Vedas – the cornerstone of Hinduism – are ‘apauruseya’, meaning ‘not of a man’ or ‘superhuman’ in Sanskrit. The surmised other-worldly Vedas dictated the way of life in ancient India, and Sanskrit served as its liturgical language, one that played an integral role in laying the first stones of Hindu philosophy in India.
World’s oldest language is Sanskrit. The Sanskrit language is called Devbhasha. All European languages seem inspired by Sanskrit. All the universities and educational institutions spread across the world consider Sanskrit as the most ancient language. It is believed that all the languages of the world have originated from Sanskrit somewhere. The Sanskrit language has been spoken since 5,000 years before Christ. Sanskrit is still the official language of India. However, in the present time, Sanskrit has become a language of worship and ritual instead of the language of speech. All the auspicious works performed in Hindu religion are recited by Veda Mantra, whose language is Sanskrit.
The entire legacy of Indian culture and tradition lies within the Sanskrit language. Spoken by priests and used as a transactional language amongst those dealing with the ancient scriptures, the Indian epics, shastras and multiple manuscripts were written in Sanskrit. It is also considered a root for various other mainstream languages like Hindi and Telegu.
The origins of Sanskrit trace back to the Bronze Age, when metallurgy was avant-garde, so to speak. With refinement came the need for literature, and the passage of time saw the emergence of vernacular languages. Case in point, Sanskrit’s earliest record is from 2,000 BC, meaning the language had found its niche early on, making its way into the first of the manuscripts.
According to the records of renowned Sanskrit linguist and scholar, Pānini, the earliest form of the language is attributed to the Vedic version. The later post-Vedic classical Sanskrit version finds itself in the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, treasured Hindu chronicles. Sanskrit further transcended the frontiers of faith into the manuscripts of Jainism and Buddhism.
The language has been present through the ever-changing patterns on every front of life, often later interpreted in different languages for religious propagation: some of the best literary works through India’s history (including many Buddhist and Jain scripts and texts) are in Sanskrit, and shlokas (verses) recited during Hindu rituals are in Sanskrit to this day.
The linguistic ancestry of Sanskrit certainly reflects a paradigm of influence in the conception of other vernacular Indian languages. Regional languages, such as Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi and Nepali, have conspicuous deduction from Sanskrit; Hindi—most spoken language in India—has derived an especially significant amount of structure.
Had Sanskrit stood the test of time by adapting into the ever-changing social patterns of the country, it would have a different story today. Somewhere between the tumultuous, war-torn periods of India’s history, Sanskrit lost its way. The language transitioned from being vernacular to being a symbol of great erudition. Due to the lack of patronage or the language’s complexity, Sanskrit stubbornly embraced antiquity.
The language of our ancestors, the spoken words concentrated in a few pockets of the country are breathing their last breath. In this densely polyglot country called India, you have to demarcate between a language and a dialect in order to gather a sense of the loss in the linguistic frame of things.
An Indo-Aryan language, Kutchi speakers belong to the Kutch region of Gujarat. The script has had variations, including a Perso-Arabic script for the Pakistani side while Gujarati was for the Indian side. The number of speakers took a huge hit when there was an earthquake in the region and more than 30,000 lives were lost.
Believed to be mainly dispersed across the northern and western regions in India, the Prakrit language is believed to have been used while composing the Jainism scriptures. As opposed to the dominance of Sanskrit, Prakrit was considered a vernacular and means ‘derived from the original.’
The language of the Natak in northern medieval India, Shauraseni is also known as the dramatic prakrit in which Jain epics have been composed. Also, Jain acharyas belonging to the Digambara sect wrote in this language.