Continuing from the first post, the post lunch session (the third for the day) started with introduction to Sanskrit alphabets. Also, I would like to thank Dr. Y. N. Rao, for without his recordings, I would have not been able to fill in the gaps in my notes and write this as it stands now.

Just as every language has its own alphabet system, so does Sanskrit. However, in Sanskrit we find a very systematised, highly scientific system of sound arrangement of alphabets. But before that he asked us a question – What is an alphabet? Many of us attempted to answer as –

  • Basic sound
  • Symbol
  • Fundamental syllable
  • Letter

Finding no satisfactory answer, the question changed to – What do we find in an alphabet? We find letters in the alphabet. This lead to another question – What is a letter? A letter represents sound, rather a letter is the smallest unit of sound.

In Sanskrit, alphabets are called

  1. वर्णमाला (Varnamala). Literally speaking, वर्ण (Varna) represents letters and माला (Mala) means a garland. So Varnamala means garland of letters.
  2. अक्षर-समाम्नाय (Aksarasamaamnaaya) – Yet another term in Sanskrit for alphabets. अक्षर (Akshara) refers to letters and समाम्नाय (Samaamnaaya) means tradition, instruction. So अक्षर-समाम्नाय may mean the tradition of or instruction on the basic sounds of the language. Going to the root sounds आम्ना (Aamana) means to repeat, so समाम्नाय means well-repeated or mentioned together. So, composition leads to अक्षर-समाम्नाय meaning – where the basic sounds of the language are well repeated or mentioned together.

But Dr. Sampadanandaji led us to the depths of why these fundamental unit of sounds were called अक्षर (Akshara) or वर्ण (Varna). The word अक्षर = अ (a) + क्षर (Kshara). The अ is negation and prefixed in front of क्षर. क्षर (Kshara) means perishable or to die. So, Akshara means Not Perishable. So, why was this property given to the sound?

For this Modern Physics has its own theory and Indian Meta-Physics has its own. As per Indian Meta-Physics, the moment a स्पन्द् (Spanda) means Vibration is created, it is imperishable. The moment one thinks, one creates vibration. Once created the sound of vibration is permanent, it never dies, it does not decay, instead it gets absorbed in the आकाश (Akasha) means Space and it remains there*. So the स्पन्द् is imperishable. This realisation of the Sages and Rishis resulted the word Akshara, attributing the imperishable property of sound. It refers to the philosophy of शब्दो नित्यः (Shabdo Nityaah) means the eternity of sounds. However, the word अक्षर (Akshara) got confined to the speech sounds, the fundamental sounds of the language. Again, I would like to emphasize that, Akshara is not the gross sound that we hear, listen, spear or write, it essentially means स्पन्दन (Spandana) or vibration.
* My additional note, we often find the words like Akashic Records in books, this in-turn means that Akasha is a huge repository (infinite memory) of information.

Why is it called वर्णमाला (Varnamala)? There are 2 ways to look at this. वर्णमाला comes from the root sound वर्ण (Varna). Varna means to describe. Varna also means color. For example, पीतवर्ण (Pitavarna) means yellow color or रक्तवर्ण (Raktavarna) means red color. It is about looking at the sounds as color packets. This again is from the realisations of ancient rishis wherein the deeper philosophy is about the gradation of the sound. At the gross-most level, what we humans speak, is the gross sound. In order to grasp sound in its truest sense, one needs to have access to subtler levels. According to Tantric scriptures, at the subtlest level, it is called परा वाक् (Para Vak) means the Supreme Speech, that which is bright, effulgent, shining without any color. When sound descends down to become gross speech, it absorbs colors on the way. Here they saw the connection of sound with light and described it so, both at the subtlest and at the grossest levels. So, light is not free from sound and sound is not free from light. In their experience, they saw that a particular sound had a particular quality of a color and hence they associated sound with color. Also, if one looks at Sanskrit dictionary, and find out all about the root-sounds referring “to sound” – they also refer to light. One will find sound and light described together in root sound. One cannot separate sound and light. As sound was also seen associated with different colors the word Varna is used.

