Dead Sanskrit was Always Dead

Chapter 1
The Anti-Sanskrit Scripture
Shyam Rao

1.1 Sanskrit is Dead

Sanskrit is for all intents and purposes, a dead language. The Brahmans are in the habit of glorifying the era of Anglo-Brahman colonialism; yet even during this `golden age' of Sanskritology when the likes of Max Mueller helped propagate the study of Sanskrit throughout the world, a mere handful of people spoke it. Nor was it, even during the hypothesised `Gupta Golden Age' spoken outside the closely knit circle of Brahmins, who jealously hid all knowledge, including that of Sanskrit, to themselves. As will be shown later on, nor did it exist during the Vedic Dark Age; Sanskrit arose as a mongrel language much later on.

As per the 1951 Census, out of a total population of 362 million Indians, only 555 spoke Sanskrit ! Even languages like Italian and Hebrew, spoken by a handful of travellers, were more widely spoken than `Mother Sanskrit' ! This is evident from the following table :

Language No. of Speakers
















Number of Speakers as per 1951 Census ( Chat.73-74 )

The 1921 Census of India reveals that a whole 356 people spoke the language in the entire Indian subcontinent, during what is considered a `Golden Age' for Sanskrit revival, the era of Anglo-Brahmin colonialism. Several obscure languages had many more speakers than `Mother Sanskrit' :

Language No. of Speakers Reference


Grierson, I, p.400


Grierson, I, p.390


Grierson, I, p.390


Grierson, I, p.390


Grierson, I, p.391


Grierson, I, p.394

Number of Speakers as per 1921 Census

During the same 1921 Census, the number of speakers of Indo-Aryan Languages was 229.561 million.

1.2 Brahmin Fantasies

When European scholars developed an interest in India, their main focus was to understand Indian religion. Thus, their primary source in all fields of Indology were the Brahmins. These fundamentalists hence became the main source of `knowledge' about first Indian religion, and later all of Indology in general. Hence the entire field of Indology dating from the colonial era has been highly biased, being essentially a regurgitated version of Vedic-Puranic versions of history as seen through the eyes of the Brahmins. As this section of the population forms a mere 5 % of the Indian population, these histories have been very unrepresentative of the truth. Thus, Indian linguistics in its infancy adopted the mythological Brahmanical notion that all languages were degraded forms of Sanskrit. Sanskrit, a language which was merely liturgical and hardly played any role in Indian history, all of a sudden became the focus of attention. Indeed, this Brahminist fraud, now referred to as `The Mother Sanskrit Theory', is one of the greatest hoaxes of the 20th century.

Tall claims were made about this language. Sanskrit became the `mother of all languages in India', and it soon came to be believed that all literatures in the world, including Greek, Latin, etc. were derived frm Sanskrit ! All these Brahmin fantasies were eagerly copied down by their European collaborators, who placed these absurdities in academic garb. Max Mueller and William Jones were only the pioneers in this movement, which, whilst displaying a superficial novelty in Europe, were in fact based on Puranic notions. Virtually all efforts of the European colonialists towards studying India were devoted towards studying Brahmanism; non-Sanskrit civilizations were given scarcely any attention. This was, in a sense, a reward granted by the Europeans for services rendered by the Brahmins, who had actively collaborated with the colonialists. This hangover continues today, and even now `Indology' virtually means the study of Sanskrit and Brahmanic civilization; Dravidian, Indo-Muslim and Prakritic civilizations are blissfully ignored. It is all the more shocking that some European scholars still actively collaborate in propagating plainly false Puranic theories. Thus recently, certain deluded Europeans have made the following statements :

