Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 1

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Simple Sanskrit Lesson 1
सरलं संस्कृतम् प्रथमः पाठः |

Simplest way to start learning Sanskrit is to learn to make simple sentences. Below are some simple sentences.

Table 1-1

1 I go अहं गच्छामि
2 We go वयं गच्छामः
3 You (Singular) go त्वं गच्छसि
4 You (plural) go यूयं गच्छथ
5 He goes सः गच्छति
6 She goes सा गच्छति
7 It goes तत् गच्छति
8 They (masculine) go ते गच्छन्ति
9 They (feminine) go ताः गच्छन्ति
10 They (neuter) go तानि गच्छन्ति

Following glossary in Table 2 is clear from the above.

Table 1-2

No. English Sanskrit What this is
1 I अहं Pronoun – First person, singular
2 We वयं Pronoun – First person, plural
3 You (Singular) त्वं Pronoun – Second person, singular
4 You (plural) यूयं Pronoun – Second person, plural
5 He सः Pronoun – Third person, masculine, singular
6 She सा Pronoun – Third person, feminine, singular
7 It तत् Pronoun – Third person, neuter, singular
8 They (masculine) ते Pronoun – Third person, masculine, plural
9 They (feminine) ताः Pronoun – Third person, feminine, plural
10 They (neuter) तानि Pronoun – Third person, neuter, plural

As is known the pronouns of the third person, singular, viz. He, She, It, are different according to the gender. This is so in Sanskrit also.

In English, the pronoun of third person plural is ‘they’. It is common for all three genders. In Sanskrit it is not common.

Coming to the verb, in English the verb has only two forms – ‘go’ and ‘goes’.
In Sanskrit, they are different according to the person (first, second or third) and number (singular or plural)

Table 1-3

No. Person Number Verb
1 First Singular गच्छामि
2 - First - Plural गच्छामः
3 Second Singular गच्छसि
4 - Second - Plural गच्छथ
5 Third Singular गच्छति
6 - Third - Plural गच्छन्ति

As can be seen, in Sanskrit there is a good, very distinct correspondence between the pronoun and the verb. When we would say गच्छामि it is clear that the subject is pronoun of first person, singular, i.e. अहं So, in Sanskrit if we say गच्छामि it is not at all necessary to say अहं !! The verb-form गच्छामि is structured to be the form for first person singular and hence structured for the subject to be अहं . That is why Sanskrit is called as a “structured” language. One can readily appreciate the usefulness of such ‘structured’-ness of the language. It lends brevity and crispness. If it is not necessary to say अहं गच्छामि and if it is adequate to say just गच्छामि – saying only one word instead of two is fifty percent shorter !

But in the structuring process, the Rishi’s thought it good and important to have the ‘number’-concept to be not just singular and plural, but singular, dual and plural. That applies both to pronouns and the verb-forms.

Table 1-4 – Pronouns

Person Gender Singular Dual Plural
First All अहम् आवाम् वयम्
Second All त्वम् युवाम् यूयम्
Third Masculine सः तौ ते
Third Feminine सा ते ताः
Third Neuter तत् ते तानि

Table 1-5 – Verb-forms

Person Singular Dual Plural
First गच्छामि गच्छावः गच्छामः
Second गच्छसि गच्छथः गच्छथ

Third

गच्छति

गच्छतः

गच्छन्ति

By using appropriate verb-form from Table 5 with the 15 pronoun-forms in Table 4, it is now possible to make 15 sentences.

Table 1-6

15 sentences

1 अहम् गच्छामि | I go
2 आवां गच्छावः We two go
3 वयं गच्छामः We go
4 त्वं गच्छसि You go
5 युवां गच्छथः You two go
6 यूयं गच्छथ You go
7 सः गच्छति He goes
8 तौ गच्छतः They two go
9 ते गच्छन्ति They go
10 सा गच्छति She goes
11 ते गच्छतः They two go
12 ताः गच्छन्ति They go
13 तत् गच्छति It goes
14 ते गच्छतः They two go
15 तानि गच्छन्ति They go

Given this basic structure of 15 sentences, we can take 9 verb-forms of any verbal root and make 15 sentences for each verbal root.