There are 48 basic sounds in Sanskrit alphabets. Like any other language, in Sanskrit these sounds are categorised into vowels and consonants. Dr. Sampadanandaji asked us to define what are vowels and consonants sounds? Many of us answered this as –

  1. Vowels are independent sounds.
  2. Consonants are dependent sounds.

However, Dr. Sampadanandaji pointed out that there is a problem with this definition, using this definition one cannot distinguish between all the vowels and consonants in other foreign languages. Lets say, we ask someone to speak/sing out all the alphabets of a language not known to us, how will you (not knowing that language) then be able to distinguish between vowels and consonants using the above definition? However, Sanskrit offers a specific way to differentiate them. The terminology used for vowels is अस्पृष्ट (Asprushta) means Untouched. स्पृष्ट (Sprushta) means touched and prefixing अ before स्पृष्ट negates it – so अस्पृष्ट means untouched. So, it essentially refers to the sound that is produced without touching any part of the speech producing organ. So, sound without any contact is a Vowel Sound. For example – अ (a). Whereas, consonants are called स्पृष्ट because they are produced by contact with some part of the mouth, either tongue or lips. For example – ब (Ba). Vowel sounds are free flowing sounds and one can intone it, whereas consonants are mute sounds – they cannot be intoned. Using the Sanskrit definitions – अस्पृष्ट for Vowels and स्पृष्ट for Consonants, one can distinguish between vowels and consonants in any language.

Other word used for vowel is स्वर (Svara) and for consonant is the word व्यन्जन (Vyanjana) is used. Svara means स्वयम् राजते (Svayam [itself] Rajate), so स्वर (Svara) means one that shines by itself. Whereas the word व्यन्जन (Vyanjana) means Decoration. Consonantal sounds are the decorative sounds. Vowel sounds are the life of the language and the very soul of the language, therefore called आत्मा (Aatma) means soul, or प्राण (PraaNa) meaning life, whereas consonants can be compared with the body, because body can be decorated. Soul cannot be decorated. Tamil language uses this metaphor for vowels and consonants.

The sounds in Sanskrit are arranged in a particular order and there is logic behind the arrangement of alphabets. You are permitted to ask the question – why this sound comes after that sounds? You have a scientific explanation which satisfies the reasoning mind. On the side 😉 – Can anyone explain the logic in the arrangement of alphabets in English language?

The entire arrangement of sounds in Sanskrit is based on the following:

  • The place of its production or pronunciation.
  • The effort required to produce it.
  • The duration for which it is produced.
  • The quality of the sound.

When we recite a sound, the air gets translated to sound. When air moves out through the vocal chord, it can be obstructed at different places in the mouth to produce speech sounds. However, one cannot obstruct the air at any position in the mouth where one pleases and generate a sound. There are possible positions in the mouth where the air can be obstructed. The first possible position where the air can be obstructed is from where one produces – क (Ka) ख (Kha) ग (Ga) घ (Gha) ङ (ṅa). These sounds are also referred to as Guttrals. At this position, the जिव्हा मूल (Jivha Mula) means the root of the tongue comes in contact with मृदु तालु (Mridu Taalu) means the soft palate and obstructs the air flow. It is not possible to obstruct the flow of air below this position by any human being. Therefore, क (Ka) is not only the first consonantal sound in Sanskrit, but also for the humanity.

The second possible position is from where the consonants – च (ca), छ (cha), ज (ja), झ (jha), ञ (ña) are produced. At this place, the air is obstructed when the upper middle of the tongue comes in contact with the back of the hard palate. There is space between the first and second positions, however, its not possible to obstruct the air in that space.

The third possible position is from where we say – ट (ṭa), ठ (ṭha), ड (ḍa), ढ (ḍha), ण (ṇa). The tongue is rolled back to touch its tip to the middle hard palate. They are also referred as Retroflexes.

The fourth possible position is from where we say – त (ta), थ (tha), द (da), ध (dha), न (na). Here the tip of the tongue touches back of upper teeth when producing these consonants. They are also referred as Dentals.

