Sanskrit has been the traditional language of scholarship and religion in India for the past 3,000 years. It is the language of the most important scriptures of Hinduism and of Indian Buddhism, but also was the main language for philosophical, scientific and legal works, poems, plays, literary criticism throughout most of Indian history.

Students of Sanskrit will spend most of their first year of study mastering the grammar of the language, but by the end of their second semester students will be reading selections from actual Sanskrit works, such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana. Sanskrit courses at the Intermediate and Advanced level are build around the reading of specific texts selected to provide students with experience in a wide variety of texts and genres, building gradually from simpler to more complex and sophisticated works. In the second year students will work through selections from the Mahabharata and Ramayana and from the mytho-historical Puranas, as well as from simple poetic Sanskrit, typically from the works of Kalidasa or other celebrated poets. In the Advanced (3rd/4th year) course, students will read from texts on philosophy, theology, art poetry (kavya), and traditional Indian literary criticism.

Sanskrit language resources:

Sanskrit script on brick surface


Affiliated Area Programs:

South Asia Program