  • David Frawley said, " It [ Sanskrit ] has been regarded as the best language for computers because of its clarity." [ Myth, Ch.24 ]. Those familiar with David Frawley know him as an avid propagator of Brahmin Vedic and Puranic fallacies, such as the Puranic `Out of India' hypothesis.
  • According to the Forbes magazine (July,1987), "Sanskrit is the most convenient language for somputer software programming". The import is to somehow build a halo around Brahmanic Sanskrit. However, why Sanskrit has not then replaced established computer languages such as Basic, C, Pascal or Fortran are not answered. Computers still utilise binary code and no Sanskrit-based counting system. Nor have humans adopted the binary system in which computers can calculate so well; we are all quite satisfied with the decimal system, which is of Harappan-Sumerian origin.
This Mother Sanskrit Theory (MST) then, arose during the Anglo-Brahmin colonial era when the Europeans adopted Brahmanic Vedic and Puranic theories of Indian history and civilization. As per this now discredited theory, Sanskrit is the `Mother of all World Langauges'. This model has now been discredited, but a variant of the MST still pervades Indian linguistics, namely the claim that `Sanskrit is the Mother of all Indian languages'. Unfortunately, the MST is still being taught in Indian universities as a hangover from the Colonial era. Elaborate family trees are still drawn up; of which a simplified version for Indian languages generally taught today in the North can be drawn up :
                   MOTHER SANSKRIT THEORY (MST)

                                 /     \
                             Prakrit   Pali
                         /   /      \    
                  Bengali  Hindi    Marathi
Thus, as per this theory, Sanskrit somehow developed into Prakrit, simultaneously developing into Pali. Prakrit then somehow developed into Apabrahmsa, which then developed into the modern Indo-Aryan languages. Sanskrit was supposedly the spoken language during the much-hyped `Golden Age of Indian Culture', the Gupta Empire, and was supposedly the vernacular during the Vedic Age. Thus, all Indo-Aryan languages are seen as being mere derivatives of Sanskrit. Unfortunately, this wrong and highly biased view still persists in many encyclopedias. This MST is refuted below.

1.3 Non-Existsnce of Sanskrit Before 500 BC

The prime fact which has been suppressed by the Anglo-Brahmin elite is that Sanskrit did not exist prior to the 6th century BC. This circumstance is evident from the following points :

  • Vedas - The word `Sanskrit' does not occur anywhere in the Vedas. Not a single verse mentions this word as denoting a language.

  • Chandasa - The Vedic language was referred to as Chandasa even by Panini himself [ Chatt., p.63 ], and not as `Sanskrit'.

  • Buddha - The Buddha was advised to translate his teachings into the learned man's tongue - the `Chandasa' standard [ Chatt., p.64 ], there is no mention of any `Sanskrit'. The Buddha refused, preferring the Prakrits. There is not even a single reference in any contemporary Buddhist texts to the word `Sanskrit'. This shows that Sanskrit did not even exist at the time of the Buddha and that the people at that period, even the Brahmins themselves, were not aware of themselves as speaking `Sanskrit'; they referred to their language as `Chandasa'.

  • Ramayana - The word `Sanskrit' occurs for the first time as referring to a language in the Ramayana :
    "In the latter [Ramayana] the term `samskrta' "formal, polished", is encountered, probably for the first time with reference to the language"
    -- [ EB 22 `Langs', p.616 ]

    It is to be noted that extant versions of the Ramayana date only to the centuries AD.

  • Asokan Script - The first inscriptions in Indian history are in Prakrit and not in Sanskrit. These are by the Mauryan King Ashoka (c.273 BC - 232 BC ), and number over 30. They date to the 4th century BC. The script utilised is not `sacred' Devanagari, and the language is not `Mother' Sanskrit. They are mostly in the Brahmi script, while 2 inscriptions are in Kharoshtri. They are in various Prakrits and some in Afghanistan are in Greek and Aramaic [ Bas,. p.390-1 ]. In fact all inscriptions in India were in Prakrit till the early centuries AD :
    "[T]he earlier inscriptions up to the 1st century AD, were all in Prakrit"
    -- [ Up., p.164 ]

  • Satavahana Inscriptions - The Satavahanas, the first historical dynasty of the Deccan, also used a Prakrit language. There is no usage of Sanskrit. The Nagarjunikonda insrciptions are by the Satvahana king Vijaya Satakarni in the early 3rd cetnruy AD & end with the Ikshvaku Rudrapurusadatta who ruled for 11 years in the second quarter of the 4th century. Most of the large number of inscriptions are in Prakrit and only a few belonging to Ehuvulu Santamula are in Sanskrit (he ruled during the last 24 years of the 3rd to the early 4th century AD ) but even most of his inscriptions are in Prakrit and those which are in Sasnkrit are heavily influenced by Prakrit [ Bhatt., p.408 ftn.46 ].

