There has been interest expressed here in Sanskrit language study. How is this language studied? In American universities, this is typically done by the instructor assigning lessons from a book, and then in class answering questions that arise from the students doing these lessons. There is often very little actual instruction given by the instructor. Most of the instruction comes from the book. When this is the case, this is something that can just as well be done online. Then the only real need to pay thousands of dollars for a professor, or more often a graduate student, to do this, is for those who need the credential.
 
We suggest purchasing and using Judith Tyberg's First Lessons in Sanskrit Grammar and Reading, to serve as the instructor. This is available at Amazon for $13.95. Any questions that arise from going through these lessons can be discussed here on this forum. Nancy Reigle will be available for this, as time permits. She started studying this book with the late Judith Tyberg in 1978. This book is highly recommended to start one's studies of Sanskrit with.
 
A detailed listing of what books are available for Sanskrit study can be found in "Sanskrit Language Study: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Materials in English" (attached here, and also at: http://www.easterntradition.org/etri%20bib-sanskrit%20study.pdf). For those who want a more advanced course, there are several options. A couple of these can be used for self-study, but most require an instructor. Among the latter is the Devavanipravesika: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language, by Robert Goldman and Sally Sutherland Goldman. Nancy studied this book in an exceptional class with the co-author, Sally Sutherland (Goldman), at University of California, Berkeley, and can also reply to questions on its lessons.
 
Whatever book you choose, we wish you well in this difficult but rewarding study.

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Two More Mahāvākyas

    sarvaṃ khalvidam brahma    (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 3.14.1)

    "All this indeed is brahman."

    Sarvam (all) khalu (indeed) idam (this, i.e., the manifested universe) [is] brahma (the impersonal absolute).

        (Sandhi: khalu + idam = khalvidam.)

------------------

    ekam evādvitīyam brahma    (derived from Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.2.1)

    "Brahman is one alone without a second."

    Ekam (one) eva (alone) advitīyam (without a second) [is] brahma (the impersonal absolute).
   
        (Sandhi: eva + advitīyam = evādvitīyam.) 


Hi Nancy and all, I want to add some thoughts about the mahavakyas but maintaining the focus in the reflection about the sanskrit language, topic which meet us here.
The first reflections is related to a post I made some weeks ago, I wrote:

Brahmāsmī vibhāyatām
And it means:
You have to realize fully the [meaning] "Brahmasmi".
Quoting Sankaracarya and his Sadhana Pañcakam.
Afterwards Nancy added:


This verse uses the passive imperative verb vibhāvyatām (to cultivate in meditation) in connection with the mahāvākya: "I am brahman". As usual, there is a wide variance in the way each translator chooses to translate this verb into English:   
 
Realize fully (cited below)
Remember (R. E. Gussner)
Meditate upon (Swami Satchidanandendra)
Revolve in the mind (C. S. Venkateswaran)
Be absorbed in the attitude (bhāv) (Swami Chinmayananda)
Understand and be immersed in the bhāva (attitude) (H. H. Muralidharan)
 


The interesting point here is the polisemic aspect of a sanskrit word, not only in its translation (as seen before) but in the original too. In some cases this is due to the long history and wide usage of a term that produces many differents meanings. The root system also is part of this and the use of particles as preverbs, suffixes, etc. It can be add that the orthodox sects have their own methods of interpretation, etymology and word families, it can be seen when a brahmin explains the meaning of a verse or a word and the system he uses to establish links with others words, deduce etymologies, exchange of synonyms, etc. This method not always fit in with the occidental one but is very interesting and enlightening.


Another interesting thing is that a mahavakya is not only a sentence to be repeated or a concept in the surface of the mind, but a subconscious attitude, a real belief. For instance, we can say to ourselves: ahambrahmasmi, even meditate upon that, but if instinctually we act ignoring that, we have no yet understood the mahavakya. In the same text by Sankaracarya we have an example of that:

deho'hamitirujyatāṃ
deha= body aham= I iti= “x” ruj= destroy
And could be translated as:
The idea: “I am the body” must be destroyed.


So, deho'ham has the form of a mahavakya but is an idea firmly rooted in our subconscious mind, it is the identification with the upadhi, in the same way, the mahavakyas have to penetrate deep into our hearts until they turn an instinc (spiritual of course).