For the Verbal root वद्  (= to say, to speak) the verbal forms are

Table 1-7

Verbal forms for वद्

Person Singular Dual Plural
First वदामि वदावः वदामः
Second वदसि वदथः वदथ
Third वदति वदतः वदन्ति

By the way, one would not find in dictionary the words
गच्छामि गच्छावः गच्छामः गच्छसि गच्छथः गच्छथ  गच्छति गच्छतः गच्छन्ति
वदामि वदावः वदामः वदसि वदथः वदथ वदति वदतः वदन्ति
अहम् आवाम् वयम्
त्वम् युवाम् यूयम्
सः तौ ते
सा ते ताः
तत् ते तानि
These are all derived forms, derived from root words. For example,
वदामि वदावः वदामः वदसि वदथः वदथ वदति वदतः वदन्ति are derived from the verbal root वद्. We can find वद् in the dictionary. This is a huge difference between dictionary of Sanskrit from dictionary of other languages. Of course in English also we do not look for words like me, my, us, our, your, him, his, her, its, them, their, etc. Yet there is a difference and the difference is huge, because number of words which can be derived from a root word is very large. We have just seen 9 words derived from the verbal root वद्. This is not even the tip of an iceberg. These 9 words are of present tense. There will be more words in past and future tenses and in imperative mood and in other moods as obtained in English by using auxiliaries such as shall, will, should, would, can, could, may, might, must. In Sanskrit the emphasis is on deriving a word so that it can stand by itself. That is the basic logic of ‘structuring’.

By the way, the verbal forms गच्छामि गच्छावः गच्छामः गच्छसि गच्छथः गच्छथ  गच्छति गच्छतः गच्छन्ति are derived from the verbal root गम् (= to go). Technical term for verbal root is धातु

It is also to be noted that the words अहं आवां वयं त्वं युवां यूयं are better written as अहम् आवाम् वयम् त्वम् युवाम् यूयम् with the ending म् clearly visible, when the words are stand-alone or at the end of a line of a poem or at the end of a sentence. This in fact is the rule.

Compiled below are verbal forms of some commonplace verbal roots धातु-s.

Table 1-8

verbal forms of some commonplace verbal roots धातु-s

No. Verbal root धातु Meaning Verbal forms
1 गम् to go गच्छामि गच्छावः गच्छामः
गच्छसि गच्छथः गच्छथ
गच्छति गच्छतः गच्छन्ति
2 वद् to say, to speak वदामि वदावः वदामः
वदसि वदथः वदथ
वदति वदतः वदन्ति
3 आ + गम् to come आगच्छामि आगच्छावः आगच्छामः
आगच्छसि आगच्छथः आगच्छथ
आगच्छति आगच्छतः आगच्छन्ति
4 प्रति  + गम् to go towards, to go unto प्रतिगच्छामि प्रतिगच्छावः प्रतिगच्छामः
प्रतिगच्छसि प्रतिगच्छथः प्रतिगच्छथ
प्रतिगच्छति प्रतिगच्छतः प्रतिगच्छन्ति
5 प्रति + आ + गम् to return प्रत्यागच्छामि प्रत्यागच्छावः प्रत्यागच्छामः
प्रत्यागच्छसि प्रत्यागच्छथः प्रत्यागच्छथ
प्रत्यागच्छति प्रत्यागच्छतः प्रत्यागच्छन्ति
6 कृ to do करोमि कुर्वः कुर्मः
करोषि कुरुथः कुरुथ
करोति कुरुतः कुर्वन्ति
7 खाद् to eat खादामि खादावः खादामः
खादसि खादथः खादथ
खादति खादतः खादन्ति
8 पा to drink पिबामि पिबावः पिबामः
पिबसि पिबथः पिबथ
पिबति पिबतः पिबन्ति
9 अस् to be अस्मि स्वः स्मः
असि स्थः स्थ
अस्ति स्तः सन्ति
10 भू to be, to become, to be present भवामि भवावः भवामः
भवसि भवथः भवथ
भवति भवतः भवन्ति
11 उप + विश् to sit उपविशामि उपविशावः उपविशामः
उपविशसि उपविशथः उपविशथ
उपविशति उपविशतः उपविशन्ति
12 स्था to stand, to halt, to stop तिष्ठामि तिष्ठावः तिष्ठामः
तिष्ठसि तिष्ठथः तिष्ठथ
तिष्ठति तिष्ठतः तिष्ठन्ति
13 उत् + स्था to stand up उत्तिष्ठामि उत्तिष्ठावः उत्तिष्ठामः
उत्तिष्ठसि उत्तिष्ठथः उत्तिष्ठथ
उत्तिष्ठति उत्तिष्ठतः उत्तिष्ठन्ति
14 दा to give ददामि दद्वः दद्मः
ददासि दत्थः दत्थ
ददाति दत्तः ददति
15 ग्रह् or गृह् to take, to receive, to accommodate गृह्णामि गृह्णीवः गृह्णीमः
गृह्णासि गृह्णीथः गृह्णीथ
गृह्णाति गृह्णीतः गृह्णन्ति
16 ज्ञा to know, to become aware जानामि जानीवः जानीमः
जानासि जानीथः जानीथ
जानाति जानीतः जानन्ति

All the above verbal forms are of धातु-s which are of a type or class known as परस्मैपदी.

