The Sanskrit grammar, much more than grammar

In many temples of Shiva, in the South of India, you can find a room specially built for the study of grammar. This room is called vyakarana-dāna-maṇḍapa. The construction of the maṇḍapa It reveals the sanctity of the study of grammar. Writes Oscar Montero.


The vehicle for communicating the Vedas always has been in the form of words, thus to the study of grammar has been given the same reverence than to the Vedas.

This recognition was the importance of grammar for the study and interpretation of the Scriptures. And I want to emphasize that the grammar was not a complementary subject but fundamental requirement for any student or disciple who was interested in the study of any of the six Orthodox systems)darśanas) of hindu thought. In addition, grammar not is only revered as a means to know the meaning of the words and language, but that it recognized as instrument to purify speech and discipline for the intellect.

Of nine known grammar systems, more comprehensive work is the Aṣṭādhyāyi of Pa̅niṇi, which gained importance as a basis for different Sciences tool and Śa̅STRAS. It says in a verse that the grammar was present in all assemblies where a discussion of philosophical nature took place.

Meaning of the word 'grammar'

The meaning of the word vyākaraṇa (grammar) is analyzed in this way: VI+ĀṄ+ √kṛ+lyuṭ, which means "separate, discern, explain"; It is the analysis and explanation of how the words and forms language are created. Grammar analyzes nouns and verbs and its constitutive elements such as roots, affixes, etc. The Sanskrit language has a grammar framework that allows to form numerous varieties of compound words and morphological derivations. With this feature, There is no Sanskrit a comprehensive dictionary He can go to look up the meaning of a word or compound words. Only the knowledge of grammar provides access to the meaning and allows a correct interpretation.

There is the tradition in a maṅgalaśloka that sums up very well the importance of grammar:

vyākaraṇāt padaśuddhiḥ padaśuddheḥ arthanirṇayo bhavati /

arthāt tattvajnānaṃ tattvajnānād mokṣaḥ bhaven / /

"The purity of words comes from the grammar; the purity of words comes from the full establishment of the meaning; meaning emerges the knowledge of reality [and] knowledge of reality, arises the release [end] "."

Two requirements: knowledge of the language and the subject of study

If the student knows the language and the grammar, you will be trained to be able to read the original work. Otherwise, the student will depend on second-hand interpretations. The use of a dictionary is very limited because there are a lot of referrals and compound words will not appear or that, without knowing grammar, they won't be able to find. If the student knows the language you can detect errors and distinguish whether an interpretation is correct or deviates much from the meanings and possible interpretations. It is very common to accept interpretations and translations of authors who do not know the language at all and they offer very subjective meanings according to the knowledge they have of the matter. These authors have some spiritual weight or authority on the subject, but maybe its interpretation is not faithful to what the author in his work or I away from the most important comments.

On the other hand, it might be the case of people who know the language but do not know the matter and method. If the student has not been exposed to the tradition of teaching and has not learned from a master, the meaning can be merely literal and 'dry', without the weight of the view of teachers and the teaching method. The ideal way to know the matter is through of the exposure to a traditional teacher. In the West, it is common to accept that know matter is doing a PhD or academic knowledge. This type of knowledge is welcome and valued but is not sufficient and complete. And it is not, especially in Vedanta, because this knowledge has to be exposed by someone who knows the technique and method but also assimilated education in its entirety and is seated in the vision. It may even be counterproductive that someone start a study independently and learn a self-taught.

Purification of the intellect and speech

The Sanskrit language is difficult and complex. Their study to become an intellectual discipline well suited for the necessary degree of abstraction in the philosophical study.