The fifth possible position is from where we say – प (pa), फ (pha), ब (ba), भ (bha), म (ma). Here both the lips are pressed together. They are also referred as Labials.

The consonants are tabulated below summarizing the above partly (There is more to the table that we’ll see later).

Given below are not pure consonantal sounds. Pure consonantal sounds cannot be produced without the vowel sounds. For example, क (ka) = क् (k) + अ (a), ख (kha) = ख् (kh) + अ (a) and so on…

अल्प प्राण
Alpa Prana
Minimum Release
महा प्राण
Maha Prana
Maximum Release
अल्प प्राण
Alpa Prana
Minimum Release
महा प्राण
Maha Prana
Maximum Release
release from
Cavity (Oral)
Cavity (Oral)
Cavity (Oral)
Cavity (Oral)
Mouth &
Nasal Cavity (Oro-Nasal)
Vocal chord Contracted Expanded Contracted Expanded  
Place of
Refer to the figure here. I have retained the same color coding used therein.
Guttrals क (ka) ख (kha) ग (ga) घ (gha) ङ (ṅa)
Palatals च (ca) छ (cha) ज (ja) झ (jha) ञ (ña)
Retroflexes ट (ṭa) ठ (ṭha) ड (ḍa) ढ (ḍha) ण (ṇa)
Dentals त (ta) थ (tha) द (da) ध (dha) न (na)
Labials प (pa) फ (pha) ब (ba) भ (bha) म (ma)
Consonant quality Hard (कठोर) Soft (मृदु) and Loose Vocal Chord

Now, consider the first row, क (Ka) ख (Kha) ग (Ga) घ (Gha) ङ (ṅa). These are produced from the same position, that is, Guttral. What makes all of them different? How is क (Ka) different from ख (Kha)? More air is released when we recite ख (Kha), whereas less air is released when क (Ka) is recited. So, sound क (Ka) is produced with minimum breath release whereas ख (Kha) is produced with maximum breath release. In other words, क (Ka) is contracted and ख (Kha) is expanded. This is like concentration and meditation. This play of contraction and expansion is repeated again in ग (Ga) and घ (Gha). In Sanskrit, the sounds that are produced with minimum breath are called अल्प प्राण (Alpa Prana) and the ones that are produced with maximum breath are called महा प्राण (Maha Prana). In all the 4 sounds that we saw, the air was released through mouth and the nasal cavity was closed. If the air is allowed to pass through the nasal cavity and the mouth simultaneously, the fifth sound ङ (ṅa) is produced from the same position. However, this is not pure nasal sound. All the sounds in the fifth group – ङ (ṅa), ञ (ña), ण (ṇa), न (na) and म (ma) are referred to as अनुनासिक (Anunasika) or मुख-नासिकवचन (Mukh-nasikavachan) मुख means mouth, नासिका means nose and वचन means expression, so मुख-नासिकवचन or Oro-Nasal expressions/sounds as both mouth and nose need to be open simultaneously when reciting these sounds. It is not possible to produce these 5th group sounds by opening either the mouth or the nose, both need to be open simultaneously. Experiment and verify it for yourself 🙂

Dr. Sampadanandaji pointed out that, if anyone has the problem of Sinusitis, then just repeating these 5th group Oro-Nasal sounds for continuous period of 3 months can get rid of it.

Now, if you look at any consonant row in the above table (from left to right), first you have अल्प प्राण (Alpa Prana) sound followed by महा प्राण (Maha Prana) followed by अल्प प्राण (Alpa Prana), followed by महा प्राण (Maha Prana) and finally followed by simultaneous release of air through Oral and Nasal cavities. If you very slowly and consciously repeat these sounds you will find that there is an in-built system of Pranayama in the alphabets itself. If you recite these alphabets starting from अ (a) to ह (Ha), Pranayama takes place and it begins the healing process. There is a tradition in India, where people just keep chanting these alphabets and nothing else; alphabets chanting is the mantra for them and they chant them in various ways.