In her last post, Leila made some important points to ponder on the use of mahāvākyas:
 
"Another interesting thing is that a mahavakya is not only a sentence to be repeated or a concept in the surface of the mind, but a subconscious attitude, a real belief. For instance, we can say to ourselves: ahambrahmasmi, even meditate upon that, but if instinctually we act ignoring that, we have not yet understood the mahavakya."  
 
Leila also said:
 
"It can be added that the orthodox sects have their own methods of interpretation, etymology and word families, it can be seen when a brahmin explains the meaning of a verse or a word and the system he uses to establish links with others words, deduce etymologies, exchange of synonyms, etc. This method does not always fit in with the occidental one but is very interesting and enlightening."
 
    This reminds me of two very different etymologies of the word 'Upaniṣad', both of which are accounted for in Monier-Williams' Sanskrit-English Dictionary.  
 
1. sit (sad) down (ni) near (upa); that is, to sit at the feet of a teacher to receive spiritual instruction.
 
And according to traditional authorities, such as Śaṅkarācārya:
 
2. upa (near), ni (quite) and sad (to go, to perish, to waste away). That is, "setting at rest ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the supreme spirit."
 
 
From a pdf provided by Capt. Anand Kumar:
 
    "The great commentator [Śaṅkarācārya] derives the term from the three words upa (near), ni (quite) and sad (to go, to perish, to waste away) and explains that the word means Brahma-vidya, the Spiritual Wisdom which, by leading its devotee very near to Brahman, brings about the final extinction of misery by eradicating it and burning up its very seed, avidya."
 
(From the Introduction to Minor Upanishads, Vol. 1, Amritabindu and Kaivalya-Upanishads with Commentaries, pp. xiv-xv. Translated into English by A. Mahadeva Sastri. 2nd ed. Madras, 1921.)
Another Mahāvākya

    Here is a well-known saying that is often considered to be a mahāvākya. It is usually quoted as being from Śaṅkarācārya, but we found it in the Nirālamba Upaniṣad, verse 35:

brahma satyaṃ jagan mithyā

"Brahman is real; the world is false."

Brahma (the impersonal absolute) [is] satyam (real, true); jagat (the world) [is] mithyā (false).

    (Sandhi: jagat + mithyā = jagan mithyā.)

Two sources for this saying in Śaṅkarācārya's works are his Viveka-cūḍāmaṇi (verse 20), and the Vedānta-ḍiṇḍima (verse 66). 
Yes, I think it would be helpful to post some of these texts, especially since they are classics in their field. The Sankaracarya works could be posted with the Sanskrit Documents -- Hindu Documents, as part of the Online Sanskrit Texts Project, and then reference could be made to them from this Sanskrit Language Study forum. If in the future we post some texts that are specifically language study tools, we could post them here on this language forum. But many of the best language study tools are still under copyright, so we can only recommend them at this time.  
    In conjunction with the recent posting of Sāṃkhya texts in the Online Sanskrit Text Project, we will begin posting the Sāṃkhya-Kārikā, verse by verse, here on the Sanskrit Language Study forum. We will base this on the Har Dutt Sharma edition of the Sanskrit text and his English translation, with some adaptations. 
  
    
     Sāṃkhya-Kārikā
 
duḥkha-trayābhighātāj jijñāsā tad-abhighātake hetau |
dṛṣţe sāpārthā cen naikāntātyantato 'bhāvāt || 1 || 
 
[without sandhi:
 
duḥkha-traya-abhighātāt jijñāsā tad-abhighātake hetau |
dṛṣţe sā apārthā cet na ekānta-atyantato abhāvāt || 1 ||  ]
 
1. Due to affliction from threefold suffering, inquiry (should be made) into the means for its removal. If (it be said that) this is useless when (there exist) evident (means), (then we reply:) no, because of the absence of certainty and finality (in those evident means).
 