Other type or class of धातु-s is आत्मनेपदी.

There are also धातु-s which can have verbal forms both of परस्मैपदी and आत्मनेपदी types. Such धातु-s are called as उभयपदी.

In above Table 8, it can be seen that the verbal root धातु for ‘to go’ is गम्. The verbal root धातु for ‘to come’ is आ + गम् and that for ‘to return’ is प्रति + आ + गम्. We can say that the basic verbal root is गम्. Then verbal roots आ + गम् and प्रति + आ + गम् are secondary or tertiary verbal roots, derived using prefixes such as आ and प्रति + आ. The prefixes are called as उपसर्ग. Prefixes are common in English also, e.g. inscribe, describe, subscribe, prescribe, circumscribe. Interestingly the prefixes cause the meaning to undergo a radical change. There is a good verse which summarises such radical change in meaning caused by उपसर्ग-s. Will it be good to know that verse ! The verse, श्लोक is -

उपसर्गेण धात्वर्थो बलादन्यत्र नीयते |

विहाराहार-संहार-प्रहार-प्रतिहारवत् ||

Prefixes cause the meaning of the verbal root to undergo a radical change as it happens in विहार-आहार-संहार-प्रहार-प्रतिहार.

It should be also noted that though all धातु-s in Table 8 are of परस्मैपदी type and have some similarity in the pattern of formation of verb-forms, for some धातु-s, in the formation of verb-forms, there are peculiarities e.g.

  • गम् takes the form गच्छामि,
  • कृ takes the forms करोमि कुर्वः कुर्मः
  • पा takes the forms पिबामि पिबावः पिबामः
  • अस् takes the forms अस्मि स्वः स्मः
  • स्था takes the forms तिष्ठामि तिष्ठावः तिष्ठामः
  • दा takes the forms ददामि दद्वः दद्मः
  • ग्रह् or गृह् takes the forms गृह्णामि गृह्णीवः गृह्णीमः
  • ज्ञा takes the forms जानामि जानीवः जानीमः

These peculiarities also have rules and quite often “Exceptions prove the rule” is also an accepted rule ! It is good to be curious but not good to be over-inquisitive. For the beginning, it would be good to accept the things as given and practice with them. More the practice, even the peculiarities will become natural.

When a child learns its mother tongue, it acquires the tongue by being engulfed in that environment 24×7. If such 24×7 environment is not available for learning a language such as Sanskrit, the option then is to make devoted intense exercise. Luckily, There is a beautiful easy rhythm with everything in Sanskrit. In Table 8, all the nine forms of each verb are set in three lines of three forms in each line. They can be memorized and should be memorized, so intensely that they would come natural when one has to use them and make sentences. With 15 sentences illustrated for the verb गम्, it is possible to practice making 240 sentences from the 16 verbs !!! Why not do that as self-study exercises स्वाध्याय-s to practice this lesson ?

-o-O-o-

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20 thoughts on “Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 1

    T.N.Sethumadhavan said:
    April 11, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Long felt need has been fulfilled. Thanks. Teaching Sanskrit with the help of English goes a long way in expanding the knowledge of Sanskrit language. If the font size in the lessons, particularly that of Sanskrit script can be made bigger it will help senior citizens to a large extent. All the best.- Sethumadhavan

    dr.shailesh pathak said:
    April 11, 2012 at 6:48 am

    guruji vandan khub sundar lekhmal rahi ……sanskrit sikhnevalo ki pathshala bankar rahegi jay sanskritam

    Achana said:
    April 11, 2012 at 11:31 am

    It is very well done baba!!!

    AtmA said:
    April 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    This is the best approach to help those who want to learn Sanskrit in a practical way detouring the thorny way of dry school grammar. I will spread the good news to my friends. I myself follow sedulously your “fresh approach” lessons, but this is a good opportunity to consolidate my basic knowledge; in this first lesson, for example, I memorized the conjugations for give and take. Thanks!

    s.srinivasan said:
    April 12, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Thanks,Dhanyavad.. I am eager beginner and sure taht this is going to help me in my
    sanskrit study. regards

    Himanshu Pota said:
    April 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    अपि करोषि इति सम्यग् रूपम् अस्ति?