Next, what is the difference between the 2 pairs of sounds – क (Ka) ,ख (Kha) and ग (Ga), घ (Gha)? If you put your fingers below your chin or on your double chin, if you have one ;), then recite you क (Ka) ,ख (Kha) and then recite ग (Ga), घ (Gha). You will observe that when reciting ग (Ga), घ (Gha), the vibrations are more as compared to recitation of (Ka) ,ख (Kha). In the case of ग (Ga), घ (Gha), the vocal chord is loose and results in more vibrations. First 2 sounds of each row – क (Ka) and ख (Kha), च (ca) and छ (cha), ट (ṭa) and ठ (ṭha), त (ta) and थ (tha), प (pa) and फ (pha), there is harshness in these sounds and therefore are called कठोर or Hard Consonants whereas the rest of the consonants (except Sibilants) and Vowels are मृदु or soft in nature.

In Sanskrit, there are 13 Vowels – अ (a), आ (aa), इ (i), ई (ii), ऋ (ṛ), ॠ (ṝ), लृ (ḷ), उ (u), ऊ (uu), ए (e), ऎ (ai), ओ (o), औ (au).

Of these 13, 9 are Basic Vowel sounds, they are – अ (a), आ (aa), इ (i), ई (ii), ऋ (ṛ), ॠ (ṝ), लृ (ḷ), उ (u), ऊ (uu). What we saw for consonants earlier, applies to these vowel sounds as well, i.e – place of pronunciation, duration, quality etc…

Duration Short (Blink eyes or Snap fingers Once) Long (2 x Short)
Place Of
Refer to the figure here. I have retained the same color coding used therein.
Guttrals अ (a) आ (aa)
Palatals इ (i) ई (ii)
Retroflexes ऋ (ṛ) ॠ (ṝ)
Dentals लृ (ḷ) you can have long form of it, but no word is found yet that uses it
Labial उ (u) ऊ (uu)
Vowel quality Soft

In the table above, the duration refers to the time required to produce the vowel sound. The short form can be spoken in the same time as the time required to either blink the eye or do a छोटिका (Snap) of fingers. The long form is twice the duration of short form.

Mixed Vowels
ए (e), ऎ (ai), ओ (o), औ (au) are not pure vowel sounds, they are called mixed vowel sounds, because they are produced by combining basic vowels. They are called सन्ध्यक्षर् (Sandhyakshara) or diphthongs. Sandhyaksharas are always long in duration.

  1. अ/आ (a/aa) + इ/ई (i/ii) = ए (e)
  2. ऎ (ai) is a further modification of ए (e)
  3. अ/आ (a/aa) + उ/ऊ (u/uu) = ओ (o)
  4. औ (au) is a further modification of ओ (o)

There are 4 semi-vowel sounds – य (ya), र (ra), ल (la), व (va). इ (i) is the corresponding vowel sound of the semivowel य (ya). ऋ (ṛ or ri) is the corresponding vowel sound of the semivowel र (ra). लृ (ḷ or Lri) is the corresponding vowel sound of the semivowel ल (la). ऊ (uu) is the corresponding vowel sound of the semivowel sound व (va). These sounds are obtained by adding अ (a) to ई (ii), ऋ (ṛ), लृ (ḷ) and ऊ (uu) respectively. These are also called ईश स्पृष्ट (Isha Sprushta) means Mild Contact.

Important Vowels Summary

  1. Among all the vowel sounds – अ (a), इ (i), उ (u) are the Simple Vowels, having their respective long forms – आ (aa), ई (ii), ऊ (uu).
  2. ऋ (ṛ), ॠ (ṝ) and लृ (ḷ) are not pure vowel sounds there is a little mix up of consonantal sound. We studied them from the place of pronunciation above, however, the traditional way of arranging vowels is such that Pure vowels are first – अ (a), आ (aa), इ (i), ई (ii), उ (u), and ऊ (uu) followed by – ऋ (ṛ), ॠ (ṝ) and लृ (ḷ) to show visually some mix up of consonantal sound.
    अ (a) आ (aa) इ (i) ई (ii) उ (u) ऊ (uu) Pure Vowels
    ऋ (ṛ) ॠ (ṝ) लृ (ḷ) Vowels with some mix up of Consonantal sounds
  3. Finally, ए (e), ऎ (ai), ओ (o), औ (au) these are Diphthongs (Combined Vowel Sounds)

Having finished the vowels, we will now look at what are called as Hissing Sounds. There are 3 distinct ones.

