- The ancient India had very many language families and majority of them are extinct now. Currently, we have two popular language families, indo aryan and dravidian. Sanskirit and Tamil are Classical languages and used for all subjects such as science, management, arts etc, including spiritual topics.
- The Prakrits became literary languages, generally patronized by kings. The earliest inscriptions in Prakrit are those of Asoka. The various Prakrit languages are associated with different patron dynasties, with different religions and different literary traditions.
- The earliest records in Old Tamil are short inscriptions from around the 2nd century BCE in caves and on pottery. These inscriptions are written in a variant of the Brahmi script called Tamil Brahmi and the earliest long text in Old Tamil is the Tolkappiyam, an early work on Tamil grammar and poetics, around 1st century BC.
- We miss lot of original scriptures. Meanings of words change over time. So, it will be difficult to understand what author wants to say.
- Scriptures evolved over time, with many additions, deletions and modifications.
- Bulk of the scriptures are a sealed book to us.
- Ancient tribes include Gandharvas, Devas, Yakshas, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, Rakshasas, Nagas, Suparnas, Vanaras, Vidyadharas, Valakilyas, Pisachas, Rudras, Adityas, Danavas, Maruts, Nivatakavachas, Daityas, Kalakeyas and Vasus. Sanskirit, called deva basha may be the language of deva tribes. Sanskrit also means "adorned, cultivated, purified" or "refined speech" and Vedic Sanskrit used around 1500 B.C. edic Sanskrit comprises three categories: Vedas, poetic works that became sacred literature; Brahmanas, (prose religious writings).
- Classical Sanskrit was codified in a grammar, by Panini and initially used Grantha, Sharda and Siddham scripts for writing. From the 19th century, the language has primarily been written with the Devanagari alphabet, but it also can be written with Thai and Tibetan alphabets. It is used in mantras and religious services for the Eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Actual meanings of these mantras and texts may not be known to us.
- All religious texts are not originally written in Sanskirit. There are many languages like Pali; Prakrit; Devanagarika; Tamil; Kannada; Telugu; Sauraseni; Magadhi; Maharashtri; Kucheo; Brajbhasa, Bundeli; Awadhi; Marwari; Maithili; Bhojpuri; and Magahi. There are many ancient scripts and originals are in different scripts such as: Brahmiscript; The Kharoṣṭhior Gandhariscript; Siddhaṃ script; Gupta script; Bhujimol script; Kalinga script. Kashmiri had an appropriate and precise script of its own in Sharda used by sankara.
- Zoroasters are fire worshippers. The Gods in Hindu mythology were called Devas, and the Villians were called Asuras. Now in Zoroaster mythology, the Gods are called Ahuras and the Demons are called Daevas. The Hindus call the mighty river of the Vedas the Saraswati and the Zoroasters call it the Harasvati. The Zoroasters called the Sindhu as Hindu, and that is how the people of the Sindhu valley were named. And the Iranian texts also claim to be as old as the Vedas.
The problem with scriptures, is they were orally transmitted initially. The meaning of words in any language change over time. Scriptures have been written using different scripts, compared to what is in use now. So, we are not understanding these verses correctly. Without the knowledge of usage of scriptures in those times and understanding of related sciences/geography/history, it will be difficult to understand the meanings of those verses.
Initially all these would have started with some basic facts, astronomical/geological/historical events. Then writers/poets, with poetic imaginations and fantasies, would have brought it to current form. So, it will be diificult to extract the real meaningful content from these.
Earlier no one thought of the meanings of their chants. So, people are kept in the dark. It helped rulers and ruling class, to manage affairs, with out any discussion.
Rishi is the knower, Devata is the knowing and Chandas is the known.
The Vedic language itself was called meter or Chandas. Though the word chandas also means vedas themselves, the meaning here refers to the meter of vedic poetry. Rig and Sama vedas are fully in the form of verses, whereas, Yajur Veda has prose and poetry. It is believed that the oldest source of Chandas is ‘Chandasurta’ by some unknown author named Pingalacharya. Chandas are not only for Vedas but used in many other scriptures too.