    The Nanaghat cave inscriptions in Poona distt. are in Prakrit and are the work of the Satavahana Satakarni I. They have been dated to the first half of the 1st century BC. The contemporary relgiion of this region was Vedic. Indra and Vasudev are mentioned as the Vedic gods then worshipped [ Bas, p.395 ]. The later cave inscriptions of Nasik in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD are in the local Prakrit [ Bas, p.395 ]. Thus, although the Vedic religion was followed in the Satavahana regions, Sanksrit was not in use.

  • Gandhari - Even Gandhari existed prior to Sanskrit. The Pali Dhammapada in Gandhari was discovered at Khotan in Kharoshtri script. It dates to the 1st or 2nd century AD. A Gandhari insrcription was discovered on a copper casket containing relics of the Lord Sakyamuni [ Bas, p.393 ].

  • Kharavela's Kalinga Inscription - Kharavela's Kalingan inscription of the 1st century BC were in a Prakrit of the east indian type. Interseting is the first mention of the word Bharatavarsha in an inscription. Kharavela is described as invading Bharatavarsha, which then evidently denoted only North India [ Bas, p.393 ].

  • First Sanskrit Inscription : 150 AD - The earliest inscription in Sanskrit is by the Saka Mahakshatrapa Rudradaman at Junagarh in Gujarat dated to AD 150. However, even here several of the words are wrong according to Sanskrit grammatical rules, some words show Prakrit influence and a few are un-Paninian [ Bas 397-8 ]. This inscription is several centuries later than the earliest Prakrit inscriptions, and are the creation of Sakas, not Arya kings.

    1.4 Refutation of the Mother Sanskrit Theory (MST)

    As usual, the load of Sanskrit-centric theories were a heap of nonsense. The following developments have been instrumental in overturning the old colonial reverence for the language :

  • Brajbuli dates to 1000 BC - A central assumption of the MST is that all Prakrit vernaculars must be of a very late date. With the first mention of `Sanskrit' in a Ramayana dating to the ealy centuries AD, any Prakrit existing prior to this necessarily contradicts the Mother Sanskrit Theory. Indeed, even the Brahmanic myths themselves present evidence of this with the Prakrit Brajbuli. Brajabuli, the precursor to the modern Braj Bhasa, is said to have been used by Krishna and the gopis of Vraja (Vrindavan, whence Braj) and it was thus popular amongst Vaishnava poets [ Assam, p.422.n3 ]. Krishna is dated to ca. 1000 BC, and this internal evidence would imply that Braj Bhasa dated to 1000 BC. Recently, Krishna's city, Dvaraka, has been excavated, showing that he probably was a historical person. The stories are hence based on fact, and this evidence cannot be dismissed as a `myth'.

  • `Prakrit' = Vernacular - The term `Prakrta' or Prakrit means `common', `natural', while the term `Samskrta' or Sanskrit natural means `polsihed, refined' [ Up.164 ]. Thus Prakrit refers to any of the natural languages, while Sanskrit refers to the `purified' language. This etymology itself indicates that Sanskrit is derived from Prakrit rather than the other way around. This necessarily implies that Sanskrit is, like Old Church Slavonic, a polished version of various vernaculars.

  • Apabrahmsa is a Prakrit - Apabrahmsa, which in the MST is seen as a derivative of Prakrit, is in fact itself a Prakrit known as Abhiri. It was actually comtemporary with all the other Prakrits, and the view that it succeeded Prakrit is wrong. Several dramas have characters speaking Apabrahmsa and Prakrits side by side. This shows that Apabrahmsa is not the second stage in the development from Sanskrit, but was merely another Prakrit language.

  • Different Prakrit Languages - Prakrit is not a single language. Since the beginning there were several different Prakrit languages, which had different grammars and dictionaries.

  • Modern Prakrits - As per the MST, the Prakrits are all dead languages, having `degraded' into the modern Indo-Aryan tongues. However, Prakrits never disappeared. All the modern Indo-Aryan (IA) languages are Prakrits (Bengali, Marathi etc.). The ancient Prakrits are the direct precursors of the modern languages, thus Vangi -> Bengali, Odri -> Oriya, and Maharastri -> Marathi. All these so-called `Prakrits' such as Vangi, Odri and Maharastri, can all be understood by the speakers of their respective IA languages with the same ease with which a modern speaker of English can understand Anglo-Saxon. This fact alone is sufficient to refute the MST. Far from being dead, Prakrit is still spoken in all parts of India just as it has been for thousands of years. The word Prakrit itself merely means `natural' and refers to all the Indo-Iranian languages as spoken by the common man in India. Thus, even the literal meaning of the word `Prakrit' implies that it is far from dead.

