Sanskrit may be considered a dead language but there are many reasons to learn it. "It helps pronounciation," says Rudrakhsha Sakrikar, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit at KJ Somaiya Bharatiya Sanskriti Peetham.
"Pronunciations, in any language, are bound to improve if you learn Sanskrit. In fact, in an event that was held by his institution to celebrate World Sanskrit Day on Saturday, a video clip documented the effects that articulating certain Sanskrit vowels have on the body and thereby on your pronunciation.
Also, Sanskrit gives you access to a whole body of knowledge, he says. People think that Sanskrit is only about religion and philosophy but that’s not true, according to Sakrikar. There are scientific treatises written in the language. He gives the example of Vaimanika Shastra, a treatise on aerounautical science written by Maharshi Bharadwaja.
Moreover if you enjoy language and poetry, Sanskrit has a lot to offer. Sakrikar gives the example of Ramkrishnakavyam, a poem that consists of verses which seem to be about Ram on first reading but about Krishna when read backwards.
Indrajit Dudile, who teaches Sanskrit at Bhandup’s IES school, calls Sanskrit a dnyaan bhasha (the language of knowledge). It can impart knowledge of the sort that nobody can take away from you. "This is because it can give you first-hand knowledge of the Vedas, written in Sanskrit," he says.
Dudile explains that there is more to Sanksrit than just knowledge. From a practical perspective, it can help you land a teaching job as Sanskrit teachers are hard to come by.
He also says that Japan has made learning Sanskrit compulsory in its schools. This is because Sanskrit has been found to be a suitable language to work with computers. Sanskrit, with its intricate but well-defined grammatical system, is considered to be a language of precision.
Sahil Sakpal, a 24-year-old engineer who had studied Sanskrit till Class X, has been trying to study the language again.
“It is not the language that attracts me but the deep knowledge it has.” He is also interested in “understanding all the ancient books… which form the base of our culture through the language.”