Sanskrit, Sanskar, and Sanskriti

Matru Pitru Pujan Divas: One Earth School (Bali) Students
Bowing Down to Their Parents on the Parents’ Day (February 14th)

Please read the first post in the series to better understand and appreciate the purpose of these posts:

There was a Time when Sanskrit was almost forgotten. Nobody cared to learn the language. Now, thanks to the Hinduttva wave, there is an interest in Sanskrit. Many have turned to Sanskrit greetings for various occasions. Good, commendable.

But, is it enough? Sanskrit is but a means, not the goal. The goal of Sanskrit learning is to develop sanskars – good thoughts and good feelings leading to right speech and right action.

Let us be clear about this: Good thoughts and good feelings alone too are not enough. They must be translated into right speech, into right action. A man of sanskars is a man of action. He is dynamic, courageous, bold, self-confident – but, not reckless.

A man of sanskars knows his limits… That is, his maryada. He knows how to respond to any given situation. “He is”, like my Master always says, “not goody-goody type, not wearing a plastic smile on his face. He does not pretend to be good, he is good.”

I often meet Sanskrit scholars, even the so-called gurus, whose heads are filled with the air of arrogance. The academic credentials, scholarship, and blind followers have caused them brain-gastritis.

They are knowledgeable, they know Sanskrit, but not the sanskriti – they are not yet cultured. They display their knowledge of the language to impress others, not to develop sanskars.

They feel mastery of the language is all in all… They forget that Ravana who abducted Sita, or Kamsa who is remembered as a cruel king to this date, and so many others – all of them spoke Sanskrit. Not only the language, they were well versed in the scriptures.

Mastery of the language alone does not turn us into sanskari – men and women of culture. Having read the scriptures, having mastered them, we do not automatically become cultured.

Of what use is the mastery over language and scriptures, if we remain uncultured, uncivilized; if such mastery only fills our heads with the air of arrogance?

Such masters of language and scriptures are pseudo Sanskaris. Unfortunately, they have infiltrated into our society. They have reduced sanskar to a mere brand for commercial purposes. One time against western outlook, western outfit, western cuisine, everything western – a guru is now promoting western outfit with a sanskari Sanskrit brand, manufactured by his multi million dollars empire.

Those who have been talking about svadharma – the obligation to fulfill the duties according to one’s potency and role in society – are resorting to paradharma, doing jobs not meant for them.

Teachers, doctors, lawmakers, politicians, and professionals in all fields think about making a quick buck. Let the businessmen do the business. Let the industrialists run the industries. And, let the teachers teach, let the the politicians learn how to become statesmen and run the country.

We often talk about varna, about the division of labour on the basis of capacities, capabilities, and professions to ensure the smooth functioning of the entire society. What can be gained from mere rhetorics?

We need teachers, educators, and spiritual guides in our society – we call them collectively as brahmins. We need soldiers and statesmen to secure our borders and take care of the state administration – we call them kshatriyas. We need vaishya or businessmen and industrialists to take care of the economy. And, we need a lot and lot of shudras, professionals and skilled workers in all fields. All these four groups of people are required.

What we see today is a state referred to as varnasamkar – the wholesale corruption of varnas…. Gurus becoming businessmen. Businessmen becoming politicians. Politicians wearing the garb of piety. And, the professionals and workers becoming more and more confused and stressful.


Let us be honest to ourselves. Let us do our jobs effectively and efficiently, and let others do their jobs. A businessman-turned-politician can only do horse-trading – what kind of national welfare can we expect from him?

A guru-turned-businessman or politician is a great loss to society. He should be in a position to reprimand the politicians when they err, when they go wrong. He should be a guide and philosopher to the businessmen. Why should he stoop so low to become a businessman or a politician.

We need to educate our children so they do not create a varnasamkar like situation as we face today. Enough is enough, we are done with corrupt minds, no matter how bright they are. Along with brightness, along with the clarity of thoughts and purity of feelings – we need the purity of hearts, of intentions……

Let us think on these things…..

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