  • Prakrit Older than Sanskrit - The MST claims that Sanskrit is older than Prakrit. However, it is Prakrit which is older than Sanskrit, since several features of Prakrit can be traced to the Rig Veda, which are not found in Sanskrit. This is because Chandasa, when invented by the Brahmins ca. 5th century BC, was a refined form of vernacular IA langueages, thereby losing certain features which were preserved in Prakrit.

  • Other features -
    • Pali poses another problem for the MST. As per the MST, it is an independant derivation from Sanskrit, and is not a Prakrit. However, Pali is in fact a dialect of Magadhi Prakrit and not a separate language as evidenced by the mutual comprehensibility between these two tongues.

    • The Prakrits can be understood by the respective speakers of modern Indo-Aryan languages, ie.
      • Vangi can be understood by modern Bengali speakers,
      • Odri Prakrit can be understood by modern Oriyas,
      • Maharashtri Prakrit can be understood by modern Marathis
      yet in the Sanskritic viewpoint Prakrits are dead.

    1.5 Brahman Invention of Sanskrit, The Liturgical Language

    The lack of a standard liturgical language was a grave defect for the 6 orthodox (`astika') schools of Brahmanism (comprising Aryan Vaishnavism, Vedanta, Yoga, Vedism, etc.). With the rise of `nastika' heterodxies, ie. Jainism (`jainas'), Buddhism (`bauddhas'), etc. (collectively referred to as `Sramanism') associated with East Indic kingdoms, the Aryans of Aryavarta & Brahmavarta sought to counter this novel threat to Vedic orthodoxy by introducing a standard litugical language (perhaps in emulation of the Buddhist Pali and Jain Ardhamagadhi). The state of Panchala played a central role in this process. This nation arose in the 8-9th centuries BC and united different groups speaking North Indic and Midland Indo-Aryan languages. It is here that Panini created the `chandas' language. Soon thereafter the label `samskrta' (polished, whence later Sanskrit) was applied to this liturgical language. Thus Sanskrit is a synthesis of several languages:

    • Vedic Languages :
      • Rigvedic
      • Samvedic
      • Atharvic and
      • Yajurvedic
    • Brahmanic, the language of the Brahmanas
    • Upanishadic, the language of the Upanishads
    • North Indo-Aryan languages, eg. Bal Sarasvati (the precursor of Konkani), Gandharvi (the precursor of Gandhari), etc.
    • Midland Indo-Aryan languages, eg. Braj buli (the language of Krishna and Matsyi (the precursor of Sauraseni).

    In this regard the origin of Sanskrit is exactly analogous to that of Old Church Slavonic.

    1.6 Mother of None

    The Mother Sanskrit Theory (MST) has been now discarded. A new tree diagram can now be drawn.

                   ___________ Indo - Iranian _____________
                  /           /     \             \        \
             Indo-Aryan  East Indic   Dardic      Scythic   Iranic
            /    \     \        \       (East Iranic)  \
       Vedic    Madhyi  Udicyi   Pracyi     \           \
        /     Bibhasas  Bibhasa              \       Rajastani
     Sanskrit  /   |      |        |\      Lahnda,      Languages
              /    |      |        |  \     Old Sindhi
             /     |      |        |    \
      Kanauji  Sauraseni Gandhari  Magadhi   Vangi
              /         (extinct)  |        |    \
           Braj Bhasa             Magahi   Bengali  Kamrupi
           /       \                                    \
    Braj Bhakhta  Khari Boli                           Assamese
    [            P   R   A   K   R   I   T   S                 ]

    The dialect of Pracya was the one current is what is now Oudh and Eastern U.P. and probably also Bihar. This language was prevalent among the vratyas who were wandering Aryan-speaking tribes who did not owe allegiance to the Vedic fire-cult and the social and religious organisation of Brahmanism [ Chatt., p.61 ].