duḥkha-traya-abhighātāt (due to affliction [abhighāta] from threefold [traya] suffering [duḥkha]); jijñāsā (inquiry) [should be made]; tad-abhighātake (for its removal); hetau (into the means); dṛṣţe (when [there exist] evident [means]); sā (this); apārthā ([is] useless); cet (if [it be said that]); na ([then we reply:] no); ekānta-atyantato (of certainty [ekānta] and finality [atyanta]); abhāvāt (because of the absence).
Sāṃkhya-Kārikā, verse 1, Grammatical Analysis

without sandhi:

duḥkha-traya-abhighātāt jijñāsā tat-abhighātake hetau |
dṛṣṭe sā apārthā cet na ekānta-atyantataḥ abhāvāt || 1 ||

duḥkha-traya-abhighātāt (tatpuruṣa compound; noun; masculine ablative or 5th case singular) = due to the affliction (abhighātāt) of the threefold (traya) suffering (duḥkha); literally, "due to the affliction (abhighātāt) of the triplet (traya) of sufferings (duḥkha)." In this tatpuruṣa or case relation compound, the genitive or 6th case ending, "of," must be supplied for traya (trayasya, "of the triplet"), and for duḥkha (duḥkhānām, "of sufferings").

jijñāsā (noun; feminine nominative or 1st case singular) = inquiry. In "inquiry (should be made)," the "(should be made)" is implied.
 
tat-abhighātake (tatpuruṣa compound; noun; masculine locative or 7th case singular) = for its (tat, 3rd person pronoun) removal (abhighātake). The locative or 7th case is more literally "in regard to" its removal, but is translated idiomatically as "for" its removal. In this tatpuruṣa or case relation compound, the genitive or 6th case ending, "of," must be supplied for tat (tasya, "of it," "its").

hetau (noun; masculine locative or 7th case singular) = into the means.

dṛṣṭe (noun; neuter locative or 7th case singular) = when (there exist) evident (means). Literally, dṛṣṭa means "seen," and is here translated idiomatically as "evident." This is a locative absolute,* which gives the import of "when." The "there exist" brings in the implied "is" verb. The "means" is also implied after "evident."

sā (pronoun; feminine nominative or 1st case singular) = this. It agrees with the feminine jijñāsā, "inquiry."

apārthā (adjective; feminine nominative or 1st case singular) = [is] useless. The "is" is implied.

cet (indeclinable) = if. The phrase "(it be said that)" is often implied with cet.

na (indeclinable) = no. The "(then we reply:)" is also often impled in the "cen na" phrase.

ekānta-atyantataḥ (dvandva compound with the indeclinable ending -taḥ; noun) = of certainty (ekānta) and finality (atyanta). The indeclinable ending "-taḥ," usually indicating the ablative or 5th case, here indicates the genitive or 6th case, "of." In this dvandva or conjunctive compound, an "and" must be supplied between certainty and finality. The phrase "(in those evident means)" is implied.

abhāvāt (noun; masculine ablative or 5th case singular) = because of the absence.

*Note: Judith Tyberg gives a good description of how the locative (and genitive) absolutes are used in her First Lessons in Sanskrit Grammar and Reading on pp. 121-122. (There are brief descriptions of tatpuruṣa and karmadhāraya compounds on pp. 59 and 57.)

         Sāṃkhya-Kārikā, verse 1, commentary

     Here is Gauḍapāda's commentary for verse 1, based on Har Dutt Sharma's English translation, with some adaptations:

    Salutations to Kapila who, out of compassion for the world sunk in the ocean of ignorance, constructed a boat, as it were, in the form of Sāṃkhya, for crossing (that ocean).
    For the benefit of students, I shall concisely explain this science, this short and clear text, including proofs, conclusions, and reasons.

    “Threefold suffering”: This verse (āryā) is introduced. The blessed one, Kapila by name, was the son of Brahmā. As it (has been said):

    Sanaka, Sanandana, and third, Sanātana, Āsuri, Kapila, Voḍhu, and Pañcaśikha—these seven great sages are said to be the sons of Brahmā.


    Kapila was born with virtue, knowledge, desirelessness, and power. He, being born thus, seeing the world sinking in blinding gloom through the succession of saṃsāra (birth and death), having true compassion, taught this knowledge of the twenty-five principles to the enquiring Brahman Āsuri, of his own lineage; from which knowledge the destruction of suffering results.


    One who knows the twenty-five principles, in whatever stage of life he may be, whether he has matted hair, or is shaven, or has a topknot, becomes liberated; there is no doubt about it.


