History was made when the Nevada state senate became the first US state to open a session with a Hindu Prayer:
Director of Interfaith Relations of the Hindu Temple of Northern Nevada Rajan Zed chanted the prayers to open the session on Monday.
Wearing saffron robes, ‘rudraksh’ necklace and traditional sandal paste ’tilak’ on the forehead, Zed began with a hymn from the Rig Veda.
What’s even better is that from the article I learnt the source of the following prayer:
Om saha naavavatu,
Saha nau bhunaktu,
Saha viiryan karavaavahai,
which means “May we be protected together, may we be nourished together, may we work together with great vigor, may our study be enlightening, may no obstacle arise between us.”
The prayer/quote is from the Taittiriya Upanishad. This is one of the few sanskrit shlokas I remember by heart.
Samskrita Bharati started as an experiment in 1981 in Bangalore, India to bring Samskritam back into daily life. Not surprisingly, they offer live courses in the US and India, and supplement it with an excellent correspondence course on Sanskrit.
The course assumes no prior knowledge of Sanskrit, and starts from the very basics. They make good use of audio cassettes(though maybe it is time to move up to Audio CDs ). In addition, they have a neat feature where one can call a telephone number in the USA and leave a voice message with a question, and have a volunteer answer it, for free!
Learning is accomplished through four “grades”. The fee for each grade is a paltry $100!! Each grade consists of 12 lessons with tests to measure comprehension. Passing a grade will get you a certificate and the right to enter the next grade.
For details on this correspondence course, visit the Samskrita Bharati correspondence course page.
Samskrita Bharati. (www.samskrit-bharati.org), offers Sanskrit lessons, via
correspondence both within India and abroad.
Post enrollment, I have just received my first set of lessons, which are both in
booklets and in casettes. We are encouraged to follow the text in the booklet,
listening to the casette. There are four level, each having a duration of 6
months. After completing each level, the student is expected to mail the
completed exercises back to S-B for verification and subsequent certfication.
I am currently in Atlanta, and have enrolled myself in the first i.e. Pravesha
Level, of the said course.
Earlier we had seen the books that are good for learning Sanskrit. However, since not everyone who wants to start with learning a new language might be willing, or able, to invest in books, this article will provide a free online option for learning Sanskrit.
The first, and in my opinion, best online resource for learning Sanskrit is IIT Madras’ excellent Sanskrit Tutor website – Acharya. You can complete the lessons online, or evern download the lessons and read them offline. The Sanskrit text could be clearer, but that should stop no one from learning the language. If you need motivation to get started with Sanskrit, the “why should one learn Sanskrit” page can help you out, too.
Good luck with learning the mother of all languages!Older Articles »