Monday, August 15, 2016

New Book :: Sadhaka Pathyam



Along with several other titles, Himalayan Yoga Publications Trust has published a book I did to facilitate Sanskrit teaching to the students of Swami Rama Sadhaka Gram. This publication was made to coincide with the first anniversary of Swami Veda Bharati's Mahasamadhi.

This book contains first of all a guide to understanding the Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary of many of the essential materials used at SRSG, such as the morning and evening prayers, many of Swamiji's favorite verses from the Bhagavad Gita, and so on.  There is also a section of additional materials and exercises to help the Sanskrit student, such as sandhi rules, principal parts of verbs, as well as supplementary reading exercises.

This handbook was originally conceived as a collection of supplementary reading exercises for students of Sanskrit at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama. The primary goal was to help non-Indian students of yoga and Indian philosophy to acquire a working knowledge of textual Sanskrit as well as familiarity with some important Sanskrit texts.

Since the students at the ashram are of widely differing levels of commitment and practice, the first section of this book is devoted to the prayers and other verses that are chanted in the morning and evening at the ashram. Each word is explained grammatically, so that even those who are not interested in acquiring a deep knowledge of Sanskrit can still have a better understanding of the meaning of each word in these prayers.

The second section includes various readings, including a short Rāmāyaṇa-based text meant for easy reading, some of the principal verses from the Gītā, the Upaniṣads, etc., which have also been the subject of Swami Veda Bharati’s lectures during the time I spent at the ashram. Recordings are available of his lectures on the Sapta-ślokī Gītā and the Sthita-prajña-lakṣaṇa section of the Gītā.

The last section of this volume gives a number of supplementary lessons and exercises to use for easy reference and to which the notes on the verses often direct the reader. Here one will find more information about sandhi and some other features that I felt were inadequately described in the textbooks we were using for the course.

Though I have tried to make this volume as user-friendly as possible, materials such as this are best read with the help of a teacher and as a part of a more elaborate course on the, etc. of Sanskrit. I have tried as far as possible to give page references for verb roots and declensions from the little volume Rūpa-candrikā (ed. Brahmanand Tripathi, Varanasi: Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan, 2003), as well as to Thomas Egenes, Introduction to Sanskrit, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2006 (reprint), which was the principal textbook I used in the course.

It has been a great opportunity for me to contribute to the life of the ashram over the years and to the students’ study of this great ancient language, knowing which will only increase one’s love for the spiritual culture that lies at the basis of India’s civilization. I thank Swami Veda Bharati for giving me the opportunity to make this small contribution.

As we will be starting a serious program for Sanskrit students at Jiva in the autumn, the five-year Bhakti Tirtha course, I am planning another version of this book geared to the Vaishnava scriptures, etc. Look for it in another year or so. In the meantime, you can purchase this from the Himalayan Yoga Publications. http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1607/07.html

Jai Radhe.

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