    So (they) say this (verse 1): “Due to affliction from threefold suffering, inquiry (should be made).” The three kinds of suffering are internal, external, and celestial. The internal (suffering) is twofold, bodily and mental. Bodily is fever,
dysentery, and the rest, brought about by disorder of wind, bile, or phlegm. Mental is separation from what is liked, union with what is not liked, and the rest. The external (suffering), caused by the fourfold host of living beings, arises from those born from the womb, those born from an egg, those born of sweat, and those born by sprouting, i.e., humans, domestic animals, wild animals, birds, snakes, biting flies, mosquitos, lice, bugs, fish, crocodiles, sharks, and stationary beings (plants). The celestial (suffering), celestial because it belongs to the gods, or celestial because it comes from the sky—what arises with reference to that (the gods or the sky)—is cold, heat, wind, rain, thunderbolt, and the rest. Thus, since “due to affliction from threefold suffering, inquiry” should be made, (made) into what?


    “Into the means for its removal”: Into that which is the means for the removal of that threefold suffering.


    “If (it be said that) this is useless when (there exist) evident (means)”: If (cet), i.e., if (yadi), (it be said that) this inquiry is useless when (there exist) evident means for the removal of the threefold suffering. (For the removal) of the twofold internal (suffering), there are, through treatment according to medical science, by coming together with what is liked, avoidance of what is not liked, the pungent, the bitter, the astringent, and other decoctions, and the like, quite evident internal means. The evident (means) for the removal of external (suffering) are by protection and the like. If you thus think that this (inquiry) is useless when (there exist) evident (means), (then we reply:) no.


    “Because of the absence of certainty and finality”: Because by evident means the removal (of suffering) does not occur certainly, i.e., necessarily, and finally, i.e., permanently. Therefore, inquiry, i.e., investigation, into the means for certain and final removal (of suffering) should be made elsewhere.

Here is a list that will be useful for reference during our reading of the Sāṃkhya-kārikā:

The 25 tattvas (principles) of the Sāṃkhya system

    puruṣa (spirit, pure consciousness)
    prakṛti (matter, substance, nature)
    mahat or buddhi (the "great" principle, the principle of intelligence)
    ahaṃkāra (the principle of self-consciousness)
    manas (mind)

The 5 buddhīndriyas (sense faculties):
    śrotra (hearing)
    tvac (touching)
    cakṣus (seeing)
    rasana (tasting)
    ghrāṇa (smelling)

The 5 karmendriyas (action faculties)
    vāc (speaking)
    pāṇi (grasping)
    pāda (walking, locomotion)
    pāyu (excreting)
    upastha (procreating)

The 5 tanmātras (the subtle elements)
    śabda (sound)
    sparśa (touch)
    rūpa (form)
    rasa (taste)
    gandha (smell)

The 5 mahābhūtas (the "great elements," the gross elements)
    ākāśa (space, ether)
    vāyu (air, wind)
    tejas (fire)
    ap (water)
    pṛthivī (earth)

    Sāṃkhya-Kārikā, verse 2

dṛṣţavad ānuśravikaḥ sa hy aviśuddhi-kṣayātiśaya-yuktaḥ |
tad-viparītaḥ śreyān vyaktāvyakta-jña-vijñānāt || 2 ||

[without sandhi:

dṛṣţavat ānuśravikaḥ sa
hi aviśuddhi-kṣaya-atiśaya-yuktaḥ |
tat-viparītaḥ śreyān vyakta-avyakta-jña-vijñānāt || 2 ||  ]

 
2. The scriptural (means) are like the evident (means), for they are linked with impurity, destruction, and (inequality due to) superiority. (A means) contrary to those is better, (resulting) from the discriminative knowledge of the manifest, the unmanifest, and the knower.
 
 
dṛṣţavat ([are] like [vat] the evident [dṛṣţa] [means]); ānuśravikaḥ (the scriptural [means]); sa (it, contextually they); hi (for); aviśuddhi-kṣaya-atiśaya-yuktaḥ ([are] linked [yuktaḥ] with impurity [aviśuddhi], destruction [kṣaya], [and] [inequality due to] superiority [atiśaya];
tat-viparītaḥ ([a means] contrary [viparītaḥ] to those [tat]); śreyān ([is] better); vyakta-avyakta-jña-vijñānāt ([resulting] from the discriminative knowledge [vijñānāt] of the manifest [vyakta], the unmanifest [avyakta], and the knower [jña]).

Sāṃkhya-Kārikā, verse 2, Grammatical Analysis

without sandhi:

dṛṣţavat ānuśravikaḥ saḥ hi aviśuddhi-kṣaya-atiśaya-yuktaḥ |
tat-viparītaḥ śreyān vyakta-avyakta-jña-vijñānāt || 2 || 


dṛṣţavat (indeclinable) = [are] like (-vat) the evident (dṛṣţa) [means]. The words "[are]" and "[means]" are implied. 