Ancient Sanskrit we mean the oldest known form of Sanskrit. The simple name 'Sanskrit' generally refers to Classical Sanskrit, which is a later, fixed form that follows rules laid down by a grammarian around 400 BC.
Old Tamil literature refers Chandas as Chandham; Prakrit is Bagatham; and Sanskrit is Sankatham.
The seven main ones are:
Gayatri: 3 padas of 8 syllables containing 24 syllables in each stanza.
Ushnuk : 4 padas of 7 syllables containing 28 syllables in each stanza.
Anustubh: 4 padas of 8 syllables containing 32 syllables in each stanza.
Brihati : 4 padas (8 + 8 + 12 + 8) containing 36 syllables in each stanza
Pankti : 4 padas (sometimes 5 padas) containing 40 syllables in each stanza.
Tristubh: 4 padas of 11 syllables containing 44 syllabes in each stanza
Jagati: 4 padas of 12 syllables containing 48 syllables in each stanza
Of the six Vedangas or ways of viewing the Vedas, four relate to language with
etymology (Nirukta), grammar (Vyakarana), pronunciation (Siksha) and meter (Chandas).
The ancient Indian scripts known as the Brahmi and Kharosthi alphabets have been employed to record Sanskrit. Both Brahmi and Kharosthi are thought to be of Semitic origin. The Devanagari characters, which are descended from Brahmi, also were, and still are, used for writing Sanskrit.
Indian linguist Bhartrihari. His other works, niti-satakam and sringara-satakam are hundred verses on worldly wisdom and love, respectively.
Panini grammarian who lived in Gandhara and is most famous for his grammar of Sanskrit, particularly for his formulation of the 3,959 rules of Sanskrit morphology in the text Ashtadhyayi. Panini's grammar of Sanskrit is highly systematised and technical. His rules have a reputation for perfection. It was Panini who first enunciated that grammatically, Sanskrit has eight cases for the noun (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative, instrumental, vocative, and locative), three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter), three numbers for verbs, nouns, pronouns, and adjectives (singular, dual, and plural), and three voices for the verb (active, middle, and passive).
Sage Valmiki saw a hunter who killed one of the birds of a pair which were in love. The sage got enraged and cursed the hunter, O, Hunter, may you not fare well anytime as you killed one of pair of the Krouncha birds which were happily engaged in love”.
mA niShAda pratiShThA.n tvamagamaH shAshvatI.n samAH |
yatkrauJNchamithunAdekamavadhIH kAmamohitam.h || (bAlakANDa 2.14)
The above sloka also meant “O Lord of Lakshmi, it will bring you eternal glory for having killed a male of a happy couple who lost his head completely in lust..” This male is Ravana who lost his head in lust despite being happily married with his wife Mandodari.
Valmiki Ramayana set in Anushtub Chandas which is an octet.
Some ancient scripts
Sumerian (Kish tablet of 3500 BCE)
Egyptian about 3200 BCE;
The Indus Valley Civilization (3300–2800 BCE) script remains undeciphered.
Elamite language about 2800 BCE;
Akkadian language was attested (2500 BCE);
Eblaite, closely related to Akkadian
Hittite attested from 1500 BCE.
Chinese records from 1250 BCE.
* Graffiti symbols are mistaken for scripts
Ancient Indian languages
Currently, we have two popular language families, indo aryan and dravidian. Tamil belongs to dravidian family and dravidian is not Tamil (fallacy: Grand father is not same as grand son. each grand son claims that he is original). Same applies to indo aryan and sanskirit.
Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and drama as well as scientific, technical, philosophical and religious texts. But there is a misconception that Sanskirit is Hindu religious language,
Languages does not belong to any religion or country. It belongs to speakers. Universal and available to humanity,
(1) After 500 BC History. After 500 BC, most of the materials are documented. Brahmi annd many versions of brahmi script are used. Coding used is still not well understood and disputable
(2) After 2500 BC and Before 500 BC Theories, Models and proposals, which can neither be proven nor rejected
(3) Before 2500 BC Just Intelligent guess, Speculation and trying to infer some meaning.
Many scripts found from ancient excavations could not be deciphered, but language groups claim as their ancient language. Widely circulated Fallacies becomes facts.
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