Sibilants श (Sha) ष (Ṣa) स (Sa)
Place of pronunciation Palatal Retroflex Dental
Experiment Take the tongue to the respective positions and hiss from there, you will get all the 3 sounds.
Consonant type Hard

Sibiliants are also called as उष्म वर्ण (Ushma Varna), because they produce heat (hot air comes out) when they are articulated.

Finally, the last sound is ह (Ha), is Guttral and here we have the maximum breadth release.

In the tantric tradition, the entire human body is conceived as a शब्द शरीर (Shabda Sharir) शब्द means sound and शरीर means body, so शब्द शरीर means sound body. It is called so because of the flow of प्राण (Prana) means the Life-force or Life-energy through different channels or nadis (72,000 of them) in the body. The movement of the Prana generates sounds. These sounds are created in our system all the time. They are heard by the tantric sages, seers, practitioners in their meditation. That is why, in the tantric scriptures we find the location of these sounds in the human body. They gave names to these locations based on the number of energy currents.

  1. The place where 2 energy currents meet is called as सन्धि (Sandhi).
  2. The place where 3 energy currents meet is called as मर्म (Marma). There are about 52-55 मर्म स्थान (Sthana) means location in the body and each location has its own sound. In the rituals, when they do अङ्ग स्पर्श (Anga Sparsha) अङ्ग means body and स्पर्श means touch, they touch different मर्म स्थान in the body. For example, using the sound they touch the eyes or ears; doing this purifies and energises those locations.
  3. The place where more than 3 energy currents meet is called as चक्र (Chakra). This is where the sound is more obvious. Specific sounds are assigned to different chakras. When one recites those sounds or mantras, it purifies and energises that Chakra.

In the tantric scriptures, when they conceived the human body as शब्द शरीर, they called an individual – अहम (Aham). अहम means it starts with अ (a) and ends with ह (Ha). So, an individual comprises of everything between अ (a) and ह (Ha), both inclusive. म (Ma) is added to make it a proper verb, hence the word अहम (Aham) means “I”.

Dr. Sampadanandaji pointed out that when ह (Ha) is combined with the seven special alphabets – ण (ṇa), न (na), म (ma), य (ya), र (ra), ल (la) and व (va), then one gets a completely different experience with it when articulated correctly.

  1. ह (Ha) + ण (ṇa) = ह्ण (Hṇa)
  2. ह (Ha) + न (na) = ह्न (Hna)
  3. ह (Ha) + म (ma) = ह्म (Hma)
  4. ह (Ha) + य (ya) = ह्य (Hya)
  5. ह (Ha) + र (ra) = ह्र (Hra)
  6. ह (Ha) + ल (la) = ह्ल (Hla)
  7. ह (Ha) + व (va) = ह्व (Hva)

If one repeats the above set for more for than 25 cycles, an individual can start sweating. This is because it makes natural कपालभाति (KapalaBhati). It is also very good for clearing the throat and other throat related problems. These 7 sounds are known as उरस्य (Urasya). उरस (Uras) means the chest and lungs, so उरस्य (Urasya) means belonging to lungs. ह (Ha) sound comes from the lowest depths, and by combining it with the 7 sounds, it further extends the depth.

There are many words in Sanskrit that are उरस्य (Urasya). For example, when saying the word ब्रह्मा (Brahma), many (including me) pronounced it incorrectly as Bramha. मध्याह्न (Madhyahna) means Midday.

