July 19, 2011
“All ancient Sanskrit scriptures are meant for attaining moksha, liberation,” stated Br. Dr. Shankara Chaitanya, Medical Director, Amrita School of Ayurveda.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of the month-long Sanskrit Immersion Retreat at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
Elaborating further, he added, “For attaining the eternal purpose of life, we require knowledge that can transform our nature. Translated versions of the scriptures can serve as mere introductions, at best.”
Other speakers agreed that studying Sanskrit was not merely learning a new language.
“Sanskrit is Deva Bhasha, divine language,” shared Br. Shraddamrita, in charge of IAM Meditation classes worldwide. “Even if one studies it for a short time, the mind becomes filled with noble thoughts.”
“Sanskrit is a treasure house of wisdom, which can help one lead one’s life in the best way possible,” added Br. Sudeep, Director, Amritapuri Campus.
Having just arrived from different countries around the world, including US, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, UK, etc., the 17 students enthusiastically participated in the inaugural, sharing their stories of what brought them to India and Amrita to study Sanskrit.
One student enrolled in the course in order to complement his studies in Anthropology, while another took a sabbatical from her active professional life as a lawyer in order to learn Sanskrit and the scriptures.
A retired high school teacher decided to come in order to gain exposure to new learning experiences.
For the next several weeks, upto August 14, 2011, these participants will immerse themselves fully in a new daily routine. In the early mornings they will practice Hatha Yoga under the guidance of Bri. Shobhana. They will learn Vedic chanting from Dayalu. Sessions in Spoken Sanskrit will be supplemented with those on Sanskrit Grammar; Piyush Thomas Goldenberg will conduct these classes.
Every afternoon, the students will participate in a discussion on the Bhagavad Gita. As a group, they will have the opportunity to script and perform dramas based on traditional stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
The participants will go on several field trips including one to the mountain areas of Idukki.
“A language is part of a culture,” stated Manisha, the Retreat Coordinator, reminding participants of the wonderful opportunity they have during the next one month, to imbibe Sanskrit in its original home.