    अहं भवतः पाठान् एकां छात्रां संस्कृतं शिक्षणाय प्रयुज्यिष्यामि। तस्मात् या अपि प्रतिक्रिया भविष्यति तत् भवन्तं कथयिष्यामि।
    धन्यवादः।

    हिमांशुः

      नमो नमः हिमांशु-वर्य !
      “करोषि” इत्येव साधु खलु ! धन्यवादाः दोष-दर्शनाय | सपदि एव परिष्कृतं प्रथमे पाठे |
      एतैः पाठैः छात्रायाः शिक्षणं कथं भवति तज्ज्ञातुं उत्सुकोऽस्मि नूनम् | याः काः अपि सूचनाः भवतः अध्यापनानुभवेन सञ्जायन्ते ताः अवश्यं ज्ञापयतु कृपया |

      hnbhat said:
      May 6, 2012 at 3:57 am

      प्रयुज्यिष्यामि इति तु विरूपम्- यदि ण्यन्तात् प्रयोजय – धातोः भविष्यति रूपम् – प्रयोजयिष्यामि अथवा प्रयोजयिष्ये इति भाव्यम्, पाठान् एकां छात्राम् इति नान्वयः संगच्छते –

      पृथग् वाक्यानां रचनेन सन्देहनिवृत्तिश्च स्यात्, स्पष्टता च स्यात्।

    लवलेशानन्द सरस्वती said:
    May 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    महोदय,
    क्या आप हिन्दी से संस्कृत में अनुवाद नहीं सिखा सकते
    मुझे अंग्रेजी भाषा में थोडी कठिनाई मालूम देती है।
    धन्यवाद,

    लवलेशानन्द सरस्वती

      नमो नमः श्रीमन् “लवलेशानन्द”-महोदय तथा श्रीमन् सेतुमाधवन्-महोदय ! मेरे पाठ किस तरहसे ज्यादासे ज्यादा लोगोंके लिये फायदेमंद हो सकते हैं, ऐसे आपके विचारोंसे आपने जरूर मुझे उपकृत और प्रोत्साहित किया है । इसके लिये धन्यवाद । आपके सुझावपर गौर करते हुए पहले पाठके बारेमें सोचने गया तो ध्यानमे आया कि अंग्रेजीमे या संस्कृतमे प्रथमपुरुष एकवचन के कर्ताके लिङ्गसे क्रियापदका रूप नही बदलता “I go” पुल्लिङ्ग या स्त्रीलिङ्ग में वही रहता है । जबकी हिंदीमे “मैं जाता हूं” और “मैं जाती हूं” ऐसा फरक अक्सर होता है । मराठीमें भी ऐसाहि होता है – “मी जातो”, “मी जाते” । इस तरह सोचने जाऊं तो मनमे आता है कि, सारे पाठोकी अलग अलग भाषा-माध्यमोमे अलग अलग आवृत्तिया होनी पडेगी । फिलहाल अम्ग्रेजीमें जो काम शुरू किया है वह कैसे निभा पाऊंगा, इसीपर ध्यान केन्द्रित करना चाहिये, यही उचित रहेगा, न ? पुनः धन्यवाद ! सस्नेहम्, अभ्यंकरकुलोत्पन्नः श्रीपादः | “श्रीपतेः पदयुगं स्मरणीयम् ।”

        Shrish Joshi said:
        August 17, 2014 at 9:23 am

        ऐसा भी ककर सकते है , जिन्हे अंग्रेजी बेहतर आती है वह इसका भाषांतर कर सकते है। और अभ्यंकर गुरूजी उसे validate ( इसेहिंदी या मराठी में क्या कहते है ) आरा सकते है अभ्यंकरजी का प्रयास सामान्य नहीं है , और इसमे कोई स्वार्थ भी नहीं। अतः आम सभी को इस में उनका हाथ बटाना चाहिए। अर्थात अभ्यंकरजी की मान्यता हो तो।

        Shrish Joshi said:
        August 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

        ऐसा भी कर सकते है , जिन्हे अंग्रेजी बेहतर आती है वह इसका भाषांतर कर सकते है। और अभ्यंकर गुरूजी उसे validate ( इसेहिंदी या मराठी में क्या कहते है ) करा सकते है अभ्यंकरजी का प्रयास सामान्य नहीं है , और इसमे इनका कोई स्वार्थ भी नहीं। अतः हम सभी को इस में उनका हाथ बटाना चाहिए। यदि अभ्यंकरजी की मान्यता हो तो।

        नमस्ते श्रीश-जोशी-महोदय !