Visargaha ः
ः – is a peculiar sound in Sanskrit. It is not to be articulated as अः (Aha) and it is incorrect. Just articulate it by release of breath like when relaxing and it will come out correctly. Visargaha means release, release of the air, or विसर्जन (Visarjana) means give it up. It is the most relaxing sound.

From the Pranayama point of view, Visargaha does बाह्य कुम्भक (Bahya Kumbhaka) where one releases the air and then holds outside. बाह्य कुम्भक improves the power of concentration. One can combine Visargaha with all the Vowels and do this practice to improve concentration – अः (Aḥ), आः (Aaḥ), इः (iḥ), ईः (iiḥ), उः (uḥ), ऊः (uuḥ), एः (eḥ), ऐः (aiḥ), …and so on.

Anusvara ं
अनुस्वारः (Anusvara) is the only pure nasal sound in Sanskrit. It is spoken with mouth closed and the breath is completely released from the nose. When articulated properly, it causes vibrations to start on the forehead between the two eyebrows.

Dr. Sampadanandaji pointed out that, from Pranayama perspective, when you combine the vowel sounds with Anusvara, you get Brahmari Pranayam automatically. For example – अ (a) + ं = अं (Aṃ)

Devanagari Script
Why a particular sound is written in a particular form? This question led to the explanation of Devanagari Script.

If you look at the whole history, from Brahmi onwards the letters were not in the pure form as you see them now. They have been worked out. At present, the symbols that we see in the Devanagari Script are the most beautiful symbols and the way we write Devanagari characters – its a pattern. To create each pattern, it needs a movement and the patterns of Devanagari symbols have a deeper connection with Universal rhythmic movement. Hence each symbol here is an auspicious symbol.

Every letter in Devanagari has presence of 2 lines

  1. Horizontal Line called शिरोरेखा (Shirorekha) on top representing the Universal
  2. Vertical Line represents the Individual. The vertical bar that we see can be on the side as in ख (Kha), the middle as in क (Ka), and ङ (ṅa) it is at the top.

So the connection between the Universal and the Individual is present in the symbols.

To create conjunct consonants, we remove the vertical line and connect the two consonants. For example, to connect न (Na) and य (Ya), we remove the vertical line from न (Na) and attach it to य (Ya) to give न्य (Nya)

Session 4: Sambhasanam

In this session, we got introduced to 2 more words –

  1. अत्र (Atra) means here.
  2. तत्र (Tatra) means there.

Example usage in sentences of daily use –

  1. लेखफलकम् अत्र अस्ति (The writing board is here).
  2. समयसूचिका तत्र अस्ति (The clock is there).
  3. मार्जनी अत्र नास्ति (The duster is not here).
  4. मम मित्रं धवलः तत्र अस्ति (My friend Dhaval is there).
  5. द्वारम् अत्र अस्ति (The door is here).
  6. किं वातायनं तत्र अस्ति (Is the window is there?) आम वातायनं तत्र अस्ति (Yes, the window is there).
  7. अत्र सैकतं तत्र समुद्रः (The sand bank is here, the sea is there).

It is important to note that there are no punctuation marks in Sanskrit. So, you will not find commas, semi-colons or question marks. The only punctuation marks in Sanskrit are and . In Prose, represents पूर्णविराम (PurnaViram), essentially is Phrase Separator. In Poetry, represents पूर्णविराम (PurnaViram) and represents अर्धविराम (ArdhaViram) means Half Pause.

We then got introduced to 3 more words –

  1. कुत्र (Kutra) means where
  2. अन्यत्र (Anyatra) means elsewhere
  3. सर्वत्र (Sarvatra) means everywhere

