Posts Tagged ‘Sanskrit’


March 6, 2020


A compound adjective that is of inestimable value in daily life, this is indeed used several times in the गीत गोविन्द (Gīta Govinda) of Jayadeva.


With regard to the Gīta Govinda, Krishna is certainly doing some kneading of Radha (milkmaid/female cow herder/cowgirl) in the illustration above, but a pedant could query whether his hands are on her breasts.

Cowgirl. Indeed.

Milkmaid. Female cow-herder. GOPI.

I wonder, is there some implied race fetishism here, inasmuch as Krishna is as black as coal, while Rahda is as pale as the milk she labours over?

The name Krishna apparently means ‘dark blue’. In various artistic conventions (but I know nothing of Indian ones), women are portrayed as light-skinned and men as dark-skinned.

He’s always got his sticky hands all over a milkmaid or three.

Free Online Sanskrit Course

August 31, 2017


We came across the details above, and there is also a Facebook group here.   It will be interesting to see if people complain about the course book–people always seem to have objections to Sanskrit textbooks, as in the discussion here.

What did we do in 10 hours of Sanskrit in Liverpool?

August 2, 2012

It remains far away!

That’s a good question.

The short answer would be that we got a commentary to the first four chapters of  Coulson’s Complete Teach Yourself Sanskrit, with the idea that we could then proceed under our own steam.  As our instructor pointed out, Coulson’s book really presupposes a reader who already knows their Latin and/or Greek, thus giving them the basic structure, and merely needs to have the peculiarities of Sanskrit pointed out.  As someone else pointed out, another feature of Coulson is that the rather small format means that the paradigms aren’t set out in nice large reassuring tables but are instead rather difficult to comprehend.

The approach also involved bringing into play the material in the appendices at the back of the book, rather than just the text at the front.

So here’s the content of the sessions (each of which occupied one hour).  There were seven in the group and at least in the instructor’s opinion we didn’t need any explanation of the traditional terminology of ‘grammar’.

Session 1:  Position of Sanskrit as ancient Indo-European language.  Not used for everyday purposes.  Ignore devanagari script.

Session 2:  Present indicative active of thematic verbs.  Vowel gradation (guna, vrdhhi).

Session 3:   To be (asmi/bhu) pres ind act.  Pres ind act of gam and stha.  Sandhi and use of sandhi grid.

Session 4:  Paradigm of nouns in -a: nom, acc, instr, dat, abl, gen, loc, voc; singular, plural and dual.  (Something seems to have happened to the duals of phala and kanya.)

For our homework, we did Exercise 2b from Coulson in the Roman transliteration version.  That was quite feasible, though required a definite effort.

Session 5:  First and second person personal pronouns (again without the dual, but in all the cases).

Session 6:  Imperfect of asma.  Compounds.  Some applications of sandhi.

Session 7:  Declension of adjectives (in -a).

Session 8:  Past participles.  Use of these in place of finite verbs as characteristic of Sanskrit.

Our homework was (the romanised version of) Exercise 3b from Coulson.  Only one person had sufficient morale to apply the time-honoured procedure of writing out all the questions and then underneath them the answers from the back of the book.

Section 9:  Our instructor went through the homework.

Session 10:  Our instructor went through the first few (17) lines from the Tale of Nala from the Mahabharata, identifying the words and parsing them.

As for texts for further study, our tutor mentioned Ramopakhyana – The Story of Rama in the Mahabharata by Peter Scharf, together with  The Sanskrit Language by Maurer and Fields and A Sanskrit Grammar by Manfred Mayrhofer.

Conclusion:  That was all rather disorganised.  We were disappointed to see the ‘four contact hours per day’ become 10 contact hours over 3 days, with Wednesday afternoon a half-holiday.  But it was useful to be told which were the more and less important parts of Coulson and how much attention (not) to pay to learning the rules of sandhi in detail.