There are two other maṅgalaśloka-s who comment this double benefit:

yena dhautā giraḥ puṃsāṃ vimalaiḥ śabdavāribhiḥ /

tamaś cājnānajaṃ bhinnaṃ tasmai pāṇinaye namaḥ / / 2 / /

"Greetings to Pa̅niṇi, that cleaned up the speech of people with the pure waters of [Science] of the words, and that dispelled the darkness created by ignorance." "I bow before the three wise men: Varuci, the composer of the lipglosses, Patanjali, the author of the comments and Pa̅niṇi, the author of aphorisms."

yena śabdamahāmbhodheḥ kṛto vyākaraṇaplavaḥ /

Śabdaratnārthināṃ loke tasmai pāṇinaye namaḥ / /

ajnānatimirāndhasya jnānānjanaśalākayā /

cakṣur unmīlitaṃ yena tasmai pāṇinaye namaḥ / /

"Greetings to Pa̅niṇi, that has made the grammar boat for those who want to [have] the jewel of speech in [this] world [in order to cross] the great ocean of words." Greetings to Pa̅niṇi, that opens, with the drops of knowledge, the eyes of those who are blind by the darkness of ignorance."

The protection of the Veda against their corruption and misuse resulting from their lack of understanding

Within the tradition it is necessary to protect and preserve the methods of oral and written and so it is necessary to know the vedāṅga-s. The sandhi an incorrect pronunciation can change the meaning and the effect of the words, and without knowledge of the etymology is not possible to know the meanings of the words and roots. Grammar is the analysis and explanation of the linguistic forms. Without these forms it is not possible to make correct use of the rituals, Since them depending on the purpose and actions to be carried out in a ritual it is necessary to change the case, number, gender, and to change them, it is necessary to know the grammar.

The Paṇiniya-sikṣa̅ of a history of the Taittiri̅y-samhita̅ (2.4.12) on a rite, in which Tvaṣṭa̅ prayed for a demon (asura) to destroy Indra. His prayer was recited incorrectly. Phonetically, it was incorrect. And all for an error in the recitation of the mantra: indraśasttrvardhasva. "Is born / grow him who will be the murderer of Indra". By reciting incorrectly Tvaṣṭa̅ said: "That one who is born Indra is his murderer"

The intent and the result changed completely. The result was that Tvaṣṭa̅ got a demon, which was destroyed by Indra. The result was exactly the opposite!

Who is

Oscar Montero Since the end of the 1990s he devoted to practices of Kundalini Yoga, discipline that is certified and taught for four years. Like thissame, familiar * aṣṭaṅga * Yoga, and finally met the Yoga method Iyengar, which is certified teacher, and member of the Association Española de Yoga Iyengar (AEYI).

While he tried to assimilate the practices of yoga schools, It always hachó lack the systematic study of the Scriptures. Since ago eight years is a disciple of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati, one of the teachers most renowned advaita vedanta Hindus in the world. Oscar professes his link to the * sananatha dharma * and has taken initiation and * upanayana. * Each year visit the India and studying vedanta and Sanskrit in the * gurukulas * of Swami Dayananda.

Today, Oscar is dedicated exclusively to the teaching of advaita Vedanta teaching courses of long duration on the Vedic canon (* prasthāna) (traya *): the main Upaniṣads, Bhagavad Gītā and the Brahma sutras, In addition to other introductory texts (* prakaraṇa granthas *) as Tattva Bodha, Bodha, Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, Ātma etc.

Contact: / 653 520 156


-Bhagavad GitaChapter two.

Home:: September 17, 2014
When: Every Wednesday from 19.00 to 20.30 pm
Place: City Yoga. Street performers, 43, 28020 Madrid
Duration: 3 months and a half.

Download PDF of chapter two of the Gita course

-Tattva Bodha (The knowledge of reality)

Home:: September 29, 2014
When: Every Tuesday from 18.0-19.30 pm
Place: Ecocenter. Calle de Esquilache, 2-12. Madrid City.
Dración: 3 months and a half.

Download PDF of the course Tattva Bodha

-Bhagavad Gita, Chapter three

Home:: October 9, 2014
When: Every Wednesday from 19.00 to 20.30 pm
Place: Centro de Yoga Iyengar de Las Rozas. Avda Spain, 11.
Duration: 3 months.

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By • 5 Aug, 2014 • section: Signatures