Examples of daily use in sentences

  1. तव भ्राता कुत्र अस्ति (Where is your brother?) मम भ्राता अन्यत्र अस्ति (My brother is elsewhere)
  2. वायुः कुत्र अस्ति (Where is air?) वायुः सर्वत्र अस्ति (Air is everywhere)
  3. किं अन्धकारः सर्वत्र अस्ति (Is darkness everywhere?) न अन्धकारः सर्वत्र नास्ति (No, darkness is not everywhere)
  4. सर्वत्र किं अस्ति (What is everywhere?) प्रेम सर्वत्र अस्ति (Love is everywhere)
  5. अत्र किं किम् अस्ति (Who who [who all] – are here?) अत्र सर्वम् अस्ति (Everyone is here)
  6. किं हस्ती अत्र अस्ति (Is elephant here?) न हस्ती अत्र नास्ति हस्ती तत्र अस्ति (No elephant is not here, the elephant is there)
  7. धवलः कुत्र (Where is Dhavalah?)
  8. तव अत्र किं कार्यम् (What work do you have here?)
  9. किं सुशीतकम् अत्र अस्ति (Is the refrigerator here?)
    न सुशीतकम् अत्र नास्ति तत्र अपि नास्ति सुशीतकम् अन्यत्र अस्ति (No, the refrigerator is not here, its not also there, its elsewhere)

After listening to the examples, we were asked to frame our own sentences and speak it out to the class.

We then got introduced to a construct यत्र…तत्र (Yatra…Tatra) means where…there. In this construct, यत्र (Yatra) is a Relative Where (it is not a simple Where) and this goes with तत्र (Tatra). Here are the examples –

  1. यत्र जलं अस्ति तत्र मीनः अस्ति (Where there is water, there is fish)
  2. यत्र अनलः अस्ति तत्र धूमः अस्ति (Where there is fire, there is smoke)
  3. यत्र प्राणः अस्ति तत्र जीवनम् अस्ति (Where there is life-force, there is life)
  4. यत्र पाकशाला अस्ति तत्र रोटिका अस्ति (Where there is kitchen, there is roti)
  5. यत्र असत्यं अस्ति तत्र क्लेशः अस्ति (Where there is falsehood, there is misery)
  6. यत्र नेता अस्ति तत्र भ्रष्टाचारः अस्ति (Where there is a politician, there is corruption)
  7. यत्र माता अस्ति तत्र करुणा अस्ति (Where there is mother, there is compassion)

Please note that यत्र…तत्र (Yatra…Tatra) is not to be translated to wherever…there. For wherever, Sankrit has the construct यत्र यत्र… (Yatra Yatra…).

The next lesson for this session was learning about referring to near using ‘this’ and far using ‘that’ . We were introduced to the following words based on the gender that they refer to.

Near (This) Gender
एषः (Eshah) Masculine
एषा (Eshaa) Feminine
एतत् (Etat) Neuter

Example usage would be –

  1. एषः धवलः (This is Dhavalah)
  2. एषा गीता (This is Gita)
  3. एतत् पुष्पम् (This is a flower)

To ask questions, we will ask according to the gender.

Question Gender
कः (Kah) Masculine
का (Kaa) Feminine
किम् (Kim) Neuter

Example usage in sentences will be –

  1. एषः कः (Who is this?) एषः धवलः (This is Dhavalah) धवलः संगणक अभियन्ता (Dhavalah is a computer engineer)
  2. एषा का (Who is this?) एषा सीता (This is Sita) एषा गायिका भाचित्रिका न्यायवादिनी च अस्ति (She is a singer, a photographer and an advocate)
  3. एषः चिकित्सकः (He is a doctor)
  4. एतत् किम् (What is this?) एतत् सङ्गणकम् (This is a computer)
  5. एतत् किम् (What is this?) एतत् प्रक्षेपकम् (This is a projector)
  6. एतत् किम् (What is this?) एतत् चित्रम् (This is a picture)
  7. कः तत्र अस्ति (Who is there?)
  8. किं तत्र अस्ति (What is there?)
  9. किम् एषः तव प्रश्नः (Is that your question?)
  10. किं एषः बालकः तव मित्रं (Is this boy is your friend?) न एषः बालकः न मम मित्रं (No, this boy is not my friend)
  11. किं एषा तव लेखनी (Is this your pen?)
  12. एतत् पुस्तकं अत्र अस्ति (This book is here)
  13. किं एतत् तव स्थानम् (Is this your place?)
  14. मम उपनेत्रं कुत्र अस्ति (Where are my spectacles?)

