*I have seen myself and others growing in such qualities, because of our contact with
Sanskrit. I have just spent a year in India. Though it felt a bit like camping in a tent for a
year, it was well worth it. For many years, we taught Sanskrit like zealots i.e. with high
levels of enthusiasm and low levels of understanding, to both adults in the School of
Philosophy and children in John Scottus School. We did not perhaps inspire a lot of our
students and may have put a number of them off the study of Sanskrit. It felt to me like we
needed to go to the source. Sanskrit teachers worth their salt need to live with people whose
daily means of communication is in Sanskrit. I had already spent three summers near
Bangalore doing just that and becoming less of an amateur, but it really needed a more
thorough study. So I moved into a traditional gurukulam for the year. This meant living on
campus, eating lots of rice and putting up with a few power-cuts and water shortages, but by
December 2009, I made up my mind that I would step down as vice-principal of the Senior
School and dedicate myself to Sanskrit for the rest of my teaching life. It felt like a
promotion to me as quite a few could be vice-principal but right now which other teacher
could forge ahead in Sanskrit in Ireland? [Hopefully this will change before I pop off to the
next world.] With Sanskrit I’m expecting my mind to improve with age even if my body
slows down a little. Sanskrit is often compared to the full-time teacher, who is there for you
24/7 whereas the other languages are more like part-timers. The effects of studying Sanskrit
on me have been first and foremost a realistic confidence. Secondly, it meant I had to
become more precise and speak weighing my words more carefully. It also taught me to
express myself with less waffle and therefore speak more briefly. My power of attention and
retention has undoubtedly increased.*
*Now, let me explain for a few minutes, HOW Sanskrit is taught. To my surprise it is not
taught well in most places in India. Pupils have to learn it from when they are around age 9
to 11 and then they give it up, because it is taught so badly! Only a few die-hards stick with
it, in time teaching the same old endings endlessly to the next generation. This is partly due
to India having adopted a craving to copy the West and their tradition having been
systematically rooted out by colonialism. *
*For learning grammar and the wisdom of the East, I was well-placed in a traditional
gurukulam, but for spoken Sanskrit I felt a modern approach was missing.*
*Then I found a teacher from the International School belonging to the Sri Aurobindo
Ashram in Pondicherry. His name is Narendra. He has developed a novel, inspiring and light
method to teach grammar, which doesn’t feel like you do any grammar at all. At the same
time it isn’t diluted for beginners so you don’t end up with partial knowledge. I also
foolowed a few Sanskrit Conversation camps, which all brought about more familiarity. *
*Narendra says he owes his method to Sri Aurobindo and his companion ‘the Mother’ who
inspired him to come up with the course we now follow in Dublin. This is one of the many
things ‘the Mother’ said to inspire him: “Teach logically. Your method should be most
natural, efficient and stimulating to the mind. It should carry one forward at a great pace.
You need not cling there to any past or present manner of teaching.”*
* This is how I would summarize the principles for teaching Sanskrit as we carry it out at
*1. Language learning is not for academics as everyone learns to speak a language from an
early age before they can read and write and know what an academic is. So why insist in
teaching Sanskrit academically? *
*2. The writing script is not the most fundamental thing to be taught. A language is firstly
made of its sounds, words and spoken sentences. [The script we use -though very beautiful-
is only a few hundred years old.]*
*3. Always go from what is known to what is new.*
*4. Understanding works better than memorisation in this Age. Learning by heart should
only take up 10 % of the mental work, rather than the 90 % rote learning in Sanskrit up to
the recent present.*
*5. Don’t teach words and endings in isolation; teach them in the context of a sentence as
the sentence is the smallest meaningful unit in language.*
*6. Any tedious memory work which cannot be avoided should be taught in a song.*
*7. Do not teach grammatical terms. Just as we don’t need to know about the carburettor,
when we learn to drive a car.*
*8. The course should be finished in two years by an average student according to Narendra.
This may be a little optimistic given that we are a little out of the loop not living in India,
which is still Sanskrit’s custodian. At present I would say it is going to be a three-year
*9. Language learning must be playful. Use drama, song, computer games and other tricks to
make learning enjoyable.*
*We have started on this course since September and it has certainly put a smile on our
pupils’ faces, which makes a pleasant change. I now feel totally confident that we are
providing your children with a thorough, structured and enjoyable course. Our students
should be well prepared for the International Sanskrit Cambridge exam by the time they
finish –age 14/15- at the end of second year. We will also teach them some of the timeless
wisdom enshrined in various verses. At present we are teaching them:*
*“All that lives is full of the Lord. Claim nothing; enjoy! Do not covet His property”- in the
original of course.*
*The future. Let us look at the 500 – year cycle of a Renaissance. The last European
Renaissance developed three subjects: Art, Music and Science to shape the world we live in
today. It had its beginning in Florence. The great Humanist Marsilio Ficino made Plato
available to the masses by translating it from Greek to Latin. We live in exciting times and
may well be at the beginning of a new Renaissance. It also will be based on three new
subjects: Some say that these will be Economics, Law and Language.*
*Language has to become more universal now as we can connect with each other globally
within seconds. NASA America’s Space Program is actively looking at Sanskrit in relation
to I.T. and artificial intelligence. *
* Sri Aurobindo said…at once majestic and sweet and flexible, strong and clearly-formed
and full and vibrant and subtle…*
*What John Scottus pupils have said:*
*It makes your mind bright, sharp and clear.*
*It makes you feel peaceful and happy.*
*It makes you feel BIG.*
*It cleans and loosens your tongue so you can pronounce any language easily.
*What Sanskrit enthusiasts have said:*
*It gives you access to a vast and liberating literature.*
*It can describe all aspects of human life from the most abstract philosophical to the latest
scientific discoveries, hinting at further developments. *
*Sanskrit and computers are a perfect fit. The precision play of Sanskrit with computer tools
will awaken the capacity in human beings to utilize their innate higher mental faculty with a
momentum that would inevitably transform the mind. In fact, the mere learning of Sanskrit
by large numbers of people in itself represents a quantum leap in consciousness, not to
mention the rich endowment it will provide in the arena of future communication. NASA,
*After many thousands of years, Sanskrit still lives with a vitality that can breathe life,
restore unity and inspire peace on our tired and troubled planet. It is a sacred gift, an
opportunity. The future could be very bright.*
2009/2/11 Gaurav Verma <gaurav_v@xxxxx>

