Pre-read for Online Sanskrit Session 4 – 20th July 2014

Sanskrit grammar is very structured. It is bound by a lot more rules than any other language. What makes Sanskrit very robust is the mathematical nature in its grammar.

The entire grammar is based on rules and they are algebraic in nature. These rules involve recursive and iterative processes which are mathematical in nature. In many contexts, we have to deal with the number of permutations possible with the given number of syllables. Sanskrit grammarians and logicians have to note many observations while constructing sentences. A Sanskrit sentence is looked at as a ‘string’ of objects. Every object is a meaningful word. These words are made up of syllables. While constructing sentences, grammarians need to see what happens when certain units of a string (syllables) come next to each other…what effect they have on each other and what is the result due to the effect. For example, if a+b+c+d+e+f is a string, then a, b, c, d, e and f are its units. Sanskrit grammar rules are such that the form of a unit might change because of the effect of its neighbouring unit. E.g. The unit ‘b’ might undergo a change when in contact with ‘a’ or ‘c’. The structure of a language is its elements plus relationship between the elements. Even the order of alphabets in Sanskrit has got rules and is not random arrangement of letters (as in English). Depending on the sounds, a set of alphabets fall under a certain group.

In short, Sanskrit grammar looks into mathematical aspects like String theory, Group theory, Sets, Functions, Relations, Permutations, Combinations, etc. This beautiful mathematical grouping, classification and structuring of Sanskrit grammar was done by the great grammarian Panini (500 BCE) in his text Ashtadhyayi.

The beauty of the Himalayas cannot be described in words or pictures. One has to go there and stand in front of the mighty mountains to grasp its beauty. In the same way, however hard a person tries to explain the beauty of Sanskrit language, the effort would be futile. To appreciate the beauty and complexity of Sanskrit, one has to learn Sanskrit. And among the famous linguists of all times, it is Panini to whom the world ranks number one for encapsulating a mighty language with a set of mathematical rules.

~ Learnings from ‘Learning Sanskrit Language and Structure: Theory and Application’ a two-week residential camp at Chinmaya International Foundation from 16th – 30th June 2014.

Register for the Online Classes at

Link for class on 20th July 2014


3 thoughts on “Pre-read for Online Sanskrit Session 4 – 20th July 2014

  1. Smita

    Sentence taken to be string of meaningful objects….this concept resonates with the part from the whole idea existing everywhere in the cosmos.Thank you for sharing this,now got more insight into why people say Sanskrit is like Math!

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