        मैं कोइ गुरुजी तो नहीं हूँ । संस्कृतकी जानकारी खुदके लिए भी हो सके उतनी स्पष्ट हो, इतनेही विचारसे मैंने सारे पाठ रचे हैं ।

        लेकिन मेरा यह भी विचार रहा है, कि किसी भी मातृभाषावाले व्यक्तिको मेरा ब्लॉग अपनी भाषाके लोगोंमें संस्कृतका प्रसार करनेके लिए अच्छा लगे, तो जरूर उचित रूपांतर करें । संस्कृत जैसी वैश्विक धरोहर संसारके सारे लोगोंको हरसंभव प्राप्त होनीही चाहिये । यह होके रहेगा, यह मेरा विश्वास भी है ।

    T.N.Sethumadhavan said:
    May 14, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Dear Shri Abhyankarji,
    Namaskar.
    Shri Lavleshanandji’s comments and request are very appropriate. These Sanskrit lessons as well as your series on Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads should be both in English and Hindi so that the largest number of people can take advantage of them helping the widespread understanding of Sanskrit and the Scriptures.
    With kind regards
    Sethumadhavan

      लवलेशानन्द सरस्वती said:
      May 17, 2012 at 11:20 am

      श्रीमन,
      मेरे द्वारा सुझाव भारत में बोली जाने वाली सबसे जादा भाषा हिन्दी है। अगर विद्वान गण हिन्दी से संस्कृत की ओर प्रयास करें तो । संस्कृत को हम बहुत जल्दी ही मातृ भाषा के रूप मे देखेंगें। हिन्दी से संस्कृत जानना,, जादा आसान और स्पष्ट होगा। ऐसा विचार कर के दुवारा लिख रहा हूँ ।
      लवलेशानन्द सरस्वती

        नमो नमः लवलेशानन्द-महोदय ! संस्कृत सीखनेके अलग अलग उद्देश हो सकते हैं । संस्कृत मातृभाषा बने इसके लिये कीन्ही माताओंकी भाषा संस्कृत होनी होगी । ऐसा तो कीन्ही पीढियोंके बादही होगा । लेकिन कभी न कभी शुरुआत भी तो होनी होगी । शुरुआत के लिये उद्देश इतनाभी सही होगा कि संस्कृत-वाङ्ग्मय का परिचय हो और उससे संस्कृतमें रुचि बढे । ऐसेही किसी उद्देशसे मैने मेरा दूसरा ब्लोग संस्कृताध्ययनम् http://slabhyankar.wordpress.com शुरू किया था । काफी सफल भी रहा । उसके १०३ जितने पाठ हुए हैं । आजभी कई लोग पदते रहते हैं । नये नये विचार आते रहते हैं । आपका भी सुझाव अच्छा ही है, कि यह “सरल संस्कृत” का ब्लोग हिंदी माध्यममें भी हो । मनमें अंकित किया हुआ है । धन्यवाद । सस्नेहम्, अभ्यंकरकुलोत्पन्नः श्रीपादः | “श्रीपतेः पदयुगं स्मरणीयम् ।”

    लवलेशानन्द सरस्वती said:
    May 17, 2012 at 11:45 am

    नमो नारायण:
    श्रीमान महोदय:
    कल मैने वाक्य अनुवाद किया था कृपया जांच कर मेरा मनोबल बढाये।
    1 तत्र क: पठति। या तत्र क: पाठयति।”
    2 ते बालका: यत्र गच्छन्ति,तत्र हसंति।
    3 केशव धीरे धीरे लिखता है ।(संस्कृत अनुवाद)।
    4 बालका: अगच्छति च बालिका:गच्छति।
    (लडके आते हैं और लडकियाँ जातीं हैं। )
    5 भवन्त: किम् हसति।
    (आप क्यों हँसते हैं।)
    धन्यवाद ,

    madhu69jhaveri said:
    August 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    बहुत प्रशंसनीय कार्य आप कर रहे हैं। मैं इन पाठों के कारण, संस्कृत अध्ययन कर पाऊंगा। बहुत बहुत धन्यवाद।

      नमस्ते श्रीमन् “मधु जव्हेरी”-महोदय !
      आपका संदेश जरूर प्रेरणादायी है, कि मैं औरभी पाठ लिखूं ।
      किसी सज्जनने पाठोंका तेलुगु-अनुवाद करनेका सोचा था । लेकिन प्रत्यक्षमे नहीं हुआ । चाहता हूँ, हिन्दी-अनुवाद भी हो सकता है । क्या ख़याल है आपका ?

    Krishnan said:
    April 9, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Have been a curious seeker of a way to learn Sanskrit in a simple manner. I found this section fitting the bill. Words cannot express my gratitude to the Teacher. Pranams.

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