Dear all, is it possible to get Shri vishnu sahasranam strotram without complex
sandhis, so that it may be easier to pronounce the words?

In response to that query, Dina replied:

dear gauravji

hare krsna!

by the grace of sri guru and sri krishna, i have discovered 3 things that could, in
my humble opinion, revolutionize the propagation of sanskrit to the masses and
can help anyone easily enter into the joy of chanting slokas accurately.....

1) Simplified Romanized Sanskrit (SRS) text format

2) simplified way of singing basic slokas (like gita) bhajan style instead of
chanting them with chandha (which requires much more expertise and is
frustrating for beginners) - sample of my singing - )

& 3) special teaching methods (described briefly here - shortcut URL www.dina- - crash course in perfect sanskrit pronunciation using phonetics and
accelerated learning techniques (which makes the class very interactive and
enjoyable) - within just 4 lessons of 2 hrs each we are able to help anyone,
foreigners or even sanskrit professors (!!), to identify their pronunciation defects
and begin SELF-correcting! Quite amazing, but as it is often prayed ' mUkam
karoti vaacaalam....' by the grace of sri guru and sri krsna, even a mute(dumb
person) can speak poetry!... and here is what some sanskrit professors have had
to say about my startling discoveries - )

(Please see the attached sample of Sri Vishu Sahasranaama Stotram in

SRS format* ( and [hybrid]) which i have
just completed having been inspired by your request for the vishnu
sahasranam in simpler form and [hybrid
version]) - it is quite sublime, how this SRS format works... Let me try to explain
a little.... there is [what i call] a 'break' in the sound after long vowels which
makes the pronunciation different from if it were short - eg. English words 'sit'
and 'seat' - the first case is a short vowel, which 'touches' the consonant after it;
but the second case is a looong vowel, and its sound must not 'touch' the next
vowel - that's the difference between short and long - it's easy to recognize for
words we already know, but with sanskrt, beginners' worst mistake is jumbling
the short and the long - often because the same word may appear with various
combinations of long and short vowels and we may subconsciously associate it
with those other sounds and thus mis pronounce it. the RED SLASHES added in
the attached text not only highlight all the long vowels but subconsciously
induce us to stress those sounds and keep them from 'touching' the next

[i hope that makes some kind of sense to you..... it's easier to understand if you
attend one of my Sanskrit pronunciation workshops one day, lord willing! - but
you can see some explanation of it at this shortcut URL
where i explain a little about my teaching methods in an interview done recently
on television in New Zealand. ] {I have also just attached a visual explanation of
breaks which I recently published in the book Vraja Riti Cintamani in SRS format}

[* I just tried to upload it to our yahoogroups files area, but i can't - only the
moderator can - Moderator, pls upload the attached files as I believe beginners
and the English-speaking will find them very useful. Thank you.]

Please feel free to share the attached SRS Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram
( and ) with anyone and everyone and I am
very confident that many who thought they'll NEVER be able to chant the sacred
Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram in this lifetime WILL BE ABLE TO! I would love
to have their feedback...


I hope all the sanskrt lovers here may also realize how vitally important it is to
simplify this entry level teaching of sanskrt (this point was mentioned by Rick
Briggs in his attached article when he predicted that very soon Sanskrit would
again become a global language), coz once masses get hooked to it, then real
momentum will arise in reviving this sacred language! I hope i may conduct
some SRS pronunciation courses in chennai soon.... if there is sufficient interest
and if a local person takes the initiative to organize it properly, i would be able to
do it in chennai during the next two weeks.... do let me know... i'd be thrilled to
share my discoveries...

yours sincerely,

dina-anukampana das


Quotes on the Importance of Sanskrit - Please Click Here

To Add this article here: Rick Briggs (Senior Research Scientist
in the field of Aritificial Intelligence for NASA) published this
article in AI Journaly, Spring 1985:

(Last updated 4:10 pm Thurs 27th May 2010)

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