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Research Sanskrit: Level 1 (of 2)

Course Number: 2010

Competency with Sanskrit translation is a key skill for academics in the field of South Asian Studies. It is one of the most important research skills that gives scholars access to resources that are the object of their research, and it is also a skill that, when demonstrated with translations in one’s publications, gives a great deal of much needed credibility to the academic work of scholars.

But Sanskrit can also be very helpful to strengthen and deepen one’s connection to one’s own spiritual tradition. For most Dharma traditions (Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism), Sanskrit is often the medium of liturgical practices, and Sanskrit texts also tend to form the doctrinal, philosophical, and practical foundation for individual and collective spiritual practices in those traditions. Dharma traditions are deep reservoirs of spiritual wisdom that have the power to transform us personally and collectively in profound ways, and Sanskrit is on one of the most important keys to unlocking that great reservoir of ancient spiritual wisdom that is much needed in our own personal lives, and in our collective society at large. 

In this course, students will gain the important research skills necessary to translate Sanskrit texts by actually translating modified excerpts from Sanskrit literature. These research skills include basic philology such as etymology, the ability to identify inflexions and grammatical forms, and syntactical analyses. 

This course will be divided into two sections. Upon completion of both of these sections, we will have completed the Devavāṇīpraveśikā Sanskrit primer (Goldman and Goldman, 1980). In the process, students will learn to memorize, recognize, and recall all major paradigms of inflection (conjugations, declensions, indeclinable suffixes, prefixes, etc.) and use these skills when translating, reading, memorizing, or liturgically reciting Sanskrit texts.

Learning Area

Jain Philosophy, History and Anthropology

Course Length

20 hours Self-Study (Professor available by appointment in office hours)