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Monday, 4 July 2016

Samskruta and Samskruti

Children and teenagers chanting in resonant tones.

Young adults hurriedly going about their allotted duties.

Mild-mannered elderly teachers conveying the most profound of messages.

Respect, humility and affection characterizing the actions of the guests as well as the audience

An audience comprising men, women and children of all ages watching the proceedings with awe as they imbibe the spirit of the event.

The common thread linking these people together, ensuring they sit attentively through a 2-hour program – Sanskrit.

The Sringeri Shankar Mutt where I attend Sanskrit classes every Sunday evening had a small function yesterday. The event was held to give out certificates to students who had cleared the previous year’s exams conducted by the Sura Saraswathi Sabha and Sanskrita Bharathi – two institutions relentlessly striving to get people to learn what is described as the classical language of India.

The entire program – the anchoring, the invocations, welcome speeches, address by the guests of honor and vote of thanks –was conducted almost entirely in Sanskrit. Although many of us students are only now growing familiar with this tongue, it was not really difficult to understand the things that were being said.

But the unspoken left a bigger impact than what was said.

An erudite Veda scholar and teacher staunchly refusing to accept anything except a book as a token of appreciation.

Towering personalities prostrating and attributing their undisputed abilities to the blessings of the Guru and God.

Mothers who initially accompanied their children to the class later enrolling themselves to learn and passing the exams with flying colors.

Indeed, as all the Gurus at yesterday’s event kept reiterating, Sanskrit and Sanskriti – or Samskruta and Samskruti as they called it – are two sides of the same coin. 

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