A special feature at Brahmananda Ashram is the in-depth study of the Sanskrit language and its original texts.
“Sanskrit is the language of unity, of one humanity. It is not a worldly language, nor the language of politics, but it is the language of universal vibration. It is the language of meditation.”Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati
The vast body of literature in classical Sanskrit encompasses all branches of knowledge and culture, and the Rig-Veda (in Vedic Sanskrit) is widely acknowledged as the oldest written record of mankind. This is a legacy felt to belong to the entire human race.
The love of Sanskrit here at the Ashram was inspired by founder Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati himself, a recognized master of the language. In his teaching he prominently used the medium of Sanskrit, emphasizing the chanting and study of mantras, hymns, and scriptural texts, as well as the study of the language itself as the “science of vibration.”
We offer the following classes on an on-going basis:
- Introduction to Sanskrit – Presents the alphabet, Devanagari script and basic principles of pronunciation
- Beginner Sanskrit I – Introduction to grammar, noun declensions, verb conjugations, and simple sentences
- Beginner Sanskrit II – A deeper exploration of grammar, noun declensions, verb conjugations, and simple sentences
- Intermediate-Advanced Sanskrit – Continued study of grammar with translation, discussion and chanting of selected Sanskrit mantras and hymns
Drop-in classes are $18, or you can purchase a 7-class pass for $108. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sanskrit
Please call first if you are new to the program
Mondays: (CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE)
12:00 – 1:30 pm – Intermediate Sanskrit
1:30 – 3:00 pm – Intermediate/Advanced Sanskrit
Wednesdays: (CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE)
5:45 – 7:15pm – Open Level Sanskrit/Introduction
Fridays: (CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE)
10:30 am – 12:00 pm – Beginners Sanskrit II
12:00 – 1:30 pm – Intermediate Sanskrit
1:30 – 3:00 pm – Reading/Writing using Atma Bodha
3:00 – 4:30 pm – Beginners Sanskrit I
Sanskrit is the language of mantra. Mantras are powerful, succinct, harmonious words, phrases, verses or other portions of scripture for meditation, prayer and spiritual study. With their inherent rhythm and music, they contain vibrational messages which enhance students’ experiences of reading and translation. The purpose of chanting is to stimulate the brain, to energize the whole body, and to help us feel more deeply connected to the community and the essence of Vedic wisdom.
Our scriptural studies focus on the texts which form the foundation of the Science of Yoga and the Non-Dualistic Vedanta Yoga Philosophy. Included are the major Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, works by Shankaracharya and various other classical and Vedic sources. They include messages applicable to all times, places, cultures, and societies, and are deeply connected to meditation and Self-analysis.
“Once you study Sanskrit you will realize, as Patanjali says, that in all other systems you have to run here and there to see God, but with Sanskrit, you don’t have to run after God. God runs after you.”
Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati
Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati also known as Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D, was a prolific author on the science and philosophy of Yoga-Vedanta. He introduced thousands of people to meditation through his programs and his classic book, Fundamentals of Yoga. He integrated the universal message of these teachings with his deep knowledge of both Eastern and Western medicine and psychology. His areas of specialty range from Ayurveda to modern psychiatry and neurosurgery. He enjoyed the connections between modern physics and Yoga Philosophy. In his teaching he prominently used the medium of Sanskrit, emphasizing the chanting and study of mantras, hymns, and scriptural texts as well as the study of the language itself as “science of vibration”. His written works include Fundamentals of Yoga, The Textbook of Yoga Psychology (a commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras), Self Analysis and Self Knowledge (on Shankaracharya’s Atma Bodha), translations of Upanishads and other ancient Sanskrit texts, as well as numerous essays.
“Language is like the current of a river, such as the river Ganges. The Ganges originates from the Himalaya Mountains. It embraces all rivers coming into it, but continues to move on and on, with fresh currents in every moment, and finally its journey is perfected by merging in the ocean. The Sanskrit language is like the Ganga. It is the Mother of the world’s languages, and its ultimate perfection is in freedom and enlightenment.”Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati
Prof. Ram Karan Sharma was an eminent scholar, educator, Sanskrit poet, translator, editor, author of a number of books, and long-time President of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies (IASS). With his background in traditional Vedic education combined with modern university training, he taught as Professor of Sanskrit, Linguistics, and Philosophy in India and the U.S. He was Vice-Chancellor of two prominent Sanskrit Universities in India. He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the President’s Award (India). Prof. Sharma’s interest was in the unifying aspects of Sanskrit and other classical traditions of the world.
Kiranavali Devi began studying yoga in 1969. In 1972 she met her guru Sri Brahmananda Saraswati and began studying Sanskrit with him. She taught Hatha yoga and meditation in New York, Florida, and the West Indies before moving to the Brahmananda Ashram in 1977. In 1993 she began teaching Sanskrit. She holds a BA from New College in San Francisco, a JD from the University of San Francisco Law School, and today she continues her Sanskrit studies with Prof. Sharma.
Ian Mair (Sasi) Sanskrit Mantras have been a part of my life since I was introduced to Yoga more than 40 years ago. At that time, I learned my first mantra as I was initiated into Transcendental Meditation. My formal study of Sanskrit started 12 years ago at Brahmananda Ashram where I have studied in the tradition of my guru, the illustrious Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati. In this tradition, Sanskrit is presented as the Science of Sound Vibration. The mystic dimension of Sanskrit, which is emphasized in this lineage, is that it is the language of mantra. Mantras are words of power that are subtly attuned to the unseen harmonies of nature, matter and spirit, thereby creating healing energies within and surrounding Oneself. Chanting is the fundamental and indispensable heart of this pedagogy. The pedagogy also incorporates the fundamentals of Sanskrit including the alphabet, vocabulary, declensions of various parts of speech, and the intricacies of word relationships, verb conjugations, and the syntax of sentence compositions. As an art, I bring my imaginative and artistic abilities to help the students learn and connect according to their expressed needs and objectives. Technically, I impart the language structure, style, teaching points, and logical elements in the language. My teachers over the years have included the late Dr. Ram Karan Sharma, Indira and Shanta Bulkin, Kiranavali Devi, and Bharati Devi.
To read more of Shri Brahmananda’s writings “On the Topic of Sanskrit” visit here.