ānuśravikaḥ (adjective; masculine nominative or 1st case singular) = scriptural [means].

saḥ (pronoun; masculine nominative or 1st case singular) = it; contextually "they."

hi (indeclinable) = for.

aviśuddhi-kṣaya-atiśaya-yuktaḥ (tatpuruṣa compound; noun; masculine nominative or 1st case singular) = [are] linked (yuktaḥ) with impurity (aviśuddhi), destruction (kṣaya), and [inequality due to] superiority (atiśaya). In this tatpuruṣa or case relation compound, the case relation is between two members. The first member is the first three words taken together. These three words, aviśuddhi, kṣaya, and atiśaya, form a dvandva or conjunctive compound. An "and" must be supplied between impurity (aviśuddhi), and destruction (kṣaya), and [inequality due to] superiority (atiśaya). The second member is the last word, yukta. Here is where the case relation comes in, by supplying "with." So we have "linked (yukta) with" the preceding.

tat-viparītaḥ (tatpuruṣa compound; adjective; masculine nominative or 1st case singular) = [A means] contrary (viparītaḥ) to those (tat). In this tatpuruṣa or case relation compound, the ablative or 5th case ending, "than," or idiomatically "to" in this English phrase, must be supplied for the pronoun tat, "that" or "those."

śreyān (adjective; masculine nominative or 1st case singular) = [is] better. The undeclined form of this word is śreyas.

vyakta-avyakta-jña-vijñānāt (tatpuruṣa compound; noun; neuter ablative or 5th case singular) = [resulting] from the discriminative knowledge (vijñānāt) of the manifest (vyakta), the unmanifest (avyakta), and the knower (jña). In this tatpuruṣa or case relation compound, the case relation is between two members. Like the compound in the first line of this verse, the first member is the first three words taken together. These three words form a dvandva or conjunctive compound, in which an "and" must be supplied between the three words. Then with the second member, vijñāna, the case relation comes in, supplying "of." So we have "discriminative knowledge (vijñāna) of" the preceding.  

Sāṃkhya-Kārikā, verse 2, commentary

    
If inquiry is to be made into other than the evident (means), because (such other, namely) the scriptural means (are known to) remove the threefold suffering, even then (we answer) no. That which is heard in succession (anuśrūyate) (by being passed down) is Vedic scripture (anuśrava); what pertains to it is (called) scriptural (ānuśravika). That is established by the Vedas (āgama); . . .

Thus, when certain and final (means) are taught in the Vedas, the inquiry is useless. (We reply:) No. It is said (verse 2):

“The scriptural (means) are like the evident (means)”: Like the evident (means), i.e., equal to the evident (means). Why are the scriptural (means) like the evident (means)? Because (they are):

“Linked with impurity, destruction, and (inequality due to) superiority”: Linked with impurity, because of the slaughter of animals. . . .

Although virtue is prescribed by the revealed scriptures and the remembered scriptures, still, because of being mixed, (the scriptural means) are linked with impurity. Again,

In every age many thousands of Indras and (their hosts) of gods have been overtaken by time (and so passed away); time is indeed hard to overcome.

Thus, because of the perishing of Indra and the rest, (the scriptural means) are linked with destruction. Also, they are linked with (inequality due to) superiority, i.e., (being) special. By seeing the characteristic of being special (in one), there will be suffering for another. Thus the scriptural means are also like the evident (means). If (it be asked): What, then, is better? It is said (by the text):

“(A means) contrary to those is better”: (A means) contrary to those evident and scriptural (means) is better, i.e., more beneficial, because of being free from impurity, destruction, and (inequality due to) superiority. How is that (acquired)? (The text) says:

“From the discriminative knowledge of the manifest, the unmanifest, and the knower”: The manifest is the Great (principle) [mahat] and the rest, i.e., the (principle of) intelligence, the (principle of) self-consciousness, the five subtle elements, the eleven faculties, and the five great elements. The unmanifest is primary substance [pradhāna, i.e., prakṛti]. The knower is spirit [puruṣa]. Thus, these twenty-five principles are called the manifest, the unmanifest, and the knower. (A means resulting) from the discriminative knowledge of these is better. It was said: “One who knows the twenty-five principles, etc.”

[See list of the 25 tattvas, above.]

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