The Mother on Sanskrit
Everyone should learn that. Especially everyone who works here should learn that not the Sanskrit of the scholars all, all of them, wherever they may have been born.
In principle, Mother, that is what we are thinking of next year, to make all the children do Sanskrit, plus their mother tongue.
Yes. Not Sanskrit from the point of view of scholarship, but Sanskrit, a Sanskrit how to put it ? That opens the door to all the languages of India. I think that is indispensable. The ideal would be, in a few years, to have a rejuvenated Sanskrit as the representative language of India, that is, a spoken Sanskrit, so that Sanskrit is behind all the languages of India and it should be that. This was Sri Aurobindo’s idea, when we spoke about it. Because now English is the language of the whole country, but that is abnormal. It is very helpful for relations with the rest of the world, but just as each country has its own language, there should And so here, as soon as one begins to want a national language, everyone starts quarrelling. Each one wants it to be his own, and that is foolish. But no one could object to Sanskrit. It is a more ancient language than the others and it contains the sounds, the root-sounds of many words.
This is something I studied with Sri Aurobindo and it is obviously very interesting. Some of these roots can even be found in all the languages of the world sounds, root-sounds which are found in all those languages. Well, this, this thing, this is what ought to be learnt and this is what the national language should be. Every child born in India should know it, just as every child born in France has to know French. He does not speak properly, he does not know it thoroughly, but he has to know French a little; and in all the countries of the world it is the same thing. He has to know the national language. And then, when he learns, he learns as many languages as he likes. At the moment, we are still embroiled in quarrels, and this is a very bad atmosphere in which to build anything. But I hope that a day will come when it will be possible.
So I would like to have a simple Sanskrit taught her, as simple as possible, but not “simplified” simple by going back to its origin all these sounds, the sounds that are the roots of the words which were formed afterwards. I don’t know whether you have anyone here who could do that. In fact, I don’t know whether there is anyone in India who could do it. Sri Aurobindo knew. But someone who knows Sanskrit can I don’t know.
Q. The language problem harasses India a good deal. What would be our correct attitude in this matter ?
A. Unity must be a living fact and not the imposition of an arbitrary rule. When India will be one, she will have spontaneously a language understood by all. Vol. 12, p.253 – The Mother
8 March 1968
A disciple of our Ashram asked the Mother :
A common friend writes that Vinoba Bhave would like to know what exactly Mother says about Sanskrit being the common national language of India.
I may add, do you expect the difficult grammar of Sanskrit to be learnt by all ? Will it be for common use or only for ceremonial purposes, like Latin in England ?
The Mother replied :
For common use I was thinking of a simplified Sanskrit from the grammatical point of view. But of course, I do not know if it is possible.
16 August 1969
We would like to have — as the expression of what You want — a message from You about the new life for Sanskrit, of which You gave us a glimpse in Your talk of 11 November 1967. We would like to translate this message and publish it in the Ashram journals, for some disciples would like to know what You have said about this matter.
I see no need for any message. Messages only convince those who are already convinced.
It would be better to learn Sanskrit and try to make it a truly living language.
Blessing – The Mother
4 October 1971
On certain issues where You and Sri Aurobindo have given direct answers, we (Sri Aurobindo’s action) are also specific, as for instance… on the language issue where You have said for the country that (1) the regional language should be the medium of instruction, (2) Sanskrit should be the national language, and (3) English should be the international language.
Are we correct in giving these replies to such questions ?
Blessing. –The Mother
Hindi is good only for those who belong to a Hindi-speaking province.
Sanskrit is good for all Indians.
Simplified Sanskrit to replace Hindi as the language of India.
– The Mother
A disciple of our Ashram was wrongly informed that Sri Aurobindo favoured Hindi as the national language of India; therefore he asked the Mother on what basis She had written : “The Sanskrit ought to be the national language of India.”
The Mother answered :
I said Sanskrit because Sri Aurobindo had told me so.