If you don’t happen to know the gender of the subject in advance, then the general question can be एतत् किम् (What is this?) and the general answer can be एतत् + … , i.e. combination. For example, we know that कर्ण (Karna) is Masculine gender. In case, you don’t happen to know that, you can ask the question – एतत् किम्. In response to that question, there can be 2 possible answers based on the gender of the word कर्ण (Karna):

  1. If you happen to know the gender, you can reply – एषः कर्ण
  2. If you don’t happen to know the gender, then you cannot say – एतत् कर्ण instead you must combine the words like this – एतत्कर्ण , and use as one single word.

The basic word is एतद् (Etad). In Masculine it becomes एषः (Eshah) in Feminine it becomes एषा (Eshaa) and in Neuter it becomes एतत् (Etat). The basic word एतद् (Etad) is never used. In Sanskrit, the word base, whether it is noun or verb base, it is never used. These base words are called धातु (Dhatu) for verbal base and प्रातिपदिक (Pratipadika) for nominal base.

Whereas the words which are derived from the base words by adding suffixes are called पद (Pada) means usable words or ready-to-use words. For the computer folks amongst us, in languages like Java, C++, C# – I’m reminded of the concept of abstract classes which cannot be newified, only meant to be derived from and the non-abstract derived forms can be used or newified.

Dr. Sampadanandaji further answered my question – Why all the interrogative sounds in Sanskrit begin with the sound क (Ka)? Is there a logic to this? He said that to answer this, first we need to understand the nature of question? What does question do? The logic here is that, the sound क (Ka) is the first consonantal sound, it immediately is after the freely flowing vowels and क (Ka) is produced by obstructing the flow of air at the first position in the oral cavity, so it is the first obstruction. Similarly, the nature of question is to stop the free flow of thoughts and hence in Sanskrit, every question begins with the sound क (Ka). In fact, every interrogative pronouns in Sanskrit begins with क (Ka).

Far (That) Gender
सः (Sah) Masculine
सा (Saa) Feminine
तत् (Tat) Neuter

Example usage in day-to-day sentences –

  1. एषः धवलः सः प्रकाशः (This is Dhavalah, that is Prakashah)
  2. एषा गीता सा वर्षा (This is Gita, that is Varsha)
  3. एतद् द्वारं सः दण्डदीपः (This is door, that is tubelight)
  4. एतद् द्वारं तत् वातायनम् (This is door, that is window)
  5. एषः धवलः सा अध्यापिका (This is Dhavalah, that is teacher)
  6. एषः अध्यापकः सः छात्रः (This is teacher, that is student)


Near (This) Far (That) Question Gender
एषः (Eshah) सः (Sah) कः (Kah) Masculine
एषा (Eshaa) सा (Saa) का (Kaa) Feminine
एतत् (Etat) तत् (Tat) किम् (Kim) Neuter

कः (Kah), का (Kaa) and किम् (Kim) has nothing to do with near and far. They are used attributively for What, Which, Who.

  1. कः बालकः सङ्गणक अभियन्ता (Which boy is computer engineer?)
  2. अत्र कः नरः चिकित्सकः (Who is doctor here?) अत्र श्री रावः चिकित्सकः (Here Mr. Rao is a doctor)
  3. अत्र का बालिका नर्तकी (Who is dancer here?) सा नर्तकी (That is the dancer)

Before the session ended, the last lesson was about learning to count from 1 to 10 in Sanskrit. We were made to recite the numbers loud and repeat them.

  1. एकम् (Ekam)
  2. द्वे (Dve)
  3. त्रीणि (Trini)
  4. चत्वारि (Chatvari)
  5. पञ्च (Panch)
  6. षट् (Shat)
  7. सप्त (Sapta)
  8. अष्ट (Ashta)
  9. नव (Nava)
  10. दश (Dasha)

Dr. Sampadanandji ended the day by saying पुनर्दर्शनाय (PunarDarshanaya). The next day started with Mantra Yoga session.