    Encyclopedia Britannica now acknowledge that the old MST is discarded:

    " As Classical Sanskrit is not directly derivable from any single Vedic dialect, so the Prakrits cannot be said to derive directly from Classical Sanskrit"
    -- [ EB 22 `lang ', p.618 ]

    1.7 Comparison with Old Church Slavonic

    Thus, Classical Sanskrit is exactly analogous to the Old Church Slavonic language [ EB 22.696 ], which was created in 863 AD by Orthodox Slavs to counteract the effect of the Latin Catholic Church. Old Church Slavonic was a synthesis of West Slavic languages and Byzantine Greek. This occurred in the Moravian kingdom, which united West Slavs in the 9th century AD. Thus, both Sanskrit and Old Church Slavonic arose as syntheses of various languages and both arose as standard liturgical languages to counter heterodoxies.

    1.8 Consequences of the MST & Sanskritisation

    The MST and the Brahminist policy of Sanskritisation had several disastrous consequences for pre-Brahmanic civlizations :

  • Undermining of Pre-Brahmanic Langauges - The MST had the debilitating effect of undermining pre-brahmanic languages and caused great harm to these vernaculars. The modern Indo-Aryan languages were viewed as `degraded', since they were merely distorted forms of Sanskrit. This led to most Indians developing a dislike for their own mother tongue.

  • Destruction of Non-Brahmin History - The Indo-Aryan languages were viewed as being recent in origin, since each vernacular and its respective Prakrit were seen as separate languages. Thus, instead of accepting the fact of these languages originating in 1000 BC, the MST held that Bengali, Marathi, Oriya etc. were born between 1400-1500 AD ! Thus, instead of being respected for having histories of 3000 years, these languages with a rich history were denigrated as recent innovations.

  • Cultural Genocide - Since these languages (Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, etc.) were viewed as being merely degraded forms of Sanskrit, the MST naturally led to the idea of abolishing these languages and replacing them with Sanskrit. Since these languages were supposedly of recent origin, having been spoken only for the last 300-500 years, whereas Sanskrit had been purportedly spoken for 3500 years, this seemed a natural conclusion. Such concepts have been adopted by the Sangh Parivar, which seeks to abolish all Prakritic languages and replace them with Sanskrit.

  • Hampering of Development - Sanskritisation hampered the free development of these languages, since they had to depend on Sankrit vocabulaery and literary models. The vernaculars were deliberately corrupted with excessive Sanskritisation. In many cases, the indigenous languages have been undermined and are nearing extinction. The native Marathi script has been replaced by Devanagari during the Anglo-Brahmin Empire; Bhojpuri, Magahi, Mithili and Koshali have all been replaced by Khari Boli Hindi, Bengali was Sanskritised and undermined in the early part of the 20th century, being saved only by Tagore; and Rajasthani is nearing extinction, with the Brahmins having obliterated the Mahajani script. Everywhere, the advance of Brahmanic Khari Boli Hindi is evident, which in the MST is considered `purer' as being closer to Sanskrit than the `degraded' vernaculars it is replacing.

    1.9 Sanskrit is 30 % Dravidian

    Many authors have made the fallacious claim that Sanskrit is the purest of languages. In fact, Sanskrit has many Dravidian loanwords, and many Prakritisms. Thus,
    " Classical Sanskrit was profoundly influenced by Middle Indo-Aryan [ ie. Prakrits ]. Not only were a large number of Middle Indo-Ayan words adopted into Sanskrit, but a whole host of Prakrit root and verbal bases of both Aryan and non-Aryan or uncertain origin were slightly altered to look like Sanskrit and bodily adopted... This was realised by the ancient scholars with whom Sanskrit represented just a variant, an earlier or fuller form (patha) of Prakrit. "
    -- [ Chatt., p.95 ]
    Some scholars hold that more than 50 % of the vocabulary of Sanskrit is of Dravidian and foreign origin; thus Lahovery writes that the vocabulary of Sanskrit "is largely formed of Dravidian and other loanwords" [ Lah., p.407 on Wool ]. The composition of Sanskrit vocabulary can be approximately given by :
    • 70 % Non-Vedic
      • 40 % Dravidian
      • 30 % Prakrits and Others
    • 30 % Vedic (Old Indo-Aryan)

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